Elsewhere on the internet...

The League of Reason has some social media accounts! You can find us on Facebook or on Twitter for some interesting links and things.

Atheist Foundation of Morality and Moral Accountability

Post new topic Reply to topic  Page 2 of 11
 [ 204 posts ] 
Atheist Foundation of Morality and Moral Accountability
Author Message
VisakiUser avatarPosts: 813Joined: Fri Nov 12, 2010 12:26 pmLocation: Helsinki, Finland Gender: Male

Post Re: Atheist Foundation of Morality and Moral Accountability

gilbo12345 wrote:Of course there are other systems, I've never doubted that... I've just been saying that these systems are subjective which therefore render them useless since nothing can be defined as morally good and bad since not everyone will agree. Essentially it leads to chaos.

What I'm reading is a lot of assertions and nothing to back them up.

I can see no sign of an objective morality. I also see no reason why subjective (and in my case, secular) morality should lead to anarchy and chaos. Things can be defined as morally good and morally bad in subjective morality after we define what is the criteria for "good" and "bad", as can be done with any array of subjective subjects from beauty to tastiness of foods. Furthermore the wide range of disagreements globally on what is "good" and what is "bad" makes it quite clear that we don't have one objective system of morality, but many subjective systems which change over time.
Sun Dec 16, 2012 10:27 pm
Gnug215ModeratorUser avatar
Online
Posts: 2695Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 10:31 pm

Post Re: Atheist Foundation of Morality and Moral Accountability

gilbo12345 wrote:
[...]

Of course there are other systems, I've never doubted that... I've just been saying that these systems are subjective which therefore render them useless since nothing can be defined as morally good and bad since not everyone will agree. Essentially it leads to chaos.



Perhaps the fact that all the systems (yes, including yours) are subjective is exactly what makes them work?

Realizing that we are all "subjects" with subjective morality, but we are "forced" to live together in a society is what has lead to this more or less "unified, universal subjective moral system" that we are living with now.

It's always subject to change, because society changes, but it is also always bound to society, and therefore needs to serve the greater good.

This is why we get things as the golden rule; they are a logical consequence of society.


Incidentally, this is also why moral systems such as the Christian one doesn't work. You might object there, but let's just take what Christians usually point to when talking about moral laws; the 10 commandments. Only a couple make actual sense, and none of them are explained. Society has pretty much rejected them, and has done pretty well since then in spite of that.
The 10 commandments were made up in a time when they might have been relevant, under a specific religious dogma. Supposedly made by God, but you can hardly get a better argument against objective morality (and God for that matter) than looking at them, and seeing that their relevance has changed with society.
- Gnug215

YouTube channel:
http://www.youtube.com/user/Gnug215


The horse is a ferocious predator.
Sun Dec 16, 2012 10:32 pm
australopithecusLime TordUser avatarPosts: 4349Joined: Sun Feb 22, 2009 9:27 pmLocation: Kernow Gender: Time Lord

Post Re: Atheist Foundation of Morality and Moral Accountability

gilbo12345 wrote:Of course there are other systems, I've never doubted that... I've just been saying that these systems are subjective which therefore render them useless since nothing can be defined as morally good and bad since not everyone will agree. Essentially it leads to chaos.


Subjectivity doesn't necessitate that those systems are useless. As I stated, there are actions that appear to objective from the outset, murder, rape...ect that society agree is harmful and rightly outlaw. More than that, I'd argue that not wanting to commit these actions is hardwired instinctively (again, you'd deny the evolutionary history of these). I don't want to kill, rape or steal from anyone. This is not a mandate from God, this is me not wanting to do bad things. Some people do want these, so even things that seem objective aren't.

My morals don't come from God, and I'm not an evil bastard. Simple as.
Image
Sun Dec 16, 2012 10:37 pm
InfernoContributorUser avatarPosts: 2298Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2009 7:36 pmLocation: Vienna, Austria Gender: Cake

Post Re: Atheist Foundation of Morality and Moral Accountability

australopithecus wrote:My morals don't come from God, and I'm not an evil bastard. Simple as.


God gave them to you, you simply don't know it. That's the only reason why atheists can be moral. :facepalm:
"Sometimes people don't want to hear the truth because they don't want their illusions destroyed." ― Friedrich Nietzsche

"I shall achieve my objectives through the power... of Science!" --LessWrong
Sun Dec 16, 2012 10:45 pm
australopithecusLime TordUser avatarPosts: 4349Joined: Sun Feb 22, 2009 9:27 pmLocation: Kernow Gender: Time Lord

Post Re: Atheist Foundation of Morality and Moral Accountability

Maybe God is hiding in my sock drawer, telling me not to rape people. Or an invisible app on my phone; iGod.
Image
Sun Dec 16, 2012 10:49 pm
WarKChat ModeratorUser avatarPosts: 1229Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2009 9:59 am Gender: Tree

Post Re: Atheist Foundation of Morality and Moral Accountability

Inferno wrote:
australopithecus wrote:My morals don't come from God, and I'm not an evil bastard. Simple as.


God gave them to you, you simply don't know it. That's the only reason why atheists can be moral. :facepalm:


Proportionally, there are fewer atheists than Christians in American prisons, does it mean god made atheists more moral?
Did you see that ludicrous display last night?
Sun Dec 16, 2012 10:49 pm
InfernoContributorUser avatarPosts: 2298Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2009 7:36 pmLocation: Vienna, Austria Gender: Cake

Post Re: Atheist Foundation of Morality and Moral Accountability

WarK wrote:Proportionally, there are fewer atheists than Christians in American prisons, does it mean god made atheists more moral?


1) All Christians in prisons are converted Atheists, who only converted after they got into prison.
2) Yeah, to test our faith.
"Sometimes people don't want to hear the truth because they don't want their illusions destroyed." ― Friedrich Nietzsche

"I shall achieve my objectives through the power... of Science!" --LessWrong
Sun Dec 16, 2012 11:02 pm
InfernoContributorUser avatarPosts: 2298Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2009 7:36 pmLocation: Vienna, Austria Gender: Cake

Post Re: Atheist Foundation of Morality and Moral Accountability



Joss Whedon says it pretty well: "...Morality comes from the absence of any grander scheme, not from the presence of any grander scheme."
"Sometimes people don't want to hear the truth because they don't want their illusions destroyed." ― Friedrich Nietzsche

"I shall achieve my objectives through the power... of Science!" --LessWrong
Mon Dec 17, 2012 9:00 am
FrengerBloggerUser avatarPosts: 831Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2011 12:50 pmLocation: Derby, UK Gender: Male

Post Re: Atheist Foundation of Morality and Moral Accountability

australopithecus wrote:Maybe God is hiding in my sock drawer, telling me not to rape people. Or an invisible app on my phone; iGod.


This sentence makes up for the cheese fail. *unblocked*
Mon Dec 17, 2012 10:36 am
WWW
FrengerBloggerUser avatarPosts: 831Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2011 12:50 pmLocation: Derby, UK Gender: Male

Post Re: Atheist Foundation of Morality and Moral Accountability

Gilbo, while you ignored my greeting and my post, you also ignored my question to you.

If, in the bible it said it was ok to rape, would you? And if not, why not?
Mon Dec 17, 2012 10:37 am
WWW
RedYellowUser avatarPosts: 190Joined: Sat Jul 03, 2010 7:22 am Gender: Male

Post Re: Atheist Foundation of Morality and Moral Accountability

The only true test of morality comes from the absence of any official mandate, punishment or reward; if someone chooses to have morals on their own, then you know it comes from the heart alone. Theists really have only one moral: Do what you are told.
Someone who is absolutely convinced they are right, is as good as someone who doesn't know they are dead wrong.
Mon Jan 07, 2013 3:09 am
Dragan GlasContributorUser avatarPosts: 3214Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2009 1:55 amLocation: Ireland Gender: Male

Post Re: Atheist Foundation of Morality and Moral Accountability

Greetings,

RedYellow wrote:The only true test of morality comes from the absence of any official mandate, punishment or reward; if someone chooses to have morals on their own, then you know it comes from the heart alone. Theists really have only one moral: Do what you are told.

Interesting that you use the term "heart" above - though I understand what you mean, I think it's more correct to say "head" or "brain".

Kindest regards,

James
Image
"The Word of God is the Creation we behold and it is in this Word, which no human invention can counterfeit or alter, that God speaketh universally to man."
The Age Of Reason
Mon Jan 07, 2013 3:21 pm
Josephhasfun01BannedUser avatarPosts: 192Joined: Mon Jan 14, 2013 7:14 pm

Post Re: Atheist Foundation of Morality and Moral Accountability

Oh, and if you want to know where most atheists get their morals from (and, I'd argue, most Christians, too), the answer is: society.


How does society give morals? Also, which society gives us our morals. If I am wrong correct me but it seems you are saying that morality is relative to culture? If so then you are stating that morality is relative to culture.

But you'd be wrong. Morals are determined by what is done. Rather they're determined by what should be done. In a culture where cannibalism is practiced means that it's ok to eat people there. India is in a rape crisis and rape is seemingly condoned as there are rarely any punishments handed out for rape. so according to you rape is ok over in India. :?:

Is it really true that morality is all subjective to culture? Is it true that there can't be any objective standard of morality?

If the answer is yes then I must ask is tutoring babies to death for leisurely pleasure, depending of course on if your in a part of the world where this is practiced?

In order to give an objective argument for the existence of morality one must concede that we have a moral obligation. The objective is that life is held a valuable. Whether or not people fail to act in a manner that is consistent with this objective standard does not in any way overthrow it. It just means that they are not upholding the value that "ought-to-be" held to human life.
Mon Jan 14, 2013 11:15 pm
Darkprophet232User avatarPosts: 226Joined: Fri Sep 21, 2012 7:42 pm Gender: Male

Post Re: Atheist Foundation of Morality and Moral Accountability

I will comment on the rest, but I want to tackle this line first.

Josephhasfun01 wrote: India is in a rape crisis and rape is seemingly condoned as there are rarely any punishments handed out for rape. so according to you rape is ok over in India. :?:



You have refuted your own point with this example because the people of India have decided for themselves that rape is bad and you even admit they hand out punishments for it. That the authorities don't enforce the law properly and cover up their own corruption is irrelevant to how the society sees the action. Which, in both cases, they see as a bad thing. Hence all of the protests. Again, you admit they are in "a rape crisis." If the people of India had decided that rape is okay, there wouldn't be a crisis. It would be business as usual.

How does society give morals?


It gives morals the same way as it gives anything else: by us interacting with others and the society as a whole. We learn that hurting others is wrong by our parents or guardians. We learn that we shouldn't steal the same way. However, we learn that doing good things can make us feel good on our own, but as we are part of our society, it is the entity teaching itself. And yes, a holy book also counts as a part of society.

Also, which society gives us our morals. If I am wrong correct me but it seems you are saying that morality is relative to culture? If so then you are stating that morality is relative to culture.


The society we live and interact with is where we draw our morals from. I point that in some cultures it is immoral to drink cow milk or in others eat any type of meat (vegan communes). Also, the vast majority of things are not relative to culture, but some intricacies (prior example) are. As long as they are not violating any one's rights or person hood, who are we to say they are immoral for not eating meat?

But you'd be wrong. Morals are determined by what is done. Rather they're determined by what should be done.


You're going to have to expound on this for me, as I don't understand what your point is. If you're saying that "what should be done" is how we determine whether something is moral or not, then I have to ask where you get the "what should be done" from, if not from society?

Is it really true that morality is all subjective to culture? Is it true that there can't be any objective standard of morality? In a culture where cannibalism is practiced means that it's ok to eat people there.


Yes, but understand that "morality is all subjective to culture" is not the same as saying "all morality is subjective to culture." You made the fine point about cannibalism. The most interesting thing about that issue is when tribes that still practice it meet and interact with outsiders, the practice dies off (See The Korowai people for the latest example).

If the answer is yes then I must ask is tutoring babies to death for leisurely pleasure, depending of course on if your in a part of the world where this is practiced?


The only way to answer "yes" is if it follows the guidance I listed above, "As long as they are not violating any one's rights or person hood, who are we to say they are immoral?" As torturing anyone, regardless of age, would be violating his or her rights AND person hood, it fails the criteria.

In order to give an objective argument for the existence of morality one must concede that we have a moral obligation. The objective is that life is held a valuable. Whether or not people fail to act in a manner that is consistent with this objective standard does not in any way overthrow it. It just means that they are not upholding the value that "ought-to-be" held to human life.


I'm unclear in your terms as to the first two sentences. I will assume you meant to say that the "moral obligation is that life is valuable." This is an extremely short sighted and vague way of assigning an objective moral absolute. As a society, we believe in justified homicide, wherein the act of killing another may not be moral, but it is not immoral. Soldiers on a battlefield, battered wives, those with inoperable and terminal cancers, all of them have participated in some fashion to what our society deems as justified homicide (though they may not use the wording, but I'm using it as a catch-all for self-defense, war fighting, and euthanasia).

It is also important to note that one society can in fact look at another society and say, "that is immoral, stop that!" We do not have one definite absolute morality, and as such it is imperative that we continue pushing forward until we do. It may never happen, but the pursuit of it betters each and every one of us.

Edit: Please read "...all of them have participated..." as "...a member from each of these groups has participated..." The first time I read it in my head it made sense, but on second reading, not so much.
“The man who believes that the secrets of the world are forever hidden lives in mystery and fear. Superstition will drag him down." -The Judge
Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian
Tue Jan 15, 2013 12:23 am
InfernoContributorUser avatarPosts: 2298Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2009 7:36 pmLocation: Vienna, Austria Gender: Cake

Post Re: Atheist Foundation of Morality and Moral Accountability

Josephhasfun01 wrote:How does society give morals? Also, which society gives us our morals. If I am wrong correct me but it seems you are saying that morality is relative to culture? If so then you are stating that morality is relative to culture.


Was that a spelling mistake of yours? If morality is relative to culture then morality is relative to culture?!? Well done!

The answer is, society shows moral norms. Society reflects on what is accepted by most people and what is not accepted by most people. For example, it used to be a moral outrage (indeed, a crime) to be homosexual. Nowadays it's largely accepted. In the Bible, slavery is condoned and promoted, but nowadays it would be an outrage.

Society changes when people change, it's as simple as that.

How do we arrive at these conclusions, what is right and what is wrong? Well trial and error, for one. I'd refer you for example to the multiple sex-laws many countries have. Is it OK to hire a prostitute, is it OK to engage in sodomy and so on. Other considerations are religious and often very staunch, for example "What does it say in my book". But as I have shown above, these "eternal laws" are mutable and change as society changes, so quite obviously religious laws are neither eternal nor absolute. Thus, the only relevant way to consider laws (and morality) is by looking at one very basic consideration that long pre-dates any religion: How can I lessen the suffering and/or increase the happiness of as many people as possible?

Josephhasfun01 wrote:Is it really true that morality is all subjective to culture? Is it true that there can't be any objective standard of morality?


Yes, that is true. Show me one law that is shared by absolutely all cultures in human history. I dare say you won't find a single one.
No, not even "do not kill". I remind you merely of the Aztec human sacrifices, made to please the various gods.

There is no objective standard of morality. Morality evolves, just as every other social construct does.

Josephhasfun01 wrote:If the answer is yes then I must ask is tutoring babies to death for leisurely pleasure, depending of course on if your in a part of the world where this is practiced?


I don't know how you can tutor babies to death, but if you mean "torture" then I certainly follow your train of thought. But even then, yours is not a coherent question, it's not even a sentence. Are you asking if it's OK? Is it moral?
If that's your question then the answer clearly is "that depends on the culture". I can remember several passages in the Bible in which Babies are killed, possibly tortured, depending on the definition. There are many cultures where babies used to be killed and are still killed today. So quite obviously it is not in any way objective, but it depends on our subjective influences. I for one would deem it very immoral, but the next person, be they religious or not, might well disagree with me.

Josephhasfun01 wrote:In order to give an objective argument for the existence of morality one must concede that we have a moral obligation.


I agree with your argument, but I reject your premise. I do NOT agree that we have a moral obligation or that we have an obligation of any kind. I personally still uphold quite strict moral values, but that's for me to decide and nobody else. Society can punish me for some things (such as murder, rape, etc.) but note that those are always actions that infringe on the rights of others.
"Sometimes people don't want to hear the truth because they don't want their illusions destroyed." ― Friedrich Nietzsche

"I shall achieve my objectives through the power... of Science!" --LessWrong
Tue Jan 15, 2013 12:39 am
InfernoContributorUser avatarPosts: 2298Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2009 7:36 pmLocation: Vienna, Austria Gender: Cake

Post Re: Atheist Foundation of Morality and Moral Accountability

Darkprophet232 wrote:The only way to answer "yes" is if it follows the guidance I listed above, "As long as they are not violating any one's rights or person hood, who are we to say they are immoral?" As torturing anyone, regardless of age, would be violating his or her rights AND person hood, it fails the criteria.


Can that be said to be objectively immoral? I would subjectively agree, but as long as some cultures practice this (and even if they would not), I would not be able to say that this is "objective". Indeed, I have given up calling anything "objective" if it occurs in the humanities.
"Sometimes people don't want to hear the truth because they don't want their illusions destroyed." ― Friedrich Nietzsche

"I shall achieve my objectives through the power... of Science!" --LessWrong
Tue Jan 15, 2013 12:46 am
Darkprophet232User avatarPosts: 226Joined: Fri Sep 21, 2012 7:42 pm Gender: Male

Post Re: Atheist Foundation of Morality and Moral Accountability

Inferno wrote:Can that be said to be objectively immoral? I would subjectively agree, but as long as some cultures practice this (and even if they would not), I would not be able to say that this is "objective". Indeed, I have given up calling anything "objective" if it occurs in the humanities.


Here's where we get tricky with the definition of objective. For the sake of this argument (origins of morality) I use "objective" to reflect on morals that all reasonable people hold to be true (i.e. don't kill unless to save yourself or others), but I should have done a better job defining my terms. I also believe that truly "objective morals" are impossible, as opinions and personal feelings must always be taken into account on this subject, and to ignore them does a disservice to everyone.
“The man who believes that the secrets of the world are forever hidden lives in mystery and fear. Superstition will drag him down." -The Judge
Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian
Tue Jan 15, 2013 12:55 am
InfernoContributorUser avatarPosts: 2298Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2009 7:36 pmLocation: Vienna, Austria Gender: Cake

Post Re: Atheist Foundation of Morality and Moral Accountability

Darkprophet232 wrote:Here's where we get tricky with the definition of objective. For the sake of this argument (origins of morality) I use "objective" to reflect on morals that all reasonable people hold to be true (i.e. don't kill unless to save yourself or others), but I should have done a better job defining my terms. I also believe that truly "objective morals" are impossible, as opinions and personal feelings must always be taken into account on this subject, and to ignore them does a disservice to everyone.


What's reasonable? You're going in a circle... I can agree with the rest "truly objective morals are impossible", but certainly not the first two sentences.
"Sometimes people don't want to hear the truth because they don't want their illusions destroyed." ― Friedrich Nietzsche

"I shall achieve my objectives through the power... of Science!" --LessWrong
Tue Jan 15, 2013 10:17 am
Dragan GlasContributorUser avatarPosts: 3214Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2009 1:55 amLocation: Ireland Gender: Male

Post Re: Atheist Foundation of Morality and Moral Accountability

Greetings,

I think the closest one can come to distil "objective" morality from subjective is to start with the "Golden Rule", which - in its Christian form - runs, "Do unto others as you would be done by".

Granted, two individuals may differ on details about what each would prefer but they can agree on at least the idea of not being hurt - which would include maiming and killing.

There may be other points of agreement but this is the minimum.

And, yes, a masochist might disagree - but that condition is not normal for people.

Kindest regards,

James
Image
"The Word of God is the Creation we behold and it is in this Word, which no human invention can counterfeit or alter, that God speaketh universally to man."
The Age Of Reason
Tue Jan 15, 2013 4:09 pm
InfernoContributorUser avatarPosts: 2298Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2009 7:36 pmLocation: Vienna, Austria Gender: Cake

Post Re: Atheist Foundation of Morality and Moral Accountability

Dragan Glas wrote:Greetings,

I think the closest one can come to distil "objective" morality from subjective is to start with the "Golden Rule", which - in its Christian form - runs, "Do unto others as you would be done by".

Granted, two individuals may differ on details about what each would prefer but they can agree on at least the idea of not being hurt - which would include maiming and killing.

There may be other points of agreement but this is the minimum.

And, yes, a masochist might disagree - but that condition is not normal for people.

Kindest regards,

James


Three tiny nit-picks:
The Golden Rule was, in almost exactly the same form, already present in Hindu traditions almost 2000 years before the Christians came up with theirs.

Linus Pauling has a slight update on the Golden Rule:
Image

And finally, I'm more of an adherent of the platinum rule:
Do unto others as THEY would be done.

Nit-picks, agreed with the rest.
"Sometimes people don't want to hear the truth because they don't want their illusions destroyed." ― Friedrich Nietzsche

"I shall achieve my objectives through the power... of Science!" --LessWrong
Tue Jan 15, 2013 4:53 pm
PreviousNext
Post new topic Reply to topic  Page 2 of 11
 [ 204 posts ] 
Return to Religion & Irreligion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 9 guests