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  #1181  
Old 16th February 2017, 06:49 PM
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Default Re: Dissecting ptutt's assertions

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If we are assessing the morality of a character*, we need to make that assessment on the information available about that character. As ST pointed out, it doesn't matter if that character is fictitious or not.

*But is that what you are doing? I'm not sure what argument you are trying to put forward.
Now that I am back at my desktop I can respond to this.

You asserted the following (among other things) in your very first post on this forum:

Quote:
1. The Christian world view makes more sense than an atheistic world view. It explains why there is something rather than nothing. It removes the necessity of infinite regression of causation and time. It explains why moral values are objective. It explains how free will can exist. It explains why following Christian values work. It explains how Jesus can have more impact than any other in history.
The onus of proof was on you to prove these things.

Since then, I have focused on your assertion about moral objectivity. I have simply been showing you that moral values are not objective.

In fact, you yourself have consistently proven that your assertion was incorrect. My reference to the flood was to detract from your assertion that "the Christian world view" explains how morals are objective. Since then, you have made a number of unfounded assertions to support your position and the "collective" arguments in reply (from me and others) has proven you incorrect on numerous occasions.

But as I said above, you are so wedded to the idea of seeing the world through god-coloured glasses that you cannot (or will not) understand that you are incorrect.

In relation to your initial post, you have been patiently lead to the following logical positions that counter your initial assertions:

1. There is no "atheistic" world view, other than disbelief in god(s).
2. The Christian world view does not explain why there is something rather than nothing.
3. The Christian world view not only does not explain why morals are objective, but also proves that what considered moral at the time was very different to what we consider moral now.

Further, you since then made a number of other assertions that you are yet to prove:

1. That animals do not feel pain.
2. That god cannot be judged because we know little about what standards to judge him by.
3. That god is responsible for every human death.

I am sure there are others but I have probably overlooked them due to the focus of my part in the debate.

You have, over the course of nearly 1200 posts;

1. reframed questions to suit your needs;
2. introduced irrelevant considerations;
3. refused to answer questions for months on end;
4. failed to follow your own logic;
5. disparaged a respected academic without even knowing who that person was (actually a professor of theology);
6. made unfounded assertions that are contrary to scientific fact; and
7. introduced subjective circumstances into moral questions to justify the actions of your own version of god as objective.

In short, you have failed to prove anything and the replies have proven otherwise.

For someone who - as declared in your introduction - has an interest in apologetics, you have failed rather badly.
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  #1182  
Old 16th February 2017, 08:12 PM
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Default Re: Dissecting ptutt's assertions

Very decent summary of this exchange, I reckon, stubby.
  #1183  
Old 16th February 2017, 09:07 PM
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Default Re: Dissecting ptutt's assertions

This is its choice of defence... some God.
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  #1184  
Old 16th February 2017, 10:38 PM
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Default Re: Dissecting ptutt's assertions

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ptutt said View Post
I have never said morality, as you are applying it here, is objective. I have always said that the one action could be deemed moral or not depending on circumstances. I would argue that it is the evaluation of moral values that would deem a particular action as moral or not. The moral argument is contingent on the existence of objective moral values, not particular actions being objectively determined as moral/immoral.
Ignoring what your interlocutors say and repeating the same nonsense over and over to try and create the fiction that what you say hasn't been comprehensively rebutted, why are you doing it?

Everyone here can see that this claim has been resoundingly destroyed so it's not as if your fiction is remotely preserved here.

I can only assume you're doing this either in a misguided effort to convince yourself or there is an audience you're pandering to, which laps this sort of fatuous behaviour up.
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  #1185  
Old 17th February 2017, 12:02 AM
Spearthrower Spearthrower is offline
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Default Re: Dissecting ptutt's assertions

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ptutt said View Post
Ok, that's what I wanted to clarify. Is it just the case that you want to show to me that the bible is not a good source of morality? I wasn't sure if Stubby was making a case for atheism or against Christian theism by showing that God is evil.
Ok, I can't really talk about what Stubby wants, means, doesn't want, or doesn't mean - I can only provide my own argument. I appreciate you have several threads of conversation going, and it's tough to manage them all independently, but I am not trying to make anyone else's argument for them - just for clarity!

I am not saying that the Bible is not a good source of morality - I am saying that the Bible is not a source of good morality.

Clearly, the time period and culture in which the various parts were written is very alien to us today. Today, we have slowly but surely built into our legal systems, our constitutions, and even our citizens' heads to a lesser degree a system of correct treatment of other people regardless of who they are.

Our societies demand safety from vicious people, demand that women be consider free and autonomous, that children be protected from physical and mental harm.

This has been a long process, and some of these have happened in our lifetimes.

As such, when the Bible contains so many verses that completely conflict at a fundamental level with our societies' cherished and vital respect for and protection of the vulnerable, then any suggestion - any suggestion at all - that this Bible be considered a source for modern moral development is a vile and mendacious suggestion.

It is not the Bible which maketh the Christianity - it is the political slant, the priesthood, and the diktats of the individual Churches which make Christianity the tamed, defanged, and consequently acceptable form of practice that can cohabit with the rest of us in a secular society.

Regardless, I think people should read the Bible independently and see for themselves whether the contents of Christian dogma gel with their modern expectations.

As for the Christian god character being evil - I think there's a perfectly respectable argument to be made therein which points to the viciousness and pettiness, the cruel pleasure and total uncaring indifference of this god character shown at various points through the dogma. I think the entire Christian narrative is a big fat, stupid lie foisted off onto generations of under-educated people making them believe in utterly stupid things, making them believe that the bars of their mental cage are unquestionably justified, shearing that flock for their wealth and for their support, and maintaining utterly absurd and bigoted beliefs and demanding they be respected by non-sharers of that religion.

So yeah, I think Christianity and the content of Christianity has very much not been a force of good in this world. I think, on balance, I would find it a much more reasonable position to maintain that Christianity and the content of Christianity has been a force of evil in this world.

For clarity, I don't really believe in that stupid magical form of evil where nefarious plotters conspire wicked deeds. I think everything in the universe that has a mind must be in tension between their selfish wants, their cognitive limitations, and their desire to be accepted and appreciate by their deemed peers. As such, evil is not an absolute - no one is wholly bad, and they sometimes do bad things for bad reasons they're unaware of. Rather, evil here can be taken to mean counter-social, against the freedoms, rights, autonomy, or well-being of other people. The more people so disposed of, the more 'evil'.


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ptutt said View Post
For sure there are many versus, stories in the bible that are difficult to see how it could be morally justified. As we have discussed, we probably agree on some form of relative morality...that is an action may or may not be moral depending on the circumstances (I would still argue for objective moral values).
Not difficult - impossible. Apologetics exists as a discipline solely because believers need to explain away these conflicts. Even for an actual Christian (see my earlier distinction), these stories represent the contrary to what they believe their religion provokes in them morally. Bears shouldn't maul children, victorious forces shouldn't rape women and smash babies' heads in, fathers shouldn't give their daughters for sex with strangers. If the Bible shows this happening in a non-censorious tone, then Christians have no place to be arguing that this book should be considered a source of any form of morality, let a-fucking-lone of objective morality.

As for agreement. You've actually already accepted relative morality quite specifically. Not as an action being justified on a temporally constrained basis, but as the product of different sets of reasoning towards moral ends.

For objective morality to exist, you have to believe that all the other systems of morals are either non-existent or false. So if you wish to maintain that, then you are also essentially trying to say that Christianity is the only morality. As such, you will a) need to acknowledge that you are talking to people who do not accept your belief system, and consequently are hardly going to lend it the degree of credulity necessary to accept a proposition that it is the font of all morality and b) you're going to find that people know the Bible all too well and that they all have examples of scripture which are morally reprehensible, vicious, inhuman abominations against decency and righteousness that will expose the basis of Christian belief as a nasty little cum rag that needs to be disposed of not wiped on other peoples' faces.


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ptutt said View Post
I can try to put some answers forward. I accept that they are not to your satisfaction and many times even not to my own satisfaction. but on the other hand, I simply don't see myself or anyone else in a position to know that a particular action is immoral if we don't have all the information or even have a complete understanding of what morality is (assuming there is objectivity). To be clear, we are not talking about day to day stuff here, we are talking about assessing the morality of an all knowing creator.
Ptutt - you're arguing FOR relative morality. No, you don't know what would be objectively moral because you'd need to know every single possible permutation and provide a way to navigate every single moral hurdle any human would ever face. You can't do that. Your alleged God couldn't even do that as per the moral failings in the Bible like slavery. So aren't you really agreeing that it can't exist?

Personally, and this is a compliment whether you take it that way or not, I think you're too intelligent to easily fall for this bullshit and that there's an inner voice struggling to get out here. Most theists come here to abuse or laughably try to attempt to torment heathens. I think you're here because your unconscious wants to resolve the dissonance.
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  #1186  
Old 19th February 2017, 11:34 AM
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Default Re: Dissecting ptutt's assertions

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ptutt said View Post
When we talk about an action being rational for a particular person, it all depends on the perspective of the person in question. I understand, we can be looking outside the situation with our knowledge and judge the person for not acting rationally, but if we assess the persons decision based on what they knew and their life experience we could say that it is rational.

Based on this we can assess a few paths of reasoning to determine if "a person sacrificing themselves for a complete stranger".

i) It is an evolutionary urge to protect the tribe to improve survival.
ii) They just did what they saw as right. People have moral frameworks based on evolution and social conditioning and it is paramount that they are followed as it causes difficulties, even mental illness to live with conflicting moral values and actions.
iii) They may be afraid of what other people may think if they don't do something.

However, if someone is aware of their evolved tendencies and has the strength to overpower them and they know their moral framework is just illusory and don't care what other people think, then...I don't see a rational reason for sacrificing themselves for a stranger because it is a net cost.

So I am not just saying there is no rational reason, but a rational reason for a person who has the strength to overcome evolutionary urges, caring about what other people think and know that morality is just an illusion.
I don't think you quite understand the proposition of our natural tendencies. You talking as if this is a conscious choice.

Human behaviour is developed from base instincts (care for self, knowledge of others, seeking security, looking for sex, caring for children) and experiences over time. There is feedback internally.

Some few humans do not develop care for others, either because they cannot see others as people or because they do but have no instinctual concern for them, only calculation.

Other humans do not develop enough knowledge about how the world works, so although they wish to be "good citizens" they are constantly doing things that have bad consequences for themselves and others.

We have education and laws which are geared to trying to handle the downsides on behalf of us all.

A human who has fully developed concern for others and good understanding of the world over time will spend much of their thought projecting future consequences. In those futures they will be looking for value that involves things like their children growing up healthy and happy. Under those circumstances when faced with possible harm to yourself or harm to your children you will choose harm to your self. It is totally rational. I know this because I have done it, placing myself in harms way to protect my wife and daughter. I'm only here today to talk about it because of dumb luck.

Over time such concerns begin to adopt community and broader humanity as concerns and so people do develop "I am willing to risk harm for other people as a behaviour I expect many others to also adopt".

The thing is such behaviour is not universal. There are people that think differently, that react differently. We encode "morals" to try and create a normalising society where people behave more or less as we would prefer, in ways that are at least predictable. By having those morals cover the most general instincts we also garner a lot of cooperation with that normalising process.

Nobody sits down and thinks this out though. People live their lives, communicate, copy each other. Moral frameworks arise and evolve almost like living organisms do. If the current framework keeps producing unacceptable results then variations of the framework arise and the one that best fills everyone's needs and to which enough people respond tends to get adopted. Nobody votes on it, it just happens.

That being said people can deliberately propose changes and new moral standards. What they can't do is forcefully load them into people's acceptance.
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Burden of proof is the obligation on somebody presenting a claim to provide evidence to support its truth (a warrant). Once evidence has been presented, it is up to any opposing "side" to show the evidence presented is not adequate. If claims were accepted without warrants, then every claim could simultaneously be claimed to be true.

History isn't written by the victors. It's written by the people with the time machines.

Last edited by DanDare; 19th February 2017 at 11:36 AM.
  #1187  
Old 19th February 2017, 11:46 AM
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Default Re: Dissecting ptutt's assertions

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ptutt said View Post
Wouldn't the above view then be supporting fatalism?
Depends on what you mean by it. Bring back the quantum indeterminancy. Then you cannot know the future, even if it is fully determined that is true. But you have models of how you want the future to go. Of what actions you can take to bring that future into being, and how likely they may be to succeed. The fact that you may be totally wrong, totally right or somewhere in between makes no difference because you cannot know that and don't make it a concern.

Quote:
Quote:
We concern ourselves that that state of mind exists and that its reaction to a situation is one that we do not want, so we look to see how we can alter the state of that mind so it will produce better decisions in the future. If we cannot then we look to restrict the freedom of the person to carry out their decisions.
The above could make some sense about how you can act in such a way as to influence another mind, but it doesn't make sense if you are referring to influencing your own mind...I would suggest that you are your mind.
You seem to think that a mind is a monolithic, single entity. I know that is how it feels, I feel like I am one "thing". However we are not, we are a community of mind parts all working together and often producing internal conflict.

When you learn you are building new mind parts and connecting them to existing ones. When your body is stressed different parts of your mind have more autonomy and control than others. Same if you relax and meditate. When you "think through a problem" part of your mind is building scenarios, other parts of your mind are pulling them apart looking for flaws, still others looking for values and possibilities.

The problem is too few people are good at, or even do, introspection to understand how they, themselves, actually work.
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"History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government".
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Burden of proof is the obligation on somebody presenting a claim to provide evidence to support its truth (a warrant). Once evidence has been presented, it is up to any opposing "side" to show the evidence presented is not adequate. If claims were accepted without warrants, then every claim could simultaneously be claimed to be true.

History isn't written by the victors. It's written by the people with the time machines.

Last edited by DanDare; 19th February 2017 at 11:48 AM.
  #1188  
Old 19th February 2017, 12:01 PM
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Default Re: Dissecting ptutt's assertions

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Stubby said View Post
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ptutt said View Post
Well, if it was a large St Bernard puppy with rabies about to attack my child I would be willing to cause it harm if required to protect my child.
OK. Justifications aside, would you do it just for fun?

And I didn't specify a breed, the presence of a child, or a disease that tends to send dogs insane. Those were subjective things you inserted into the equation.

Once again proving that morality is not objective.
Actually Stubby I'm not sure that ptutt did prove morality is not objective there. Consider:

There is some objective morality X. It will encode what you have to do under specific circumstance Y.

That X is objective is not incorrect just because Y is selective, nor is it incorrect because person Z has an incorrect (subjective) view of the current circumstances, thinking "they are like Y so X is applicable".

For X, and its trigger Y, to be objective of course requires that the X,Y pair exist independently of anyone observing them and that any subject observing situation Y correctly will then always come up with moral X and no other.
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"History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government".
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Burden of proof is the obligation on somebody presenting a claim to provide evidence to support its truth (a warrant). Once evidence has been presented, it is up to any opposing "side" to show the evidence presented is not adequate. If claims were accepted without warrants, then every claim could simultaneously be claimed to be true.

History isn't written by the victors. It's written by the people with the time machines.
  #1189  
Old 19th February 2017, 12:14 PM
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Default Re: Dissecting ptutt's assertions

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DanDare said View Post
Actually Stubby I'm not sure that ptutt did prove morality is not objective there. Consider:

There is some objective morality X. It will encode what you have to do under specific circumstance Y.

That X is objective is not incorrect just because Y is selective, nor is it incorrect because person Z has an incorrect (subjective) view of the current circumstances, thinking "they are like Y so X is applicable".

For X, and its trigger Y, to be objective of course requires that the X,Y pair exist independently of anyone observing them and that any subject observing situation Y correctly will then always come up with moral X and no other.
I think that last paragraph would take morality beyond objective and into inherent. The subjective factors are the triggers, Y. And X existing independent of learning would also make it inherent.
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Last edited by Stubby; 19th February 2017 at 12:16 PM. Reason: Typos
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  #1190  
Old 19th February 2017, 12:36 PM
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Default Re: Dissecting ptutt's assertions

I think most people fear, and often hate, natural variation. People realise, instinctively, that people can achieve much more by team effort. While this is true, it can lead to some very dysfunctional social "truths". It doesn't seem to matter how cognitive a social species is, the bias is on the priority of social over personal information.

This can lead even professionals, like psychiatrists, down the path to fairy-land. Not until fifth version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, did the profession recognise non-heterosexuality as a natural variation, and not a problem that required a medical solution.

Or imagine a left-handed kid at school, who is beaten on the left hand by a teacher with a steel rule. A professional, whose role is supposedly the agent of enlightenment of young people, becomes a tyrant. But schools are not about education primarily, they are about socialisation, for good, but also so often for ill.

People in general fear, and don't understand, variation. So they hate it, and try to eliminate it. Those of us who are not "clonal enough" are demonised and victimised due to this fear and ignorance.

This fear, or lack of control, tends to produce "absolute moralities". That tends to make tyrant gods very popular. Not only with the power elites, but the populace at large. Getting on the "bandwagon", and appearing normal to one's peers, leads to Stockholm Syndrome. The hostage or victim begins to think like their capturers in an attempt to get out of the spotlight. Thus we get the anti-gay campaigner who is thoroughly, but secretly, gay. This is very rarely conscious.

That is why building awareness, and raising consciousness is so important, IMHO. We need to understand our natures, both good and aspects of it. Where it all comes from. The combination and interactions of genetics, epigenetics, development, environment, family, culture, friends and life experiences is a complex mix that nevertheless needs to be understood if we are not to be driven by myth and prejudices.
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