Sunday School

Sunday School December 8th 2019

This topic contains 8 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  Simon Paynton 3 months, 3 weeks ago.

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  • #29469

    The cross of Jesus reminds us of Christmas, says President Trump. I always thought it was the crib and the cross was a reminder of Easter. I don’t think Nancy Pelosi will believe him even if Rick Perry does. But Mike Pence worships him.

    I was disappointed to read that a quarter of Canadians are creationists.

    The FSM has a new website – Praised be His Noodly Appendage!

    This weeks’ Woo: I would be happy if pseudoscience had trigger warnings.

    Climate Crisis: U.S. public views on Climate and Energy.

    How to argue better.

    The morals of gods are subjective and therefore so are the morals of any theist.

    Ten acts of kindness by strangers around the world.

    Hegel said that the study of philosophy is but the introduction to philosophy.

    Raiders of the Lost Crops: Scientists race against time to save genetic diversity.

    Quantum Physics is no more mysterious than crossing the street. The Multiverse idea is still a contender though as is the Anthropic Principle.

    How to change the course of human history.

    The uses and abuses of the Human Sciences. Three reasons to be thankful for Science.

    Long Read: Why the Christian right worships Donald Trump.

    This week I am reading this book:  What it means to be moral.

    Some photographs taken last week.

    While you are waiting for the kettle to boil…..

    Coffee Break Video:  A survey of atheists on how we let go of beliefs. What is Hell? The two people we are all related to.

    #29470

    Have a great week everyone!!

    #29472

    Strega
    Moderator

    Thanks, Reg!

    #29473

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    The morals of gods are subjective and therefore so are the morals of any theist.

    This seems like an interesting free-ranging discussion of morality in general, and I disagree with most of it.

    I don’t buy the argument that if morals come from God, they’re subjective as they exist in His mind and are therefore not mind-independent.  But the mind of God is the “mind of reality”, so these God-given morals would exist somehow as part of the fabric of the universe, and would therefore be objective like the laws of mathematics.

    In reality I don’t agree with either of those positions: that God exists, or that moral realism (“moral facticity”) exists.

    Why does a teacher “ought” to take the register at the start of every day?  The author, Jonathan MS Pearce, is confusing moral and strategic or instrumental reasons.  He doesn’t give any moral reasons, only instrumental ones.  The moral reason is that taking the register is one of the role ideals, an ideal standard of behaviour, a sub-goal, of the role of being a teacher.  When a teacher becomes a teacher, he or she signs a contract and by implication, agrees to do the best job they can, as part of being a professional.  This agreement or contract is internalised as an obligation to fulfil their duties to the best of their ability.  Makes sense to me.

    Is religious morality arbitrary?  No more or less arbitrary than non-religious morality.  Possibly more arbitrary, since it tends to be more complicated.  It’s also broadly the same as non-religious morality, except for weird things like hating gay sex or Hallowe’en or whatever.  It’s generally a mixture of cooperative thriving and patriarchy, in both kinds.  Probably in the secular West, religious morality is less tolerant of difference than non-religious.

    #29474

    Hi Simon. You say that you “don’t buy the argument that if morals come from God, they’re subjective”. But later you ask “is religious morality arbitrary” and suggest that is possibly more arbitrary than non religious morality. I take the use of the word “arbitrary” to imply that it is not absolute. Therefore you are saying it IS subjective. Therefore you “do buy the argument”, do you not?

    If it is “broadly the same as non-religious morality, except for weird things…” then not only is religious morality subjective but its standards are lower than those of non-believers.

    Probably in the secular West, religious morality is less tolerant of difference than non-religious.

    That is the case everywhere religion exists. It’s followers are averse to many basic human rights and are often prepared to commit immoral and illegal acts that most non-religious people would consider to be very basic moral and ethical standards that we take for granted without needing to give them any more thought once we become enlightened to them. But the religious drone on and on about such basic rights that their know-it-all books contain in a never ending loop of medieval dross.

     

    #29475

    PopeBeanie
    Moderator

    The nature of each god is subjective, because humans

    • invented Him/Her
    • wrote various accounts of Him/Her (except when Mohammed declared  himself the final authority, but hey, he too was only a biased human)
    • rely on differing authorities and interpreters of scripture to learn their version of supposed absolute truth
    • tend to follow what their local culture traditionally teaches because it’s much easier (if not safer) to fit in that way
    • as a culture change religious interpretations and opinions over time

    .

    #29476

    Jody Lee
    Participant

    Thanks for the reads, Reg. I’ve missed Sunday School lately.

    #29481

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    Therefore you “do buy the argument”, do you not?

    I was taking the point of view of the other side, which believes in God-given morality.  But I don’t agree with that side.  I just think that Pearce’s argument was incoherent.  If God makes some laws, then they would have to be “absolute” – but what does that mean exactly?  People are vague or questionably legitimate in the way they use terms like objective, absolute, true, etc.

    Even though religious morality is about as arbitrary as non-religious (i.e. not 100% arbitrary), it can still be “objective”, because all religious people would probably agree on a substantial subset of it.

    #29483

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    How to change the course of human history.

    About the history of human equality and inequality.  I’m not sure what it’s saying, apart from that some of the assertions given about it might be faulty, which I agree with.  It’s likely that by 400,000 years ago, we were living in large tribes rather than bands, split up into small camps.  This is when we see people decorating themselves, and apparently making cultural markers to differentiate themselves from other groups or tribes.

    There is evidence for a U-shaped history of inequality-equality-inequality in the human race, where great apes, and modern humans, have a hierarchy, whereas modern hunter-gatherers are often fiercely egalitarian.  It is true that we are still much less personally violent than our great ape cousins.  Interestingly, modern hunter-gatherers seem to be more violent in inter-group warfare than in our hierarchical-within-group societies.

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