Sunday School

Sunday School November 13th 2022

This topic contains 117 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by  TheEncogitationer 1 week, 6 days ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 61 through 75 (of 118 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #45684

    jakelafort
    Participant

    I wonder whether the word REALITY is a construct.

    The hubris in claiming knowledge and particularly in positing our central place in the universe. Discoveries are taking us more and more into Alice in Wonderland.

    https://bigthink.com/hard-science/large-scale-structures/

    #45685

    Unseen
    Participant

    I wonder whether the word REALITY is a construct.

    I wonder if your wonderment is itself a construct.

    #45686

    jakelafort
    Participant

    Marionettes pulling our strings…the universe things on strings…attached to angels on wings

    #45687

    jakelafort
    Participant

    Tumble, tumble
    Little world
    How i wondered
    what you were
    Now, i tumble too
    And do you wonder?

    https://bigthink.com/starts-with-a-bang/reality-objective-exist/

    #45688

    TheEncogitationer
    Participant

    Jake,

    Ever notice how priests and prelates of all stripes pull that BS in addressing others as son?

    I never encountered one who did that, but if I did, I’d reply: “Son? Check your gene pool, Pops!”. Or if he was Catholic: “Son? I know what you’ve been up to!”
    😁

    #45689

    TheEncogitationer
    Participant

    Unseen,

    Even the most common examples, murder and incest, are clearly not universal. Murder is often excused and incest is practiced in various tribal cultures, where elders (male and female, typically uncles and aunts) provide teens with their first sexual experiences.

    So our morals are inculcated socially/societally. I don’t think there’s any way past that.

    Societies have different folkways and mores, true, but those are not synonyms of morality, as proclaimed by Moral Relativism. If Moral Relativism was true, there could be no basis to praise or condemn anything outside one’s own society, nor even to praise or condemn anything within one’s own society, since the folkways and mores of society are, according to Moral Relativism, the standard of Good and Evil.

    Moreover, if Moral Relativism was true, than there can be no such thing as moral progress. There would no moral difference between a society with some form of absolute tyranny and a society with a limited, constitutional government with limited powers and equal rights and justice before the law. There could be no moral difference between holding some human beings as property and a society where all are born free by Natural Right. There could no difference between Theocracy and Secular Polity, between savagery and civilization, etc. But clearly, everyone speaks as if there is a difference and viva Le difference!

    Another point: Excuses are not the same as justifications and the excuses given for murder in our society are pretty damn lame: “The Wild Beast Test?” “I acted to show my love for Jody Foster?”. “The Twinkie Defense?” “The Jewish American Princess Defense?”. “Gay Panic?”. As John Stossel succinctly says after a list of such absurdities: “Gimme a break!”. 🙄

    And incest is a taboo almost universally for the simple evolutionary fact that it lowers the genetic diversity of à particular population and over time makes it less capable of survival in the face of environmental change, and at worse, it perpetuates down-right defects within a population. Just ask Banjo Boy: “How’s that working out in your isolated neck of the woods?”

    Morality is more than just “whatever.”

    #45690

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    If Moral Relativism was true, there could be no basis to praise or condemn anything outside one’s own society, nor even to praise or condemn anything within one’s own society, since the folkways and mores of society are, according to Moral Relativism, the standard of Good and Evil.

    I agree with that.  I think the way out of moral relativism – which is self-defeating, because as you say, it does away with the concept of right and wrong – is to adopt some standard of ethics or The Good.

    I think that the highest good is that which takes care of the bodily well being of humans and potentially animals as well.  A right wing evangelical might think that the highest good is not to abort babies and not to be gay.  Whatever, having an ethical standard by which to judge behaviour and thoughts is necessary to avoid moral relativism.

    #45691

    Unseen
    Participant

    @Enco

    You’re right that without absolutes (e.g., Ten Commandments that are not just prescriptive but are factually true) morality is relative. Well, since there’s no evidence of moral absolutes, we’re kind of stuck with moral relativity. Much as it’s a fact that what religion someone practices is likely to be whatever the local religion is, one’s moral sensibilities are also likely to be in line with local moral sensibilities. E.g., while most of us enjoy a good steak, killing a cow and eating it is a very terrible thing to do if you’re a practicing Hindu in India.

    “Moreover, if Moral Relativism was true, than there can be no such thing as moral progress.” Thanks for the ammunition. The fact that we have made what we consider to be progress is the argument I need to refute the notion of moral absolutes, for if there were actual, factual, universal, permanent, and eternal moral absolutes (which is basically what a moral absolute would have to be), we would always have been practicing them, wouldn’t we? Here’s some more ammunition from Prof. Dawkins:

    Of course, a society can adopt quasi-absolutes, principles which are treated as if they meet the high standard of an actual moral absolute. Which is, of course, what we do in practice.

    It seems to me that excuses and justifications are inextricably intertwined. Let’s take what is probably the primary example of a universal moral prohibition, that of not committing murder. You want no excuses? Self-defense? Killing to prevent a larger or more terrible crime? You really want no excuses or justifications ever, no matter the situation?

    Circumstances can force us to set moral prohibitions aside. I can even imagine a laughably far-fetched excuse for incest. Imagine that the last two people on Earth are a man and his 15 year old daughter. If he were to adhere to an absolute no-exceptions prohibition on incest, that would be the end of the human race. But if he wants the human race to surivive, he and his daughter had better get busy, right?

    They may indeed result in some defects being brought out of the combination of their genomes, but as the population expands, using well-known genetic principles, they can eventually be bred out, at least in theory.

    #45692

    Unseen
    Participant

    If Moral Relativism was true, there could be no basis to praise or condemn anything outside one’s own society, nor even to praise or condemn anything within one’s own society, since the folkways and mores of society are, according to Moral Relativism, the standard of Good and Evil.

    I agree with that. I think the way out of moral relativism – which is self-defeating, because as you say, it does away with the concept of right and wrong – is to adopt some standard of ethics or The Good. I think that the highest good is that which takes care of the bodily well being of humans and potentially animals as well. A right wing evangelical might think that the highest good is not to abort babies and not to be gay. Whatever, having an ethical standard by which to judge behaviour and thoughts is necessary to avoid moral relativism.

    What, then, is your refutation of Richard Dawkins’ argument in the video above against moral absolutism??

    #45693

    Autumn
    Participant

    It may make more sense to describe morality as adaptive, which would also make it relativistic, but ‘moral relativism’ is a term with a lot of baggage that mistakenly gives people the impression of a willy-nilly sort of morality.

    In order to evaluate moral adaptations, one would have to consider the circumstances under which a moral tenet was formed, what was needed of that moral tenet, and whether it was fit for purpose. It would involve both subjective and objective considerations.

     

    #45694

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    As I understand it, moral relativism states that every moral system is equal in merit.  Or perhaps that is a straw man.  In all my studying of evolutionary ethics, I haven’t come across the term.  People talk about moral pluralism – many moral systems, with some differences in structure, and a lot of differences in choice of values and how punitive or humane they are towards offenders.

    So I really don’t know what moral relativism is supposed to mean.

    In order to evaluate moral adaptations, one would have to consider the circumstances under which a moral tenet was formed, what was needed of that moral tenet, and whether it was fit for purpose. It would involve both subjective and objective considerations.

    I think you’re right.  If morality is aimed at cooperating ideally to mutual advantage, and a moral principle gets in the way of that, then it’s a stupid one.  More likely, something amoral like achieving a competitive advantage over somebody may threaten cooperation.

    #45695

    Unseen
    Participant

    As I understand it, moral relativism states that every moral system is equal in merit.

    No. Moral relativism is the view that moral judgments are true or false only relative to some particular standpoint (for instance, that of a culture or a historical period) and that no standpoint is uniquely privileged over all others. (source: Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.)

    The idea that morals are not relative relies upon a standard that is true factually now, for all time, and without reference to everyday world local facts or attitudes. Absolutes, in other words.

    • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 5 days ago by  Unseen.
    • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 5 days ago by  Unseen.
    • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 5 days ago by  Unseen.
    #45699

    TheEncogitationer
    Participant

    Unseen,

    Of course, a society can adopt quasi-absolutes, principles which are treated as if they meet the high standard of an actual moral absolute. Which is, of course, what we do in practice.

    So, an Atheist is playing “let’s pretend” just like a Theist?

    Richard Dawkins only refuted a faith-based absolute morality, not a Secular, Reason-Based morality.

    It seems to me that excuses and justifications are inextricably intertwined. Let’s take what is probably the primary example of a universal moral prohibition, that of not committing murder. You want no excuses? Self-defense? Killing to prevent a larger or more terrible crime? You really want no excuses or justifications ever, no matter the situation?

    Well, excuse and justifications are not the same. Murder, by definition, is the unjustified killing of a sapient being. Self-defense and retaliation for initiated force threatening death or grievous bodily harm are the only justification for killing sapient beings.

    And there is no way to use the Necessity Defense to justify murder because Necessity is commiting a lesser evil to avoid a greater evil. Murder is the top dog of evil. And Aggressive War and Genocide are just Murder multiplied.

    Circumstances can force us to set moral prohibitions aside. I can even imagine a laughably far-fetched excuse for incest. Imagine that the last two people on Earth are a man and his 15 year old daughter. If he were to adhere to an absolute no-exceptions prohibition on incest, that would be the end of the human race. But if he wants the human race to surivive, he and his daughter had better get busy, right?

    I believe it was Richard Dawkins who pointed out that human beings could not possibly have started with just one male and one female, precisely because the lack of genetic diversity would mean the species could not survive changing environmental conditions. That is what makes both the story of Adam and Eve and the story of Noah and The Flood so absurd. Thus, that sickening “lifeboat scenario” wouldn’t even work.

    It’s meal-time somewhere the World. Please show readers some courtesy.

    They may indeed result in some defects being brought out of the combination of their genomes, but as the population expands, using well-known genetic principles, they can eventually be bred out, at least in theory.

    The human species wouldn’t even get that far. The first change in the weather, the first invasive predatory or parasitic species, or the first bad virus would kill everyone off for good.

    The solution for “lifeboat scenarios” is to build more lifeboats, make and stock more provisions, pick a boat-building, navigation, and sea survival book as your “desert island” choice, and make your ultimate goal to make an unsinkable boat. ⛴️🚣🚣‍♀️⛵

    #45700

    Unseen
    Participant

    @Enco

    I don’t argue against a reason-based morality. Where did you get that idea? It’s just that a reason-based morality isn’t based on absolutes, and for moral statements to be literally true (or false) and not simply agreed upon socially, you need an absolute truth, not a decision to treat something as if were so. We make moral choices typically because we can’t not make them. We muddle.

    I didn’t say excuses and justifications are the same. Indeed, excuses are a subset of justifications. A typical excuse argues that an action, even though normally forbidden or discouraged, was unavoidable. A justification offers a post hoc offering of proof. It’s the difference between “I had no choice” and “It was the best thing to do.”

    Your necessity defense is not committing a lesser evil to avoid a greater one. Rather, by the very meaning of “necessity” in a philosophical context, it brings in, not a choice, but an inability to exercise choice. I think “necessity” is defined differently in the law (you go over the speed limit to get someone to the ER), but in discussions of morals you use the philosophical definition of an absence of freedom.

    I’m finding it hard to believe that Dawkins ever said it was impossible for all of mankind to have spring from just two people since he has argued that all of mankind have a single female (a genetic “Eve”) as an ancestor. But go ahead, find the passage and we can discuss it.

    “The first change in the weather, the first invasive predatory or parasitic species, or the first bad virus would kill everyone off for good.” That’s as speculative as it is far-fetched. Besides, my incest scenario wasn’t about the practicality of restarting the human race through an initial act of incest. It was more about the need of at least trying to do so as a justification for the incest.

    Classic missing the point just in order to make argument.

    #45701

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    Moral relativism is the view that moral judgments are true or false only relative to some particular standpoint (for instance, that of a culture or a historical period) and that no standpoint is uniquely privileged over all others.

    I take a descriptive approach in my studies of evolutionary ethics, such that I just seek to describe any and every moral system that I encounter, and integrate them into a whole.  So, scientifically speaking, I’m a moral relativist.

    However, personally, I’m a moral absolutist: I have standards, that I compare some or other behaviour to.  So I think moral “absolutes” must be subjective and personal, and we see this, for example, in differences between politically liberal and conservative thinkers.

Viewing 15 posts - 61 through 75 (of 118 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.