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PostPosted: Wed Feb 29, 2012 6:04 pm  I am seriously questioning my atheism Reply with quote

Disclaimer: This post may be out of place on the Christianity and Apologetics forum (even though it does have some relation to Christianity), if it is, I apologize and ask that it be moved to a more appropriate place on the forum. However, I do intend this thread to be a discussion, if not a debate, so I felt this was the best place for it.

As many of you know, I am an ex-evangelical Christian and a current atheist. By "atheist," I mean I lack belief in god(s) of any kind, although I do not assert that there are definitely no gods. Since departing from Christianity, everything has made so much more sense: an eternal Universe (defined as the totality of natural existence) explained existence, evolution explained the diversity of life on earth, the absence of god(s) explained the problems of evil, inconsistent revelation, and so on.

However, there is one thing that I have been unable to account for under atheism: morality. Atheists almost invariably state that moral values and duties are not objective facts, but are simply subjective statements of preference and have no ontological value. That is, of course, until we are presented with cases of true evil, such as the Holocaust, the atrocities of Pol Pot, or the horrible psychopathic serial killings of individuals like Jeffery Dahmer. Then we as atheists tacitly appeal to objective moral values and duties, saying that individuals who commit should be severely punished (even executed) for doing "evil," saying that they "knew right from wrong." But if right and wrong are simply statements of subjective opinion, then how can we say that others knew "right from wrong" and are accountable for their actions? If relativism is true, they simply had differing opinions from the majority of human beings. However, it seems obvious to me (and to the vast majority of others, theist and atheist alike) that this is absurd -- the monsters who carried out the aforementioned acts really, objectively did evil.

Given this, the only reasonable conclusion is that moral facts and imperatives exist.

However, atheism appears to offer no framework for moral facts. Because of this, a few weeks ago, I started up a discussion on Wielenbergian moral realism, which states that objective moral values are simply "brute facts" that exist without any explanation. However, others rightly pointed out that the existence of "brute facts" is ontologically problematic and that the best explanation (on atheism) is that morality is simply subjective. Additionally, even if atheistic moral facts existed, the Humeian problem of deriving an "ought" from an "is" would preclude them from acting as moral imperatives; commands which human beings are obligated to follow.

In light of these airtight logical objections to atheistic moral realism, I was forced to abandon my position on moral facts and tentatively adopt moral relativism. However, relativism still seems problematic. After all, if morality is subjective, no one person can accuse another of failing to recognize the difference between "right and wrong," however, it is obvious to me (and, I would suspect, to other atheists as well) that right or wrong really objectively (not subjectively) exist.

The only rational conclusion I can seem to come up with is that there is a (are) transcendent moral lawgiver(s) who both grounds moral facts and issues binding moral commands on all humanity; i.e., God(s). This echoes evangelical Christian philosopher William Lane Craig's moral argument, which syllogism reads:

WLC wrote:
Premise 1: If God does not exist, then objective moral values and duties do not exist.
Premise 2: Objective moral values and duties do exist
Conclusion: Therefore, God exists


Premises 1 and 2 seem bulletproof -- (1) was demonstrated earlier in this post, leaving (2) as the only premise to attack. However, (2) seems to be as obvious as a hand in front of my face. The conclusion necessarily follows from (1) and (2), so is there any rational reason for me to reject the conclusion of the argument?

Remember, I am no believer of any kind. I am a staunch, educated, informed atheist, and I am well aware of the philosophical arguments against God(s), such as the problem of evil, the dysteleological argument, the problem of omniscience, etc. I'm also well aware of the plentiful empirical evidence against the existence of God(s), for instance, evolution, mind-body physicalism, etc. These are the reasons I reconverted from Christianity in the first place. However, I don't see way around this problem other than to accept either that our apparently obvious sense of moral facts is somehow mistaken, or that (a) theistic being(s) exist.

Debate question: Are my issues with atheism legitimate? Can atheism provide a coherent moral framework other than nihilism, relativism, or subjectivism? Do these problems really present evidence for theism? Is William Lane Craig right? Is this a real problem for atheism, or are my (our) emotions simply overriding my (our) rationality?

Feel free to present evidence for or against atheism, Christianity, or any religious or nonreligious perspective in this thread.
Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 491: Tue Apr 24, 2012 2:04 pm
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Be careful of labels

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I empathize with your dilemma but urge a caution. You're coming close to the Theist trap designed to persuade people that without God there is no morality. Before beating yourself up I'd suggest that you take a quick look at "Humanism" As a skeptic it appeals to me because of its straightforward canon: "Rational human beings possess, within themselves, the capacity for truth and goodness. Now that's a long way from Genesis 8:20 in which God Himself declarers "Man is Evil" Personally I think I'm a pretty decent guy.
My initial contention holds, "Labels do not make the man!"

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 492: Tue Apr 24, 2012 3:45 pm
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[quote="Bust Nak"]
1robin wrote:
Well let me amend my statement. I think if Atheism exists then evolution must be used as the most likely force that results in morals as the non-belief in something can't produce morals.

Ok, I can understand that, we atheist think human are the product of evolution, and any product of human can be treated as product of evolution indirectly.

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If evolution is the producing agent then Stalin's, Charles Manson's, and Mother Theresa's morals are all equally valid and there is no objective criteria by which to invalidate any of them.

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I agree there is no objective criteria to judge them by, but that doesn't mean they are all equally valid, since I can still judge them to be different via subjective means. In the same way, I favor certain food over others, even though there is no objective criteria to distinguish between taste.
There is no way to assert your subjective view is the more valid one and should be the law of the land. Evolution is insuffecient for our needed moral framework. We need to have a way to decide which is the most valid moral claim, this is impossible with evolution but possible with religion.

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This definition is so arbitrary that it can include anything and exclude anything because there is no standard and so is useless.

I ment I could just make up a name and claim it caused everything and it would be just as valid as your definition humanism.

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Well, think of it as human tribal empathy then. I like that term you introduced. Morality is the produce of human tribal empathy. You and I differ in what we think the source of that empathy is.
But tribal empathy is different between tribes and usually results in violence against other tribes viewed as competitors for resources. Which tribes will become law?

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Could you clarify this? Please explain how we can select the objective standards we have if by your admission Atheism is insuffecient to do so.

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You can't select the objective standard. Subjectivists say such a thing doesn't exist
. I disagree with them and wouldn't that could even be proven if true.

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But you live within a society that has objective standards that trump your individual ones. In atheism this would be unjustified.

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I live in a society that has many subjective standards, some align with mine more closely than others.
What if you live in Stalin's USSR are you going to assist with the purges? Or are you going to die resisting them on the basis of your subjective morals?
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The label given to nature is survival of the fittest not survival of the most benevolent.

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In the same way the label given is not survival of the most malevolent. You can become "fitter" by many ways, being a bully is but one way, being a team player is another, amongst many other ways.
Good counterpoint but the spirit of the label is most lethal and or survivable. Also I would think this complex figureing out what is the most benificial cooperative action and other members arriveing at the same conclusion would require reasoning skills on a human level not found the the animal world.
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Empathy seems to contradict survival in some aspects.

In some aspects, sure. I would say the benefit out weight the cost, you'd be hard pressed to argue humanity could get to where we are today without working together.

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Like Sin?

I wouldn't put it in religious term, but I guess "sin" would get the idea accross.

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i am not sure how this is applicable to this discussion.

If all motivation can be boiled down to "because I want to" then there is no fundamental between how other self-aware animal and human behave, the difference is in degree of instinct / mental processing.

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If it is God then is inherent but confirmed and made objective by religion (Chrisianity)

But even if God is the source of morality it is still not the teaching of Christianity that lead to human morality. The main objection of your original post was that we borrow our morality from Christianity. From your prespective, we don't need to borrow anything if it's already written in our heart, from my prespective, we get from nature.

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Evolution apparently can use any concept whatsoever for survival: good, evil, force, cooperation, empathy, brutality, even a list of benevolent contributions of Christians working by faith in God is proof, etc........What a convient theory in that it is proven by any assertion.

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Evolution explains how living things came to be the way they are, of course it is expected to be able to explain good, evil, force, cooperation, empathy, brutality etc. Put another way, evolution is designed to explain all biological features, and hence all these things.
Sorry I am out of time. I will have to stop here and answer the rest tomorrow if I can can.

Have a good afternoon.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 493: Wed Apr 25, 2012 4:49 am
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1robin wrote:
There is no way to assert your subjective view is the more valid one and should be the law of the land.

There is no way to assert my view is the more valid one objectively, there are any number of ways to assert my view is the more valid subjectively, by voting for example.

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Evolution is insuffecient for our needed moral framework.

That's why I've stated multipule times you shouldn't be looking in evolution for your moral framework, evolution is just a mechanism. You only need to look inwards for ones moral framwork.

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We need to have a way to decide which is the most valid moral claim, this is impossible with evolution but possible with religion.

Two points, do we really need to decide which is the most valid moral claim? We survived fine by going with just our subjective empathy. Secondly, deciding which religion is the most valid is just as problematic.

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But tribal empathy is different between tribes and usually results in violence against other tribes viewed as competitors for resources. Which tribes will become law?

The difference between tribes tend to revolve around who you should include as your "neighbours," not whether you should love your neighbour or not. But to answer your question, people resolve difference in morality the same ways we resolve any other differences, from apathy, to compromise, all the way up to violence.

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I disagree with them and wouldn't that could even be proven if true.

Subjectivism is a philosophical position, it is enough that it is internally and externally consistent, and explains the things we see around us.

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What if you live in Stalin's USSR are you going to assist with the purges? Or are you going to die resisting them on the basis of your subjective morals?

I don't know. It's easy to say I'll do what I think is right in a hypothetical situration, but it's quite another matter in a life or death situration.

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Good counterpoint but the spirit of the label is most lethal and or survivable.

Most survivable yes, but not neccessarily most lethal. Bring able to outrun others when being chased by a bear for example is more survivable without being more lethal. Then there are species that survive not by being dangerious but by being easily exploited by others, fruit bearing trees for example.

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Also I would think this complex figureing out what is the most benificial cooperative action and other members arriveing at the same conclusion would require reasoning skills on a human level not found the the animal world.

Ants work together by instinct. How much reasoning do you think they need?

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 494: Wed Apr 25, 2012 9:10 am
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[quote="Bust Nak"]
1robin wrote:
There is no way to assert your subjective view is the more valid one and should be the law of the land.

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There is no way to assert my view is the more valid one objectively, there are any number of ways to assert my view is the more valid subjectively, by voting for example.
That would only suffice to determine the most popular not the most valid.
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Evolution is insuffecient for our needed moral framework.

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That's why I've stated multipule times you shouldn't be looking in evolution for your moral framework, evolution is just a mechanism. You only need to look inwards for ones moral framwork.
We require an objective or collective moral framework. It is necessary and essential and can't be produced by an evolutionary force. Many times Determinism is inexorably linked with evolution do you agree with that?

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We need to have a way to decide which is the most valid moral claim, this is impossible with evolution but possible with religion.

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Two points, do we really need to decide which is the most valid moral claim? We survived fine by going with just our subjective empathy. Secondly, deciding which religion is the most valid is just as problematic.
Our ultimate goal is not survival it is to flourish and that requires the most just moral framework. The US's constitution has been hailed as a more perfect sytem, than any in human history. It's core is the sanctity and woth of all human life and inalienable rights. Neither could have been gained from evolution only. When asked Thomas Jefferson said the only justification for inalienable rights and therefore freedom is derived from God.
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But tribal empathy is different between tribes and usually results in violence against other tribes viewed as competitors for resources. Which tribes will become law?

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The difference between tribes tend to revolve around who you should include as your "neighbours," not whether you should love your neighbour or not. But to answer your question, people resolve difference in morality the same ways we resolve any other differences, from apathy, to compromise, all the way up to violence.
Empathy itself has little meaning in a evolutionary framework. Empathy runs counter to survival is many instances. Why would any action be of value to an individual that doesn't contribute to that individuals survival. Many things done for the sake of goodness have no reciprical benifits to the one doing it. If evolutionary morality is true why should anyone do them.

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I disagree with them and wouldn't that could even be proven if true.

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Subjectivism is a philosophical position, it is enough that it is internally and externally consistent, and explains the things we see around us.

What if you live in Stalin's USSR are you going to assist with the purges? Or are you going to die resisting them on the basis of your subjective morals?
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I don't know. It's easy to say I'll do what I think is right in a hypothetical situration, but it's quite another matter in a life or death situration.
Agreed, however Christians have been willing to resist cruelty at the risk of their lives in hundreds of cases which is a direct result of their faith. They have a moral advantage over a evolutionary system.

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Good counterpoint but the spirit of the label is most lethal and or survivable.

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Most survivable yes, but not neccessarily most lethal. Bring able to outrun others when being chased by a bear for example is more survivable without being more lethal. Then there are species that survive not by being dangerious but by being easily exploited by others, fruit bearing trees for example.
Being able to outrun is only valuable if there exists a lethal chaser. So for every benevolent value there must be a malevolent one. Not a very overall moral framework.
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Also I would think this complex figureing out what is the most benificial cooperative action and other members arriveing at the same conclusion would require reasoning skills on a human level not found the the animal world.

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Ants work together by instinct. How much reasoning do you think they need?
They would need an extraordinary amount if that is what was relied on for this level of complexity. Do you know how exactly how these complex instincts are transmitted genetically. Wouldn't a far simpler explanation be a God that can devise these complex systems imparted that to the ants in some manner since the ants don't have this level or reasoning.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 495: Wed Apr 25, 2012 10:15 am
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1robin wrote:
That would only suffice to determine the most popular not the most valid.

Which is just another way of saying considered most valid by most people.

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We require an objective or collective moral framework. It is necessary and essential and can't be produced by an evolutionary force. Many times Determinism is inexorably linked with evolution do you agree with that?

I don't think an objective/absolute standard essential at all. As for determinism (as in the view that free will is an illusion?) being linked to evolution, sure. Why does that make a difference?

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Our ultimate goal is not survival it is to flourish and that requires the most just moral framework. The US's constitution has been hailed as a more perfect sytem, than any in human history. It's core is the sanctity and woth of all human life and inalienable rights. Neither could have been gained from evolution only. When asked Thomas Jefferson said the only justification for inalienable rights and therefore freedom is derived from God.

I agree with him, without an absolute standard, rights aren't inalienable; I would futher conclude that since there is no absolute standard, there are no inalienable rights. So the next question is why are inalienable rights are necessary for men to flourish?

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Empathy itself has little meaning in a evolutionary framework.

Little meaning in evolution, sure. Empathy is simply the product of evolution. You should stop looking for meaning or morality or framework in evolution, look to empathy for that, not evolution.

God may have created our brains supernatually from dirt with empathy wired in, in which case I would be wrong about evolution being the source of my empathy, but I would still be right about empathy being the basis of morality.

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Empathy runs counter to survival is many instances. Why would any action be of value to an individual that doesn't contribute to that individuals survival. Many things done for the sake of goodness have no reciprical benifits to the one doing it. If evolutionary morality is true why should anyone do them.

In many cases it is indeed worse for survival if you care too much about others, but in many more cases it is benefitical. Being empathy to others does contribute to an individuals survival in many more instances. It's not hard to see a team performs better than individuals acting by themselves.

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Agreed, however Christians have been willing to resist cruelty at the risk of their lives in hundreds of cases which is a direct result of their faith. They have a moral advantage over a evolutionary system.

So Christians are more willing to risk their lives? That's understandable, they believe in an afteralife.

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Being able to outrun is only valuable if there exists a lethal chaser. So for every benevolent value there must be a malevolent one. Not a very overall moral framework.

I don't get your point, you are not justified in being benevolent to fellow human because bears are malevolent? Malevolent is one product of evolution therefore there is no reason to be benevolent?

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They would need an extraordinary amount if that is what was relied on for this level of complexity. Do you know how exactly how these complex instincts are transmitted genetically. Wouldn't a far simpler explanation be a God that can devise these complex systems imparted that to the ants in some manner since the ants don't have this level or reasoning.

The point was cooperation isn't a necessrily a function of mental powess. Ants was used as an example of creatures that don't need to think to cooperate, the complexity in their biology doesn't change that.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 496: Wed Apr 25, 2012 11:06 am
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[quote="Bust Nak"]
1robin wrote:
That would only suffice to determine the most popular not the most valid.

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Which is just another way of saying considered most valid by most people
. But that is unable to guarantee justice. If this was Germany in the early 40s the majority would likely have signed off on killing the Jews, and invading their neibors. They loved Hitler at that time, this is obviously a bad system. On some south pacific Islands canabalism would have been approved by the majority at one point. The majority of the Huns would have been in favor of killing all non Huns. This system is terrible.

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We require an objective or collective moral framework. It is necessary and essential and can't be produced by an evolutionary force. Many times Determinism is inexorably linked with evolution do you agree with that?

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I don't think an objective/absolute standard essential at all. As for determinism (as in the view that free will is an illusion?) being linked to evolution, sure. Why does that make a difference?
If there is no free will then resposibility is meaningless. How can you arrest anyone they had no choice than to commit their crimes. The morals or anything that develops from determinism have no real value, there isn't a basis for even establishing the concepts of good, or bad it's completely arbitrary.

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Our ultimate goal is not survival it is to flourish and that requires the most just moral framework. The US's constitution has been hailed as a more perfect sytem, than any in human history. It's core is the sanctity and woth of all human life and inalienable rights. Neither could have been gained from evolution only. When asked Thomas Jefferson said the only justification for inalienable rights and therefore freedom is derived from God.

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I agree with him, without an absolute standard, rights aren't inalienable; I would futher conclude that since there is no absolute standard, there are no inalienable rights. So the next question is why are inalienable rights are necessary for men to flourish?
Because inalienable rights being the law of the land prevent the natural (sinful) tendencies of man from taking away freedom. Since evolution can't do this slavery of the weak by the strong is a natural result.

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Empathy itself has little meaning in a evolutionary framework.

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Little meaning in evolution, sure. Empathy is simply the product of evolution. You should stop looking for meaning or morality or framework in evolution, look to empathy for that, not evolution.
I am disagreeing with the idea that evolution would produce a sytem based mainly on empathy.
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God may have created our brains supernatually from dirt with empathy wired in, in which case I would be wrong about evolution being the source of my empathy, but I would still be right about empathy being the basis of morality.
This statement is almost self contradictory. A beehive is governed by force not empathy. Queens kill any fertile female they can, the famales that escape are worked continuosly and attempt to kill their brothers and sisters in their spare time. The moral action is many times not the empathetic action and sometimes empathetic towards one group and malevolent towards another. Sometimes the fallout from moral decisions is so complex it is impossible to determine which decision is the empathetic one.
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Empathy runs counter to survival is many instances. Why would any action be of value to an individual that doesn't contribute to that individuals survival. Many things done for the sake of goodness have no reciprical benifits to the one doing it. If evolutionary morality is true why should anyone do them.

In many cases it is indeed worse for survival if you care too much about others,
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but in many more cases it is benefitical. Being empathy to others does contribute to an individuals survival in many more instances. It's not hard to see a team performs better than individuals acting by themselves
. In all cases it is an advantage to be malevolent to any competing teams.

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Agreed, however Christians have been willing to resist cruelty at the risk of their lives in hundreds of cases which is a direct result of their faith. They have a moral advantage over a evolutionary system.

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So Christians are more willing to risk their lives? That's understandable, they believe in an afteralife
. OK but that means that in any situation where the correct actions entails risk the Christian framework has an advantage over an evolutionary one.

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Being able to outrun is only valuable if there exists a lethal chaser. So for every benevolent value there must be a malevolent one. Not a very overall moral framework.

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I don't get your point, you are not justified in being benevolent to fellow human because bears are malevolent? Malevolent is one product of evolution therefore there is no reason to be benevolent?
I don't either it made sense at the time. I think I was trying to point out that a malevolent decision is just as likely and maybe more so in guarantying survival than a benign one. So an evolutionary generated moral sytem would contain far more malevolence than a Cristian or God based one which is the type everyone would choose.

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They would need an extraordinary amount if that is what was relied on for this level of complexity. Do you know how exactly how these complex instincts are transmitted genetically. Wouldn't a far simpler explanation be a God that can devise these complex systems imparted that to the ants in some manner since the ants don't have this level or reasoning.

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The point was cooperation isn't a necessrily a function of mental powess. Ants was used as an example of creatures that don't need to think to cooperate, the complexity in their biology doesn't change that.
Cooperation on the scale that ants display involves very many complex decisions requireing complex reasoning they don't have unless if is done for the sake of empathy. Can you can show that genetics alone can accomplish this? It would be more fair just to ask if you have an idea how it might that is sufficient instead of a complete detailed theory?

Richard Dawkins probably the most famous scholar who supports atheistic evolution said: "there is at the bottom no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pointless indifference. .....We are machines for propigating DNA.....It is every living objects sole reason for being" Besides being extremely depressing there is no way his description allows for a complex product like empathy, nor a reason that these machines would value it or even their own survival. It would also suggest that humans should abandon the institution of monogamy and just mate with as many others as possible. Evolution is morally bankrupt for the puposes of establishing the most just moral framework for human society.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 497: Wed Apr 25, 2012 12:56 pm
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Richard Dawkins probably the most famous scholar who supports atheistic evolution said: "there is at the bottom no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pointless indifference. .....We are machines for propigating DNA.....It is every living objects sole reason for being" Besides being extremely depressing there is no way his description allows for a complex product like empathy, nor a reason that these machines would value it or even their own survival. It would also suggest that humans should abandon the institution of monogamy and just mate with as many others as possible. Evolution is morally bankrupt for the puposes of establishing the most just moral framework for human society.


It might be extremely depressing if you're used to a different "nicer" idea, in any case I don't think you can speak for everyone on that. Regardless, we are what we are whether we like it or not. Nobody said reality had to be nice.

Dawkins is correct that this is our "reason" for being alive. It's biological. It's the only physical reason as far as we can ascertain. We can't say for sure that there are no other ones...but at the same time you can't assert that there must by default be a higher meaning to our life.

His description allows for empathy because he's only talking about a reason, not about the finished product of millions of years of evolution through natural selection.

You can think of evolutionary reasons for empathy, it's actually pretty clear that this emotion goes very far back because it can be very limited. Our empathy decreases once you move past family, "tribe", or species. Utterly terrible things can be done to other humans, without empathy, if we identify them as enemies. It's a very primal concept.

As for monogamy, it's pretty clear that it is NOT what we (males) are programmed for. We really are programmed to mate with as many partners as possible and only fairly recently relatively speaking has society developed in a way that we attempt to suppress this. Plenty of high profile cases out there that shows men (usually powerful ones) will run after their **** if given half a chance and not afraid of the consequences. Women are programmed differently, there is no genetic benefit for them to choose quantity over quality. They will try to select the strongest partner however and will switch when offered a better alternative (hence why women DO "cheat" but very rarely with as many partners as men tend to)

Not to mention polygamy is "the norm" in some parts of the world, which are as human as the rest of us. It's very clearly a social concept, rather than of absolute morality.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 498: Wed Apr 25, 2012 3:16 pm
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JCviggen wrote:
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Richard Dawkins probably the most famous scholar who supports atheistic evolution said: "there is at the bottom no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pointless indifference. .....We are machines for propigating DNA.....It is every living objects sole reason for being" Besides being extremely depressing there is no way his description allows for a complex product like empathy, nor a reason that these machines would value it or even their own survival. It would also suggest that humans should abandon the institution of monogamy and just mate with as many others as possible. Evolution is morally bankrupt for the puposes of establishing the most just moral framework for human society.


It might be extremely depressing if you're used to a different "nicer" idea, in any case I don't think you can speak for everyone on that. Regardless, we are what we are whether we like it or not. Nobody said reality had to be nice.

Dawkins is correct that this is our "reason" for being alive. It's biological. It's the only physical reason as far as we can ascertain. We can't say for sure that there are no other ones...but at the same time you can't assert that there must by default be a higher meaning to our life.

His description allows for empathy because he's only talking about a reason, not about the finished product of millions of years of evolution through natural selection.

You can think of evolutionary reasons for empathy, it's actually pretty clear that this emotion goes very far back because it can be very limited. Our empathy decreases once you move past family, "tribe", or species. Utterly terrible things can be done to other humans, without empathy, if we identify them as enemies. It's a very primal concept.

As for monogamy, it's pretty clear that it is NOT what we (males) are programmed for. We really are programmed to mate with as many partners as possible and only fairly recently relatively speaking has society developed in a way that we attempt to suppress this. Plenty of high profile cases out there that shows men (usually powerful ones) will run after their **** if given half a chance and not afraid of the consequences. Women are programmed differently, there is no genetic benefit for them to choose quantity over quality. They will try to select the strongest partner however and will switch when offered a better alternative (hence why women DO "cheat" but very rarely with as many partners as men tend to)

Not to mention polygamy is "the norm" in some parts of the world, which are as human as the rest of us. It's very clearly a social concept, rather than of absolute morality.

Hello JCviggen, you are catching the end of a very long discussion where I think I have explained some of the problems I see with your views. I will give you a chance to read those if you haven't yet and then will address your next post. (or that's what I intend to do anyway.)
Just for clarity are you supporting an atheistic, evolutionary, deterministic worldview? That and does your name have any connection with the Viggen fighter aircraft made by SAAB?

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 499: Thu Apr 26, 2012 3:21 am
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Well I only replied to what you said in the post above mine...if I was arguing against something you already "covered" then I suppose you were repeating yourself as well Smile

My handle has some connection to that aircraft, in the 90s SAAB (automotive) produced a limited series of the 9-3 turbo that they gave the name "Viggen" after the aircraft. I was a teenager at the time and quite liked the car, my initials alone were too short (and common, heh) to serve as a nickname on the internet so I added the viggen and i've just kind of stuck to it since lol

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 500: Thu Apr 26, 2012 6:51 am
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1robin wrote:
But that is unable to guarantee justice.

Neither can you guarantee justice by listening to priests, if you are comparing voting with religion. Alternative if you are comparing God, there is still no guarantee his version of justice match ours, in fact I will say it is guarantee that his version of justice doesn't match ours.

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If this was Germany in the early 40s the majority would likely have signed off on killing the Jews, and invading their neibors. They loved Hitler at that time, this is obviously a bad system. On some south pacific Islands canabalism would have been approved by the majority at one point. The majority of the Huns would have been in favor of killing all non Huns. This system is terrible.

yet it is important part of what you called the most perfect system in human history.

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If there is no free will then resposibility is meaningless. How can you arrest anyone they had no choice than to commit their crimes.

To stop that person committing crimes while he's locked up, to discourage him from committing futher crimes, and to discourage others from comitting crimes.

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The morals or anything that develops from determinism have no real value, there isn't a basis for even establishing the concepts of good, or bad it's completely arbitrary.

That depends on what you mean by "real." For me my arbitrary and subjective taste is no less "real" than the written laws of the land. Besides, it's no less arbitrary than the alternative - that good is just one of the nature of God.

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Because inalienable rights being the law of the land prevent the natural (sinful) tendencies of man from taking away freedom.

But simple man made rights as enforced by the law of the land can achieve the same thing.

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Since evolution can't do this slavery of the weak by the strong is a natural result.

But the slaves doesn't have to be the same species as the strong - see domesticated animals for examples. i.e. we aren't going against survival of the fittest when we aren't selfish bullies towards other people.

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I am disagreeing with the idea that evolution would produce a sytem based mainly on empathy.

Ok, I'll deal with whether empathy is a product of evolution later on, but do you agree that empathy is a solid framework for morality?

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This statement is almost self contradictory. A beehive is governed by force not empathy. Queens kill any fertile female they can, the famales that escape are worked continuosly and attempt to kill their brothers and sisters in their spare time.

Not the bees I am aware of, but you are right in that empathy is far from universal (or even the norm) in nature. But as I said before, just because malevolence is a product of nature, doesn't men benevolence isn't a product of nature.

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The moral action is many times not the empathetic action and sometimes empathetic towards one group and malevolent towards another.

This goes back to what I said about we may disagree on who our neighbours are, but we don't disagree on how we should treat our neighbours.

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Sometimes the fallout from moral decisions is so complex it is impossible to determine which decision is the empathetic one.

There is no denying that morality is complex. Hence the existence of moral dilemma.

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In all cases it is an advantage to be malevolent to any competing teams.

To competing teams, sure, but you don't have to compete with everyone. Nor does this affect the point that you should be nice to your own team.

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OK but that means that in any situation where the correct actions entails risk the Christian framework has an advantage over an evolutionary one.

Sure, I'll go with that. As long as you don't imply atheists won't risk their lives for what is right.

As an aside, betting $1 isn't a big risk if I have $100 spare in my bank, but it is risking a lot if $1 is all I have. I say someone who believe in an afterlife is like having $100 spare, where as $1 is all an atheist has.

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I don't either it made sense at the time. I think I was trying to point out that a malevolent decision is just as likely and maybe more so in guarantying survival than a benign one. So an evolutionary generated moral sytem would contain far more malevolence than a Cristian or God based one which is the type everyone would choose.

It is true that evolution have generated a system that contain lots of malevolence, this would be the earth's biophere as a whole, but it is not necessarily true that localised parts of that system would contain lots of malevolence, an example of this is empathic animal.

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Cooperation on the scale that ants display involves very many complex decisions requireing complex reasoning they don't have unless if is done for the sake of empathy.

Ok, I get your point now. You are right, ants don't have the mental ability to be empathic. They are more like parts of a machine than team members working towards a shared goal. But human aren't the only empathic animal on Earth.

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Can you can show that genetics alone can accomplish this? It would be more fair just to ask if you have an idea how it might that is sufficient instead of a complete detailed theory?

Well I don't know if I can show this, but I have an idea of how this can be shown. There are individuals who are born without the ability to empathise with others. If we can isolate the gene(s) responsible for this, would you agree genetics alone can accomplish this?

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Besides being extremely depressing there is no way his description allows for a complex product like empathy, nor a reason that these machines would value it or even their own survival.

Well if a system has an evolutionary advantage for a species survival then it could be a product of evolution, and I think I've shown that there is indeed an evolutionary advantage to emapthy.

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It would also suggest that humans should abandon the institution of monogamy and just mate with as many others as possible.

I would say monogamy is more a social thing the evolution. However monogamy is still great way for propigating DNA. In a polygamy system, most people won't have a mate.

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Evolution is morally bankrupt for the puposes of establishing the most just moral framework for human society.

That's why I said you should look to empathy for that and not in evolution.

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