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07 Oct 2015 12:56 #204868 by Gisteron
Replied by Gisteron on topic On War & Religion

OB1Shinobi wrote:

OB1Shinobi wrote: establish exactly WHY it is wrong to burn down a dozen villages

If it benefits me, if it simply entertains me, and i can get away with it, and my life is just as good after burning these village as it was before, maybe even better because the villages smelled bad and they played their music too loud, why shouldnt i do it?

what is WRONG about it?


can you do this without appealing to an ultimate reality or authority?

I can appeal to consequences and emotions and rely on the person's set of values, if they have any. Beyond that, no, I can't. Appealing to an ultimate cosmic will of sorts won't help me either way though, because "the universe wills it" is a frankly cartoonishly weak justification for anything, really. Any appeal to any ever so weak reason will, simply by virtue of actually going through some thoughts rather than stopping at the declaration already, be stronger than any appeal to moral authority, ultimate or not, can ever hope to be.
You see, if my villager was a Christian, and knew that Jesus told him this and that, nothing about that would be any more ultimate. To put it in Kant's terms, it would be but another hypothetical imperative, namely "IF you wish to live your life in accordance with the will of God, THEN you ought not to burn this man." There is neither a reason to suppose that the villager would wish that, nor that there is anything good about said will, as exposed by the Euthyphro Dilemma, and of course with or without either suppositions, what the divine plan entails exactly would remain a matter of interpretation anyway, as evident by modern villages who keep murdering heretics or witches to this day, because rather than in spite of their oh-so-ultimate morality. Besides, modern Christian theologians to a great extent go out of their way to tell us how we are NOT obliged to make either choice rather than the other, even if we acknowledge that one is good and the other evil.
So, with or without appeals of this kind, morality remains fluid and negotiable and I for one would propose that this is far better than a truly ultimate morality which is not concerned with the interests of its only subjects. Just because something is not absolute, doesn't mean it is relative, and frankly, rigidity and persistence are hallmarks of the unreliable, while change and improvement are hallmarks of the trustworthy.
I never said you get ultimate justification without religion. I said that you don't get it with religion. You can get some contingent and limited justification without it, but religion would add nothing of value to it if you chose to employ it. This is why my challenge posed a person who had no regard for the consequences of their actions or the well-being of others. While even a slight amount of religion has been and remains enough to move even good people to do wicked things, no amount of religion can actually make you care to be a good person. Nothing can.

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08 Oct 2015 17:01 #204956 by OB1Shinobi
Replied by OB1Shinobi on topic On War & Religion
for the religious imperative to be binding the person must have accepted that the religion is true, at least partially

if a person does not believe the religious doctrine then they are free to disregard it - technically they are free to disregard it anyway, and people find all kinds of clever ways to justify that

but that does not change the merit of the point i raised

in other situations i am regarded as being very critical of religion, especially christianity

but i make the case i think needs to be made and in this instance i think its important to acknowledge that religion has done a lot of good in the world, all over the world, and as far back into history as we can look.

many religions have taught that love and respect and humility and compassion and generosity and courage and self sacrifice and honesty are the standards by which people ought to live.

and many people have adopted this view because it is what they were taught by the religion into which they were born

yes it is possible to teach these things without religion, and i am supportive of ANY view which promotes those ideas, wherever it may originate

i am not arguing that anyone should be of any particular religion or even be religious at all per se, all i am really saying here is that an objective view would not discount the good that has been done, and is still being done, and can (and will) be done in the future, in association with religious thought and practice, though it is more difficult to quantify

religious intolerance is not just one religion refusing to get along with another, or a belligerent person using their religious beliefs to justify belligerence, the term also applies to one who is intolerant of all religions

as far as i can tell it was religious thought which originally made the case that there is such a thing as a "good person"

and which first articulated what a good person is

and promoted the idea that we should actually care to be one

i dont see any reason to believe that morality developed separate from religion - theres no evidence to suggest it that i know of

as i understand it, religion (or more boadly, RELIGIOUS THOUGHT) convinced the world of the existence and value of a defined morality, and then the world recognized that religious people do not live up to it

now we run dad over with the car he gave us lol

People are complicated.

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08 Oct 2015 19:21 #204958 by Gisteron
Replied by Gisteron on topic On War & Religion

OB1Shinobi wrote: i dont see any reason to believe that morality developed separate from religion - theres no evidence to suggest it that i know of

Well, in this case let me inform you that a number of animals living today (and one can reasonably expect it being similar in the past, with animals of comparable social capacities) do have a morality. This is a claim I make, and while I am no zoologist, I am willing and able to cite sources.
Thus, I present to thee, monkeys that understand the concept of fairness and value:

And here is a link to the research paper, just so nobody thinks I'm citing YouTube as a source:
www.emory.edu/LIVING_LINKS/publications/...snan_deWaal_2003.pdf

If, as you say, it was not until the dawn of religion that hominini developed a sense of morality, we should expect to see other animal clades with any so rudimentary grasp of morality to have a rudimentary type of religion to account for that also.
Since morality is a frequent result of and condition for social behaviour and can be sufficiently explained and accounted for as such, if you wish to maintain that morality in its beginnings requires religion, it remains to demonstrate that in every instance where morality can be observed, religion - past or present - is observable also. Go ahead.

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09 Oct 2015 23:46 - 10 Oct 2015 01:15 #205052 by OB1Shinobi
Replied by OB1Shinobi on topic On War & Religion
that video is really awesome, im glad you shared it

however, what i saw was pretty conclusive evidence that monkeys are selfish and can distinguish between a cucumber and a grape - i suspect the result would be the same if you just gave them the food without the exchange - anyone with dogs will tell you they know the difference between a milkbone and a t-bone - doesnt matter if they work for it or not, if one has something and the other has something BETTER, the BETTER is always wanted and the lesser not

i would be impressed if you could get a monkey to start a union and tell the scientists "we all get grapes or we go on strike"

even that could be argued as juzt a sophisticated form of self interest

show me a monkey who shares his grape and we have the suggestion of morality

and what i belive is that the development of codified morality was a part of the development of the earliest religion

it was a time when humans first asked "what does it all mean?" or "how did it all get here?" and with that "what am i? what areWE? what is the bigger picture and how and where do we fit within it?"

asking these sorts of questions for the first time resulted in both morality and religion - they are both the results of the same process

whatever "morality" exists without this sort of thinking is basically a result of personal temperment and social consequences or gain

monkeys all survive longer when they work together and if one monkey abuses his fellows they all turn on him

within the dominance heirarchy of every group you will find some are more "compassionate" - or maybe they are only less mean

but again, this is individual temperment and social consequences

if you call that morality then i concede that your definition of morality exists among all kinds of species - but thats not the morality i am speaking of

when i say "morality" i refer to the conviction that some things are RIGHT and some are WRONG and that these are right and wrong regardless of the immediate personal consequences or rewards or temperment

if it can be demonstrated that monkeys exhibit this, then my next suggestion will be that we need to learn to speak monkey to see if they dont actually have some rudimentary expression of religious belife

but we arent there yet, and in the case of these monkeys i dont consider the second any less plausible than the first

People are complicated.
Last edit: 10 Oct 2015 01:15 by OB1Shinobi.

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10 Oct 2015 08:17 #205062 by Gisteron
Replied by Gisteron on topic On War & Religion
Well, in that case I'm afraid there is a number of human schools of moral thought that reject your version of morality. I myself do not believe in something right and wrong absolute from the subject or the object or the consequences in the short or the long term. Absolutely right and absolutely wrong are meaningless concepts to me as they are to almost the entire rest of moral philosophy prior to the beginning and eversince the end of the dark ages. Even Kant, the posterchild for deontological ethics, wouldn't stop at "right, period" or "wrong, period" like you would have us think religion does and thank it for it.
If that is what you expect monkeys to have, I'm sorry to disappoint with my example of a recognition of undeserved inequality. Just keep in mind that humans fail that expectation of yours, too; some, in fact, like myself, believe that a morality of the kind that you are suggesting is not only primitive but also immoral. I would even go so far as to say that religion has far more to offer than that, but you are welcome to your cucumbers anyway.

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11 Oct 2015 01:19 #205109 by OB1Shinobi
Replied by OB1Shinobi on topic On War & Religion
when is it morally right to rape and murder a five yr old

when you factor intent and victimization into the question there is a line that can be drawn - the question only "how to articulate it"

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11 Oct 2015 08:42 #205133 by Gisteron
Replied by Gisteron on topic On War & Religion

OB1Shinobi wrote: when is it morally right to rape and murder a five yr old

Gisteron wrote: I myself do not believe in something right and wrong absolute from the subject or the object or the consequences in the short or the long term.


Where did I say that there are either thinkable or existing circumstances in which raping or murdering children is permissible? I do not recall.

Yes, there are lines that can be drawn. What you suggest though is a morality that does not factor anything in but instead just declares what ought and ought not be done - one that is absolute, i.e. absolved from all consideration and thought and immune to criticism or discussion.
The moment you begin actually thinking about those questions and factoring things in and being concerned with the subjects or the objects of actions or the consequences, you have joined my side of the debate and I'm glad to finally welcome you on it.

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