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Are Morals Absolute

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Following on from the original thread:

http://www.housepricecrash.co.uk/forum/ind...45&start=45

Even if you don't accept that Australia and Saudi Arabia exist, do you accept that there are people (we are not going to run around in circles on the definition of "people" I hope) that live in the region that most people in the real world accept as Saudi Arabia, and people that live in the region that most people in the real world call Australia.

Presuming you do, and I am not dealing with a nutcase here, do you accept that they both have different moral standards? Ie, drinking alcohol (or what most people in the real world call (or what most people in the real world accept as call) is fine in Australia (the region in the real world, that most people call Australia), whereas it isn't in the part of the world that most sane people call Saudi Arabia?

Bugger, forgot to qualify the use of the word "world". Bugger, forgot to qualify the use of the world "qualify"...

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Following on from the original thread:

http://www.housepricecrash.co.uk/forum/ind...45&start=45

Even if you don't accept that Australia and Saudi Arabia exist, do you accept that there are people (we are not going to run around in circles on the definition of "people" I hope) that live in the region that most people in the real world accept as Saudi Arabia, and people that live in the region that most people in the real world call Australia.

Presuming you do, and I am not dealing with a nutcase here, do you accept that they both have different moral standards? Ie, drinking alcohol (or what most people in the real world call (or what most people in the real world accept as call) is fine in Australia (the region in the real world, that most people call Australia), whereas it isn't in the part of the world that most sane people call Saudi Arabia?

Bugger, forgot to qualify the use of the word "world". Bugger, forgot to qualify the use of the world "qualify"...

Ah excellent. Thanks for this.

Firstly. I both accept that there are people in the imaginary area called australia and people in the imaginary area called saudi. Yes, yes I do. I also claim that biologically and functionally they are exactly the same, bar very slight and inconsequential differences of skin hue and so forth. They need to eat, sleep, breath, drink, shit, shag etc.

And yes, I accept that they have differing moral standards.

Part of those differing moral standards come from their own misaprehenion that the world is divided up into the imaginary areas called "saudi" and "australia". In those areas, some people have written their opinions down and will use violence against anyone within that area unless they behave a certain way.

That being the case, differing moral standards based on geography are created by -

1) Incorrect thinking - the country idea itself

2) the level of violence that the ruling class is prepared to use against others to force them to follow it's own wacky beliefs.

Differences in morality arise because one set of people within a society can break the rules that would otherwise be frowned upon by that society, either because they are good liars, or they possess superior force to avoid sanction.

i.e. Gordon Brown and co can take all my goods by force. Anyone else doing this would be seen as a violent asshole with greedy fingers. The saudio princes can take from the local peasants whatever they want, but the peasants themselves would get their hands chopped off.

In other words, the argument that there is no objective morality (whether there is or there isn't) cannot be disproven purely because people who have made errors in thinking have differing ideas about it. Before it was proven the earth was round, all kinds of theories abounded - it was flt, it was a turtle, it was the testicle of a god etc.

The way to find a moral theory, therefore, is to use the scientific method, facts and evidence.

Tell me what you think!

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So lets review, you accept that there are people in Australia* and Saudi Arabia* and you accept that they have different moral standards.

So why do people have different moral standards if morals are absolute? Who has the "best" morals? Australians* or Arabians*? If you cannot provide an answer to that, then your claim that there IS a moral absolute has no foundations and falls flat on its face. You argument about rules is BS. Ask the someone from Saudi whether they think drinking alcohol is wrong, and they will almost certainly say "yes". This is not because they are being forced into it, it because they believe it. That is the "right thing" from their moral standpoint. Even in the UK, many muslims do not drink, and this clearly not because it is against the law.

We also know that morals change over time. In Roman times, it was perfectly acceptable to assassinate you political rivals, or rape and pilllage in war, or own slaves. It isn't now. Again, this is clearly a moral change that has happened over time.

Even within similar ethnic groups and the same religion you can get different morals. Look at the death penalty or abortion in the US. American Christians on both sides of the moral argument. So how can morals be absolute?

So, once again to review, we have different groups with different morals. We can also see different morals amongst the same groups, over time. These are not simply an interpretation of the laws of the land. So where are the "absolute" morals? Who follows them? What makes their morals "right" and other peoples morals "wrong"?

So subject to your next sentence (and having established evidence that different groups have different morals) about scientific method, where is YOUR evidence to counter the evidence that absolute morality do not exist, despite what we can clearly see in the world around us (that being, many different moral standards)?

*these words may in your opinion refer to imaginary concepts, but I am not going to keep arguing about it or letting you use it as a strawman. You are feel to claim that Australia and Saudi Arabia don't exist, it doesn't really matter as long as you accept that people are affected by the concepts.

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So why do people have different moral standards if morals are absolute? Who has the "best" morals? Australians* or Arabians*? If you cannot provide an answer to that, then your claim that there IS a moral absolute has no foundations and falls flat on its face. You argument about rules is BS. Ask the someone from Saudi whether they think drinking alcohol is wrong, and they will almost certainly say "yes". This is not because they are being forced into it, it because they believe it. That is the "right thing" from their moral standpoint. Even in the UK, many muslims do not drink, and this clearly not because it is against the law.

Ok, so you admit that there is no empirical justification for your argument that morality is subjective based upon geography. Excellent. We are making progress.

Now you have said that morality exists because peopel believe in it, irrespective of geography. Quite a change from your earlier position.

The problem with this might be that you are finding that people with different religious beliefs have differing moral standards. Sadly, however, there is no empirical evidence for the existence of religions or of god. So again, people behave based on ideas, which are flawed. What has this got to do with a morality that is based upon objective reality?

Not uch that I can see. Perhaps you could expand a little on this for me?

So, once again to review, we have different groups with different morals. We can also see different morals amongst the same groups, over time. These are not simply an interpretation of the laws of the land. So where are the "absolute" morals? Who follows them? What makes their morals "right" and other peoples morals "wrong"?

I'm sorry, what emprical basis so you have for the assertion that groups exist at all?

So subject to your next sentence (and having established evidence that different groups have different morals) about scientific method, where is YOUR evidence to counter the evidence that absolute morality do not exist, despite what we can clearly see in the world around us (that being, many different moral standards)?

Oh, simple. Just make it a universal rule for everyone at all places and at all times, barring the production of empirical data that one human is of a different order to any other.

As there are no groups, either a rule is personal (ie,. an opinion you hold and therefore not binding on anyone else) or an absolute - i.e. what you think should happen for everyone, everywhere, everywhen.

The only thing that needs to be changed is the consistency of the application, not the rule.

Hope this helps!

Thanks again.

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Problem is human actions are meaning laden. Consider this.

A man is about to plunge a knife into the heart of a child. Is this an evil act? Can we judge the actions of that individual without undertstanding the meaning behind said act?

Does our judgement of the situation become different if we say the man's name is Abraham and the child is Issac?

Does it change if we know that the man has 2 children but insufficient food for both to last through the winter?

Does it change if we know that enemy soldiers are approaching who will torture the child to death?

The problem I have with moral reletavism is that we stop defending our own moral framework.

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Problem is human actions are meaning laden. Consider this.

A man is about to plunge a knife into the heart of a child. Is this an evil act? Can we judge the actions of that individual without undertstanding the meaning behind said act?

Does our judgement of the situation become different if we say the man's name is Abraham and the child is Issac?

Does it change if we know that the man has 2 children but insufficient food for both to last through the winter?

Does it change if we know that enemy soldiers are approaching who will torture the child to death?

The problem I have with moral reletavism is that we stop defending our own moral framework.

Oh no.

What a universal moral rule is that anyone who found himself in that position would be moral to do so.

If john was there and it was ok, then it would be ok for anybody else. If it's ok for me to kill one kid to make sure the others lived through winter, then it's fine for anyone else on the face of the earth to do so. Basically, it's the argument from hypocrisy. If it's ok for one guy to divide the world up into bits and demand cash from everyoen in that area, why can't I do it? What facts are behind such "logic" if you say I cannot? And so on...

Motivations don't count for anything whatsoever in the real world I am afraid. Gordon Brown might genuinely want to help people but his tools are guaranteed to bring widespread misery. You can't shoot a man and expect the bullet to give him a massage.

(Oh, and there aren't any soldiers. Sticking a murderer in uniform means he's a murderer in uniform.)

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does it change if the man were a time traveller gone back to kill a baby adolf?

Besides, the OP is way off base. It can be scientifically demonstrated that were there such communities as these mythical Saudis and Australians they would have no morals, nor indeed standards.

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Of course it is empirical!!! Go and ask ten muslims their moral opinon on drinking alcohol. That is empirical. Is it based on geography? No of couse not. I never said that person A would have different morals from person B, just because A lives on top of a mountain and B lives in a desert. They may have different morals, but not because one lives on a mountain and one lives in a desert. My position has not changed one iota in that regard.

I agree that there is no evidence for god but that certainly does NOT mean there is no evidence for religion. Religion maybe a belief system but as such it certainly exists, not in a physical sense, but in the sense that it changes peoples thoughts and idea's. Regardless of whether relgion is flawed or not, you cannot deny that it changes peoples thoughts and idea's, and therefore morality. If you want empirical evidence, do what I suggested last time. Take a group of people who claim to be muslim, and ask them their opinion on alcohol. Do the same for a a group of athiests, agnostics, or christians (that is an experiment), and you will get a set of results (evidence).

Sorry, your problem with groups is yet another straw man. We can logically group people together based on all sorts of critera. I am choosing to group people based on religion in this context. Sure, the "group" may not exist, but the people within the group certainly do, and the physical existance of the group is neither here nor there.

So again we have groups of people (or a limited collection of people which we are going to treat as one entity based on their religious beliefs), who have different morals from other groups (another limited collection of people which we are going to treat as one entity based on their religious beliefs), and indeed, the morals of any particular group can and does change over time (please don't tell me you are going to ask for empiricial evidence for time).

Therefore the "universal rule" (which you bang on about but have yet to provide any evidence for) is clearly, fundamentally flawed since it is at odds with the world around us.

I see yet again, the notion of groups has you confused. My morals dicate how I think people (ie, everyone else) should ideally behave. I might make exceptions or allowances for specific groups (see above for what a group is), but I (as an individual) do not have different morals expectations for different groups.

See, not too hard is it.

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Oh no.

What a universal moral rule is that anyone who found himself in that position would be moral to do so.

If john was there and it was ok, then it would be ok for anybody else. If it's ok for me to kill one kid to make sure the others lived through winter, then it's fine for anyone else on the face of the earth to do so. Basically, it's the argument from hypocrisy. If it's ok for one guy to divide the world up into bits and demand cash from everyoen in that area, why can't I do it? What facts are behind such "logic" if you say I cannot? And so on...

Motivations don't count for anything whatsoever in the real world I am afraid. Gordon Brown might genuinely want to help people but his tools are guaranteed to bring widespread misery. You can't shoot a man and expect the bullet to give him a massage.

(Oh, and there aren't any soldiers. Sticking a murderer in uniform means he's a murderer in uniform.)

Oh I get you...Then there are no universal moral rules.

However I maintain that if you don't understand the meanings behind actions then the world makes no sense. It's as if you are viewing it as an alien from outside. You would be observing lots of actions but understanding the significance of nothing.

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Of course it is empirical!!! Go and ask ten muslims their moral opinon on drinking alcohol. That is empirical.

Just because 10 people say something and you check it, that is not empirical. It's an empirical test to find out what ten different individuals opinion are. If we ask for proof of Islam, and their god we find they have none and are irrational. The basis for their claim to be muslim is faulty and so the whole thing falls down as nonsense. So they have no basis for their opinions and therefore those opinions are invalid, unless they can provide proof.

No of couse not. I never said that person A would have different morals from person B, just because A lives on top of a mountain and B lives in a desert. They may have different morals, but not because one lives on a mountain and one lives in a desert. My position has not changed one iota in that regard.

Yes, you did.

You said that people living in the area of saudi had different morals than those of australians. What other difference does that allude to? There isn't any factual difference BUT the geography.

I agree that there is no evidence for god but that certainly does NOT mean there is no evidence for religion. Religion maybe a belief system but as such it certainly exists, not in a physical sense, but in the sense that it changes peoples thoughts and idea's

This has me baffled. Things don't exist but they exist? Can you explain a little more for me please? Do you have any proof for a none physical world or something?

Regardless of whether relgion is flawed or not, you cannot deny that it changes peoples thoughts and idea's, and therefore morality. If you want empirical evidence, do what I suggested last time. Take a group of people who claim to be muslim, and ask them their opinion on alcohol. Do the same for a a group of athiests, agnostics, or christians (that is an experiment), and you will get a set of results (evidence).

Sorry, you want me to take as empirical evidence for the fact that beliefs are true as the fact that they believe?

What on earth? Religious people are factually, empirically correct in their beliefs because they believe. God exists because he's believed in. :ph34r: What madness is this?

Sorry, your problem with groups is yet another straw man. We can logically group people together based on all sorts of critera. I am choosing to group people based on religion in this context. Sure, the "group" may not exist, but the people within the group certainly do, and the physical existance of the group is neither here nor there.

You can't gather together a group by a random criteria you make up, then say that they are a group because they fit that criteria. It's **** about face. Factual differences exist - height, weight and so forth. As every individual is totally different from every other, no groups can be said to factually exist. It's just a handy concept to speed up thinking processes. If you can make up an arbitary grouping based upon alcohol preference, why can't I make one up about flavours of ice cream or weight or something?

It's also begging the question. You have assumed the answer to prove the validity of the question. "Englishmen exist" - how do I know> "Because people behave as though englishman exist" it might be a fine observation, but it's not factual or empirical. Theres no starting point to it and no criteria either. Just an empty label you can slap whatever you want into. God exists - how do I know?> - because people pray to him. Needs external validation.

So again we have groups of people (or a limited collection of people which we are going to treat as one entity based on their religious beliefs), who have different morals from other groups (another limited collection of people which we are going to treat as one entity based on their religious beliefs), and indeed, the morals of any particular group can and does change over time (please don't tell me you are going to ask for empiricial evidence for time).

I see no factual basis for your assertion that groups exist. Can you tell me more about this please? Are you part of a group? Can you wiggle the little toe of one of the other members or something? Some sort of observable test for the link you claim in physical reality would be great.

I see yet again, the notion of groups has you confused. My morals dicate how I think people (ie, everyone else) should ideally behave. I might make exceptions or allowances for specific groups (see above for what a group is), but I (as an individual) do not have different morals expectations for different groups.

Ok, lets take that as a moral rule and apply it. Everyone can say how everyone else should behave. That being the case, you can tell me what to do and I can tell you what to do. Seems a tad like timewasting surely? I'll just tell you to do whatever I want done and you me. How about if I tell you to not tell me what to do? Well that can't stand, it's contradictory, so your moral premise isn't even internally consistent.

Of course, if you have some factual basis for saying you are not part of everyone and therefore not eligible for the rule you positied I am all ears to your being excepted from your own rule......

No, it's not hard at all.

Thanks again!

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Oh I get you...Then there are no universal moral rules.

However I maintain that if you don't understand the meanings behind actions then the world makes no sense. It's as if you are viewing it as an alien from outside. You would be observing lots of actions but understanding the significance of nothing.

Saying that there are no universal moral rules is a universal moral rule.

Doesn't work logically.

The meaning of events is the result of those events. The meaning of planting a seed isn't to provide gaia with sustenance, or for the majesty of god, it's what grows from the seed.

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Saying that there are no universal moral rules is a universal moral rule.

Doesn't work logically.

The meaning of events is the result of those events. The meaning of planting a seed isn't to provide gaia with sustenance, or for the majesty of god, it's what grows from the seed.

Are you saying that there are universal moral rules???

No meaning is what we attach to the actions. Agreed common meanings are what constitute a culture. It is when 2 cultures attribute different meanings to the same event that we run into problems.

Recent example - Nato forces distribute footballs to kids in Afghanistan.

Our meanings - look we are friends have a free ball for your kids to play with

Unfortunately the Saudi flag is on the balls. Saudi Flag has passage from the Koran on it.

Their meanings. Look the infidels are disrespecting God by asking us to kick the name of god.

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Are you saying that there are universal moral rules???

No meaning is what we attach to the actions. Agreed common meanings are what constitute a culture. It is when 2 cultures attribute different meanings to the same event that we run into problems.

Recent example - Nato forces distribute footballs to kids in Afghanistan.

Our meanings - look we are friends have a free ball for your kids to play with

Unfortunately the Saudi flag is on the balls. Saudi Flag has passage from the Koran on it.

Their meanings. Look the infidels are disrespecting God by asking us to kick the name of god.

Culture = mistaken thinking.

It's not valid when it comes to an analysis of reality or any propositions regarding reality. The traditional way two cultures sort out a problem with their various meanings is to have a big fight, with the winner well..winning. Rational adults don't use violence to solve their problems if they can help it, they use reason and evidence etc to sort things out.

Muslim's say they have a god who has said such and such. In the absence of proof of Allah I see no reason why they shouldn't be dismissed as wacky cultists. (Apart from all the guns and bombs and stuff but then I have a right to defend myself against such things.)

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the HOwner thinks we should ditch a moral basis that none of us can fulfill because the standards are so high, to making up our own moral basis

one wonders why and from previous debates we've established he would replace it with the individual determining morality and the individual could acceptably choose a moral basis that is as bad as the society's. That's a downward spiral. Low standards. But hey, everyone will think they're wonderful. Self-rightousness, yuk.

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the HOwner thinks we should ditch a moral basis that none of us can fulfill because the standards are so high, to making up our own moral basis

one wonders why and from previous debates we've established he would replace it with the individual determining morality and the individual could acceptably choose a moral basis that is as bad as the society's. That's a downward spiral. Low standards. But hey, everyone will think they're wonderful. Self-rightousness, yuk.

Heh. He's advocating a standard for everybody else, and he alone immune from it and calling it morality. I am sure he's not that corrupt really and has just put accross his idea badly.

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Heh. He's advocating a standard for everybody else, and he alone immune from it and calling it morality. I am sure he's not that corrupt really and has just put accross his idea badly.

God has dispensed standards of morality. Maybe once we start to keep those we can make our own. But we don't keep his standards, none of us do, though many of us try.

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God has dispensed standards of morality. Maybe once we start to keep those we can make our own. But we don't keep his standards, none of us do, though many of us try.

Do you have any evicence for that?

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he's dispensed it through the conscience we have, the Law to Moses and then fulfilled this moral standards in the life of his Son Jesus

Do you have any evidence for that?

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what kind of evidence do you require? It's documented in the Holy Bible.

Do you have any evidence that the bible was written by god?

How do you know that what you are saying is true?

What standard of proof did you personally accept for this assertion?

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Aye, but then again a book written solely to aggrandise one of the many, many gods at the expense of all the others is hardly something you want to take at face value is it?

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Guest wrongmove
Do you have any evidence that the bible was written by god?

How do you know that what you are saying is true?

What standard of proof did you personally accept for this assertion?

I'm warming to you, Injin! :P

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Culture = mistaken thinking.

It's not valid when it comes to an analysis of reality or any propositions regarding reality. The traditional way two cultures sort out a problem with their various meanings is to have a big fight, with the winner well..winning. Rational adults don't use violence to solve their problems if they can help it, they use reason and evidence etc to sort things out.

Muslim's say they have a god who has said such and such. In the absence of proof of Allah I see no reason why they shouldn't be dismissed as wacky cultists. (Apart from all the guns and bombs and stuff but then I have a right to defend myself against such things.)

Are you saying there are universal moral rules?

Come on man! Yes or No? Which is it?

What is language if not a common agreement on the meaning of certain sounds is that mistaken thinking as well?

Violence can be a very effective way of resolving arguements. Very few animal species use rational debate and "evidence" to sort things out.

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I'm warming to you, Injin! :P

he's a very amusing devils advocate! :)

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