1. Territories Unknown
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    14 Jul '11 03:42
    Read these recently on another website, thought they were pretty interesting food for thought... for those inclined.

    • If everything ultimately must be explained by the laws of physics and chemistry, what is a moral value (does it have mass, occupy space, hold a charge, have wavelength)?

    • How did matter, energy, time and chance result in a set of objective moral values? Did the Big Bang really spew forth “love your enemy?”

    • What makes your moral standard more than a subjective opinion or personal preference? What makes it truly binding or obligatory? Why can't it simply be ignored? Won’t our end be the same (death and the grave) either way?
  2. Hmmm . . .
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    14 Jul '11 04:09
    Originally posted by FreakyKBH
    Read these recently on another website, thought they were pretty interesting food for thought... for those inclined.

    • If everything ultimately must be explained by the laws of physics and chemistry, what is a moral value (does it have mass, occupy space, hold a charge, have wavelength)?

    • How did matter, energy, time and chance result in a set of ob ...[text shortened]... ry? Why can't it simply be ignored? Won’t our end be the same (death and the grave) either way?
    In brief, how can an ethics (morality) that is not a deontological ethics be an ethics at all?
  3. Joined
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    14 Jul '11 04:20
    Originally posted by FreakyKBH
    Read these recently on another website, thought they were pretty interesting food for thought... for those inclined.

    • If everything ultimately must be explained by the laws of physics and chemistry, what is a moral value (does it have mass, occupy space, hold a charge, have wavelength)?

    • How did matter, energy, time and chance result in a set of ob ...[text shortened]... ry? Why can't it simply be ignored? Won’t our end be the same (death and the grave) either way?
    I don't understand, why are these questions specifically for the atheist?
  4. Territories Unknown
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    14 Jul '11 15:08
    Originally posted by Conrau K
    I don't understand, why are these questions specifically for the atheist?
    Who, besides the atheist, claims that all is explained by functions of the creation--- rather than giving credit where it is due, so to speak? The atheist rejection of the need for God for morality is intertwined with his assertion that creation itself can also be explained without relying on God.

    I think one would be hard-pressed to find a theist who would claim that everything (life, the universe) can be explained on the sole basis of the laws of physics and chemistry, without at some point running out of equations and left with the indivisible One.
  5. Territories Unknown
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    14 Jul '11 15:09
    Originally posted by vistesd
    In brief, how can an ethics (morality) that is not a deontological ethics be an ethics at all?
    That may be a question further on, once ethics can be established as a thing... however that thing may be categorized, of course.
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    14 Jul '11 16:09
    Originally posted by FreakyKBH
    Who, besides the atheist, claims that all is explained by functions of the creation--- rather than giving credit where it is due, so to speak? The atheist rejection of the need for God for morality is intertwined with his assertion that creation itself can also be explained without relying on God.

    I think one would be hard-pressed to find a theist who ...[text shortened]... and chemistry, without at some point running out of equations and left with the indivisible One.
    Quit being so daft and silly. Nobody I know claims that "everything can be explained on the sole basis of the laws of physics and chemistry". (And within such a view, what exactly would explain such laws to begin with?) For instance, I think it is almost unavoidable (and I am not really alone here within my atheist circles) that there exist at least some brute facts; but brute facts, by definition, have no explanation. Further, most atheists I know do not think normative commitments (e.g., encompassing the value systems and morals you bring up in this thread) are simply reducible to or justified or explained solely in reference to the types of descriptive deliverances that would come at the ushering of physics or chemistry. Further still, many atheists I know recognize that even the explanatory process itself relies on norms whose justification could only be circular. Further still, no one I know would claim that necessary truths, analytic truths, a priori truths, etc and related things, can all be explained by physics and chemistry. Relatedly, there may be many things about the world that simply would never clamor for the types of explanation that you seem to be in rather narrow-minded fashion talking about -- e.g., causal explanation. Etc, etc, etc.

    It would help if you took the time to do your homework first.

    Beyond that, you still have not really addressed Conrau K's apt question.
  7. Joined
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    14 Jul '11 17:17
    Originally posted by FreakyKBH
    Read these recently on another website, thought they were pretty interesting food for thought... for those inclined.

    • If everything ultimately must be explained by the laws of physics and chemistry, what is a moral value (does it have mass, occupy space, hold a charge, have wavelength)?

    • How did matter, energy, time and chance result in a set of ob ...[text shortened]... ry? Why can't it simply be ignored? Won’t our end be the same (death and the grave) either way?
    One need not be an atheist to understand or posit the following.

    A nontheistic explanation of the linkage of ethical and moral codes to religion can be that societies enshrine their moral codes in religion because doing so has several beneficial effects for the society. The beneficial effects can be accompanied by detrimental effects. Belief that the ethical and moral code is divinely sourced strengthens the hold that the moral code has on the society, and can be a conservative influence with respect to change.

    A theistic explanation can be the same, with the distinction that the society has an obligation to align their ethical and moral code with the deity's requirements.
  8. Standard memberavalanchethecat
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    14 Jul '11 17:34
    Originally posted by FreakyKBH
    Read these recently on another website, thought they were pretty interesting food for thought... for those inclined.

    • If everything ultimately must be explained by the laws of physics and chemistry, what is a moral value (does it have mass, occupy space, hold a charge, have wavelength)?

    • How did matter, energy, time and chance result in a set of ob ...[text shortened]... ry? Why can't it simply be ignored? Won’t our end be the same (death and the grave) either way?
    ...what is a moral value...

    Following the right and proper course of action or inaction. This is determined as that which causes the least psychological stress, both long and short term, in the mind of the subject. If one causes suffering to another, then ultimately the awareness of that suffering may disturb one's peace of mind, even when that action or inaction is long forgotten by the wronged party.

    Did the Big Bang really spew forth “love your enemy?”

    No, evolution of a self-aware, social being with a capacity for empathy created that.

    What makes your moral standard more than a subjective opinion or personal preference? What makes it truly binding or obligatory? Why can't it simply be ignored? Won’t our end be the same (death and the grave) either way?

    It can indeed be ignored, and often it is. If it is not ignored, however, it leads to happier, more content and less disturbed individuals.
  9. SubscriberAThousandYoung
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    14 Jul '11 17:38
    Originally posted by FreakyKBH
    Read these recently on another website, thought they were pretty interesting food for thought... for those inclined.

    • If everything ultimately must be explained by the laws of physics and chemistry, what is a moral value (does it have mass, occupy space, hold a charge, have wavelength)?

    • How did matter, energy, time and chance result in a set of ob ...[text shortened]... ry? Why can't it simply be ignored? Won’t our end be the same (death and the grave) either way?
    A moral value is a chemical/electric phenomenon that takes place in the right temporoparietal junction which modifies the behavior of the person in question.

    Moral values are objective for humanity because that's how we evolved. They may not apply to an alien species. As it is we don't apply them to animals in the same way we do to people.

    It can be ignored. However a moral standard is about what you want. You'll be less happy if you deny yourself what you want and the people around you will dislike you. Your mental health may be damaged as well.
  10. Subscribersonhouse
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    16 Jul '11 20:061 edit
    Originally posted by JS357
    One need not be an atheist to understand or posit the following.

    A nontheistic explanation of the linkage of ethical and moral codes to religion can be that societies enshrine their moral codes in religion because doing so has several beneficial effects for the society. The beneficial effects can be accompanied by detrimental effects. Belief that the ethic ...[text shortened]... society has an obligation to align their ethical and moral code with the deity's requirements.
    I would like you to consider this question with utmost seriousness: What if, and i mean just that, what if, there is no god and atheists are correct?
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    16 Jul '11 21:30
    Originally posted by sonhouse
    I would like you to consider this question with utmost seriousness: What if, and i mean just that, what if, there is no god and atheists are correct?
    I'm not a theist, but I think the word "atheist" has been contaminated by theistic society. I do think the idea of god, or God, is important and I think the idea of God that a person has, says a lot about that person. I think that an atheist can form an idea of what God would be like if God existed, in fact being an atheist frees the mind to let the idea of God go where mature reasoning on events, and consideration of our emotional responses to events, take it, rather than being bound to what some book or preacher says. I may come across sounding like a theist because of that.

    So, if you mean regarding morality, if the atheists are correct. as I think they are, we have to find a way to live together anyway. That means finding and following a moral code under which we can live in harmony. People who can't or won't do that are going to have rough going.
  12. Standard memberSoothfast
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    16 Jul '11 21:44
    Originally posted by FreakyKBH
    Who, besides the atheist, claims that all is explained by functions of the creation--- rather than giving credit where it is due, so to speak? The atheist rejection of the need for God for morality is intertwined with his assertion that creation itself can also be explained without relying on God.

    I think one would be hard-pressed to find a theist who ...[text shortened]... and chemistry, without at some point running out of equations and left with the indivisible One.
    And yet, somehow, you're not supposed to be held to account about where your God came from. Somehow you can just say "God. QED," and everyone is expected to accept that. How is that? All these questions about beginnings, whys and wherefores, and for whatever reason once we've deconstructed the universe down to its most fundamental components, the ones who say there must be natural processes that explain the fundamental components are required to immediately elucidate in precise terms the workings of those processes, whereas those who invoke a highly sophisticated, all-knowing, hyper-intelligent alien can just fold their arms and sit on a cloud.

    Simplicity gives rise to complexity in accordance with physical laws all the time in the universe, and we can observe it in a laboratory. Any stochastic process has a nonzero probability of creating localized order at some point in time. If there's one universe, then it's perfectly plausible that there are trillions upon trillions, so that a universe with natural laws conducive to life is just a consequence of another stochastic process. Certainly it's more plausible than the notion that, a priori, "in the beginning," a complex superbeing arose, who then set about creating simpler lifeforms such as bacteria and humans.

    If this were a betting game I know where I'd put my money.

    And yes, "morals" and "ethics" are all subjective. A quick perusal of history and other cultures on Earth makes this rather apparent, and we haven't even taken a poll of extraterrestrial civilizations.
  13. Subscribersonhouse
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    16 Jul '11 22:39
    Originally posted by JS357
    I'm not a theist, but I think the word "atheist" has been contaminated by theistic society. I do think the idea of god, or God, is important and I think the idea of God that a person has, says a lot about that person. I think that an atheist can form an idea of what God would be like if God existed, in fact being an atheist frees the mind to let the idea of Go ...[text shortened]... ch we can live in harmony. People who can't or won't do that are going to have rough going.
    If it was proven beyond a shadow of a doubt there was no god and we were truly on our own, which IMHO I think factual, or at least a god who sets up the experiment of Earth and earthy lifeforms including us but with no intentions of interfering, then we HAVE to find a non theistic way of life, probably based on the concept of common good, where for instance, it is not in the common good to eat each other or mutilate each other and so forth.

    Where it is in the common good to help out people in disasters because you know they will reciprocate when your time comes under the gun of floods or fire or tsunami, whatever.

    All without obsessively acting as if some god will lift its cosmic finger and make everything better. Like it did those 200,000 Indonesians any good during their trial by tsunami or the Haitians or the Japanese or the firefighters in Arizona and New Mexico fighting the largest wildfires in both states history.

    Think of the real brainpower that will be released on human or climatic problems if there was not such a pathological obsession with gods as there is now. People getting killed for daring to not convert to Islam, abortion clinic doctors killed by right wing christian nut jobs, Crusades, Intafada's, we need that crap like we need yet another hole in our heads.

    Like the nut job church picketing funerals for instance. In my greatest nightmares I never dreamed a so-called religious flock could do such a vicious act as interrupting the grieving of mothers and fathers at the funeral of their beloved children.

    They make me ashamed to be an American.
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    17 Jul '11 05:17
    Originally posted by sonhouse
    If it was proven beyond a shadow of a doubt there was no god and we were truly on our own, which IMHO I think factual, or at least a god who sets up the experiment of Earth and earthy lifeforms including us but with no intentions of interfering, then we HAVE to find a non theistic way of life, probably based on the concept of common good, where for instance ...[text shortened]... fathers at the funeral of their beloved children.

    They make me ashamed to be an American.
    And the person who started this thread might be asked, who has the greater moral sense!
  15. Territories Unknown
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    20 Jul '11 13:57
    Originally posted by LemonJello
    Quit being so daft and silly. Nobody I know claims that "everything can be explained on the sole basis of the laws of physics and chemistry". (And within such a view, what exactly would explain such laws to begin with?) For instance, I think it is almost unavoidable (and I am not really alone here within my atheist circles) that there exist at least so ...[text shortened]... rk first.

    Beyond that, you still have not really addressed Conrau K's apt question.
    Nobody I know claims that "everything can be explained on the sole basis of the laws of physics and chemistry".
    I guess you don't know very many people! Isn't this idea the very foundation of evolution?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modern_evolutionary_synthesis

    (And within such a view, what exactly would explain such laws to begin with?)
    Funny you should ask. That very question was put forth herein quite some time ago by yours truly, to much ridicule. Ironic you would turn and use the same argument and think it legitimate.

    For instance, I think it is almost unavoidable (and I am not really alone here within my atheist circles) that there exist at least some brute facts; but brute facts, by definition, have no explanation.
    So can it be assumed that these "brute facts" are to be given credit for existence? If so, that's a neat and convenient avoidance package. By that, I, of course, mean 'weak.' If the theist is not allowed to point to God as the cause and it is certainly illogical to accept the something-from-nothing's crowd suggestion, your new 'it's all just so damn ineffable' explanation simply won't do, either.

    Further, most atheists I know do not think normative commitments (e.g., encompassing the value systems and morals you bring up in this thread) are simply reducible to or justified or explained solely in reference to the types of descriptive deliverances that would come at the ushering of physics or chemistry.
    Well, there can't be a baby if there is no bathwater, right? I'd submit that neither you nor the atheists you know are able to explain morals/value systems in light of the cause of existence. You can't just jump in the middle of the game and make bold assertions on the current state of things--- paying no attention to the man behind the curtain. It's relatively simple to armchair quarterback on the historical elasticity of morality with so much hindsight available to us. But you stop far short of the real question, namely, how did we arrive here from nothing?

    It would help if you took the time to do your homework first.
    Unlike you (and I don't mean this pejoratively in the least), the overwhelming majority of self-proclaimed atheists are amateurs. They're the doppelganger of millions of Christians everywhere who are long on opinion and short on doctrine. I hold that the questions posed in the OP are relevant and intriguing. After all, if a professional such as yourself cannot offer a response to the specifics of their point, how can any garden-variety atheist hope to honestly stand?
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