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Atheistic Morality

Atheistic Morality
(09-21-2020, 07:27 AM)Cavebear Wrote:
(09-19-2020, 08:39 PM)Zzyzx Wrote: My sister-in-law won't let her kids talk to me because I'm an atheist. My oldest nephew asked her "What does that matter?"

Apparently, I'm immoral just because.

Your oldest nephew has the right idea.  Most of us atheists have relatives who despise us.  We aren't YET a majority.  Someday, we will be.  Flat-Earthers USED to be a majority and they are not now.  Logic and science has passed them by.  

I tend to think of ethics as human-created guidelines from societal experience and morality as obedience to religious rules.  So I am ethical, but not "moral".  So, yeah, you are probably "immoral".  Wink

By that line of thought, I would say "amoral".

Anyway, morals are governed by societal norms. What's immoral for one society isn't necessarily immoral for another. 

We beat this topic to death on TTA. Glad to see the horse is back lol
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Atheistic Morality
(09-21-2020, 11:29 AM)Zzyzx Wrote:
(09-21-2020, 07:27 AM)Cavebear Wrote:
(09-19-2020, 08:39 PM)Zzyzx Wrote: My sister-in-law won't let her kids talk to me because I'm an atheist. My oldest nephew asked her "What does that matter?"

Apparently, I'm immoral just because.

Your oldest nephew has the right idea.  Most of us atheists have relatives who despise us.  We aren't YET a majority.  Someday, we will be.  Flat-Earthers USED to be a majority and they are not now.  Logic and science has passed them by.  

I tend to think of ethics as human-created guidelines from societal experience and morality as obedience to religious rules.  So I am ethical, but not "moral".  So, yeah, you are probably "immoral".  Wink

By that line of thought, I would say "amoral".

Anyway, morals are governed by societal norms. What's immoral for one society isn't necessarily immoral for another. 

We beat this topic to death on TTA. Glad to see the horse is back lol

What is "TTA"? I do see a difference between ethics and morality from the source.
Theists disbelieve in all deities but one.  I just disbelieve in one less.
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Atheistic Morality
(09-06-2020, 10:01 PM)Thumpalumpacus Wrote:
(09-06-2020, 04:42 PM)Bcat Wrote:
(09-06-2020, 03:12 PM)Thumpalumpacus Wrote: Ask the first multicellular animal. Did it need to know addition to exceed a one-celled body?

While 1 + 1 = 2 was a human invention, it still meets the definition of an axiom:

(1) It is regarded as being established and accepted.  The concept of 1 + 1 = 2 has been in use by our society (and even before our society) for a long time and it is an accepted concept among society.

(2) It is self-evidently true.  If someone says they have two of something, we know what they mean.

Aren't both those examples simply restatements of facts in mathematical language? They are accepted because that is how we define those facts in order for our math to work in this universe.

That's not to say that in any language (mathematical or not) 1+1 =/= 2. But we have designed the definitions in our mathematical language .

For a long time we thought the sum of the interior angles of a triangle must be 180°. But that was because the unquestioned premise (i.e., axiom) was that geometry had to be planar. Once we considered three-dimensional geometry, it was obvious that axiom was an accepted starting-point for dealing with triangles, rather than an actual fact -- especially once we discovered that space-time is curved.

As Godel pointed out, one cannot prove the veracity of a system inside that system itself. That system will start with axioms that cannot be shown true inside that system.

We can prove math is true and reliable for first order logic.  It is second order logic where Godel bites us.
And my little boy named my truck "Giddyup gah gah gah!"  Isn't he cute?  He's only eight.



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Atheistic Morality
(09-21-2020, 11:34 AM)Cavebear Wrote:
(09-21-2020, 11:29 AM)Zzyzx Wrote:
(09-21-2020, 07:27 AM)Cavebear Wrote: Your oldest nephew has the right idea.  Most of us atheists have relatives who despise us.  We aren't YET a majority.  Someday, we will be.  Flat-Earthers USED to be a majority and they are not now.  Logic and science has passed them by.  

I tend to think of ethics as human-created guidelines from societal experience and morality as obedience to religious rules.  So I am ethical, but not "moral".  So, yeah, you are probably "immoral".  Wink

By that line of thought, I would say "amoral".

Anyway, morals are governed by societal norms. What's immoral for one society isn't necessarily immoral for another. 

We beat this topic to death on TTA. Glad to see the horse is back lol

What is "TTA"?  I do see a difference between ethics and morality from the source.

There are several kinds of morality.

Deontological  - Duty
I will not eat shellfish or pork.  Because the Bible commands me not to.

Pragmatic.  I will not rob or rape to avoid being sent to prison.

Virtue ethics 
I will not do anything that causes pain and suffering to other people.  Based on empathy and the realization we need to do this to have a good civilization.  If nobody had limits to what acts we all could do, it would be a most unpleasant world.

There is a thing that some sophisticated theologians tell us.  God is not a moral agent.  God owes us no moral obligations. To have obligations is to destroy God's sovereignty over all things. This to dodge the problem of evil.

But personal morality is adopting self imposed limits and to adopt obligations.  God then is amoral.  And cannot be good or have any of the sub-goodnesses God is said to have, mercy, compassion, justness, fairness.  God does not actualize his supposed infinite goodness.
And my little boy named my truck "Giddyup gah gah gah!"  Isn't he cute?  He's only eight.



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Atheistic Morality
I should probably stop bothering to distinguish between ethics and morality. The difference seems lost.
Theists disbelieve in all deities but one.  I just disbelieve in one less.
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Atheistic Morality
(09-21-2020, 02:32 PM)Cavebear Wrote: I should probably stop bothering to distinguish between ethics and morality.  The difference seems lost.

Really, there is no difference.  Ethics is from the Greek.  Morality from Latin.
And my little boy named my truck "Giddyup gah gah gah!"  Isn't he cute?  He's only eight.



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Atheistic Morality
(09-21-2020, 02:32 PM)Cavebear Wrote: I should probably stop bothering to distinguish between ethics and morality.  The difference seems lost.

And you have to leave a space for mores, as well. Big Grin
Philosophy is about asking questions.
Science is about answering questions.
Theology is about avoiding questions.
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Atheistic Morality
(09-22-2020, 05:53 AM)Chas Wrote:
(09-21-2020, 02:32 PM)Cavebear Wrote: I should probably stop bothering to distinguish between ethics and morality.  The difference seems lost.

And you have to leave a space for mores, as well. Big Grin

Custom and convention would like a seat at the table, too.
Freedom isn't free.
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Atheistic Morality
(09-19-2020, 08:39 PM)Zzyzx Wrote: My sister-in-law won't let her kids talk to me because I'm an atheist. My oldest nephew asked her "What does that matter?"

Apparently, I'm immoral just because.

She thinks her kids will get atheist cooties from you.
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Atheistic Morality
(09-21-2020, 02:32 PM)Cavebear Wrote: I should probably stop bothering to distinguish between ethics and morality.  The difference seems lost.

I just tend to think of ethics as applied morality in a particular vertical. Similar to how technology is just science applied to a particular problem.

But you're right that in practice the terms are as often as not used interchangeably.

But lawyers and other professions have codes of ethics ... not a code of morals. Their ethics say that as a lawyer or whatever you must always do x and never do y or you're out on your ear.

That is where I derive the distinction from.
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Atheistic Morality
(09-21-2020, 09:08 PM)Cheerful Charlie Wrote:
(09-21-2020, 02:32 PM)Cavebear Wrote: I should probably stop bothering to distinguish between ethics and morality.  The difference seems lost.

Really, there is no difference.  Ethics is from the Greek.  Morality from Latin.

They are closely related concepts; morals refer mainly to guiding  principles, and ethics refer
to specific  laws and actions.  A moral tenet is an idea or opinion that’s driven by a desire
to be good. An ethical code is a set of rules that defines allowable actions or correct behaviour.

Ethics aren’t necessarily moral—and vice versa.

A moral action can be unethical. A defence lawyer who admits to the court that his client is
guilty may be driven by a moral desire to see justice done, but this is obviously unethical
because it breaches the attorney-client privilege.
I'm a creationist;   I believe that man created God.
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Atheistic Morality
This is my favourite definition (so far) of what morality is..

Morality can be a body of standards or principles derived from a code of conduct from a particular philosophy, religion or culture, or it can derive from a standard that a person believes should be universal.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morality

get a religion, stick a god at the end of the chain and you have objective morality, though clearly that's not the only way to arrive there.

The objectivity of religious morality is simply faith based, and would require evidence of its god to be valid as truly objective, even then that does not tell us if the morality of a god is desirable or beneficial.
Those who ask a lot of questions may seem stupid, but those who don't ask questions stay stupid.
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Atheistic Morality
(09-22-2020, 05:53 AM)Chas Wrote:
(09-21-2020, 02:32 PM)Cavebear Wrote: I should probably stop bothering to distinguish between ethics and morality.  The difference seems lost.

And you have to leave a space for mores, as well. Big Grin
when camping, I try to leave space for 'smores too.
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Atheistic Morality
(09-25-2020, 03:53 PM)possibletarian Wrote: The objectivity of religious morality is simply faith based, and would require evidence of its god to be valid as truly objective, even then that does not tell us if the morality of a god is desirable or beneficial.

It is just as subjective, in my view, in that people cherry-pick which moral imperatives of a religion they observe, and which they ignore.
Freedom isn't free.
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Atheistic Morality
(09-25-2020, 04:02 PM)Thumpalumpacus Wrote:
(09-25-2020, 03:53 PM)possibletarian Wrote: The objectivity of religious morality is simply faith based, and would require evidence of its god to be valid as truly objective, even then that does not tell us if the morality of a god is desirable or beneficial.

It is just as subjective, in my view, in that people cherry-pick which moral imperatives of a religion they observe, and which they ignore.

I agree I think Christians of a 150 years ago would be horrified at the way what they though of as clear instruction has been manipulated to suit today's society.  I have no doubt we are our own moral agents.

As regards objectivity i meant only in the 'outside of humanity' way, of course I agree if a god (even if it exists) is moral by it's nature, then it's beyond the control of that god what that is, therefore arbitrary.
Those who ask a lot of questions may seem stupid, but those who don't ask questions stay stupid.
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Atheistic Morality
(09-25-2020, 04:02 PM)Thumpalumpacus Wrote:
(09-25-2020, 03:53 PM)possibletarian Wrote: The objectivity of religious morality is simply faith based, and would require evidence of its god to be valid as truly objective, even then that does not tell us if the morality of a god is desirable or beneficial.

It is just as subjective, in my view, in that people cherry-pick which moral imperatives of a religion they observe, and which they ignore.
Yes, and in addition, if those imperatives are derived from god, and god is whatever someone decides he is, and holy writ means whatever one says it means ... then the morality supposedly derived from god and holy write are also subjective.

I came out of the literalist / interrantist school of Biblical interpretation and was taught from the cradle that the word of god is drop-dead objective and we were SO lucky to have it so we weren't lost shades just making shit up.

Then they sent me to learn theology and I found out there's this thing called hermaneutics -- interpretive systems that are supposed to lead you to the correct interpretation of this supposedly objective Word. And there are many systems, and they conflict on important points. And the hermaneutic we were taught, was at odds even within our own tribe over what to take literally and what to take figuratively or metaphorically, or symbolically, or how to "resolve" certain ... inconsistencies in the text (apparent inconsistencies, we'd always say, because once you understood the correct interpretation, there was in fact no inconsistency).

From this I learned that everything is subjective, even to someone trying very had to be objective and literal. That language fails us as a precise way to convey meaning, and if you try to find some bedrock universal Truth -- that way lies madness. You have to accept that all knowledge is an approximation of an expression of reality.

So ... it turns out that we WERE lost shades just making shit up. Who knew!
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Atheistic Morality
(09-25-2020, 04:37 PM)possibletarian Wrote:
(09-25-2020, 04:02 PM)Thumpalumpacus Wrote:
(09-25-2020, 03:53 PM)possibletarian Wrote: The objectivity of religious morality is simply faith based, and would require evidence of its god to be valid as truly objective, even then that does not tell us if the morality of a god is desirable or beneficial.

It is just as subjective, in my view, in that people cherry-pick which moral imperatives of a religion they observe, and which they ignore.

I agree I think Christians of a 150 years ago would be horrified at the way what they though of as clear instruction has been manipulated to suit today's society.  I have no doubt we are our own moral agents.

As regards objectivity i meant only in the 'outside of humanity' way, of course I agree if a god (even if it exists) is moral by it's nature, then it's beyond the control of that god what that is, therefore arbitrary.

Exactly.

In the 1920s for example the bogeyman was these newfangled popular entertainments like radio, the revealing clothing worn by flappers, and of course the dances themselves. Later the radio became commonplace and even a vehicle for preaching, so it couldn't very well be all bad. Then the bogeyman was movies, and then television, and the skirts just got shorter and shorter, even for women who were "proper", "submissive" housewives. In other words, the definition of propriety shifted slowly enough that a few old-timers would decry it, but mostly the illusion of an immutable moral code was maintained within the adult lifetime of any one person.

So many things went by the wayside over the years: things like chaperoned dating. Other things got added to the list of no-nos that used to be okay: beards on men and smoking were distinct signifiers of rebellion when I was growing up in the 60s, but were unremarkable to most Christians for generations before. I suppose being "clean cut" became associated with wholesomeness through the shared experience of the world wars, and beards got associated with rebelliousness because of hippie culture and its conflict with corporate dress codes, a proxy for "respectable" jobs.

So Christians, like everyone else, would not agree from one era to the next on what was or wasn't acceptable. There was nothing special about Christian notions of morality except that it tended to be just a bit out of step with the evolution of morality and social norms in society at large. Christians were slow on the uptake, but uptake they ultimately did.
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Atheistic Morality
(09-25-2020, 03:53 PM)possibletarian Wrote: This is my favourite definition (so far) of what morality is..

Morality can be a body of standards or principles derived from a code of conduct from a particular philosophy, religion or culture, or it can derive from a standard that a person believes should be universal.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morality

get a religion, stick a god at the end of the chain and you have objective morality, though clearly that's not the only way to arrive there.

The objectivity of religious morality is simply faith based, and would require evidence of its god to be valid as truly objective, even then that does not tell us if the morality of a god is desirable or beneficial.


I personally don't think of morality as a list of rules or decision tree for deciding what one should do in any circumstance.  I think it is one dimension of human behavior and one which takes place spontaneously.  It is true that we do sometimes come up with moral frameworks which express our intellectual take on what one ought to do in general.  But in actual practice our much ballyhooed reason functions, as Jonathon Haidt says in The Righteous Mind, more as a press secretary for what the moral impulse leads us to do with or without our best judgement.  He describes the relationship of reason to moral action as that of a rider on an elephant.  There is only so much a rider can do.  More often reason to put the best spin on the elephant's actions as possible.  That comes closer to describing the nature of human morality than all the bullshit human reason has come up with over the ages.  Doesn't mean we can't have standards, laws and consequences.  Sometimes you just have a shoot a bad elephant, rider and all.
"Talk nonsense, but talk your own nonsense, and I'll kiss you for it. To go wrong in one's own way is better than to go right in someone else's. 
F. D.
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