Atheism's problem of evil

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fleetmouse
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Re: Atheism's problem of evil

Post by fleetmouse » Thu Dec 31, 2009 1:34 pm

Well you could say the same for any experience - reading about being morally good, having sex, sailing a boat, riding a horse, attaining enlightenment - all these things cannot be fully covered by instructions and reading the book is no guarantee that you won't end up thrown by the horse, misleading your people, spurned by your partner, etc.

I'm not going to concede experience - even the experience of "enlightenment" or "transcendence" - to the non-naturalists. Actually I think natural versus supernatural is a false dichotomy that is parallel to and enabled by the mental / physical dichotomy, but that's for another thread another time. ;)

Also, what's the point of following any kind of religious tradition or ritual if it doesn't at least increase your chances of attaining your goal?

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met
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Re: Atheism's problem of evil

Post by met » Thu Dec 31, 2009 2:18 pm

fleetmouse wrote:Well you could say the same for any experience - reading about being morally good, having sex, sailing a boat, riding a horse, attaining enlightenment - all these things cannot be fully covered by instructions and reading the book is no guarantee that you won't end up thrown by the horse, misleading your people, spurned by your partner, etc.

I'm not going to concede experience - even the experience of "enlightenment" or "transcendence" - to the non-naturalists. Actually I think natural versus supernatural is a false dichotomy that is parallel to and enabled by the mental / physical dichotomy, but that's for another thread another time. ;)

Also, what's the point of following any kind of religious tradition or ritual if it doesn't at least increase your chances of attaining your goal?
Right. Agree that many things can be 'transcendent.' And valuable. But what st seems to be asking is ... how does one express the value of that kind of transcendentalism in an atheistic worldview? It seems difficult. From that perspective, those experiences seem have basis only in individual subjective perceptions, so they are easily swept aside by more "practical" concerns - and "practical" usually just comes down to the concerns of whatever group(s) dominate a given culture or society at any given time...


Wheras a theisitic worldview is just naturally ROOTED in transcendentalism ... so those transcendental values are easier to give voice to
The “One” is the space of the “world” of the tick, but also the “pinch” of the lobster, or that rendezvous in person to confirm online pictures (with a new lover or an old God). This is the machinery operative...as “onto-theology."
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met
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Re: Atheism's problem of evil

Post by met » Thu Dec 31, 2009 2:26 pm

fleetmouse wrote:
Also, what's the point of following any kind of religious tradition or ritual if it doesn't at least increase your chances of attaining your goal?
heck, you could understand those kinds of things as just more or less "superstition" ... like an NFL player slapping his helmet a few times before he goes out on the field .... it only helps because he's made a ritual of it
The “One” is the space of the “world” of the tick, but also the “pinch” of the lobster, or that rendezvous in person to confirm online pictures (with a new lover or an old God). This is the machinery operative...as “onto-theology."
Dr Ward Blanton

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Re: Atheism's problem of evil

Post by Metacrock » Thu Dec 31, 2009 3:35 pm

this discussion really got away from me fast.
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Re: Atheism's problem of evil

Post by fleetmouse » Fri Jan 01, 2010 9:54 am

Metacrock wrote:lol Ayatollah Dawkins. Hilarious and yet, frightening.
You really shouldn't be afraid of people like him. He's small minded, disrespectful and grating, but about as threatening as a stamp collector drinking a glass of sherry.
Good point. You should read about Augustine's revaluation of the values of the empire (City of God). I think it's foundational itself. Christianity I mean. Obviously it's founded in Hebrew and Greek thought.
I think a lot of what gets codified as morality is distilled from the practical experience of being an embodied entity in the world, and I think I see that reflected in the Bible whether or not one believes it has a supernatural origin.
that's similar to Dorothy Emmet's conclusion. You should get her book (1960s) The Moral Prism. one of the best books I've ever read on ethics.
Out of print - however Amazon has used copies. We were going to place some orders soon anyways so maybe I'll get one.
I don't think the moral axioms are composites but they are built from constituents goods. Like little goods pile up into big goods. Not composites because they don't just splice together ideas in lump sums but they build with finer building blocks form the most basic level until they result in a edifice.

[...]

you are totally wrong I think. The axiomatic approach is going to be taken by almost all ethicist. that's what people who study ethics all the time agree is the foundation of any ethical system. Axioms are axiological, they build out of values.

what you say about web of meaning is totally off base. Axioms emerge out of the web of meaning complete. They are made up of constituent parts which are the result of values. that is the web of meaning that's exactly what it is.
I think I don't know enough about the academic study of ethics, and how the word "axiom" is used in that context. I always though something axiomatic was irreducible, not composite - but you seem to be contradicting yourself when you say they ARE built out of constituent goods. And do you mean that all axioms are axiological, or just ethical axioms? If so, that reminds me of Nietzsche again, and his point that every perception or thought involves valuation. (I really must finish reading Genealogy of Morals and move on to something else before I take on too much of his flavor like a box of baking soda next to a fish)

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Re: Atheism's problem of evil

Post by Metacrock » Sat Jan 02, 2010 11:06 am

fleetmouse wrote:
Metacrock wrote:lol Ayatollah Dawkins. Hilarious and yet, frightening.
You really shouldn't be afraid of people like him. He's small minded, disrespectful and grating, but about as threatening as a stamp collector drinking a glass of sherry.
Ben Ladin? Some think h'e s a terrorist. Urbild seems to think not.
Good point. You should read about Augustine's revaluation of the values of the empire (City of God). I think it's foundational itself. Christianity I mean. Obviously it's founded in Hebrew and Greek thought.
I think a lot of what gets codified as morality is distilled from the practical experience of being an embodied entity in the world, and I think I see that reflected in the Bible whether or not one believes it has a supernatural origin.
Not values. It's pertty obvious and identifiable what a value is as opposed to something else.
that's similar to Dorothy Emmet's conclusion. You should get her book (1960s) The Moral Prism. one of the best books I've ever read on ethics.
Out of print - however Amazon has used copies. We were going to place some orders soon anyways so maybe I'll get one.
wow hard to believe. good books for smart people don't sell
I don't think the moral axioms are composites but they are built from constituents goods. Like little goods pile up into big goods. Not composites because they don't just splice together ideas in lump sums but they build with finer building blocks form the most basic level until they result in a edifice.

[...]

you are totally wrong I think. The axiomatic approach is going to be taken by almost all ethicist. that's what people who study ethics all the time agree is the foundation of any ethical system. Axioms are axiological, they build out of values.

what you say about web of meaning is totally off base. Axioms emerge out of the web of meaning complete. They are made up of constituent parts which are the result of values. that is the web of meaning that's exactly what it is.
I think I don't know enough about the academic study of ethics, and how the word "axiom" is used in that context. I always though something axiomatic was irreducible, not composite - but you seem to be contradicting yourself when you say they ARE built out of constituent goods. And do you mean that all axioms are axiological, or just ethical axioms? If so, that reminds me of Nietzsche again, and his point that every perception or thought involves valuation. (I really must finish reading Genealogy of Morals and move on to something else before I take on too much of his flavor like a box of baking soda next to a fish)[/quote]


In math axioms are irreducible but with values they have to come from somewhere. The only irreducible things in logic are like "exist' and "not exist."

I wouldn't look to genealogy of morals as means of understanding modern discussions between ethicist. Neitchsche's philosophizing on such matters was real heliocentric, done before the major ethicist of the 20th century made their contributions and more in the vain of aesthetics than ethics. What Emmett says about him is that, although sees his ethical thinking as valid, but his is an aesthetically based ethics. No modern ethicist that I know of are into that.
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Re: Atheism's problem of evil

Post by sgttomas » Sun Jan 03, 2010 1:32 am

heh, oh man you've just helped identify a major feeling I have when reading Neitzhewcexcche: oh, isn't that quaint. :geek:

-sgtt
Prophet Muhammad (God send peace and blessings upon him) is reported to have said, "God says 'I am as My servant thinks I am' " ~ Sahih Al-Bukhari, Vol 9 #502 (Chapter 93, "Oneness of God")

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Re: Atheism's problem of evil

Post by sgttomas » Sun Jan 03, 2010 2:59 am

fleetmouse wrote:Sarge, you have this habit of taking everything to an extreme until everything means everything else and nothing means anything
Why fleetmouse, that's positively one of the nicest complements I've ever been paid. =)
The problem of evil is that the culturally acceptable means of curtailing it are not convergent upon any one solution and many solutions are mutual exclusive. So the real problem of evil is that without an objective framework to ground the experience of reality, there is no such thing as objective evil to which action can be taken. Therefore, the dilemma of resolving the problem of evil in an atheistic worldview is that evil must be perpetrated upon others in order to realize an end to evil for a different (dominant) group.

There is no other possible participation in reality for an atheist. Some may simply choose not to pursue a universal end to evil and settle for resolving evil within their own culture (which logically will be reduced to a culture of one lone individual when this philosophy is pursued to its end, which it won't, therefore the problem of evil is always accommodated to allow for people to have relationships with one another).
I don't think we're all talking about the same "problem of evil" in this thread. I was asking whether a naturalistic / non-theistic worldview is inadequate to explain the existence of evil. It's a philosophical problem. What you're talking about sounds more like a political or sociological problem. And there is much overlap, but also a great deal of difference, between these things.

Anyhow, I don't think you're taking into account the human facility to learn, grow, adapt and change. You're setting up a scenario in which man runs along like a little robot obeying certain precepts unquestioningly. However, when we encounter other people with a different moral and cultural framework, we don't necessarily engage in a war of civilizations, because we can reflect and learn and adapt, and find common ground - because we are, after all, distant cousins - biologically almost identical, living in the same universe on the same planet and coping with many of the same problems and emotional responses.
What principles do we rely upon to grow and accommodate other cultures? This is what I am exploring and categorizing. For consistency, I am trying to identify where the concept of good/evil emanates from in both the theistic and atheistic sense. The common principle is that morality has to refer to something beyond one's self as an authoritative standard to which everything must conform. There is no objective standard in an atheistic worldview that can serve this function, except for the culturally relevant definition in the moment. This is also present in the theistic worldview, however it is not the ONLY possible basis for morality.

My proposition has nothing to do with what in particular we think is good, or common about our experience. So I would assert that an atheistic worldview is inadequate to express evil as anything other than a cultural construct. There is no deeper meaning to be found, nor can any such notion be expressed within that worldview. Any attempt otherwise connotes religious behaviour, even if the "god" isn't a familiar one (the patter of belief is).
Therefore, the simplest way to resolve evil in an atheistic worldview, is to define it out of existence once a tolerable level of group cohesion has been reached.
Or to put it a different way, sometimes we modify or abandon old ideas when we discover new and better ones.
There is no such things as better or worse in an atheistic worldview, just differences. Only individuals perceive better and worse alternatives, and groups collectively converge on the same behaviour, but in no sense is an old idea abandoned because it was worse than a new one in the absolute moral sense. There is no direction or destiny to mankind; just options.

This is the only consistent worldview for an atheist to hold.
I don't think so. Your conception of man and morality, or your conception of the nontheist's conception of man and morality - are too simplistic. People don't begin with a goal and follow blindly. They learn things along the way and change direction. And besides, who said that consistency was the highest virtue?
No, they are as simple as necessary in order to arrive at a consistent vocabulary. Of course, their ability to describe real people is diminished at the same time as their power to explain a philosophical proposition increases. ;) So I am not talking about a particular worldview of a particular Atheist Joe. Good and Evil for Atheist Joe are trivial matters. I chose to look, instead, on how it would be possible for entire cultures to arrive at common definitions for "good" and "evil".

In an atheistic worldview, the only orientation to good and evil is aesthetics...aka, how I feel at the moment. However, over time, the only part about morality that matters is what works. Pragmatism is the only common moral ground across all atheistic worldviews and therefore it is the only trait being "selected for" in cultural "evolution". That is why I identify consistency as the lone virtue. Whatever remains consistent over time becomes the defacto good, because whatever society diminished is "evil" and whatever it pursued is "good" because that is the only consistent way to define those terms across all cultural incarnations. It's a tautology from that perspective, but it makes perfect sense in the moment - the chain of authority in an atheistic/aesthetic worldview is arbitrary.

If any of us want to attempt to describe the real morality of real people, I suggest we just copy and paste one of the hundreds of great novels that explore this subject in its proper medium (prose).

Peace,
-sgttomas
Prophet Muhammad (God send peace and blessings upon him) is reported to have said, "God says 'I am as My servant thinks I am' " ~ Sahih Al-Bukhari, Vol 9 #502 (Chapter 93, "Oneness of God")

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Re: Atheism's problem of evil

Post by fleetmouse » Sun Jan 03, 2010 10:50 am

met wrote:Right. Agree that many things can be 'transcendent.' And valuable. But what st seems to be asking is ... how does one express the value of that kind of transcendentalism in an atheistic worldview?
One says the magical incantation "this aspect of humanity is valuable and important".
It seems difficult.
Really? It took me all of five seconds to type. :D

From that perspective, those experiences seem have basis only in individual subjective perceptions, so they are easily swept aside by more "practical" concerns - and "practical" usually just comes down to the concerns of whatever group(s) dominate a given culture or society at any given time...
But all experience is individual and subjective, so that's no reason to dismiss transcendental experience. And doesn't that experience have practical import for the life of the individual and society? I don't see practicality as being opposed to transcendence. Doesn't providing for the practical needs support and enable the quest for transcendence? And isn't that why monasteries are constructed?
Wheras a theisitic worldview is just naturally ROOTED in transcendentalism ... so those transcendental values are easier to give voice to
The simple fact of having a worldview, any worldview at all, is transcendence itself. You're greater than the sum of your parts. A recognition of that transcends (pun intended) the differences between theistic and atheistic worldviews.

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Re: Atheism's problem of evil

Post by Metacrock » Sun Jan 03, 2010 12:20 pm

sgttomas wrote:heh, oh man you've just helped identify a major feeling I have when reading Neitzhewcexcche: oh, isn't that quaint. :geek:

-sgtt

LOL :mrgreen:
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