Atheism's problem of evil

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met
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Re: Atheism's problem of evil

Post by met » Sun Jan 03, 2010 10:30 pm

fleetmouse wrote:
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".


See what I'm saying? ... that seems a little weak ;)
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?
... but in most - or atleast many - versions of atheism, SOME subjective experiences (ie those repeatable in a laboratory) are considered superior. "Solid" and repeatable phenomena become the LCD baseline for both public discourse and for moral and cultural development. And your private epiphanies are irrelevant.
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.
This sounds a bit like Meta's TS arg .... ok, HOW do you recognize that in atheistic worldviews? How do you honor it, and conduct public discourses about it? How do you put it in the center of the village, instead of on the outskirts? :twisted:
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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Re: Atheism's problem of evil

Post by Superfund » Sun Jan 03, 2010 10:44 pm

fleetmouse wrote:I've seen a few posts recently where Christians point at horrible acts and imply that a nontheistic worldview is inadequate to explain them. Metacrock briefly alluded to this recently in another thread on Doxa regarding a little girl who was sold into prostitution by her mother and ended up dead in a ditch.

So I would like to explore this - is the existence of acts that we would call evil a problem for naturalism, and why?

Before the ball gets rolling, we should discuss whether evil is an essence or simply an adjective. I think this is the crux of the matter.
I think "evil" is a value judgment I think the real problem for your naturalism is hatred. Its of basis in every act we judge either individualy or as a community to be evil. Is it possible to be in hatred with someone as in they are in love? I would say yes.
Easy to start very very difficult to stop. If its difficult for an individual to stop hating how much more for a community. I think you'd be right to describe hatred as an essence it can work like osmosis...

dam i'm at work i got to go :(

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Re: Atheism's problem of evil

Post by QuantumTroll » Mon Jan 04, 2010 5:39 am

I've just skimmed this discussion, and I take issue with Sgttomas' position that atheists don't have an objective or universal basis for morality. The Dalai Lama's book "Ethics for the New Millenium" describes an atheist moral framework that is based on the objective fact that people universally don't want to suffer. I think that most definitions of "good" and "evil" are related to the presence of, the cause of, and relief from suffering. Suffering is a subjective experience in that it is experienced subjectively, but it can be determined objectively to a high degree of accuracy whether someone is suffering. I hold that morality can be (is really) objective in an atheistic worldview.

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Re: Atheism's problem of evil

Post by Metacrock » Mon Jan 04, 2010 10:44 am

QuantumTroll wrote:I've just skimmed this discussion, and I take issue with Sgttomas' position that atheists don't have an objective or universal basis for morality. The Dalai Lama's book "Ethics for the New Millenium" describes an atheist moral framework that is based on the objective fact that people universally don't want to suffer. I think that most definitions of "good" and "evil" are related to the presence of, the cause of, and relief from suffering. Suffering is a subjective experience in that it is experienced subjectively, but it can be determined objectively to a high degree of accuracy whether someone is suffering. I hold that morality can be (is really) objective in an atheistic worldview.

people have tried to make such connections but they don't pan out. That's a violation of Hume's fork. The real problem is they don't understand the value judgment of "evil." It can't be based upon nature. You can't derive "ought" from "is."

Now did the DL actually call it "atheist?" Is this a case atheists trying to include everyone but Christians as atheists?
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Re: Atheism's problem of evil

Post by Metacrock » Mon Jan 04, 2010 10:45 am

Superfund wrote:
fleetmouse wrote:I've seen a few posts recently where Christians point at horrible acts and imply that a nontheistic worldview is inadequate to explain them. Metacrock briefly alluded to this recently in another thread on Doxa regarding a little girl who was sold into prostitution by her mother and ended up dead in a ditch.

So I would like to explore this - is the existence of acts that we would call evil a problem for naturalism, and why?

Before the ball gets rolling, we should discuss whether evil is an essence or simply an adjective. I think this is the crux of the matter.
I think "evil" is a value judgment I think the real problem for your naturalism is hatred. Its of basis in every act we judge either individualy or as a community to be evil. Is it possible to be in hatred with someone as in they are in love? I would say yes.
Easy to start very very difficult to stop. If its difficult for an individual to stop hating how much more for a community. I think you'd be right to describe hatred as an essence it can work like osmosis...

dam i'm at work i got to go :(
Yes it's a value judgment but the value judgment stems from the axioms that ground it thus they can't be found "objectively" in nature.
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Re: Atheism's problem of evil

Post by met » Mon Jan 04, 2010 2:03 pm

Metacrock wrote:
QuantumTroll wrote:I've just skimmed this discussion, and I take issue with Sgttomas' position that atheists don't have an objective or universal basis for morality. The Dalai Lama's book "Ethics for the New Millenium" describes an atheist moral framework that is based on the objective fact that people universally don't want to suffer. I think that most definitions of "good" and "evil" are related to the presence of, the cause of, and relief from suffering. Suffering is a subjective experience in that it is experienced subjectively, but it can be determined objectively to a high degree of accuracy whether someone is suffering. I hold that morality can be (is really) objective in an atheistic worldview.

people have tried to make such connections but they don't pan out. That's a violation of Hume's fork. The real problem is they don't understand the value judgment of "evil." It can't be based upon nature. You can't derive "ought" from "is."

Now did the DL actually call it "atheist?" Is this a case atheists trying to include everyone but Christians as atheists?
Don't Buddhism and some other Eastern views tend to do that? Derive an 'ought' - well, maybe not from an 'is' - but more like from an 'isn't.' In those schemes, realising the impermanence and unreality of the self is the key to ending OUR sufffering, but it also leads to realize that ALL suffering is part of OUR suffering ... cuz, well, as it turns out, the 'self' is only illusory, is insatiable, and causes us to suffer ... :?
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 » Mon Jan 04, 2010 10:46 pm

met wrote:
Metacrock wrote:
QuantumTroll wrote:I've just skimmed this discussion, and I take issue with Sgttomas' position that atheists don't have an objective or universal basis for morality. The Dalai Lama's book "Ethics for the New Millenium" describes an atheist moral framework that is based on the objective fact that people universally don't want to suffer. I think that most definitions of "good" and "evil" are related to the presence of, the cause of, and relief from suffering. Suffering is a subjective experience in that it is experienced subjectively, but it can be determined objectively to a high degree of accuracy whether someone is suffering. I hold that morality can be (is really) objective in an atheistic worldview.

people have tried to make such connections but they don't pan out. That's a violation of Hume's fork. The real problem is they don't understand the value judgment of "evil." It can't be based upon nature. You can't derive "ought" from "is."

Now did the DL actually call it "atheist?" Is this a case atheists trying to include everyone but Christians as atheists?
Don't Buddhism and some other Eastern views tend to do that? Derive an 'ought' - well, maybe not from an 'is' - but more like from an 'isn't.' In those schemes, realising the impermanence and unreality of the self is the key to ending OUR sufffering, but it also leads to realize that ALL suffering is part of OUR suffering ... cuz, well, as it turns out, the 'self' is only illusory, is insatiable, and causes us to suffer ... :?

that's nowhere near the same. They not dealing with ethical decision making and they are not imposing an "ought." Moreover, as you say, it's real an "isn't."
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Re: Atheism's problem of evil

Post by met » Tue Jan 05, 2010 1:35 am

Metacrock wrote:
that's nowhere near the same. They not dealing with ethical decision making and they are not imposing an "ought."
It's interesting, looking it up, what Hume meant the way he referred to that. when all of a sudden I am surpriz'd to find, that instead of the usual copulations of propositions, is, and is not, I meet with no proposition that is not connected with an ought, or an ought not. This change is imperceptible; but is however, of the last consequence.

Yeah, remembering Plato's dialogues, Socrates was always doing exactly that, deriving an 'ought' from an 'is,'wasn't he? Looking into the "true nature" of a thing, then devloping a POV on how it/we should act in accordance with that nature. The underlying 'ought' I suppose was this: "a thing OUGHT to act in accordance with its true nature and not agaisnt it"

Isn't Buddhism (in my lame oversimplification at least) doing the same thing? "All of us are contingent, and only part of the whole, so we should ease and not contribute to each other's suffering, because each other's suffering is part of our suffering"

Is the underlying 'ought' "we should ease our own suffering??" As opposed to what? Just learning to like it? :shock:
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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Re: Atheism's problem of evil

Post by sgttomas » Tue Jan 05, 2010 1:49 am

QuantumTroll wrote:I've just skimmed this discussion, and I take issue with Sgttomas' position that atheists don't have an objective or universal basis for morality. The Dalai Lama's book "Ethics for the New Millenium" describes an atheist moral framework that is based on the objective fact that people universally don't want to suffer. I think that most definitions of "good" and "evil" are related to the presence of, the cause of, and relief from suffering. Suffering is a subjective experience in that it is experienced subjectively, but it can be determined objectively to a high degree of accuracy whether someone is suffering. I hold that morality can be (is really) objective in an atheistic worldview.
Thanks for taking the time to read it and add to the discussion.

Yes, I agree that what you said applies to a particular worldview. I was explicit about that. Morality is just making stuff up and then following it and being a hypocrite. So anyone can be moral. Having an objective principle for morality is not possible for an atheistic culture, therefore the aggregate is not immorality, but amorality. Morality is a cultural creation with no a priori knowledge derived from On High (this is integral to Metacrock's notion of Godhood in the Fount of Being, sense and also to the theistic fatalism of anthropic reasoning - we are hopelessly stuck on thinking of a way to achieve immortality). Any move towards On High necessarily invokes what I have identified as religious principles. So universal, objective morality is a religious pursuit, while individual morality and cultural amorality is an atheistic endeavour. Your choice of suffering has no universal moral application because equally valid moral systems appreciate suffering, while abhorring, say, going into the afterlife without one's spouse (requiring the "timely" deaths of both partners). How can we say one is better than another except to appeal to our own reasonable perspective. The only thing required of humanity in terms of morality is survival because without survival morality has no context, because no one exists to be moral. There is no way to be more specific than that about who survives, why and in what capacity.

Because of this variety of moral experience, I only use "atheist" and "theist" as archetypes of behaviour. Real people occupy both categories, because pragmatism is favourable over consistency when it comes to forming beliefs about life. So there need not be a grand synthesis of knowledge (that necessarily leads to On High) for there to be morality. But any characteristically human effort to propagate as a species (a move towards immorTALity) is a religious one. This is the only consistent way to keep the notions of atheism and theism distinct from one another. Any other resolution makes such a distinction entirely subjective (i.e. atheism only in the specific sense, not the absolute sense).

This is critical to resolve the circular logic of negation, "I don't believe in *that* god" that is the lone necessary characteristic of atheism. Since anything can be defined as "god", for us to be able to use these words in an intersubjective sense...and not in the private language sense necessitated by the inner experience of divinity that cannot be duplicated in speech or writing...this is the only consistent framework to apply.

Of course, this only applies in the very limited context of describing absolutes. When discussing non-absolutes we can be a lot more flexible and personal in how we think and speak. So while you think of using "atheism" in both the general and specific sense, I have clearly and consistently defined the two differently as atheism (the general sense) and an Atheist (with correlate to the specific atheism).

Now, I will allow that my logic could be wrong about how to deal with absolutes, but it doesn't falter from the objection you raise here. As Fleetmouse pointed out, I have a tendency to abuse the english language - or as I prefer; teaching it a lesson to make it behave. lol. I wish I knew another language that corresponds better to how my inner grammar works! :ugeek:

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 sgttomas » Tue Jan 05, 2010 1:52 am

Metacrock wrote:
QuantumTroll wrote:I've just skimmed this discussion, and I take issue with Sgttomas' position that atheists don't have an objective or universal basis for morality. The Dalai Lama's book "Ethics for the New Millenium" describes an atheist moral framework that is based on the objective fact that people universally don't want to suffer. I think that most definitions of "good" and "evil" are related to the presence of, the cause of, and relief from suffering. Suffering is a subjective experience in that it is experienced subjectively, but it can be determined objectively to a high degree of accuracy whether someone is suffering. I hold that morality can be (is really) objective in an atheistic worldview.

people have tried to make such connections but they don't pan out. That's a violation of Hume's fork. The real problem is they don't understand the value judgment of "evil." It can't be based upon nature. You can't derive "ought" from "is."

Now did the DL actually call it "atheist?" Is this a case atheists trying to include everyone but Christians as atheists?
This is what I was trying to say. ;)

-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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