Atheism's problem of evil

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Re: Atheism's problem of evil

Post by met » Thu Jan 07, 2010 10:24 am

QuantumTroll wrote:
met wrote:
The "ought" derives so naturally that we see understanding of it even in animal behavior: you shouldn't cause others pain. That's the foundation of humanist morality and can be rephrased, reiterated, broadened, deepened, and discussed to no end. And quite objective...
I think NOT!!!! :o The problem is OTHER PEOPLE'S PAIN doesn't actually hurt us! :shock: ... and since competition - ie predation on and/or exclusion of the weaker -seems to be woven very deeply into the everyday, natural order of things too, why shouldn't the stronger among us act in accordance with their nature (while PRETENDING to be moral whenever it suits them...) and take all they can for themselves?
Because humans are social beings. No man is an island, and (barring sociopathic mental illness) aren't happy living just for ourselves. Competition among people makes sense in exactly one context: survival. If there are only enough resources (e.g. food) to feed 50% of the people you know, the stronger will make sure that they're in that 50%. Once you have your basic needs met, however, taking advantage of the weak doesn't provide you with any benefit. More probably, people around you will notice, starting thinking you're a jerk, and stop treating you with kindness. A recipe for a crappy life.
The difficult thing for u would seem to be ... that strategy often works. Hitler and Stalin, for example, lived (or seemed to seemed to have had at least) much easier lives than those of many of their victims or those they exploited in that they didn't starve, they never went hungry at least..... So if using others without conscience, while pretending to be moral, can be a successful life-strategy, how do you frame an atheistic "objective" morality?
Successful life-strategy, you say? Hitler shot himself in a bunker. Stalin was so afraid of his enemies that he executed or banished anyone who showed even an inkling of independent thought and drive, even his oldest friends. These men were historical greats, but I would hardly call their lives a success. But okay, you disagree, that is fine.

Because none of us is Hitler or Stalin. Most of humanity is quite ordinary. We need others and we need others to need us. If humans were sharks, you'd be right. The biggest, fastest, strongest shark gets the most food and is happiest. Humans, however, are more like sheep. A happy flock makes for a happy sheep.

QT, you seem to be claiming that "ethical" behavior works for MOST people, MOST of the time, or at least whenever there is sufficient peace and prosperity ... but how does that provide an "objective" ethical standard in a prescriptive sense?

These men were historical greats, but I would hardly call their lives a success. But okay, you disagree, that is fine.
I don't know if I disagree, except for the sake of argument ... but one thing for sure, only winners write history. If the Axis powers had won WW2 or the USSR had won the Cold War, those peep's stories would be remembered differently ....
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 Metacrock » Thu Jan 07, 2010 11:29 am

see the problem with consequential ethics is it's illustrated prefectly by QT. His standard for "ethics" is "success." Success means purely functional not moral. So his "ethics" have no moral basis.

I think NOT!!!! :o The problem is OTHER PEOPLE'S PAIN doesn't actually hurt us! :shock: ... and since competition - ie predation on and/or exclusion of the weaker -seems to be woven very deeply into the everyday, natural order of things too, why shouldn't the stronger among us act in accordance with their nature (while PRETENDING to be moral whenever it suits them...) and take all they can for themselves?
that's just relativistic and sanctions barbarism. No no one should pretend to be moral, we should be moral. We should understand and maintain a moral dimension.

That out look could make Hitler moral. The idea of comparing everything to biology is merely relativistic and seeks to make an ought out of an is. Ants kill the enemy without question for their own survival, that's moral in QT's world view because it's in nature.
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Re: Atheism's problem of evil

Post by Metacrock » Thu Jan 07, 2010 11:48 am

QuantumTroll wrote:
Metacrock wrote: no it does not depend upon the end. There are two major divisions in ethics. People who believe in truth beieve that rules and duty and obligation determine the good or the right, while godless secularist atheist heathen believe that it's based upon outcome.I say that tongue in cheek of course it seems to fall that way. Atheists tend to be consequential and believers in some form of deity tend to be deontological in their ethics. Most ethicist today believe that most from consequential have been beaten.
QT: Deontological ethics don't make sense to me, unless your moral rule is that you shouldn't hurt people. But if that's your deontological rule, then you end up with a consequentialist ethics in practice anyway. A deontological ethics that isn't based on that rule is in my opinion not a good idea.
that's contradiction to your own biological based outlook. Because your view says anything found "naturally" in nature must be an ought, right? am I misunderstanding you there? But then you have arbitrary outcome oriented understanding that is not derived from nature becuase nowhere in nature do find ideas like "hurting others is wrong."

you are imposing a teleological ethic upon deontology, and you are imposing the violation of the fork on consqeuntualism.

Suppose you follow the rule "always tell the truth". Then you might find yourself in a situation where someone will be hurt by the truth, and you knowingly tell the truth anyway and knowingly hurt this person. And you walk away feeling like you did the moral thing. Madness!
you can always keep silent. you are trying to interpret duty and obligation in a way produces the most legalistic and ineffective outcome. That's not really the result of keeping duty, it's the result of interpreting it that way on purpose. For example, the Nazis come in and say "do you have any Jews hidden about?" If you keep silent they will know and look for them so you say "no." You haven't really violated your duty because you can lexically order duty. The higher duty to protect those in danger overrides the personal duty of telling the truth.




My point here is that a deontological ethicist might say "tell the truth" only if she also says "don't hurt anyone". But as I said above, the latter rule turns the deontologist into a consequentialist in practice.
you can say your duty is not hurt anyone but you are going to measure the sucess by the outcome and say that's what makes for morality, the deontologist says morality is decided by how duty and obligation, an act is moral because it is your duty or an obligation, not determined how well you keep it. It's determined by what your duty is in the first place. That doesn't mean the outcome of violating doesn't count becuase it 's an outcome it just means it's not determined as moral because of the outcome.

In other words seeking pleasure and avoiding pain is not a moral precept.


Then there's the question of where the deontological rules come from. You might say they come from God. I don't think God cares about people following rules (such a petty God that would be!), but rather that people care about each other and act like it. While I don't see any value in following rules for their own sake, a rule can be a good guideline or hint for ethical behavior in many situations (like for example the truth-telling rule).
[/quote]

Your just shifting about the rules of grammar to make deontology look stupid. I don't think you do that on purpose, I think probably it's taught that way in ethics classes below graduate school because people teaching those classes have been shaped by the ideology of mid 20th century liberalism that said consequentilist ethicsl is urbane and deontology is legalisitic and hyde bound. So they cast it in terms of rule keeping rather than duty or obligation and they stick in a bunch of psychology about rule keeping being less highly devleoped than conceptual understanding.

dentology is not about rule keeping. There's a form of it called "rule deontology" but it's the lesser version for suckers. The more important version is based upon duty and obligation. No dentological ethicist say you have to rigidly keep rules when they violtate their own spirit of the rules.
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Re: Atheism's problem of evil

Post by met » Thu Jan 07, 2010 5:02 pm

you can always keep silent. you are trying to interpret duty and obligation in a way produces the most legalistic and ineffective outcome. That's not really the result of keeping duty, it's the result of interpreting it that way on purpose. For example, the Nazis come in and say "do you have any Jews hidden about?" If you keep silent they will know and look for them so you say "no." You haven't really violated your duty because you can lexically order duty. The higher duty to protect those in danger overrides the personal duty of telling the truth.
Words, and the way we use language, is a funny thing. Bonhoeffer claims (in his Ethics, I think) that saying 'No' to such a question isn't even really lying. ....(tho that wasn't exactly the example he used, obviously, it just made me remember what he said...)

I guess it wouldn't be too hard to make that case in that example, at least.

Eg if the Gestapo agents ask you:
"do you have any Jews hidden about?"
What they really mean is this:
"do you have any people who, because of their ethnic or religious background, need to be exterminated hidden about?"
So the moral and true answer is no, according to their own defintions. As no person ever needs to be exterminated because of their ethnic or religious background.
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 Metacrock » Thu Jan 07, 2010 10:17 pm

I guess it wouldn't be too hard to make that case in that example, at least.

Eg if the Gestapo agents ask you:

"do you have any Jews hidden about?"



What they really mean is this:

"do you have any people who, because of their ethnic or religious background, need to be exterminated hidden about?"



So the moral and true answer is no, according to their own defintions. As no person ever needs to be exterminated because of their ethnic or religious background.
yes, that's one way to say it. I would say "your social project is evil. you don't qualify as a person to whom i must submit so I need not comply with your authoirty thus it's not lying it's resistance to injustice and evil.
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Re: Atheism's problem of evil

Post by QuantumTroll » Fri Jan 08, 2010 4:46 am

met wrote: QT, you seem to be claiming that "ethical" behavior works for MOST people, MOST of the time, or at least whenever there is sufficient peace and prosperity ... but how does that provide an "objective" ethical standard in a prescriptive sense?
That isn't my claim exactly. Ethical behavior makes a person's own life better most of the time, but that isn't what defines behavior as ethical. On the flip side of the coin, it's not the fact that Hitler ended up committing suicide that made his actions unethical. The benefits to your own life are incidental in the question of whether an action is ethical. What makes an action ethical is the consequences to other people.
These men were historical greats, but I would hardly call their lives a success. But okay, you disagree, that is fine.
I don't know if I disagree, except for the sake of argument ... but one thing for sure, only winners write history. If the Axis powers had won WW2 or the USSR had won the Cold War, those peep's stories would be remembered differently ....
This is off-topic, but food for thought... The "winners" in real history do have a doozy of ugly tales. US involvement in Latin America, Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq are hardly tales to be proud of. Who wrote/writes those histories?
Metacrock wrote:see the problem with consequential ethics is it's illustrated prefectly by QT. His standard for "ethics" is "success." Success means purely functional not moral. So his "ethics" have no moral basis.
No no no, you have misunderstood me grievously. Or rather, I have put the focus of my post on the wrong point. My standard for ethics is the welfare or happiness of a community.
Because your view says anything found "naturally" in nature must be an ought, right? am I misunderstanding you there?
Yes, that is a misunderstanding. The point I was making about finding cooperation and some kind of "love" and care in nature is only that deriving an "ought" from an "is" is such an easy and obvious task that animals do it. There are lots of examples of altruism and selflessness to be found in nature (and the opposite). If the animals can find a reason to love selflessly, then so can we. However, just because animals do it doesn't mean that we should. So why should we? Because nobody likes suffering and we can all help each other.
But then you have arbitrary outcome oriented understanding that is not derived from nature becuase nowhere in nature do find ideas like "hurting others is wrong."
I think you do find that idea in nature if you're open to seeing it ;)
The higher duty to protect those in danger overrides the personal duty of telling the truth.
Exactly what I was trying to say. You don't tell the truth to the Nazi because of the consequences to the Jews you're protecting.
The more important version is based upon duty and obligation. No dentological ethicist say you have to rigidly keep rules when they violtate their own spirit of the rules.
Duty and obligation seem to me just more nuanced versions of the same basic idea as rules. Why are these deontological duties and obligations moral? I think that deontological ethics works because keeping these duties and obligations enforces behavior that leads to good consequences. If you separate the consequences from the action, then it becomes difficult to know which duty and obligation is higher and more important. In other words, I think there is a significant practical reason to be a consequentialist.

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Re: Atheism's problem of evil

Post by Metacrock » Fri Jan 08, 2010 12:03 pm

QuantumTroll wrote:
Metacrock wrote:see the problem with consequential ethics is it's illustrated prefectly by QT. His standard for "ethics" is "success." Success means purely functional not moral. So his "ethics" have no moral basis.
No no no, you have misunderstood me grievously. Or rather, I have put the focus of my post on the wrong point. My standard for ethics is the welfare or happiness of a community.
But you seem to define that in terms of success. Even so it's still teleological.

Because your view says anything found "naturally" in nature must be an ought, right? am I misunderstanding you there?
Yes, that is a misunderstanding. The point I was making about finding cooperation and some kind of "love" and care in nature is only that deriving an "ought" from an "is" is such an easy and obvious task that animals do it. There are lots of examples of altruism and selflessness to be found in nature (and the opposite). If the animals can find a reason to love selflessly, then so can we. However, just because animals do it doesn't mean that we should. So why should we? Because nobody likes suffering and we can all help each other.

you say that because you are not recalling finding an ought at all. Our ought is not based upon a moral ought but upon a practical success ought. your value system of what's best for the community is entirely based upon physical success, gene frequency completely devoid of ethical and moral content. You cannot manufacture an ought based upon an is. you have to stick in a value, you can't get the value just by looking at nature.

eating your is found in nature so why not eat your young? you will stick in a values nd say "we don't do that." but you have a basis for it other than your own psychological predilection not to.
you can't reduce all of life to chemicals and expect to find values in them.


But then you have arbitrary outcome oriented understanding that is not derived from nature becuase nowhere in nature does one find ideas like "hurting others is wrong."
I think you do find that idea in nature if you're open to seeing it ;)
begging the question, whatever you can think of must be seen in nature, therefore, if you think of it it's in nature. That doesn't follow; the circle goes "my conclusion is X therefore, X is right, therefore, X must be my premise.
The higher duty to protect those in danger overrides the personal duty of telling the truth.
Exactly what I was trying to say. You don't tell the truth to the Nazi because of the consequences to the Jews you're protecting.
It's not the consequence that makes it wrong to divulge. Both deontologists and teleologists agree that doing wrong has bad consequences, but the one thinks that's what makes it wrong, the other things the consequences are bad because its wrong.


why is it wrong for millions of Jews to be murdered in camps? We find death all around us in nature. Species compete and wipe each other out all the time. If you think being in nature makes it an ought you should support the holocaust. Its' only because you have a higher value that originally came from Christian theology that says people are ends in themselves not means to an end. In nature all animals are a means to an end. An individual is not important, what matters is gene frequency, once the individual is out of the running he's no good any more. that's the "ought" you draw from nature. If an individual is not contributing to gene frequency he should die. It's only when we bring in a higher value from somewhere esle that says individual matter for their own sake, which is not in nature that we can see the holocaust is wrong.

where do you get the concept of "wrong" at all? apart from a moral context it's only in the context of practicality.



The more important version is based upon duty and obligation. No dentological ethicist say you have to rigidly keep rules when they violtate their own spirit of the rules.
Duty and obligation seem to me just more nuanced versions of the same basic idea as rules.
Nuanced is better, it's more intelligent and less rigid. Nothing wrong with rules, the problem is (1) in what are they founded? (2) how rigid, often the letter must be violated to save the spirit of the rule.

Why are these deontological duties and obligations moral? I think that deontological ethics works because keeping these duties and obligations enforces behavior that leads to good consequences.
you are trying to flatten them out and make them practical. in so doing you remove the moral dimension and thus clear the way for the holocaust. Your use of the term "good" is suppossed to sound like a moral motion but it's not. If "good" is entirely in practical terms then killing the Jews may be good for society in a Draconian sense.

If you separate the consequences from the action, then it becomes difficult to know which duty and obligation is higher and more important. In other words, I think there is a significant practical reason to be a consequentialist.
action by itself has no basis in morality, the only way to tell if an action is moral or not is to know the value and what grounds that value that the action supports or violates. You cant' do that by deriving morality from outcomes only.

saying "practical reason to a consequential" is like saying "it could be good for you to be murderer." Yes it could if you define "good for you" apart from morality. So I mean by that if you define "practical" apart from morality you are only arguing in tuatolgies and removing the moral dimension.

The only way to assign moral significance to an action is to know up from what the values are that one sets up as the axiological basis for action. once you know then and only then can you know what moral significance an outcome has.
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Re: Atheism's problem of evil

Post by met » Fri Jan 08, 2010 1:44 pm

btw, QT - As famously pointed out before, consequentionalist ethics have their difficulties too, and don't always give clear guidance in every situation

Like:

"Should you throw an innocent person in front of a train to save another? .... Five others? ... Ten? ... A million? ... A BILLION? ... how do you ascertain the cutoff number? :shock:"


... also, notice that in all those examples you mentioned where the US came off NOT looking so good (from a historical perspective) none of them was a sitch where the US came off a clear WINNER either .... (Sorry about thebitterness and cynicism, but maybe it's even helpful and useful sometimes... )
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Re: Atheism's problem of evil

Post by Metacrock » Fri Jan 08, 2010 6:04 pm

met wrote:btw, QT - As famously pointed out before, consequentionalist ethics have their difficulties too, and don't always give clear guidance in every situation

Like:

"Should you throw an innocent person in front of a train to save another? .... Five others? ... Ten? ... A million? ... A BILLION? ... how do you ascertain the cutoff number? :shock:"


... also, notice that in all those examples you mentioned where the US came off NOT looking so good (from a historical perspective) none of them was a sitch where the US came off a clear WINNER either .... (Sorry about thebitterness and cynicism, but maybe it's even helpful and useful sometimes... )

those kind of questions expose a lot more about consequential ethics than deontology.
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Re: Atheism's problem of evil

Post by met » Fri Jan 08, 2010 7:25 pm

another question is this ... often we don't KNOW the consequences of our actions ... so are we responsible for unforseen consequences too?

A million miles away something crawls out of the slime .... at the bottom of a ...
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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