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Guest ConservativePessimist

Yes, I know it's adressed in an article, but I'm having trouble with it. Could someone explain to me why murder is wrong.

 

Okay, so I don't seem like a complete bum I'm going to analyze the article a little bit (oh, and could someone direct me towards the edit button, thanks :D).

 

"The real alternative to the leftist claptrap is a morality of reason. Such a morality begins with the individual’s life as the primary value and identifies the further values that are demonstrably required to sustain that life. It observes that man’s nature demands that we live not by random urges or by animal instincts, but by the faculty that distinguishes us from animals and on which our existence fundamentally depends: rationality."

 

We'll start with the first paragraph. The grounds for this whole argument lie on the basis that our existence fundamentally depends upon rationality. Now, I will agree that the the individual's life is of primary value, but I a bit confused on how quickly he can conclude that our existence depends upon rationality. Certainly, we could agree that animals exist, so why MUST we depend on rationality? Also, it seems pretty reasonable to conclude that humans who do not have the functionality to reason still exist.

 

[edit] It autoedited... cool!

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Yes, I know it's adressed in an article, but I'm having trouble with it. Could someone explain to me why murder is wrong.

 

Because it's defined as wrong.

 

We'll start with the first paragraph. The grounds for this whole argument lie on the basis that our existence fundamentally depends upon rationality. Now, I will agree that the the individual's life is of primary value, but I a bit confused on how quickly he can conclude that our existence depends upon rationality. Certainly, we could agree that animals exist, so why MUST we depend on rationality? Also, it seems pretty reasonable to conclude that humans who do not have the functionality to reason still exist.

 

[edit] It autoedited... cool!

 

Well, if we are irrational then we have less of a chance of surviving. Consider that I believe that there is not a cliff in front of me even though I see, feel, etc. and through corroboration others see, feel, etc. that there is a cliff in front of me. I am now deemed irrational. I step forward and whoops!

 

Rationality is the state of being consistent mentally with reality. That is why it is necessary for us to exist.

 

It is possible to live on pure instinct and forego reasoning (the method by which we maintain rationality), but reasoning allows us to survive better because it allows us to surpass our instincts and mere adaptations and go beyond it.

 

Murder is wrong because humans live in societies. Someone who commits a murder is someone who has initiated force against another individual. Societies are constructed in order to provide mutual benefit for individuals within that society at a loss to no one (that is, everyone has the possibility of gaining from this mutual agreement). Initiating force does not provide mutual benefit to other individuals, it takes away benefit.

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Guest ConservativePessimist

murder (n.) - wrong

 

Crap, forgot to take a look at my dictionary, thanks for pointing me in the right direction :D.

 

Anywho... on to the real stuff. Reasoning doesn't necessarily equate to better survivability, but I'll agree that in general it does mean better survivability.

 

I agree that murder is harmful to societies and that people live in to societies. But... take me murdering a random stranger. The supposed happiness I gain (has to be something motivating me) is going to clearly outweigh the invisible "benefit" that I am losing.

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murder (n.) - wrong

 

Crap, forgot to take a look at my dictionary, thanks for pointing me in the right direction :D.

 

Anywho... on to the real stuff. Reasoning doesn't necessarily equate to better survivability, but I'll agree that in general it does mean better survivability.

 

I agree that murder is harmful to societies and that people live in to societies. But... take me murdering a random stranger. The supposed happiness I gain (has to be something motivating me) is going to clearly outweigh the invisible "benefit" that I am losing.

So why don't you murder?

 

I'm guessing you don't because the gain is no way near as much as the punishment/guilt you would recieve from it. And you would have some empathy for the person that you are murdering.

 

Personally I don't believe that human behaviour is driven by rationality. Rationality is used to analyse the effects of our actions. But the driving force behind actions are the percieved emotional gains we would get from performing actions.

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Yes, I know it's adressed in an article, but I'm having trouble with it. Could someone explain to me why murder is wrong.

 

For civilization to exist, it must be, well, civilized. It must, therefore, adhere to certain foundational principles, prime directives if you will. Do not murder is the foundation of all other principles. (Too bad we had nearly 18,000 homicides in the U.S. last year!)

 

-CC in MA

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Society is basically this.

I may enjoy murder, rape, stealing etc. who knows?

But I don't want to be murdered, raped, stolen from, etc.

Therefore, you don't do it to me and I won't do it to you.

 

Other things come from this basic idea.

I want help when I'm down on my luck, in exchange I will help others when they are down on their luck etc. etc.

 

Without rules from on high we must make up our own and these change with society. Do unto others, is probably the only real value we need to live as a society. Even chimps have rules they have devised. They live together under certain rules, gain social advancement through peacemaking etc. There is no need for God to create rules, but it's a useful concept to keep people following them.

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Society is basically this.

I may enjoy murder, rape, stealing etc. who knows?

But I don't want to be murdered, raped, stolen from, etc.

Therefore, you don't do it to me and I won't do it to you.

 

Other things come from this basic idea.

I want help when I'm down on my luck, in exchange I will help others when they are down on their luck etc. etc.

 

Without rules from on high we must make up our own and these change with society. Do unto others, is probably the only real value we need to live as a society. Even chimps have rules they have devised. They live together under certain rules, gain social advancement through peacemaking etc. There is no need for God to create rules, but it's a useful concept to keep people following them.

 

I detect some Hobbesian pessimism in your view. I share it! :HaHa:

 

In meditating on the admonisions of "Do not do to others as you would not want done to you" and "Do to others as you would want done to you," there's a striking difference. The former is easier; the latter, much harder. At least for me.

 

-CC in MA

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Without rules from on high we must make up our own and these change with society.

 

Morality grew out of societys need for self-preservation. It must necessarily adapt itself to changing times and circumstances, so morality is relative.

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Without rules from on high we must make up our own and these change with society.

 

Morality grew out of societys need for self-preservation. It must necessarily adapt itself to changing times and circumstances, so morality is relative.

 

Would you agree, Jun, that the need for morality is an axiom and not relative, and what is relative is what morality is for a given people at a given time? (Lot's of is's there.)

 

-CC in MA

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Guest ConservativePessimist

Society is basically this.

I may enjoy murder, rape, stealing etc. who knows?

But I don't want to be murdered, raped, stolen from, etc.

Therefore, you don't do it to me and I won't do it to you.

 

But crime doesn't work that way. It's not like only criminals get raped/murder/stolen from. It is somewhat dependent on what you do, yes, but... if I were to kill someone that doesn't mean that someone is necessarily going to kill me as a direct result (or rape, or what have you). Basically you're saying, you shouldn't because then other people won't do it to you, but unfortunately these things are oft unrelated.

 

Other things come from this basic idea. I want help when I'm down on my luck, in exchange I will help others when they are down on their luck etc. etc.

 

Without rules from on high we must make up our own and these change with society. Do unto others, is probably the only real value we need to live as a society. Even chimps have rules they have devised. They live together under certain rules, gain social advancement through peacemaking etc. There is no need for God to create rules, but it's a useful concept to keep people following them.

 

I mean... if crime were a binding contract that none could break (that is, if the contract was you don't commit crimes and I won't) then this chain of reasoning makes sense. As there iw no such contract, I don't see why it's necessary that I follow laws.

 

I personally don't murder because I feel it's wrong. I think that human life is important, but I couldn't provide logical reasoning for believing so (one of the problems I'm having with athiesm).

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Here is my somewhat ill defined take on this, my two cents.

 

From where does morality spring? Why should we be, or why are we moral?

 

Humans, to a degree that is not unique to us but still comparitively developed, live in tight-knit communities. We rely upon and need each other for health, well-being, and survival. We are inter-dependent on one another. This seems to me to be the basis of morality.

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I mean... if crime were a binding contract that none could break (that is, if the contract was you don't commit crimes and I won't) then this chain of reasoning makes sense. As there iw no such contract, I don't see why it's necessary that I follow laws.

 

I personally don't murder because I feel it's wrong. I think that human life is important, but I couldn't provide logical reasoning for believing so (one of the problems I'm having with athiesm).

 

In the United States, we do have our social compacts, binding contracts: The Mayflower Compact, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and subsequent Amendments and congressional laws. By virtue of our citizenship, we agree to these covenants with each other. Those who violate our covenant are arrested, tried, and if convincted incarcerated. With about 3,000,000 Americans involved in the criminal justice system, it seems evident to me that we need to do a much better job of teaching the tenants of our social compacts and their necessity for social order and stability.

-CC in MA

 

Here is my somewhat ill defined take on this, my two cents.

 

From where does morality spring? Why should we be, or why are we moral?

 

Humans, to a degree that is not unique to us but still comparitively developed, live in tight-knit communities. We rely upon and need each other for health, well-being, and survival. We are inter-dependent on one another. This seems to me to be the basis of morality.

 

That's right. Our civic morality must have its origin in our founding documents and subsequent congressional and judicial decisions. This must be the one source that all U.S. citizens agree to uphold. Not the Bible. Not the Qur'an. Not the Atheist Manifesto. But our shared national documents.

 

-CC in MA

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Morality is defined as your sense of right and wrong. Right and wrong are very fluid notions that shift on each other very easily. If I kill someone out of rage, it's deemed wrong, if I kill someone in self-defense or in war, it's deemed right.

 

In my personal morality, I consider killing somebody to be wrong...mostly because I'd feel really badly about doing it, even in self defense. I feel emotional pain at just the idea of doing something like that. From what I understand and experiance here in my community, a lot of other people feel the same way so it's become a societal edict as well. So, we have a law that punishes people who kill other people.

 

But this isn't consistant all over the world. Look at the Middle East and the pretty much complete dystopia in the Congo. Plenty of people there who have no problems with extreme violence. I'm pretty certain that the same could happen here in the US as well if things became that destitute. Hell, it got that way after Hurricane Katrina.

 

Killing another human being has it's place in our society. Typically though, murder is one of those actions that tends to foster a lot of problems for the individual and society, so it's not often a great idea. I don't mean that to sound completely clinical and detached, because it's not. Humans are capable of both extreme compassion and extreme violence, and we base most of what's right and wrong on what we feel.

 

I really think of morality as being a personal way of thinking, not a societal one. You've got your own thoughts, and you contribute them to the community then everyone decides whether or not those thoughts would work the best for everyone or not. Then it becomes laws, not morality.

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I personally don't murder because I feel it's wrong. I think that human life is important, but I couldn't provide logical reasoning for believing so (one of the problems I'm having with athiesm).

 

CP,

 

The type of question you pose is sometimes used by apologists to be disparaging against Atheism. :scratch: (If you are sandbagging, check my sig before you reply and avoid the traps)

 

Essentially the mantra goes like... "Atheism has no basis (standard) of morality therefore 'anything goes' and therefore Atheists will rob, murder or eat babies at will... nothing restrains them."

 

Do you have a hard time understanding why Atheists don't eat babies? Neither do I.

 

You see CP... you know deep down it is wrong but you can't put it to words. When I have trouble putting a concept into words, I often challenge the correctness of my premise. Here goes...

 

CP Et Al...

 

Since the bible is fairly clear on slavery and provides us with a "standard" I must wonder how you deal with the obvious contradiction. You know in your gut it is wrong. Does the bible provide us legitemate moral standards or do we as human being have inside us valid and useful tools to sort these issues out? Which standard is more relevant.

 

Will you follow a book written by theologians who had a need to establish social order or the one in your heart that tells you that it is wrong to use social structure to take advantage of your fellow man via slavery.

 

Bible morality is clearly flawed in many places and in the context of 66 books is largely incomprehensible.

 

Do you have a hard time putting your anti-slavery views into words? If murder is difficult I would think this is equally difficult to articulate. However, unlike murder, the bible is not much of a friend to the legalist in any fight against slavery.

 

So the question is... which system of morality would you prefer to live or live in? One where people search their hearts to understand what is right or one where people search an ambiguous rule book.

 

In general the moral "rules" of Atheism are ambiguous, and the contridictions subtle whereas in Christianity, the moral "rules" decicive and the contradictions manifest.

 

From my view, Atheism is exceedingly more moral.

 

Other thoughts anyone?

 

Mongo

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I personally don't murder because I feel it's wrong. I think that human life is important, but I couldn't provide logical reasoning for believing so (one of the problems I'm having with athiesm).

 

CP,

 

The type of question you pose is sometimes used by apologists to be disparaging against Atheism. :scratch: (If you are sandbagging, check my sig before you reply and avoid the traps)

 

Essentially the mantra goes like... "Atheism has no basis (standard) of morality therefore 'anything goes' and therefore Atheists will rob, murder or eat babies at will... nothing restrains them."

 

Do you have a hard time understanding why Atheists don't eat babies? Neither do I.

 

You see CP... you know deep down it is wrong but you can't put it to words. When I have trouble putting a concept into words, I often challenge the correctness of my premise. Here goes...

 

CP Et Al...

 

Since the bible is fairly clear on slavery and provides us with a "standard" I must wonder how you deal with the obvious contradiction. You know in your gut it is wrong. Does the bible provide us legitemate moral standards or do we as human being have inside us valid and useful tools to sort these issues out? Which standard is more relevant.

 

Will you follow a book written by theologians who had a need to establish social order or the one in your heart that tells you that it is wrong to use social structure to take advantage of your fellow man via slavery.

 

Bible morality is clearly flawed in many places and in the context of 66 books is largely incomprehensible.

 

Do you have a hard time putting your anti-slavery views into words? If murder is difficult I would think this is equally difficult to articulate. However, unlike murder, the bible is not much of a friend to the legalist in any fight against slavery.

 

So the question is... which system of morality would you prefer to live or live in? One where people search their hearts to understand what is right or one where people search an ambiguous rule book.

 

In general the moral "rules" of Atheism are ambiguous, and the contridictions subtle whereas in Christianity, the moral "rules" decicive and the contradictions manifest.

 

From my view, Atheism is exceedingly more moral.

 

Other thoughts anyone?

 

Mongo

 

Well, JUST DAMN! You're a lot smarter than you look in your picture, Mr. Mongo. :lmao:

 

Seriously though, that was very well stated. Thanks!! :thanks:

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In general the moral "rules" of Atheism are ambiguous, and the contridictions subtle whereas in Christianity, the moral "rules" decicive and the contradictions manifest.

 

From my view, Atheism is exceedingly more moral.

 

Other thoughts anyone?

 

Mongo

 

I disagree. Neither is more moral. The label one attaches to oneself means nothing in regard to one's personal morality. I've known of or heard of too many rotten Christians and Atheists and too many wonderful Christians and Atheists to make such distinctions.

 

-CC in MA

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if I were to kill someone that doesn't mean that someone is necessarily going to kill me as a direct result (or rape, or what have you). Basically you're saying, you shouldn't because then other people won't do it to you, but unfortunately these things are oft unrelated.

Someone will eventually kill you if you keep killing people. Unless you are too discreet or too powerful to be killed. Like a Columbian drug lord, a Mafia Don, or the President.

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In general the moral "rules" of Atheism are ambiguous, and the contridictions subtle whereas in Christianity, the moral "rules" decicive and the contradictions manifest.

 

From my view, Atheism is exceedingly more moral.

 

Other thoughts anyone?

 

Mongo

 

I disagree. Neither is more moral. The label one attaches to oneself means nothing in regard to one's personal morality. I've known of or heard of too many rotten Christians and Atheists and too many wonderful Christians and Atheists to make such distinctions.

 

-CC in MA

 

I have to agree with Mongo on this one.

 

Within a framework such as Atheism, there's the flexibility to adapt to both growth and new things we learn about the world. We might change our views of morality with respect to how we carry out industry, for example, in response to learning new things about the the ways human activity might impact the environment.

 

As our mores evolve, it's much more adaptive to view ourselves as beings with good minds to experiment, learn, and reason things out (including moral issues) rather than have to conform to the rigidity of an assumed unchanging absolute truth.

 

It is for this reason that every christian that I've talked to that subscribes to the infallibility of the bible and also that slavery was wrong has had to do some serious back-peddling. And if a few hundred years from now we become enlightened enough as a society to get to the point where we no longer condemn gays (and that's entirely plausible whether most contemporary christians would be willing to admit it or not--there were many atrocities other than slavery in the past two millenia that were tolerated, condoned, or promoted by the christian church that most contemporary christians would find appalling)--if we collectively (including christians) no longer condemn gays at some point in the future, think of the additional back-peddling those future christians will have to do--particularly those who claim the bible is infallible.

 

It's so nice to be able to bypass this whole can of worms by using our minds to think through these things without having to force it into the framework of the products of a waring tribe thousands of years ago.

 

Sure there are both rotten christians and rotten atheists. But I'd have to say that the framework available to an atheist more easily lends itself to a superior morality than the framework available to a christian.

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Sure there are both rotten christians and rotten atheists. But I'd have to say that the framework available to an atheist more easily lends itself to a superior morality than the framework available to a christian.

 

Superior intellectual opportunities, yes. Superior morality, I don't see. I'm fretful of any group claiming moral superiority. It can lead to such trouble.

 

-CC in MA

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Without rules from on high we must make up our own and these change with society.

 

Morality grew out of societys need for self-preservation. It must necessarily adapt itself to changing times and circumstances, so morality is relative.

 

Would you agree, Jun, that the need for morality is an axiom and not relative, and what is relative is what morality is for a given people at a given time? (Lot's of is's there.)

 

-CC in MA

 

Yes. I suppose that's a better way to word it. :)

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Sure there are both rotten christians and rotten atheists. But I'd have to say that the framework available to an atheist more easily lends itself to a superior morality than the framework available to a christian.

 

Superior intellectual opportunities, yes. Superior morality, I don't see. I'm fretful of any group claiming moral superiority. It can lead to such trouble.

 

-CC in MA

 

Deontological ethics are inferior. In reality no action occurs without context, and consequence, and to judge the morality of an act as if it exists in a vacuum without those elements, is an inferior morality.

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Deontological ethics are inferior. In reality no action occurs without context, and consequence, and to judge the morality of an act as if it exists in a vacuum without those elements, is an inferior morality.

 

Agreed. :3:

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Sure there are both rotten christians and rotten atheists. But I'd have to say that the framework available to an atheist more easily lends itself to a superior morality than the framework available to a christian.

 

Superior intellectual opportunities, yes. Superior morality, I don't see. I'm fretful of any group claiming moral superiority. It can lead to such trouble.

 

-CC in MA

It can--the earth is soaked with the blood of the victims of those who claimed to be morally superior.

 

And specifically for atheists, I don't see a basis for any sort of common group morality claims: if there's any common established, codified set of moral precepts for atheists as a group, I have yet to be informed.

 

I liked your phrasing, "superior intellectual opportunities." That being said, it's still true that many adhere to a document they consider infallible that is not terribly enlightened on slavery, gays, women, those who might venture to work on the sabbath, etc., and chronicles a lot of violence for rather petty reasons. Whether I call them superior intellectual opportunities or superior moral opportunities, it's easier to defend my indignation against treating various categories of people badly without a script that says it's OK, or it might be OK. And I don't have the opportunity to use it as an excuse to do bad things. If I want to oppress somebody, I need to take full responsibility for being a jerk--I can't try to justify it by putting my interpretation on some rule book.

 

I DO NOT have a handle on the ultimate truth (and a little secret: neither does anyone else). Recognizing this makes it a lot harder to be smug about moral superiority. And anyone who uses a self professed moral superiority to behave badly is NOT morally superior: the bad behavior and justification are not moral at all.

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So the question is... which system of morality would you prefer to live or live in? One where people search their hearts to understand what is right or one where people search an ambiguous rule book.

 

I would rather a system of morality where people use their heads. :HaHa:

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So the question is... which system of morality would you prefer to live or live in? One where people search their hearts to understand what is right or one where people search an ambiguous rule book.

 

I would rather a system of morality where people use their heads. :HaHa:

 

I really don't know, honestly. But the first thing I thought of when reading this was that the Nazi doctors were using the heads, not their hearts. I think it is wise to use one's head, heart, mind, experience, gut, and any other resources available when making any decision, not just decisions about morality.

 

-CC in MA

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