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Old 03-19-2018, 06:28 PM   #201
Bill Haywood
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Re: My gift to you: Lawrence Krauss' head on a platter

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He zinged me so well all the other stuff I said doesn't even need to be addressed!
That's rich, considering you don't seem to be aware of all the points you have ignored.
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Old 03-19-2018, 06:38 PM   #202
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Re: My gift to you: Lawrence Krauss' head on a platter

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That's rich, considering you don't seem to be aware of all the points you have ignored.
Ya? Like what? Do you even read my posts?
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Old 03-19-2018, 06:41 PM   #203
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Re: My gift to you: Lawrence Krauss' head on a platter

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Well, you've written some 20 odd posts in this thread addressing and attacking an argument that nobody here has actually made. So apparently arguing on the internet is very difficult.

Because you know, perhaps there exists a universe where some people have actually thought of these very basic objections you raise, and even take them into account.

Just a thought.
You making up universes where moral atheism is consistent now? If it's so easy, how come OP is the only person answering it (badly)?
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Old 03-19-2018, 07:40 PM   #204
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Re: My gift to you: Lawrence Krauss' head on a platter

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You making up universes where moral atheism is consistent now? If it's so easy, how come OP is the only person answering it (badly)?
Can you cite someone making a claim about something being easy that is connected to your statement here? The claim is that people have thought through these fairly basic objections. Do you disagree? Do you think that *nobody* has thought through the questions you've raised? That you're the *first* person in the history of humanity to raise these objections and nobody here has ever thought about it before you?
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Old 03-19-2018, 07:54 PM   #205
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Re: My gift to you: Lawrence Krauss' head on a platter

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That you're the *first* person in the history of humanity to raise these objections and nobody here has ever thought about it before you?

Lol no but so what? Does it somehow take away from the objections simply because they've been raised before? I obviously caused some hair to stand up on end with them and they remain unresolved due to the sheer number of frustrated and silly responses to them. If it's so easy to resolve, then resolve it, otherwise my claims stand.
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Old 03-19-2018, 08:11 PM   #206
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Re: My gift to you: Lawrence Krauss' head on a platter

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Ya he really zinged me. He zinged me so well all the other stuff I said doesn't even need to be addressed! Arguing on the internet is so easy!
I'm not really trying to zing you; you are approaching this conversation in a much more competitive spirit than I am. Rather, your stubbornness and dogmatism is leading you to make self-defeating statements like the one I highlighted and really just not understanding the conversation we're having.

You've claimed that atheism implies moral nihilism. As evidence of this, you've cited Hume's claim that you can't derive an ought from an is. Okay. I thought I'd play along and offer you a "moral" theory that is purely naturalistic and doesn't fall afoul of Hume's claim. So I proposed a "moral" view that consists solely of hypothetical imperatives (that is, conditional claims like, if you want y, and x leads to y, then you should do x). Thus, at no point does this theory attempt to derive an ought from an is. Furthermore, since naturalism can recognize as a fact that x leads to y, the rules of this moral theory can be objectively true or false.

I pointed this all out to you. I said my moral theory was a system of hypothetical imperatives. I acknowledged that you might not view it as a moral theory, even agreeing to not call it a moral theory. I even pointed out the primary flaw in such a system - its lack of rational motive force - and how I might respond. You clearly think that we are losing something vital if we must accept moral nihilism. So, given the world as I described it, tell me what this is in practical terms.

Your response of repeating that ought doesn't imply can didn't really do it.
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Old 03-19-2018, 08:21 PM   #207
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Re: My gift to you: Lawrence Krauss' head on a platter

I don't see why there can't be moral atheists as long as we have a tool to reason with. My problem is that the determinists tell us that we don't and I don't know if that's true or not.
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Old 03-19-2018, 08:43 PM   #208
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Re: My gift to you: Lawrence Krauss' head on a platter

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Lol no but so what?
It would seem that this is a factual observation that challenges your knowledge basis for having this conversation.

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Does it somehow take away from the objections simply because they've been raised before?
It raises the question of how carefully you've thought through your objections and the argument that you're setting yourself up against.

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I obviously caused some hair to stand up on end with them and they remain unresolved due to the sheer number of frustrated and silly responses to them. If it's so easy to resolve, then resolve it, otherwise my claims stand.
You "obviously" have not done a lot of careful reading and replying in this thread. Your claims don't stand simply because you've raised them. You have to raise *meaningful* objections and not simply state that you've raised objections.

I'm sympathetic to your desired conclusion, but even I think you haven't said much useful in this thread.
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Old 03-19-2018, 10:16 PM   #209
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Re: My gift to you: Lawrence Krauss' head on a platter

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You making up universes where moral atheism is consistent now? If it's so easy, how come OP is the only person answering it (badly)?
Again I have no idea what that has to do with my post. But I guess this time it's kinda fitting since my post was about you not responding to people's actual posts.

But no, I certainly see no problem with consistent "moral atheism", just like I see no problem with a consistent "moral disbelief in invisible teapots" or consistent "moral conviction that a gnome doesn't live in my garage".

Mainly because I have absolutely no idea what on earth you are trying to refer to. Perhaps you should explain this concept of "moral atheism" a little better, so we could get an idea of what it is and what supposed problems it carries.
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Old 03-19-2018, 10:25 PM   #210
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Re: My gift to you: Lawrence Krauss' head on a platter

He's saying that without God, morality only exists subjectively and because of this, anyone's view of morality is equal to anyone else's.

If I'm off-base, feel free to correct me. Somehow, I'm still not sure how, adding an invisible father figure into the mix resolves problems in ethics or adds some sort of grounding. Yet he refers to having "faith" as if that's the grounding ultimately.
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Old 03-19-2018, 10:32 PM   #211
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Re: My gift to you: Lawrence Krauss' head on a platter

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He's saying that without God, morality only exists subjectively and because of this, anyone's view of morality is equal to anyone else's.

If I'm off-base, feel free to correct me.
Well, that would be "moral theism", not "moral atheism".

I mean, if Joe says that the bad smell in the garage comes from the invisible gnome and Paul says that the invisible gnome doesn't exist, it would be misguided (at best) to think Paul is claiming that that the bad smell is a result of the gnome not existing.
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Old 03-19-2018, 10:37 PM   #212
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Re: My gift to you: Lawrence Krauss' head on a platter

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Originally Posted by VeeDDzz` View Post
He's saying that without God, morality only exists subjectively and because of this, anyone's view of morality is equal to anyone else's.

If I'm off-base, feel free to correct me. Somehow, I'm still not sure how, adding an invisible father figure into the mix resolves problems in ethics or adds some sort of grounding. Yet he refers to having "faith" as if that's the grounding ultimately.
Even if it's subjective we seem to have come to a common understanding of what is moral through reasoned discussion that's been going on for a very long time. I think it unreasonable to demand a single, absolute standard of morality as decreed by some outside power.
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Old 03-19-2018, 10:42 PM   #213
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Re: My gift to you: Lawrence Krauss' head on a platter

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I think it unreasonable to demand a single, absolute standard of morality as decreed by some outside power.
You think it's unreasonable. I think it's undesirable.
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Old 03-19-2018, 11:11 PM   #214
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Re: My gift to you: Lawrence Krauss' head on a platter

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I'm not really trying to zing you; you are approaching this conversation in a much more competitive spirit than I am. Rather, your stubbornness and dogmatism is leading you to make self-defeating statements like the one I highlighted and really just not understanding the conversation we're having.
Is it possible that platonic forms exist in the natural world yet we just haven't found a way of discovering them yet, or must they necessarily exist in an otherworldly realm? Why must they be real at all? Are conceptions unreal? These are all good questions. The point I was making is that your pointing out atheists (lacking belief in God) believing in otherworldly realms such as the platonic one is difficult to reconcile with their self-ascribed definition. If otherworldly realms, why not otherworldly realms with a God? Is the reason emotional? The concept of God is just as much a valid conception as the concept of a triangle. People that as it the possibility of otherworldly realms are misrepresenting themselves when they ascribe 'atheism.'

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You've claimed that atheism implies moral nihilism. As evidence of this, you've cited Hume's claim that you can't derive an ought from an is. Okay. I thought I'd play along and offer you a "moral" theory that is purely naturalistic and doesn't fall afoul of Hume's claim.
By redefining the meaning of the word ought. Sorry but that is not valid logic.

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So I proposed a "moral" view that consists solely of hypothetical imperatives (that is, conditional claims like, if you want y, and x leads to y, then you should do x). Thus, at no point does this theory attempt to derive an ought from an is.
It's not a moral theory, which is why you put moral in quotation marks. You're subtley redefining the terms, which might get past some but not me.

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Furthermore, since naturalism can recognize as a fact that x leads to y, the rules of this moral theory can be objectively true or false.
I desire ice cream. In order to fulfill that desire I acquire ice cream and eat it. So far so good. In order for this to be a moral theory you must justify WHY I OUGHT TO FULFILL MY DESIRE. You attempt to justify it by assuming fulfillment of that desire a priori, but that's just arguing in a circle. This is not a difficult concept and you are a smart person.

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Old 03-19-2018, 11:46 PM   #215
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Re: My gift to you: Lawrence Krauss' head on a platter

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Again I have no idea what that has to do with my post. But I guess this time it's kinda fitting since my post was about you not responding to people's actual posts.

But no, I certainly see no problem with consistent "moral atheism"
Ok. Define and justify it then. What is right and wrong and why is it true?

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, just like I see no problem with a consistent "moral disbelief in invisible teapots" or consistent "moral conviction that a gnome doesn't live in my garage".
Actual gibberish.

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Mainly because I have absolutely no idea what on earth you are trying to refer to. .
Then why did you say this just a few sentences ago:

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But no, I certainly see no problem with consistent "moral atheism
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Old 03-20-2018, 12:51 AM   #216
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Re: My gift to you: Lawrence Krauss' head on a platter

I'm going to chime in on a few things. Some of it might be slightly repetitive. Sorry :P

First, DODN, I think you are sometimes mixing up questions about whether moral precepts are objective or subjective with the subtly different question about the possibility of giving moral claims some absolute or metaphysical grounding as truths. This matters to something else I want to say, so I want to get it out of the way:

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Originally Posted by DoOrDoNot View Post
What I'm saying is if 'emergent properties' such as morality and consciousness are functions of base mechanisms then they don't exist a priori. If you take that position about morality and consciousness that is fine, it's a perfectly legitimate position to take. However, when someone taking that position claims something is 'right' or 'wrong' it leaves a little to be desired in terms of justification. If the conception of morality is just an emergent property of a naturalistic universe, then no, it doesn't really exist. It's merely an illusion or a subjective opinion of right and wrong.
I think the final sentence is wrong. If all moral claims are contingent or emergent than they have no absolute metaphysical grounding, but that doesn't mean they are necessarily subjective. A great many contingent things are objective. For example, it is not an a priori truth that water is made out of hydrogen and oxygen, but it is an objective statement that water is H2O. A moral system with precepts grounded in empirical data about human existence can be objective. Basically, I agree that naturalism is not especially well suited to treating moral claims as having any metaphysical grounding, but that's not the same as saying that any moral precept under naturalism is a "subjective opinion".

However, I think it's clear that it's the lack of metaphysical grounding that you are mostly concerned with, i.e. here:

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The problem is, raping and killing a child seems to be wrong inherently. Why is it though? If our conception of murder is just a function of our evolution, then in the long run heat death of the universe the murder of that child doesn't really mean anything, does it? We're all gonna be snuffed out eventually, sometimes violently or unfairly. Ted Bundys victims and everyone who remembered them and every memory of a memory will eventually disappear. In fact all life and light will be snuffed out in the end, so what does it matter? The fact is it doesn't. Not really. Unless morality exists a priori.
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No one is debating whether moral statements exist. However that is different from saying moral statements are TRUE. If there is no ultimate subject that instantiates moral oughts, then all moral statements are entirely subjective and irrelevant. Claiming to be both an atheist and a moral person is an absurdity.
It seems to me that part of what happened in earlier discussion with OrP is he was focusing on providing an example of a moral code based in objective claims about the world, but it didn't satisfy you because in reality it's not subjectivity that's bothering you, it's the lack of an absolute metaphysical grounding. I think your intent is clear in the post above (and in other posts), but you are misusing the word "subjective."

Anyway, I agree that naturalism does not easily allow for moral claims to be taken as absolute or metaphysically grounded truths, and AFAICT so does OrP. But in practice I don't think that leaves atheists in a very different position than theists, and on that point I wanted to reference something else that was said:

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Here you are stating moral skepticism arguments as a problem for naturalistic morality. I agree, they are a problem. I don't have any great answer to the italicized question. I don't think there is one, natural or supernatural. But that is fundamentally a question of knowledge. How do we know that this view is right?
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It's not a question of knowledge, it's a question of reality. Do they exist or not?
I think you are too quick to dismiss the problem of knowledge. After all, if I claim that there are absolute moral truths, such as X, Y, and Z, then the first thing you will probably ask me is "how do you know?" And if I claim there are no such truths, you will probably still ask the same question.

And this obviously matters because saying "absolute moral truths exist" doesn't actually do people any good if they do not or cannot know what they are, or don't know how to be certain that the precepts they hold are the right ones. The naturalist may have a less prepared answer to the question than the Christian, but as far as I can tell that doesn't put them at much of a disadvantage in terms of persuading any one else. If I get an evangelical Christian and a Vaishnavite Hindu together to discuss morality, the Christian's claim that the correctness of her moral code is assured by the infallibility of the Bible isn't going to convince her Hindu interlocutor, and vice versa. It also doesn't do any good to say that only God can know, because we are not God. Even from a theistic perspective morality is something that is for people. If a person can't know that their moral code is the absolute, objective and a priori truth than they aren't in a different situation, practically speaking, from the naturalist who holds to a contingent and culturally relative moral code. I suspect that this is also why you are spending more time attacking the supposed incompatibility between naturalism and morality than laying out any positive argument for an absolutely true moral code. The latter is very hard to do.

That there is little practical difference is at least intellectually true. I'd grant that as a form of social control the ability to legitimize moral claims by an appeal to absolute metaphysical truths is very useful. Geertz speaks to this in a way I find really compelling:

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As we are to deal with meaning, let us begin with a paradigm: viz., that sacred symbols function to synthesize a people's ethos—the tone, character, and quality of their life, its moral and aesthetic style and mood—and their world view—the picture they have of the way things in sheer actuality are, their most comprehensive ideas of order. In religious belief and practice a group's ethos is rendered intellectually reasonable by being shown to represent a way of life ideally adapted to the actual state of affairs the world view describes, while the world view is rendered emotionally convincing by being presented as an image of an actual state of affairs peculiarly well-arranged to accommodate such a way of life....
It's certainly true that traditional religious worldviews, at least for those who find them believable, synthesize "ethos" and "worldview" in a highly coherent way, which is I think the essence of your complaint: the naturalistic worldview seems to make morality a second-class ontological citizen in a way that traditional religious worldviews do not. Also, on the importance of "legitimations" of the moral order, I'd recommend The Sacred Canopy.

So, I could understand why it feels like naturalism is giving up something desirable, and I remember voicing some similar complaints to yours in a thread with OrP a few years ago. Ultimately though, if you leave aside the theoretical for a moment and consider how people actually come to their moral views and live their lives, it seems to me to mostly be a distinction without a difference. Theists have no more reason to hold that their moral views are absolutely correct than atheists do, and the anthropological evidence is pretty convincing that the values held by religious adherents are as socially constructed, contingent, changing, and subjective as any held by atheists.

On that last point, one more thing. I think you are also trying to force the debate a bit by insisting on a narrow definition of morality where only a meta-ethics that demands metaphysically absolute claims to moral truth counts as "morality". That's somewhat idiosyncratic. Other meta-ethical views exist. I don't really care what we call things, but clearly "morality" as it exists as a real-world phenomenon encompasses more than your use of the term allows for. I think you gave the best definition when you said that morality is about "oughts". But "oughts" can be subjective, relative, or contingent, and of course for most people most of the time many "oughts" are all of those things.
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Old 03-20-2018, 12:52 AM   #217
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Re: My gift to you: Lawrence Krauss' head on a platter

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Is it possible that platonic forms exist in the natural world yet we just haven't found a way of discovering them yet, or must they necessarily exist in an otherworldly realm? Why must they be real at all? Are conceptions unreal? These are all good questions. The point I was making is that your pointing out atheists (lacking belief in God) believing in otherworldly realms such as the platonic one is difficult to reconcile with their self-ascribed definition. If otherworldly realms, why not otherworldly realms with a God? Is the reason emotional?
Why not otherworldly realms with God?

It's not like atheists to posit unnecessary devices, like otherworldly father figures. If you posit such devices it's on you to demonstrate why they are useful insofar as addressing ethical problems. You haven't explained this to me at all. Why do I need it if I can arrive at a moral course of action through other devices, such as utilitarianism and deontology or virtue ethics? Why not posit an undetectable flying spaghetti monster instead? Or an invisible clown in my closet which makes morality objective?

Practically, the concept is void. You're asking for metaphysical grounding, for which God is equally unnecessary.
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Old 03-20-2018, 01:11 AM   #218
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Re: My gift to you: Lawrence Krauss' head on a platter

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......
This is a breath of fresh air I will respond in detail when I have a chance.
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Old 03-20-2018, 03:26 AM   #219
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Re: My gift to you: Lawrence Krauss' head on a platter

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Is it possible that platonic forms exist in the natural world yet we just haven't found a way of discovering them yet, or must they necessarily exist in an otherworldly realm? Why must they be real at all? Are conceptions unreal? These are all good questions. The point I was making is that your pointing out atheists (lacking belief in God) believing in otherworldly realms such as the platonic one is difficult to reconcile with their self-ascribed definition. If otherworldly realms, why not otherworldly realms with a God? Is the reason emotional? The concept of God is just as much a valid conception as the concept of a triangle. People that as it the possibility of otherworldly realms are misrepresenting themselves when they ascribe 'atheism.'
According to Pew, 44% of atheists say they look to common sense most for guidance on questions of right and wrong (compared with 32% for science and 21% for philosophy). That doesn't suggest to me an epistemology that is inconsistent with moral platonism.

As for the question of whether atheism logically implies moral nihilism, that isn't true if, as you've acknowledged is the case, atheism and moral platonism are logically compatible. Here's the proof.

1) If there is no god, then moral realism is false. (your assertion)
2) If abstract moral objects exist, then moral realism is true. (almost by definition)
3) There is no god. (by hypothesis)
4) Abstract moral objects exist. (by hypothesis)
5) Moral realism is false. (from 1 & 3)
6) Moral realism is true. (from 2 & 4)

(5) and (6) can't both be true, so either (1) or (2) are false. I don't know of anyone who doubts that (2) is true, but maybe you disagree. If not, then (1) is false.

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By redefining the meaning of the word ought. Sorry but that is not valid logic.
Actually, as long as it is well-formed, in logic you are allowed to define words however you want. Ambiguity can lead to invalid arguments, which is why I gave my conception of morality a different name from yours.

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I acknowledged that you might not view it as a moral theory, even agreeing to not call it a moral theory.
It's not a moral theory, which is why you put moral in quotation marks. You're subtley redefining the terms, which might get past some but not me.
You have caught me out sir.

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I desire ice cream. In order to fulfill that desire I acquire ice cream and eat it. So far so good. In order for this to be a moral theory you must justify WHY I OUGHT TO FULFILL MY DESIRE. You attempt to justify it by assuming fulfillment of that desire a priori, but that's just arguing in a circle. This is not a difficult concept and you are a smart person.
I've been explicit in stating that there is no justification for why you should have one goal rather than another. You think that this is necessary for my theory to be a moral theory. Fine. Did you notice up above, where we both agree that I'm not actually presenting a moral theory (as you define morality)? You keep trying to persuade me of something I'm already granting.
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Old 03-20-2018, 05:11 AM   #220
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Re: My gift to you: Lawrence Krauss' head on a platter

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According to Pew, 44% of atheists say they look to common sense most for guidance on questions of right and wrong (compared with 32% for science and 21% for philosophy). That doesn't suggest to me an epistemology that is inconsistent with moral platonism.
I really dont know how else to say it. I've said it as many different ways as I can manage in an attempt to get it through to You, and you continue to make the same mistake. The above is an 'is' statement. What you are doing is describing a fact about reality. It's the same as 'some people get their moral rules from society' or 'some people get moral rules from science or philosophy.' No one is arguing this. I agree with you. Yet you cannot get from a description of how reality is to a position about what we ought to do. You cannot get an ought from an is. I don't know if this is what you are attempting here, but I can't think of any other reason you continue to state facts about reality than you think that position is justified.

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As for the question of whether atheism logically implies moral nihilism, that isn't true if, as you've acknowledged is the case, atheism and moral platonism are logically compatible. Here's the proof.
Switching the terms again. Your argument was for mathematical platonism. Now it's moral platonism.

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[1) If there is no god, then moral realism is false. (your assertion)
2) If abstract moral objects exist, then moral realism is true. (almost by definition)
3) There is no god. (by hypothesis)
4) Abstract moral objects exist. (by hypothesis)
5) Moral realism is false. (from 1 & 3)
6) Moral realism is true. (from 2 & 4)
No that's not my argument.


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I've been explicit in stating that there is no justification for why you should have one goal rather than another.
Then you don't believe
1. Objective moral values exist or
2. You can know anything about them and so for all practical purposes they may as well not exist. (A world with no objective moral values is logically equivalent to a world in which nothing can be known (justified true belief) about objective moral values that do exist, from a practical point of view)

You are a moral nihilist.

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You think that this is necessary for my theory to be a moral theory. Fine. Did you notice up above, where we both agree that I'm not actually presenting a moral theory (as you define morality)? You keep trying to persuade me of something I'm already granting.
Now you're backpedaling. You explicitly stated that your theory was one possible example of an objective morality that may exist and could be justified without appealing to God.

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Old 03-20-2018, 06:14 AM   #221
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Re: My gift to you: Lawrence Krauss' head on a platter

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Then why did you say this just a few sentences ago:
Well, I'll put it in a manner which you hopefully understand: You aren't arguing against some "atheist position on morals", you are arguing against a theist position on morals in the special case where no god exists.

Which is dangerously close to saying "People who believe home invasions exist are inconsistent if they don't believe in Santa".

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Old 03-20-2018, 07:02 AM   #222
DoOrDoNot
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Re: My gift to you: Lawrence Krauss' head on a platter

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Originally Posted by tame_deuces View Post
Well, I'll put it in a manner which you hopefully understand: You aren't arguing against some "atheist position on morals", you are arguing against a theist position on morals in the special case where no god exists.

Which is dangerously close to saying "People who believe home invasions exist are inconsistent if they don't believe in Santa".
The atheist position on morals is not the one where no God exists?
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Old 03-20-2018, 07:47 AM   #223
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Re: My gift to you: Lawrence Krauss' head on a platter

Atheism is the lack of belief in god/s. Not - a belief that no god/s exist. Even if God exists, I lack belief until sufficient evidence of his existence.

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Old 03-20-2018, 08:19 AM   #224
tame_deuces
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Re: My gift to you: Lawrence Krauss' head on a platter

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Originally Posted by DoOrDoNot View Post
The atheist position on morals is not the one where no God exists?
You aren't arguing against an atheist position (or rather nobody you object to in this thread have made the position you are argue against), you are arguing against a theist position in the special case where no god exists.
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Old 03-20-2018, 08:40 AM   #225
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Re: My gift to you: Lawrence Krauss' head on a platter

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Originally Posted by VeeDDzz` View Post
Atheism is the lack of belief in god/s. Not - a belief that no god/s exist. Even if God exists, I lack belief until sufficient evidence of his existence.
Oh? So rocks and trees and planets are atheists then?
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