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  1. #11
    Branded with Satan murkrow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Victor View Post
    The hippo in the room is the fact that there has never been a civilization not based on a religion.

    So before atheism, secular humanism or nihilism even get started, they need to explain, and explain away, this simple fact of life.

    But so far none of them have succeeded in explaining this fact. And none bother to try to explain this fact. So they are dead in the water before they even start.

    So atheism, secular humanism or nihilism are simply intellectual constructs without any empirical base.
    And religions are empirically supported?

    I agree that atheism and secular humanism have no empirical base, nihilism on the other hand is at least moderately supportable.

    Operating on the following empirically tested premises: Existence exists, emotions are a result of the emotive body, values are the result of emotions

    There is a higher truth than values-> values are not the higher life

    I should say that I do not subscribe to this view and could argue counter to it, however I'd employ some sort of egoism which seems contrary to ethical intuitions in general as well as religion.
    wails from the crypt.

  2. #12
    Junior Member Bachelor Blumfeld's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sytpg View Post
    Well, were are they conjuring up their ethics from then?
    From metaphysics. An example would be found in Kant's The Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals, and other places as well. Frankly, to elucidate further into this is something more arduous than I care to partake in (that is to say individuals like Kant and Hegel can say it far better than I can). In addition, I'd also like to be clear that I'm not necessarily a proponent of a normative ethic, I'm only claiming that a purely secular normative ethic is possible.

    And isn't atheism usually based on precluding perspective facts in the first place?
    Usually yes, but it's not inherent.

    And aren't ethics a bunch of perspective facts put together?
    I would think "put together" facts is more indicative of an inter subjective ethic derived from descriptive facts, than normative.
    I turn'd me round, and to each shade
    Dispatch'd an eye,
    To see if any leaf had made
    Least motion or reply ;
    But while I list'ning sought
    My mind to ease
    By knowing, where 'twas, or where not,
    It whisper'd “ Where I please.”
    “Lord,” then said I, “on me one breath,
    And let me die before my death !” - Henry Vaughan, Regeneration (lines 73-82)

  3. #13
    Minister of Propagandhi ajblaise's Avatar
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    Secular humanism is great. No worldview is perfect, but if there was one, this would be it. This is roughly the direction Western society has been slowing moving towards, but it's most prevalent in Northern Europe. Also, it's not necessarily exclusive to an atheist or agnostic view; many religious people agree with at least some of the tenets of secular humanism, whether they know it or not.
    .
    What Is Secular Humanism?

    Secular Humanism is a term which has come into use in the last thirty years to describe a world view with the following elements and principles:

    * A conviction that dogmas, ideologies and traditions, whether religious, political or social, must be weighed and tested by each individual and not simply accepted on faith.
    * Commitment to the use of critical reason, factual evidence, and scientific methods of inquiry, rather than faith and mysticism, in seeking solutions to human problems and answers to important human questions.
    * A primary concern with fulfillment, growth, and creativity for both the individual and humankind in general.
    * A constant search for objective truth, with the understanding that new knowledge and experience constantly alter our imperfect perception of it.
    * A concern for this life and a commitment to making it meaningful through better understanding of ourselves, our history, our intellectual and artistic achievements, and the outlooks of those who differ from us.
    * A search for viable individual, social and political principles of ethical conduct, judging them on their ability to enhance human well-being and individual responsibility.
    * A conviction that with reason, an open marketplace of ideas, good will, and tolerance, progress can be made in building a better world for ourselves and our children.
    Council for Secular Humanism

    It's the ultimate rise of NTs over SJs!!

  4. #14
    & Badger, Ratty and Toad Mole's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ajblaise View Post
    This is roughly the direction Western society has been slowing moving towards, but it's most prevalent in Northern Europe.
    C'mon, Demographics shows us that Europe is moving towards Eurabia.

    No society can survive without a religion and the vacuum in Europe is being filled by Islam.

    And unfortunately for Europe the only Social Science that makes reliable predictions is Demographics.

  5. #15
    On a mission Usehername's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ajblaise View Post
    many religious people agree with at least some of the tenets of secular humanism, whether they know it or not.
    I agree--my political votes are cast as a secular humanist (I don't believe on imposing religious standards onto the general public). Which doesn't mean I behave and uphold my own morals any differently than many other "no sex outside of marriage" Christians (why is that always the easiest way to define the kind of seriousness of my theology?), but it does mean I choose to not make everyone subscribe.
    *You don't have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.
    *Faith is the art of holding on to things your reason once accepted, despite your changing moods.
    C.S. Lewis

  6. #16
    Dreaming the life onemoretime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Victor View Post
    C'mon, Demographics shows us that Europe is moving towards Eurabia.

    No society can survive without a religion and the vacuum in Europe is being filled by Islam.

    And unfortunately for Europe the only Social Science that makes reliable predictions is Demographics.
    Way to miss the point, as usual.

  7. #17
    Babylon Candle Venom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Victor View Post
    The hippo in the room is the fact that there has never been a civilization not based on a religion.

    So before atheism, secular humanism or nihilism even get started, they need to explain, and explain away, this simple fact of life.
    All this would explain is that human society depends on imposing value structures on the group. Without a common value structure, incentives for collective action must be exorbitantly high. Your point is explainable by saying, "civilizations have always created religions, as it is an advantageous adaptation of a human society to have one". This would do nothing to prove or disprove atheism, theism or nihilism.

    I would not call myself a nihilist, an empiricist atheist or a rationalist atheist. I'm just pointing out the flawed argument...

  8. #18
    Minister of Propagandhi ajblaise's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Victor View Post
    The hippo in the room is the fact that there has never been a civilization not based on a religion.
    However, these days, religion is more often found in places with poor social conditions; while secularism enjoys a healthy relationship with civilization. So the opposite is taking shape.

    The most religious countries are places like the Congo, Indonesia, and Bangladesh. The least religious are countries like Denmark and Norway.

    Quote Originally Posted by Usehername View Post
    I agree--my political votes are cast as a secular humanist (I don't believe on imposing religious standards onto the general public). Which doesn't mean I behave and uphold my own morals any differently than many other "no sex outside of marriage" Christians (why is that always the easiest way to define the kind of seriousness of my theology?), but it does mean I choose to not make everyone subscribe.
    Are you a part of one of the liberal christian theologies? Some of those sects seem to have little, if any, of the main critiques of religion applicable to them. I think they're positive, overall.

  9. #19

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    Who ever said that morality had to be rational? Look around you, human behavior is clearly dominated by irrationality.

    Choosing to value truth and justice (real justice, social justice) in spite of the meaninglessness of it all is a heroic decision.

    "The greatest mystery is not that we have been flung at random among the profusion of the earth and the galaxies, but that in this prison we can fashion images sufficiently powerful to deny our nothingness."
    -- Andre Malraux

    I was looking for a quote of Camus but I couldn't find it so I substituted another good thought by another frenchman.
    Ti = Ne > Fi = Ni > Te = Si > Fe = Se

    "I've never seen a child who didn't want to build something out of blocks, or learn something new, or try the next task. And the only reason why adults aren't like that is, I suppose, that they have been sent to school and other oppressive institutions which have driven that out of them."
    -- Noam Chomsky

  10. #20
    Babylon Candle Venom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Usehername View Post
    On an atheistic worldview, the only transcendental facts are descriptive facts. By transcendental I mean facts which are true regardless of what anyone thinks.

    Now this being said, there can therefore be no prescriptive facts on an atheistic world view. Therefore, if atheists are to be consistent, they have to move beyond their short-sighted secular humanism and move into the realm of moral nihilism and sit alongside Ledger's joker.

    ....
    The ethical skeptic watching this video might feel tempted to ask "Why does God solve the is-ought gap?" and feel as if he won the day. The problem is, that God's commands are not themselves descriptive, but are prescriptive.
    The fact is that God prescribing morals solves nothing:
    1. They could be arbitrarily prescribed: God could have made rape morally right and we wouldn't know the difference as far as 'prescription'.
    2. If God is then prescribing based on some other criteria, then that other criteria exists separate from a God.
    3. Therefore that criteria would not depend on God.


    An extremely old Non-theistic (but not necessarily atheistic) expression of morality would be that of function. In that sense morality could be a descriptive interpretation.

    As an a priori synthetic we could reason that all men seek happiness:
    1. Why would a man seek unhappiness, if it didnt make him happy?
    2. Why would he be moral, if it didnt make him happy?
    3. Why would a man seek to be immoral, unless it made him happy?
    4. Why would he fulfill a religion if it didnt in the end make him happy?
    5. Why would a man desire his neighbor to be better off than him, unless it made the former man, HAPPY.

    A. It simply "is" that happiness seeking is connected with absolute necessity to human beings of person hood. Man can do nothing else but desire to be happy. Thus its an irrelevant question to ask if we should aim to fulfill the function of being "happy seeking". Everyman already does fulfill this function.

    B. All desire happiness, but not all achieve happiness due to restrictions of "what happens outside of our control". Achieving and desiring are not the same. Not all men achieve happiness and thus man's function may not be to achieve happiness. Man's function is to desire happiness. To desire, is inherently a teleological idea. "To desire", inherently implies that there is "a specific end in mind".

    C. Thus man's function "is" happiness seeking, there is nothing that needs to be prescribed. Taking happiness "seeking" to its implied end, and happiness achievements are inherently built into man's function. Thus the original describing truth, actually implies a should (the more fully realized version of the same truth). People should seek happiness and strive for happiness achievements.

    D. a. Moral laws are a game theory approximation that if everyone simply strove for their own happiness achievements without thought for others, they would actually impair their own possible happiness achievements. Thus people restrict their own desires so that they may actually, though counter-intuitively, maximize their happiness seeking achievements. Thus it is only a mere side effect that morality considers the group and how the group interacts (of note is that some people's happiness achievements depend on other's happiness).

    D. b. This can all be easily summed up by the idea that immoral things can be viewed as "not treating a man as an end in themselves". In plain english, you are not respecting the "teleological end" contained in the "happiness seeking". In essence, its the denial of an agent's ability to seek their desired end. In other words, it's the denial of their free will. Murdering someone, doesnt treat them as a valued end in them self. Committing suicide, doesnt treat your own will as a valuable end in itself. This is not to be a "binding" metaphysical duty like Kant says. Its simply a "game theory-esque" quick and easy way to determine where everyone's "happiness seeking" is maximized.

    E. Also of note, biologically, people are repulsed by actions that lower gene fitness. Humans are biologically engineered for pattern recognition (whether or not its even adaptive or maladaptive). When people recognize this pattern of "fitness lowing behavior" in themselves (violence, deception, selfishness etc), they can't help but feel contempt for themselves (the same content they'd biologically be driven to feel towards others who expressed this pattern).

    F. The same problem with "God simply prescribing morals", the "its arbitrary" problem, is a threat here as well. In the Theistic arbitrary model, its possible to envision a world where rape and murder are prescribed as moral (ie it'd be ugly, but its fully envisionable). It is not however possible to envision a world where man did not seek happiness. Try to imagine a world where man seeks unhappiness. Why do anything, unless it made him unhappy. At first, this is tenable. Eventually it breaks down. For what is going on chemically when this seeker of unhappiness takes out the smelly trash? He would have to be doing it because he receives pleasure chemicals. The idea that he would be motivated to seek unhappiness by displeasure chemicals is absurd. Thus this version of describing human function is not arbitrary.



    Cliff notes:
    1. Its not arbitrary to seek happiness, because its all humans are capable of.
    2. seeking happiness can be defined as prescriptive rather than just descriptive.
    3. the reason this creates moral frameworks rather than anarchy: biology + game theory/economic considerations.

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