So you're an atheist? Not so fast.

Discuss philosophical questions regarding theism (and atheism), and discuss religion as it relates to philosophy. This includes any philosophical discussions that happen to be about god, gods, or a 'higher power' or the belief of them. This also generally includes philosophical topics about organized or ritualistic mysticism or about organized, common or ritualistic beliefs in the existence of supernatural phenomenon.

Re: So you're an atheist? Not so fast.

Post Number:#436  Postby Steve3007 » October 12th, 2017, 3:16 am

Personally I've never regarded it as a problem, regardless of whether I personally believe in the existence of God. If a God is postulated to exist then I'm perfectly happy with the explanations I've heard as to why destructive things happen in the world. Already discussed elsewhere.
"Even men with steel hearts love to see a dog on the pitch."
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Re: So you're an atheist? Not so fast.



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Re: So you're an atheist? Not so fast.

Post Number:#437  Postby Belindi » October 12th, 2017, 4:57 am

Steve3007 wrote:Belindi:
Evil is a lot easier to define than good. Why is this?


Is it? If evil is defined as destructive couldn't good be defined as constructive?

I refer to the arguments for and against fracking. One side says evil for the purity of the water supply. The other side says evil to ignore the profit potential and evil to ignore the useful energy source. The good of pure water, and the good of profits, and of carbon energy are hard to pin down because the goods of those require arbitrary criteria.

Impure water, poverty, and hypothermia are self evident evils needing no arbitrary criteria. Not as far as common sense is concerned anyway.In order to support, for instance, pure water and the means whereby it's obtained we have to state the evils of impure water. Similarly for the ethics of any constructive scheme.
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Re: So you're an atheist? Not so fast.

Post Number:#438  Postby Steve3007 » October 12th, 2017, 5:19 am

Belindi:
I refer to the arguments for and against fracking. One side says evil for the purity of the water supply. The other side says evil to ignore the profit potential and evil to ignore the useful energy source. The good of pure water, and the good of profits, and of carbon energy are hard to pin down because the goods of those require arbitrary criteria.

Impure water, poverty, and hypothermia are self evident evils needing no arbitrary criteria. Not as far as common sense is concerned anyway.


Yes, interesting example. But by the same token, the "evils" of those two things are also hard to quantify and compare. The damage to the water supply is hard to quantitatively compare with the damage caused by not having the energy source and profit.

I think this kind of example also might illustrate something else that has occurred to me before: People often think that they disagree about values when, on much closer examination, they actually disagree about empirical facts. The fight over fracking seems, on the face of it, to be a clash of values between environmentalists and free-marketeers. But maybe the difference is more about the facts of what actions cause what results. Maybe they both want people to be happy and successful but disagree about how to go about that - a factual question.

It's only when all factual questions have been resolved that we discover if we disagree about values and therefore have to fight!
"Even men with steel hearts love to see a dog on the pitch."
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Re: So you're an atheist? Not so fast.

Post Number:#439  Postby Belindi » October 12th, 2017, 6:16 am

Steve wrote:

It's only when all factual questions have been resolved that we discover if we disagree about values and therefore have to fight!

I very much agree. It's hard to know the facts when one is not an expert. What is the best way to identify a good secondary source for contemporary engineering problems that have social corollaries?

I trust The Guardian, but maybe I should be more sceptical
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Re: So you're an atheist? Not so fast.

Post Number:#440  Postby Steve3007 » October 12th, 2017, 7:50 am

I guess this is now the question of how we decide how to assess sources of information for accuracy. I suppose in theory we should be able to just read a single source, like the Guardian or whatever, because one of the basic skills that professional journalists should have, and exercise, is the ability to assimilate information from several different sources. So they should be doing the job of checking sources, and not just relying on one, for you.

But we all know that it doesn't entirely work like that and we have to do some of that cross-checking from multiple sources ourselves. I suppose the extent to which we have to (or can) do that now is what is sometimes called the rise of "citizen journalism".
"Even men with steel hearts love to see a dog on the pitch."
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Re: So you're an atheist? Not so fast.

Post Number:#441  Postby Belindi » October 12th, 2017, 12:55 pm

Thanks Steve. Citizen journalism is a new idea for me. I don't even know where to start.

-- Updated October 17th, 2017, 5:38 am to add the following --

Morality is a consensus about right behaviour. Every society needs such a consensus.

The metaphysical God idea is unnecessary for legitimating moral consensus, because an idea which is accepted as idea suffices. True, people will objectify the moral consensus in ways other than the metaphysical God. They will objectify the nation, or the geography (e.g. "Shore to shining shore"), or some hero myth such as Hitler , or the Queen. True, some people find it difficult to be loyal to an idea and need an object of loyalty, some object which is enshrined in a grand meme such as e.g. "Almighty God", or "the old country".

If individuals , especially plebs, are not to be coerced by the powerful then individuals need education which will arm them against seductive memes.

The metaphysical God is a seductive meme, which has been taken for granted for centuries and has been subjected to ridiculous so-called "proofs".

.
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Re: So you're an atheist? Not so fast.

Post Number:#442  Postby Albert Tatlock » October 17th, 2017, 4:58 am

Hereandnow wrote:Anti-objectivists here deny that ethical values need for their theoretical underpinning something absolute,

It's quite possible for our moral principles to feel as though they are objective even though we know perfectly well they are not. Seeing as it is in our own interest, as well as that of society as a whole, to have a culture of morality, it seems quite rational to behave as if morality were objective regardless of whether we believe that or not.
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