If there is no God, murder isn't wrong?

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Karpel Tunnel
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Re: If there is no God, murder isn't wrong?

Post by Karpel Tunnel » May 2nd, 2018, 5:42 am

Spiral wrote:
April 30th, 2018, 6:17 pm
In a discussion featuring Dennis Prager, Dave Rubin and Michael Shermer, Shermer mentioned that the definition of murder is "the wrongful killing of a person," thus, Shermer argues that the statement "Is murder wrong?" is basically saying "Is the wrongful killing of a person wrong?" The statement must be true because the definition of murder makes murder wrong.
Because of the choice of the word 'murder'. But that's nto really the question.

The question is more like can any killing be called murder if there is no God?
Or Can any killing be considered immoral if there is no God?

Eduk
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Re: If there is no God, murder isn't wrong?

Post by Eduk » May 2nd, 2018, 5:45 am

That's like saying can any killing be called murder if there are no tomatoes.
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Karpel Tunnel
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Re: If there is no God, murder isn't wrong?

Post by Karpel Tunnel » May 2nd, 2018, 5:52 am

Big Boss wrote:
April 30th, 2018, 4:28 pm
I don't get this whole God thing with morality. If God said murder was wrong, to me it seems like if your mum were to say "you are not allowed to jump on the couch". Sure, there is a rule from an authority that couch jumping is wrong, and it may be in context to these laws, but it doesn't necessarily follow that couch jumping is always wrong. It seems that there is a tendency by theists to see morality as what God commands and with no God there is no morality. All this seems to do is change the definition of morality to 'whatever God commands'. It doesn't actually give any further metaphysical respectability to morality which seems to be what those who search for morality are after.
In the God scenario ALL COUCH JUMPING IS VERBOTEN, unless otherwise specified. God is or has the potential to be an utterer of what counts in all contexts. Especially if he or she is a deontologist, which he tends to be.

Eduk
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Re: If there is no God, murder isn't wrong?

Post by Eduk » May 2nd, 2018, 5:58 am

This is my point Karpel. I can define morality to be whatever I like. For example it is moral to eat sandwiches. But I don't think that is a good definition of morality. I don't think that is an average definition of morality. I don't think it captures morality at all, indeed I would go so far as to say it had nothing to do with morality.
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Gertie
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Re: If there is no God, murder isn't wrong?

Post by Gertie » May 2nd, 2018, 11:36 am

Here God plays the role of the axiomatic grounding of Right and Wrong, if God is perfect and all-knowing, then for us God offers effectively Object Truth about what is Right and Wrong. So if it is revealed to us that God says murder is wrong, then it's wrong. Objectively Wrong, as far as we're concerned.

If we take away God, are there other ways of grounding Right and Wrong? Especially now that we are beginning to explain our moral intuitions in terms of evolutionary utility?

I think we might have to let go of this way of thinking of Objective and Subjective in order to do so. Maybe as Goldstein suggests, think about 'Mattering' instead.

I'd say that value, or mattering (which is essentially subjective), comes into the world with the arrival of conscious creatures. And this is because conscious experiential states have this qualiative nature of 'what it's like' to be me or you or a dog or pigeon, which (as far as we know) rocks and plants and atoms and computers don't have.

In other words, we have a 'Quality of Life' (along with objective material characteristics). And this matters to us. We value it. Whether I'm happy or sad, in pain, fulfilled, flourishing, etc, matters to me. And your quality of life matters to you. If I take a hammer to a rock, it doesn't matter, nothing of value is lost when the rocks smashes because the rock has no quality of life. If I take a hammer to someone's head - it matters.

If you murder me, what you've taken away of value is my ability to experience a quality of life. (If you left me incurably brain dead, unable to experience anything, same thing, I've lost any quality of life - and if my family pull the life support plug nothing further of value is lost, it doesn't matter to me at that point).

So I'd say we should cohere around our shared experience of having a quality of life which matters to us. That is a justifiable grounding for Oughts. And one we easily understand and feels right. As Harris puts it - The Well-being of conscious creatures'. And on that basis, murder is wrong.

Dark Matter
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Re: If there is no God, murder isn't wrong?

Post by Dark Matter » May 2nd, 2018, 11:45 am

Spiral wrote:
April 29th, 2018, 6:16 pm
In this youtube video, Dennis Prager argues that if there is no God, murder isn't wrong.

If There Is No God, Murder Isn't Wrong

Prager goes on to say that without God, opposition to murder is just an opinion. But if God exists, isn't opposition to murder still just an opinion?

What if God endorsed murder? Would that automatically make murder right instead of wrong?

In my opinion, Prager's argument is weak. What do you think?
I think he's right.

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Re: If there is no God, murder isn't wrong?

Post by Fooloso4 » May 2nd, 2018, 1:19 pm

Gertie:
Here God plays the role of the axiomatic grounding of Right and Wrong, if God is perfect and all-knowing, then for us God offers effectively Object Truth about what is Right and Wrong. So if it is revealed to us that God says murder is wrong, then it's wrong. Objectively Wrong, as far as we're concerned.
Except that the assumption that God is perfect and all-knowing is not shared by at least some of the authors of the Hebrew Bible. Abraham and Moses have to calm God’s anger in order to keep God from killing large numbers of people. Apparently God forgot the lesson he learned from the Flood. In my earlier post I pointed to where God blessed those who killed or murdered three thousand of their sons and brothers.

The Hebrew God is a willful God. Jews, Christians, and Muslims all believe they are doing the will of God no matter how many they murder in the name of God.

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Re: If there is no God, murder isn't wrong?

Post by Gertie » May 2nd, 2018, 5:55 pm

Fooloso4 wrote:
May 2nd, 2018, 1:19 pm
Gertie:
Here God plays the role of the axiomatic grounding of Right and Wrong, if God is perfect and all-knowing, then for us God offers effectively Object Truth about what is Right and Wrong. So if it is revealed to us that God says murder is wrong, then it's wrong. Objectively Wrong, as far as we're concerned.
Except that the assumption that God is perfect and all-knowing is not shared by at least some of the authors of the Hebrew Bible. Abraham and Moses have to calm God’s anger in order to keep God from killing large numbers of people. Apparently God forgot the lesson he learned from the Flood. In my earlier post I pointed to where God blessed those who killed or murdered three thousand of their sons and brothers.

The Hebrew God is a willful God. Jews, Christians, and Muslims all believe they are doing the will of God no matter how many they murder in the name of God.
Yes, I was trying to summarise the argument for objective morality necessarily being rooted in a perfect, good god, but you're right, there's plenty of reasons to question that.

Spiral
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Re: If there is no God, murder isn't wrong?

Post by Spiral » May 2nd, 2018, 6:50 pm

Gertie wrote:
May 2nd, 2018, 5:55 pm
Fooloso4 wrote:
May 2nd, 2018, 1:19 pm
Gertie:

Except that the assumption that God is perfect and all-knowing is not shared by at least some of the authors of the Hebrew Bible. Abraham and Moses have to calm God’s anger in order to keep God from killing large numbers of people. Apparently God forgot the lesson he learned from the Flood. In my earlier post I pointed to where God blessed those who killed or murdered three thousand of their sons and brothers.

The Hebrew God is a willful God. Jews, Christians, and Muslims all believe they are doing the will of God no matter how many they murder in the name of God.
Yes, I was trying to summarise the argument for objective morality necessarily being rooted in a perfect, good god, but you're right, there's plenty of reasons to question that.
How can we determine whether objective morality really exists?

I will use the basketball analogy.

Let's say that there is a rule book for basketball. It describes when a defensive foul is committed, when an offensive foul is committed, when travelling occurs, how many free throws one gets depending on how many fouls have been committed by a team during a quarter and so on.

We might think of that as "objective rules for basketball." But we put a few people in striped shirts, make them basketball referees, we have to accept the fact that these referees won't be capable of applying the rules perfectly. There will be instances when a player travels on the way to a lay up but doesn't get called for travelling. There will be some fouls that don't get called. There will be times when a player gets called for a foul when he didn't really commit a foul.

But then someone says, "Why should there be any such thing as a 3 point shot? Just because you shot a basket from behind this arbitrary line, why award 3 points instead of two?" Someone else says, "Should a player really be disqualified for committing 6 fouls in a game? Why not make it 8 fouls instead?"

The response might be, "Who are you to question the basketball God?" The response to that might be, "Basketball is a human invention. Therefore, there is no basketball God and we can change the rules anytime we want to." Another person chimes in, "Can we objectively say that one set of basketball rules is superior to an alternative set of rules if there is no Basketball God?"

Another person says, "Let's say there is a basketball God. How do we know that the basketball God supports the 24 second shot clock or the 3 point shot?" Yet another person says, "That's not the point. The point is that if there is no basketball God, all of the rules of basketball are just a matter of opinion and can be changed at the will of whomever is participating in a given basketball game. Are you a basketball relativist?"

"Not at all. I think a basketball game where there is a 24 second shot clock and a 3 point shot is objectively superior to a basketball game with a 45 second shot clock and no 3 point shot. The arc of basketball bends toward ever greater excitement. We might decide to change the rules if we discover rules that will make the game even more entertaining than it is now. The game of basketball may never be perfectly entertaining. But there is some set of objective basketball rules that would represent the best rules even if we mortals can never know exactly what those rules are."

Karpel Tunnel
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Re: If there is no God, murder isn't wrong?

Post by Karpel Tunnel » May 3rd, 2018, 1:22 am

Eduk wrote:
May 2nd, 2018, 5:45 am
That's like saying can any killing be called murder if there are no tomatoes.
I don't know if you are responding to me or someone else, but if it's to me then I need this fleshed out.

Karpel Tunnel
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Re: If there is no God, murder isn't wrong?

Post by Karpel Tunnel » May 3rd, 2018, 1:24 am

Eduk wrote:
May 2nd, 2018, 5:58 am
This is my point Karpel. I can define morality to be whatever I like. For example it is moral to eat sandwiches. But I don't think that is a good definition of morality. I don't think that is an average definition of morality. I don't think it captures morality at all, indeed I would go so far as to say it had nothing to do with morality.
I am not sure what part of what I wrote you are responding to and how it relates to the posts I was responding to. Can you situate your comments in direct relation to something I wrote.

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Re: If there is no God, murder isn't wrong?

Post by LuckyR » May 3rd, 2018, 2:39 am

CIN wrote:
May 2nd, 2018, 4:24 am
LuckyR wrote:
May 2nd, 2018, 3:02 am
If a god decrees that murder is wrong, then murder is empirically wrong... for believers of that religion. OTOH, if you don't believe in god, murder is still wrong. Just not empirically wrong, rather wrong by consensus (of the community that the individual belongs to).

Bottom line, murder is wrong for every modern human.
What about those modern humans who don't have a religion and don't agree with the consensus of their community (i.e. modern-day freethinkers)? Since you have omitted them, should we infer that your conclusion is incorrect, and that for freethinkers, murder is not necessarily wrong?

In fact I don't think wrongness is to be settled by either of the methods you propose. At best they merely tell you what groups of people believe is wrong, which is not the same as determining whether something actually is wrong.
No, dissenters are members of their communities and are subject to the majority opinion, regardless of their personal opinion. So, yes they are included in my post.
"As usual... it depends."

Eduk
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Re: If there is no God, murder isn't wrong?

Post by Eduk » May 3rd, 2018, 2:46 am

Lucky something is not moral because it is the majority expressed opinion?
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CIN
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Re: If there is no God, murder isn't wrong?

Post by CIN » May 3rd, 2018, 3:12 am

Eduk, you took the words out of my mouth.

LuckyR, your comment on my post implies such a horrific attitude to morality and freedom of thought that I feel you must be living in some dreadful dictatorship somewhere. I hope I am wrong. If murder is wrong, it is wrong because of what it is, not because everyone around you thinks it is wrong. To believe that is to be living in the Dark Ages.

Eduk
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Re: If there is no God, murder isn't wrong?

Post by Eduk » May 3rd, 2018, 3:43 am

Karpel earlier you explained that in the God scenario couch jumping is simply defined as wrong. I was saying that that isn't a good definition of morality. Indeed I was going further and saying it had nothing to do with morality. Morality cannot be the following of a list. Even if the list is right.
Unknown means unknown.

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