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Re: Polytheism and monotheism

PostPosted: Sat May 09, 2009 11:02 pm
by IoshkaFutz
sword_of_truth wrote:I haven't read all the latest responses, but I may make a couple last comments.

1) Dr. Smith can still believe that what he's going to do is objectively wrong and not care. Hence, HE is the problem, not moral relativism. Also, many religious people (9/11, never forget) think that it is objectively right to commit atrocities.

2) Many moral relativists DO care.

Care. That's the key word. It's not about logic.

It is nihilistic to assume that morals must be LOGICALLY justified. That's true nihilism. Complete inability to recognize that logic and "right" and "wrong" are in separate domains, and cannot be compared. This is precisely what Ted Bundy and dogmatic moral absolutists share, and that is why the dogmatic moral absolutist is much closer to Ted Bundy than I will ever be. The dogmatic moral absolutist dismisses his emotions (or rather confuses them with a need for logical justification) and agrees with Ted Bundy, believe that morals must be logically justified. They don't need to be. Precisely the idea that they need to be logically justified is the culprit.

Logic has its place and it can be used in moral reasoning, but it is not the source from which it springs. The moral absolutist is confused about this, which is very ironic, given that he insists on using emotional appeals to make his case. So, it is THEIR position which is self-refuting (not logically inconsistent, but self-refuting, none the less).

My "sword" of truth is due to my uncompromising rejection of falsehood, not an allusion to physical violence. Those who are struck by its "blade" cannot heal their wounds through wishful thinking because I speak the truth and one cannot get rid of the truth just because one doesn't like it.


Ciao Sword of T.

Thanks for your answer.

This I generally agree with: "Care. That's the key word. It's not about logic."

We'll talk later. Thank you for not requiring auto-biographical clarifications. You're a Lord and a Gentleman.

Re: Polytheism and monotheism

PostPosted: Sat May 09, 2009 11:06 pm
by CuteCoot
IoshkaFutz wrote:... I think it would have to be "good" heart and clear mind.

No, that "good" is the sugar that leads to ruination.

Re: Polytheism and monotheism

PostPosted: Sat May 09, 2009 11:11 pm
by CuteCoot
IoshkaFutz wrote:This I generally agree with: "Care. That's the key word. It's not about logic."

And I say "amen" to that.

Except that ...

Might we have some recognition that atheists can care just as readily as can theists?

and ...

Cognitive dissonance is a painful mental state so can we please also care about logic?

Re: Polytheism and monotheism

PostPosted: Sun May 10, 2009 11:37 am
by IoshkaFutz
Ciao Sword_of_truth,

A couple of answers to your points today. Just for you and if you can't be bothered, I understand.

1) Dr. Smith can still believe that what he's going to do is objectively wrong and not care. Hence, HE is the problem, not moral relativism. Also, many religious people (9/11, never forget) think that it is objectively right to commit atrocities.

Dr. Smith is definitely the problem (though some are suggesting that I am). That's the purpose of the scenario. "Houston we have a problem!"

Reflexively, most everybody would be very upset, whether of a logical / philosophical disposition or not. Humanity's love of life was never in doubt, despite the millions of suicides which in time of peace exceed homicides. However, let us not forget that in the scenario, humanity is in the dark. They don't have a clue. Only we saints of FFI know.

If Dr. Smith doesn't care, well, it seems to me that it stands to reason that he doesn't think his or any action is "objectively" right or wrong. Perhaps momentarily uncomfortable, annoying, pleasing, arousing, etc. He's beyond good and evil.

A nihilist (one who doesn't care) might shoo away a pesky fly that's bothering him, but will not care about the pesky flies annoying and bringing diseases to others. That would require "caring." Others would call it just minding ones own business.

But in the bare bones scenario it is quite clear that he DOES care. He's spent years on the project, just as Sartre and Nietszche spent years of study to come to the conclusion (and to teach) that life is meaningless / worthless.

He cares, but about the wrong things, i.e. the outcome of his experiment, his intellectual vindication, the "truth" of his hypothesis as opposed to the "goodness" of it. His "clear" mind did all the maths and his "true" heart remains "true" to his purpose.

Why am I being called a fanatic? Why do people say "Yikes, he's back?" Because, I CARE too much. Chesterton said: a fantatic is NOT someone who has lost his reason, he is someone who has lost everything BUT his reason.

So already we see two "disconnects." One, a tremendous hypocrisy / inconsistency: caring but only enough to teach people that life is meaningless (the nihilistic philosophers), and in the case of Dr. Smith, caring, intensely caring, but only about his reasons.

Obviously "caring" is already a first step... It is an acceptance to play the game of life, but it is not enough and if of the wrong kind, can be extremely harmful.

Humans are full of paradox. We have systems based on doubt, which doubt everything but themselves; skeptics of everything except their skepticism; we have caring nihilists teaching people not to care; we even have anarchist political "parties," and fanatics who care too much and forget to care about the bigger picture.

Also, many religious people (9/11, never forget) think that it is objectively right to commit atrocities.

This type of reasoning, which on the surface, seems "right enough" has always troubled me. If the topic were Justice and not religion, would you say: "Also many judges have sent innocent men to the gallows?" You would still want justice. Justice wouldn't be disproven as a goal. You'd merely want that Justice to be Just, as I would want a religion to be religious.

Justice, though terribly complex, is conceptually easier than religion. Islam, in my view doesn't pass the test of religion, precisely because it is constantly at war and except for its ultimate goal, completely rational. Everything about Islam is unspiritual. Islam as a religion, de-spiritualizes.

Are atrocities objectively bad? They also happen - or rather - being willful acts - they are also perpetrated (active tense) in times of war... But war is not always murder. If one believes in the sacredness of human life, in "thou shalt not murder," one can then relativize. One has a standard and can distinguish levels of guilt. First degree murder, second degree, manslaughter. If one doesn't, then one can also say "a fine slaughter" - "a boring massacre" - "a roaring good hecatomb!"

9/11 and other terrorist acts, done cold, WERE perpetrated by nominatively religious people. But only in the sense of Dr. Smith's act being done by a "caring" person.

I have a standard of morality, a "sacred" to not only declare both acts immoral, but if needs be, to find the attenuating circumstances, the gradations. I can relativize. (kinda hard in Dr. Smith's case). You can just reflexively / arbitrarily call them immoral. And in this case we will be in agreement on the issue.

But a terrorist could use your reflexive / arbitrary outlook to justify his act, but never my religious view to justify his. Perhaps another religious view could, that much I'll grant you. But only in the sense of other Justice systems - like the courts of Stalin - going through all the motions, with lawyers, wigs, togas and procedures, to send innocent men to the gallows.

More importantly, should I wish to kill in the name of my religion, it would have to meet all kinds of criteria. My murderous instincts wear a ball and chain. I might still kill, I am still prey to every lust of man, ("ought" ain't "is") but I will have standards for others to judge me by. Others will know what I'm supposed to be believing.

2) Many moral relativists DO care.

Care. That's the key word. It's not about logic.


Yes and no. Some of the limits of caring, were discussed. ie. caring, but only to teach nihilism, caring only about oneself and ones reasons, caring too much (kicking the proverbial dead horse).

When I hear the word "relativism" used in the moral sphere, it comes natural for me to wonder: "relative to what." Whim? Mood? Lust for power? Greed for money?

I haven't really gotten around to answering the "Thou shalt not murder" concept. As I don't have time, let me paste in what I started writing... and forgive the repititions. Not only do I write long posts, I even write long posts that I don't post, but "mine" for other answers.

(I am a fanatic).

===============

In other words, we've noticed that people don't live up to standards. We have "Thou shalt not murder"... and people murder. "Thou shalt not lie" and people tell lies. And what's worse (I guess), it has been found, that the self-same people who preach "thou shalt not murder" have murdered and "Thou shalt not lie" have lied.

And so to some very fine way of thinking, cops and metal detectors are proof that people DO murder and people DO tell lies, so at this point... what? Do we get rid of the cops and metal detectors? Do we derive our morals from a fairly proveable "what is," or from an unproveable (by its very nature) "what ought to be" or from a combination of both? (Law and Love).

One of the very purposes of divine law is precisely to point out the sinful limitations of every man. It is desirable that even those who preach and who have power, be held accountable to a very high standard outside themselves instead of they themselves setting the standard. It is also desirable that we realize that we are all sinners and imperfect, thus making forgiveness a viable option.

In a way, Hypocrisy is our friend. If the Muslim ethic allows for lying and a Muslim is caught lying, he is NOT a hypocrite. Were he only a hypocrite! Would he only FEEL like a hypocrite, FFI would be dedicated to other activities. He would be on the path of perfection. Instead, being engaged in permanent war, even when and where not necessary, he is a proper Jihadi.

By the atheist club's standards even the hundred yard dash is hypocritical. After all, the object is to get across the finish line in as little time as possible. Every year a previous record is broken towards the IMPOSSIBLE goal of covering the distance in 0.0 seconds.

Impossible and yet the race goes on. What gets recorded are the timings. The closest towards "impossible perfection," crossing the line at 0.0, is what is praised, cheered, remembered. Well, no one, unassisted, is ever gonna cross at 0.0 (or so it seems) so why bother?

We discover that it is the seemingly impossible, the perfect that gives meaning to the event. The "saints" of swiftness are those who humanly approximate perfection.

But the very meaning and sense of the event is an impossibility. So I guess we should do away with it. The winner is now... the federation with the most money and power. The winner is now he who gets the most applause from the stands. The winner is now whoever declares himself the winner.

IoshkaFutzian morality says no: the winner is he who more closely approximates perfection, as impossible as it might be. And from there we can fully appreciate all the other relative criteria.

But not at all surprisingly, the sense of the race is connected to the impossible, the perfect. If you don't care about the race. If you wish to redefine it, then by all means remove its senseless impossibilty. Now everybody can win and lose, now there is no race, nor any sense to the race. The race is an illusion. All is gained, all is lost.

The only unanswerable question to all human activities is "why bother?" Why bother with the 100 yard dash? Nihilism is always the most logical / rational answer. But as soon as man decides not to emulate a rock, but instead cares, acts and reacts, hopes and strives then morality comes into play. And so does a world of paradox.

He starts running 100 meter dashes. And to do this some aim at the impossible, the Godlike. The Godlike is what is closer to the potential of manlike than manlike. His parameters are outside any perceived capabilities. The reason is simple: we cannot even begin to imagine the truth, the potential, the sheer wealth and magnificence of the banquet before us, but we must try.

So though life is sacred, it is not treated that way. Yet some approximate it. They set it as their goal. Others don't. Others, like the Somalian Pirates will set their goal on money. And to get that money, they will kill. And those who set life as sacred will kill the pirates. Precisely because life is sacred. But unlike the pirates who revel in their wads of cash, they do not kill lightly. There is no enjoyment in killing pirates. It is not like the pirate's enjoyment of sinking their hands into a treasure chest full of emeralds, diamonds and rubies.

That is the LAW. Stern and grave. But kind of stupid: a lady with a blindfold and a scale in her hands.

But the real saint, the "Usain Bolt" of morality would not even kill the pirates, but joyously go among them hoping to proselytize, risking martyrdom, hoping to lead them on a path of perfection, even though as a man, he can only tell imperfect stories. He will go among them, loving them well before they are loveable.

That is LOVE. Kind of silly, eyes wide open and with matchsticks blazing in them. Nothing in his hands and very little in his pockets.

Like a Usain Bolt he will run at a mind-boggling speed, but never come close to 0.0 seconds perfection.

But where there is now murder, rape and mayhem, the path of perfection he teaches will lead to schools and hospitals, universities and peaceful communities.

Something like that happened to Scandinavia centuries ago, when they were the Somalian Pirates. Some holy men, Saints, told impossible, nonsensical stories. Many were slaughtered for their trouble and went down singing hymns.

The barbarian Huxlyites told them: "No, we the community set the rules! No Gudluf is the tyrant and he is wise! No, booty and that other thing also called booty are what is good and brings pleasure!"

And all that was very very true for them, far more poignantly true than the ravings of the saint, who by today's standards would be woefully short on knowledge, though still amazingly admirable for his courage and morality. It was his courage and morality that made knowledge far greater than what even he himself possessed, possible.

Now a George Carlin can have a ball with this. To be a comedian is precisely the comparison of what should be and what "is" and vice versa. No standards, no shortfallings, nothing funny. No impossible standards, dour and humorless culture.

Unfortunately, some, in their destructive madness, will put the comedians we admire so much out of business.

They will derive their morality from what "is" and not a grand and rather impossible vision of what ought to be. Their priests and judges will no longer be funny, they will no longer be hypocrites.

But in truth, Godless man being precisely what he is, morality will be derived by those who joyfully announce: "I am a pround tyrant." And it will be derived from the Craziemonkies. "Consensus makes right (bla bla bla)." And it will be derived from the Huxlyites... "Might makes right (but that's not what I said)".

As is the case today in our increasingly oppressive societies, you'll get much much more "religion"... You'll still get a mix of "what is" and "what ought to be" (man being a moral creature), but it will drift further and further from sense. I got a taste of it from Huxley in the form of psycho-analysis. Russian prisons were full of people who had "native cognitive deficiencies."

Our hundred meter dashes will be redefined, just as "peace" in the "Nobel Peace Prize" was redefined, just as "truth" was redifined in Soviet Russia and "Democracy" in ex-DDR. Or "tolerance" in today's Sweden, or "Liberal" in today's America. Things which were meant to merrily bend will eventually snap to become their opposites, and on a grand, very serious and grim religious scale.

Ariel posted a thread with Orwellian examples from countries that were once noted not only for their sanity, but for their merriment. Little 5 year old girls hassled and parents busted for talking about Jesus. Nurses fired or sent to sensitivity school for offering prayers. In old USSR, a guy who had a cosmetics laboratory in his garage, sent to the firing squad for "sabotaging" the economy.

If we're lucky, we will begin to notice something is wrong when not even decadence is what it used to be. This is the rasp-licking dog drinking and liking his own blood, noticing that he is going weak. The taste of that blood can be anything, even a "value" such as tolerance or generosity, or a work ethic, or as in my case, a forum-posting mania.

So the purpose of all this jibber-jabber is to establish what sin is. It is what kills the dog. It is what loses sight of life and its furtherance.

Re: Polytheism and monotheism

PostPosted: Sun May 10, 2009 5:12 pm
by Psycho Bunny
IoshkaFutz wrote:
So the purpose of all this jibber-jabber is to establish what sin is. It is what kills the dog. It is what loses sight of life and its furtherance.


For you, who views the world in theist terms, that may be what sin means - a death of the soul, the demise of the human condition. I believe that the human condition is defined by being human - and that alone. Within that interplay all manner of societies, their advances and depravities included, have their place.

Trying to find hard and fast notions of what "sin" - or indeed "morality" - represents, in any meaningful terms, is almost impossible. The foundations of any notion of sin/morality are based in culture. As cultures change, sins change. Even attempting to impose a theist notion of "sin" onto "morality" or to declare sin and morality to be interdependent or even equivalent is well-nigh impossible. After all, Christian theists believe in the concept of an "original sin" passed down through all generations, an original sin that our forebears in the the hypothetical Garden of Eden were first guilty of. Does this mean that morality - which most people elect to follow and call themselves moral or elect to flout and get called immoral - is somehow inherited in one's genes, in the manner of "original sin"?

Maybe there is some concept of "sociability" or "conforming to the society around one" that is hard-wired into the brain - we are, after all, social animals who evolved from other social animals. But this responsiveness towards our peers is not original sin, nor is it original morality (though "morality" and notions of "conscience" may piggyback upon this evolutionary imperative that is hypothetically hard-wired into our brains).

The theistic constructs of sin and morality are too tied in with religious cosmology, aetiological myths explaining how things came to be (including ourselves), and myths of eschatology that explain where we and everything else is going to be at the end of all things. The cosmological constructs that surround these notions cloud objective assessment.

Anthropology - though still an imperfect science - perhaps holds the best model of "sin" and "morality", even though it is rarely discussed today, even by anthropologists, in the way that it was once touted at the start of the 20th century. And that is the Polynesian concept of the tabu (taboo, tapu).

The notion of tabu was something that was shunned - not because it was dirty, but because it was deemed to be sacred. There were various tabus, for a person to abide by, for the society to abide by. But the tabu was about making things sacrosanct - and the greatest sin is the hubris of approaching or touching that which has been deemed sacred.

Early anthropologists such as J.G. Frazer made much of tabu as a concept. Things which were off-limits were sometimes ritually flouted - pork was banned by Egyptian royalty, but was eaten on certain occasions, to enforce the tabu. Orthodox Jews have strict rituals about what to wear and not to wear, but once a year, following a passage in the Book of Esther, the tabus are broken in the festival of Purim - kids smoke, adults dress up in fancy dress costumes - and fun is had by all - thereby validating and enforcing the tabus endured during other 364 days of the year.

Tabu is much more easy to uphold - everyone in a society knows what is off-limits to them and what the punishments are. Sin in a theistic context carries a weight to it, that follows one around all the days of one's life through the notion of "original sin". Christian sin can never be avoided - you opt-out of sin to do good, while you live in a state of sin. Tabu is more flexible. A tabu can become dogmatic and meaningless, it can be about doing "harm", but rarely does it sugget - as Christanity does - that by doing nothing that is actively "moral" one is actually committing a sin.

Here perhaps, is why Muslim morality seem bizarre to those of us nurtured by Judeo-Christian influences. One will be punished in Hell for not being a Muslim - and as long as certain tabus are observed, a Muslim does not have to aspire to be morally noble in the way that Christianity places (almost impossible) expectations of behaviour and moral ambition upon a person. Observing the Muslim rituals - zakat at Ramadan etc, a Muslim conforms to a basic morality, without any guilt for being put on this earth and without expecting to attain certain spiritual standards. Social standards (tabus laid out in the Koran etc) are more important than moral aspirations. A Muslim can stone someone to death. Whereas the Christian will be mortified at being part of a mass-killing - the Muslim knows that he is just enacting God's laws. He will not be punished for this on earth or at Judgement Day, if the victim had transgressed Koranic laws of Hadd.

"Tabu" is essentially a Polynesian cultural term, but it has perhaps more use as a term for describing what societies choose to label as "good" or "bad" at any one time.

Sins and morality mean so many different things to different people. So does the term tabu - but it is a term that de facto acknowledges that is is a concept that changes through times, among individuals, and among societies. It does not expect that what is tabu in one time and place must be tabu in another time and place.

Therefore tabu - though anthropological - is a term that is more objective. When religious people use the terms "sin" and "morality" they use absolutist terms - they assume that because their faith tells them that sin and morals are part of some cosmological purpose, that there is a "fixed" notion of what will always be sinful or immoral - the concepts of absolute sin and absolute morality.

Once you start to believe in absolutes (of what is basically a subjective concept), you stop being able to rationally discuss ideas with others who do not believe in such absolutes.

Re: Polytheism and monotheism

PostPosted: Sun May 10, 2009 9:47 pm
by CuteCoot
Psycho Bunny wrote:Therefore tabu - though anthropological - is a term that is more objective.


And it is a thoroughly objective truth that morality is not objective.

Once you start to believe in absolutes (of what is basically a subjective concept), you stop being able to rationally discuss ideas with others who do not believe in such absolutes.


Well, if this thread is anything to go by, you can certainly discuss ideas at very great length but whether it can ever be or remain "rational" is questionable.

Re: Polytheism and monotheism

PostPosted: Sun May 10, 2009 10:38 pm
by Psycho Bunny
CuteCoot wrote:Well, if this thread is anything to go by, you can certainly discuss ideas at very great length but whether it can ever be or remain "rational" is questionable.


:lol:

Never truer words were spoken... or typed.

Re: Polytheism and monotheism

PostPosted: Sun May 10, 2009 10:55 pm
by IoshkaFutz
Ciao Bunny,

Thanks for your interesting post. I can't answer, but I'm already thinking - and being tempted to answer. But tomorrow is delivery date and then I'm traveling up to Piemonte, so I owe you one as I owe (at least in me brains) the second and last part to SwordofTruth.

Just for now: "Once you start to believe in absolutes (of what is basically a subjective concept), you stop being able to rationally discuss ideas with others who do not believe in such absolutes.

I think anyone can talk to anyone, and communication of what matters is not merely a matter of being rational. I think this is possible because of certain absolutes that every man has in common: birth, death, hunger, loss, love, etc. Etc. Agreement might be impossible (or difficult / improbable), but not discussion, unless one unilaterally (even for legitimate reasons) decides to call it quits.

Demanding "rational" - a certain and very limited way of thinking - limited because it requires the utmost detachment and therefore tends to show a certain disdain towards those who don't share such an approach, might be the sort of stumbling block, you refer to.

"Rational" is the absolutist element that fits into your complaint. But fortunately, morality, and the anthropology of morality are separate concerns. "Ought" is not exactly rational, not entirely instinctive, not entirely social, not entirely private. The very complication of it, is what allows many handles for discussion.

In this regard, I see man as victorious. What I mean is that there are cross-overs / conversions of people who supposedly had opposing and mutually exclusive thought systems and absolutes. A quick trip to the introductions page here at FFI when the occasional ex-muslim comes and proudly states that he has gotten the Mohammad monkey off his back, bears me out (and of course the same goes for the ex-Catholic who has finally freed himself from his pachiderm AND of course the atheist and so on and so forth). Whatever changed them, no matter what the direction or rationale, gives the lie, IMHO to your assertion.

Ti saluto, amico mio. I'm am now really and deeply in the fecal matter.

Re: Polytheism and monotheism

PostPosted: Sun May 10, 2009 10:58 pm
by Psycho Bunny
Good luck with your deadlines, Ioshka, and we will discuss these points when your work allows you some space. Hope your delivery works out OK. Meantime, I will ponder your reply.

Re: Polytheism and monotheism

PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2009 11:12 pm
by Equestrian
CuteCoot wrote:It is IoshkaFutz and you yourself who have abandoned the debate. Raising and rejecting a straw man time and again does not make this a debate. It makes it a silly vicious circle that most of the relativists here have rightly walked out of.


Its obvious that those on this thread who recklessly promulgate the "straw man," have no adequate rebuttal. You exploit the term to malign your opponent in a pitiful attempt to evade the argument. When alleged cases of the straw man fallacy are evaluated, you are required to identify its specific occurrence and then refute it, otherwise the use of the term only serves to betray your ignorance.

CuteCoot wrote:
Just because an act is wrong, it does not follow that justifying the act renders it valueless.


It renders the act "not wrong" under the "justified" circumstances and since the justification is being determined by the lone individual it is a subjective judgment. So it renders the moral decision subjective and not (supposedly) objective. But hey, if you like being inconsistent, feel free to continue so. However, real debate cannot happen unless both parties stick to a few simple rules of logic. Such as refraining from reintroducing straw men.


You have an impoverish understanding of the straw man fallacy. The straw man is committed when one distorts an opponents argument and then refutes the distorted argument. I have done no such thing. I suggest you heed your own advice and "stick to a few simple rules of logic."

You're making two assertions here:

1) a justified act constitutes a morally virtuous act.

2) an objectively valueless act is consigned a subjective value when said act is justified by the individual. In other words the act of torturing someone is neither right nor wrong, however the act is morally virtuous to the individual if justified by the individual.

Now this directly conflicts with your position on torture:

CuteCoot wrote:I happen to consider torture to be wrong...I happen to consider that torture of some kind is indeed justified under some circumstances.


If it is true that a justified act constitutes a morally virtuous act, then according to your moral position on torture above, you consider the act simultaneously right and wrong, as you consider torture both wrong and justifiable. Which means the act of torture has no moral value to you.

But you have asserted a value judgment on torture, didn't you? You consider the act of torturing someone to be morally reprehensible in and of itself:

"I happen to consider torture to be wrong"

However you find the morally reprehensible act of torturing someone justified in some circumstances:

"I happen to consider that torture of some kind is indeed justified under some circumstances"

The act of torturing someone is not in and of itself morally virtuous, even if the act is justified in some circumstances. Moral decisions are relative to circumstances, however it does not follow that morality is relative. An absolute is any moral rule that applies equally to everyone in similar moral situations. But it's the situation that's in question and has to be considered carefully.

There are times we come into a situation where we are forced to compromise one moral law for another. Those are called ethical dilemmas. In that situation we certainly have to look at all of these different factors to decide what is the best thing to do. In order to even contemplate what decisions are best, one needs an objective standard to measure the best decisions from the worst. Without an objective right and wrong, all decisions made are equally valid.

Consider the scenario of the abused wife and the violent husband. I imagine both you and I would choose to lie to the husband in order to save the woman's life.

If the moral decision is relative to circumstance, then the decision has objective value. One makes an objective wrong decision or a right one in the situation. If I choose to give up the woman to the abusive husband then my decision is objectively wrong.

If the moral decision is relative to the individual, then the decision has no objective value. The value of the decision is subjective to the individual. It's not objectively right or wrong. If you choose to to give up the woman to the abusive husband, then your decision is morally right for you. Either decision is equally valid as the rightness and wrongness of the decision is subjective to you.

If Billy Bob decided to give up the woman and you decided to save the woman in the exact same circumstance, both your decisions are equal in value as neither of you are right or wrong. There is no objective moral standard in which to measure which decision is morally right and which is wrong.

Justifying a wrong act has been the basis of debate among moral objectivists, both theists and atheists alike. Deontological ethics (duty-centered) vs. teleological ethics (end-centered). Does the end justify the means? If the means are neither wrong nor right, then their is no reason to justify it.


CuteCoot wrote:Time and again, you objectivists claim "value" for your own moral depravities and time and again, you refuse to assign any value to what are essentially humanistic, naturalistic, people-oriented, love-oriented, discussion-oriented moral systems. Here in this paragraph, for the umpteenth time, you are making the completely illogical sequitur that a denial of moral objectivity amounts to a denial of morality. A relativist morality is still a morality. And an objectivist morality that is allowed to be amended by "justifications" is no longer objective but purely subjective.


I've explained this a dozen times over. Either you weren't following the debate, or your fingers are in your ears. The denial of objective morality is a denial of moral truth. If there exists no moral truth, then morality is nothing more than individual notions of right and wrong. Preferences. There is no objective value (right and wrong) in subjective notions of right and wrong.

For example, as relativists you have your right and wrongs, and Osama bin Laden has his. Osama bin Laden believes that stoning women is morally virtuous, you believe that the act is morally reprehensible. None of you have the capital to judge each other as there exists no objective standard to determine who (you or Osama) is morally right or wrong.

You say:

"you objectivists claim "value" for your own moral depravities and time and again, you refuse to assign any value to what are essentially humanistic, naturalistic, people-oriented, love-oriented, discussion-oriented moral systems."

You shoot yourself in the foot with this emotive rant. Why should I assign value to what YOU believe are essential concepts to a moral system? Your understanding of what holds value is subjective to you, not anyone else. You are stealing my capital as an objectivist by asserting what concepts are essential to a universal "moral system".



CuteCoot wrote:The consensus is not and never has been 100%.


How do you know this? By which yardstick do you measure when a moral system is at "50%," "70%" or "100%" moral? Who determines when a moral system is at 100% on the "moral meter"? Anything you reference is objectively valueless, because its subjective to you. I'm sure you can draft a "100% moral system," but so what? it doesn't apply to Billy Bob, Osama bin Laden or anyone else. They have their own yardstick to measure a 100% moral system." Osama bin Laden believes Shari'a Law is essential to a "100% moral system." His moral system is objectively equal to your moral system.

CuteCoot wrote:There will always be individuals who oppose the consensus. In this case, quite a few people agree with me but the overwhelming majority do not. And emotions are too high right now for this subject to be debated very intelligently. So I don't bother too much.


first of all, my temperament is placid, I'm thoroughly enjoying myself. I find engaging and reading debates on polemical issues a delightful experience. I regret that you don't feel the same.

The fact that you are emotional over an argument on morality actually hints at objective moral truth. For morality to truly be relative, there wouldn't be heated debates about what's morally right and wrong. If morality is simply relative, then what does it matter if one holds to objective morality? His understanding of morality is relative to him, why would you try to persuade anyone that your notion moral relativism is true? It's all relative. But the fact that we have these debates regarding morality and moral situations shows that there's something more to morality than just "everything is relative".

CuteCoot wrote:However, I respect the consensus and if placed to act in this matter I would do as the consensus wishes. My view is my view and it is not the consensus view. If you want to see it as immoral, fair enough. That is how debate and discussion proceed. And yes, every new and more rational moral system begins with an empowerment of people like me.


You don't seem to understand that according to your view of morality, your moral disposition on things are a product of the consensus. Your sense of what is morally right and wrong is obdurately conjoined to the moral system of the consensus. It's not a question of whether you respect the morality of the consensus, it's a question of why your moral views conflict with them. If morality is truly derived from the consensus, then your view on torture is morally reprehensible within your community "the free world". Any type of reform that opposes the morality of the consensus is morally reprehensible. Your new "moral system" makes you a villain, not a hero. This is not something I consider you, rather this is the moral constraints you've placed upon yourself with your notion of consensus morality.

Re: Polytheism and monotheism

PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2009 4:27 am
by CuteCoot
Equestrian wrote:Its obvious that those on this thread who recklessly promulgate the "straw man," have no adequate rebuttal.

This is only "obvious" to you. Your post is peppered with denials of old straw men and the introduction of newly invented straw men. So waving straw men around and stubbornly denying their existence seems to be your modus operandi.

I'm hereby walking out with the rest of the relativists.

Re: Polytheism and monotheism

PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2009 5:26 am
by crazymonkie_
:shock: Wow, so that's.... wow. What, four people walking away from one thread, including a really level-headed poster? Wow. I'm pretty sure this is some kind of Internet record, but I don't know if we should be proud or really sad.

Re: Polytheism and monotheism

PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2009 7:48 am
by IoshkaFutz
crazymonkie_ wrote::shock: Wow, so that's.... wow. What, four people walking away from one thread, including a really level-headed poster? Wow. I'm pretty sure this is some kind of Internet record, but I don't know if we should be proud or really sad.


Ciao CrazieMonkie,

You'll be sorely missed. Now that only us poor dopes are left, with the possible exception of Bunny, life here on the Polytheism and Monontheism thread will be bitter and harsh and there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. But fear not, you will live on here as Fabled Disembodied Interplayers. All of you!

However I think you got your facts wrong. I mean about four people walking away from one thread being some kind of "internet record." I'm not sure whether it is my nativist cognitive limitations which allow me to say this with a certain confidence or not, but there are at least a billion internet threads that have been abandoned by the level-headed.

But you said "some kind of" Internet Record. It really must be "some special kind of" and not the "normal kind of" Internet Record. Like the Great Huxley, I think you too astound easily. I shudder to think what the Guiness Book of Records would look like in sheer weight and size if such "special kind of" records were included.

Adieu!!

Re: Polytheism and monotheism

PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2009 9:10 am
by crazymonkie_
I know, it's a terrible, terrible shame. Woe unto us, for we have broken the Internet! :cry:

....And I'm guessing humor doesn't go across the Web too well either.

It still sucks that CuteCoot is done here, though. And I'm still laying the blame at the feet of yourself and Equestrian. I don't care what you call me, or whether you think you've done well (you haven't- obscure pronouncements and really poor misrepresentations of the opposing viewpoint don't really help in debates) or whether you've won (you didn't- CuteCoot, Huxley and sword crushed your arguments and Equestrian's many arguments as well.) The fact that I got owned pretty badly doesn't really say much- I got pulled into this argument after saying that good and evil are relative, thinking I could probably leave it at that. Oops.

Though in a weird way I should thank you two. You've rekindled my interest in non-theistic moral philosophy and got me a hell of reading list. We should still start a new thread, though, and let this one die. It seems that it's run its course.

Re: Polytheism and monotheism

PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2009 1:35 pm
by IoshkaFutz
The great Ali Sina once said that the real winner of a debate is the one who loses, because he's learned something whereas the other side comes and goes with the same baggage... and so normally, once I've swallowed my foolish pride, it's fine with me that I have been utterly vanquished. The problem in this case however is that I don't know what I've learned.

I'll try to list some of the things, which I perhaps could have / should have learned, weren't I so stubborn.

From Cutecoot, I'd have learned that simply saying "I hereby" solves moral questions.

From you I'd have learned that saying "some sort of" can make any common occurence or disatisfaction an "Internet Record." Okay, you were joking and I knew it. So we were just throwing darts. But I did get a serious troll warning from you, so one never knows!

From Huxley I'd have learned that baldly announcing that the other guy has "native cognitive limitations" is a legitimate response. And that "Yes they do!" consitutes a proper answer.

And from many of you I'd have learned that "strawman" is a sin in a sinless world. And that shouting "strawman" for indicating the possible logical outcomes of another's position were that same position conceded to third parties is a strawman, and that creating a scenario with a bad guy means you're a bad guy too.

But that's not learning anything. I already knew that chaos, insult and stupidity existed.

So okay, I have straw in my mouth and I'll just turn to Rumi and see if I can find some of that really groovy "transcendental" eastern style la-di-da wisdom.

"Since the shining truth is a cause of tranquility,
the heart will not be calmed by lying words."

My Ferrari comes to a screeching halt.

The shining truth is a cause of tranquility? I see it more as a call to thought, RUMInation, action and even to arms!

I came to this conclusion while thinking up an answer to Dr. Bunny's post. He's the newcomer to the Polytheism and Monotheisim Torture Chamber, the exception that confirms the rule. All the level-headed people walked out in a petulant frenzy and in came Dr. Bunny. And he directs a post to me. A good solid and scholarly post.

Now Dr. Bunny established: "The foundations of any notion of sin/morality are based in culture. As cultures change, sins change."

Naturally I don't agree with it. It bugs the crap out of me. Not because it's Bunny who said it, but because... well, there's something in me that refuses to accept sin/morality in those terms.

Yesterday while working like mad, (draft three of a droll story for Canada), I met my hippy mailman and reminded him that in the old days, couriers who delivered messages bearing bad news were strung up by despots. And so he had better go easy with the bills and parking tickets, because - well - I participate on a forum of august freethinkers... and I take their teachings to heart.

He answered that he would try his best not to bring bad tidings, but it wasn't his fault because "Messaggero non porta pena." (Don't shoot the messenger).

"I said: "Yes, all well and good, but that from now on he'd better be anyhow careful, 'cause I could easily undergo a change of culture in our brave new multicultural world!"

Now please, I am not suggesting that Dr. Bunny condones the murder of mailmen. I can't even imagine him murdering a visiting Jehova's Witness. Perhaps, like me, tempted, but actually murdering no.

And I also know that there's truth in what Bunny established. For example, eating potato chips out in the streets of Cairo during Ramadan is a sin there, almost as bad as smoking a cigar in a Swedish Maternity ward. And certainly a sin that will have more dire consequences.

The whole concept is akin to the advice St. Ambrose gave to St. Augustine back in 387 A.D.: "WHEN IN ROME, DO AS THE ROMANS DO" (concerning a question of Church Fasting).

But I am dissatisfied because: "The foundations of any notion of sin/morality are based in culture. As cultures change, sins change" doesn't do it for me.

The way I see it, the practice - of blaming / harming the mailmain / messenger - is wrong, regardless of when, where, how or by whom or for how long it was practiced. If it was common in Mesopotamia, it was anyhow immoral. Should it become common practice again in Brindisi in the year 4000 it will still be wrong.

Dr. Rumi says:

"Since the shining truth is a cause of tranquility,
the heart will not be calmed by lying words."

Perhaps Rumi, born in what is today a part of Afganistan, was thinking about the beauty of birds, but when it comes to murdering mailmen, the shining truth is that whoever delivered the message "Don't shoot the messenger," no matter of what faith, culture, background, was telling a truth not only shiny, but worthy of a great and good fight, certainly a big fuss. Anything but tranquility - if mailmen were being murdered. (And it seems that in many places they were).

Goddamit, the heart WILL be calmed by lying words unless the shining truth is fussed about.

India, the very land of silent and tranquil introspection came up with the caste system, sacred bovines and suttee... and now has statistical female shortfalls in certain areas on account of infanticide.

Moral abulia. Very calm hearts.

Attempts to downgrade (or upgrade - you decide) morality to the anthropology of morality are akin to downgrading tennis to the book-study of tennis.

Wikipedia informs:

"Tennis as the modern sport can be dated to two separate roots. Between 1859 and 1865, Major Harry Gem and his friend Augurio Perera developed a game that combined elements of rackets and the Basque ball game pelota, which they played on Perera's croquet lawn in Birmingham, United Kingdom."

Sure, that's tennis... but it stands to actually played tennis as "The foundations of any notion of sin/morality are based in culture, etc." - stands to morality.

In other words, the dance is not the study of the dance, not even a greater or lesser awareness of the origins of the dance (some of which are anyhow lost in the mists of time and the object of legends).

I know what I'm talking about because I had the pleasure of working on a Lambada picture in Brazil. A very silly pciture centered around a dance contest. The ballerine and ballerini were dumb goats, but they danced like gods. And a couple of them were Norwegians. Meaning they had LEARNED. Had had the will to learn and the will to practice.

I can't accept - at least not yet - discussions of morality in which ideals and will are described in passive terms of culture. This is not man...

Re: Polytheism and monotheism

PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2009 9:30 pm
by CuteCoot
IoshkaFutz wrote:From Cutecoot, I'd have learned that simply saying "I hereby" solves moral questions.


In the end, hope rested with your ability to learn to distinguish between interacting players and interplaying interests. Since that proved impossible ...

Re: Polytheism and monotheism

PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2009 11:14 pm
by IoshkaFutz
CuteCoot wrote:
IoshkaFutz wrote:From Cutecoot, I'd have learned that simply saying "I hereby" solves moral questions.


In the end, hope rested with your ability to learn to distinguish between interacting players and interplaying interests. Since that proved impossible ...


Ciao Cutecoot, welcome back, or rather: "I hereby" welcome you back from the land where relativists upset with absolutists go to celebrate their victories and to figure out whether they should "be proud or really sad."

Though I refuse their confusion, I feel their pain. I too was hopeful about the Fabled Disembodied Interplayers, that's why I asked for more information about them. Me stupid, ask smart and smart answer, you stupid. I can understand. It's like asking someone to explain what "being in the groove is." Or like the saying "if you don't already know, you'll never know."

I'm not sure that moral questions can be properly faced that way. Rock 'n' roll and jazz can to an extent, though even they were young and foolish and had to study, learn chords, listen to others even emulate others.

Anyhow, I think the shining truth is more a matter of excitement than tranquility. That would explain the zeal of new converts, but more importantly the wondrous state of mind of a child taking his first subway ride and discovering that trains can hurtle through rocks (while everyone around them is reading the newspaper or being worried by pickpockets).

In reading the stories of Muslims who've converted to better forms of humanity one finds excitement, nervousness, doubt. Some go on to write books and open internet sites. They are amazed. Suddenly prosciutto and melone aren't a sin anymore. Only eating too much or wasting it.

So tonight, to celebrate my whopping victory over the relativists. I will dance and unlike the whirling dervishes, I'll dance the tarantella with a woman along with a whole community of men and women. Being proud and sad like crazymonkie is too sophisticated for me. To hell with Rumi, I'll take San Francesco and Sangiovese.

Re: Polytheism and monotheism

PostPosted: Wed May 13, 2009 1:54 am
by CuteCoot
IoshkaFutz wrote:So tonight, to celebrate my whopping victory over the relativists. I will dance and unlike the whirling dervishes, I'll dance the tarantella with a woman along with a whole community of men and women. Being proud and sad like crazymonkie is too sophisticated for me. To hell with Rumi, I'll take San Francesco and Sangiovese.

Enjoy your fake and futile victory dance, my friend.

Rumi wrote:.
Today I'm going for a drunken stroll.
I'll search the town for a rational man,
Pour him a drink from the bowl of my skull,
And turn him into a crazy fool.
.

Re: Polytheism and monotheism

PostPosted: Wed May 13, 2009 7:53 am
by IoshkaFutz
Fake and futile? All major events are celebrated. Graduation dance. Marriage reception. The rout of the relativist barbarians. It's like the sound of Glen Miller after WW2, the rescue of the hostages from Entebbe. The wine is drunk from anything, though better, far better if from Bohemian Crystal than from the skull of some already drunk creepy-boo out on the prowl for rational men. (It's harder to admire the perlage of the Shampansky).

Trust me on this, the fun's here at the absolutist victory party.

Re: Polytheism and monotheism

PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2012 11:09 am
by Nosuperstition
Yohan wrote:Technically speaking, there is currently only one major polytheistic religion. That is Hinduism. The major piece missing in a polytheistic religion is the absence of moral principles. In other words, anything goes. One may find that to be the case with now extinct Roman and Greek polytheist religions too.

Keepers of the Monotheistic religions had over time managed to bring in moral principles into religion. Now there are good and bad morals as you know. Monotheistic relgions which emphasises good moral principles tend to do more good things for its believers, and are more attractive.

Lately Polytheistic religion Hinduism for example is copying monotheistic ones in this regard and trying to integrate moral principles into it. Now Hindus will not accept this 'copying' business since it is too much for their bloated egos.


If presence of Urvasi and other celestial prostitutes is the cause of moral degradation in Hinduism then Song of songs can be considered a cause of moral degradation in Christianity.

If presence of story of God punishing David for killing Uriah , his Hittite military commander by trickery for taking possession of his beautiful wife Bathe Sheba upgrades the morality of Christianity,then the story of Ram,Sita and Ravana causes moral upgradation of Hinduism and story of Indra killing a king who tried to lay his hand on Sujatha , a beautiful commoner woman (after trying to kill her husband after having falsely implicating her husband in a murder case) in Buddhist Jataka tales causes moral upgradation in Buddhism.