My question for theists, on morality – By Godless Teen

January 3, 2013 in General, Questions

We’ve all been there before. We’ve all had the great pleasure (/sarcasm) of arguing with a theist who claims that atheists are nothing but moral relativists before, or that, without God, we would all have to be moral relativists. Well, I’m going to throw out a question to all of you theists out there who support this point of view, and let’s see your answers:

My question is this: Why should we (rationally) do any type of actions whatsoever?

Currently, I have two options for you:

- Because those actions are moral

- Because they provide some kind of greater benefit (or lower cost) relative to the other actions that we could have done instead.

Now, should you have any other answers, please post them in the comments, as I’d be very much interested in hearing them.

Now, for the first option, let me ask you this:

Ok, we’ve established that we should only do actions because they are moral, but why should that give us any rational reason to do them? For example, if Action A is considered moral, still, why should we do it? If there is no benefit (by the way, when I say “benefit”, I am not referring to benefit to the individual, I am asking about benefit to anybody/everybody. The way that this benefit is distributed is not relevant right now) to doing an action, nor any cost to not doing it (the same goes for “cost”), then why would we rationally want to do that action? If cutting our legs off was considered moral, would you still say that we should rationally do it? Why?

Now for the second option:

Ok, we’ve established that we should only do actions because of the cost or benefit of doing them (note that I did not state how that cost/benefit is distributed- for example, to yourself or to your family, or, in another scenario, to a group of strangers or to a group of friends. All that is relevant right now is that the only rational reason to do an action is for the cost of doing other actions or the benefit of doing that action.). Are there any other reasons, then, outside of this, why a rational person should engage in any actions?

That will be all for now, thanks.

12 responses to My question for theists, on morality – By Godless Teen

  1. QUOTE: “We’ve all been there before. We’ve all had the great pleasure (/sarcasm) of arguing with a theist who claims that atheists are nothing but moral relativists before, or that, without God, we would all have to be moral relativists. Well, I’m going to throw out a question to all of you theists out there who support this point of view, and let’s see your answers:

    My question is this: Why should we (rationally) do any type of actions whatsoever?

    Currently, I have two options for you:

    - Because those actions are moral

    - Because they provide some kind of greater benefit (or lower cost) relative to the other actions that we could have done instead.”<<<<<

    You're going to have to clarify here…

    As these questions, while interesting, do nothing to answer moral objectivity vs. relativism.

    As I've argued time and again on here – an action is either right or it's wrong.

    REGARDLESS of the two questions above.

    Motive FOR doing something doesn't make the action objectively right or wrong.

    I can list more than those above.

    However, they "why" of doing something moral does not speak to IS something moral.

    This was a point you missed often during our last discussions.

    So are we back to discussing objectivity/subjectivity or are you just looking for a list of reasons to do something moral? (as I don't think we'll really have much a diverging discussion there)

    • The question was worded exactly the way I meant it to be. Whether or not you may instantly see what I’m trying to get at is irrelevant. It might not seem to be a part of morality- but don’t worry, I’ll help you connect the dots later.

    • Is there even such a thing as objective morality? Even if there is a god that decides what is and isn’t moral, he must have some sort of measure, which then makes it subjective.

  2. Okay, well here is a short list of why we should “rationally” do ANY type of action:

    1) it makes us happy :)
    2) it makes others happy
    3) it may gain people’s trust
    4) it may benefit someone else
    5) it may be fun
    6) it may be exciting
    7) our friends ask us to
    8) it’s expected of us
    9) it’s the right thing to do
    10) opportunity

    There’s a short list of why we should do ANY action.

    • Ok.

      All of these are benefits of some sort or another. I’m not using the term “happiness” right now, because I think it’s a lot faster to just go with the more straightforward term “benefit”. Now, what I’ve argued is that, rationally speaking, humans do actions because of the benefit. All of these reasons provide some sort of benefit.

      Also- and I mentioned this a few times in the post, although probably not clearly enough- I’m not talking about benefit to the individual or benefit to others, I’m talking about both. That is, I’m not asking for you to come up with any reasons other than “benefit for oneself” or “benefit for another”, I’m talking about “benefit for oneself or another”. So, keeping that in mind, I’d like you to kindly edit your list to more accurately reflect my question.

  3. A couple more:

    11) it may make us money
    12) it might benefit us personally
    13) it might make us famous

    again a list for reasons to do any action…

  4. First off, as you did ask for other reasons, my list was a valid answer. However, I will address the two you provided and your questions regarding them.

    So let’s look at your two options.

    - Because those actions are moral

    - Because they provide some kind of greater benefit (or lower cost) relative to the other actions that we could have done instead.

    Right off the bat we have an issue because these to options are NOT mutually exclusive. As something that is moral may in fact “provide some kind of greater benefit relative to the other actions.”
    In addition, the reverse could be said that an action that provides greater benefit, as stated, could be moral as well. However, we then have to admit that such an action that provides such benefit could be IMMORAL too.

    QUOTE: “Ok, we’ve established that we should only do actions because they are moral, but why should that give us any rational reason to do them? For example, if Action A is considered moral, still, why should we do it? If there is no benefit (by the way, when I say “benefit”, I am not referring to benefit to the individual, I am asking about benefit to anybody/everybody.”<<<<<
    Okay, you are already changing some things here. As for one, a moral action MAY benefit anybody/everybody. To exclude it, is to change the parameters for option 1 and exclude many moral actions.

    The fact an action WOULD benefit many/every people would be a valid reason.

    But let’s say you’re looking for moral actions that DON’T benefit the majority. Why should we still do them?
    1. to be an honest person.
    2. to be a moral person.
    3. while action may be detrimental to ourselves it would benefit one other even more. (an individual case)
    4. because we want to – that is we like doing moral actions
    6. from a Christian perspective – because we want to live a Christ-centered life.
    7. because it's fun.

    There’s quick rational reasons for doing an action just because it's moral.

    QUOTE:”If cutting our legs off was considered moral, would you still say that we should rationally do it? Why?<<<<<<
    If “if’s and “buts” were candy and nuts we’d all have a merry Christmas. 

    What I’m getting as, it your “if” scenario is vague and arbitrary. Were not talking what’s “considered” moral – but what IS moral. For what’s “considered” doesn’t mean it truly is. That’s a different discussion than WHY to do an action.

    But I would say that I would be rational to cut off my leg if it were so infected that antibiotics were of no use and amputation would save my life.

    But, again, we are discussing motive for doing moral actions. Not “what if” scenarios – that’s a different discussion.

    QUOTE: “Now for the second option:
    Ok, we’ve established that we should only do actions because of the cost or benefit of doing them (note that I did not state how that cost/benefit is distributed- for example, to yourself or to your family, or, in another scenario, to a group of strangers or to a group of friends. All that is relevant right now is that the only rational reason to do an action is for the cost of doing other actions or the benefit of doing that action.). Are there any other reasons, then, outside of this, why a rational person should engage in any actions?<<<<<<<

    Certainly we can give rational reasons to engage in actions that benefit people.

    And for the most part they would be the same answer: 1) it’s the right thing to do. 2) we want to be honest, 3) we want to be moral, 4) it might be fun, 5) because we want to, 6) because as a Christian we want to live a Christ centered life.

    However, we must be careful because if we only use the argument that the ONLY reason to do an action is the cost/benefit rationality, then we are in danger of possibly doing an immoral action despite the fact it benefits more people than it harms.

    But as I stated above, in option one we are in NO danger of doing an immoral act, if our ONLY motivation is just to do it because it’s moral.

    Option 2 – we have the danger of committing an immoral act, though it may benefit others.

    Final result: in both cases we can find rational reasons for them beyond just being A and B options.

    However, as I stated in my first post – this does nothing to establish whether or not morals are objective or subjective. That is are they true and binding, or just arbitrary.

    In any event, there’s a quick answer. I’ll be interested to see where you are taking this to answer the question of objective morals vs. moral relativism.

    • First off, as you did ask for other reasons, my list was a valid answer. However, I will address the two you provided and your questions regarding them.

      I’m not sure if this was meant to anger me or if you sincerely believe it. Either way, it’s completely ridiculous. You just admitted that all of the things that you listed could be put under the list of benefits. Because my category, “benefits”, spread its umbrella over all the things that you listed quite easily, and you admit to that, then either you’re saying that you were too ignorant to pay attention to that fact and mindlessly listed a whole group of things that you didn’t need to, or you’re saying that you said what you did because you wanted to annoy me greatly, which is awful sportsmanship and a terrible way to argue. So take your pick.

      Right off the bat we have an issue because these to options are NOT mutually exclusive. As something that is moral may in fact “provide some kind of greater benefit relative to the other actions.”
      In addition, the reverse could be said that an action that provides greater benefit, as stated, could be moral as well. However, we then have to admit that such an action that provides such benefit could be IMMORAL too.

      My argument is that these two options are not mutually exclusive. In fact, I feel that morality almost doesn’t exist; only rational and irrational actions do. There is no magic wish-wash “good and evil” in the sense that people commonly use it. However, without these tradeoffs of costs and benefits, we would have no reason to do anything.

      Because morality implies a rational ought- that is, that we rationally should do one action and should not do another- and because we cannot establish some kind of wish-wash magical good and evil like you want to, we need to look at all of the reasons to rationally do an action. The only ones that exist are the costs and benefits. Thus, you can base a code of morality- a code of what we rationally ought to do and rationally ought not do- simply based on costs and benefits. Now, all of this is based on the idea that, indeed, morality and opportunity cost are not mutually exclusive; that the only reason we rationally ought to do an action and ought not do another is because of opportunity cost. In this regard, “ought” implies the cost vs benefit tradeoff.

      This is what I’m trying to really get at with the question I asked you.

      However, in your wish-wash magic fairyland of Jeezus and Gerd, Satin and dem angelz, there is this magical standard of good and evil that somehow popped out of nowhere. They have no basis to them; they just are. Of course, you can’t actually prove that they exist, so instead your argument seems to be that they are the only possible explanation for an objective morality. However, as I just showed, we can get rational oughts and ought nots through a much simpler and logical method: by examining the costs and benefits to doing actions.

      Now, assuming that you actually do believe your mystical, fabled standards of good and evil that you have not proven exist- you have only chosen to attempt to prove that they are the only possible way that objective morality can exist, with no actual evidence regarding yours in particular- then that would, by necessity, separate cost vs benefit as well as morality. Of course, you could argue that such a necessity is non-existent- that they are mutually dependent, that cost vs benefit causes morality (what I’m arguing), or that morality causes cost vs benefit (which can’t be right, of course- that would mean that we rationally ought to do an action before we know what its costs and benefits are. For example- maybe we ought to kill ourselves. However, from a rational standpoint, this can’t be right, because killing ourselves creates a much larger cost than a benefit).

      So, we’re faced with two options- the two are mutually dependent, or cost vs benefit causes morality.

      It can’t be number 1. If that were the case, then that would have to mean that neither could have ever come to be. Morality can’t exist if cost vs benefit doesn’t exist, and cost vs benefit can’t exist if morality doesn’t exist.

      Thus, we’re left with one option: cost vs benefit determines what is and is not moral.

      So, Chris, long story short, you have two options. Either you can admit that you were wrong- that the two are mutually exclusive- or that you were right, but then my system of morality stands very firm because cost vs benefit can determine what is and is not moral.

      Take your pick.

      And the examples you mentioned below are rubbish. You suffer from the old “correlation is causation” fallacy; that is, you believe that, because a moral action may provide some benefit, that morality and and cost vs benefit are causative in one direction or another. Of course, I could also say that computers with Apples on them tend to be Macs, but I wouldn’t argue that the Apples cause the computers to be Macs. As a kid in my AP Statistics class would say, one such example of this fallacy is “determining the height of mountains from how high frogs jump”.

      Not to say, then, that the two are mutually exclusive- I don’t argue that, I mention what I argue beforehand- but you might want to think before you take your pick next time.

      QUOTE: “Ok, we’ve established that we should only do actions because they are moral, but why should that give us any rational reason to do them? For example, if Action A is considered moral, still, why should we do it? If there is no benefit (by the way, when I say “benefit”, I am not referring to benefit to the individual, I am asking about benefit to anybody/everybody.”< <<<<
      Okay, you are already changing some things here. As for one, a moral action MAY benefit anybody/everybody. To exclude it, is to change the parameters for option 1 and exclude many moral actions.

      The fact an action WOULD benefit many/every people would be a valid reason.

      But let’s say you’re looking for moral actions that DON’T benefit the majority. Why should we still do them?
      1. to be an honest person.
      2. to be a moral person.
      3. while action may be detrimental to ourselves it would benefit one other even more. (an individual case)
      4. because we want to – that is we like doing moral actions
      6. from a Christian perspective – because we want to live a Christ-centered life.
      7. because it's fun.

      There’s quick rational reasons for doing an action just because it's moral.

      No, you’re the one changing things here. First, you give no reasons why morality (in your book) gives us a reason to do actions. In fact, all the actions that you stated are, as a matter of fact, done because of cost vs benefit (with the exception of #2, which I will get to in a moment).

      Not only that, but didn’t you just state that morality and benefit aren’t mutually exclusive? Well, if that’s the case, then you just contradicted your statement that a moral action “may” benefit everybody. Unless you want to introduce some third variable into here, the link is clear: either an action that is moral provides more overall benefit, or it doesn’t.

      So, again, another choice for you: do you want to admit that morality and cost vs benefit are mutually exclusive (which contradicts what you said earlier, as well as provides you with a steep hill to climb in finding some way to show that a person should still do moral actions regardless of the cost vs benefit), or you can stick to your earlier statement and say that they aren’t mutually exclusive, which then contradicts your statement that a moral action “may” provide some kind of cost or benefit.

      The third option would be to state that there is some kind of third variable involved here that can make an action moral but costly in one scenario and moral and beneficial in another. However, if that’s the case, then I want you to give me that variable, and why it is more important than cost vs benefit in determining what actions that we ought to do and ought not do, rationally speaking. Because the “word of God” might seem “more important”, but it doesn’t by nature give me any reason to act according to his word.

      Now, before I start answering your seven examples, let me make a quick note. I stated multiple times, explicitly, that I wasn’t talking about benefit specifically to the individual, nor to the population necessarily. I stated that

      The way that this benefit is distributed is not relevant right now

      but you ended up taking my quote way out of context, by leaving that part out. Now, to address your list:
      1. If you believe that being an honest person is beneficial to you, it is rational to do that.
      2. I earlier addressed rational “oughts” as existing only because of cost vs benefit, so this one is a bit repetitive (we should rationally do actions because of the cost and benefit). Not to mention what I stated earlier about how the distribution of this cost vs benefit isn’t relevant.
      3-7. See number 1, basically the same idea.

      So, the only real outlier that is instantly apparent is number 2, mostly because it’s not based on cost vs benefit initially but instead the idea of morality (which is in turn based on cost vs benefit).

      Certainly we can give rational reasons to engage in actions that benefit people.

      And for the most part they would be the same answer: 1) it’s the right thing to do. 2) we want to be honest, 3) we want to be moral, 4) it might be fun, 5) because we want to, 6) because as a Christian we want to live a Christ centered life.

      However, we must be careful because if we only use the argument that the ONLY reason to do an action is the cost/benefit rationality, then we are in danger of possibly doing an immoral action despite the fact it benefits more people than it harms.

      But as I stated above, in option one we are in NO danger of doing an immoral act, if our ONLY motivation is just to do it because it’s moral.

      Yes, benefit is a rational reason, and, as I stated, how that benefit is distributed is irrelevant.
      And, again, your 6 options all fall under my umbrella of cost vs benefit. There is no reason to do these actions outside of the cost vs benefit.

      The final part shows your complete and utter bias specifically towards your idea of objective morality. Well, if all of your premises are faulty, and based on biases, then your argument cannot stand. Want to know why yours are faulty?

      You automatically believe that morality exists with no reliance on cost vs benefit. However, what is the basis of this premise? Why do you base your system of morality on the idea that morality exists in spite of cost vs benefit? Because of your God? Well, if that’s your case, then your entire argument for God completely falls apart. You base your argument (objective morality exists only with God, objective morality exists, ergo God) on the idea that cost vs benefit and morality are independent, that a moral action might be more costly while an immoral action more beneficial. Can you please justify your reasoning for this to me?

      The answer is: you can’t.

      You automatically deny the existence of other systems of morality based on cost vs benefit on the faulty premise that morality already exists without cost vs benefit. You’re saying that God exists because of objective morality, but this argument is based on the idea that morality exists because of God. This is circular logic; you say that God must exist because of morality, but that the morality you speak of is defined by God. You base your evidences on your conclusions, and thus are blind to the other possibilities.

      Think of it this way, Chris. If you believed in my system of morality, that would mean that, ultimately, “good” and “bad” doesn’t exist, just rational and irrational actions. You would see that my system of morality is based upon the initial premise that rational people will act in a way that is most beneficial and least costly. Thus, rationally, you are going to act in the way that is most beneficial (be it to you or to others). Now, when you look at other systems of morality, you would be able to state that those are incorrect because they make faulty assumptions about the behavior of human beings.

      Yet, in your system of morality, you would deny those other systems simply because your system of morality is based on morality- a predefined, vague term that is defined by your God (allegedly).

      Your system is based upon itself, that a set of moral actions just so happens to exist. Mine is based upon cost vs benefit, which is further based on the rational behavior of human beings that we observe in the actual world.

      My system of morality is based ultimately on a single objective truth; yours is automatically based on the idea that morality exists, period. You don’t allow room for cost vs benefit. Your system is not based on rational action. Mine is. You use your system in a blind attempt to prove your God, yet you admit (directly or not, doesn’t matter; you’ve just stated that “However, we must be careful because if we only use the argument that the ONLY reason to do an action is the cost/benefit rationality, then we are in danger of possibly doing an immoral action despite the fact it benefits more people than it harms.” Your initial assumptions are based on an already preexisting system of morality, which you believe allows you to magically get away with your system because it starts by initially denying all other possible systems by nature) that your morality is based on the idea that morality already exists, defined by God. You refuse to allow any other possible systems to determine which is “best” because you automatically base your morality on a concept that you cannot prove exists, and the idea that morality exists before cost vs benefit.

      Your bias is showing.

      Not to mention, about that last part; you still haven’t provided a reason to do a moral action anyways outside of cost vs benefit.

      Option 2 – we have the danger of committing an immoral act, though it may benefit others.

      Final result: in both cases we can find rational reasons for them beyond just being A and B options.

      However, as I stated in my first post – this does nothing to establish whether or not morals are objective or subjective. That is are they true and binding, or just arbitrary.

      In any event, there’s a quick answer. I’ll be interested to see where you are taking this to answer the question of objective morals vs. moral relativism.

      The only moral relativist here is you. As I just proved, your morality is based on the initial premise that morality already exists, defined by God. If that’s the case (and considering that you haven’t provided any evidence for God, and the argument from morality is faulty because it is initially based on the idea that a God exists), then I could just as well say that my God gives a different system of morality, and that it is perfectly valid. There’s nothing you can say against that, because you haven’t proven that your god exists and that he has produced that specific code of morality. Both systems of morality would be just as justified.

      You have now reconfirmed the fact that morality is not based on cost vs benefit. With your quote

      Option 2 – we have the danger of committing an immoral act, though it may benefit others.

      You have two options. Either you state that your system of morality is indeed based on the initial premise that it stands alone, that it is not based on cost vs benefit but on a preexisting standard of morality, you concede that it is, in fact, based on cost vs benefit (thereby legitimizing my system and contradicting yourself), that it is based on multiple variables (what those variables are, and why we should even care about them, you must explain, because up to this point you’ve stated that the only such reasons we should want to do an action is because of the cost vs benefit), or that it is based on another variable which hasn’t been mentioned yet (remember that you must prove why we should care about that other variable as well. Just saying “it’s God’s word” isn’t a motivation to do an action… Unless there’s a benefit to doing that action that is greater than the cost).

      Let me now finish and summarize what I’ve said for you:

      1. I’ve shown that you cannot produce a reason to do an action outside of the cost vs benefit.
      2. I’ve shown that morality must be initially based on cost vs benefit, because morality implies rational oughts and ought nots and thus implies that there are rational reasons to do or not to do an action.
      3. I’ve shown that your system of morality is based on the initial premise that a system of morality exists without cost vs benefit. Of course, you don’t explain why we should then do moral actions, and not do immoral actions, but who need logic, right?!
      4. I’ve shown that, because of #3, your system of morality is nothing more than a self-perpetuating bias. There is no logical reason for actions to be rational or irrational without cost or benefit, yet you try to throw that out and automatically propose a system of morality- a system of rational and irrational actions.
      5. I’ve shown that this initial premise, that morality is separate from cost vs benefit, is faulty and based on no evidence or rational observations about the world.

      Now, to finish:

      This is the only thing that determines whether or not morality is objective. You refuse to admit this. However, as I’ve said, morality implies rational oughts and ought nots, and we need to discover what is rational and what is not. I’ve shown you that the only reason for a person to act in a particular way, then, is the cost vs benefit. This is objective; there is no logical reason to deny this. In your system of morality, the only rational basis for actions is what God says. Well, hey, that completely gets rid of the idea of free will! Plus, it’s not even a real motivation- you just wish for it to be. Therefore, your morality is the subjective one at hand, while mine is the objective one. Yours is based off of a wish that God’s word is a better motivator than cost vs benefit- that it is dictates what is rational and irrational to do- while mine is based off of an objective fact about our world, and about how humans are rationally expected to act. It is based off of what we observe is rational and irrational to do, not what we wish is rational and irrational to do.

      So, sir, I believe that the only moral subjectivist here… Is you.

  5. Here you kill your “objective morality” again, right off the bat.

    “QUOTE – My argument is that these two options are not mutually exclusive. In fact, I feel that morality almost doesn’t exist; only rational and irrational actions do. There is no magic wish-wash “good and evil” in the sense that people commonly use it. However, without these tradeoffs of costs and benefits, we would have no reason to do anything.”<<<<<

    If morality doesn't exist – then even yours cannot be OBJECTIVE. So again, will you finally then admit that your moral code is not objective?

    Okay, just had to point that out right away…not on with the rest of the post.

    QUOTE:"However, as I just showed, we can get rational oughts and ought nots through a much simpler and logical method: by examining the costs and benefits to doing actions."<<<<<<<

    Certainly we can get helpful social rules in place – but these aren't objectively true rights/wrongs. As you just admitted you don't believe morality exists…yet you want them to. You want there to be rules. However, you can't point to anything objective as to why we should do something – benefit, fine, but that doesn't make it objective (as you claim yours is). If it's not objective, then it isn't binding…thus, while you might not like it, you can't truly say rape is wrong. You have no basis of which to say that – only your opinion as I have shown over and over and over again.

    So, while rational thought can give us "rules" to live by as a society – these rules are not binding or TRUE. Thus, you have no true grounds to say that how women in the Middle East are treated is wrong – sure, socially in America it's not looked highly upon, but according to their culture what they are doing is perfectly fine – and since morality doesn't exist, as you say, you can't say they are wrong.

    QUOTE:"So, Chris, long story short, you have two options. Either you can admit that you were wrong- that the two are mutually exclusive- or that you were right, but then my system of morality stands very firm because cost vs benefit can determine what is and is not moral."<<<<

    I'm right. but your moral code doesn't stand very firm as I've shown time again, and even you again, have just blown it apart by saying that "morality almost doesn't exist." Then yours is not a "moral" code, but only a set of guidelines.

    Second, BECAUSE something may benefit one or many people doesn't make it moral – as I've shown you, your moral code DOES allow for slavery – net gain of happiness. I know you don't like this fact, but that's your opinion.

    Third, since according to you, objective morality "almost doesn't exist" then you have no actual basis to say ANYTHING is wrong because that would imply morality – but you don't believe in morality.

    Can't have it both ways GT.

    If morality exists – then in what is it grounded in.

    If not, then at least admit it and move on – Dawkins at least can admit there is no morality (though he argues for it as well).

    Fourth, if objective morality "almost certainly doesn't exist" then yes you are left with RELATIVISM and nothing more.

    And remember you asked WHY – this says nothing about an action being moral or not. Your trying to establish morality based on a motivation for doing an action, rather than the action being moral in the first place.

    QUOTE: "Not only that, but didn’t you just state that morality and benefit aren’t mutually exclusive? Well, if that’s the case, then you just contradicted your statement that a moral action “may” benefit everybody. Unless you want to introduce some third variable into here, the link is clear: either an action that is moral provides more overall benefit, or it doesn’t.<<<<<

    More proof you don't actually read what I type.

    I showed how the two were not mutually exclusive, go back and read what I typed actually when pointing this out – not just cut and paste and cherry pick.

    It's right there, can't miss it.

    QUOTE: "The final part shows your complete and utter bias specifically towards your idea of objective morality. Well, if all of your premises are faulty, and based on biases, then your argument cannot stand. Want to know why yours are faulty?
    You automatically believe that morality exists with no reliance on cost vs benefit. However, what is the basis of this premise? "<<<<<

    Okay, objective morality either exists or it doesn't.

    You side with it doesn't.

    I side with it does.

    Your code, thus, CANNOT be objective or you are going against your own stated belief.

    Second – MY reasons for doing an action have NO BEARING on the action being moral/immoral – that you keep missing this point is quite interesting. Certainly ANY of my reasons for doing an action can be faulty – but that says NOTHING as to whether and action is moral or immoral – MOTIVE does not dictate what is moral or not.

    And yes something is right/wrong REGARDLESS of benefit. That isn't to say ( and I have never said it, you just fail to understand my position as you don't pay attention and just react as we have seen time and again) one cannot benefit from a moral action but PRIOR to the action – it is either moral or immoral to do said action REGARDLESS of benefit.

    As someone, somewhere could and may benefit from an action – does that make it moral? Or is the action moral regardless of who benefits?

    The basis of my belief is this:

    1) if God doesn't exist, objective moral values don't exist
    2) objective moral values exist
    3) God exists.

    Now, you can argue that you don't believe they exist – and that is fine and dandy, but at least admit as such. (of course to do so would throw out your moral code)

    You seem to have the issue with what "objective" is in this context – you use it in a very interesting, though incorrect, way. I showed you in another post that though something may be based on FACT this does not necessarily make it objective.

    However, for it to even BE objective, it has to exist – you don't think it does, for the most part.

    QUOTE: "You automatically deny the existence of other systems of morality based on cost vs benefit on the faulty premise that morality already exists without cost vs benefit. "<<<<<<

    I automatically deny their OBJECTIVITY – and the fact you still can't understand this point is amazing…I don't write in code…it's right there for you to see. Just read, understand, THEN reply – or ask clarifying questions.

    Cost benefit cannot be objectively used as a basis for moraltiy – as I've shown you an action MAY benefit the majority, but it can still be immoral. However, under purely the cost. vs. benefit you offer, we can't say that…if the majority is benefited, then by your code it MUST be moral.

    You, however, don't like that fact (opinion) so you change it to suit your preference.

    It's the objectivity that I object to – no other system is.

    QUOTE: "You’re saying that God exists because of objective morality, "

    WRONG!!!!!!!!

    Oh, my if there ever was proof you don't truly read and comprehend what I type it's this. Go find where I say God exists BECAUSE of objective morality.

    C'mon GT…really…this is sad, dude.

    Okay, are you ready for the REAL nail in your objective moral code's coffin?

    QUOTE:"Think of it this way, Chris. If you believed in my system of morality, that would mean that, ultimately, “good” and “bad” doesn’t exist, just rational and irrational actions. You would see that my system of morality is based upon the initial premise that rational people will act in a way that is most beneficial and least costly. Thus, rationally, you are going to act in the way that is most beneficial (be it to you or to others). Now, when you look at other systems of morality, you would be able to state that those are incorrect because they make faulty assumptions about the behavior of human beings."

    You just admit that "good" and "bad" DON'T EXIST!!!!

    If that is the case, GT you cannot point to anything and say it's bad. You can't, you just admitted that they don't exist. Sure you may not like rape – but you just stated rape is NOT BAD.

    taboo? Sure
    injurious to people? Yep.
    Wrong? Nope. Not according to you.

    If right./wrong do not exist, as you claim, then you have no basis to say anything is right/wrong – you have relativism…which is what you offer with your cost/benefit morality.

    As cost/benefit can be RELATIVE. Slavery benefits the majority – under cost/benefit it can be argued moral. You might disagree, but have no foundation other than your OPINION that this is so. It's all relative.

    QUOTE: "My system of morality is based ultimately on a single objective truth"

    No it's not. It can't be. if morality doesn't exist…then you have no truth to base it upon. If right/wrong don't exist…where's the truth that something is right/wrong?

    As you said it's just "rational/irrational" actions…however, people "rationalize" their actions all the time – objective? Or subjective and relative?

    I think you know the answer there.

    QUOTE: "yours is automatically based on the idea that morality exists, period."

    Correct! You got one part of my belief correct!

    You disagree – yet somehow you still want to call and action right/wrong? How do you honestly, objectively, do this when morals 1) don't exist. 2) there is no right/wrong?

    Simple: you can't. You've just shown this, again.

    QUOTE:"Your bias is showing."

    I would rather be biased toward OBJECTIVITY than what you are offering…

    Your misunderstanding is blatantly showing again…

    QUOTE:"The only moral relativist here is you. As I just proved, your morality is based on the initial premise that morality already exists, defined by God. "

    LOL!

    Yep, your morals are lock solid NOT relativistic.

    Oh, my GT, I love when you argue your "objective" morals…you do it more harm than you know…

    QUOTE: "1. I’ve shown that you cannot produce a reason to do an action outside of the cost vs benefit."<<<<<

    Out of my short list? Good for you!

    However, as I have shown reason does not make an action MORAL – however, I bet you still don't see that….

    QUOTE:"2. I’ve shown that morality must be initially based on cost vs benefit, because morality implies rational oughts and ought nots and thus implies that there are rational reasons to do or not to do an action."<<<<<

    No, you actually haven't. For one, you don't believe it exists. You don't believe right/wrong exist. And "implication" doesn't equal objectivity.

    But let's get to number three. Remember you stated "morality MUST be based on cost/benefit"

    QUOTE3. I’ve shown that your system of morality is based on the initial premise that a system of morality exists without cost vs benefit. Of course, you don’t explain why we should then do moral actions, and not do immoral actions, but who need logic, right?!"<<<<<

    MOTIVE does not make an action right/wrong – that is logical, GT. An action is either right/wrong REGARDLESS of motive for doing an action.

    I can rationally argue an action benefits me and cost someone else very little – is this action moral? According to you, yes. But what you try to rationalize why I could be wrong…however, that wouldn't be following your cost/benefit moral code.

    QUOTE 4. I’ve shown that, because of #3, your system of morality is nothing more than a self-perpetuating bias. There is no logical reason for actions to be rational or irrational without cost or benefit, yet you try to throw that out and automatically propose a system of morality- a system of rational and irrational actions.?"<<<<<<

    This statement just shows you have no idea my position on this topic. As I have pointed out.

    QUOTE5. I’ve shown that this initial premise, that morality is separate from cost vs benefit, is faulty and based on no evidence or rational observations about the world."<<<<<<

    Moot point, in your belief anyway, since morality doesn't exist.

    QUOTE:"Now, to finish:"

    You should've been done a long time ago GT, the hole you just dug your code is deep enough – but hey, keep trying to argue it, by all means…

    Sadly, GT, you probably still don't see any of this.

    You don't see that you tossed out your own moral code several times in this post. You can't even see that your code is based on relativism – despite you showing it to yourself.

    I'm sure you'll have your retort – but I may just let you have it…if you don't see your issues now…

    • *sigh* I’m finished here. What I am going to mention is this: you completely and utterly misquoted me on the idea that I don’t believe in morality. There are two definitions of morality commonly used: the principles of good and bad action, and the principles of oughts and ought nots.

      The first is based on the assumption that there is a such thing as this mystical “good” and “bad”.

      The second is based on a much more reasonable idea- it tells us which actions we rationally ought to- should- do, and what we should not.

      I don’t believe in the first definition (unless you use “good” and “bad” as synonyms of “ought” and “ought not”).

      I do believe in the second.

      I’m sorry if you’re disappointed by my lack of a longer response, but, while I initially had one, it ended up… Well, let’s just say it got deleted, and I’m not spending another hour dealing with your worthless crap that ends up misquoting what i say, forgetting other things I’ve said (you suddenly decide to forget that I’ve been arguing for an objective morality with that single misquote- isn’t that odd? And then you say that my morality is based on benefit to the individual, even though I’ve consistently argued that it’s based on the population), then you insult me mindlessly, then you whine that I haven’t been listening to you (again, these were just simple misunderstandings; the comment about “God being caused by objective morality” was one of them), then you refuse to rebut certain things I say (you not once rebutted the idea that morality is worthless without motivation, yet you continue to say that motivation has no basis in morality)… Honestly, I could go on and on, but I’m done wasting my time here in particular.

  6. As with the other accusation of misquoting – I ask you to back it up.

    I quote you verbatim before replying. I always do, I don’t misquote I show which quote EXACTLY that I am responding to.

    QUOTE:”you completely and utterly misquoted me on the idea that I don’t believe in morality”

    This is your quote on morality not existing:” In fact, I feel that morality almost doesn’t exist; only rational and irrational actions do.’

    That’s verbatim, GT, how did I misquote it? I didn’t.

    I even went further in my comments to quote “almost doesn’t exist” guess you didn’t see that.

    Your definition of morality that you DO ascribe to is not objective – despite you believing it so. well believe it all you want, it isn’t.

    I have shown this time and again, and will continue to do so – which will be easier now that you have committed yourself to this very specific def. of morality: that there isn’t anything right/wrong, but there is: “it tells us which actions we rationally ought to- should- do, and what we should not.”

    However, this isn’t objective. Now, wish it all you want, but that doesn’t make it so. I have shown you the holes in it. You chose to ignore them, but rather complain” misquote!!!!” without every actually ever showing one single misquote.

    Not to mention you arbitrary “value” that humans have. which can be taken away. and “rights’ which you haven’t even established yet either. Unless that’s the governments job to do, hmmm?

    But let’s get to this “ought” you like to speak of…why “ought” we?

    Benefit?

    Ah, those muddy waters…something you can’t even quantify…and when shown to promote actions you dislike? Ignore them!

    QUOTE:”nd then you say that my morality is based on benefit to the individual, even though I’ve consistently argued that it’s based on the population)”

    Guess you missed all the points where i showed you that based on the population allows for things that even you deem immoral, despite that such action DO fall within the context you present.

    In addition, in your arguments in this regard you have consistently used INDIVIDUAL experience to defend your moral code.

    in addition I have shown you how you can’t quantify for the population and that you ignore other issues when you don’t agree with them – IE slavery. Net gain, remember? Yeah, except you ignore net gain when it may allow for something you don’t like.

    Not objective.

    As for whining about you not paying attention:

    Um, not whining – though I’m sure you wished it so. I don’t care that you don’t pay attention to what I actually type – however, you should. I just will keep pointing out when you don’t.

    QUOTE:”(you not once rebutted the idea that morality is worthless without motivation, yet you continue to say that motivation has no basis in morality)”

    Please quote me where I say that morality is worthless without motivation?

    It’s a good thing you are done with this GT – outside of your accusations (of which i would like you to back up) you do your code more harm than good.

  7. Plus, if there are no good and bad actions – as you contend, then your morality is still not objectively based.

    Thus, rape is not bad, nor is murder, nor is genocide. none are bad. According to you, your words.

    Not beneficial? Well, I could argue perhaps so…

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