Morality Without Deity

by cofty 210 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • John_Mann
    john mann, I was just reading the intro to Dan Dennett's book Consciousness explained, on amazon (they let you have a preview before buying) and he actually uses the illustration of a tool - a saw - to illustrate what he means. I'm assuming that he uses the saw to indicate how consciousness cuts through stuff.
    anyway he does raise the issue of eliminivatism and says he isn't one. I'm assuming he goes on to explain why he isn't in the book. He does claim to an extent to be a verificationist - I'm wondering if he means that he uses consciousness as a tool to verify things. I guess I would need to read the book to find out.

    Dennett rejects the existence of Qualia. There are subdivisions in eliminativism (like qualia vs propositional attitudes).

    Sam Harris explicitly rejects the Self. This broad statement makes him the most radical eliminativist.

  • John_Mann
    john mann - indigeneous cultures are pretty much atheistic too. we have translated them wrongly. what they call supernatural has to do with this life in its larger than human form - plants, animals, water, air etc - all the things they depend on to live successfully.


  • John_Mann

    I know that not so deep in your mind, when you think about your own death, automatically comes a steady sensation that someway somehow clinical death is not the end. - John_Mann

    I can honestly say I do not have that sensation. - cofty

    Please notice I'm not talking about fear of death but about a feeling of death not being an ultimate end.

    Sorry but why did you said this statement below?

    We have a sense that we are somehow separate from the rest of us as if we were something ethereal that inhabits and controls our own minds and bodies. - cofty
  • The Rebel
    The Rebel

    Reading this thread as a poker player (which I am not) what do I see?

    A) Most playing poker and thinking they have the best hand.

    B) Some thinking they have the best hand wait to discover the opponents hand.

    C) Some joining the game, think they have the best hand and force the opponent show their cards.

    I was enjoying and learning from the friendly game, each trying to teach their opponent how to play poker. It doesn't need to be a heavy game of poker with blacked out windows, it can be a fun game. Then even if we think we have a winning royal flush, it's not about winning the hand, it's about teaching our opponent in a respectful and friendly way. But then that's not poker is it Vivianne?

  • John_Mann
    I had no consciousness prior to my physical life, amazingly the world proceeded without me. It will do so again.

    This view is a Christian one too. Matter is independent from us. Our minds does not creates matter like some New Age views. And we doesn't have previous lives before our conception.

    I have had a general anaesthetic a few times. I suppose death will be exactly like that.

    This peculiar situation (among others) when a soul is still attached to a neutralized body and is not free to leave it is called Limbo.

    However I think this comment of yours is the real core of the debate. Unless life is eternal you find it hard to see that it is meaningful.

    No. This life is unique. We'll never live like this again. This mortal life is exactly what will give meaning to eternal life. The eternal destiny will be defined based upon what we do in this mortal life.

    Unless moral decisions are based in the character of an almighty god you see them as no more binding than a personal preference.


    You then make an unnecessary leap into abyss of nihilism.

    This is my opinion, by my own experience, I don't see how atheism doesn't leads to nihilism.

    I do sympathise with your fears. Coming to terms with the provisional nature of our existence is not easy.

    I see mortality as necessary.

    The odds of our being here as individuals was astonishingly small. We won the biggest lottery imaginable the moment we were conceived. The speciality of our species was our large and complex brains, evolved for their ability to live in complex social groups using advanced language skills. We possess functions for empathy, compassion, justice and reciprocal altruism as well as guilt, disgust, fear, anger and revenge.


    You make a distinction between Homo sapiens and the rest of the animal kingdom that is unwarranted. Ethologists have observed many of the functions that underpin our moral capacity in other species of social animals. Pre-human species left behind evidence that they were in any ways like us. They cared for their aged and sick and buried their dead with ritual. I could recommend some sources for you on that.

    Still the gap is practically infinite, no other specie can produce knowledge that drastically changes the very environment or even goes outside the very environment responsible for evolution (like our space exploration).

    Christians build their beliefs about humanity on unproven and unscientific dogmas that have some very negative moral consequences.

    This is true to some interpretations of Christianity.

    Prohibitions on stem cell research rests on an anti-scientific assertion about the zygote.

    Non-scientific and not anti-scientific.

    Laws about contraception have done immeasurable harm to the poorest societies on earth.

    Are you referring to the spread of Aids? The Catholic view on contraception is only directly to married people faithful to each other. If you are going to have sex outside marriage you already failed to follow the fully Catholic faith, so why you'll only follow the contraception law? How can this view be responsible to spread of Aids?

    The desire for eternal rewards and justice leads to the indoctrination of children with disgusting threats about hellfire. Saving the souls of infidels from eternal torture has been the justification for appalling atrocities.


    I found your assertion that "the logical conclusion of materialism is consciousness doesn't exists at all" to be especially strange.

    It's not mine but from the very materialist philosophers.

  • Ruby456

    okay I'm up to spec on eliminativism. For myself I hold to a consciousness that isn't completely buddhist - on the other hand I'm not a fan of Descartes

  • John_Mann
    Then even if we think we have a winning royal flush, it's not about winning the hand, it's about teaching our opponent in a respectful and friendly way.


    A good debate is not about converting your opponent but one must think in the lurker who will eventually read the "poker game".

    If you want to be a good debater you must assume your opponent is very clever and, of course, disagree with you in a lot of things but at the same time agree with you in something.

    The best goal is to find common ground and develop it.

    Only an idiot wants to find another idiot to talk with. So never insult your opponent because he's a mirror.

    In the end, reality itself is the "judge".

  • cofty

    John your one-word dismissal of many of my most important arguments is not conducive to a useful conversation.

    Let's try a different approach. My contention is that moral decisions can best be determined by wrestling with their likely effects of conscious creatures.

    You insist that there is a greater source of moral authority grounded in the nature of a perfectly good god.

    How does your position add anything helpful to my position? How is it better, or more useful, or more ethical?

  • John_Mann
    My contention is that moral decisions can best be determined by wrestling with their likely effects of conscious creatures.

    I agree with that, it's the Golden Rule BTW. It's found outside and before Christianity.

    My position is WHY?

    In a purely materialistic way why does we follow the Golden Rule and not the Jungle Rule?

    We evolved through the Jungle Rule so why we invented one totally opposite?


    The only logical conclusion (Godel's incompleteness?) to me is something beyond evolution is responsible. Something beyond the physical word, something metaphysical.

  • cofty

    Evolution explains very well why we should display empathy and cooperation. It is the winning strategy if we wish to benefit from living in successful social groups.

    We are all descended from many generations of ancestors who had the capacity for what we now call morality or ethics. Rudimentary versions of these capcities can be found in other social species.

    Survival of the fittest in our case includes moral intelligence. We all understand what contributes to our own well being and how that can be best achieved in cooperation with others.

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