On morals

A lot has been written on this subject and a lot will continue to be written. On whether the huge volume of the subject has improved our knowledge of the subject is still up for debate. It is in this vain, that I will add my thoughts to the subject. It is not to be imagined that this is my first article on the subject. Various of my musings can be found on this site.

What is the basis of morality? Self love. The maxim, do not do unto others what you don’t want done unto you and the positive one that do unto others what you would wish done unto you. The nature of man and woman has not changed in the many years we have existed. We avoid pain and seek pleasure. And sometimes, we can bear pain if it leads to a future pleasure. In essence, therefore, morality has the appearance of universality because everywhere human beings have the same nature.

What has religion to do with morality. Nothing. Except sometimes to pollute it or claim that it was dictated by either their god or prophets.

It is my view that any other claims to the basis of morality that doesn’t refer to self love are all empty and chimerical.

In finishing, I refer to my last post in which I enquired whether we should judge the ancients by the standards of today, I submit yes. It was wrong then and it is wrong now to hold others as slaves and chattels. It is contrary to morality. It was contrary to morality to hold the inquisition especially on matters so doubtful and unfounded on the right way to believe.

I am open to be persuaded that I am wrong on this.

On free will

I know some of you are about to say, not again, but indulge me a bit. This will not be long.

I have seen a species of arguments that goes something like if god is omniscience, then we can’t have freewill as an argument against freewill but I think this line of argument is mistaken. Unless of course god determines or directs our actions, then we are puppets in a cosmic game that we don’t know its purpose.

But the omniscience of god still poses a problem for the problem of evil. God knows what we will do and in her godliness decides that it is best to let the baby be raped and the mother hacked to death to satisfy some cosmic ends.

It would be possible, in my view, to retain freewill and gods omniscience. Only thing is that we can not alter the future. It is determined unless god is misguided. This is all so confusing.

For avoidance of doubt, I am still a freewill and god skeptic. I am this morning attempting to be the devil’s advocate.

Have a confused Monday, will you and if you are Chinese, Happy New Year.

The Greeks had some strange ideas

I find it curious that they would argue nothing is naturally and intrinsically just, or honourable or disgraceful; but things are considered so because of law and fashion(custom). Is this the case or can a case be made that it is good to help a person in need regardless of custom? Or do is it the case that what we consider good are so just by custom?

I however agree with them that both the poor man and the rich man experience pleasure in the same way, that is, wealth or poverty have no bearing on the sensation of pleasure.

I think, our criminal justice systems would have served us all better if it was grounded on the basis that errors ought to meet with pardon, for men err not intentionally but from external circumstances or influences and that is best to teach one who has erred than to hate him.

And finally, since the wise man’s country is the world it is prudent not to expose oneself to danger for the sake of country.

Which do you disagree with?

the problem of evil

is not a problem for atheists unless one doesn’t understand what the problem is.

So first, as a public service announcement, I will share the problem in brief. More complex formulations of the argument have been made and anyone interested can look at the works of Hume, Platinga, Swinburne, and Rowe among others. But for now, we will refer to Epicurus formulation of the problem, thus

is god willing to prevent evil, but not able? then he is not omnipotent

is he able but not willing? then he is malevolent

is he both willing and able? then whence cometh evil?

is he neither unwilling and not able? then why call him god?

It can be seen immediately that this is a problem for a certain species of gods. These are those gods whose followers claim are omnipotent and omniscient. If one believes in a god without omni properties, then the problem of evil is lessened or even eliminated. It is therefore absurd to claim that the atheist has a problem of evil.

The author of this post, starts by making absurd premises, arguing

so that if creatures are not able to err and so do evil, they cannot act, and so are not actual

and i am going to sit here and wait for an example of evil committed by a sloth. And even before that first paragraph is complete, we are told

Thus if God was going to create anything whatsoever, he had no option in logic but to open the way to error, evil, sin, and death.

which immediately presents a contradiction. There is no logical contradiction involved in the sentence; to create a being that doesn’t err. In fact, the theist undermines their case because they without blinking an eye posit the existence of angels that cannot err and a heaven peopled with beings that can’t err. So which is it?

The apologist’s next step is a strawman. We are told

If there is no God, then there is no such thing as evil

which wasn’t the contention. The question is how can we reconcile the evil that we see with the existence of an all loving and powerful god? If we agree there is no god, as there is no evidence for any, then we are left with evil and a question of how to respond to it. And even from the examples the theist gives thinking he stumped the atheist, it is men and women who have acted to end, or reduce the evil being perpetrated. It is through the action of men that the slave trade ended- at least in theory-; it is through the actions of men that the second world war ended. I am willing to be shown evidence that a god intervened in either of the two examples I have given.

And what I said at the beginning of this post is clearly evident. Here, we have a theist with access to the internet but is afraid to do any thinking. He writes

There can be only “problems.” On atheism, there is no Problem of Evil, because there is no evil. Thus there is nothing whatever to which an atheist might object, on grounds transcendent to or therefore more suasive than those of his own private and nowise privileged preferences.

Which is a strawman. On atheism, there is no problem of evil not because there is no evil, but because an all loving and powerful god doesn’t exist– at least no evidence exists for such a god. So we are left with evil bit no god. And what we do from here is what matters. Do we sit by and watch as pastors feed their flock bleach as treatment for covid or do we as reasonable people stop such atrocities?

Or am i missing something?

All morality

Can be summarised as follows

To enjoy and have others enjoy, without doing harm to yourself or anyone else

Nicolas Chamfort

For the discerning reader, you can see the tinge of utilitarianism in this maxim. This however, reminds me of the article I read recently (Brian you remember) that talk of morality is no longer meaningful or something to that effect.

I think, echoing Nietszche and Onfray, that we have failed in creating a new morality. We are still caught up in the Platonic-Christian ethos though with a secular priestly.

Maybe I am missing something.

On absolute truth

Is it an absolute truth that there are *no* absolute truths. That had this been evident to our ancestors, human history at least of the last hundred of years would have been more peaceful.

Those who insist on having absolute truth, morality or something interest me. Have they examined how they got to this absolute? Was reason a guide? Have their examined differing opinion or this conviction is taken without consideration of differing opinion.

we have had this discussion before

But it is one of those I like having. Maybe I am predisposed to like indefiniteness. Or maybe because most if not our knowledge is provisional and open to revision when our ways of gathering data improves or when a challenge is mounted on current knowledge that shows our understanding of a given topic has been wrong or misguided.

It could also be possible that whilst some questions have been settled, there is reluctance to accept the answers. And this reluctance could be sustained by the fact many believe the old answers without reflection or are afraid that accepting the new answers would turn their worlds topsy turvy. For example, it is settled that asses never spoke nor snakes walking upright or men fish eating men and surviving whole for 3 days under water or that some man was born without a father and then committed deicide. These are just a few of the old answers that we cannot accept as true knowledge.

Tell me what you think.

final thoughts, for now, on free speech

Here, here, and here are some of the instances i have expressed myself on the question of free speech. I should make it clear in case I had not done so that in talking of freedom of speech, I mean the government shall not hinder the free expression of thought. I would extend this to include institutions of learning. I have read of several claims of students in universities in America demanding safe spaces and universities responding by prohibiting some forms of speech. I am of the opinion this shouldn’t be the case. What we end up with eventually is either the Rushdie affair of the Polish affair, both unfortunate.

In the third link above, I expressed my disagreement with the hate speech act that created the national cohesion commission as both a waste of funds and a means to stifle disagreement or dissent.

In the last post, I agreed with Pink that the humanitarian (term borrowed from J Rauch) challenge to free speech is quite a hard challenge but insist that in the face of reprehensible, offensive speech, more speech is what is required not restrictions.

You or me have no right not to be offended or give offense. Anyone who makes his business to create offense by saying reprehensible things should be ignored.

In the same context, all those attempts by different states in the Uneducated States of America to legislate teaching of creationism in schools should not even be taken seriously. No body has asked their parliament to legislate teaching of algebra, so what is this nonsense about creationism that should be given so much airtime?

This short video represent my final thoughts on the matter and I am open to criticism

on free speech

When I last wrote on this topic which was yesterday, I did ask if the state should limit what we can say or what should be the consequences of saying stupid things. People should say whatever they want to say and only good ideas should survive. The text about killing witches still exists but it has been overtaken by better speech. And I think only criticism will deal with ignorance.

This brings me to a very interesting case where this is tested. Jill has posted this and I will just quote her

“God bless. Thank you for your courage. Keep your head up. You’ve done nothing wrong. Every rank and file police officer supports you. Don’t be discouraged by actions of the political class of law enforcement leadership.”

William Kelly

William was until last week a cop. Do you think the police department should have fired him for holding and expressing such opinion? Does suppressing such thinking address racism in the police force or work place generally? How is this different from the Rushdie affair or from the Charlie Hebdo affair? What is society to do with ideas/ speech that is unpleasant?