Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Desirism on Unbelievable? Facebook group (part 2)

Archive continues from previous post:

  • Andrew Britton Tom Tozer,

    "As far as the hypothetical world, I was responding to your assertion that your proposed 'hypothetical world where children and their parents strongly desired that they be killed in this way' was some sort of completely different make believe thing."

    A world where parents and children's greatest desires are to be murdered so that someone can bath in their blood is a "completely different make believe thing" from the world in which we live. Do you have evidence otherwise?

    "In fact, the only difference between that world and this one is those desires."

    If God exists, what SHOULD you do if He wants you to kill a 10 year old and bath in his blood?

    The only thing I have changed is a desire, so it is not a crazy make believe thing, right?

    "Therefore saying that desirism would come to a different conclusion in 'the real world' is shirking the question. "

    No it is not.

    "Explain to me how desirism actually comes to a different conclusion IF THOSE REALLY ARE THE PARENTS' AN CHILDREN'S DESIRES."

    If those REALLY WERE parents' and children's desires, off the top of my head I can't think of a reason why they shouldn't be fulfilled. There could be one, but honestly I am not terribly interested in thinking through the implications of an ethical situation that I do not believe exists nor will ever exist... So, if it matters that much then maybe you can think of what the proper course of action would be in such a bizarre world where parents and children are throwing themselves at your feet to be killed.

    "Regardless whether Singer wants to make the world a better place, the fact is he is avoiding natural law and creating a monstrous moral code -- or really repeating one, but it sounds shiny and new -- that is and will continue to cause death and misery for actual human beings."

    Where is this death and misery he is causing? And why should your "natural law" be preferred over his "preference utility?"

    "And if you are getting tired of talking to me, then you are free to stop."

    Did I say I was tired of talking to you? I will have to look back through my comments, I hope I did not leave an impression that I disliked talking to you.

  • Andrew Britton Tom Tozer,

    "I have no idea why Santorum would be against prenatal testing."

    He believes I will increase the number of abortions.

    "That woman's article is a little odd though -- maybe understandably because it is so emotional. But she seems to think it would have been just fine if her own mom had aborted her even though her mom would have been wrong about the quality of her life."

    I don't find that odd. Would you find it odd that two people with recessive genetic disorders might decide to adopt instead of have a biological child in order to avoid the possible consequences of a birth defect? I consider a zygote not much different from a sperm and an egg that happen to be in the same relative vicinity, neither are yet "persons." A "potential person" cannot be disappointed or saddened that they failed to come into existence.

  • Andrew Britton Tom Tozer, the point is that there are plenty of cases involving various disorders where brains are formed outside of the body, or barely at all, or the infants own genetics attacks them, etc. etc. etc. that present difficult ethical questions regarding whether or not to attempt to minimize the suffering of all involved or whether it is better to focus on preserving a life regardless of the suffering. These aren't easy questions and I can understand why different people would come down on different sides of the issue. That is why I think it is disingenuous to take someone's opinions about such cases (Singer's) and portray it as if he claims it is okay to sacrifice children for fun, or any old reason, when that is simply not true.

  • John Humberstone ‎"No, I don't have to be able to explain where the duty came from. I already did that. A creature owes his creator for his entire being. A duty flows from that"

    Problem is no one seems to have said what that duty actually consists of or where it is defined, such that anyone would know what they have to do to fulfil it, irrespective of where it came from.

  • Andrew Britton Tom Tozer,

    "A creature owes his creator for his entire being. A duty flows from that."

    Why? Why should that matter? Where does the obligation come from? Why "should" I owe the created anything? I wouldn't be here if it weren't for my mom, that doesn't mean I "ought to" do anything she wants me to.

    "This is the foundation of the natural law. You can ask "why" until you turn blue in the face, but it doesn't make a difference. Those are the reasons."

    You haven't given any reasons, you have only described states of affairs. It is essentially a non-sequitor like saying my dad built a car therefore that car ought to make him ice-cream.

  • John Humberstone Oh dear, have I got to read the whole of Locke's output to find the answer? I guess it must be very complicated in that case.

  • John Humberstone Many thanks, what do they say in summary?

  • John Humberstone I don't look after my Mother out of duty, I do it because I want to and to repay something for looking after me when I was young.

    A duty implies something you have to do whether you want to or not.

  • John Humberstone ‎"They say that a creatures owes his entire being to his creator and that a duty flow from that. In summary"

    Wow that saved me a lot of time because that's not what I was asking.

    The question was about how to know what I have to do specifically to fulfil that duty, not where it come from.

  • John Humberstone ‎"It's still a "duty" in the sense that you are supposed to do it even if you don't want to do it,"

    So you have to Love God even if you don't want to? That sounds a bit odd.

    "and are so grateful for what he has done to make life available and what he suffered to redeem us."

    "Love God with all your heart, strength, soul and mind, and love you neighbor in the same way that you love yourself. Do unto others what you want them to do for you."

    And it's back to the bible for all the rest but isn't all that interpretable? So you do what you think the Bible is telling you to do and hope you get it right?

  • John Humberstone I still don't think I would want anyone to love me out of duty, though.

    "That make sense?"

    It does indeed however I would still be interested to know what personal criteria you use in deciding what (moral?) action to take when you need to and where that comes from if not from God.

  • Te Nee Tom Tozer bingo!: I believe cuz I believe

  • John Humberstone ‎"Why do you think someone is loving you out of duty?"

    I would hate it if that's my mum thought about me.

  • John Humberstone I'm sure we would all prefer that our parent weren't in failing health and I suspect there are some who do look after their parents reluctantly.

  • John Humberstone ‎"Well, the personal criteria I use are trying to get to know Jesus through the bible and church and other books and stuff, because he is God, and then by knowing him you can intuit what you should do in a situation. So it sort of comes from the whole experience of being Xian,"

    ...and those are the criteria you use when you can't decide whether to take a non religiously related action A or B?

  • John Humberstone I don't think Jesus would have chosen Caesar Salad.

  • John Humberstone Glad to be of help.

  • Te Nee bottomline Tom Tozer your answer to any question about morals is always the same: u beleev cuz u beleev

  • John Humberstone Andrew Britton

    “To me that is not understandable. Why should one do things to get closer to God? Saying something will make you closer to God does not by itself give a reason for you to do it. An action is only prescribed if this state of affairs is combined with a desire. A DESIRE to be close to God + a state of affairs that will bring you closer to God = a reason to bring about that state of affairs. Neither the desire nor the state of affairs by themselves tells you whether you "should" or "should not" perform an action.”>>>>

    Good point. I guess we need to ask a Christian that question – if as a result of your actions, you became closer to God what would that give you?

    “Desires are the ONLY reasons for action that exist. If someone asks why they should do something, the ONLY appropriate response is to give reasons for action.”>>>>

    So that’s where the buck stops for you? Physiological/neurological states of the brain we call a desire are the only reason to perform certain tasks and avoid others?

    “To say someone "ought" to do something means people generally have many and strong reasons to perform an action. What reasons are there not to murder say? People in general (including me) have many strong reasons to discourage murder in society as it tends to thwart desires. This desire thwarting IS IN ITSELF a reason for action.”

    As above then?

    So the same question as for the theists. If you satisfy these desires what have you gained?

  • Dan Hettmannsperger III ‎(Yawn).....................

  • Dan Hettmannsperger III The worst reason I can think of to behave 'morally' is because an ancient tribal deity in a Bronze Age text said I should.

  • Dan Hettmannsperger III ‎"God" is at best a groundless unprovable speculation that touches reality at no noticeable point, and such speculations are therefore irrelevant and always were.

  • John Humberstone ‎"It's moral duty, at a minimum, and love and gratitude at the best."

    ...and what does love and gratitude give you once you have provided it?

  • Dan Hettmannsperger III Most of humanity is a depressing disappointment of pettiness, stupidity and willful ignorance. You are it's case study, Tom Tozer. :)

  • Tom Tozer I knew you were a misanthrope, Dan Hettmannsperger III. I just wondered how long it would take to show up. I played that perfectly.

  • Dan Hettmannsperger III Why do all monotheists assume they are clever merely by feigning cleverness?

  • Dan Hettmannsperger III <Tom Tozerdoesn't understand something stated fairly clearly. 
    8 July at 16:00 ·

  • Dan Hettmannsperger III I'm just wondering how many times you had to use spell check to write "misanthrope". :)

  • Dan Hettmannsperger III I see you come from the "I know you are but what a I?" school of Rhetoric.

  • Dan Hettmannsperger III Look...this thread had bloated to nearly 300 comments and you've manage to convince not one person of the validity of any of your 'points'....that should tell you how bankrupt your position is, Tom Tozer. Yes?

  • John Humberstone ‎"By the way I hope she is doing better. I had two parents that were very ill up to the end."

    Thanks for the concern but she is fine, I was using her as an example.

    "You provide duty fulfillment out of love and gratitude. Same reasons you take care of your mom"

    No, I take care of my Mum so that she is better off than she otherwise would be. I presume God gets nothing out of you fulfilling your duty since he apparently is emotionless according to Aaron.

    My question was though, what do you get out of it?

  • Dan Hettmannsperger III C.S Lewis was a mediocre English professor and an even more mediocre author. He wasn't even a theologian and more to the point he was an astonishing hypocrite who carried on a very scandalous affair with a woman who wasn't even a Christian, thus betraying the whole of his 'faith'. Anyone that quotes him has already lost the argument.

  • Andrew Britton Tom Tozer,

    A bit to go thru since I last responded... Will do my best.

    One problem I think is that we are so used to using value laden language that it seems easy and natural to use it without thinking it needs justification... But of course what I believe this OP is meant to discuss is what the justification is.

    First, could anybody explain how the following statement makes ANY sense?

    X makes Y. Therefore Y has a moral obligation to X to do Z.

    What?!? There is obviously at the very least ONE missing step, probably more, yet it seems like people think I should except this statement as logically given.

  • Andrew Britton Tom Tozer,

    "Now, if your dad built an ice cream maker then I would say, yes it should make him ice cream."

    It has a moral obligation or a duty to do so? I think you have got it backwards, if one's dad desires ice cream and the best way to get ice cream is with an ice cream maker, then he SHOULD create an ice cream maker... The maker itself has no SHOULD, I am not even sure what it would mean to say it "should" in the sense we are discussing.

    "I like how you brought up your mom. You would agree that you do owe your mother a duty to care for her when she is ill, to respect her even when you disagree (even if it only means biting your tongue at Christmas dinner) and other small measures of respect like that?"

    I agree that I ought to treat my mother respectfully, etc. but that is not derived merely from the fact that she is my mother. That she is my mother is merely a statement of fact, like saying the sky is blue. Neither the statement "she is my mother" nor "the sky is blue" compel an obligation.

    If my "mother" had been a piece of laboratory equipment created to bring about a human artificially, would I have an obligation to that inanimate equipment simply because it created me?

  • Te Nee Tom Tozer:So what is you answer for why anyone should behave morally?//

    As usual Tom you have asked a loaded question and your faith makes you blind to your own blatant bias built into the question.

    The question, if asked by an objective, reasonable open-minded enquirer would be 2 fold: What is the best definition of morality and why do we behave morally?

    Your "should" reveals bias and must be unpacked. Knowing you, as a theist, its probably an "absolute" should. Then the question is why do you think there is an absolute should. then , voila, we discover you believe in an absolute should because you believe in an absolute should called god, described in an old book that you arbitrarily, most liekly b/c of your culture, chose to believe in.

  • Te Nee Ah the old Tom Tozer "hahaha" rebut. The sure sign he has lost yet another argument. You ask loaded questions that do not deserve answers. Garbage in garbage out.

  • Daniel Vecchio Andrew Britton, "It is in my interest to influence you and others because I think it helps fulfill my desires. I ought to try and influence you because it is good for me and good for us (i.e. society). No intrinsic value."

    You think it helps fulfill your desires, but do you know it will? Why think that what is good for you is good for us? One criticism of utilitarianism is that it is overly demanding. For instance, it seems impermissible for me to buy a new pair of shoes when I could donate that money to someone who has no shoes at all. By this logic, I should keep giving away comforts so long as I can maximize the desires of other people. In other words, it certainly isn't intuitive that desirism would allow for both my own desire fulfillment and maximal global desire fulfillment. Is there any empirical data to back up your claim?

  • Daniel Vecchio And FWIW, this thread was about desirism. I've noticed that there is a constant concerted effort to make this about Christian morality, or natural law. That should be a topic for another thread. Whether or not Tom Tozer or I have a coherent alternative to desirism is irrelevant to the question of whether desirism is itself coherent. So the claim that Tom has somehow lost the argument, or failed to convince just goes to show how far this thread has gone to shift the discussion by way of a red herring. Just sayin'.

  • John Humberstone Daniel Vecchio That may be correct however there are obvious areas to compare and contrast between Christian moral systems and desire based systems therefore it would be more useful to keep the discussion going on both topics IMV.

  • Andrew Britton Tom Tozer,

    "that you have no obligation to your mother based on the fact that she is your mother just tells me how far removed you are from the rest of the human race, which is just symptomatic of your inability to comprehend the moral obligation to your creator (assuming there is one)."

    I have object reasons why I should help my mother, be kind to her, etc. etc. etc. and I have gone into quite a bit of detail as to why I should do such things and why people who don't should be chastised.

    My question is what is the basis for your morality? Why "should" I help my mother? So far your only answer seems to be that you and God say I should and will be very disappointed if I don't... Is that really what morality boils down to?

    What if my mom orders me to torture a child? Am I obligated to do so because she created me? And why or why not?

    I am sorry but you seem to be having a lot of trouble justifying your moral system and seem to want me to take your word that it is right and logically consistent.

  • John Humberstone No you haven't. You said that you must do your duty to God because he created you but you haven't said why that is the case.

    Is it possible that God could have created you without any obligations or duties? Surely that is up to him and it is up to you to work out that that is true and then to work out what those duties are.

  • Daniel Vecchio Under natural law, it's not just that we have a duty to God because he created us, our duties follow upon the kind of things we are.

  • John Humberstone ‎"...our duties follow upon the kind of things we are."

    What kind of things are we and how is that relevant?

  • Daniel Vecchio God could have created something without moral duties, but such a thing would have a different nature. So could he have created US without moral duties, rights, etc.? I'd say no, because whatever God made, it wouldn't be US.

  • John Humberstone That's simply begging the question.

  • Daniel Vecchio It's relevant because form and function are inter-related.

  • Daniel Vecchio John, I'm not making an argument. I'm explaining a theory.

  • Dan Hettmannsperger III ‎"See, we have no common ground." Who wants to find common ground with a religious fanatic who cannot see reason and lives only for his own shallow sophistry? :)

  • Dan Hettmannsperger III ‎@Daniel Vecchio~You waste your time talking to Tom Tozer....he's a rock who thinks he understands what a mountain is.

  • Andrew Britton John Humberstone, "So that’s where the buck stops for you? Physiological/neurological states of the brain we call a desire are the only reason to perform certain tasks and avoid others?". Can you think of another?

  • John Humberstone Don't tell me I've actually understood something at last!!!!!

  • John Humberstone Andrew Britton

    How is that qualitatively different to the Christian saying that God (effectively) wrote the bible which contains an edict to perform certain actions, the reason for doing which doesn't matter to them but they should just get on with and do them without question?

  • Andrew Britton Daniel Vecchio,

    "You think it helps fulfill your desires, but do you know it will?"

    Nope, that is why it is a good idea to seek knowledge and test your ideas.

    "Why think that what is good for you is good for us?"

    They need not be the same. Often they are, and people generally have many and strong reasons for trying to make them the same, but they aren't necessarily.

    "One criticism of utilitarianism is that it is overly demanding. For instance, it seems impermissible for me to buy a new pair of shoes when I could donate that money to someone who has no shoes at all. By this logic, I should keep giving away comforts so long as I can maximize the desires of other people. In other words, it certainly isn't intuitive that desirism would allow for both my own desire fulfillment and maximal global desire fulfillment. Is there any empirical data to back up your claim?"

    Hopefully the above helps address this. Empirical data to back up what claim?

  • Andrew Britton I am not intentionally ignoring issues but it may be a little bit before I get to all of them.

  • Andrew Britton John Humberstone,

    "How is that qualitatively different to the Christian saying that God (effectively) wrote the bible which contains an edict to perform certain actions, the reason for doing which doesn't matter to them but they should just get on with and do them without question?"

    Where have I claimed there is some set of rules that people should follow "just cause?" I am talking about reasons for action that actually exist. I am also not saying you shouldn't question them. I would recommend doing as much as possible to discover more about the world to improve one's knowledge about what to do.

    If you have desires and beliefs that are at odds with societies desires and the actual state of affairs then nothing I say will give you a reason to act against those desires and beliefs, unless that is I can change those desires and beliefs.

    In general people have many and strong reasons for action to promote beliefs and desires that are good for society. These reasons exist, I didn't just make them up. If you don't go along with these then society has real reasons to condemn your actions and possibly punish you.

    I think one issue is that you are still looking for some form of intrinsic prescriptively, you "should do this no matter what!"

    That doesn't exist under desirism.

  • Andrew Britton Daniel Vecchio & Tom Tozer,

    "God could have created something without moral duties, but such a thing would have a different nature. So could he have created US without moral duties, rights, etc.? I'd say no, because whatever God made, it wouldn't be US."

    What is the difference between these things without moral duties and us? Also, why does it matter whether we fulfill these duties or not? It seems like the only answer I keep getting is "you should do your duty because I say so." I am sorry, but I need a little more justification than that, what creates a duty? What makes one obligated to follow it, etc.?

  • Andrew Britton Daniel Vecchio
    ,

    "this thread was about desirism. I've noticed that there is a constant concerted effort to make this about Christian morality, or natural law. That should be a topic for another thread. Whether or not Tom Tozer or I have a coherent alternative to desirism is irrelevant to the question of whether desirism is itself coherent. So the claim that Tom has somehow lost the argument, or failed to convince just goes to show how far this thread has gone to shift the discussion by way of a red herring. Just sayin'."

    Two things. First, I have been discussing desirism very thoroughly and don't feel I have avoided addressing an issues raised in that regard, at least not intentionally.

    Secondly, the reason I began discussing other moral systems was to show that certain arguments you and Tom were using were invalid or unreasonable.

    A common way to show something is unreasonable is to show that the same claim in another context leads to absurd results.

    Your claim that desirism leads to odd outcomes when applied to odd situations is likely universally true of any moral system and is a poor reason for discarding it.

    Desirism is predicated on desires being the only reasons for action that exist, showing that other proposed theories that attempt to show otherwise are false is a way to support that claim.

    It was in fact you that claimed you should not except desirism because there were better alternatives, am I not allowed to question what those alternatives are and why they aren't susceptible to the same arguments?

  • Andrew Britton If anyone has questions about desirism they are free to ask, but I am also free to defend why I think it is better that all other theories as well as relativism.

  • Andrew Britton Daniel Vecchio
    ,

    "this thread was about desirism. I've noticed that there is a constant concerted effort to make this about Christian morality, or natural law. That should be a topic for another thread. Whether or not Tom Tozer or I have a coherent alternative to desirism is irrelevant to the question of whether desirism is itself coherent. So the claim that Tom has somehow lost the argument, or failed to convince just goes to show how far this thread has gone to shift the discussion by way of a red herring. Just sayin'."

    Two things. First, I have been discussing desirism very thoroughly and don't feel I have avoided addressing an issues raised in that regard, at least not intentionally.

    Secondly, the reason I began discussing other moral systems was to show that certain arguments you and Tom were using were invalid or unreasonable.

    A common way to show something is unreasonable is to show that the same claim in another context leads to absurd results.

    Your claim that desirism leads to odd outcomes when applied to odd situations is likely universally true of any moral system and is a poor reason for discarding it.

    Desirism is predicated on desires being the only reasons for action that exist, showing that other proposed theories that attempt to show otherwise are false is a way to support that claim.

    It was in fact you that claimed you should not except desirism because there were better alternatives, am I not allowed to question what those alternatives are and why they aren't susceptible to the same arguments?

  • Andrew Britton Daniel Vecchio, sorry to harp on this but I think the claim that I am trying to avoid discussing desirism and trying to shift the burden onto Christianity is entirely false. I am certain if you looked through the conversation on this topic I have taken part in that I have been very willing to address arguments against desirism from both relativist and religious perspectives and various views in between. What have I anywhere avoided answering?

  • Andrew Britton Tom Tozer,

    "A creator created you (whether through evolution or whatever) and continues to sustain you every second. It is a common human moral response to that to feel a duty toward that creator."

    This is a the naturalistic fallacy. Saying that because people tend to feel a certain way that they "should" feel this way. I am not saying that I would not feel gratitude to such a being, but once again we are not talking about "feelings" but "oughts." If this was all that was required to determine the morality of something, then whatever "feels like the right thing to do" would count. Most of the worst atrocities in history were likely carried out by people who thought they were doing the "right thing."

    " It is precisely that common human moral response that desirism and Singerism both lack, and probably explains why I conflate them."

    Where do you get this from? I would be curious if you are really so confident that if your acts, donations to charity, etc. were compared that you would come out on top as far as the amount of suffering prevented or diminished by your actions?

    If his ethical system is so callus and devoid of natural moral responses, why do you think he strives so hard to help others in the world through charity and equally strives hard to encourage others that it is immoral to sit back and watch suffering when you have the means to alleviate that suffering? That seems like an odd course of action for someone who supposedly has defective moral sympathies, isn't it?

    "I keep saying 'do it or don't' because you keep asking 'why should I?' when the answer is so obvious to me. It's out of frustration."

    I am sorry you are so frustrated, but I honestly think it seems obvious to you because it is common to not really question and think through such things logically and consistently.

    For some people it is just "obvious" that certain races are inferior. I find your argument as convincing as theirs. I am not asking for something mind boggling or so fundamental that it is essentially indescribable, like describing what yellow looks like or how time works in a black hole. I am asking a very simple question.

    Let's say we have a man named Steve. Steve goes against his duty and murders Fred, what does this mean? What does it mean to say he "shouldn't" have done that? If it means is that he failed in his duty, why should he care? Does it just mean he should feel bad because he disrespected God? If he doesn't, why should it matter to him? Is this "duty" just an abstract concept, or does it have a real concrete meaning?

    I have presented SEVERAL examples of how what you are saying doesn't seem to make sense and each time you seem to ignore it in favor of saying it is true "just cause."

    I am not asking why *I* should do my duty, but why should anyone? Why should Steve? Just because it feels right? Because he will be sad if he doesn't? Because he will go to hell? Etc. there has to be some reason or "duty" is a meaningless term.

  • Andrew Britton Tom Tozer, these aren't just problems I am making up that no one understands. If you look into any serious book discussing the philosophy of meta-ethics/morality you will see that these are big questions in philosophy and most people don't except the argument that "it is obvious."

  • Andrew Britton Sometimes I feel some Christians/atheists/etc. are so unused to being challenged on fundemental beliefs that they almost can't believe that anyone not insane would challenge these beliefs, but instead everyone should simply accept them without question.

  • Andrew Britton Tom Tozer, what is that suppose to refer to? The fact i feel some atheists and theists respond as if they are surprised they have to defend a claim? Or something else I said? Your responses are sometimes very vague and seem short on actual arguments. Do you have reasons for holding your beliefs you can actually articulate, or do I have to take your word for it?

  • Te Nee Andrew Britton: Tom Tozer has the best of arguments thats why he is so glib-bordering-on-arrogant. He believes because he believes. he has the bible as his moral foundation and that apparently trumps all alternatives. As Dostovesky put it, Tom possesses "the arrogance of stupidity. A fool remains a fool because he asks no questions of his own beliefs".

  • Colin Murphy Andrew Britton There is no way I am reading this entire thread to figure out what has already been said, however, I do think that desirism most closely explains why people do anything at all. I would also say that trying to have a discussion amongst people who have an axe to grind is really a waste of time, mainly because I tried it once and after a few months, I gave up. I think the biggest obstacle to any meaninful discussion is that moral language is so loaded with assumptions and smuggled in connotations that even though people may be using the same words, they aren't really talking about the same thing. I would suggest a series on Less Wrong that you can find here that more fully explains what I mean, if you have not read this already. http://lesswrong.com/lw/5u2/pluralistic_moral_reductionism/

    lesswrong.com
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  • Te Nee Tom TozerYou can answer my question whenever you like, Te Nee.//

    Is this the question to which you refer:"So what is you answer for why anyone should behave morally?"

    If so, I clearly explained why I rejected your question as nonsense. The "should" begs the question you are pretending to ask. You may as well ask why Santa like cookies and milk.

    You have failed to show why you believe in an absolute moral code- only asserted that you do believe in one and it has something to do with a magic book. Invoking magic is not an acceptable explanation because it explains nothing, it is certainly not a good foundation for anything , let alone absolute morality.

  • Andrew Britton Tom Tozer, I am just confused why you are unable or unwilling to answer the most basic question what the basis of your morality is? How can you even hope to live a good and moral life if you can't even establish what that means? Unless that is something about which you are not concerned, or I suppose, you could have the answers but you are simply unwilling to share them, or unable... Which would be odd.

  • Andrew Britton Tom Tozer, if you explained where duties come from, why we should follow them, and what they are, could you please point me to it? Because I have been asking for those at great length and have as far as I can tell have yet to hear an answer.

  • Te Nee Tom Tozer: The question I think is interesting is: Why do people behave morally even when no one is looking? Why do people of all cultures and religions show such similar moral values? Science has shown studies that demonstrate this to be true and I am looking forward to how science uncovers more of how morals evolve. One thing I have yet to see is any slightly good evidence that absolute morals exist. And you certainbly have presented none.

    Andrew Britton: Tom Tozer has nothing, he will soon resort to "LOL" and distracting questions, naybe a fw insults on your intelligence. Thats his MO forlosing all his arguments. He won't admit that his sole piece of evidence is: magic.

  • Te Nee Tom Tozer: As I said then, the fact that morality is similar across cultures is evidence that there is a morality inherent in nature.//

    I can agree with that. And since we know evolution is a fact of nature it follows that our morality is evolving. Science also shows us that mass murder is believed to be wrong by 99% of sane humans 99.9% of the time. This is sufficient for us to codify and build laws, punishment and declarations around. It is not only sufficient, it is all we have, like it or not.

  • Te Nee Tom Tozer:I explained that duties come from the relationship between the creator and the creature.//

    Translation: magic.

    Magic is not an explanation. Inserting a magical being into your answer is not an answer. You now need to demonstrate not only that your magical being aka "creator" exists, but also that you have reliable information about what it wants. It raiises far more questions than it answers- it answers nothing. Tom, you are giving non-answers, non-explanations.

  • Andrew Britton Tom Tozer,

    "I think I explained that duties come from the relationship between the creator and the creature. I'm reasonably sure I said that."

    How and why are these duties established and why is one obligated to follow them? As I have pointed out multiple times, X created Y does not entail that Y has a specific set of obligations to X. What is the extent of these obligations and why?

    "Should follow them is one of the definitions of duties."

    Because it is part of the definition doesn't mean it is explained. If you ask me how a refrigerator keeps things cold, I can't simply reply that it is part of the definition of refrigerator. Though true, it does nothing to answer the question.

    "Another thing that seems to separate your moral thinking from mine (and Dan the Sword Hugger for that matter) is my willingness to give credence to the moral judgment and moral experience of human beings over the ages."

    Where did I deny such things?

  • Te Nee Tom Tozer: "the creation itself" - there you go again loading up statements with unfounded assertions. Poppycock, nonsense. Try again. You are speaking in pops and buzzes- can't understand a word.

  • Andrew Britton Te Nee, sorry if this is rude, but you strike me as a person who appreciates bluntness. Could you butt out of this discussion? I don't think it is helping.

  • Te Nee Andrew Britton he is addressing me directly, but OK. Could you please be as blunt with him. You have destroyed his arguments ever so slowly, just finish him off :0)

  • Te Nee sorry Andrew Britton, Tom Tozer even if you totally discredited my definition of morality and all my arguments/ evidence for how the universe works or came to be, you would STILL not have a shred of evidence supporting the existence of your imaginary friend you call god.

    I am very happy to accept, for now, after only 150 years of decent science to say we have gaps in our knowledge. You have had 2000 years to come up with evidence for your god, and you have failed miserably- as have all other religions. Give science another 1800 years. Xianity will have gone the way of Zeus and we will know alot morew about the universe and morals.

  • Te Nee Tom Tozer: no faith required, just a successful track record suggesting more success to come.

  • Te Nee And Andrew is bang on with his fridge analogy Tom Tozer. He is saying exactly what I am saying. Your only explanation is "magic" and that's not an explanation for anything.

  • Te Nee Faith is by definition belief without evidence. A successful track record is excellent evidence, though not perfect. I believe science will continue to answer questions that religion has gotten wrong every step of the way. I believe this based on its successful record to date.

  • Te Nee Tom Tozer:how do explain the fact that the same 99 percent of humanity that believes in the morality you like so much also believes in God?//

    The same way I explain why 99% of humanity with common morality loves their children. It is what it is with no supernatural explanation necessary.

  • Te Nee Tom Tozer:Also, I see you've moved on from "skydaddy" to "magic" Exciting innovation.//

    I am not innovating. As long as you believe in magic books and Skydaddies then I have no choice but to refer to them as such.

  • Te Nee Tom Tozer:I see, so you don't have to explain any of your ultimate conclusions. Okay. Magic!//

    Lack of explanation does not mean magic, it means I don't know yet. However you state for the record -as obtusely and dishonestly as you can muster-that a magic book or magic being is your source of morals. Then you go completely apeshit and start telling you know the properties and wants of this magic skydaddy.

    see the difference?

  • Andrew Britton Tom Tozer,

    "Why should I care whether my actions fulfill 'more desires' or 'less desires' as long as they fulfill mine?"

    In short you don't need to care. In general people care because doing so fulfills their own desires. In addition people in general have reasons for action to encourage desire fulfillment. Why should I condemn murder? I have a desire to live in a safe society free of mass scale murders.

    "Why is anyone obligated to follow desirism?"

    No one is, it is an attempt to describe how moral language is generally used and foundation for understanding it.

    "Also, your attempts at metaphors kind of suck. Human beings aren't refrigerators."

    My point is, saying that duties should be followed by definition doesn't explain why they should be followed any more than saying a refrigerator keeps food cold by definition explains how and why it does so.

  • Te Nee But you go ahead and make up your own definitions, Te Nee.//

    Thank you. I too believe we have to clarify the terms before we can discuss them. I have clarified my definition of faith.

  • Te Nee Tom Tozer:I see, so you have blind faith that your ultimate conclusions will prove true, because as you admit, you don't know that they are.//

    I didnt say that, I said "we will know alot more". Don't project your blind faith Daddy complex onto me. It's all yours, own it.

  • Te Nee if you are laughing its a sign you know you are losing. I suppose you also believe in absolute word definitions along with absolutew morality? You got a magic book for that too, or does god write word defintions onto every heart, eg the 50 words eskimos have for "snow"- which one is the absolute definition?

  • Te Nee Tom Tozer:Laughing again! Te Nee, how do you know "we will know more"? You have blind faith. No two ways about it//

    are you an idiot? Even YOU will know more tomorrow than you know today. Its a pretty safe prediction. Of course you have that silent "absolute" built in. I guess I could tack onto every sentence "extreme high probability" instead of "know"- would that satisfy you? If so then could you please insert the word "absolute" "cuz god said so" in front of every "explanation".

  • Te Nee Tom Tozer: I already said I have faith in science, what are we arguing about. I have faith in things that are supported by strong evidence? I am not sure where your "gotcha" is coming from. You already agreed that my definition of faith is common. You found a different definition, so what. How is this interesting? We both know that th eword has multiple definitions and uses- as do many words? Is this what you think is interesting, revealing discourse, quibbling over the definition of the word "faith"? Shouldn't you be using this valuable time to overwhelm with the amazing evidence that there is a god and you have proof you know what he wants?

  • Te Nee Tom Tozer, There is no evidence that the sun will rise tomorrow? I disagree.

    There is lots of evidence that the science will continue to flourish and make new discoveries. A trend seems to be established. There is no certainty of course, but I'd bet on it and I do.

    You and I both have faith in science and we both agree it exists. Where we disagree is that your god exists. You have yet to produce any evidence other than asserting a particular book is magic. Thats not evidence. In fact not one thing in that book is of any use today, it gets almost every question from morality (killing those that work on ther sabbath) to biology to cosmology specatcularly wrong. With such a dismal record of failure I have faith it is rubbish.

  • Brian Dyk As a casual observer to this whole conversation, I think Andrew Britton has made a phenomenal case for his views whereas Tom Tozer has made an arse of himself on this one. Daniel Vecchio has made some good points overall, but I think they've ultimately fallen short. Kudos to Andrew on this one. It's been a lovely read overall.

  • Brian Dyk I am feeling the love of Jesus from you right now, Tom.

  • Sam Priest ‎^ first warning Tom that was a pretty big escalation above what Brian said.

  • Sam Priest anyone else watching this - am I wrong that that was a pretty big escalation? seriously...

  • Sam Priest plus the whole no swearing policy thing. If Neil Gough has been booted off before because of it then i think we need to be consistent here..

  • Neil Gough Not in my opinion, Sam Priest, but I am probably biased.

  • Neil Gough IMO Tom likes to dish out the abuse and snark but is less sanguine on taking any..

    Or as we say here can talk the talk but can't walk the walk..

  • Brian Dyk True, I think my arse statement was a below the belt, as it were. My apologies on that one.

  • Neil Gough I will go read the thread though..
    I don't even know what desirism is..

  • Neil Gough At least you spelt it correctly..
    And you would be a better judge of that than Sam Priest or I..
    Its not really a swear word here..

  • Brian Dyk It's a wicked cool thread overall. I learned a lot by following it.

  • Aaron Higashi As a casual observer to this whole conversation, I think everything I said in it is amazingly brilliant, and if anyone disagrees, nana nana boo boo.

  • Brian Dyk I'd expect little more from you Aaron . . . :P

  • Aaron Higashi A little more? More than nana nana boo boo? Is there such a thing?

  • Brian Dyk Not for an undergrad I suppose . . .

  • Sam Priest bloody undergrads. haha

  • Aaron Higashi I don't remember much from undergrad :/ I hardly ever did the readings

  • Sam Priest readings? you mean some people actually DO do them? lol

  • Te Nee Sam Priest: I think Tom Tozer was way out of line and u were right to call him on it. For the record, i predicted he was going to flame out soon as his rebuts started containing "hahahaha's" and "I am laughing at you" comments.

  • Don Mower Sorry Daniel Vecchio and Aaron Higashi won this one.

  • John Humberstone What was the clinching argument?

  • Sharky Sean
    In the Dark Ages, the church would take a portion of the spoils soldiers brought back with them (stolen goods) in exchange for prayers to get the soldiers a better chance to make into heaven being as they killed - committed a cardinal sin.

    Was the church driven by a bad desire to profit from war and theft and murder?

    Was the church driven by a "good desire" to use the money to build more shelter for the poor?

    It doesn't matter because taking stolen property from murdered people in exchange for a promise they knew was pure bullshit is plain wrong. It's a bad desire, period.

    Therefore, the foundation of the Christian religion is permanently tainted with bad desire and yet intends to use the argument of desire and the God's version of "good desire" to prove moral high ground. What can be more ironic than that?

  • Sharky Sean
    Seeking pleasure and avoiding pain is the basic foundations of all behavior. Desire is simply a way to say that one follows his or her calculated or innate impulse to find at the very least balance.

    "I desire an ice cream" is not a desire
    , it is the body's need for energy in the form of sugar and fat (energy for later). We desire sugar because it gives us an instant burst of energy and for many of us, it causes an elevated mental state as well.

    "I desire sex" is not a desire. It is an instinctual need for reproduction - the "meta survival" which is the most important. If I die, my genes will carry on if I respond to my desire to have sex and the sex results in fertilization.

    "I desire sleep" is not a desire at all. This is a need - a requirement.

    "I desire a nicer car" is a need for comfort, security, possibly an economical improvement or to convey status. All things which can be translated into better survival.

    "I desire companionship" is also not a desire. It is a basic human need. People who do not find comfort in companionship are functioning abnormally.

    "I desire to kill" is the impulse of a person with a severe brain malfunction and is abnormal behavior - not normal behavior. Killing does not come in the form of a desire but rather an extreme response to danger or anger or fear. Most people can settle even the most severe conflicts without going so far as to kill.

    "I desire to steal" is the impulse of desperation or the response to meeting needs despite being too lazy to work for things instead of stealing them. And then there is abnormal behavior we call "kleptomania."

    What is so interesting about desire that desirism keeps coming up? Why do theists insist on making this an argument? More senseless sophism. Human behavior is rather boring in the context of desire. I'd much rather discuss the deeper implication of the impetus for specific actions.

    You can't prove God through desirism and you can't use it as an example of moral high ground when the founders of the very morality you aim to prop up were working with bad desires. That is to say specifically prohibited desires.

  • Daniel Vecchio Andrew Britton,

    I was asking whether there is empirical data to back up the idea that pursuing the global maxima is the most efficient way for one to pursue one's own local maxima. Does this make desirism a kind of ethical egoism?

  • Daniel Vecchio Also, I'm still not clear on why desirism wouldn't be overly demanding and therefore not desirable for anyone to pursue...

  • Andrew Britton
    Daniel Vecchio,

    "I was asking whether there is empirical data to back up the idea that pursuing the global maxima is the most efficient way for one to pursue one's own local maxima."

    I doubt it always is, why would that be required? I th
    ink it is relatively easy to demonstrate that in general people have many and strong reasons to promote desires that generally benefit all of society, but any individuals situation could be at odds with that.

    "Does this make desirism a kind of ethical egoism?"

    I don't think it technically takes a stance on this. For instance I think altruism in many cases is beneficial for society, so there would be a good reason for promoting such desires. I suppose someone could believe this to be false and still be a desirist.

    "Also, I'm still not clear on why desirism wouldn't be overly demanding and therefore not desirable for anyone to pursue..."

    If it was not desirable to pursue, how would it be desirism? I am not sure what the problem is here, so I may not be answering your question.

    I don't think complete and utter selflessness is likely the best desire to promote in society, so I don't see why this would be a problem.

  • Sharky Sean ‎// What was the clinching argument? //

    Don Mower is a staunch advocate of confirmation bias.

  • John Humberstone No, there must have been one.

  • Daniel Vecchio
    Let's not say "utter" selflessness, but "overly demanding" selflessness. One might still have self-interest, but to a much more limited degree. Perhaps this would not be a direct desire promoted in a society, but rather a consequence of s
    ociety pressuring and influencing us through the promotion of several other desires. We'd have to consider the indirect consequences of promoting a particular set of desires too. I'm not convinced that interactions and outcomes of all of the societal pressures will result in the promotion of desires that will always be in a person's self-interest. So it would seem that such a person is left out of the moral system, as it were. Or are there safe guards in this moral theory that would prevent outsiders?

    I would think that, at a minimum, a moral theory should be applicable to all people. It should not create an us v. them mentality. But accommodating everyone might not be desire-fulfillment maximizing/desire-thwarting minimizing.

  • Daniel Vecchio
    John Humberstone, Andrew Britton admitted that, under his moral theory, he saw nothing wrong with a scientist creating brains in vats that have every desire of which they dream fulfilled. Since desirism is about maximizing desire fulfillm
    ent/minimizing desire thwarting, it would actually be a good thing to create such brains, since they would add to the aggregate of desire-fulfillment in the universe. We should promote the development of such science. And, in fact, for some transhumanists, my thought experiment is not so outlandish at all. We could more effectively ensure that such brains are never thwarted, by letting them do whatever they desire to do within their dream world. So, if a brain happened to want to rape or murder its imagined victims, that's great because no one is really thwarted, and the fulfilled desires only count towards bringing about a better world.

    I would say that though there might not be a rape victim, someone is still harmed, namely the brain that is allowed to indulge in such perverse and personally destructive behavior. Such brains are failing to develop a moral character and they will never reach the height of human flourishing.

    In contrast, I would say that we will always need some desires to be thwarted in order to grow and come to appreciate desire fulfillment of a higher moral quality. Desirism is reductionistic and denies intrinsic values, so it cannot accommodate the existence of desires of various moral quality. It can only treat them as quantities to be maximized. So it cannot stand against the brain-in-the-vat counterargument. That is essentially the critique I am leveling against the theory.

  • Andrew Britton
    Daniel Vecchio,

    I am struggling to understand what you care getting at here. I don't think a paralyzed form of self-sacrifice is the best set of desires to promote in order to make the best of possible worlds. I also don't think people ne
    ed to be morally perfect, though it of course would be nice. Do we need to radically change our lives to be more moral? Possibly, possibly not, I don't claim to have all the answers... even small changes likely help however.

    Maybe I am completely missing the point of what you have wrote though... like I said, I am a little confused.

  • Daniel Vecchio I'm sure if I had the time and creative energy I could come up with countless thought experiments that exploit this quantitative/qualitative problem. Some might be far more plausible than others. So I am not really too concerned with Andrew's complaint that my thought experiments are bizarre.

  • Daniel Vecchio
    Andrew Britton, you've admitted that my own desires may or may not match the interests of society at large. While I agree that no society would want to directly promote self-sacrifice in every circumstance, I wonder if such a desire will
    not inevitably be promoted once every interested party is given a chance to justly promote his or her group interests within the society. I could see a circumstance where self-sacrifice is promoted indirectly through promoting so many competing interests, that a person must eventually sacrifice a great deal of his or her interest for the sake of the society.

  • Daniel Vecchio Back to my studies. I look forward to your responses, but I am not able to keep up with my participation these days. Still, I enjoy talking about desirism with you.

  • Andrew Britton
    Daniel Vecchio
    ,

    "I'm sure if I had the time and creative energy I could come up with countless thought experiments that exploit this quantitative/qualitative problem. Some might be far more plausible than others. So I am not really too c
    oncerned with Andrew's complaint that my thought experiments are bizarre."

    Well the main issue is that I haven't even heard what the problem is.

    You stated "It is a theory that, given the proper technology, there is no need for moral progress, character development, friendship, etc."

    Which, even if this claim was true, wouldn't demonstrate desirism to be false. Which brings me to a common issue I feel comes up when discussing morality with Christians, are you more interested in holding true beliefs or comforting beliefs? If you would rather hold the later then we might just stop here, as I doubt I am able to offer you arguments that atheism absolutely offers more comfort. I find joy, beauty, and amazement in atheism, but if it is easy and comfortable answers you want, I am not going to lie and say they exist.

    That said, I think your claim is none-the-less false. I don't think people desire such shallow interactions, and I don't think that is the route an ethical society would take. I.e. I don't think people generally have many and strong reasons to promote such a society, and indeed have many and strong reasons to oppose such society wide social manipulation and planning. Is it possible I am wrong? Certainly, but I have yet to see good arguments or evidence that that is the case, and have good evidence in opposition, such as the rather poor track record of people attempting massive centralized and authoritarian societal planning, which is what would seem to be necessary for this project to take place.

    "you've admitted that my own desires may or may not match the interests of society at large. While I agree that no society would want to directly promote self-sacrifice in every circumstance, I wonder if such a desire will not inevitably be promoted once every interested party is given a chance to justly promote his or her group interests within the society."

    The question is, do people generally have many and strong reasons to promote such self sacrifice? If it would generally make the world better, I am not sure what your problem would be?

    "I could see a circumstance where self-sacrifice is promoted indirectly through promoting so many competing interests, that a person must eventually sacrifice a great deal of his or her interest for the sake of the society."

    I think the idea is to make them more in line with each other. For instance, it might be in my interest to kill people I don't care for if I get the opportunity, but if I am raised with a general desire to preserve human life, my desires and societies desires would be more in line.

    Just so you know, I use easier examples not to weasel out of the hard questions, but because obviously the harder examples are more controversial and require more argumentation and debating of facts less related to the ethical theory itself, and more about evidence.

    "I am not able to keep up with my participation these days."

    No problem, I know how it is, I definitely spend more time than I should on this :)

    "Still, I enjoy talking about desirism with you."

    Thanks, I as well. I just want to say that you are one of the people I enjoy most discussing with on here. Too many people (both theists AND atheists) seem more interested in just axe grinding, dismissing people, and it seems to me just trying to make themselves feel good by denigrating other's beliefs and arguments without trying to understand where they are coming from.

    I can't say I have never had these impulses, but hopefully I keep them under control (I don't debate YEC as much as I use to :).

  • Angel Clair Shuttup about Morality. Its so boring. Follow Jesus or live your life but do shuttup.

  • Ken Parker Can someone bring the banhammer down on Angel (preferably like a vengeful god)?

  • Andrew Britton Ken Parker, I hadn't seen Angel Clair in a little while, I was beginning to miss/worry about him. Good shutup to you Angel!

  • Helen Marple-Horvat I like Angel actually. I think he has a massive BS detector and I would be sad to see him go tbh.

  • Sharky Sean ‎"BS Detector" as in he confirms your myths? lol...

  • Andrew Britton That's funny, I thought he just says "shut up" all the time.

  • Sam Priest ‎"Follow Jesus or live your life but do shuttup."

    lol. I like the way that's presented as if the two are mutually exclusive.

  • Neil Gough I thought he was an alt of Helens..

  • Neil Gough Use of the "boring" and the little "x" at the end of some sentences seemed evocative to me..

  • Andrew Britton I think Angel might be like the smurfs... Or like in Hawaii, but instead "shut up" means "hello" and "goodbye."

  • Helen Marple-Horvat I think he meant....follow Jesus OR live your life how you want but shuttup all the time about morals. too dull.

  • Neil Gough Meh, who can read the mind of a fanatic?

  • Helen Marple-Horvat I wouldnt call you a fanatic Neil.x

  • Neil Gough Well no one is attempting to decipher my mind so its hardly at issue..:)
Archived thread ends.
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