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New Abortion Laws in General
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Profile #271
Sorry Alec, but I couldn't make ahead or tail out of your first paragraph.

quote:
Originally written by Bad-Ass Mother Custer:


The disjoint here comes of you believing your essentially unscientific view on when human life begins ought to legally supercede anyone else's essentially unscientific view on when human life begins. I'd like you to precisely and concisely explain why you believe that without relying on lurid analogies or quoting pro-life researchers and publications.

1. I belive my position is scientific. I'd go into it more, but it's late.

2. By unscientific veiw, I assume you mean that neither of us really knows if an embryo is a person. If you don't know if it is a person, then you shouldn't destroy it. I'd give an example to help illustrate, but you seem to have an irrational dislike of them.

To ef,
The placenta is an organ required by the embryo to keep it alive during the pregnancy, just as the liver is an organ required to keep it alive all through it's life. As such, the placenta can be said to be part of the embryo.
I'll get back to you on development of the brain when I have time.

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Do you think there is a Hell? in General
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It cuts the other way as well. Some people want to belive there is no God.

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New Abortion Laws in General
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Andrew, if I understand you correctly, you're saying "abortion is okay because the majority say it's okay." If this is the only reason to agree to abortion, then you have a problem, because that would mean "The majority say abortion is okay, beacause the majority say abortion is okay". While this might be true, I can't help feeling it a very poor reason for killing babies.
If, however, there is a better reason to support abortion, then this one is irrelevant.

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Incorrect. The reason for gravity has not been proven. It has not been proven whether alien life exists.

Also if you were to read a science magazine or book, you would find that the things that are 'proven' keep changing. This is known as the advance of science.

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New Abortion Laws in General
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quote:
Originally written by andrew miller:

quote:
Originally written by Ash Lael:

If we can agree that killing people is wrong (I hope we can), and we can agree on the scientific facts, then we should naturally come to the same conclusion.
But doesn't your conviction on this issue stem from your religious beliefs?

I believe that murder is wrong, but not because the Bible tells me that it is. Murder is wrong because my society decided that it should be, and I am a willing member of this society. This pact was created in part to assure the personal security of the individuals it comprises; outside of the laws we've decided for ourselves, there is no right or wrong.

This is another can of worms. Let's try stick to one contraversial issue at a time.
I'll restate his point, since you seem to have misunderstood it. If we agree that killing babies is wrong (how we come to that conclusion is an issue for another topic), then, if we can agree on the science (is it a baby or not) we ought to agree on whether abortion is wrong.

quote:
Originally written by andrew miller:


Because we are accustomed to the only laws most of us have ever known, we naturally are inclined to believe them universal; however, this is not the case, as history has demonstrated when cultures have come into conflict and war.

I would assert that because human beings created the laws, there is no reason that human life is inherently sacred or special outside of the value given to it and the protection afforded to it within societies. Should we decide to extend protection to fetuses, it will be due to a consensus within society, not because of some overarching inherent value.

Let's see if we can agree on whether or not a fetus is a baby before we start debating whether society can protect it, okay? One massive argument at a time.

quote:
Originally written by andrew miller:


With regard to science, we've determined that we genetically are not so distinct from the animals we regularly don't hold in high regard - consider the fact that the human genome is 98.5% identical to that of the chimpanzee genome. What is it about that 1.5% that is so distinct? How do a chimpanzee fetus and a human fetus differ? Is it not the case that some chimpanzees develop and demonstrate more intelligence than many mentally challenged humans? Are their lives more sacred than these individuals'?

We also share 50% of our DNA with bananas, but that doesn't mean we're half fruit trees. But there I go, opening another can of worms. Sticking to the argument is going to be difficult.

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The Challenge! in SubTerra
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What about Cell Block? :D

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Do you think there is a Hell? in General
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Baptism is not required Overwhelming. Remember the thief on the cross next to Jesus?

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On The Possibility of Objective Morality in General
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So you dislike what they did, but you can't really explain why, and are of the opinion that it is impossible to explain why? (again, correct me if i'm wrong)

As to the other issue:

1. Most people who kill themselves don't do it because they hate themselves.

2. People who do hate themselves still love themselves.

3. Those that hate themselves do so because they feel what they are doing is wrong, and only kill themselves if they can see no way out of it. This, combined with point two, would mean they should love others, but hate what they do, and only kill them if it is the only way to stop what they are doing, and the crime is serious enough to warrant it (after all, people don't kill themselves over shoplifting).

Edit: I should rephrase that. People don't kill themselves from the guilt of shoplifting. They might do it out of fear, if they see death as an escape.

[ Friday, April 01, 2005 00:35: Message edited by: The Creator ]

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On The Possibility of Objective Morality in General
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Sorry to take so long to get back to this. I haven't been online in a while.

So Thuryl, you object to things the nazis did simply because you feel (not necessarily belive) they were wrong? Please tell me if I misunderstood you.

quote:
Originally written by Toasty Warm:

If there was a universally objective perfect moral system for all human beings, then no one would be able to contest it because it would be able to stand up to all questioning. Every part of it would be right.

Here's what I belive the universally objective perfect moral system for all human beings is, "Love your neighbor as you do yourself." (neighbor in this context meaning everyone, but you probably knew that)
I would be interested as to what questioning you don't think it could stand up to. Or were you looking for one that was achievable?

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On The Possibility of Objective Morality in General
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quote:
In a social context, what I believe is irrelevant because I am irrelevant. And since society has far more effect on the shape of my life than I ever will, that means my own beliefs are irrelevant to the course of my life.

We are talking about you, not society (for the moment).

Just because something has a greater effect, doesn't mean something else has no effect. I would also contest that society has more effect than your beliefs. Your beliefs may be shaped by society, but that is not the same as saying they have no effect.

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On The Possibility of Objective Morality in General
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Of course it has to do with you! I was asking about what you really belive. Why would you be more annoyed at the second one by the way? While I would certainly be more annoyed overall, I wouldn't be more annoyed at one more than the other.

[ Monday, March 28, 2005 15:36: Message edited by: The Creator ]

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On The Possibility of Objective Morality in General
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I don't recall saying that 'right and wrong' were any sort of protection from people doing 'wrong'.

But let me ask you, do you really think your morals are no better than those of the Nazis? Do you in fact think that if the Nazis had conquered the world there would be nothing wrong with that?

Or to approach it from another angle, do you only get upset about things because they are inconvenient? Let's say you are waiting in line with five people ahead of you, and then someone else pushes in ahead. Are you annoyed at him because he is inconvenient? The other five were also inconvenient. Are you just as annoyed at them?

Edit: What use are morals? Well, they won't give you any kind of power, but they help you to know how to react. But really, what has use got to do with it? We were arguing about whether they exist.

[ Monday, March 28, 2005 15:30: Message edited by: The Creator ]

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On The Possibility of Objective Morality in General
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So there's nothing wrong in doing something that is to the detriment of society, its just inconvenient for society, and society should therefore stop it. There was nothing wrong or hateful with what the Nazis did, it was just inconvenient to the world in general, and so the world stopped it. They couldn't really be blamed for what they did, any more than you can really blame a driver for coming at you down a narrow street that doesn't have a one-way sign.

In effect, there is no right, only might.

[ Monday, March 28, 2005 14:58: Message edited by: The Creator ]

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On The Possibility of Objective Morality in General
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I think I'll stick to debating about the Moral Law and what it means if it exists.

What does it mean if it exists? Well, let's consider what it would mean to our veiws on the universe. Let us first consider the materialist veiw. The materialist veiw is that there is only what physically exists. The materialist position on the Moral Law would therefore be that it is just some strange quirk bred into us by evolution.
On the other hand, we have the religious veiw. (I'm talking about religions in general here) The religious veiw is that there is something behind the universe that is more like a mind than anything else we can compare it to. It is generally accepted that it is like a mind in that it is conscious, and has puposes, likes, and dislikes. This reality behind the universe could never be discovered by simple obesvation of the facts, since if it exists it would not be one of the facts, but rather a reality that made them. To this end we should look for something that is not a fact but real nontheless. Let's say there is something in this world that the 'mind' behind the universe did not like. That would mean that there is not just what is, but also what it thinks ought to be. And what is the Moral Law but something telling us what ought to be?

Going back to the issue of whether the Moral Law exists... Thuryl, judging by your other posts in the abortion topic, you seem to be of the opinion that people ought to do things that benefit society. Why?
I'm guessing your answer will be something like 'Because people benefit from society, so when they benefit society they benefit themselves'.

[ Monday, March 28, 2005 14:28: Message edited by: The Creator ]

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On The Possibility of Objective Morality in General
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Did you see me say that? I simply said it wants us to behave a certain way. As to whether we should comply, we would have to reason further.

The Moral Law implies the existance of a God or gods, but we are a long way from christianity.

I would like to leave it there for today. I need a break. If you want, get a copy of Mere Christianity. It explains things much better and more thoughorly than I do.

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On The Possibility of Objective Morality in General
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Perhaps we should stick to ethical systems we actually understand.

My point (based on what I know and the word of someone who has studied the issue) remains that the difference in morality between cultures has never amounted to anything like a total difference. But maybe we should investigate this ourselves.

Edit: If we assume the Moral Law exists, the next step is to apply what we know of it to the universe.
If we take the moral law as something inside us that pressures us to act a certain way, it seems rather odd that we do not in fact act that way. Stones always obey the laws of physics, but people often break the Moral Law. It implies that there is a reality beyond the facts of human behavior. Something we ought to do that we do not in fact do. If it is not something we made up, it appears that something else wants us to behave a certain way.

[ Sunday, March 27, 2005 18:20: Message edited by: The Creator ]

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On The Possibility of Objective Morality in General
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quote:
Originally written by Dolphin:

Good is a modern notion. Pleasing the Gods may bring rain, food, or prosperity. They would bring fertility and happiness. To the ancients these things are what we call good.
Good is hardly a modern notion. Judaoism (sp?) is based on 'good and evil' and it's hardly modern.

quote:
Originally written by Thuryl:


The ancient Greeks generally believed that the gods were perfect as well. (One would think this would require a fair bit of cognitive dissonance, but apparently they were capable of it.)

Mind you, the Greeks didn't practice human sacrifice, but they did do plenty of things you wouldn't approve of.

Considering the way the Greek gods fought amongst each other, what they meant by perfect must mean something different to what we're talking about. Perfect ability perhaps?

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On The Possibility of Objective Morality in General
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But they didn't necessarily belive their gods were good. They thought they embodied certain aspects of the world. That God is Good is a belife peculiar to jews, christians, and muslims. And they have never endorsed human sacrifice.
But we're talking about something too far removed from any of our experiences to be sure about.

Nobody talks about poverty in Africa.

Sure they do.

Few people place any serious value on the life of someone who's completely anonymous to them.

Quite a few people seem to place serious value on completely anonymous babies when it comes to the abortion issue.

Besides, what has that got to do with anything?

[ Sunday, March 27, 2005 17:35: Message edited by: The Creator ]

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On The Possibility of Objective Morality in General
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quote:
Originally written by Thuryl:

That doesn't fit with my experience at all. I find it hard to believe that a loyal soldier and a conscientious objector, both believing that they're doing the right thing, are motivated by the exact same set of principles. And that's only within *our* society; traditions such as human sacrifice are so far removed from our experience that they're incomprehensible, but we have no reason to believe that the people who performed them thought there was anything wrong with them.
As I said before, it changes according to the situation. The loyal soldier and a conscientious objector are found in vastly different situations. And even when they argue you will find they have similar moral princials (The value of human life, for example).

I don't think anyone thought of human sacrifice as right. Necessary maybe, to save a village from the gods, but not right in of itself.

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On The Possibility of Objective Morality in General
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Basically, yes. People's intuitions will always have some differences, due to the fact that no two people will be in the exact same situation, but it is the same Moral Law regardless.

Edit: On the contrary, if you compare ethical systems from across nations and ages, you will find they are remakably similar. It would appear that they are all based on the same standard. They might differ as to who you should be unselfish to, but they agree you ought to be unselfish. You will not find a civilisation that admires people who betray their closest friends.

[ Sunday, March 27, 2005 16:54: Message edited by: The Creator ]

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On The Possibility of Objective Morality in General
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People would act in similar ways and toward a unified goal if they followed it. It's because people often go againt the Moral Law that they don't. There is not a single person who doesn't break it, most often daily.

An interesting thing to notice is that when people are confronted with having done the 'wrong thing', they make excuses as to why they haven't really. They rarely claim that the 'right' thing was simply a desire they didn't follow. It seems even when we break the Moral Law we would rather pretend we have not.

Edit: Dolphin, I am not at the moment concered as to what things are right or wrong. At the moment, I'm just trying to establish that there IS right and wrong.

Also, from A site about Oscar Schindler:
"No one will ever know exactly what made this complex man do what no German had the courage to do. A large part of the fascination of Schindler is that not even those who admire him most can figure out his motives."

I'll see what I can find about his upbringing.

[ Sunday, March 27, 2005 16:38: Message edited by: The Creator ]

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On The Possibility of Objective Morality in General
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But the moral law often goes against what is seen as acceptable (e.g. Oscar Schindler). Or do you think he did it for the sake of what the allies would think? I doubt that he thought Germany would lose the war when he started.

Here's another way of looking at it: If the Moral Law was simply an instinct, we ought to be able to point to some impulse that is always 'good'. But there is no impulse that the Moral Law will not tell you to squash under some circumstances, and tell you to indulge at others.

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On The Possibility of Objective Morality in General
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quote:
Originally written by Thuryl:

How is saying that someone does something because he believes he should any different from saying that he does it because he wants to do it? Clearly on some level he did want to do it (even if only out of a vague feeling of obligation), or he wouldn't have done it.

And I don't know about you, but whenever I do something that I feel as if I ought to do, I always do it with at least some anticipation that someone is going to heap praise and adulation on me for doing it, even if realistically I know that's unlikely. (And if the vanishingly remote prospect of a reward weren't enough to motivate many people, poker machines wouldn't be so popular.)

Let us consider a man who hears in the distance a cry for help. He may have the desire to save the man, and the praise he would get for it, but he also has the desire not to concern himself and not expend the effort required to help him. He also wants to remain safe. Let us say that at first his (overall) desire to help is less than his (overall) desire not to. He may then simply continue on, or he might spend a moment arousing his desire to help. He might imagine the other man's plight in order to arouse his sympathy, or he might imagine the praise he would get for for helping.
But notice what has just happened. Something other than his desire to help (which for ease of argument I would like to call the moral law) has convinced him to make himself want to help. The moral law, which tells him which of his instincts to follow, cannot itself be an instinct.

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On The Possibility of Objective Morality in General
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quote:
Originally written by Thuryl:

Now, to me, a reasonable definition of what is objectively right might look something like the following:

If it is objectively right to do something, then any given individual should do that thing under any given circumstances.

I hope nobody finds this statement objectionable.

Unfortunatly, I don't think there is anything that is the right thing to do under any circumstance. If you rephrased it as "If it is objectively right to do something, then any given individual should do that thing.", then I would agree with it.

quote:
Originally written by Thuryl:


There is, unfortunately, a problem with the above statement, and it has to do with the word "should". Ordinarily, when we say that someone should do something, we have in the back of our minds some reason why they should do that thing.

If a police officer tells me "You should not kill people because if you do then you will be imprisoned, and you would not like that", this is all very well. If a religious person tells me "You should not kill people because you will go to hell, and you would not like that", this is all very well also; it may be a true statement, it may be a false statement, but it's a statement I can understand. But how am I even to interpret the bald statement "You should not kill people"?

If I ask someone "Why should I not kill people?" and he says "You should not kill people because it is right not to do so", then since by the above definition something right is something everyone should do, he is saying "You should not kill people because you should not kill people", which seems like no answer at all.

I agree there is a problem, but I think it's a problem for you, rather than me. The thing is, people often DO do things simply because 'it is the right thing to do'. A man may save another's life, not because he expects to be rewarded for it, or punished if he doesn't, but because he should.

[ Sunday, March 27, 2005 14:47: Message edited by: The Creator ]

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New Abortion Laws in General
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If you substitute meaning with 'right and wrong' as I did in my first post, certainly, I know what I mean by it. I only used the word 'meaning' because that is what the original quote was.

And I guess you'll start the new topic as a response to this.

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