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Morality is not subjective

jonathan180iq

Well-Known Member
I recently came to the conclusion after some reading and thinking that the idea of morality being subjective is absurd.
Would you care to elaborate? What have you been reading? What were your thoughts?
Why, specifically, do you think it's absurd?

When I say morality is objective I mean that moral goodness exists independent of what people do or think.
How can that be? Describe what moral goodness looks like on Mars, for example, where there are no people.
What's the moral landscape of the ocean? Is it wrong for the raccoon in my backyard to eat the baby turtle that it caught a couple of days ago?

Any non-theists here who agree with me?
I'm a non-theist and I disagree with you, obviously.

I would counter your query with one of my own...
If you remove your bias towards god from the equation, does your argument make any sense?

Imagine a world without god, and then explain how objective morality could exist.
 

McBell

mantra-chanting henotheistic snake handler
That would beg the question that only things that you have seen, been presented with, and have evidence for would exist to you?

I know there are a myraid of things I am not aware of and we, as humans, haven't found any evidence for (taking the supernatural out). Yet, I know they exist. Saying that they don't because I haven't been introduced the idea nor have evidence for it, to me, sounds limiting the life a bit.

It's not negative, just I never heard what you said from anyone before.
That you do not have an example supports my claim.

You are the one who keeps bringing up the mythical no-morals person, not me.
Thus far my experience has been that just like with god, there are all manner of claims with nothing but wishful thinking in support of said claims.

In fact, every single time I have seen and or heard the phrase "no morals" it has meant that the "no-morals" person has morals that differed from the one claiming the "no-morals" person has no morals.
 

Shad

Veteran Member
I didn't relate killing to murder.

Again, we actually decide that is consider legal and illegal killing. Centuries ago we thought killing witches was legal, now many nation do not. I am only taking issues with this point as it is your own. We have no claim to objective morality without invoking a higher power as the sole arbiter of moral and immoral. Killing in nature is largely non-moral. The only question is if animals with higher brain functions form social habit as something development between individuals/group or if it is instinct based.
 

Unveiled Artist

Veteran Member
That you do not have an example supports my claim.

You are the one who keeps bringing up the mythical no-morals person, not me.
Thus far my experience has been that just like with god, there are all manner of claims with nothing but wishful thinking in support of said claims.

In fact, every single time I have seen and or heard the phrase "no morals" it has meant that the "no-morals" person has morals that differed from the one claiming the "no-morals" person has no morals.

Since morals are defined by people, those who havent morals are those who were not influenced by others and their ubringing hasnt been influenced by any sense of right and wrong. Anything they do has no inherent meaning.

Its like watching an animal (which is not lower tha humans. Just more smsrter) that doesnt have morals but he or she does his thing whether a mother eats her cubs while another kills a "friend." We may say that is wrong but it isnt. There are no morals. Why do we feel humans have to have morals If we are part of the animal kingdom too? If sit Perfect Zen and connect with our true nature, morals disapear. We are.

Nothing wrong with that. "And" nothing right with that. Form and no form.

It is not different morals. Thats still saying X person has morals. Thats kind of like a christian saying "you dont believe in god but at least you believe in a higher power." Giving that Christian a sense of hope X person believes somewhat as he does. Life doesnt work that way whether we are christian, alien, or whatever.

As for god, it doesnt have to do with god or joe smoe. Just our nature is a blank slate and some people (I dont know everyone) do not have that slate filled with the muck and blessings the rest of us have.
 

Unveiled Artist

Veteran Member
Again, we actually decide that is consider legal and illegal killing. Centuries ago we thought killing witches was legal, now many nation do not. I am only taking issues with this point as it is your own. We have no claim to objective morality without invoking a higher power as the sole arbiter of moral and immoral. Killing in nature is largely non-moral. The only question is if animals with higher brain functions form social habit as something development between individuals/group or if it is instinct based.

I asked what makes killing objectively wrong.

Everything else, I dont know what you are disagreeing with me on.
 

Oculus

J A F O
Morality is not subjective
Yes, it is. The Jews think usury is okay and it's not. It is outright abuse of those who are poorer than themselves, all while not charging interest of their fellow Jews.

Try to explain that away.
 

Straw Dog

Well-Known Member
No, my personal feelings and opinions don't draw the distinctions between right and wrong. Axe murdering doesn't become right because of my thoughts or feelings, and drinking water doesn't become wrong because of my personal thoughts or feeling. Now if you're going to bring society into it that's another story, but this isn't a matter of personal opinion and feeling.
Looking at a painting and thinking about what it means is something that I would call subjective.

The physical act of axe murdering is an objective fact, but it requires a subject to feel bad about it or think that it is wrong in order to draw a moral distinction.

Yes, society does play a central role in developing moral principles. It's an intersubjective process among people. We share many of the same feelings and opinions, but there is also a degree of variation among individuals, groups, and cultures. Moral values are still significant. They're just subjective facts rather than objective.

How do you draw a moral distinction between good and bad behavior without the influence of feelings and opinions?
 

McBell

mantra-chanting henotheistic snake handler
Since morals are defined by people, those who havent morals are those who were not influenced by others and their ubringing hasnt been influenced by any sense of right and wrong. Anything they do has no inherent meaning.
How many people do you know who have no morals?
And I mean "no morals", not "morals that do not line up with your morals".
My claim is that everyone has morals, not all morals align between people, and that the only time the phrase "no morals" is used is when describing someone with morals that are not in line with the phrase users morals

Its like watching an animal (which is not lower tha humans. Just more smsrter) that doesnt have morals but he or she does his thing whether a mother eats her cubs while another kills a "friend." We may say that is wrong but it isnt. There are no morals. Why do we feel humans have to have morals If we are part of the animal kingdom too? If sit Perfect Zen and connect with our true nature, morals disapear. We are.

Nothing wrong with that. "And" nothing right with that. Form and no form.

It is not different morals. Thats still saying X person has morals. Thats kind of like a christian saying "you dont believe in god but at least you believe in a higher power." Giving that Christian a sense of hope X person believes somewhat as he does. Life doesnt work that way whether we are christian, alien, or whatever.

As for god, it doesnt have to do with god or joe smoe. Just our nature is a blank slate and some people (I dont know everyone) do not have that slate filled with the muck and blessings the rest of us have.
What the hell are you talking about?

Morals are a persons sense of right/wrong.
And as I have said, everyone has a sense of right and wrong.

If your sense of right and wrong is different from my sense of right and wrong we both still have morals.
 

JRMcC

Active Member
General announcement:
If there's anyone I forget to respond to I'm sorry, I'm finding hard to keep up with the amount of alerts I'm getting.
 

Quintessence

Consults with Trees
Staff member
Premium Member
General announcement:
If there's anyone I forget to respond to I'm sorry, I'm finding hard to keep up with the amount of alerts I'm getting.

That's okay. I know I miss posts too. I wager my last one got lost somewhere, but you don't have to respond to it if you don't want to. :D
 

JRMcC

Active Member
I can and have worked towards being a "better person," and I did so without this notion of objective goodness. Rather, I reasoned things such adopting a non-judgemental attitude towards people's quirks and odd behaviors and presentations is mutually beneficial for myself and others. This is despite the fact that most people do tend to negatively judge those who are "different."

More or less. We definitely have a sex drive, but because we are sexually-reproducing animals, not because of some "objective force" that makes us so. With morality, it seems social animals developed that through evolution as a way to strengthen group ties and to have more cooperative groups as social animals inherently depend on others for their survival. We aren't like cats, snakes, or bears who take care of themselves and really only need others like them for reproduction.

That is irrelevant as appeals to popularity do not make for an argument. Appeals to popular opinions and positions inherently do not make a statement true or false. Falsehoods and misconceptions are also commonly believed by most people.

Statistics are not "weird properties." They are actually understood well enough that election winners can accurately be predicted with only a small portion of the votes counted, accurately predict what cards will be turned in card games, and reach sound conclusions when analyzing raw data. It's only weird when someone manipulates it, misrepresents it, and tries to make it something it's not. And this has nothing to do with morality.

"Stupidity" only exists in the minds of those who interpret something as stupid. Outside of us, it doesn't exist. There are no laws or theories regarding stupidity, because there are none to be objectively determined.


Think of it like a flashlight. In its most basic structure, it has batteries, a light bulb, an on/of switch, and wires to put them all together. When the switch is turned off, it means the electrical circuit is broken/not complete, and there is no light, but when it's turned on, the switch is positioned to complete the circuit, allowing the electricity to flow. Morality has no such objective rules or procedures. With combustible engines, small and large alike, the timing belts and gears must be properly aligned or the engine doesn't work. This is what I mean by "pass/fail." It either works because the design is sound, or it fails because the design is flawed. Of course it can become much more complicated than that, but even with coding and robotics something that isn't working right means that somewhere there is a flaw in the code, a loose wire, bad circuit board, ect., and you cannot trouble shoot morality like you can a machine.

So I are you saying that morality is a subjective thing that has to do with personal choices, and that in your case your morals are what's based on what's good for yourself and others?

And by good I guess we mean healthy, happy ect.
 

JRMcC

Active Member
The subjectivity of "right" and "wrong" makes morals subjective.

In some cases (think few) right and wrong is subjective, and sometimes it's impossible to determine. But most of the time the truth is plain as day. If your'e going to say that shooting up a school full of little kids is only wrong if you think it is then fine, just say that and we can end the conversation there. I'll just disagree.
 

JRMcC

Active Member
.....or in a godless Earthly society?
Unless damaged, we have a built-in conscience to help guide us - Romans 2:14-15
So, peoples of the nations will do the things of the law because of conscience.

Right, we do have a built in conscience and it generally tells us what's right and wrong, though it doesn't usually force us to do the right thing.
I would say we also have a built in ability to understand logic. And I don't think we should be doubting the objectivity of right and wrong much more than we should be doubting the objectivity of true and false.
 

JRMcC

Active Member
That's okay. I know I miss posts too. I wager my last one got lost somewhere, but you don't have to respond to it if you don't want to. :D

I feel like a business analyst at an insurance company trying to answer every email.
I will get to yours, I haven't forgotten. :D
 

JRMcC

Active Member
The physical act of axe murdering is an objective fact, but it requires a subject to feel bad about it or think that it is wrong in order to draw a moral distinction.

I agree that you need a subject in order for that morality to be possible, but I don't think that means morality is subjective. The objective needs an observing subject to meaningfully exist. If we have a disagreement about the philosophy there it might be hard to have a constructive conversation. Unless we just have that philosophical conversation right here.

Yes, society does play a central role in developing moral principles. It's an intersubjective process among people. We share many of the same feelings and opinions, but there is also a degree of variation among individuals, groups, and cultures. Moral values are still significant. They're just subjective facts rather than objective.

Subjective facts?... I just have a hard time with that. A fact is objective. It's either a fact that assaulting kids is wrong or it's not.

How do you draw a moral distinction between good and bad behavior without the influence of feelings and opinions?

First of all you say feelings and opinions, and I think both of these things can be reduced to thoughts( or maybe even intuition).
We are able to draw the distinction between right and wrong using our intuition. That same intuition leads to philosophy and logic, and it makes science possible. So we use our intuition to figure things out, and obviously we are sometimes wrong. There's such thing as bad morals just like there's such thing as bad philosophy that doesn't make sense.
 

McBell

mantra-chanting henotheistic snake handler
In some cases (think few) right and wrong is subjective, and sometimes it's impossible to determine. But most of the time the truth is plain as day. If your'e going to say that shooting up a school full of little kids is only wrong if you think it is then fine, just say that and we can end the conversation there. I'll just disagree.
And this is why I think you do not want an honest discussion about it.
 

Shadow Wolf

Certified People sTabber & Business Owner
So I are you saying that morality is a subjective thing that has to do with personal choices
Pretty much.
and that in your case your morals are what's based on what's good for yourself and others?

And by good I guess we mean healthy, happy ect.
The only thing as a moral that I see as striving to live up to is to do my best to not harm anyone.
 
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