Increase of Atheists around the world, increase of crime any coincidence?

‘Because it’s mine’ is not an uncommon view, Harry. Nobody refers to me as the arbitrer of property rights when someone wants to take something that isn’t theirs.

But you’ve already discounted the concept of ownership as a reason why someone shouldn’t steal (although it’s one of the bedrock principles). That’s why we eagerly await your suggestion for another reason why a moral position should be held.

In the meantime, as an small interlude, we can imagine a short scenario:

F: That’s a nice pen. I’m having that.
H: Where’s my pen?
F: Here it is. I’m taking it with me.
H: You can’t do that!
F: Why not?

How does that pan out, Harry? Do you give him a theological argument or do you say ‘You can’t take it. Because it’s MY pen!’

Guess it’s not the latter. You don’t think it’s a good argument. You don’t think it’s an argument at all.

I see. So morality amounts to making declarations about stuff?

No need to explain the moral grounds for claiming it is your pen, merely stating that it is “My pen!” is sufficient.

Why is it wrong to murder? Because it is my/his/her life!

Why is it wrong to rape? Because it is my/his/her body!

Why is lying wrong? Because is it my/his/her ears and I don’t want to hear lies!

Yup, that’s deep, that is. Let’s submit this to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. They might be interested in resolving all questions of morality using @Freddy’s Razor: Thinking about stuff should not be multiplied without necessity when the mere declaration, “It is mine!” will suffice.

‘Because it’s mine’ is not a moral position. It’s a statemement about property rights. And if both parties agree that property rights should be respected then both parties can reach agreement on the fact that taking the pen is wrong. That is then a moral position. Based on the fact that both parties agree that property rights should be respected.

But you don’t think that ‘property rights are to be respected’ is a good reason for not stealing so we are waiting for you to supply another reason. Or another example.

And how did that short discussion scenario pan out? When F said ‘Why not?’ what would your response be?

As far as reasons go, property rights should be respected is about as good a reason for not stealing as “The lives of human beings should be respected,” is for not murdering. That amounts to saying It is wrong to kill others because the killing of others is wrong and should not be done.

I suppose we could all agree to that, but it hardly adds anything to the discussion. It isn’t as if there were some in the audience who needed to be convinced that murder or theft is wrong, but I guess we ought to make sure about that. You never know about Catholics.

Who is we?

You’ve already said you don’t agree. So whenever you have another reason. I’ll be here…

this isn’t a discussion on abortion (you know that). I am using abortion to show how individual morals fail.

I guess that is why you want the topic off-limits.

People can’t agree and there is no arbitrator. It is all personal opinion, anything the individual wants goes.

It makes no difference in the biological / social reality. Whether God exists or not, beating someone is painful, caressing someone is kind and loving. Feeding the hungry is good - spreading goodwill is beneficial, because it increases the chance that it will come back to you, if you are in the need of help.

So even if someone is kind and loving for the “selfish reason”, in the hope that it will come to her… it is still a good deed. A selfishly given loaf of bread has the same amount of calories as a selflessly given one. Of course this is a “utilitarian” approach, which is a anathema in the eyes of some Catholics.

Maybe one of these years you will understand that there are emerging attributes, which bring a whole new level of existence into the picture. Just contemplate a pile of bricks and a few beams as opposed to the house that is built of the same materials. Do you seriously assert that a house is merely a pile of bricks?

Then you are wrong. I want it off topic precisely because it’s something on which we disagree. We need to find common ground on a matter on which we can both agree.

Presumably you agree that stealing is wrong. So do you have any reasons whatsoever to support that moral position on which we can agree?

Maybe an idea there for Harry. Another good reason for not stealing something (some bread) is because it will cause hardship (hunger) to another.

Yeah, I’ve read Gödel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid by Douglas Hofstadter, and I’m not convinced about “emerging” attributes.

Your example using bricks and beams that “emerge” as a house is a weak example since it “emerges” by human intelligent design, it doesn’t just “emerge” as if it does so inexplicably.

I don’t seriously assert that a house is merely a pile of bricks. On the other hand I don’t merely assert that it “emerges” either.

Hofstadter’s example of an ant hill is much stronger, but not very convincing since he merely assumes something about instinct and genetics – i.e., that these inexplicably “emerge” – when that may not be the case at all.

To be clear, assuming a Creator God has nothing to do with the “emerging” of genetics and therefore things merely “emerge” inexplicably is hardly an argument.

Maybe one of these years

I find that amusing.

How old are you?

And stealing (some bread) might prevent hardship (hunger) for another. Does preventing hardship always make things right?

Jumping into a lake to save a drowning person will cause me hardship, so I shouldn’t do it? On the other hand, saving them does prevent them hardship. Maybe. If they drown though, they wouldn’t be aware of any hardship since they would be dead, while saving them might put them through days or weeks of hospital care and psychological hardship. Which to do? Hmmm. :thinking: Where’s my book on utilitarian calculus? Maybe I can figure this out while that drowning person treads water for a time.

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Why the disparaging tone?

You could simplify this entire thread going right to the heart of the topic. Provide the grounds for morality from purely atheistic or naturalistic premises, then we would have a starting point instead of this piecemeal or scattergun critique.

That’s a good one! ‘Should one try to save a child from drowning?’ Well, the obvious answer to that is ‘Yes, we should make all reasonable attempts to do so’. If we agree on that then we can obviously discuss what ‘reasonable’ means and why we should do it it any case. Sound ok? So…

‘Should we make all reasonable attempts to save a child from drowning?’

Yes or no.

Yes, of course.

Are we morally obligated to?

Yes? Why?

No? Why not?

Your turn.

that is the issue in a nutshell.

disagreement on deciding what is moral.

it has to be moral or immoral, it can’t be both.

who is the final arbitrator?

That’s not how it works. At least as far as I am concerned. If Lys provides you with grounds from here to eternity then it becomes your version of shooting fish in a barrel. He’s not going to be able to do it.

Again, what is required is agreement on any moral matter. And THEN delve into why we think it’s correct. Like saving a drowning chikd.

The point is that complex systems have attributes that are missing from the constituent elements. I could have made a simpler example. A water molecule has extra attributes which are missing from the two hydrogen atoms and the one oxygen atom. The “wetness” of the water molecule is an emergent attribute, which cannot be reduced to the hydrogen and oxygen atoms.

What is disparaging?

All I said that biological and social “goods” are the same whether there is a God or not. The loaf of bread helps to overcome hunger whether there is a God or not. That is all.

No…for the umpteenth time. We AGREE on what is moral and THEN give our reasons why we hold it to be so.

and when you don’t, what happens

The emergent brain is becoming pretty well established and I see no problem with theists claiming that God emerged their brain if they wish. We are moral creatures whether God made us thus or it emerged with evolution. What do we do when our morality is different from each other over something? How can we reach an agreement if something is moral or not?

Here’s a question. Christians are perfectly moral if they eat ham. Jesus fulfilled the law and now allows it. Jews, however are immoral if they eat ham. They feel the law is still in effect for them. Should we base any current legislation on the eating of ham? Or, should we be able to accept that ham is perfectly moral for Christians and immoral for Jews? It seems there are cases where morality isn’t just what the Christian God decides. Since this is a case where either side isn’t too bothered by what the other side believes, we usually don’t think about it. Maybe we should because it can lead us to figure out how to live with other people who’s morality is different than ours…even though OUR God is always right. We all choose a moral path from the many available and in most things, they agree with each other on what’s moral. It’s when morals clash that we have to figure out how to co exist with conflicting morals.

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