Cultural Relativism is wrong

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Immanuel Can
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Re: Cultural Relativism is wrong

Post by Immanuel Can » Mon May 13, 2019 5:51 pm

Belinda wrote:
Mon May 13, 2019 5:27 pm
Circumstances do indeed alter values.
Circumstances include the moral consciousness(or conscience) of the individual, the individual's ambient culture, and contingencies of nature. The individual consciousness (or conscience) may change when the individual is traumatised or when he has learned what he did not previously know.
But these do not change objective truth. If a thing is "valuable" in that sense, it is "valuable" whether anybody knows it is or not. It is valued by God, so it ought to be valued by us, even if we don't.

Like your rights. If they're dependent on circumstances, then your claim, "I have a right to be respected" means precisely zero. It's just a petulant but unjustifiable demand, one that nobody needs to take more seriously than the angry squalling of an irate infant. In both cases, what is said has no objective authority, then.

I would think that any Feminist (supposing you have any sympathy with such) would be absolutely adamant that women deserved rights, whether or not anybody else thought so. And if that's true, they're calling on an objective standard, one that has to be higher than the contingent fact of "the men that may happen to rule society."

Or you could wait around for things just to come your way by chance, I suppose. But they might not.
If there be eternal values it's not given to us to know them.
Well, we certainly would if God told us what they were. The question then becomes, "Has he?"
This is the tragedy of the human.
Only in an Atheist world. But in that world, nothing is "tragic," because "tragic" implies (as Aristotle said) the undeserved decline of the worthy. Under Atheism, you're not tragic, because you can't be "worthy," and your fate cannot be "undeserved". It just is what it is.
It's our responsibility to make our own values.

Not true. There can be no "responsibility" in that world. And if you make your own "values," then only you have to care that you did. Everybody else can say, "Well, I know you think you ought to be allowed to value your freedom, but we want you in jail." And there's no recourse after that.
That we are forced to make our own values is not an occasion for rejoicing , on the contrary it makes us anxious and sometimes we want big Daddy to come and tell us what to do and what to believe.
Well, we cannot be "forced" to "make" what it is impossible for us to make. You wanting something doesn't make it in the least valuable to anyone else. So that's just self-contradiction.
The danger is confusing God with politicians and priests.
Absolutely. That is a very real danger. We ought not to do that.
...in a previous post, wrote to the effect that learning is repeating what others have said.
Not me. You're thinking of somebody else...or perhaps you badly misunderstood something I wrote. I can't tell which.

But if you quote what you're thinking of verbatim, maybe I can clear up the misunderstanding for you.

Belinda
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Re: Cultural Relativism is wrong

Post by Belinda » Mon May 13, 2019 6:06 pm

Immanuel Can wrote:
I would think that any Feminist (supposing you have any sympathy with such) would be absolutely adamant that women deserved rights, whether or not anybody else thought so. And if that's true, they're calling on an objective standard, one that has to be higher than the contingent fact of "the men that may happen to rule society."
The feminist thesis is good for men too. Gender stereotyping is not only unfair to individuals it also deprives society of good elite workers.And gender stereotyping causes a lot of unhappiness to men too.




This is the tragedy of the human.
Only in an Atheist world. But in that world, nothing is "tragic," because "tragic" implies (as Aristotle said) the undeserved decline of the worthy. Under Atheism, you're not tragic, because you can't be "worthy," and your fate cannot be "undeserved". It just is what it is.
The species Homo Sapiens is worthy.
It's our responsibility to make our own values.

Not true. There can be no "responsibility" in that world. And if you make your own "values," then only you have to care that you did. Everybody else can say, "Well, I know you think you ought to be allowed to value your freedom, but we want you in jail." And there's no recourse after that.
But making our own values is not the same as being allowed to value our freedom. On the contrary having our values dictated to us would be an easier life .
That we are forced to make our own values is not an occasion for rejoicing , on the contrary it makes us anxious and sometimes we want big Daddy to come and tell us what to do and what to believe.
Well, we cannot be "forced" to "make" what it is impossible for us to make. You wanting something doesn't make it in the least valuable to anyone else. So that's just self-contradiction.
Not so. The value to society of independent personal morality is it's independent personal morality that will disallow self seeking in politicians and priests.
The danger is confusing God with politicians and priests.
Absolutely. That is a very real danger. We ought not to do that.
...in a previous post, wrote to the effect that learning is repeating what others have said.
Not me. You're thinking of somebody else...or perhaps you badly misunderstood something I wrote. I can't tell which.

But if you quote what you're thinking of verbatim, maybe I can clear up the misunderstanding for you.
[/quote]

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Immanuel Can
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Re: Cultural Relativism is wrong

Post by Immanuel Can » Mon May 13, 2019 7:37 pm

Belinda wrote:
Mon May 13, 2019 6:06 pm
Immanuel Can wrote:
I would think that any Feminist (supposing you have any sympathy with such) would be absolutely adamant that women deserved rights, whether or not anybody else thought so. And if that's true, they're calling on an objective standard, one that has to be higher than the contingent fact of "the men that may happen to rule society."
The feminist thesis is good for men too. Gender stereotyping is not only unfair to individuals it also deprives society of good elite workers.And gender stereotyping causes a lot of unhappiness to men too.
Wow. Did you ever miss the point. I'll try to explain it again, more directly.

If another person -- any other person or group of people, male or female or anything else you can imagine -- can decide what your value is, then really, you have none. They can decide you're worthless, and then you instantly are. And that would be the end of the story.

Happy with that?
The species Homo Sapiens is worthy.
How do you know? What's your metric there? And why is anybody obligated to grant you that claim?
...having our values dictated to us would be an easier life .
Maybe, if you're talking about capitulation to human authority. But I've never recommended that.

If the only basis for your values is your own opinion, then the right response is, "sez you." Who needs to care?

They have no durability greater than your own personal, physical strength. If you can enforce them, then perhaps you will; but I suspect you can't, and that there are a lot of people in the world much more powerful than you are. And you have no grounds for appeal to another person to grant the value of your values...they don't have to. You are without any court of appeal, then. They can abuse you at will.

Happy with that?
The value to society of independent personal morality is it's independent personal morality that will disallow self seeking in politicians and priests.

Heh. You have no power to "disallow" anything. If the politician or priest is stronger than you, or can summon followers, you're cooked. Because you've invested all your trust in your own private power...which is obviously very limited.

Happy with that?

Scott Mayers
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Re: Cultural Relativism is wrong

Post by Scott Mayers » Mon May 13, 2019 11:17 pm

Immanuel Can wrote:
Mon May 13, 2019 1:32 pm
Scott Mayers wrote:
Mon May 13, 2019 6:35 am
Immanuel Can wrote:
Mon May 13, 2019 4:01 am

Trolley dilemmas don't actually show that values are relative. They do show that doing ethical decision making in the real world is complex and often may involve trade-offs...but not that the values change.

Look at it this way: in all scenarios in the Trolley Problem, there is one cardinal value -- the value of a human life. Interestingly, that's not a value that Atheism can establish. There's a sort of post-Christian squeamishness involved in the Trolley Problem, actually, because under Atheist assumptions, it really doesn't matter who you kill...or how many.
That doesn't resolve the contradiction of which choice is "better.
But it doesn't show that values are relative -- unless all you mean by "relative" is not that the values change at all, but only circumstances. Nothing in any outcome of the trolley problem requires a person to believe that killing anybody is good.
Switch people with cows. Then try again. Just because we are mostly biased to favor not killing each other doesn't mean other species don't count. And I'm guessing you'd become indifferent all of a sudden. Then replace one with your favorite pet.

You are broadening the domain for the contradiction you don't like by making the killing of people paramount. The paradoxes were thought of by default of assuming we all favor people so as to see the problems that occur in line with morality we experience. The point of those dilemmas were to express how we do have these real distinct problems.

The reason we have any issues in society, from small groups to countries to the world is based specifically on dilemmas like these. If everyone could get everything they wanted, we would be on par with one another and lack a need to compete for limited resources and these dilemmas that cause world problems would go down because people would share their moral compasses more than not. Where struggle occurs, the dilemmas increase and force people to have to make choices where some are not better but just 'less worse', as we have in many political situations today.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Mon May 13, 2019 1:32 pm
Scott Mayers wrote:I as an atheist would still select my own. Would this not make me relatively 'bad' in your eyes?
No. To protect one's own child is a primary duty that I would expect of myself.
You miss the point. That given that I recognize morality as relative you'd expect that I'd flip a coin as though I have no favor for either precisely because you assert the atheist cannot have specific morals. Here the 'moral' code would be to favor one's own by default. If I lack morals, that is, you were implying that I should not 'care' who lives or dies, even my own. I've just proven to you that the atheist still has moral value. Thus how do you presume the atheist would be 'relative' to their own morals for believing nature lacks favor (is relatively indifferent) to our particular choices?
Immanuel Can wrote:
Mon May 13, 2019 1:32 pm
Scott Mayers wrote:
Immanuel Can wrote:
Mon May 13, 2019 1:32 pm
Autonomy is also a value for which Atheism has no explanation or warrant. There's no Atheist basis for saying that taking away someone's autonomy is a "bad" thing. It's just a "thing," under Materialist assumptions.

But as it is, life is not a zero-sum game (a game in which wins for one mean losses for others)...at least, not in many cases. It's possible for one person's autonomy to be exercised with no cost at all to anybody else. If I have a friend who's a multi-millionaire, it may be that he stole it from me. Or it may be that he invented the computer, and a whole bunch of people valued what he did, and they paid him so much for it that he became a multi-millionaire. In that latter case, his win is also a win for everybody else; and why should I envy his millions, even though I don't have them, since he added value to the world and earned what he got?

Not every successful person is a robber-baron. Such do exist, but not everybody has to be one.
If you TRULY believe in God, then you should be sufficiently satisfied that if even Atheists ruled the world and tortured you, that your God would repair any injustices done to you.
I am. And history shows that what you suggest is a real possibility. It happened in Russia, and it's happening in China.
This isn't a response to the point but a dig that you added for NOT wanting to notice the point. The point is that if you believe morals are of some God and it gave us free will, you should have no problem with any atheists but should be looking to your own conduct instead given what you DO here on Earth matters. But knowing that you are of the Evangelical line, you likely come from the better off classes and believe that you need to impose your beliefs upon others instead (against God's power to give us choice). If you were non-hypocritical, you'd become humble and quiet about your religious beliefs in a world that could potentially be ALL Atheists.

In other words, what does it matter to you whether morals are universal or not? And thus my follow-up response you quote next:
Immanuel Can wrote:
Mon May 13, 2019 1:32 pm
Scott Mayers wrote:You'd also prove even MORE believable if you sacrificed what benefits you have now to volunteer a life of a monk.
My point is not to be "believable," but to do the right thing. Monks are not a Biblical idea. Rather, we are instructed to live in the world.
Then you don't even need religion. If you are confident that there is one universal set of morals, we'd all already know and so don't need other people to dictating anything about commandments from some god. We'd already 'know' intrinsically and so what is the point in teaching or preaching what these moral virtues and vices are.

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Immanuel Can
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Re: Cultural Relativism is wrong

Post by Immanuel Can » Tue May 14, 2019 2:54 am

Scott Mayers wrote:
Mon May 13, 2019 11:17 pm
Switch people with cows.
That doesn't even make sense. Are you saying you want to equate human life with cows?

No Christian does that. In fact, not even an Atheist would do that. And while it is true that in an Atheist world, the objective value of a human and a bovine life are both effectively zero, I have yet to meet an Atheist who could live like that was true. Most often, the Atheists I've met irrationally insist that though the universe is a product of unguided chance, with no consciousness behind it at all, somehow their own lives and the lives of those they love are valuable anyway.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Mon May 13, 2019 1:32 pm
Scott Mayers wrote:I as an atheist would still select my own. Would this not make me relatively 'bad' in your eyes?
No. To protect one's own child is a primary duty that I would expect of myself.
You miss the point. That given that I recognize morality as relative you'd expect that I'd flip a coin
No, I wouldn't.

Maybe that's what you'd do if you were a consistent Atheist...but I've never met an Atheist who could live out his creed consistently, and I suspect you'll turn out to be no exception to that rule.

At least, I can hope you're a better person than that, even if it makes you an inconsistent Atheist.
...you assert the atheist cannot have specific morals.
I did not.

I said an Atheist cannot justify his morals. He cannot explain why Atheism makes them necessary, rational or obligatory.

Now, he may happen to have them (holding them rationally inconsistently, of course), but he can never explain why Atheism requires any particular moral stand of him. Or any morals at all.
I've just proven to you that the atheist still has moral value.
Show what feature of his Atheism warrants his moral values, and I'll believe you. Otherwise, you can see he's just another irrational Atheist, not living out the logic of his own creed.
Scott Mayers wrote: The point is that if you believe morals are of some God and it gave us free will, you should have no problem with any atheists but should be looking to your own conduct instead given what you DO here on Earth matters.
Do you suppose that if God exists, he has no opinion about the welfare of Atheists? And would you not expect that a merciful God would want to encourage the people who know Him to make Him known as well to others who do not?

Let me give you a word from a rank Atheist. Here's Penn Jillette on that subject:

“I’ve always said that I don’t respect people who don’t proselytize.I don’t respect that at all. If you believe that there’s a heaven and a hell, and people could be going to hell or not getting eternal life, and you think that it’s not really worth telling them this because it would make it socially awkward—and atheists who think people shouldn’t proselytize and who say just leave me along and keep your religion to yourself—how much do you have to hate somebody to not proselytize? How much do you have to hate somebody to believe everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?

“I mean, if I believed, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that a truck was coming at you, and you didn’t believe that truck was bearing down on you, there is a certain point where I tackle you. And this is more important than that.”
...you need to impose your beliefs upon others...
This, I have never done in my life.
In other words, what does it matter to you whether morals are universal or not?
What does it matter whether "Don't drink poisons" is a universal or not? It matters because only the truth is good, and falsehoods, even comforting ones, are poison. And the very, very least you can do for someone who is about to drink that is say, "Please, please, think about what you're doing, and put the bottle down."

But back to Penn Jillette: how much would I have to hate you, if I knew there was a God and I didn't tell you? That's a great question.
Last edited by Immanuel Can on Tue May 14, 2019 3:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

uwot
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Re: Cultural Relativism is wrong

Post by uwot » Tue May 14, 2019 6:39 am

Immanuel Can wrote:
Tue May 14, 2019 2:54 am
Most often, the Atheists I've met irrationally insist that though the universe is a product of unguided chance, with no consciousness behind it at all, somehow their own lives and the lives of those they love are valuable anyway.
Mr Can, have you never heard of love, beauty, laughter, family, friendship, discovery, sharing? What kind of dismal religion do you follow that says none of those things are valuable? See, us atheists live in a world where we can feel those things directly and we know that they are good, so our ethics are based on promoting them.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Tue May 14, 2019 2:54 am
But back to Penn Jillette: how much would I have to hate you, if I knew there was a God and I didn't tell you? That's a great question.
Exactly as much as I would have to hate you not to tell you that you are wasting your life.

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