Cultural Relativism is wrong

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Belinda
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Re: Cultural Relativism is wrong

Post by Belinda » Fri May 10, 2019 9:45 pm

Immanuel Can wrote;
As Gilligan also pointed out, there's no reason to think that "progress" that insists on forgoing particular relations in favour of universal concepts is anything other than a Kohlbergian prejudice. It might well be the case that "Love your neighbour" is more moral than "Love the globe" or "Get all your conceptual ducks in a row." And if it's not, how does Kohlberg go about proving it's not?
It's since been found that women and men both develop principles of both universal charity and also care for individuals. These aren't mutually exclusive. As I've quoted before, "Who is my neighbour?" (Jesus)

The feminist movement is good for men because neither sex should be restricted by conventional gender stereotyping .Men can be caring .Moral development of both sexes is inhibited or restricted by gender rules and mores.

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Immanuel Can
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Re: Cultural Relativism is wrong

Post by Immanuel Can » Fri May 10, 2019 10:03 pm

Belinda wrote:
Fri May 10, 2019 9:45 pm
It's since been found that women and men both develop principles of both universal charity and also care for individuals. These aren't mutually exclusive.
Kohlberg thought that if you privileged the relationship with a person with whom you had an existing relationship (his Level 2:3), you were "less developed" than someone who had a "universal" love of humanity (his Level 3:6). That's a direct contradiction of the Gilligan-Noddings Feminist idea that we ought to privilege "care" relations. For them, 2:3 is the higher level, and it would be "less developed" to prioritize impersonal relations or abstract principles (Levels 3:5 or 3:6) above people with whom you had actual "care" relationships.

So yes, they are mutually exclusive, in that sense. Only one can be "higher," and when they conflict, then only one can be chosen. They just don't agree about that. But without a meta-system to judge both, who's to say which one (if either) its right?

Nobody can. So both systems are uninformative of what the right priorities actually are.

Belinda
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Re: Cultural Relativism is wrong

Post by Belinda » Sat May 11, 2019 9:24 am

i already told you, Immanuel, that Carol Gilligan's worthy point that Kohlberg's research was faulty has been rebutted by further research that shows men and women both care and value fairness. Thus both men and women say that someone in need should not be turned away, and that there should not be unfair distribution of benefits. One knows people who are kind to relatives , give to charities, and also have social consciences.

Moreover the developmental stages theory of child morality has been further ratified by research into the effects of divorce, famine, war, unemployment and so on. Both children and adults can and do regress to an earlier stage when they are very insecure. Politically we see this happening when insecure populations become more right wing and even welcome dictators.

I am mildly surprised that you previously disparaged Aristotle and his influence on both Christian charity and the continuing and modern developmental theory of morality. 'True, it was Aquinas who Christianised Aristotle's initiative however Aristotle was not in some ivory tower but was himself a marine biologist and this is where he learned that living creatures develop and mature . You seem to have disparaged Aristotelian theory because the Roman Catholics have adopted it. Blame the messenger! By the way, what denomination or sect do you belong to? I gather you are broadly Protestant and there are many Prot sects. If children don't develop morality in stages do you believe that they are born either good or bad , predestination style?

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Immanuel Can
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Re: Cultural Relativism is wrong

Post by Immanuel Can » Sat May 11, 2019 2:25 pm

Belinda wrote:
Sat May 11, 2019 9:24 am
i already told you, Immanuel, that Carol Gilligan's worthy point that Kohlberg's research was faulty has been rebutted by further research that shows men and women both care and value fairness.
This hasn't solved the problem, though.

You still don't know which to prioritize when they conflict; which they obviously do, and often. So from Developmentalism, either or Kohlberg's or Gilligan's, you've got an entirely morally uninformative system.
Both children and adults can and do regress to an earlier stage when they are very insecure. Politically we see this happening when insecure populations become more right wing and even welcome dictators.
The latter claim is simply your own bias. Why would "right" be "less developed" than the "left"? It's not clear at all that it is. That's a mere pejorative, not a verifiable statement.

In fact, Jonathan Haidt, in The Righteous Mind, has argued very compellingly that neither the right nor the left is inherently "less developed," but that they are both attempting to be "righteous-minded" but from different suppositional backgrounds. And I think he's right about that. I would never say the left is less capable than the right of moral earnestness...but they differ as to what they see as the good for society, and as what they see as the right means for achieving it.

Haidt was a dyed-in-the-wool Democrat when he started out; but a visit overseas convinced him he'd badly misunderstood the other side. He now has a much more balanced view of that.
I am mildly surprised that you previously disparaged Aristotle and his influence on both Christian charity and the continuing and modern developmental theory of morality. True, it was Aquinas who Christianised Aristotle's initiative however Aristotle was not in some ivory tower but was himself a marine biologist and this is where he learned that living creatures develop and mature .
A "marine biologist"? Wow. Have you read what he said about "marine biology" (which, by the way, is a complete anachronism, since the whole idea didn't exist for another couple of thousand years after Aristotle died).

He was nothing of the kind. At most, you could say he was a very weak progenitor of a few basic aspects of modern science. But his biology and cosmology have been totally rejected by science -- the former in the 18th century, with the rise of anatomy, and the latter finally killed off in the mid-20th century.

As for his ethics, he was just wrong about virtue, and there are lots of ways to show this. MacIntyre tried to rescue him a few years ago, but he's not really salvageable.
You seem to have disparaged Aristotelian theory because the Roman Catholics have adopted it.
No, that's not why. He falls on his own terms, and doesn't need help from the Roman Catholics to do it.

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Re: Cultural Relativism is wrong

Post by Belinda » Sat May 11, 2019 5:13 pm

Immanuel Can wrote:
You still don't know which to prioritize when they conflict; which they obviously do, and often. So from Developmentalism, either or Kohlberg's or Gilligan's, you've got an entirely morally uninformative system.
The modern scientific theory of how children and adults develop moral cognition in recognisable stages and ages informs educators , professionals and parents, about what to expect their child to be able to understand about good behaviour. For instance it's no use expecting a four year old to base their behaviour on the laws of the land. Or for instance there should be no expectation that people who have been traumatised by torture, war, unemployment or famine will be morally unaffected. Right and wrong in all fairness have to relate to the individual's situation. Similarly the morality of a culture has to be related to how that people subsists.

(I really don't know what theory you would replace developmental stages with. The only alternative I know of is the theory that souls are fully formed at conception or birth by their Maker to be either good or bad.)

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Immanuel Can
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Re: Cultural Relativism is wrong

Post by Immanuel Can » Sat May 11, 2019 5:48 pm

Belinda wrote:
Sat May 11, 2019 5:13 pm
Immanuel Can wrote:
You still don't know which to prioritize when they conflict; which they obviously do, and often. So from Developmentalism, either or Kohlberg's or Gilligan's, you've got an entirely morally uninformative system.
The modern scientific theory of how children and adults develop moral cognition in recognisable stages and ages informs educators , professionals and parents, about what to expect their child to be able to understand about good behaviour.
Not "informs." They don't know what they're really doing, in this regard. It "misleads" them.

It gives them a confidence they know something, when, in fact, they do not know it at all. And you can tell, because they can't really explain why it's right...just that it's what they too have been taught. If someone can legitimize their morality, they can not just explain WHAT is right, but WHY they believe it's right, and moreover, why YOU ought to believe it as well, even if you don't think you should.

That, none of the Developmentalists are actually able to do. Because actually, they don't know what morality is; they just hope it will "develop" automatically with practice...but they can't even justify a definition of what "right practice" would be.

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Re: Cultural Relativism is wrong

Post by Scott Mayers » Sat May 11, 2019 7:50 pm

Belinda wrote:
Fri May 10, 2019 9:34 am
Immanuel Can wrote:
-----Germany was itself "primitive.
Certainly Germany was or is not 'primitive' . Indeed 'primitive' is subjective and is never used by respectable historians. Germany's regression to Nazism endured until Germany developed beyond totalitarianism to liberal democracy. Similarly an individual might regress to an earlier stage of morality especially that of obedience to authority. Nazism was not caused only by Hitler and his fascist friends but by historical and economic circumstances.
AND by a lot of complexities more often overlooked. We still have "National Socialism" under different or less obvious forms. To me, Israel is one given it is solely based on a specific type of people based upon religion AND one's genetic heritage. Hitler was trying to mimic the virtues of Nationalism through Tribalism that ties people together by religion and race. Though being "Jewish" is not treated as a race by many, when it comes to the facts, given one only requires being related to ancestors/parents who had the culture of Judaism, is treated as inclusive. Of course, such states do not REQUIRE Holocausts but nowadays, indirect ways are used in attempt to annihilate unique outsiders. The Muslim-related Semites are the 'question' being challenged there as they have overtaken their own prior stake to the lands (Palestine). Tactics used to ISOLATE by creating settlements and walls force the Palestinian Muslims into 'ghetto' conditions.

I wish these facts would be understood rather than making the 'Nazi' (not modern skin-head types) into unique mysterious evil doers that captured the masses as though they were mass-hypnotized. Hitler, for instance, was NOT the sole problem. He only represented/symbolized their state and times. Note too that some impose Nazis as extant as a party during WWI's Germany. [like in some movies you might see] They were post-WWI Germans who were penalized FROM the WWI losses by everyone AND the world was going through recovery from economic depressions.

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Re: Cultural Relativism is wrong

Post by Scott Mayers » Sat May 11, 2019 8:52 pm

Immanuel Can wrote:
Fri May 10, 2019 1:47 pm
Scott Mayers wrote:
Fri May 10, 2019 5:29 am
Immanuel Can wrote:
Thu May 09, 2019 11:31 pm
From an Atheist perspective, you would need an explanation of why man created religion.
There are many explanations. I propose many myself. I have a theory of Temples and Sacrifice...
No. I don't mean "how." I mean, the BIG "why." Why would evolution have dictated that at some point in human development it was 'adaptive' for human beings to believe things that were (as Atheists assure us) absolutely contrary to reality, and hence not 'adaptive' at all?
Evolution only accidentally 'improves' certain features but CAN pass on bad features selectively too. Nature only 'judges 'fitness' as a MATCH. For instance, if someone was born with a mutation that gave them a third eye on the back of their head, this MAY be an advantage to some coinciding environment where everyone is paranoid of being stabbed in the back. It could be a mere temporary condition, like say that owls may have increased in world population and are constantly attacking people particularly from behind. Those who had such a mutation would have a coinciding advantage that becomes more popular to some population. Presuming this mutation was on some guy, for instance, women of that time and place MIGHT find this guy extremely entertaining and funny. (This might aid in overcoming any stereotypes against this 'freak') This guy might have slept with 20 women and impregnated them. If this gene gets passed on and the conditions persist for long periods, the generations of those kids who have the gene pass that on until a large enough population has this third eye.

As for 'religious thinking', evolution only indirectly favors this because it is based on 'trusting' and 'gambling' of others you are more familiar with in some way than not. We are forced to INDUCE reality. Science is all about this. Yet a side effect of this gambling in areas NOT sincerely universal, like whether someone with black color skin might represent a danger to one with white color skin, this stereotype is 'survival' when it relates MORE to other distinct species. A coinciding factor then isn't just about trusting favorably but negatively to evade what could be a 'cute cuddly orange striped big kitten'. The problem with religion is that it extends stereotyping beyond the necessary things in the environment that might be unrelated to those cues. Religion is also evolved from older SECULAR civilizing stages. The 'temple' was originally a half-way stage of settlement of tribes who met up to negotiate land settlement ownership. As farming became more popular, the tribes did not STOP their wandering. As such, they might plant seeds for harvest, then go away on their routes to follow the hunting mobile lifestyle. But as the effectiveness of farms to freely feed those who could steal the crop when unattended of the tribe's who made claim to the effort and sowing, they needed means to officiate which tribe's properties where theirs or some other group.

Priests were just the token representatives of each different tribe. They were the "notaries" who officially recognized seals or idols that linked the claims of lands to the tribe in question. Accounting was done with LITERAL tokens that have evolved to be interpreted (falsely) as religious idols for worship. Once civilization claimed up all the lands, the generations of these newer eras lost the historical understanding of temples and idols. But they carried on with many such behaviors associated with these and so retrofitted the obsolete behaviors as religious ones, a MUTATION of memes, rather than genes.

As for 'sacrifice', the temples (temporal meetup places) served also to BIND CONTRACTS between peoples by utilizing a psychological means of 'proof' of each side's commitment to some promise. Thus the origins of this, while no longer needed, have turned into 'alters' and churches, as places for binding two people to contractually assure they 'own' the responsibility of the CHILDREN they have, our concept of 'marriage'. This too had lost its official need and why today legalizing unconventional unions are included even where children are never involved. The 'religious' type beliefs can be as simple as thinking it NECESSARY to be married in order to be permitted to sleep with another person. Their reasoning in scripture only offers a because-I-told-you-so type of summary explanation that a parent tells their two-year old when asked why and the parent just isn't aware of but needs some closed explanation that suffices.
After all, in Atheist thought, religion is bad and delusional. So why would believing bad, delusional things be evolutionarily adaptive?
First off, Atheists are varied in opinions of whether religion is bad or good.
But there is, in Atheist thought, no God. So religion could not be "good." It must only be, as Dawkins says, a "delusion." It cannot be otherwise.
But not all 'delusions' are bad. We rely on suspension of reality for most entertainment and recreation. It is 'bad' when or where those who use them are simply begging others to 'trust' their own suggestions or actions beyond their OWN. You may feel enlightened to behave some way that doesn't affect others. But when it is imposed AS truth by (super-)Nature , others have no defense.

"Hey, why did you smite me?"
"Well, isn't it obvious? God says that anyone who acts as you do requires smiting."

Religious justification is used to justify bad political or economical favors. Why, for instance, is it presumed a default by some people that no women should ever abort their child? ...for the religious, they excuse the action as a sin by their god's commandments. They don't care about any 'RATIONAL' justification for why some woman may opt to do this. Thus, they IMPOSE this as a 'sin' regardless of any possible justification by asserting a Supreme Being as an essence of Nature itself, commanded this or one will face consequences.

[to be continued]

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Immanuel Can
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Re: Cultural Relativism is wrong

Post by Immanuel Can » Sun May 12, 2019 2:50 pm

Scott Mayers wrote:
Sat May 11, 2019 8:52 pm
Evolution only accidentally 'improves' certain features but CAN pass on bad features selectively too.
If "good" means "adaptive" (which is all it really can mean if Evolutionism is true, because there's no objective moral "good" or "bad"), and "bad" means "not adaptive," then there is no possibility that natural selection can select for "bad" things. In fact, the principle is the opposite: that only "adaptive" traits produce adaptation (evolution), and "bad" traits, if they are significant at all, are genetic injuries or faults, and not adaptive, and produce the death of the associated organism. Darwin called the process of natural selection "blind" to those traits that are not adaptive advantages.

Your "eye" example illustrated an adaptive advantage. It does not show that a "bad" trait, a non-adaptive trait, could be passed on. It's a little weird, perhaps, but the third eye isn't evolutionarily "bad" if it preserves the organism ahead of others.
As for 'religious thinking', evolution only indirectly favors this because it is based on 'trusting' and 'gambling' of others you are more familiar with in some way than not.

A hard case to make, if "religion" is all illusory anyway. It would seem far more adaptive for people to be Atheists, since that's the way things really are supposed to be. Or are you suggesting that while "religion" was strong enough as a force to induce trust, Atheism simply wasn't? If it's right, it's hardly a commendation of Atheism -- now Atheism is "less adaptive" than "delusions," it would seem. And it would be hard to make any case that religion was a bad thing, in opposition to Atheism, if survival is the goal.

In fact, all the lucky and adaptive people would be religious, and the Atheists would be in danger of elimination by natural selection.
The problem with religion is that it extends stereotyping beyond the necessary things in the environment that might be unrelated to those cues.

Then your critique is that "religion" is LESS adaptive. But if so, you can no longer explain the very existence of "religion" as an adaptive advantage.
Religion is also evolved from older SECULAR civilizing stages.
Historically incorrect, I have to say. That explanation of that becomes a speculative "just so story": that means, it is a way of shaping a narrative, but it is fiction as regards the facts.

We know of absolutely no secular ancient societies at all. They are all "religious," in one form or another...usually polytheistic in some form, but with some monotheists as well. But not Atheists.
But not all 'delusions' are bad.

This, if true, would be a strong argument against Atheism. For Atheism sells itself as "the truth," and therefore the "best" option for people to believe. But if we accept the idea of a "useful delusion," then Atheism loses all rationale for critiquing anyone else's "delusions": and I think Mr. Dawkins, among others, would be very unhappy with that.
Religious justification is used to justify bad political or economical favors.

Yes, I think it can be. I'm sure we can locate instances. But then, I would agree with Atheists this far: most "religion" is not good.

The problem is that one is good. The abuses of the others do not count against one such.
Why, for instance, is it presumed a default by some people that no women should ever abort their child?
We could argue the point, "Is killing your offspring 'adaptive,' and 'evolutionarily good," but I think you see that that argument is lost right out of the gate. "Survival," whether at the personal or genetic level, means your offspring must survive better, not end up being washed down an abortionist's sink.

One anti-abortionist has put it nicely this way: "The future belongs to those who show up for it."

That's powerful. If we kill all our own children (as we do in the West today, failing to reach even replacement levels of reproduction as a result), then whatever societies have more children will rule the future. That would be an evolutionary advantage, for sure.
They don't care about any 'RATIONAL' justification for why some woman may opt to do this.
What is the "evolutionarily rational" justification? I know of none.

I know of personal attempts to justify it, by invoking a certain twist on the concept of "human rights," (women have them, and fetuses are not allowed them). But a belief in unalienable "human rights" is a thing that only a Theist can actually hold in an integrated way with his worldview.

But I know of no evolutionary justification that will work for the Atheist. Under evolution, there are no "human rights": just survival at the species level, and that's all against abortion.

So how do you think an Evolutionist could argue it's better to kill off your own offspring and cease the reproduction of your own DNA? I'd like to see that rationale. Can you suggest it?

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Re: Cultural Relativism is wrong

Post by Scott Mayers » Mon May 13, 2019 12:39 am

Immanuel Can wrote:
Sun May 12, 2019 2:50 pm
Scott Mayers wrote:
Sat May 11, 2019 8:52 pm
Evolution only accidentally 'improves' certain features but CAN pass on bad features selectively too.
If "good" means "adaptive" (which is all it really can mean if Evolutionism is true, because there's no objective moral "good" or "bad"), and "bad" means "not adaptive," then there is no possibility that natural selection can select for "bad" things. In fact, the principle is the opposite: that only "adaptive" traits produce adaptation (evolution), and "bad" traits, if they are significant at all, are genetic injuries or faults, and not adaptive, and produce the death of the associated organism. Darwin called the process of natural selection "blind" to those traits that are not adaptive advantages.

Your "eye" example illustrated an adaptive advantage. It does not show that a "bad" trait, a non-adaptive trait, could be passed on. It's a little weird, perhaps, but the third eye isn't evolutionarily "bad" if it preserves the organism ahead of others.
This is still not correct because what traits that may be 'advantageous' in one environment may be a disadvantage simultaneously in another. I think you need to think of those "Trolley Dilemmas" in order to understand how values are 'relative'.

For example, in order for one person to become 'better off' in their environment, often affects someone else because it acts like Newton's third law: For every action there is an equal but opposite reaction. So for one to 'gain' autonomy, for instance, is a 'virtue', but we don't realize that for such a person to do so requires another to lose their autonomy (a bad thing) FOR that relative 'gain' by the first person.

Do you not see how this applies to the religious ideals of morality? What would be 'murder' by one perspective gets interpreted by the one causing the killing to interpret it as "getting justice" in another. We use the excuse of 'defending' ourselves for some preconceived state of innocence to justify why we might behave what would be interpreted as 'evil' by another. Evolution by Darwin's explanations in his own works were attempting to speak neutrally of 'value'. That was partly what made others take issue against him. He was demonstrating nature as 'careless' of value on some universal level but rather selfishly interpreted. Morals are only a delusion if we presume what is 'good' is UNIVERSAL.

Otherwise, explain how you think it 'good' universally to eat a cow when the cow itself would have a different view of this if it could express itself. Religion in this case would just beg that people alone are relevant things to be 'good or bad' but that animals have no conscience and SERVE to be 'good' universally for us alone.
As for 'religious thinking', evolution only indirectly favors this because it is based on 'trusting' and 'gambling' of others you are more familiar with in some way than not.

A hard case to make, if "religion" is all illusory anyway. It would seem far more adaptive for people to be Atheists, since that's the way things really are supposed to be. Or are you suggesting that while "religion" was strong enough as a force to induce trust, Atheism simply wasn't? If it's right, it's hardly a commendation of Atheism -- now Atheism is "less adaptive" than "delusions," it would seem. And it would be hard to make any case that religion was a bad thing, in opposition to Atheism, if survival is the goal.

In fact, all the lucky and adaptive people would be religious, and the Atheists would be in danger of elimination by natural selection.
You keep presuming that evolution selects for 'good' or 'bad' by some universal standard of fitness. You are begging your own standards as 'universal' and so presume that anyone speaking of nature as it is to be 'relative' as one who is purposely and intentionally going out of their way to offend. An atheist is only AT LEAST someone (or some thinking animal) that doesn't propose some SPECIAL claim about reality. A cat is an 'atheist'. But the term itself is relative in light of those positing that ONLY ONE way of thinking is righteous. To say that my own lack of belief in some ethereal reality is a position is itself only RELATIVE to the fact that you take a position. You presume that I was born with a preconceived SPECIAL knowledge of a particular 'god' and its history. Why do you think I require a stance that NEGATES your particular belief when the only reason I use the term "atheism" is because you POSIT one.

I think the problem here is related to how some think you in terms of "you are either FOR me or AGAINST me" type of thinking. I may not 'know' who you are particularly and so can only say that I am "agnostic" about your particular belief. But in light of ALL positions, I am "atheist", which means that I hold no position for ANY religion. Can you not see that one who is Atheist doesn't require knowing WHY they lack a particular belief agnostically?

Why do you not believe in ME by default? Would it make sense for me to accuse you as being against me for doubting some class of experiences I could claim to be real when you just LACK the capacity to re-experience these things yourself? If I posit that I can 'fly',

Atheism LACKS a valued position but doesn't mean it has a 'negative' position. We are ALL atheists in reality and so is default to all living beings. What gets interpreted as 'good' or 'bad' is still essential for each subjective consciousness or it could not have a motive (e-motive) means to seek its environment. Religion is an accidental SIDE-EFFECT of the evolution to have any sensations that make us go towards some things (....favor) and move away from others (...disfavor). That's all it is. My problem with religion is where it is treated as MORE than this. Religion imposes UNIVERSAL judgement about ARTISTIC factors of reality.
The problem with religion is that it extends stereotyping beyond the necessary things in the environment that might be unrelated to those cues.

Then your critique is that "religion" is LESS adaptive. But if so, you can no longer explain the very existence of "religion" as an adaptive advantage.
NO, it is a side-effect of adaptive factors. It is 'bad' when the subjective values of something relative by nature gets treated as though they HAVE intrinsic value to ALL people objectively.

Religion is also evolved from older SECULAR civilizing stages.
Historically incorrect, I have to say. That explanation of that becomes a speculative "just so story": that means, it is a way of shaping a narrative, but it is fiction as regards the facts.

We know of absolutely no secular ancient societies at all. They are all "religious," in one form or another...usually polytheistic in some form, but with some monotheists as well. But not Atheists.
This is just a politic based upon the majority of people in all times BEING religious of some sort. The religious will go out of their way to destroy history that hints at relative truths because it disables their capacity to justify their own reason for existing. Obviously if your particular religions are true, you require re-establishing a history of the world that diminishes both a 'secular' origin and to the set of all other religions that evolved independently.

For instance, I'm guessing you recognize the history of the pyramids as having times of distinctly different myths or religions that CAME BEFORE the Jewish religious history. YET, within the religions based upon this, you opt to trust that it speaks of a reality of ONE god throughout, regardless of any record of the prior recognition of Egyptian history. This is contradictory. If your 'god' was the true one, wouldn't the ancient Egyptians have this religion? This suggests that if the original scriptures of your present Bible DID evolve from a different religion from Egypt (or elsewhere), something has been redacted to hide this. This itself is a real political means, just as those who opt to tear down statues of 'heroes' of the Confederate South. We want to hide and destroy those secular realities of the past or make them into apparently alternative cults to make them out to appear as weird thinkers.

Also, let me remind you, I LACK a religious belief. So why would I NOT interpret religion as a byproduct of some secular reality? You think that I'm an 'alter-religion' because you expect me to think that the ancients actually HAD some real God or gods, but that the magical physics of the day just evolved away. That is, you are still imposing on me that I default to YOUR SPECIFIC historical god (as each and all the other religions do.) If polytheism was a fact PRIOR to monotheism, this in itself proves that your monotheism is an afterthought of social change, not an explanation of some reality.
But not all 'delusions' are bad.

This, if true, would be a strong argument against Atheism. For Atheism sells itself as "the truth," and therefore the "best" option for people to believe. But if we accept the idea of a "useful delusion," then Atheism loses all rationale for critiquing anyone else's "delusions": and I think Mr. Dawkins, among others, would be very unhappy with that.
"Atheism", lacking any cultural identity can occur anywhere at any time without some apriori history being required. Aliens of some other planet would have their own atheists who think like atheists here. BUT, they'd have different specific religions that have no common independent link other than to HOW conscious beings evolve secularly.
Religious justification is used to justify bad political or economical favors.

Yes, I think it can be. I'm sure we can locate instances. But then, I would agree with Atheists this far: most "religion" is not good.

The problem is that one is good. The abuses of the others do not count against one such.
Why, for instance, is it presumed a default by some people that no women should ever abort their child?
We could argue the point, "Is killing your offspring 'adaptive,' and 'evolutionarily good," but I think you see that that argument is lost right out of the gate. "Survival," whether at the personal or genetic level, means your offspring must survive better, not end up being washed down an abortionist's sink.

One anti-abortionist has put it nicely this way: "The future belongs to those who show up for it."

That's powerful. If we kill all our own children (as we do in the West today, failing to reach even replacement levels of reproduction as a result), then whatever societies have more children will rule the future. That would be an evolutionary advantage, for sure.
They don't care about any 'RATIONAL' justification for why some woman may opt to do this.
What is the "evolutionarily rational" justification? I know of none.

I know of personal attempts to justify it, by invoking a certain twist on the concept of "human rights," (women have them, and fetuses are not allowed them). But a belief in unalienable "human rights" is a thing that only a Theist can actually hold in an integrated way with his worldview.

But I know of no evolutionary justification that will work for the Atheist. Under evolution, there are no "human rights": just survival at the species level, and that's all against abortion.

So how do you think an Evolutionist could argue it's better to kill off your own offspring and cease the reproduction of your own DNA? I'd like to see that rationale. Can you suggest it?
If one doesn't have children, what does it matter if some other progeny persists in the future? The abortion debate is about the conservative land-owning wealthier people wanting SLAVES to exist to do jobs out of forced labor demand from overpopulation. The more people that exist WHEN you can still be permitted to hold private ownership rights over others, the greater the competition that assures you can pay LESS out of the desperation that occurs because of that overpopulation.

Anti-abortionists use religion to BEG some significance to the unborn in an attempt to foster fear in those opting to do so, not because they actually 'care' for the potential babies' welfare. The very same anti-abortionists also hate large people governments (democracies) in favor of republics that are run by their own privileged-people governments with lots of guns that are used to kill already-living people if they don't obey to their commands. This demonstrates how their 'compassion' for the non-living unborn is fraudulent when they are also 'non-compassionate' for the same children once they are born in impoverished conditions. This is about 'secular' control of those who HAVE to impose upon those without a religion that conveniently CONSERVES their own secular reality.

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Immanuel Can
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Re: Cultural Relativism is wrong

Post by Immanuel Can » Mon May 13, 2019 4:01 am

Scott Mayers wrote:
Mon May 13, 2019 12:39 am
I think you need to think of those "Trolley Dilemmas" in order to understand how values are 'relative'.
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.
...we don't realize that for such a person to do so requires another to lose their autonomy (a bad thing)...
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.
Evolution by Darwin's explanations in his own works were attempting to speak neutrally of 'value'. That was partly what made others take issue against him. He was demonstrating nature as 'careless' of value on some universal level but rather selfishly interpreted. Morals are only a delusion if we presume what is 'good' is UNIVERSAL.

Darwin does indeed conduce to total amorality. That is why most people, even Darwinists, shudder at the idea of Social Darwinism: it has hideous and amoral applications, when taken to human beings. But Darwin didn't "demonstrate" this: he merely assumed it. That's not at all the same thing.
As for 'religious thinking', evolution only indirectly favors this because it is based on 'trusting' and 'gambling' of others you are more familiar with in some way than not.

A hard case to make, if "religion" is all illusory anyway. It would seem far more adaptive for people to be Atheists, since that's the way things really are supposed to be. Or are you suggesting that while "religion" was strong enough as a force to induce trust, Atheism simply wasn't? If it's right, it's hardly a commendation of Atheism -- now Atheism is "less adaptive" than "delusions," it would seem. And it would be hard to make any case that religion was a bad thing, in opposition to Atheism, if survival is the goal.

In fact, all the lucky and adaptive people would be religious, and the Atheists would be in danger of elimination by natural selection.
You keep presuming that evolution selects for 'good' or 'bad' by some universal standard of fitness.
I said no such thing. I said that the only concepts of "good" and "bad" an evolutionary Atheist could hold would be "adaptiveness" and "non-adaptiveness" respectively.

But you're quite right "adaptiveness" is not actually a moral property...just a contingent fact. There is no moral law declaring, "Thou shalt adapt." It might as well be said, "Thou shalt become extinct." They are equally indifferent facts, under Evolutionism.
You are begging your own standards as 'universal'
Nope. Didn't say what you attribute to me.
A cat is an 'atheist'.
Funny. I guess it doesn't take a lot of thought to be one, then. Is a rock an Atheist too?
But in light of ALL positions, I am "atheist", which means that I hold no position for ANY religion.
No. That describes someone being a "stubborn agnostic." He "holds" to "no position."
Can you not see that one who is Atheist doesn't require knowing WHY they lack a particular belief agnostically?
Can you not see you just used two contradictory words to describe your own position? Agnostic is one thing, and Atheist another. They don't mix, because either one is saying one "knows" something, or one is professing complete "ignorance" of that same thing. But never both. If you are making any knowledge claim with regard to the God question, you're an Atheist. If you're professing total ignorance on the answer, you're an Agnostic.
We are ALL atheists in reality
Funny. I don't feel like one. And I'm pretty sure my belief in God disqualifies me.
Then your critique is that "religion" is LESS adaptive. But if so, you can no longer explain the very existence of "religion" as an adaptive advantage.
NO, it is a side-effect of adaptive factors. It is 'bad' when the subjective values of something relative by nature gets treated as though they HAVE intrinsic value to ALL people objectively.

I can't make sense of this answer, I'm afraid. Can you clarify it?
Religion is also evolved from older SECULAR civilizing stages.
Historically incorrect, I have to say. That explanation of that becomes a speculative "just so story": that means, it is a way of shaping a narrative, but it is fiction as regards the facts.

We know of absolutely no secular ancient societies at all. They are all "religious," in one form or another...usually polytheistic in some form, but with some monotheists as well. But not Atheists.
This is just a politic based upon the majority of people in all times BEING religious of some sort.
Hey, it was your claim, not mine. If it's faulty, don't blame me. I never said that because all people were at one time religious, that you had to be. I just said your society of pre-religious Atheists was a fiction. And it was.
For instance, I'm guessing you recognize the history of the pyramids as having times of distinctly different myths or religions that CAME BEFORE the Jewish religious history. YET, within the religions based upon this, you opt to trust that it speaks of a reality of ONE god throughout, regardless of any record of the prior recognition of Egyptian history.
Incorrect. Egyptians were Polytheists. I have no need -- nor did I suggest -- that I would defend that.
This is contradictory. If your 'god' was the true one, wouldn't the ancient Egyptians have this religion?
No. There's no reason to suppose this, and it's a really poor argument.

Look at it this way: even you don't believe everybody's beliefs are right. If you're an Atheist, you're at least convinced that people who believe in a God or gods are wrong. So even you would not make this error...so why would you imagine you could attribute it to me? I'm not seeing any logic there.
Also, let me remind you, I LACK a religious belief.
Agnostic, then.
So why would I NOT interpret religion as a byproduct of some secular reality?
If reality is as the evolutionary Atheist supposes, it is neither religious nor secular inherently. It's indifferent. It's "agnostic," if anything at all. But then you're stuck with the old puzzle of how the alleged evolutionary process throws up this thing called "religion," a thing which (you insist) bears no relationship to reality itself.

And that's a fact that really needs an evolutionary explanation...which I was asking you to provide, if you could.
If polytheism was a fact PRIOR to monotheism, this in itself proves that your monotheism is an afterthought of social change, not an explanation of some reality.
That's an "if". We actually have some pretty good indications that ancient religious people were more Monotheistic than previously recognized. For sure, Polytheism was more common, but this is exactly what one would expect -- that wrong answers would be more common than right ones. However, we have good indications of an ancient singular God in traditions like China, in addition to the Hebrews. So Monotheism is also very ancient, and apparently strongly linked to a single tradition, as well.
So how do you think an Evolutionist could argue it's better to kill off your own offspring and cease the reproduction of your own DNA? I'd like to see that rationale. Can you suggest it?
If one doesn't have children, what does it matter if some other progeny persists in the future?
Dawkins says it does. He says that "the selfish gene" is the basic fact of reality. Genes "want" to reproduce themselves, he says, and "we all dance to our DNA."
The abortion debate is about the conservative land-owning wealthier people wanting SLAVES
Absolutely the opposite.

Abortion in North America is largely a crime against African-American and other minority women and children. Almost an equal number of black babies are murdered that way as are born live, at present. Not only that, but Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood, the largest abortuary in North America, was a racist eugenist who advocated abortion as a way of "purifying" the lower races. In "High Lights in the History of Birth Control," Oct 1923, Sanger wrote:

"... these two words [birth control] sum up our whole philosophy... It means the release and cultivation of the better elements in our society, and the gradual suppression, elimination and eventual extinction, of defective stocks -- those human weeds which threaten the blooming of the finest flowers of American civilization."

What did she mean? Well, in 1939 she was an invited speaker to the women's arm of the KKK at Silver Lake, New Jersey: a thing she happily did -- to great acclaim, apparently, though I could not find an actual transcript of what she said on that occasion. But nobody disputes she did it.

And in a nauseating letter to Dr. Clarence J. Gamble regarding a stealthy attempt to curtain black reproduction she called "The Negro Project," on Dec. 10, 1939, she wrote: "We don’t want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population..."

Nice, huh?

Scott Mayers
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Re: Cultural Relativism is wrong

Post by Scott Mayers » Mon May 13, 2019 6:35 am

Immanuel Can wrote:
Mon May 13, 2019 4:01 am
Scott Mayers wrote:
Mon May 13, 2019 12:39 am
I think you need to think of those "Trolley Dilemmas" in order to understand how values are 'relative'.
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. The Trolley Dilemmas are just an obvious demonstration of the dilemmas of morality between conscious beings. I'd imagine that if one was your own child, while the other was mine, who might be known to be 'atheist', would you flip a coin to decide which one is 'right'? If you believe that selecting your own child suffices to be more just, then you prove that morality is 'relative'. I as an atheist would still select my own. Would this not make me relatively 'bad' in your eyes?

So you are wrong if you suggest that I'd randomly flip a coin if you wouldn't. We assign values based upon our own subjective feelings initially and this is done when we are children during periods of development that simply make us align to those things in our environment. The difference between us is that you'd CLAIM that your value system is derived by some religion or god, where my guess of this origin is secular based and POTENTIALLY provable or disprovable, while your guess is indeterminate until AFTER we are dead or by some miracle in this life.
...we don't realize that for such a person to do so requires another to lose their autonomy (a bad thing)...
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. You'd also prove even MORE believable if you sacrificed what benefits you have now to volunteer a life of a monk. So wouldn't it be indifferent to how YOU are treated if we are born into this world with morals or not? You for having them would go to heaven and the Atheist would go to hell for 'choosing wrong'.

So why would you even TRY to get anyone to believe in you at all when they already KNOW internally as you think we do? You just have to accept your fate knowing that you have an eternity of reward. I, on the other hand, OWN my moral behavior and its consequences here on Earth. Which of us has a better likelihood of obeying laws?... one who believes they are 'good' in the eyes of God/Nature, or me, who only knows that I am considered 'good' by the relative acceptance of others within my environment? I may not like some law that competes against my personal idea of 'good' internally; but I still know that because of this relativity due to competing ideals, that if I don't obey, I would still have to comply or be penalized.
Evolution by Darwin's explanations in his own works were attempting to speak neutrally of 'value'. That was partly what made others take issue against him. He was demonstrating nature as 'careless' of value on some universal level but rather selfishly interpreted. Morals are only a delusion if we presume what is 'good' is UNIVERSAL.

Darwin does indeed conduce to total amorality. That is why most people, even Darwinists, shudder at the idea of Social Darwinism: it has hideous and amoral applications, when taken to human beings. But Darwin didn't "demonstrate" this: he merely assumed it. That's not at all the same thing.

A hard case to make, if "religion" is all illusory anyway. It would seem far more adaptive for people to be Atheists, since that's the way things really are supposed to be. Or are you suggesting that while "religion" was strong enough as a force to induce trust, Atheism simply wasn't? If it's right, it's hardly a commendation of Atheism -- now Atheism is "less adaptive" than "delusions," it would seem. And it would be hard to make any case that religion was a bad thing, in opposition to Atheism, if survival is the goal.

In fact, all the lucky and adaptive people would be religious, and the Atheists would be in danger of elimination by natural selection.
You keep presuming that evolution selects for 'good' or 'bad' by some universal standard of fitness.
I said no such thing. I said that the only concepts of "good" and "bad" an evolutionary Atheist could hold would be "adaptiveness" and "non-adaptiveness" respectively.

But you're quite right "adaptiveness" is not actually a moral property...just a contingent fact. There is no moral law declaring, "Thou shalt adapt." It might as well be said, "Thou shalt become extinct." They are equally indifferent facts, under Evolutionism.
Yes. The rules of any 'morality' by Nature, might be summarized as, "Thou shalt adapt or POTENTIALLY become extinct." You are begging me and/or others to adapt to your ideal you call, "Christianity". And when or where you ARE in the power to do this, you enforce this upon others. At least in an atheist society, they would still allow you to express yourself. You would just be limited from using your religious beliefs to justify your actions outside of art itself.
You are begging your own standards as 'universal'
Nope. Didn't say what you attribute to me.
You are arguing against the idea that morality is 'relative' and so are believing in some 'universal' standard you think we all share when we don't.
A cat is an 'atheist'.
Funny. I guess it doesn't take a lot of thought to be one, then. Is a rock an Atheist too?
Yes. If you accused it of NOT being Christian and it could speak of its own 'belief', it would have to declare "being absent of belief". Why do you presume humans are 'superior'?
But in light of ALL positions, I am "atheist", which means that I hold no position for ANY religion.
No. That describes someone being a "stubborn agnostic." He "holds" to "no position."
I used to follow this distinction. But it is too limiting and defined BY religious people to inoculate their flock from thinking neutrally.
You can be an agnostic atheist, meaning one lacks a belief in any religion AND lacking wisdom to assert that no particular God exists. There is more than just your brand of religion. Why am I not allowed to define myself as having this meaning? You WANT me to be interpreted as either offending your PARTICULAR religion as an ENEMY, or comply acceptance by feigning your particular religion as PROBABLE, BUT UNCERTAIN. You don't want your own to know that an atheist CAN understand your thinking as in error, yet NOT be an enemy. Nor do I think your religion ss anywhere plausible but uncertain. I can't even have ANY evidence of your magical being.

An atheist can also be 'gnostic' if they KNOW that your particular religion is false. Note the difference between "particular" and "general". I can know or not know of some particular facts about specific religious claims; AND, I can assert having NO religion at all [a 'general' truth].

Belinda
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Re: Cultural Relativism is wrong

Post by Belinda » Mon May 13, 2019 9:49 am

Immanuel Can wrote:
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.
People's values change. Someone who doubts not that the many should suffer in order to save one's own kin is stuck at a lower stage of moral learning than he who understands the dilemma.

Values relate to the individual's ability to value. God will forgive the child or adult who has not developed to the most developed stage of morality. The most advanced stage of morality is less easy to comprehend by individuals who have been reared in an ambience of less advanced value, or an individidual who has been traumatised and as a result has regressed.

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Immanuel Can
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Re: Cultural Relativism is wrong

Post by Immanuel Can » 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
Scott Mayers wrote:
Mon May 13, 2019 12:39 am
I think you need to think of those "Trolley Dilemmas" in order to understand how values are 'relative'.
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.
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.
...we don't realize that for such a person to do so requires another to lose their autonomy (a bad thing)...
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.
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.
So wouldn't it be indifferent to how YOU are treated if we are born into this world with morals or not? You for having them would go to heaven and the Atheist would go to hell for 'choosing wrong'.

People's eternal situation is not based on their having this or that moral, good as that may be. It's based on their relationship to God.
So why would you even TRY to get anyone to believe in you at all
Believe in me? What have I got to do with it?
I, on the other hand, OWN my moral behavior and its consequences here on Earth.
Atheism has no "moral" behaviour. It only has behaviour. There are no definitions of "good" and "bad" that can be defended from Atheist assumptions. All behaviour is neutral, per Atheism.
...where you ARE in the power to do this, you enforce this upon others.
This has never happened. "Force," as Locke pointed out, is not a legitimate tool of persuasion. You must be making the old Atheist confusion of blending different traditions into a single, flavourless "religion," and blaming all that is done by any of them on all of them.
At least in an atheist society, they would still allow you to express yourself.
Not historically true. It would be nice if it had been.

Historically, I'm more likely to have my head cut off, to have my churches burned, to be denied any chance to speak in public, to be jailed without trial...and so on. And Atheist regimes have definitely led the charge in this.
You are arguing against the idea that morality is 'relative' and so are believing in some 'universal' standard you think we all share when we don't.
No, you may not share the universal moral truth; that is, you may choose not to believe in any of it. I do not assume you do. Rather, I take your word that you do not. But universal, objective morality can only be violated by paying a price -- the price of being morally wrong. And that is true for both you and me.
Is a rock an Atheist too?
Yes.
:D
You can be an agnostic atheist,

An agnostic Atheist is a contradiction in terms.
Why am I not allowed to define myself as having this meaning?
You are allowed to call yourself that. You can also define yourself as a pink pumpkin, if you want. At least the latter would make some semantic sense, unlike the former (which is a straightforward self-contradiction). And you'd have an equal chance of both being true.
You don't want your own to know that an atheist CAN understand your thinking as in error, yet NOT be an enemy.

Atheists are not my enemies. They themselves can choose that path, I suppose, and I am powerless to prevent them doing that, if they wish. But animosity won't come from my side.

I just think they're completely (and potentially disastrously) wrong. And I feel sorry for that, because it means very bad things for them. So I try to tell them not to be what they have chosen to be, and to give them reason why they should think again; and sometimes they resent that. And that cannot be helped, if I'm going to do the right thing toward them.

But we might also ask, "What were they doing by declaring themselves to me as Atheists in the first place?" Usually, they were trying to convince me that I was wrong to be a Christian. Did they do that because they hate me? I hope not; I would hope they were thinking they were actually going to do me a favour. I would hope their motives were good, though I don't know.

What I do know is that I'm looking to do them some good. Their side is entirely in their hands.

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Re: Cultural Relativism is wrong

Post by Belinda » Mon May 13, 2019 5:27 pm

Immanuel Can wrote:

-----unless all you mean by "relative" is not that the values change at all, but only circumstances.
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.

If there be eternal values it's not given to us to know them. This is the tragedy of the human. It's our responsibility to make our own values. 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.

If I pray to big Daddy to tell me what to believe that is okay. The danger is confusing God with politicians and priests.
Immanuel , in a previous post, wrote to the effect that learning is repeating what others have said. True we don't want to reinvent the wheel.However we assign values to what others have said, and we synthesize ideas from others and from our own unique experiences and those amount to a difference in kind from recapitulating what others have said.

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