Is morality objective or subjective?

Should you think about your duty, or about the consequences of your actions? Or should you concentrate on becoming a good person?

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iambiguous
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

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Dubious wrote: Tue Dec 05, 2023 2:19 am
iambiguous wrote: Tue Dec 05, 2023 12:18 am
Dubious wrote: Mon Dec 04, 2023 11:54 pm

Hard to imagine anything more futile!
We'll need a particular context, of course. :wink:
The particular context, of course, are the chaotic horde of opinions that comprise nothing more than nothing; most of it vastly cliché ridden! :roll:
Well, that's certainly dubious. If not actually immoral. At least not objectively?

Unless, of course, I'm wrong.
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by Dubious »

iambiguous wrote: Tue Dec 05, 2023 4:16 am
Dubious wrote: Tue Dec 05, 2023 2:19 am
iambiguous wrote: Tue Dec 05, 2023 12:18 am

We'll need a particular context, of course. :wink:
The particular context, of course, are the chaotic horde of opinions that comprise nothing more than nothing; most of it vastly cliché ridden! :roll:
Well, that's certainly dubious. If not actually immoral. At least not objectively?

Unless, of course, I'm wrong.
Haven't you noticed? No one was ever wrong on a philosophy forum, regardless of how many times the assertion was made by others who also weren't wrong!
Will Bouwman
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by Will Bouwman »

Immanuel Can wrote: Mon Dec 04, 2023 4:22 pm
Will Bouwman wrote: Mon Dec 04, 2023 3:06 pm
Immanuel Can wrote: Mon Dec 04, 2023 2:16 pm These are the same sources that once backed the monkey-to-man model that is now defunct. And yes, there are multitudes of them backing the various "common ancestor" theories. But as with the monkey-to-man thesis, they just keep being revised and persisting, every time they fail or conflict.

And you can understand that two ways: one is that it's just science revising and progressing...
Which is what people who do not have a religious agenda generally do.
Yes, that can happen. So can it be the case that the person in question has an Atheist agenda, so refuses to entertain any possibility but that Evolutionism is true. That seems to be exactly what happened in the Thomas Nagel case, wherein Atheists flayed an Atheist for casting doubt on the Evolutionist narrative.
There are a lot of different people with a lot of different attitudes. Everyone with an opinion on the matter fits somewhere on a sliding scale between young Earth creationists, who are common enough to have a name, and those atheists for whom evolution is proof that God does not exist. As usual, it is the boneheads at either end that shout the loudest, making it look as though it's an either/or question, which in their little minds make it us and them.
Immanuel Can wrote: Mon Dec 04, 2023 4:22 pm
...it has been pointed out that there is considerable evidence that eyes did evolve,
Oh, you mean the "light-sensitive spot" excuse? That's not "considerable evidence," I have to say. In fact, it begs the whole question and ignores what the ID people are saying...that it's the lack of transitional forms that's the real problem.
Then the ID people haven't done their homework; there are creatures alive today having 'eyes' which are different transitional forms - limpets and nautilus spring to mind. Those ID nincompoops are just one set of loudmouth extremists arguing from ignorance.
Immanuel Can wrote: Mon Dec 04, 2023 4:22 pmFor it has to be the case that every mutation has to contain a definite survival advantage, or it cannot be selected-for. (Darwin himself insisted that was the case.)
You're putting the cart before the horse. A mutation that confers an evolutionary advantage is likely to be selected for because an evolutionary advantage basically means more opportunities to reproduce.

Immanuel Can wrote: Mon Dec 04, 2023 4:22 pmSo the attempts by the anti-ID set to describe how that procession of events would go have actually been wildly implausible...
Nevertheless you can see examples of transitional forms on a trip to the beach.
Immanuel Can wrote: Mon Dec 04, 2023 4:22 pm...given Evolutionism's own requirements.
Is it a conscious decision on your part to argue against "Evolutionism" rather than evolution; to challenge ideas rather then evidence? Whatever you think "Evolutionism's own requirements" may be, there remains a lot of evidence that eyes evolved.
Immanuel Can wrote: Mon Dec 04, 2023 4:22 pmSo ID folks shouldn't "apologize" at all about eyes, or bacterial flagella, or triadic symbiosis, or any of the other irreducibly complex evidence in the universe. They should politely refuse to be badgered, bullied, insulted or threatened into silence, instead.
How do you prove something is irreducibly complex?
Immanuel Can wrote: Mon Dec 04, 2023 4:22 pm
There's no contradiction in holding both those positions, in fact I have been at pains to point out that demonstrably both are true.
Right. Well, then, the only question to be settled is the question of which is the case in the "common ancestor" argument. And since, by their own admission, none of the theorizers have any access to a putative "common ancestor," we can hardly fail to realize that their postulate is not a scientifically-tested one, but a mere speculation, a case of the telling of a good myth for which they actually lack the scientific evidence they would need to substantiate their own theory.
It is actually a myth that there evolution lacks evidence, and a myth that there is an international cabal of atheist scientists determined to prove that God doesn't exist by inventing a myth to undermine a story about creation that is over two thousand years old.
Immanuel Can wrote: Mon Dec 04, 2023 4:22 pmLet's just support that claim, because many people would find it very surprising. Here's Ernst Mayr, who is one of the leading secular Biological Evolutionists. Here is what he says is how his discipline works:

"Evolutionary biology, in contrast with physics and chemistry, is a historical science—the evolutionist attempts to explain events and processes that have already taken place. Laws and experiments are inappropriate techniques for the explication of such events and processes. Instead one constructs a historical narrative, consisting of a tentative reconstruction of the particular scenario that led to the events one is trying to explain." (quoted from Scientific American).

In other words, we don't do normal science on Evolutionary questions. We do what he admits is the making of "historical narrative," which is both "tentative" and a mere "try" at explaining. It's not the product of experimentation and testing, but of storytelling.
As it happens most physics and chemistry is about "events and processes that have already taken place" and there is a fair bit of story telling involved too. Experimental evolution is serious field, but if you define normal science as physics and chemistry, that excludes a lot.
Immanuel Can wrote: Mon Dec 04, 2023 4:22 pm
Mistakes have been, and will continue to be made and corrected; that is just how science works.
It's how science is supposed to work, in theory. How it works in practice is often quite different, as many cases can be adduced to show. As Kuhn and others have argued, science often lurches about in a series of "paradigm shifts," rather than in making smooth, ideal progress from less to greater wisdom. And science, like all human knowledge, gets sidetracked by ideology...sometimes for centuries, as geocentric cosmology, alchemy, Aristotelianism, and so forth certainly show us.
I know a bit about Thomas Kuhn: https://philosophynow.org/issues/131/Th ... _1922-1996
Immanuel Can wrote: Mon Dec 04, 2023 4:22 pmWe could suppose that modern science is miraculously too wise and honest to be like that at all now. But if we suppose that, I think we do not understand human nature. When the stakes are big enough, all people are susceptible to ideological bribery. And it certainly explains how the monkey-to-man theory got its original traction, and now retains so much in the public imagination, in the face of the contrary evidence.
Why does it not also explain your way of thinking?
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

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Will Bouwman wrote: Mon Dec 04, 2023 3:06 pm As usual, it is the boneheads at either end that shout the loudest, making it look as though it's an either/or question, which in their little minds make it us and them.
Well, the "boneheads" always get the press, because the press loves extravagant and conflictual things, and finds more calm and measured folks boring. But that doesn't mean the "boneheads" are entirely wrong. One thing they're right about is that belief in human evolution (as opposed to mere lower-animal evolution), in particular, would have profound theological consequences, and would produce a true either/or decision.
...there are creatures alive today having 'eyes' which are different transitional forms - limpets and nautilus spring to mind.
This also misunderstands the problem. The problem is not what we have today...distinct species, with distinct features. The problem is by what exact "steps" or "phases" then managed to become what they are, if we happen to think that the "survival of the fittest" routine is the right explanation. It requires us to believe in millions of years of less-than-functional stages for each adaptation, in which survival of the fittest doesn't eliminate the less-than-functional appendage or modification. And nowhere do the survival of the fittests explanations make less sense than in the many cases we have of complex arrangments like symbiosis among three or more organisms...none of which ought to have been able to survive without the others being fully evolved already.

But this is a big discussion, and actually gets quite complex and technical. One has to know a lot of particulars about things like triadic symboisis, or irreducibly complex structures, or bee orchids or flagella, or minds, or DNA. There are a ton of angles from which one can view the problem: the problem for Evolutionism, though, is very, very real.
A mutation that confers an evolutionary advantage is likely to be selected for because an evolutionary advantage basically means more opportunities to reproduce.
What about when it doesn't yet represent and advantage? Just to take a very simple example, what when the bacterial flagellum is too short in its evolution to move the cell? What when its 42 parts are not all complete, and it cannot rotate yet? How can it be selected-for when it represents not an advantage at all, but rather a dysfunction or inhibition for the organism? :shock:

Or how does the cow parasite, which needs a cow, a plant, a snail and itself all to be evolved to functional level before it can have even one life-cycle "evolve" by incomplete steps, all allegedly watched over by survival-of-the-fittest's magical hand, manage to survive in defiance of survival of the fittest? :shock:

It's in the description of these preliminary phases that the Evolutionist historicism becomes wildly implausible. There just is no good Evolution-consistent explanation of how many of these things happen. Usually, Evolutionists just issue a kind of "promissory note" when faced with such things, and say, "Well, we don't know that now; but as we progress, we'll learn that, too." But these problems are so profound that even somebody like Thomas Nagel has abandoned the effort: it's just too wild and unwarranted a promise that Evolution will explain everything, and it's too inhibiting to science to narrow itself to only that kind of explanation: so says Nagel. In truth, universal faith in Evolutionism is a religious sort of conviction, not one premised on the evidence. It's a hope for the future, and not at all a reality now.
Nevertheless you can see examples of transitional forms on a trip to the beach.
You can't actually. What you can see is only animals one has been instructed to think of as "transitional forms." They are not that.
Is it a conscious decision on your part to argue against "Evolutionism" rather than evolution;
"Evolutionism" is the name of the creed. Note the "ism." "Evolution" is the mechanism in which the creed believes.
How do you prove something is irreducibly complex?
Oh, that's easy: observation.

When an organism or entity has multiple parts with the function of the whole being dependent on the proper working of every single part, then one has an "irreducibly complex" case. In such cases, explaining the alleged evolutionary stages by which such a thing came to suddenly function becomes very, very difficult...or even impossible. And recognizing this, some Evolutionists have proposed that evolution cannot possibly work smoothly: it must "leap forward suddenly," in what's called "punctuated equilibrium." But such explanations don't really help, of course, since even a short-term mutation requires a phased explanation that they just can't produce. And it also requires some additional mechanism, supplemental to survival of the fittest, to dictate the punctuations. So it gets far too messy and implausible to be called "scientific", once again.
It is actually a myth that there evolution lacks evidence,
Did you not see my earlier examples of secular scientists admitting that we have no "common ancestor" evidence? Even the most ardent proponents of Human Evolutionism cannot help admitting that fact: because if they didn't, they know they'd have to produce them...and they know they cannot do that. They wish they could, no doubt; but they can't.

As it happens most physics and chemistry is about "events and processes that have already taken place"
No, those are about reproducible phenomena. So they can be reproduced and demonstrated in the lab or in the field. Evolutionism's not like that: it's a historical narrative put together to generate plausibliity, with absolutely no chance of being reproduced in the lab. It's not an "experimental" field at all, but a narrative sort of thing. That's what Mayr is saying: and he's one of their leading proponents.
Have you read him? I have. He's not always right, but he certainly shows that at least sometimes, science gets quite corrupted by agendas. And we can show that in lots of cases.
Why does it not also explain your way of thinking?
It could, in theory. It's plausible. You could believe it. But whether it does explain my way of thinking, in reality, is a different question.

It's like the Evolutionary situation: Evolutionists insist that their processes could explain how humans got here. They can't honestly say that they know their explanation is right. The holes in it are still huge, particularly in relation to describing the transitional forms. But they insist it could explain what happened, anyway. And they hope that's enough for most of us to give up belief in creation and in God, and opt for their explanation and thus to regard their authority instead.

But it's really not. They don't have the requisite evidence to show that their explanation IS the right one...or even to say that it's the most explanatorily useful one, for that matter, as Nagel noted. They just hope it's plausible enough to get people to believe it, so the field can continue with some authority and credibility, and maybe one day manage to deliver on that promissory-note thing they're always issuing.
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

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Immanuel Can wrote: Tue Dec 05, 2023 3:27 pm Or how does the cow parasite, which needs a cow, a plant, a snail and itself all to be evolved to functional level before it can have even one life-cycle "evolve" by incomplete steps, all allegedly watched over by survival-of-the-fittest's magical hand, manage to survive in defiance of survival of the fittest? :shock:
You're right. God created cows and then thought to himself, "I should create parasites to slowly kill them too". I guess when you're God, it's just fun to mess with your creations. What else is there to do when one exists infinitely? I'm sure finding things to do when it's boring must be a thing for all universe creators.
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

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What the fuck has happened to this thread?
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

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Immanuel Can wrote: Tue Dec 05, 2023 3:27 pm
Will Bouwman wrote: Mon Dec 04, 2023 3:06 pm As usual, it is the boneheads at either end that shout the loudest, making it look as though it's an either/or question, which in their little minds make it us and them.
Well, the "boneheads" always get the press, because the press loves extravagant and conflictual things, and finds more calm and measured folks boring. But that doesn't mean the "boneheads" are entirely wrong. One thing they're right about is that belief in human evolution (as opposed to mere lower-animal evolution), in particular, would have profound theological consequences, and would produce a true either/or decision.
Why does it have to be such a major issue? You are always saying that science sometimes gets things wrong, so why don't you think the Bible must also sometimes get things wrong? It's only a small part of the whole story, and, surely, it matters more what you do while you're here, rather than how you got here. People make mistakes, and whoever wrote the creation account could only work with the knowledge available at the time, which was none. You could still say that God created the conditions that enabled life to emerge in the first place, and thus kick started the whole evolution process. Wouldn't it be better to compromise now, before scientific advancement leaves you completely out on a limb?
Or how does the cow parasite, which needs a cow, a plant, a snail and itself all to be evolved to functional level before it can have even one life-cycle "evolve" by incomplete steps, all allegedly watched over by survival-of-the-fittest's magical hand, manage to survive in defiance of survival of the fittest? :shock:
What intelligent designer would come up with such a messy and convoluted life cycle? and it is by no means the strangest in the animal kingdom. :?
In truth, universal faith in Evolutionism is a religious sort of conviction, not one premised on the evidence. It's a hope for the future, and not at all a reality now.
It is nothing like religion. As we have seen with your own fixed and uncompromising beliefs, religion tends to be rigid, whereas people who respect science change their view as advancements are made.
IC wrote:
Is it a conscious decision on your part to argue against "Evolutionism" rather than evolution;
"Evolutionism" is the name of the creed. Note the "ism." "Evolution" is the mechanism in which the creed believes.
I, and most people who are aware of it, believe in electromagnetic induction. Does that mean there is a creed of Electromagnetic Inductionism, and those of us who believe are Inductionists? :|

It's like the Evolutionary situation: Evolutionists insist that their processes could explain how humans got here. They can't honestly say that they know their explanation is right. The holes in it are still huge, particularly in relation to describing the transitional forms. But they insist it could explain what happened, anyway. And they hope that's enough for most of us to give up belief in creation and in God, and opt for their explanation and thus to regard their authority instead.
It is not at all unusual for people to believe in the evolutionary process and still believe in God.
The Church of England, the Anglican denomination that dates to the 16th century, has issued an apology of sorts to Charles Darwin, the British naturalist famous for having advanced the theory of evolution.

In an essay published on the C of E’s Web site, “Good Religion Needs Good Science,” the Rev. Malcolm Brown, the church’s director of mission and public affairs, says that the church, in opposing Darwin’s ideas, has at times been guilty of distorting them and wrongly assuming that they contradict Christian beliefs. The idea that God created humans is consistent with evolution, Brown writes. Evolution simply provides a greater understanding of the exact processes through which humans came to be.
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

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FlashDangerpants wrote: Tue Dec 05, 2023 4:49 pm What the fuck has happened to this thread?
After 485 pages, everything about morality has surely been said, so it's probably time to repurpose the thread.
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by Gary Childress »

Harbal wrote: Tue Dec 05, 2023 4:54 pm
FlashDangerpants wrote: Tue Dec 05, 2023 4:49 pm What the fuck has happened to this thread?
After 485 pages, everything about morality has surely been said, so it's probably time to repurpose the thread.
Morality is impossible without God anyway. Ergo, every conversation should include something about God. Besides, it stokes his ego when we talk about him.
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

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Gary Childress wrote: Tue Dec 05, 2023 5:02 pm
Harbal wrote: Tue Dec 05, 2023 4:54 pm
FlashDangerpants wrote: Tue Dec 05, 2023 4:49 pm What the fuck has happened to this thread?
After 485 pages, everything about morality has surely been said, so it's probably time to repurpose the thread.
Morality is impossible without God anyway. Ergo, every conversation should include something about God. Besides, it stokes his ego when we talk about him.
I'm an atheist, Gary, I don't believe in God, so talk of his ego makes no sense to me. :|
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by Gary Childress »

Harbal wrote: Tue Dec 05, 2023 5:15 pm
Gary Childress wrote: Tue Dec 05, 2023 5:02 pm
Harbal wrote: Tue Dec 05, 2023 4:54 pm

After 485 pages, everything about morality has surely been said, so it's probably time to repurpose the thread.
Morality is impossible without God anyway. Ergo, every conversation should include something about God. Besides, it stokes his ego when we talk about him.
I'm an atheist, Gary, I don't believe in God, so talk of his ego makes no sense to me. :|
Well, I'm agnostic, but the Bible makes about as much sense to me as a Stephen King novel. :|
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

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Gary Childress wrote: Tue Dec 05, 2023 5:19 pm
Harbal wrote: Tue Dec 05, 2023 5:15 pm
Gary Childress wrote: Tue Dec 05, 2023 5:02 pm

Morality is impossible without God anyway. Ergo, every conversation should include something about God. Besides, it stokes his ego when we talk about him.
I'm an atheist, Gary, I don't believe in God, so talk of his ego makes no sense to me. :|
Well, I'm agnostic, but the Bible makes about as much sense to me as a Stephen King novel. :|
Just as no one has to read Stephen King novels, so it is with the Bible. 🙂
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

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Harbal wrote: Tue Dec 05, 2023 4:51 pm Why does it have to be such a major issue?
Well, because where we come from tells us a whole lot of things. That includes such things as whether or not we are valuable, whether or not our existence has purpose, where we are going, what is expected of us, what we can expect to come, what we should be paying most attention to, what counts in life, what the story of history is really all about, how science fits into our world, what our moral limitations and achievements are, and what the ultimate meaning of it all is. Those are pretty good reasons to think it matters.
You are always saying that science sometimes gets things wrong, so why don't you think the Bible must also sometimes get things wrong?
Well, science also gets things right. But science is a human endeavour, one that is fraught with several difficulties, such as that we don't always have all the data, or that people lie when their careers are at stake, or that people who are working on a thesis may too eagerly embrace a result as confirmation, or that the best technical scientists may not be the most perceptive philosophers of science or the best ethicists, or that pride and reputations get involved in scientific prestige, and so on.

The question is, is that what the Bible is? Is it just another human product? If it were, then we should expect all the same fallibilities, and perhaps some unique to religious concerns. But what if it's not? What if it's actually something revealed by God? Then we should not expect it to be subject to the same fallibilities that human endeavours are. We should expect it even to be able to tell us things science never can, such as about morality, or spiritual realities, or objective values, and so on.

Pick your explanation, I guess.
You could still say that God created the conditions that enabled life to emerge in the first place, and thus kick started the whole evolution process.
That "compromise" was tried almost immediately. In fact, a great many theologians, particularly of the liberal set, tried to make that work. But it was really Social Darwinism, and then eugenics, that eventually killed that detente. And then, when the stock theories such as the monkey-to-man nonsense fell apart and was debunked, even in the secular scientific community, then all those theologians who had made the compromise were exposed as fools. That's not the best outcome, of course.
Wouldn't it be better to compromise now, before scientific advancement leaves you completely out on a limb?
That was the old argument. The fear was that science would prove out to be the universal road to truth, and that theology would become publicly humilated if it didn't join the ranks of those who were praising "The Science" -- that was about to prove to be not-science at all.

But the main point is really this: if Evolutionism were true, almost everything we can say about the human race would be quite different than if God made mankind as a special creation. So while the get-alongs could safely argue that maybe God could have used evolution as the mechanism, and still be the ultimate Creator, that compromise just will not work in the human case. Far too much, both theologically and scientifically (and we should add morally, as well) is at stake if man is just a product of time plus chance.
Or how does the cow parasite, which needs a cow, a plant, a snail and itself all to be evolved to functional level before it can have even one life-cycle "evolve" by incomplete steps, all allegedly watched over by survival-of-the-fittest's magical hand, manage to survive in defiance of survival of the fittest? :shock:
What intelligent designer would come up with such a messy and convoluted life cycle?
We're talking about a fallen state of creation, at the moment: so what we ought to expect to see is exactly what we do see -- a general orderliness and law-governedness in nature, but a decayed and damaged one, in which things like parasites and bizarre and intricate interdependencies are routine. Things are out of order here.
In truth, universal faith in Evolutionism is a religious sort of conviction, not one premised on the evidence. It's a hope for the future, and not at all a reality now.
It is nothing like religion.
It's exactly like one.
...religion tends to be rigid,
Like Evolutionist orthodoxies?

I can remember, because I grew up in this era, when if you expressed any doubt at all about the monkey-to-man theory you were immediately bullied and insulted into silence, in the media, or in public schools and universities. You were simply not allowed to doubt that man came from chimpanzees or apes. It was verbotten to question.

Is that science? Has science now so rid itself of such orthodoxies and prejudices that we can bow to its autocratic rule and cease to question now? Is not science itself supposed to be driven to improve by way of doubts and questions? What, then, is "scientific" about shutting down all critiques that are not appreciated by the existing establishment? How will that improve science?
It's like the Evolutionary situation: Evolutionists insist that their processes could explain how humans got here. They can't honestly say that they know their explanation is right. The holes in it are still huge, particularly in relation to describing the transitional forms. But they insist it could explain what happened, anyway. And they hope that's enough for most of us to give up belief in creation and in God, and opt for their explanation and thus to regard their authority instead.
It is not at all unusual for people to believe in the evolutionary process and still believe in God.
It's not entirely unusual, it's true; but it's also incoherent, when they do...at least in regard to human evolution.
The Church of England, the Anglican denomination...
Do any of us have reason to be impressed with what that denomination's clergy is up to right now? I suggest not. The more conservative factions of the C of E have maintained their nerve, and have not shamed themselves. But the main clergy, the centralized authority, have been undertaking a series of "reforms" that are nothing close to Christian...so much so, that they're facing a very serious rift through the entire denomination, with the compromisers and toadies on one side, and the non-heretics and good folks on the other.

But you already know that, if you watch the C of E, at all. Even their internal stuff will reveal that to you.
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

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Gary Childress wrote: Tue Dec 05, 2023 4:34 pm
Immanuel Can wrote: Tue Dec 05, 2023 3:27 pm Or how does the cow parasite, which needs a cow, a plant, a snail and itself all to be evolved to functional level before it can have even one life-cycle "evolve" by incomplete steps, all allegedly watched over by survival-of-the-fittest's magical hand, manage to survive in defiance of survival of the fittest? :shock:
You're right. God created cows and then thought to himself, ...
The answer to your objection is in my Harbal message.
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

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Dubious wrote: Tue Dec 05, 2023 6:07 am
iambiguous wrote: Tue Dec 05, 2023 4:16 am
Dubious wrote: Tue Dec 05, 2023 2:19 am

The particular context, of course, are the chaotic horde of opinions that comprise nothing more than nothing; most of it vastly cliché ridden! :roll:
Well, that's certainly dubious. If not actually immoral. At least not objectively?

Unless, of course, I'm wrong.
Haven't you noticed? No one was ever wrong on a philosophy forum, regardless of how many times the assertion was made by others who also weren't wrong!
Anyone else? :wink:
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