Is God necessary for morality?

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Belinda
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Re: Is God necessary for morality?

Post by Belinda »

Immanuel Can wrote: Fri Jul 31, 2020 12:46 am
Belinda wrote: Thu Jul 30, 2020 10:40 am Disinterestedness is the best guarantee we have for the best moral behaviour.
Major problems with that. Postmodern theorists assure us that nobody ever is "disinterested." Many schools of philosophy even hold that "disinterestedness" would be either unrealistic, or a bad idea, because it would contradict things like "rational self-interest." Perhaps you mean "impartiality"? But that's not better, because nobody's going to be that, either.

I guess you'd better explain how "disinterestedness" would be used, in practice to achieve justice.
Of course not! Nobody is Jesus Christ. Call it 'impartiality' if you like, It is not too difficult in practice to tell who is and who is not.

1. Peer reviewed academics' work is generally more disinterested/impartial than politicians' work, barring a few scandals.
2. Information sources: unwitting testimony is best when you can get it e.g. archeological evidence, or DNA, or authentic original documents.
3. Time -tested reports of fair reputations e.g. Mandela, or Socrates.
4. Apparent absence of rewards of power, sex, money, real estate, ego boost.
5. Philanthropic works should alert anyone to a degree of impartiality on the part of the philanthropist.

On the other hand it's well to be alert to scams such as murders when suspects stand to benefit from the death.
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Immanuel Can
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Re: Is God necessary for morality?

Post by Immanuel Can »

Belinda wrote: Fri Jul 31, 2020 3:31 pm Nobody is Jesus Christ.
That's certain.

Well, I asked what you meant by "disinterestedness," particularly as it might help us shape morality. Unfortunately, the list you provide is merely a list of people one may choose to assume are disinterested (but are often not, unfortunately), or who might have some constraint on the levels of their self-interest, but gives me no information about how "disinterestedness" is useful in informing moral judgments, or, for that matter, how we know "disinterestedness" is actually a moral quality at all.

In other words, can you please provide something more relevant to the OP?

Let's begin with this: how did you decide that "disinterestedness" was the right way to decide what is "moral" and what is not? What made that seem right to you?
Belinda
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Re: Is God necessary for morality?

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Immanuel Can wrote: Fri Jul 31, 2020 3:54 pm
Belinda wrote: Fri Jul 31, 2020 3:31 pm Nobody is Jesus Christ.
That's certain.

Well, I asked what you meant by "disinterestedness," particularly as it might help us shape morality. Unfortunately, the list you provide is merely a list of people one may choose to assume are disinterested (but are often not, unfortunately), or who might have some constraint on the levels of their self-interest, but gives me no information about how "disinterestedness" is useful in informing moral judgments, or, for that matter, how we know "disinterestedness" is actually a moral quality at all.

In other words, can you please provide something more relevant to the OP?

Let's begin with this: how did you decide that "disinterestedness" was the right way to decide what is "moral" and what is not? What made that seem right to you?
I think that is a really good suggestion. Unfortunately I can't remember. It must have been an accumulation of experiences, I suppose. I can tell you I have been impressed by persons such as Mandela I already mentioned.
It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.


St Paul Letter to the Corinthians on the theme of love.
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Immanuel Can
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Re: Is God necessary for morality?

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Belinda wrote: Fri Jul 31, 2020 4:19 pm
Immanuel Can wrote: Fri Jul 31, 2020 3:54 pm Let's begin with this: how did you decide that "disinterestedness" was the right way to decide what is "moral" and what is not? What made that seem right to you?
I think that is a really good suggestion. Unfortunately I can't remember. It must have been an accumulation of experiences, I suppose. I can tell you I have been impressed by persons such as Mandela I already mentioned.
It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.


St Paul Letter to the Corinthians on the theme of love.
Well, that's an unimpeachable source to get the idea from. And I understand why, if you got it from there, Paul would say it, too. After all, Christians believe that all human beings have value before God, so everybody deserves a fair shake. Nobody's worthless, and at least in regard to being a creation of God and uniquely made in His image, everybody's equal. Maybe taking no particular "interest" in the particulars of who we're talking about helps reflect that belief. Fair enough.

But absent a belief in God and in the intrinsic value of all human beings as a consequence, how will "disinterestedness" help us get moral values? After all, to take a totally "disinterested" view of a rich woman versus a poor woman, we leave the former rich and the latter poor, because we have no particular "interest" in any outcome. It seems that the Christian view, in contrast, is that we should take an "interest" in the fact of the latter being poor, and do something about that.

So how is "disinterestedness" a useful concept there?
Belinda
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Re: Is God necessary for morality?

Post by Belinda »

Immanuel Can wrote: Fri Jul 31, 2020 4:27 pm
Belinda wrote: Fri Jul 31, 2020 4:19 pm
Immanuel Can wrote: Fri Jul 31, 2020 3:54 pm Let's begin with this: how did you decide that "disinterestedness" was the right way to decide what is "moral" and what is not? What made that seem right to you?
I think that is a really good suggestion. Unfortunately I can't remember. It must have been an accumulation of experiences, I suppose. I can tell you I have been impressed by persons such as Mandela I already mentioned.
It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.


St Paul Letter to the Corinthians on the theme of love.
Well, that's an unimpeachable source to get the idea from. And I understand why, if you got it from there, Paul would say it, too. After all, Christians believe that all human beings have value before God, so everybody deserves a fair shake. Nobody's worthless, and at least in regard to being a creation of God and uniquely made in His image, everybody's equal. Maybe taking no particular "interest" in the particulars of who we're talking about helps reflect that belief. Fair enough.

But absent a belief in God and in the intrinsic value of all human beings as a consequence, how will "disinterestedness" help us get moral values? After all, to take a totally "disinterested" view of a rich woman versus a poor woman, we leave the former rich and the latter poor, because we have no particular "interest" in any outcome. It seems that the Christian view, in contrast, is that we should take an "interest" in the fact of the latter being poor, and do something about that.

So how is "disinterestedness" a useful concept there?
https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dicti ... interested

That's to say "It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs."
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Immanuel Can
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Re: Is God necessary for morality?

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Belinda wrote: Fri Jul 31, 2020 4:33 pm That's to say "It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs."
Well, no...the Biblical word used there is "love." The word "disinterestedness" does not even appear in the Bible, anywhere, as a matter of fact.

Disinterestedness is manifestly quite different from love. Love takes thought for the person you're dealing with, and disinterestedness, by very definition, does not, and regards all entities as the same, even if they're not.

I'm asking how disinterestedness, not "love" can be used to generate some sort of moral clarity.
uwot
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Re: Is God necessary for morality?

Post by uwot »

Immanuel Can wrote: Fri Jul 31, 2020 5:23 pm
Belinda wrote: Fri Jul 31, 2020 4:33 pm That's to say "It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs."
Well, no...the Biblical word used there is "love."
Mr Can, which biblical word in Aramaic, Hebrew, Greek or Latin means love as you or I understand it? As a christian, you are supposed to love your enemy. Mr Can, I am your enemy, and I love you.
Belinda
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Re: Is God necessary for morality?

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Immanuel Can wrote: Fri Jul 31, 2020 5:23 pm
Belinda wrote: Fri Jul 31, 2020 4:33 pm That's to say "It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs."
Well, no...the Biblical word used there is "love." The word "disinterestedness" does not even appear in the Bible, anywhere, as a matter of fact.

Disinterestedness is manifestly quite different from love. Love takes thought for the person you're dealing with, and disinterestedness, by very definition, does not, and regards all entities as the same, even if they're not.

I'm asking how disinterestedness, not "love" can be used to generate some sort of moral clarity.
The man who is disinterested is not rude, not self-seeking, not easily angered, keeps no record of wrongs."

I have agreed to use 'impartial' if you prefer. True, 'impartiality', and 'disinterest' lack the more affective connotation of 'love' and 'charity'. However 'impartiality' and 'disinterest' gain precision.
You might like to read 'The Four Loves' by C.S. Lewis in which the author compares and explains agape with reference to the other meanings of 'love'.
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Immanuel Can
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Re: Is God necessary for morality?

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Belinda wrote: Fri Jul 31, 2020 9:03 pm The man who is disinterested is not rude, not self-seeking, not easily angered, keeps no record of wrongs."
No, that's the one who "loves." There is absolutely no mention of "disinteredeness," either there or elsewhere in the Bible. Nor is "impartiality" used in that passage.
You might like to read 'The Four Loves' by C.S. Lewis in which the author compares and explains agape with reference to the other meanings of 'love'.
I've read it twice. I'm quite certain.

You've got it wrong, if you think "impartiality" is what's being talked about. It isn't. It's agape (Gk.) love.

But let's still find out how "disinteredness" issues in moral values. Please explain.
Belinda
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Re: Is God necessary for morality?

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Immanuel Can wrote: Fri Jul 31, 2020 10:27 pm
Belinda wrote: Fri Jul 31, 2020 9:03 pm The man who is disinterested is not rude, not self-seeking, not easily angered, keeps no record of wrongs."
No, that's the one who "loves." There is absolutely no mention of "disinteredeness," either there or elsewhere in the Bible. Nor is "impartiality" used in that passage.
You might like to read 'The Four Loves' by C.S. Lewis in which the author compares and explains agape with reference to the other meanings of 'love'.
I've read it twice. I'm quite certain.

You've got it wrong, if you think "impartiality" is what's being talked about. It isn't. It's agape (Gk.) love.

But let's still find out how "disinteredness" issues in moral values. Please explain.
Agape is impartial love, that seeks no rewards for self. Agape applies not only to interpersonal relations but also to relations with nature, science, and arts.
The parable of the prodigal son illustrates how the father was disinterested in his son's failures but welcomed his son as if the son had been a credit to him.

The parable of the labourers is about how they were each paid according to their needs not according to quid pro quo.
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Immanuel Can
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Re: Is God necessary for morality?

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Belinda wrote: Fri Jul 31, 2020 10:44 pm The parable of the prodigal son illustrates how the father was disinterested in his son's failures but welcomed his son as if the son had been a credit to him.
Well, I think that's very wild exegesis.

His son had insulted his father, had been hiring prostitutes and was so degraded he was living with pigs. In fact, the son realized he had been awful, and repented. That the father took him back is no demonstration of "disinterest." He himself calls his son "lost" in that condition. He's just glad his son has returned to him and been "found."

So there's no implication at all that the father was in any way "disinterested" or had "lost interest" in what his son had done. Rather, it's a parable about forgiveness for what everyone, including the father, knew very well his son had done wrong. In fact, if the father simply "lost interest" in the prodigal son's sins, then there's no story about any "prodigal" son. :shock: And there's no implication about forgiveness...because forgiveness is only applicable when a sin has been committed.
The parable of the labourers is about how they were each paid according to their needs not according to quid pro quo.
Well, it's true he paid everyone a day's wages. But we have no justification for saying that was "according to their needs," since we have no knowledge of what their needs might have been -- after all, it's a parable, and in real life, people have different levels of "need." Moreover, the term used to describe the amount given the short-term labourers was "generous," not "according to need." So I think that doesn't work either.

But this is all beside the point for you and for me. These parables, even if we imagined they speak of "disinterest," don't hand us the mechanism for creating new values based on "disinterest." According to the OP, we need to ask whether God is even necessary for morality; and you seem to be signalling "Yes, He is" at the moment, because you're relying on Scripture to make your case.

And if "Yes" is your answer, we agree. But I suspect it's probably still not, so we need a better approach.

Let's simplify: show me how being "disinterested" in a modern, real-world situation, has ever yielded, or could ever yield, a legitimate moral value we ought to believe in today. Just one will do.
Ginkgo
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Re: Is God necessary for morality?

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Immanuel Can wrote: Fri Jul 31, 2020 3:17 pm
Ginkgo wrote: Fri Jul 31, 2020 1:50 am BTW Can you please stop quote mining it's getting very tiresome?
I can. But if I do, our messages get progressively longer, and longer and longer...and that's even more tiresome. I would prefer that we really on the little arrow in blue beside our names, which instantly takes us back to the totality of the original message.

I make no attempt to distort your words here. I just tell you what I'm understanding as essential, and clip in order to keep things within reasonable length. Not everything people write is under contest, so I try to keep to those things I mean to strongly affirm or to question, and leave the uncontroversial bits behind.

So, for example, in this response I would not respond to "I think we're talking about two different things," because that's plausible, and because I don't intend to question it. But I would clip in the below, because I have some further questions about it.

Fair enough?
As I said before, causes and effects are so intertwined that it is impossible to trace causality on a linear timeline back to a first cause.
This is the error of thinking epistemology defines ontology, or limits logic. It doesn't.

I concede that we don't know the precise causes for every effect. But that we don't know the precise causes does not even cast a shadow of doubt on the dynamic of cause-and-effect itself. If I don't know what causes the Sun to rise in the morning, that does not remotely imply the sun will not rise in the morning, or that the effect I see (the Sun appearing to "rise") has no cause, or must be assumed to have no cause until I know precisely what it is. Rather, a rational assumption is that it HAS a cause, but one I don't yet understand -- the fundamental supposition of all science, actually.

So cause-and-effect remains real. And we don't need to know precisely which causes produce which effects to say so. All we have to know is that the rational assumption is a cause could be found one day, for there will be one.

Here is where the mathematics help us out. Maths, as you know, use symbols to represent actual, empirical quantities. The great thing about using the number "3" for example, is that you don't have to know "three whats?" before you can use it: it works equally precisely for 3 goats, 3 aqualungs, 3 armchairs, 3 planetoids or 3 atomic particles. Mathematics provide universal placeholders for actual things.

So we can model causality mathematically, just as I have suggested you do: count backwards to infinity. That's what it takes to model a chain of infinitely regressing causes. And you'll find it's not just long, it's impossible. So, without knowing precise causes-and-effects, we can decisively prove that ANY chain of causes and effects will not be possible as a chain of infinite length.

Thus, the world is not the product of an infinite chain of causes.

QED.
OK, let us assume that we can trace causes and their effects back to a first cause. What comes next?
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Immanuel Can
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Re: Is God necessary for morality?

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Ginkgo wrote: Sat Aug 01, 2020 2:36 am OK, let us assume that we can trace causes and their effects back to a first cause. What comes next?
Well, the point is that we don't have to be able to "trace" anything...all we have to know is that mathematically, an infinite regression of causes is impossible, and we're involved in a line of causes. So it's not infinite.

It's finite. That's deductive and certain, not inductive and suppositional. If the premises of linear time and causality apply, then the fact that there is some kind of a First Cause is unavoidable, logically.

But "What kind?" is the next question. To what sort of entity could we plausibly attribute the First Cause of all things?

Let's start with something basic. We know it has to, itself, be eternal and uncaused. Fine.

What sorts of entities do we know that exist already, and also fit that description? (Hint: there are some alternatives here. But I wonder what you'll think of...)
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Re: Is God necessary for morality?

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Immanuel Can wrote: Sat Aug 01, 2020 2:47 am
Ginkgo wrote: Sat Aug 01, 2020 2:36 am OK, let us assume that we can trace causes and their effects back to a first cause. What comes next?
Well, the point is that we don't have to be able to "trace" anything...all we have to know is that mathematically, an infinite regression of causes is impossible, and we're involved in a line of causes. So it's not infinite.

It's finite. That's deductive and certain, not inductive and suppositional. If the premises of linear time and causality apply, then the fact that there is some kind of a First Cause is unavoidable, logically.

But "What kind?" is the next question. To what sort of entity could we plausibly attribute the First Cause of all things?

Let's start with something basic. We know it has to, itself, be eternal and uncaused. Fine.

What sorts of entities do we know that exist already, and also fit that description? (Hint: there are some alternatives here. But I wonder what you'll think of...)
Well, Aristotle's unmoved mover springs to mind.
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Immanuel Can
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Re: Is God necessary for morality?

Post by Immanuel Can »

Ginkgo wrote: Sat Aug 01, 2020 3:16 am Well, Aristotle's unmoved mover springs to mind.
Okay, we could go with something like that.

I guess what we need to ask about that is whether there are any candidates for non-sentient First Causes. Are you satisfied that there are none?
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