“it is the greatest happiness of the greatest number that is the measure of right and wrong“.
Ok, I’ve reached critical mass on the issue of “morality” and all the excess gas has got to go somewhere….
I’m not going to accept christians asserting that atheists can’t be moral anymore. That shit stops here today.
Mr Atheist Froggy knows two important things. First someone must demonstrate that a god exists and that it isn’t some ineffable nebulous entity. Because without a god, there is no authority for [christian] morality. Even apologists assert it must be “grounded” in something. Second, there may be a point at which we can agree on the meaning of morality, however, there is no such fucking thing as objective morality. I don’t know who originally thought it up but I hear it most from William Lane Craig and the apologist wannabees. It’s made up shit to fit in the same gap their absent god lives in.
Objectivity is a central philosophical concept, related to reality and truth. Generally, objectivity means the state or quality of being true completely independent of an individuals personal biases, interpretations, feelings, and imaginings. A proposition is considered objectively true (or to have objective truth) when truth conditions are met and are “bias-free”; that is, existing without biases caused by, feelings, ideas, etc. of sentient subjects. In other words something true independent of the operation of the mind. It’s impossible for a human to think of something in a completely bias free way. It’s not how cognition and emotion work. Christians like to pretend that if they call something objective in the sense of being based on facts rather than feelings or opinions that somehow that imbues it with an independent divine agency that exists outside space and time, and that morality is “grounded” in it. They never get around to explaining the mechanism and evidence for that position beyond hand waving and repeating “god” over and over. So, even if they meet the bias free burden, I have yet to see any apologist argument meet both criteria- the truth conditions are never satisfied.
Subjectivity is a process of individuation and socialization wherein the individual isn’t ever isolated in a self-contained environment, but continually engaging in interaction with the surrounding world. Culture is a living totality of the subjectivity of any given society constantly undergoing transformation. Subjectivity is both shaped by it and shapes it in turn, but also by other things like the economy, political and religious institutions, communities, as well as the natural world. [Which is why morality shifts and changes over periods of time.] It relies on feelings, bias, personal experiences, ideas, and so on. All things that are subjective are an operation of the mind. They require interpretation of an individual’s perception of reality. Inanimate objects can’t observe, have feelings, or act on them. Inanimate objects can’t perform moral acts or be acted on by them.
Therefore, all moral actions are by definition subjective. They [morals] have no agency independent of the subjects who perform or experience them. If the earth were barren of animal life, morality would/could not exist. Therefore, objective morality is falsified as an incoherent concept.
I like Bentham’s definition and will use it in the future to describe secular morality. It’s simple. “The measure of right and wrong is the greatest happiness for the greatest number“. I think Sam Harris talks about morality in terms of the maximal good and the least well being. More or less the same idea.
We [atheists] have abrogated our human rights to those who would rob us of our equality and dignity as people in order to force us into conformity with their goat herding ideology. I’m taking that back today. No longer will I allow apologists to define morality as something it clearly isn’t.
*Author’s note: I realize the graphics look like they are done by a five year old. I’m switching OS on my equipment and I don’t have access to my usual graphics programs. They’ll improve with time and practice.