[extropy-chat] In defense of moral standards (Was: In defense of moral relativism)

Giu1i0 Pri5c0 pgptag at gmail.com
Thu May 5 18:44:46 UTC 2005

I am making a moral judgement indeed, and one in which I believe quite
strongly, but I am not claiming any objective status for it.
Of course I appreciate that this moral judgement is a product of my
life-history including the culture I was raised in, but so what? - I
am still willing to defend it.
Now if by "objective morality" we mean a shorthand for something like
"the ensemble of moral statements on which the vast majority of sane
individuals raised in civilized societies would probably agree", I can
use the term without problems (even if we would have to define much
more precisely the terms "sane" and "civilized").
But please let's not mix morality with (meta)physics. Morality has
just nothing to do with the Big Bang, the laws of mathematics and
logic, the laws of physics, or anything that I can consider really
fundamental in the universe as it is presently understood by science.
Morality is fundamental to us of course, but "2+2=4" and "Thou Shalt
Not Kill" are exemples of two classes of statements so fundamentally
different and unrelated that I just cannot see any point in trying to
mix them.

On 5/5/05, Mike Lorrey <mlorrey at yahoo.com> wrote:
> --- Giu1i0 Pri5c0 <pgptag at gmail.com> wrote:
> > So I think a scientist is
> > free to consider hypothesis and try to test them experimentally, but
> > not free to murder fellow scientists who think differently.
> The problem, Giulio, is that in stating that it is wrong to murder
> fellow scientists who think differently, you are making an objective
> moral judgement. You may claim you have no moral basis for doing so,
> but that is merely a concious claim. The fact is that you have been
> unconciously acculturated over your life in the western judeo-christian
> post-enlightenment ethical outlook, tempered by a flavoring of other
> philosophical systems, clearly belies the fact that you have been
> programmed to feel the way you do. To paraphrase Ceasar describing
> Brittannus, you take the prejudices of your tribe as universal truth,
> despite denying such.
> Making the leap from stating that other scientists are wrong to having
> them executed for thinking 'improperly' requires acceptance of two
> moral judgements as objective maxims which history clearly has shown
> multiple times are most definitely NOT objective or even more objective
> than others. Because history has shown this, it is therefore
> objectively wrong to assert otherwise to rationalize unobjective acts
> or policies.
> Mike Lorrey

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