[ExI] The mosque at Ground Zero.

Jebadiah Moore jebdm at jebdm.net
Tue Aug 17 04:47:03 UTC 2010

On Mon, Aug 16, 2010 at 3:33 PM, darren shawn greer
<dgreer_68 at hotmail.com>wrote:

> >> in conclusion, there is no objective morality
> >
> > . . . is a morally objective statement.
> >
> > Nope, but it is an objective one. Just not *morally* objective
> > statement. It'd be morally objective if I said "belief in objective
> > morality is evil", which I didn't.

> Yup. I thought twice about putting "morally" in the above objection, and
> then decided it was, as well as being objective, also morally objective.
> Reasoning: if guy A says bananas are good. And guy B says bananas are bad,
> and guy C comes along and says that bananas are neither good nor bad, they
> only seem that way to guy A and B because of their perspectives.
> But guy D. He says, then bananas are neither good nor bad? They are
> objectively tasteless? tastlessness is in fact their objective nature?
> Isn't tastlessness also a taste? A kind of judgement and perspective as
> well, made from inside a system with an opposite view waiting to be aired
> from inside another system?

Not really.  It's a judgement, but one of a different type.  If you ask me
what color chairs are, and I say that chairs don't have an intrinsic color,
I'm not "actually" saying that they have a color and that color is
colorlessness.  Person D isn't saying (or shouldn't be, given that it seems
you're saying that I am to him as morality is to bananas) that they are
tasteless (and I'm not saying acts don't have a morality), just that acts
aren't good or bad objectively and that the assignment of a value depends on
your perspective.  Just like in relativistic physics, where objects don't
have a velocity absolutely, only relative to a certain perspective.

> This is where things get tricky for relativism. I agree that once you use
> logic to extricate yourself from the base-level moral system( bananas are
> good or bad) you can say you're done. Any further discussion about it is
> just a semantics/logic game.
> The problem is we keep playing it anyway.

Even once you've said that there isn't a universal moral system, there are
plenty of interesting things left to do.  You can examine correlations
between systems and backgrounds, you can convince people to convert to your
system, you can relate your system of morality to your system of values in
general, you can devise new moral systems with maximal acceptance for a
group or even humanity as a whole, etc.  Flawed as they are (I sometimes
wish we could circumvent morality entirely and just use our "true" values
directly to make judgments), a sense of morality seems to be built-in by
evolution, so I say we figure out the best way to use it.  Just like any
other tool.

> When I first joined this group I suggested that any discussion about God's
> existence --pro or con-- was in fact a huge waste of time. I believe the
> same thing about relativism vs objectivism. Another way to frame that
> argument is fundamentalism vs modernism. It's been raging for thousands of
> years and maybe longer.

I think I've answered most of the questions with regard to my form of
relativism pretty convincingly.  Convincingly to me, at least, as well as to
other people around me.  And I've been able to convince others to believe

And I don't think it's a matter of stubbornness; I came from a very
absolutist Christian background, and have changed my view many times in
response to other peoples' logic, as well as my own.  But perhaps I've
become stubborn in my old age and not realized it.

> In practically every intellectual discipline known to man.
> Everyone keeps refining their arguments based on the last guy's try 'till
> the original question, the one everyone should be asking, is lost: why in
> the hell do we care how other people frame their beliefs anyway if it
> doesn't interfere with my way of life? I still think evolutionary psychology
> offers some clues: we're still operating in a brand new world with very old
> survival programming.

It's a pretty interesting question.  A related one is, "why do we fight so
hard to prove other people on the internet wrong"?

> > Or alternatively, just have one guy take over the world with absolute
> > power,
> Seriously suggested not only as a possibility, but as an inevitability, by
> U.S. foreign policy thinker Robert Kaplan in his book "The Coming Anarchy."

I definitely think it's a possibility, perhaps an inevitability.  And I
believe it could, at least potentially, be a good thing.  I'll have to read
the book.

Jebadiah Moore
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