BrentGolf wrote:You guys are completely missing Sam's points here. Every example you guys have been giving about bad things here and people getting killed there are totally irrelevant to his points. He's talking about what is and isn't moral, objectively.
TG said something about building objective facts on a subjective premise. This doesn't work, I'm afraid: any deduction built upon a subjective premise remains subjective. Building a vast swaying tower of layer upon layer of logic (as some thinkers are prone to do) so that the original premise is obfuscated, is just sleight-of-hand. More often than not it involves some subtle error of deduction.
People do immoral shit all the time, that says nothing to disprove his point.
The fact that they do
it would not, by itself, harm his theory. It's the reason
they do it that's the problem. Namely, they have moral concepts that do not accord with Harris's, and show no tendency to align with them.
Science doesn't have much to say about whether working on Sunday is immoral, or stoning your wife for adultery is immoral.
Indeed. I get that. And IMO that makes it a peculiarly useless theory. Of what practical application is it?
Let's take a different example: slavery. You probably all know that slavery has been more the rule than the exception for most of human history. That's not because people thought it was bad but did it regardless: few people want to think of themselves as "bad". They genuinely thought it was morally acceptable.
Now, since he's an awfully nice chap, I'd guess Sam Harris thinks slavery is bad. How would he debate the morality of slavery with African slave-traders, or American slave-owners? He couldn't. He has absolutely no objective reality to refer to that makes slavery inherently bad, nor could he construct an "objective" moral precept from his subjective view.
I don't think it's coincidence that abolitionists were mostly religious people and mounted their assault on slavery with religious diatribes, not logic. The only moral point of reference available to them was the Christian (specifically, Protestant) view that all men are brothers and children of God. However nonsensical you might consider that to be, it worked.
All the philosophical things like, oh did we really experience that, do we really feel, are we even really here? Nonsense. A smashed brain doesn't work anymore and a dead person is in a lower functional state than a living one, so smashing someones brain is immoral, objectively.
Personally I don't hold with all that "it's all an illusion" stuff, but triceratopses is quite correct in that the universe does not view a corpse as better than a living creature. They both have their place in the grand scheme of things.
He loves us? Then why did he create parasites that's life cycle involves eating eyeballs? God is mysterious
I touched on this point with the farming example. If you start from the assumption - as in Genesis - that God looked on his creation and saw that it was good, then there must logically be something good about eyeball-eating parasites. I confess I'm not sure what it is, but I've come across similar (although much less disturbing) problems before.
Example: I get some kind of nocturnal digging animal that roots around on my land, digging up new transplants. The "scientific" response is to put poison everywhere and wipe the bastards out. The more thoughtful response is to recognise that whatever-it-is (I'm told it's a skunk-like animal) likes digging, and can't be expected to know that this bit of land belongs to me. A bit of observation reveals that it will only dig in uncovered earth and is reluctant to dig through mulch. Solution: bring the mulch around the transplant stems, and if I want something dug over - such as a freshly-manured bed - leave it uncovered. Skunk turns the manure into the ground, for free, and is happy to be paid in worms. Transplants are largely left alone.
Moral of the story: if something is fucked-up, it could well be because humans are doing something wrong.
Why did he take so long to create us? Many billions of years have gone by with no people, that's weird. Yeah, he's very patient
My answer to that is that life would not work properly without evolution. It's an excellent design feature. Thermodynamics dictates that its a slow process.
Why? cause I said so
True enough, but the alternative postulates from atheists boil down to the same thing. Example: you clearly value your own life, you believe that the lives of others have value, and since you indulge in various forms of self-improvement, you believe that your own life has meaning. Why? Because.