Originally Posted by Ansar Al-'Adl
Information and order are abstract concepts that we apply to objects and groups of objects. They are not corporeal in themselves, are they?
According to SLoT, the universe is locked into a state of declining order, is it not?
Yes, if I understand it correctly. (I'm not a physicist.)
Does this not seem to indicate that there has been some external source beyond our universe which has infused it with this order?
I don't see how it indicates this.
So if you went home one day and you saw a coffee mug floating in the air for a brief moment before settling back on the table, would you believe in God or would you run off to the psychiatrist?
If the coffee mug told me its motion was controlled by god (or gave me some other unambiguous indication of this), then I would believe.
You think that would be satisfactory for them? You think that if God followed this plan of yours no one should have an excuse to deny Him?
Of course, they might.
Religious traditions are not taken as proof in and of themselves.
No, but the memories of miracles that are alleged to have happened are often used as evidence in debates with atheists!
That is acceptable to you?
Why not? You are happy with that under the Islamic system.
:confused: I'm not sure what you mean by having the laws of physics updated. Are you implying that even after such a miraculous occurance mankind should immediately seek to explain it off as a natural phenomenon?
I'm talking about the situation you described where the same miracle was performed repeatedly. If this was the case, such an event would no longer be considered miraculous, and would have to be incorporated into any attempt at an explanation of the workings of the universe (i.e. the laws of physics).
I think it's because they don't normally occur or because they violate the laws of nature. If you saw someone flying through the air you wouldn't say, "Note to self: Flying through the air has just become a natural act".
Of course - but I would if it happened every day.
God does not ask us to do trivial things of no significance;
In my view, the Islamic prohibitions on pork, wearing silk (for men) and music are definitely trivial.
He asks us to forbid murder, theft, violence, rape, etc. and to enjoin love, compassion, truth, peace and justice, etc.
There's nothing wrong with that, but can humans not encourage these attitudes by themselves, with no need for god?
By making personal sacrifices in order to help others we are able to draw closer to God and appreciate His Mercy and Justice on a greater level.
If I do charitable deeds, how does this give me appreciation of god's mercy and justice?
I'll read Dr. Lang's article again later (I've read it before, at your suggestion).
Wait a second - knowing something and proving it are two different things are they not?
Yes - one is an action and one is a state, but proving normally leads to knowing - but that's slightly tangential to my point. People would know god existed if it had been proven.
I find the idea to be irrational because it is inconsistent with the concept of God and it also displays some arrogance on the part of human beings who seem to think they can dictate ridiculous stunts God must perform for them to believe in Him.
I don't know about the concept of god, or why my request is inconsistent with it, but if I am supposed to live my life according to the command of some being, and I am supposed to fear this being, I'd just like some evidence that it exists - that's all.
Are you sure you have not placed unreasonable requirments on what evidence is acceptable and what isn't?
What evidence do you think I am discounting that you would consider to be clear and unambiguous evidence of god's existence?
Can sentient self-conscious life arise out of insentient lifeless matter?
I don't know. One would have thought not, but could it be possible over billions of years?
The notion that a coherent observant analytical mind is exclusively composed of lifeless molecular interactions is inconceivable for me. If you're willing to believe that there is more to human beings than lifeless matter, then you're not entirely materialist, are you?
Let me explain. I am tempted to believe that our minds are more than complex chemical interactions, but I have no good reason for doing so. The fact that scientists cannot fully explain all brain functions in terms of deterministic reactions may not mean that there is something else (such as a soul) there, it may simply mean that they haven't yet studied the chemical reactions enough to understand them fully.
So, I am a materialist at the moment, but I'm happy to change that view should new evidence arise that persuades me that materialism is untenable.
Empathy is a moral value, is it not?
Sometimes, yes. Sympathy is always a moral value, though.
What I'm interested in knowing is why do you follow your moral value here instead of acting on what provides you with benefit?
What is it about us that makes us so opposed to causing harm and suffering to innocents? Would you attribute it to the 'extelligence' root mentioned? Or is it a value ingrained within human conciousness?
In the case of both of these first two questions, I think the answer lies with both nature and nurture (if 'nurture' is a fair interpretation of the word 'extelligence', which I'm not familiar with).
We naturally have the instinct to survive. We survive better in communities than as individuals. Morality helps to keep communities from self-destructing.
That is my basic position on the origin of morality. You may remember this from the "development of theism" discussion we had a few months ago. The next step on this sequence was the creation of religion.
Say it was a million dollars. If there was no risk of you getting caught, would you steal it? Why or why not?
It would depend on who I would be stealing from. I have to say, I'd be strongly tempted. After all, a million dollars is a million dollars!
Thanks for your honesty. I think it is a very important question since human beings conduct their daily lives on the baiss of this moral sense we have within us yet atheists do not know its origin. They don't know the answer to the question of where our moral sense comes from.
Correct. I've given an outline of a theory of the origins of morality that I think could be true, but it's not really possible to assess whether it is.
This question comes under the field of meta-ethics
, and there are lots of theories in that department, which shows how unsure people are about questions like this.
Are you looking for an answer or are you waiting for the answer to come to you :?
Looking / thinking / pondering. The default position, really.
Would you object to the legalisation of incestuos marriage between two consenting adults? Or the legalisation of necrophilic acts? Why or why not?
I would object, essentially for the same reasons I gave in my last post on these topics.
About the disgust reaction - do you agree that it is from 'extelligence' as root mentioned?
I'm not sure. I think it's possible that the disgust reaction exists within us naturally to protect us from things that could be harmful to us, in the same way that pain does, or the strong urge not to jump off a bridge does.
Do you think if you lived in a society where incestuous marriage and necrophilia were accepted in the way homosexuality is becoming accepted, you might accept them too?
That's an interesting question. I can't be absolutely sure, but I strongly believe that I would not accept them. I find the idea of homosexual sex unpleasant, but I find the idea of incest and necrophilia absolutely repulsive - it's an entirely different order of feeling.
Thanks for the links on animals - they were interesting. On morality, do you think it is relative or do you think there are some universal moral 'truths' that human morality more or less conforms too?
In the words of an ethicist, am I a believer in moral relativism or de-ontological ethics?
Again, I'm unsure. Moral relativism strikes me as unsound, since it could be used to justify almost anything, it seems to me. I tend towards the view that some things are just wrong in themselves, such as killing. It may sometimes be necessary, or indeed moral, to kill (e.g. to prevent more killings), but essentially it is wrong.
Also, the fact that the moral codes that have existed throughout the history of the world do seem to share the same essential core values leads me to suspect that these values may be naturally ingrained.