rd80 - Faith of the Fatherless

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rd80 - Faith of the Fatherless

Post  Fletch on Tue Mar 01, 2011 12:21 pm

Post your thoughts on episode 80 here.

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Re: rd80 - Faith of the Fatherless

Post  kakafacade on Wed Mar 02, 2011 12:36 am

Hitler is curiously missing from your list of prominent atheists with abusive/absent fathers.

This desire utilitarianism thing is intriguing. Can a utilitarian account for the relativity of the morality of actions that are not apparently thwarting or fulfilling of desire until a later date/revelation/event/context? Were they good before the catalytic moment and bad after? Does a current context mean that one can consider them bad in the past as well, despite not-thwarting-desires back then? I'm having some difficulty coming up with a good example here.

Great show. Thanks for sharing.

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Re: rd80 - Faith of the Fatherless

Post  Fletch on Thu Mar 03, 2011 1:06 pm

I could be mistaken, but I believe the reason we didn't include Hitler is because Vitz didn't include Hitler in the interview.

Again, I could be wrong. The other possible reason for not mentioning Hitler is that labeling Hitler as either an atheist or a theist is controversial at best and tends to take the conversation in a different direction than the direction of this particular conversation.

And, I'm kind of proud of any conversation that doesn't involve Hitler. The guy gets enough press as it is.

As for desire utilitarianism, I'll let Justin take that on.

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Re: rd80 - Faith of the Fatherless

Post  kakafacade on Thu Mar 03, 2011 1:31 pm

Totally kidding about the Hitler thing. In retropect, I now understand that I was thwarting the desire of forum members to not constantly have to confront Godwin's law. Having understood the inutilitarianism of my action, I will refrain from it in the future, for the greater good.

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Re: rd80 - Faith of the Fatherless

Post  Neon Genesis on Fri Mar 04, 2011 8:52 pm

Isn't the whole "bad parenting leads to atheism" the same argument these Christians use to explain why people choose to be gay?

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Desire Utilitarianism Question.

Post  schiebs on Wed Mar 09, 2011 8:01 pm

kakafacade wrote: Can a utilitarian account for the relativity of the morality of actions that are not apparently thwarting or fulfilling of desire until a later date/revelation/event/context? Were they good before the catalytic moment and bad after? Does a current context mean that one can consider them bad in the past as well, despite not-thwarting-desires back then? I'm having some difficulty coming up with a good example here.

Evaluating wether a particular desire tends to thwart or fulfill other desires is a very separate matter from the hypothetical context it can be placed in. Evaluating the desire and evaluating the action are two very different things. If you come up with a specific example, I would be able to explain it much better.

The desire to have good personal hygiene and the desire for good health are both 'good' desires, desires worth promoting. Most of the time, this will mean that it is a 'good' action to take regular showers etc. The desire to live and the desire to want others to live is a desire that we have STRONGER reasons to promote. As in, while both desires for personal cleanliness and community life are 'good' there are some that are 'better'.

So, if we imagine that a small group of people is in a desert where water is rare, we would have reasons to condemn people who used the water for cleaning themselves, rather than using it for survival.

I hope that makes sense,
-Justin



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Re: rd80 - Faith of the Fatherless

Post  Neon Genesis on Fri Mar 11, 2011 12:38 pm

One of the arguments I've heard against moral consequentalism is that it justifies the use of eugenics and genocide. Like it might benefit humanity most if humans use eugenics to thin out the human race like how humans thin out animal sometimes thin themselves out. My basic response was that if we started justifying the use of eugenics, it would set a bad precedent for the future and enable dictators to abuse their power to wipe out innocent people like the Jews in the Holocaust which only benefit the people in charge and not the whole of humanity. What is you guys response to this argument? And I'm surprised the Doubtcasters didn't mention Sam Harris' new book, The Moral Landscape, which is solely about this question, if moral absolutes are possible for atheists.

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Re: rd80 - Faith of the Fatherless

Post  schiebs on Fri Mar 11, 2011 7:41 pm

Neon Genesis wrote:One of the arguments I've heard against moral consequentalism is that it justifies the use of eugenics and genocide. Like it might benefit humanity most if humans use eugenics to thin out the human race like how humans thin out animal sometimes thin themselves out. My basic response was that if we started justifying the use of eugenics, it would set a bad precedent for the future and enable dictators to abuse their power to wipe out innocent people like the Jews in the Holocaust which only benefit the people in charge and not the whole of humanity. What is you guys response to this argument? And I'm surprised the Doubtcasters didn't mention Sam Harris' new book, The Moral Landscape, which is solely about this question, if moral absolutes are possible for atheists.

While I don't hold to a consequentialist ethical theory, I don't know if your characterization was fair. I would say that we need to judge an action not by its consequences, but by the intentions of the person doing that act. If a good person (a person with desires that tends to fulfill other desires.) would intentionally do that act, then that act is permissible. A good person would not practice eugenics or genocide. I have not read Sam Harris' book but I am going to see him Notre Dame in April. I am pretty excited.

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Re: rd80 - Faith of the Fatherless

Post  mabell_yah on Mon Mar 14, 2011 8:43 pm

"God has a plan" is the ultimate manifestation of pareidolia.

"Atheist does not equal hedonist" is a good initial push-back on the immoral atheist argument.

I find it difficult to remember the fancy philosophical morality arguments. Instead, I like to claim that my atheist/humanist morals are well within the norm for our community. This effectively shifts the burden of proof to my opponent.

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