30 November 2017

Video of the day -- truths about morality

I included this video in my earlier post about AronRa, but I'm bringing it back because it's especially relevant after the discussion on morality here.  AronRa fisks a video on the Ten Commandments by Christian Dennis Prager, and thereby covers a lot of the basic theist claims -- that you can't be "good without God", that morality isn't "real" morality unless it has a higher-than-human origin, and so forth.  It's striking how again and again Prager makes his case by abstract arguments about what he believes should "logically" follow from various premises, and again and again AronRa pulverizes him by citing real-world events and data -- what actually has happened and does happen.  (Note that Prager's strongest point is the one about mass killings under fascism and communism, where he finally does cite real-world events.)  Also please note the excerpt from Steven Pinker at 13:50, which I found especially thought-provoking.


Blogger Harry Hamid said...

This is fantastic. It is surprising to me that so few people understand how a shared morality could happen without God as the backbone. We live in societies, where socializing is pretty heavily imbued from a very young age. We take on ideas more than we even realize in order to function.

A society in which random murder of others in the society was part of the handed-down socialization would not survive.

Add to that the fact that most of us both a) hope that we will be treated fairly and not cruelly, and b) have mirror neurons in our brains whereby we usually picture ourselves as experiencing what we see others experiencing, and you have a situation in which we typically don't want others to be treated badly and see the advantage of certain rules.

You don't need the threat of eternal damnation after death for that.

30 November, 2017 18:30  
Blogger Daniel Wilcox said...

Hey Infidel753, Thanks for posting this intriguing and well done video.

This Prager guy evidently knows very little actual history. For instance, his claim that universal human rights come from the 10 Commandments is so historically inaccurate that it's laughable. Furthermore, his philosophy--Divine Command Theory--often leads to horrific results, as Aron-Ra powerfully points out by referring to the massacres, enslavement, and genocide in the Hebrew Bible.

I plan to check out other stuff by Aron-Ra.


01 December, 2017 00:54  
Blogger Shaw Kenawe said...

I finally got a chance to watch this uninterrupted. It was excellent and above all, rational.

It has been my experience that people like Prager are smugly ignorant and use the Bible to stay that way.

02 December, 2017 08:52  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Thanks for the comments. AronRa is a very effective and knowledgeable spokesman for atheism, and I highly recommend his work.

02 December, 2017 15:42  
Blogger Daniel Wilcox said...

Rather ironic, even sort of funny, that AronRa is a "spokesman for atheism," yet his view of ethics isn't relativistic (like so many famous atheists),
while Dennis Prager,
allegedly is a spokesperson for Christian ethics, but appears to support unobjective 'divine command theory,' besides having no understanding of how the abolition of slavery and the discovery of human rights came about, against most creedal Christianity.

As I wrote on another blog a couple days ago, these sort of odd conundrums end up making me do the philosophical splits because it seems I have far more in common with atheists such as AronRa with his moral realism,
than I do with most theists, even though I am an intellectually convinced theist.

Goes to show how complicated life is and how uncertain labels are.

02 December, 2017 20:11  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

AronRa's views on morality are pretty typical for atheists I'm familiar with, although most people don't think it through to that degree of detail. This "relativistic" thing seems to be just something theists accuse atheists of, not something I hear about from actual atheists (some of them may espouse it, but I haven't seen that).

03 December, 2017 04:54  
Blogger Daniel Wilcox said...

You wrote, "just something..."

It's true that religious leaders such as Prager make such a charge, but their own views are so bad that no wonder you and many others don't take them seriously.

But there are actually many famous atheists I studied formally at the University of Nebraska and Long Beach State who denied the reality of ethics.
Furthermore, most of our professors were agnostics and atheists, and one was a hard Marxist atheist.
Then for over 50 years I read many of the most famous atheist tomes and talked in detail with thousands of atheists, etc. (I can provide some documentation if you don't think I am telling you the facts.)

Heck, in the last few months, atheists have repeatedly told me that it is only my "subjective" preference that slavery, rape, slaughter, etc. are wrong.

HOWEVER, I realize there are many multi-millions of atheists in the world. They come in all sorts and sizes, right-wing, left-wing, etc.

I strongly support AronRa's ethical views that he presented but am totally opposed to atheists who claim that ethics are "subjective,' and that human rights, equality, and liberty are a "myth." For the latter, read Israeli historian Yuval Noah Harari. I have my marked up copy of his book, Sapiens, right here in my book shelf. We studied it in our Thinkers' Book Club last year.

One atheist several years ago even wrote a statement that the Holocaust and liking a certain beverage are actually in the same category--ethics are only about like and dislike, not real evil.

Putting those two entirely different things, one a minor personal like, the other one of the most horrendous events of history....as similar in human liking and disliking
Words don't even describe
how horrific such a view of ethics is:-(

Also, one of my heroes is the French atheist, philosopher, and novelist Albert Camus. In his later work he totally rejected the sort of relativism that is so popular among most of the atheists that I am familiar with.

I am thankful for atheists who are moral realists.

03 December, 2017 09:03  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Well, if I ever run into an atheist who thinks morality "isn't real" or whatever, I'll take appropriate precautions. In the meantime, I think ArnoRa's info on actual relative levels of moral behavior towards the end of the video speaks for itself.

03 December, 2017 12:05  

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