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 Post subject: The Euthyphro Dilemma
PostPosted: Tue Dec 21, 2004 2:26 pm 
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Vorpal Bunny Slipper
Vorpal Bunny Slipper

Joined: Sun May 12, 2002 2:54 am
Posts: 2707
"Are morally good acts willed by God because they are morally good, or are they morally good because they are willed by God?"

This is known as the Euthyphro dilemma. Inspired by the Euthyphro dialogue by Plato (but not actually taken from it), it is an argument against divine command theory -- the notion that morality is determined by the command of God (or gods), that God is the ultimate origin and standard of morality.

The first half is "Are good acts willed by God because they are morally good?" If this is the case, it would mean that the act is good even without God's command. This implies that morality exists independent of God, that actions can be judged moral without God. God would have some external criteria by which to judge acts, and so those wanting to be moral could just cut out the middleman and follow those criteria. Acts would then be able to be moral independent of God's command; thus, divine command theorists would have to reject this notion.

The second half is "Are morally good acts morally good because they are willed by God?" If this is the case, then morality is meaningless, because God could will any act he wanted and it would be good. Morality would be arbitrary. If you were to reply to this by saying "God would never command evil acts", then you are faced with another dilemma. If the determination of evil acts is based on certain criteria, then that would imply that there is a morality independent of God, and the divine command theorist has already denied that. If this is not the case, then "God would never command evil acts" is a useless tautology, since anything God willed would be good by definition.

Thus, according to the Euthyphro argument, divine command theory is false: God is not the foundation of ethics and morality: either morals are independent of God or they are arbitrary and meaningless.

Discuss.

_________________
Scharr, scharr, verscharr das Gebein, grab es tief unten im Keller ein.
Später dann graben es andere aus, und nennen dein Haus das Knochenhaus.
Scharr, scharr, verscharr das Gebein, leg auch ihre weißen Schädel hinein.
Mit Beton gießt du es aus, das Fundament vom Knochenhaus.
Scharr, scharr, verscharr das Gebein, da ist noch Platz, da paßt noch wer rein.
Hier tobte sich der Teufel aus, unten im Keller im Knochenhaus.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 21, 2004 3:43 pm 
An interesting argument indeed, and I'm going to put my own twist on things by implementing evolutionary theory too.

So, let's have four tribes of early man, each with its own set of rules.

1) has no rules, with murder, rape and so on rife becuase its "God" says that's good. (I'm taking God as a fictional being at this point, but I'm not claiming his non-existance.)

2) Another has the rules of Judaism around the time of Moses, with the Ten Commandments at the heart.

3) Another is similar to 2) only without the idolatry law.

4) is also similar to 2), but doesn't have the Honor thy Parents

Which one will survive?

The one with no morals will eventually kill itself off, and logically this should happen with any religion that enacts rules thar are not beneficial to the majority of its believers - for example the people being murdered, raped etc.

The second one should do well, as its morals benefit the people, as well as the God, so the believers won't lose faith and they'll live long enough to breed the next generation if they follow the rules. We all know how successful that is, but that's another debate.

The third, dismayed by their lack of control, will turn to idolatry, which doesn't benefit God. This leaves them open to an impressive priesthood, which might result in 1) or 2)

The fourth will survive to breed, but with no proper respect the tribe will crumble as the children will only stay if their is benefit for them, not becuase God says so. So, the children will either end up in 1) or 2).

So, if the morals of a religion are good, then that Tribe will survive. So, logically, if a God wants believers to follow Him, he will make rules that benefit both Him and His followers spiritually, not just physically like in 1). So the rules will be good becuase God chose them only if God chose them becuase they are good. A circular answer, really.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 21, 2004 4:05 pm 
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Vorpal Bunny Slipper
Vorpal Bunny Slipper

Joined: Sun May 12, 2002 2:54 am
Posts: 2707
Don't take this the wrong way, but I have no idea at all what you're getting at. :/

_________________
Scharr, scharr, verscharr das Gebein, grab es tief unten im Keller ein.
Später dann graben es andere aus, und nennen dein Haus das Knochenhaus.
Scharr, scharr, verscharr das Gebein, leg auch ihre weißen Schädel hinein.
Mit Beton gießt du es aus, das Fundament vom Knochenhaus.
Scharr, scharr, verscharr das Gebein, da ist noch Platz, da paßt noch wer rein.
Hier tobte sich der Teufel aus, unten im Keller im Knochenhaus.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Dec 22, 2004 1:19 am 
Seems to be saying that religious laws are Darwinian, based on their benefit to the society that observes them. By which I take it to mean an indirect support of Darwin-as-God/morality; morality is whatever increases your ability to successfully transmit your genes down through the ages. By which I take it to mean that he/she/it supports morality as being seperate from God's will. But it's late, and I'm dehydrated.

As for you, Jerry, it's hard to discuss something that that I just plain agree with, so I'll just have to wait until someone comes and disagrees. :lol:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Dec 23, 2004 2:39 pm 
Pretty much, Ker, although I don't know what you mean by "Darwin-as-God/morality".

I'm a guy, by the way.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Dec 23, 2004 4:03 pm 
She means you base your morality on long term survival of a gene pool.

I must disagree with your predictions, by the way. Anarchy will result in some mob boss emerging and starting rules, not total obliteration.

I don't see what's wrong with idolatry. Various idols have been worshipped for centuries. What of it? For that matter, I don't know if you've noticed, but an "impressive priesthood" can emerge from judeo christian religion too. And how the heck is it supposed to result into anarchy?

As for your fourth... Just too weird. no idea what you're talking about.

On that subject: obviously old ethics are ethics that promote society surviving for a long time. But it could mean a lot of things, including human sacrifice, cannibalism, pedophilia... What we have now, and that we like to call judeo christian, (as opposed to the judeo christian moral of burning people at the stake) is good enough, I suppose, but there's no call to be that impressed with it.

As for the topic itself: not a clue. (Now that was constructive, wasn't it?)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Dec 23, 2004 7:03 pm 
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Vorpal Bunny Slipper
Vorpal Bunny Slipper

Joined: Sun May 12, 2002 2:54 am
Posts: 2707
Anh Minh wrote:
As for the topic itself: not a clue. (Now that was constructive, wasn't it?)


Awww. :(

I think I need to start more debate-conducive topics. :(

_________________
Scharr, scharr, verscharr das Gebein, grab es tief unten im Keller ein.
Später dann graben es andere aus, und nennen dein Haus das Knochenhaus.
Scharr, scharr, verscharr das Gebein, leg auch ihre weißen Schädel hinein.
Mit Beton gießt du es aus, das Fundament vom Knochenhaus.
Scharr, scharr, verscharr das Gebein, da ist noch Platz, da paßt noch wer rein.
Hier tobte sich der Teufel aus, unten im Keller im Knochenhaus.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Dec 23, 2004 7:07 pm 
It looks to me like Mcfarlane Salsa is saying that if people don't have a code of behavior spelled out for them, in detail, they behave 'badly'.

Sorry, Jerm, I have no interest or ability to participate in your discussion, as it is. I don't care how many angels can dance on a pin.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Dec 23, 2004 7:24 pm 
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Vorpal Bunny Slipper
Vorpal Bunny Slipper

Joined: Sun May 12, 2002 2:54 am
Posts: 2707
Nine.

_________________
Scharr, scharr, verscharr das Gebein, grab es tief unten im Keller ein.
Später dann graben es andere aus, und nennen dein Haus das Knochenhaus.
Scharr, scharr, verscharr das Gebein, leg auch ihre weißen Schädel hinein.
Mit Beton gießt du es aus, das Fundament vom Knochenhaus.
Scharr, scharr, verscharr das Gebein, da ist noch Platz, da paßt noch wer rein.
Hier tobte sich der Teufel aus, unten im Keller im Knochenhaus.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Dec 23, 2004 7:43 pm 
One. And I've forgotten which dance.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Dec 23, 2004 9:09 pm 
Show your work, both of you.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Dec 24, 2004 2:26 pm 
Pronto wrote:
It looks to me like Mcfarlane Salsa is saying that if people don't have a code of behavior spelled out for them, in detail, they behave 'badly'.

Sorry, Jerm, I have no interest or ability to participate in your discussion, as it is. I don't care how many angels can dance on a pin.


Pretty much, yeah. Oh, and it's 16.


Anh Minh wrote:
I must disagree with your predictions, by the way. Anarchy will result in some mob boss emerging and starting rules, not total obliteration.

I don't see what's wrong with idolatry. Various idols have been worshipped for centuries. What of it?

As for your fourth... Just too weird. no idea what you're talking about.


A mob boss starting rules would be the same as a priest starting rules, as they would most probably benefit him, not the people.

Idolatry inevitably ends up with the people losing faith in a God they can see is false and has no power, so they go over to either Judeo-Christianism, or end up being controlled by the priesthood.

The fourth I didn't go into much, so I'll explain myself. Religion is strongest when it passed down through the adults to the children, and more specifically the parents. If the parents are respected, chances are they won't listen and leave.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Dec 24, 2004 3:24 pm 
Mcfarlane Salsa wrote:
Pronto wrote:
It looks to me like Mcfarlane Salsa is saying that if people don't have a code of behavior spelled out for them, in detail, they behave 'badly'.

Sorry, Jerm, I have no interest or ability to participate in your discussion, as it is. I don't care how many angels can dance on a pin.


Pretty much, yeah. Oh, and it's 16.


According to George Lucas, it's 10,000.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Dec 24, 2004 4:47 pm 
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Vorpal Bunny Slipper
Vorpal Bunny Slipper

Joined: Sun May 12, 2002 2:54 am
Posts: 2707
Mcfarlane Salsa wrote:
Idolatry inevitably ends up with the people losing faith in a God they can see is false and has no power, so they go over to either Judeo-Christianism, or end up being controlled by the priesthood.


A) Judeo-Christianity is not the only alternative to idolatry.
B) Judeo-Christianity itself is not immune to idolatry; for instance, images of Christ and the Virgin Mary.
C) People can lose faith in any God, regardless of whether it's in idol form.
D) The success of idolatry, I would suspect, is dependent on the skills of those pushing it. If the priests come up with convincing reasons why the little wooden totem is, in fact, in charge of making your crops grow, people aren't going to think too much. After all, the priests know what they're talking about, right?

_________________
Scharr, scharr, verscharr das Gebein, grab es tief unten im Keller ein.
Später dann graben es andere aus, und nennen dein Haus das Knochenhaus.
Scharr, scharr, verscharr das Gebein, leg auch ihre weißen Schädel hinein.
Mit Beton gießt du es aus, das Fundament vom Knochenhaus.
Scharr, scharr, verscharr das Gebein, da ist noch Platz, da paßt noch wer rein.
Hier tobte sich der Teufel aus, unten im Keller im Knochenhaus.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Dec 24, 2004 5:30 pm 
Mcfarlane Salsa wrote:
Anh Minh wrote:
I must disagree with your predictions, by the way. Anarchy will result in some mob boss emerging and starting rules, not total obliteration.

I don't see what's wrong with idolatry. Various idols have been worshipped for centuries. What of it?

As for your fourth... Just too weird. no idea what you're talking about.


A mob boss starting rules would be the same as a priest starting rules, as they would most probably benefit him, not the people.

It'd benefit both. For starters, less random murder - it's counter-productive. A mob boss is just the beginning of a feudal society. Not ideal, but what is?

Quote:
Idolatry inevitably ends up with the people losing faith in a God they can see is false and has no power, so they go over to either Judeo-Christianism, or end up being controlled by the priesthood.

What Jeremiah said. And how the hell does the priesthood end up in control if people don't believe in the priests' big invisible friend? Except through more secular means of control, of course, but then how relevant is it that they're priests?

Quote:
The fourth I didn't go into much, so I'll explain myself. Religion is strongest when it passed down through the adults to the children, and more specifically the parents. If the parents are respected, chances are they won't listen and leave.

That's not the problem. I just can't imagine a society where kids aren't brought up to respect those who raise them (or at least, those who pay for their upbringing). Religion doesn't even come into the picture.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Dec 25, 2004 12:14 am 
How many angels can dance on a pin?

As many as care to.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Dec 25, 2004 12:50 pm 
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Janitor
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Location: In the middle of the Pacific Ocean, somewhere.
Quite so, Jer, thank you.

I don't know about you, but I hate it when people coach a religious argument in terms of "There's my religion...and then there's falsehood."
Which is exactly how McFarlane Salsa's post read.
It read as to mean,
"Once you progress past idolatry, you will uplift into Judeo-Christianity".

Right. Especially with the "You have nothing, you have my way, and you have my way with weaknesses that I choose to illustrate. Surely, you can see that my way is the only way that works."

Reductio ad absurdum using a secular item.

Once you find out that Toyotas and Hondas are falsehoods, you will progress to a Chrysler.
Say, you had one group with no Chrysler, one group with the Chrysler, and one group that has a Chrysler but will pour whatever is cheapest at the gas station into the fuel tank (paying tribute to whatever one-armed idol is the easiest, ya think?), and one group that has a Chrysler but does not follow the service manual (ay, don't attend services, do they! They do not respect the wishes of the maker of the Chrysler!),

Finish argument with the first group finding itself very slow to get around, the second group tootling around merrily and getting things done, the third eventually choosing the wrong pump and filling their tank with diesel--or water, when some squeegee-jockey tells them that the water is free--and the fourth inevitably burning out when their oil turns to burned tar.

No mention, of course, of the drivers of Chevrolets, Fords, Nissans, Lexi (oh wait, that would be Lexusus, I suppose) and the occasional Ferrari that share the roads.

See how silly that sounds, now?

Oh, and by the way, merry Christmas.

Which is actually by large adapted from other religions that Christians ran into in their travels and integrated in the process of absorbing--go ahead, tell me where in the Bible there is Saint Nicholas Claus (aka Santa Claus, Santa meaning "Saint" in Latin") and the order to decorate trees in remembrance of Christ?

Edit: while I'm at it, can you imagine the debates that would crop up in the ranks of those who have found Chrysler?

Sebring vs. PT Cruiser vs Town and Country...and that's just the Reformed interpretations! Then there'd be the splinter groups and acquisitions--the Faith of Jeep, the Dodgminican Order...


Last edited by Ishidan on Sat Dec 25, 2004 7:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Dec 25, 2004 1:58 pm 
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Vorpal Bunny Slipper
Vorpal Bunny Slipper

Joined: Sun May 12, 2002 2:54 am
Posts: 2707
Ishidan wrote:
Edit: while I'm at it, can you imagine the debates that would crop up in the ranks of those who have found Chrysler?


"DAIMLER HATES KIAS"



*sighs* I guess no one is interested in debating the existence or nonexistence of divine command theory :( I guess if I want a good debate I'll have to say something controversial like "Jesus was a rock!" or something.

_________________
Scharr, scharr, verscharr das Gebein, grab es tief unten im Keller ein.
Später dann graben es andere aus, und nennen dein Haus das Knochenhaus.
Scharr, scharr, verscharr das Gebein, leg auch ihre weißen Schädel hinein.
Mit Beton gießt du es aus, das Fundament vom Knochenhaus.
Scharr, scharr, verscharr das Gebein, da ist noch Platz, da paßt noch wer rein.
Hier tobte sich der Teufel aus, unten im Keller im Knochenhaus.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 27, 2004 3:47 pm 
Claim a victory, Jer, and walk away. :roll:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 27, 2004 10:08 pm 
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Vorpal Bunny Slipper
Vorpal Bunny Slipper

Joined: Sun May 12, 2002 2:54 am
Posts: 2707
*Mortal Kombat voice*

JEREMIAH... WINS!

_________________
Scharr, scharr, verscharr das Gebein, grab es tief unten im Keller ein.
Später dann graben es andere aus, und nennen dein Haus das Knochenhaus.
Scharr, scharr, verscharr das Gebein, leg auch ihre weißen Schädel hinein.
Mit Beton gießt du es aus, das Fundament vom Knochenhaus.
Scharr, scharr, verscharr das Gebein, da ist noch Platz, da paßt noch wer rein.
Hier tobte sich der Teufel aus, unten im Keller im Knochenhaus.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 28, 2004 1:15 am 
/me crowns Jerm "King of the Forum Debate".

Can you imagine a world where Pronto is allowed to arbitrate anything?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 28, 2004 10:07 am 
That'd be one scary dystopia.


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