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William

Collective Ethics - Moralty

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by Consensus

 

Comment: As an atheist, it is true that it wouldn't be reasonable to believe that there's such a thing as an absolute, universal morality. Society plays a large part in deciding what's right and wrong. Well, what's so bad about that? Society is made up of people, and I trust our collective opinions to advise me in ethics more than I trust a two-thousand-year-old book written by several different authors ... Plus, it's not like society has it so bad compared to God's opinion that we shouldn't use it. Society in general thinks that killing and slavery is wrong, and God supposedly thinks that murder isn't such a good thing (despite all the 'accounts' in the Bible in which he blatantly murders people), so I guess we're not so different after all.

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Response: Thanks for your comment ... So then according to your logic, it seems to me you would have to believe slavery wasn’t wrong until there was a consensus that it was wrong. In other words, slavery wasn’t wrong in the 1700s, because at that time the collective opinion declared that such things were acceptable? So in response to this if you were to tell me that slavery WAS still wrong in 1700s even though most people didn’t feel that way, then I think you probably believe in moral absolutes. But if you tell me that it WASN'T wrong in the 1700s then it simply demonstrates the reality that slavery is not inconsistent with atheism.

 

Furthermore, morality has been very circular through human history and does not always progressively get better as time goes on. what if you saw the consensus about slavery eroding? On what basis, then, could you argue that the emerging new consensus is wrong, since, in your view, something is only wrong if there is a consensus that it is wrong?

 

I believe I could also demonstrate that currently there are plenty of cultures and places in the world that don’t agree with your ‘consensus.’ Would you argue, then, that the part of the world that believes in your idea of human rights is the enlightened, correct part? Does this mean they are the ones who are thinking "properly" and the others are not?

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This is a great article. Basically, the bigger the crowd the dumber they become and the more accepting they are to doing that are less 'morally' acceptable than if they were on their own. Think of how people act in riots compared to when they are by themselves. In a crowd, people feel safe to do things that under normal circumstances are completely horrible. Think of most of the social warriors on campuses today or the people who go against Trump rallies as current examples. For the most part, they get on youtube and whine to their audience about non-violence and tolerance. Then they get together and throw rocks at people who have opposing opinions and become aggressive to anything that isn't them. We have to be very careful about the culture of our society because it can either be very safe and supportive or violent and destructive.

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This is a great article. Basically, the bigger the crowd the dumber they become and the more accepting they are to doing that are less 'morally' acceptable than if they were on their own. Think of how people act in riots compared to when they are by themselves. In a crowd, people feel safe to do things that under normal circumstances are completely horrible. Think of most of the social warriors on campuses today or the people who go against Trump rallies as current examples. For the most part, they get on youtube and whine to their audience about non-violence and tolerance. Then they get together and throw rocks at people who have opposing opinions and become aggressive to anything that isn't them. We have to be very careful about the culture of our society because it can either be very safe and supportive or violent and destructive.

 

I agree. Societies current values are not a good guide. Society can be manipulated and moral values changed. Gay marriage is a good example of this. Until very recently it was unthinkable in every society. Now it is becoming common in most Western societies.

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