: : : :: Absolutely not. 'conscience,' like 'morality' is a social construct.
: : : Barry, in all honesty, don't you have to disprove the existence of God and therefore any moral standard He may have endowed us with to claim the above as an axiom?
: : Stuart, before you can even say the above, try providing any meaningful and verifiable justification of your statement.
: : Much as I may disagree with Barry on some points, he is entirely within his rights to make his statement; since he is starting from verifiable first principles; whereas you are not.
: : Thus, to make any vaguely substantial argument, you have to provide some empirical justification for believing that morality and conscience are universal.
: : : These statments, and others like them, made by you are predicated on belief, no? You believe there is no God - right?
: : : You certainly can't prove that.
: : Just as you can't prove the opposite; but you are basing your beliefs on something eternally unproveable, whereas he is basing his assertion on lack of evidence to the contrary.
: Wait a minute. The Bible is a basis for belief.
It is a basis for belief only if you assume that it is a basis for belief - which is circular reasoning.
You might as well say that the Koran is a sound basis for belief because it says that there is no God but Allah.
You cannot say that the Bible is inherently any sounder as a basis for belief than the Koran, the Talmud or The Lord of the Rings; they are self-referential, and justify their existence by their existence.
: : As such, his belief is more reasonable than yours; it can never be proven to be correct or incorrect; but it explains the perceived phenomena better.
: The seven deadly sins explain a lot too.
Non sequitur, Frenchy; you'll have to expand on that comment.
: : And if you disagree, perhaps you'd like to go and eat a pork chop in the centre of Mecca...?
: : After all, if you believe that your morality is the only correct one, you can't really suffer any blame for what happens to you...
: sure you can, and in this case would, because others would be wrong to harm a man who ate pork.
They'd be perfectly within the decrees of their faith to punish an unbeliever who ate 'unclean' animals in the Holy City.
: Would you defend their actions?
No, since I'm not a Moslem. However, anyone who showed such blatant disregard for the religious feelings of other religions would be asking for whatever ill fate came to them. It's called 'self-inflicted injury' in my book.
: Your position is that since there is no absolutes, not only would they be within their rights to do so, but that slavery is acceptable, ethnic genocide is acceptable, and come to think of it, that eliminating entire economic classes of people is OK too.
No, Frenchy; you are missing the point of tolerance; it cuts both ways.
There are good causes for not being able to claim that yours is the One True God; to do so, you have to claim that your invisible, infinite and unproveable being exists and Islam's doesn't. Neither party can ever prove that argument one way or the other.
: Hmmmmmmmm, sound familiar?
Yup. Virtually every major world religion has indulged in the above behaviour on a repeated basis (with the possible exception of Buddhism and Taoism).
(Perhaps you've never been to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. There is a staircase going down to the Chapel of St John, that is covered in carved crosses - carved in 1099 by the victorious Crusaders with their swords; who had just sacked Jerusalem and put many of its inhabitants into slavery and killed the rest. I've been there; I have pictures of the crosses, carved by all those devout Christian men...)
: : : Morality is only a social construct if there is no higher ideal imposed upon us by a higher source.
: : And of course, yours is the only correct morality, Stuart...
: Correct to the best of our knowledge.
The best of *your* knowledge (which conveniently overlooks sundry self-contradictions and glaring logical errors).
: : : If man's perception of right and wrong is continually evolving, how can you or anyone else have any intellectual integrity when using the language of moral absolutes?
: : Oh-ho, it's the old 'intellectual integrity' accusation; something that Stuart rolls out when he doesn't understand or agree with his opponent's point of view.
: But you don't answer. Is it because there is an internal contradiction in claiming to have answers while denying there are absolutes?
Nope: it's because Stuart had just lost an argument with me in the Anything Else room - during which he accused me of 'lack of intellectual integrity'.
I never claimed to have ultimate answers; never have done, never will do. What I did was point out the inherent contradictions and errors in Stuart's argument.
By analogy, I don't know if there is a basic number system inherent to the Universe(e.g. ei.pi+1 or similar); that doesn't stop me from correcting someone who insists that 1 + 1 = 3...
: : (Given that Stuart is to philosophy and theology what Dan Quayle was to politics and diplomacy, this ain't exactly rare...)
: Tut tut, ad hominems, from one who claims there are no absolutes, ie; 'your opinion is no better or no worse than mine'.
However, this is a debate; a logical (supposedly) and rational (also supposedly) meeting of opposing viewpoints; although I can't fault someone for believing there is or isn't a God, I can fault them on unsound premises.
: : : To attempt to emotionally persuade folks with moral absolutes is foolishness if you are merely a man with an opinion.
: : Except for you, of course; you have a hotline to The Almighty, don't you...?
: Ooops! another ad hominem. C'mon, the best you can do, if you really believe in what you say you do, is to say, 'oh, that's a nice opinion'.
Is the person in question willing to do the same to me?
No. Look at the whole thread in the Anything Else room.
I behaved in a very tolerant and reasonable fashion towards Stuart, who responded with lines like;
"Look where we get when a scientists starts to rationalize his poor behavior."
Give me a good reason I should be polite to Stuart when he tries exactly the same tactic with Barry that he tried with me...it is a waste of time being polite to people who respond with personal abuse and invective, and I've run out of patience with Stuart.
Tolerance is a virtue; but it is wasted on the intolerant; and Stuart has displayed blatant intolerance on enough occasions.
Which is why I called him 'a poor debater and a worse Christian.'
: All opinions are based only on current and impermanant things after all.
True. However, physical phenomena are generally very reliable; what goes up has always previously come down; whereas no two prophets have ever agreed on what God actually is.
(If nothing else, this should render the holders of religious beliefs among the most tolerant of people; unfortunately, it doesn't follow; people who hold religious opinions think that they have a special connection with the permanent and 'real'.)
: : To attempt to persuade folks with moral absolutes is a waste of time, since their faculties are so damaged by their obsession that they are unable to discard any obsolete article of faith.
: So tell me Far, is that an absolute opinion? LOL!
No, it's my opinion, as I implied. My opinion is not absolute and eternal; no-one's is...