Skeptic Friends Network

Username:
Password:
Save Password
Forgot your Password?
Home | Forums | Active Topics | Active Polls | Register | FAQ | Contact Us  
  Connect: Chat | SFN Messenger | Buddy List | Members
Personalize: Profile | My Page | Forum Bookmarks  
 All Forums
 Our Skeptic Forums
 Social Issues
 Ethics Morality and Logic
 New Topic  Topic Locked
 Printer Friendly Bookmark this Topic BookMark Topic
Author Previous Topic Topic Next Topic  

Terryt88
Skeptic Friend

USA
120 Posts

Posted - 02/13/2004 :  14:52:07  Show Profile  Send Terryt88 a Yahoo! Message Send Terryt88 a Private Message
I am taking an ethics class right now. Well I can't really call it a true ethics class because it is geared towards Naval Officers, it still discusses some deep issues in ethics (even though it is HEAVILY swayed towards Christian ethics.)

Anyway.

My buddy and I got into a little mini debate about whether or not logic was a fundamental part to ethics. I basically said that without logic, ethical statements have no meaning. I guess what I mean by that is we must derive (secular) ethics from logical inferences about our world.

He disagreed. He said that since people can always draw some kind of conclusion that would contradict the logic used as basis, and since there exists fundamental morality in the world, logic was not a necessity.

Anyone have any thoughts, or maybe point out something I am missing?

To someone that is more skilled in Ethics this conversation may be stupid. The only class I have taken on ethics is the crappy one I am in now. So if I make no sense, I apologize before hand.

[Edited for spelling. -TT88]

Edited by - Terryt88 on 02/13/2004 14:52:56

filthy
SFN Die Hard

USA
14408 Posts

Posted - 02/13/2004 :  15:18:07   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send filthy a Private Message
Logic is a necessity in any and all endevors and philosophies. Without it, we would all be in asylums, staring at the walls with spit on our chins.

Tell your friend that he is a fine fellow, but he needs to put a little logic into his arguments.


"What luck for rulers that men do not think." -- Adolf Hitler (1889 - 1945)

"If only we could impeach on the basis of criminal stupidity, 90% of the Rethuglicans and half of the Democrats would be thrown out of office." ~~ P.Z. Myres


"The default position of human nature is to punch the other guy in the face and take his stuff." ~~ Dude

Brother Boot Knife of Warm Humanitarianism,

and Crypto-Communist!

Go to Top of Page

Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26007 Posts

Posted - 02/13/2004 :  17:27:03   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message
I'm still waiting for anyone to demonstrate that there is "a fundamental morality" anywhere. If that's even partly the basis for his rebuttal, it needs work.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
Go to Top of Page

Doomar
SFN Regular

USA
714 Posts

Posted - 02/15/2004 :  11:09:30   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Doomar's Homepage Send Doomar a Private Message
[quote]Originally posted by Terryt88
My buddy and I got into a little mini debate about whether or not logic was a fundamental part to ethics. I basically said that without logic, ethical statements have no meaning. I guess what I mean by that is we must derive (secular) ethics from logical inferences about our world.

He disagreed. He said that since people can always draw some kind of conclusion that would contradict the logic used as basis, and since there exists fundamental morality in the world, logic was not a necessity.


Its easy to argue in the world of a classroom, but put your conversation in a courtroom of 11 jurors trying the guilt or innocence of a person for the crime of murder. The facts are that a person had there life taken away by a brutal assault (throat cut by a knife, let's say). First, why are we even here in the courtroom?, Why are there jurors and and judge and prosecutor and defending lawyer? Reasonable people began a nation that would be ruled by representatives of the majority of the people (debatable today, but this was our start), who made laws initiating this procedure for the good of society. Much logic was used in forming this type of government. That logic, however, was based in previously known and accepted laws, in this case, taken mostly from the Bible. The root of ethics is the law of God, but these laws existed and were known to men from the very beginning. They were spelled out by God personally on Mt. Sinai, speaking to over 2 million people from the top of the mountain, as the people quaked below (Thou shalt not murder). That being said, the law of God does not defy logic or reason. We deem it reasonable for men to keep their life without threat of harm as long as they don't physically harm others. To take that life for money or twisted pleasure or even hate (without personal cause) because of race or some such reason, is deemed unacceptable to men who reason that their own life could be taken if laws/ethics were not devised to help prevent it. They also deem that such who do break this law should be removed from society to keep others safe from them, them being those without ethics regarding murder in this case.
Now consider the actual crime. It happened in a specific place at a specific time with specific people involved. "Just the facts, M'aam," Sergant Friday was found of saying. Facts are the basics of solving a crime. Logic is the policeman's friend, the lawyer's friend, the judge's friend, in fact, the defendants friend, if he is innocent. Facts are the enemy of the guilty ones and deceivers. Without logic to put together who dunn it, when, and why, we would live in an anarchy, with killings, robberies, rapes, and terrorism having a hay day, in spite of whatever preexisting morality there was, as people tend to do wrong, evil things. That is just the way it is. To deny it is to defy logic and reason.

Mark 10:27 (NKJV) 27But Jesus looked at them and said, “With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.”

www.pastorsb.com.htm
Edited by - Doomar on 02/15/2004 11:14:20
Go to Top of Page

Trish
SFN Addict

USA
2102 Posts

Posted - 02/15/2004 :  17:00:04   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Trish a Private Message
Terryt88,

I'm going to ignore Doomar for now.

I noticed you said geared for Naval Officers. Congrats if you're headed for the Navy and keep in mind joining MAAF. This ends this bit of Advertisement for a group that supports secular military members. Dave if necessary - you can edit this out.

Has your friend studied formal logic? Logic is essentially a formalized decision making process that allows an individual to readily spot the accuracy or inaccuracy of a set of statements. Ethics are a set of statements that are either correct or incorrect or some shade of gray (the more difficult ethical decisions fall into this realm - really). No logic is required when making a decision regarding ethics, perhaps it's not realized that we use some form of logic (perhaps incorrectly or not being aware of many logical fallacies ( http://www.datanation.com/fallacies/index.htm - a nice list of fallacies here)) when we reason any concept out to its conclusion. Such as: Premise (a) Killing is wrong (T), (b) Killing is good (F), (c) there are some occasions where killing is ok (gray area). Well, is it ok for me to kill if I feel there is some threat, i.e., where it is reasonable to use deadly force in defense of secured materials. Per the UCMJ, yeah, it's ok at that point to use deadly force. If I could remember where my Green Monster is, I'd go look it up for you.

Hope this helps a bit.

...no one has ever found a 4.5 billion year old stone artifact (at the right geological stratum) with the words "Made by God."
No Sense of Obligation by Matt Young

"Say what you will about the sweet miracle of unquestioning faith. I consider the capacity for it terrifying and vile!"
Mother Night by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

They (Women Marines) don't have a nickname, and they don't need one. They get their basic training in a Marine atmosphere, at a Marine Post. They inherit the traditions of the Marines. They are Marines.
LtGen Thomas Holcomb, USMC
Commandant of the Marine Corps, 1943
Go to Top of Page

Terryt88
Skeptic Friend

USA
120 Posts

Posted - 02/15/2004 :  18:20:27   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Terryt88 a Yahoo! Message Send Terryt88 a Private Message
quote:
Dave W.

I'm still waiting for anyone to demonstrate that there is "a fundamental morality" anywhere.

Ha! It's funny you ask. Seeing as how I am probably the only atheist in the class, I volunteered to give the presentation on "Natural Law." I will give you definition I was responsible for lecturing on.

The moral standard for Natural Law is:

"Those actions are right that promote the values specified by the natural inclinations of human beings."

At this point you may be asking yourself what exactly "natural inclinations" are. I know I was.

quote:
We might first consult psychologists, sociologists, or anthropologists. Some contemporary natural-law theorists use studies from the social sciences to defend their conclusions. However, the natural law tradition developed before the rise of the social sciences, and a more informal method of observation was used to discover the basic human inclinations. Most natural law theorists would maintain that these observations are still valid. We can divide the values specified by natural human inclinations into two basic groups: (1) biological values, which are strongly linked with our bodies and which we share with other animals, and (1) characteristically human values, which are closely connected with our more specifically human aspects. We can summarize the values and the natural inclinations that point to them as follows:

1. Biological
a. Life -
From the natural inclinations that we and all other animals have to preserve our own existence, we can infer that life is good, that we have an obligation to promote our own health, and that we have the right of self-defense. Negatively, this inclination implies that murder and suicide are wrong.

b. Procreation –
From the natural inclination that we and all other animals have to engage in sexual intercourse and to rear offspring, we can infer that procreation is a value and that we have an obligation to produce and rear children. Negatively, this inclination implies that such practices as sterilization, homosexuality and artificial contraception are wrong.

2. Characteristically Human Values
a. Knowledge -
From the natural tendency we have to know, including a tendency to seek knowledge of God, we can infer that knowledge is a value and that we have an obligation to pursue knowledge of the world and of God. Negatively this inclination implies that the stifling of intellectual curiosity and the pursuit of knowledge, including the pursuit of the knowledge of God, is wrong. It also implies that a lack of religion is wrong.

b. Sociability –
From the natural tendency we have to form bonds of affection and love with other human beings and to form groups or societies, we can infer that friendship and love are good and that the state, as an outgrowth of this tendency to form societies, is a natural institution and therefore good. We thus have an obligation to pursue close relationships with other human beings and to submit to the legitimate authority of the state. We can also infer that war can be justified under certain conditions if it necessary to defend the state. Negatively, this inclination implies that activities that interfere with proper human relationships, such as spreading slander and lies, are wrong. Actions that destroy the power of the state are also wrong, so natural law offers a basis for an argument against revolution and treason, except when the state is radically unjust.


Harris, C. E. "The Ethics of Natural Law"
taken from: Ethics for Military Leaders - pgs 354-355.



Annnnd how. Pretty much sums it up don't it. They were able to lump murder, homosexuality, atheism, and social disorder together in less than a page! How is that for efficiency!

LOL.

--------------------------------------------------------------------

Hello Doomar, nice to meet you.

I read through your post. I'm not really sure what it is you are trying to say.

God's (Christian Interpretation) Law = Ultimate Morality

If this was your point I would have to disagree. Although the ten commandments have some good one liners, I don't know if I could accept the fact that they constitute fundamental ethical laws.

My original question was more to the neccesity of logic when considering ethics in general than it was to non-secular morality.


------------------------------------------------------------------

Hi Trish!

Thanks for the link to MAAF. Never knew about it. Will definately check it out. Yeah Boron10 mentioned you used to be in the service as well. It's good to know there are other cool people out there.

quote:
Trish

Ethics are a set of statements that are either correct or incorrect or some shade of gray (the more difficult ethical decisions fall into this realm - really). No logic is required when making a decision regarding ethics, perhaps it's not realized that we use some form of logic (perhaps incorrectly or not being aware of many logical fallacies) when we reason any concept out to its conclusion. Such as: Premise (a) Killing is wrong (T), (b) Killing is good (F), (c) there are some occasions where killing is ok (gray area).

But how did you arrive at the conclusion that killing was bad?

How do you have a defintion of good without some kind of logical frame of reference?


quote:
Trish

Well, is it ok for me to kill if I feel there is some threat, i.e., where it is reasonable to use deadly force in defense of secured materials. Per the UCMJ, yeah, it's ok at that point to use deadly force.

We go over this one pretty regularly. Most of the different flavors of ethics we study discuss the example of having to use force at some point. This was especially discussed in the religious (and when I say religious, I mean Christian {sarcasm}) sections.

They all basically boil down to the same thing. If someone attacks you, he/she/state gives up their moral right to life. As a matter of fact we just did the section on "Just War Theory." It gives a defintion to the "agressor" and basically says agression is the only true crime one state can commit on another. Which therefore is punishable.



[Edited to add reply to Trish and Doomar - save on posts added. ]
Edited by - Terryt88 on 02/15/2004 19:15:33
Go to Top of Page

Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26007 Posts

Posted - 02/15/2004 :  20:31:05   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message
Terryt88 wrote:
quote:
Ha! It's funny you ask. Seeing as how I am probably the only atheist in the class, I volunteered to give the presentation on "Natural Law." I will give you definition I was responsible for lecturing on.

The moral standard for Natural Law is:

"Those actions are right that promote the values specified by the natural inclinations of human beings."

At this point you may be asking yourself what exactly "natural inclinations" are. I know I was.

[snip]

Annnnd how. Pretty much sums it up don't it. They were able to lump murder, homosexuality, atheism, and social disorder together in less than a page! How is that for efficiency!
It is terrifyingly efficient. And a wonderful demonstration of the fallacy that "what is" equals "what ought to be."

Of course, the funniest thing is that it also states, in no uncertain terms, that being a celibate priest, nun or monk is as equally unethical as being a homosexual, eugenecist, or family planning counselor.

Thankfully, "Natural Law" isn't the truly fundamental morality I was asking for, as it seems to depend on subjective measures and/or definitions of the term "inclination," and what to infer once an inclination is found. It seems obvious to me, for example, if "what the majority does" is how an inclination is found, that "the natural inclinations that we and all other animals have to preserve our own existence" allows us to infer that running away or hiding are good, and that active self-defense (fighting back, as opposed to being covered in spines or another passive defense) is actually unethical! There are numerous examples of homosexuality in humans and nature, but apparently not enough of them for the formulators of this "Natural Law" to consider it ethical, so it seems there is an artificial dividing line between "good" and "bad" which isn't implicit in the definition of the subject. I'm sure this has been argued back-and-forth by philosophers over the years, but I find the conclusions so ridiculous I'm not going to bother looking into it further right now.

Trish wrote:
quote:
This ends this bit of Advertisement for a group that supports secular military members. Dave if necessary - you can edit this out.
If a single mention of the MAAF constitutes an "advertisement," we'd probably have to delete every reference to Talk.Origins on this entire site. I am unwilling to set such a standard, though I won't dare speak for Kil or @tomic. Oh, and Valiant Dancer is Moderator for this particular folder, so things like this, here in "Social Issues," should be run past him, first.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
Go to Top of Page

Valiant Dancer
Forum Goalie

USA
4826 Posts

Posted - 02/16/2004 :  08:19:30   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Valiant Dancer's Homepage Send Valiant Dancer a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Trish

Terryt88,

I'm going to ignore Doomar for now.

I noticed you said geared for Naval Officers. Congrats if you're headed for the Navy and keep in mind joining MAAF. This ends this bit of Advertisement for a group that supports secular military members. Dave if necessary - you can edit this out.



Seems to be a suggestion to broaden horizons instead of a shameless plug. I don't have a problem with this.

:)

Cthulhu/Asmodeus when you're tired of voting for the lesser of two evils

Brother Cutlass of Reasoned Discussion
Go to Top of Page

Valiant Dancer
Forum Goalie

USA
4826 Posts

Posted - 02/16/2004 :  08:28:23   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Valiant Dancer's Homepage Send Valiant Dancer a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Doomar

[quote]Originally posted by Terryt88
My buddy and I got into a little mini debate about whether or not logic was a fundamental part to ethics. I basically said that without logic, ethical statements have no meaning. I guess what I mean by that is we must derive (secular) ethics from logical inferences about our world.

He disagreed. He said that since people can always draw some kind of conclusion that would contradict the logic used as basis, and since there exists fundamental morality in the world, logic was not a necessity.


Its easy to argue in the world of a classroom, but put your conversation in a courtroom of 11 jurors trying the guilt or innocence of a person for the crime of murder. The facts are that a person had there life taken away by a brutal assault (throat cut by a knife, let's say). First, why are we even here in the courtroom?, Why are there jurors and and judge and prosecutor and defending lawyer? Reasonable people began a nation that would be ruled by representatives of the majority of the people (debatable today, but this was our start), who made laws initiating this procedure for the good of society. Much logic was used in forming this type of government. That logic, however, was based in previously known and accepted laws, in this case, taken mostly from the Bible. The root of ethics is the law of God, but these laws existed and were known to men from the very beginning. They were spelled out by God personally on Mt. Sinai, speaking to over 2 million people from the top of the mountain, as the people quaked below (Thou shalt not murder). That being said, the law of God does not defy logic or reason. We deem it reasonable for men to keep their life without threat of harm as long as they don't physically harm others. To take that life for money or twisted pleasure or even hate (without personal cause) because of race or some such reason, is deemed unacceptable to men who reason that their own life could be taken if laws/ethics were not devised to help prevent it. They also deem that such who do break this law should be removed from society to keep others safe from them, them being those without ethics regarding murder in this case.
Now consider the actual crime. It happened in a specific place at a specific time with specific people involved. "Just the facts, M'aam," Sergant Friday was found of saying. Facts are the basics of solving a crime. Logic is the policeman's friend, the lawyer's friend, the judge's friend, in fact, the defendants friend, if he is innocent. Facts are the enemy of the guilty ones and deceivers. Without logic to put together who dunn it, when, and why, we would live in an anarchy, with killings, robberies, rapes, and terrorism having a hay day, in spite of whatever preexisting morality there was, as people tend to do wrong, evil things. That is just the way it is. To deny it is to defy logic and reason.




Herein lies the major fallacy of your post. The major ideas of morality enumerated by the Bible and codified by society (No murder, rape is wrong, violence as self-defense only, help people, etc) existed well before the writing of that document. They were fundamental universal morals that organized societies found most effective in keeping social unrest to a minimum. These took millenia to sort out.

I am likewise curious to which country you live in. Here in the states, 12 people sit on a criminal jury. Not 11.

Cthulhu/Asmodeus when you're tired of voting for the lesser of two evils

Brother Cutlass of Reasoned Discussion
Go to Top of Page

Trish
SFN Addict

USA
2102 Posts

Posted - 02/16/2004 :  10:33:05   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Trish a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Terryt88
Hi Trish!

Thanks for the link to MAAF. Never knew about it. Will definately check it out. Yeah Boron10 mentioned you used to be in the service as well. It's good to know there are other cool people out there.


Welcom to SFN Terry. No problem. MAAF wasn't around when I was in the Marines, and it felt really lonely being the only Marine that was uncomfortable with the rampant religiousity that I faced. After all, I was in uniform when I was told by the then VP that I shouldn't be considered a citizen or a patriot of the US. If it hadn't been for a SgtMaj comfortable enough with his religion telling me that the oath I took was to defend one idiots right to spout garbage so that someone could speak out against that garbage I might have tried getting out. (I asked how I could get out when I read that.)

quote:
Trish

Ethics are a set of statements that are either correct or incorrect or some shade of gray (the more difficult ethical decisions fall into this realm - really). No logic is required when making a decision regarding ethics, perhaps it's not realized that we use some form of logic (perhaps incorrectly or not being aware of many logical fallacies) when we reason any concept out to its conclusion. Such as: Premise (a) Killing is wrong (T), (b) Killing is good (F), (c) there are some occasions where killing is ok (gray area).


quote:
But how did you arrive at the conclusion that killing was bad?

How do you have a defintion of good without some kind of logical frame of reference?


Pure oversimplification for examples sake. Though, unwarranted killing prevents cohesion in society or a unit. This prevention of cohesiveness is bad for the society or unit. It prevents the ability to comfortably live without fear of your neighbor, whom you might have to depend upon in an emergency situation.


quote:
Trish

Well, is it ok for me to kill if I feel there is some threat, i.e., where it is reasonable to use deadly force in defense of secured materials. Per the UCMJ, yeah, it's ok at that point to use deadly force.

quote:
We go over this one pretty regularly. Most of the different flavors of ethics we study discuss the example of having to use force at some point. This was especially discussed in the religious (and when I say religious, I mean Christian {sarcasm}) sections.


It seems to be one commonly discussed in the military. I think the primary reason is to get the servicemember ready for the concept that they might actually have to aim a weapon at a living breathing person and squeeze the trigger.

quote:
They all basically boil down to the same thing. If someone attacks you, he/she/state gives up their moral right to life. As a matter of fact we just did the section on "Just War Theory." It gives a defintion to the "agressor" and basically says agression is the only true crime one state can commit on another. Which therefore is punishable.


Yup, so what's that do for us when the US is viewed as the agressor? Agression is so subjective, especially when the rounds are headed at you.

...no one has ever found a 4.5 billion year old stone artifact (at the right geological stratum) with the words "Made by God."
No Sense of Obligation by Matt Young

"Say what you will about the sweet miracle of unquestioning faith. I consider the capacity for it terrifying and vile!"
Mother Night by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

They (Women Marines) don't have a nickname, and they don't need one. They get their basic training in a Marine atmosphere, at a Marine Post. They inherit the traditions of the Marines. They are Marines.
LtGen Thomas Holcomb, USMC
Commandant of the Marine Corps, 1943
Go to Top of Page

Trish
SFN Addict

USA
2102 Posts

Posted - 02/16/2004 :  10:36:14   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Trish a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Valiant Dancer

quote:
Originally posted by Trish

Terryt88,

I'm going to ignore Doomar for now.

I noticed you said geared for Naval Officers. Congrats if you're headed for the Navy and keep in mind joining MAAF. This ends this bit of Advertisement for a group that supports secular military members. Dave if necessary - you can edit this out.



Seems to be a suggestion to broaden horizons instead of a shameless plug. I don't have a problem with this.

:)



Cool, I think that MAAF is necessary and has accomplished much good for those on active service.

...no one has ever found a 4.5 billion year old stone artifact (at the right geological stratum) with the words "Made by God."
No Sense of Obligation by Matt Young

"Say what you will about the sweet miracle of unquestioning faith. I consider the capacity for it terrifying and vile!"
Mother Night by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

They (Women Marines) don't have a nickname, and they don't need one. They get their basic training in a Marine atmosphere, at a Marine Post. They inherit the traditions of the Marines. They are Marines.
LtGen Thomas Holcomb, USMC
Commandant of the Marine Corps, 1943
Go to Top of Page

Doomar
SFN Regular

USA
714 Posts

Posted - 02/19/2004 :  04:04:38   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Doomar's Homepage Send Doomar a Private Message
[quote]Originally posted by Trish

quote:
Originally posted by Valiant Dancer

quote:
Originally posted by Trish

Terryt88,

I'm going to ignore Doomar for now.

I noticed you said geared for Naval Officers. Congrats if you're headed for the Navy and keep in mind joining MAAF. This ends this bit of Advertisement for a group that supports secular military members. Dave if necessary - you can edit this out.



Seems to be a suggestion to broaden horizons instead of a shameless plug. I don't have a problem with this.

:)



Cool, I think that MAAF is necessary and has accomplished much good for those on active service.
[/quote]


It really hurts to be ignored over and over again.....lol.

Mark 10:27 (NKJV) 27But Jesus looked at them and said, “With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.”

www.pastorsb.com.htm
Go to Top of Page
  Previous Topic Topic Next Topic  
 New Topic  Topic Locked
 Printer Friendly Bookmark this Topic BookMark Topic
Jump To:

The mission of the Skeptic Friends Network is to promote skepticism, critical thinking, science and logic as the best methods for evaluating all claims of fact, and we invite active participation by our members to create a skeptical community with a wide variety of viewpoints and expertise.


Home | Skeptic Forums | Skeptic Summary | The Kil Report | Creation/Evolution | Rationally Speaking | Skeptillaneous | About Skepticism | Fan Mail | Claims List | Calendar & Events | Skeptic Links | Book Reviews | Gift Shop | SFN on Facebook | Staff | Contact Us

Skeptic Friends Network
© 2008 Skeptic Friends Network Go To Top Of Page
This page was generated in 1.25 seconds.
Powered by @tomic Studio
Snitz Forums 2000