Saturday, March 19, 2016

"I Dislike Red..." Versus The Case for Human Rights

Sounds good doesn't it? Human rights Justice, Equality, Honesty...

But almost every day in public, on the Internet, in books, in conversations, many human thinkers declare that ethics aren't objectively true,
have no basis in reality but are only subjective opinions,
temporary personal feelings,
and are only constructed by the human brain. No brain, no ethics.

Some claim that ethics are subjective and descriptive, not "ought" at all, because all existence is determinism from the Big Bang, so humans have no alternative choice.

Such smart thinkers have made these sorts of claims:

--I think coffee is tasty, and I think the Holocaust was wrong.

--Slavery is no more wrong than my dislike of the color red.

--Rape is a personal preference.

--The Nazis weren't absolutely wrong to execute others in the Holocaust.

--Morality is subjective.

--Murder and torture aren't always wrong.

--Ethics are only subjective likes and dislikes.

--Raping, molesting, and killing aren't wrong, but only "unpleasant."

--You are being an asshole if you think morality is objectively true.

--Objective moral truths don't exist.

--Altruism is a "misfiring" of evolution, "Darwinian mistakes."

--It is necessary to kill hundreds of thousands of civilians now in order to save our soldiers later.

What grossly immoral and irrational statements, such as comparing one's like or dislike of a drink with the torture and execution of 10 million innocent human beings:-(!

And claiming there are no human rights or no real justice.

I hope such relativistic individuals never serve on a jury where I live.

Contrary to what they are claiming, in a criminal trial, humans seek to be as objective as possible, to eliminate all personal preference and subjectivity, all "likes" and "dislikes," and to find out the truth and administer justice.

One time when I was in a jury selection process, another teacher and I were dismissed by the defense attorney, maybe because he thought we would be too hard on an older teen accused of abuse.

Ideally, he and the prosecuting attorney and the judge and the rest of the jury were there to achieve the most real and most fair justice possible.

Where does this increasing belief by atheists and others, that ethics aren't based in reality come from?

I'm not sure, but it is bafflingly incorrect.

Imagine trying to send a probe to Pluto like NASA did if everyone thought that math is a "self-construct," or "subjective," or a "personal preference," or only a only a group feeling or agreement!

Even more strangely, some of these thinkers who claim that ethics have no basis in reality also claim that math is a construct of the brain and will disappear when humans go extinct.


Long after we humans have ceased to exist, the cosmos will still continue to function by math.

Indeed, some mathematicians even think that reality is essentially math!

Even if all conscious life ceased the good, the just, the true, would still exist in the same way that mathematics would still exist even if there was no one to compute.

And where ever there is again somewhere in the cosmos, conscious self-aware rational creatures, they will consider reason, honesty, justice, courage, equality, generosity, fidelity, etc. as good and true,
irrationalism, dishonesty,injustice, cowardice, racism, greed, adultery, and disloyalty as bad and false.

As Martin Luther King Jr. stated strongly in his "Rediscovering Lost Values" speech, "The first is this-the first principle of value that we need to rediscover is
this-that all reality hinges on moral foundations."

"In other words, that this is a moral universe, and that there are moral laws of the universe, just as abiding as the physical laws."

"...some things are right and some things are wrong. (Yes) Eternally so, absolutely so. It’s wrong to hate..."

But, in contrast to this moral realism and related ethical truths based in the Enlightenment, many atheists and materialists, Divine Command Christians and Muslim leaders
claim that given a different situation and time,
slavery, slaughter, dishonesty could be what is good!

No wonder so few humans and governments actually practice human rights at present.

For at least 250 years, since the time of Thomas Paine and other rational thinkers, many humans have held that equality and human rights are true, and that inequality and the mistreatment and killing of others is wrong.

And the UN Declaration of Human Rights came out nearly 70 years ago, yet now most governments still don't practice human rights and so many American thinkers are denying their reality.

Consider this dialog:

Daniel:I don't live in Saudi Arabia, but it is wrong for every parent there and everywhere to mutilate female girls.

I don't live in Palestine/Israel, but it wrong for every human everywhere to slaughter innocent civilians such as the Palestinian young man who attacked a 70-year-old Jewish woman.

I don't live in Iran, but it is wrong for every society everywhere to deny freedom of speech and freedom of religion like the Iranian Government is doing.

Relativist: If ethics are objective, then why are they NOT wrong there in those countries?

Daniel: Because ethics are "ought," not what "is."

That's like asking why didn't people in the 14 century do calculus or launch space shuttles or cure malaria! Or for that matter why don't all humans do trigonometry?

The reason that millions of Muslims in Saudi Arabia and Egypt, Palestine, etc. still mutilate little female girls is for the same reason that many Americans still justify torture if it is done by us or are prejudiced--BECAUSE
they aren't living up to the reality of true ethics, but are still following some false immoral beliefs.

It's like asking why didn't humans stop the Black Plague? Because they followed false beliefs, and instead blamed Jews and witches and others for the millions of horrific deaths.

Only in the case of ethics, it's more complicated because a medical doctor can recognize germs and stop them, but that doesn't mean that every doctor will do what he ought!

Case in point: brilliant German doctors used their expertise to do immoral experiments on thousands of Jewish individuals. Russian scientists sent sane people to mental institutions and injected them with drugs.

Objective morality and human rights mean that genital mutilation is never right. In the here and now, everywhere. And if there is a conscious, reasoning, ethical alien race somewhere in a far off galaxy, it is wrong there, too.

Ethics and human rights are a constant challenge of what "ought" to be done. Ethics are transcendent, not instinctive.

Another example which shows that ethics aren't subjective:

Recently, a few famous journalists faked their reports, used plagiarism, and gave false information intentionally.

Notice, journalism authorities, newspapers, and the courts didn't say, "Well, ethics are subjective personal preferences, so no problem. Do your own thing."

No, the journalists were penalized, because dishonesty isn't a "subjective personal preference."

Not at all.

Another increasing problem in colleges and schools--cheating!

Is the cheating seen as a "personal preference" by the university, like it's only a student's favorite drink or favorite color?

No way. Students are often expelled for such immoral actions.

Honesty, human rights, justice, peace, kindness, compassion, etc. are objectively true--what "ought to be."


From Philosophy Basics:
"Moral Realism (or Moral Objectivism) is the meta-ethical view (see the section on Ethics) that there exist such things as moral facts and moral values, and that these are objective and independent of our perception of them or our beliefs, feelings or other attitudes towards them. Therefore, moral judgments describe moral facts, which are as certain in their own way as mathematical facts.

It is a cognitivist view in that it holds that ethical sentences express valid propositions (and are therefore "truth-apt" i.e. they are able to be true or false), and that they describe the state of the real world. It contrasts with various types of Moral Anti-Realism, including non-cognitivist or expressivist theories of moral judgment, error theories, fictionalist theories and constructivist or relativist theories.

Moral Realism has the advantage of purportedly allowing the ordinary rules of logic to be applied straightforwardly to moral statements, (so that we can say, for example, that a moral belief is false or unjustified or contradictory in the same way we would about a factual belief). It also allows for the resolution of moral disagreements, because if two moral beliefs contradict one another, Moral Realism (unlike some other meta-ethical systems) says that they cannot both be right and so there should be some way of resolving the situation.

Critics have argued that, while Moral Realism may be able to explain how to resolve moral conflicts, it cannot explain how these conflicts arose in the first place. Others have argued Moral Realism posits a kind of "moral fact" which is non-material and unobservable (in the way as objective material facts are observable), and therefore not accessible to the scientific method.

Plato and (arguably) Immanuel Kant and Karl Marx were moral realists, as well as more contemporary philosophers such as G. E. Moore and Ayn Rand..."


Consciousness, ethics, aesthetics, math, reason, human rights, justice, altruism, etc. are 'inherent' and 'transcendent.'

They are objectively true.

Reason, the Good, the True, the Just, the Beautiful are eternal.

In the Light,

Daniel Wilcox


Yekaterina Haussler said...

I agree with you, Daniel. Reason, the Good, the Right, and the Moral are eternal principles. However, many people do not learn those until much later in life, if ever. Why? I am not sure. (If I go into details now, I will get on my soap box of imperfect people and flawed society etc.. I will skip that).
Instead, I will say that many individuals - those "thinkers" you talk about are probably among them - don't apply their own ideas to themselves. That is, they "generally" believe it's not wrong to wipe out the whole nation.Now, if it was them among the "wiped out", they would change their tune right quick!
So many principles have become just that - ideas. Until something real - and usually something bad - happens to the individual, that individual is thinking in general terms, hypothetically, theoretically, without ever imagining his own ideas in practical application, especially - practical application to oneself. Most of us live in the world of theories and ideas. Anything can be imagined in one's head, because it's safe and theoretical. In some cases, it can be a basis for creativity, open exchange of ideas, and many other important and beautiful things. In the case of the "thinkers", however, it's just an expression of their never ending stupidity.
Thank you.

Daniel Wilcox said...

Thanks for stopping by, Katya.

Some of these modern thinkers I dialog with scare the daylight out of me. They really think that sometimes murder! and other horrific actions are fine!

And they keep emphasizing to me that ethics aren't real. Very weird.

Also, sort of strange, is that in all online meetings I seek to be courteous and empathetic, but a large number of atheists are not only rude and intolerant, but don't even listen to my points that are historical facts!

They act like, 'Don't confuse me with history; my mind is already made up, and you are a %$#*%*!'

Oh well, it seems to be the order of the day. Look at the demeaning presidential election where we almost never hear about any specific ideas (except from Sanders) but only outrageous personal attack.