You guys like to point out voter fraud


I don’t believe in a “system” or morality per se (unless you’re referring to laws); I believe that God specifies what’s right and wrong, and lest you think I’m just copping out:

If you do mean laws for system of morality, then what’s right or wrong should determine them.


You could simply take out the word system.

However, if you believe that a god determines morality, then you must believe that morality is what is right and wrong. You have subjugated your freedom to decide to god and you’re probably ok with that.

Basically, things are good or bad because god says so, right?

There are a few problems with that, but before I get into that, I want to make sure you don’t object to this comment.


Morality is about the distinction between right and wrong. That’s pretty much the definition of it. If you agree with the latter (which I assume you do) then you’re saying morality = morality, which is pointless.

Morality doesn’t determine right and wrong. It’s the description of right and wrong. Right and wrong don’t determine morality. Morality is the description of right and wrong, and I believe morality – and the rights we derive from morality – precedes the law and widespread consensus.

Your arguments have continually suggested that right and wrong (morality) and the rights we derive from morality are determined by society. Your comments in this thread suggest you agree with me – and the other members of this board.



Do you believe that god decides what is moral or are morals based on something tangible like our experience?

Of course. Can you think of any society anywhere in the world who doesn’t decide what their morals are?

Even if you believe that god has given you an understanding or what morals are, that doesn’t mean that those morals will be enforced within society, right?

A society has to choose to adopt and enforce the morality of the Christian god. Again, most people in this forum believe that abortion is immoral, yet it’s legal in the society we live in, right?

Thus, society chooses the morals it wishes to adopt. That’s what I mean when I say society decides what is moral.

However, JUST like me, you don’t believe that just because society chooses something as moral, that it, in fact, makes it moral.

So the question becomes, on what logical, reasonable basis do we make the choice?

Now we get to the foundations of our morality.

Without trying to put words in anyone’s mouths, I suspect that most of the people that frequent this forum believe that the foundation of morality is based on the teachings of the Christian god and would have all of society adopt those rules if they had the choice.

Am I wrong?

I believe that morals should be grounded in practical objective experience.

Being burned on purpose by another person causes suffering. It’s the experience of being burned and the suffering that results that makes it wrong. Not because a god says so, but because we value freedom from suffering and not burning others is consistent with that value.

Now, you probably agree that the unjustified burning of another human being is immoral, the question is why?

Society can choose not to burn others because god says it’s wrong, or they can choose not to burn others because they recognize the pain and suffering it causes.

I don’t know what’s so controversial about this idea except that it makes it possible to derive a workable moral system without a god.


There are tribes in New Guinea today who believe “long pig” is the answer to their otherwise protein-poor diets. They believe it’s “moral” to partake and continue to resist efforts by the government to stamp out the practice. The Jivaros in S. America believe it’s “moral” to take the heads of those they believe to be their enemies and shrink them down to the size of a baseball. WE (and most Christians) believe those practices to be IMMORAL. Who’s right? GOD is right and HE determines what’s moral and what isn’t. We defy Him at our own peril. He’s given us a roadmap to follow


But you’re not going to get a tabula rasa on how our morals are determined. Morals aren’t determined simply through a cerebral or intellectual exercise, but one of relational discovery. As such, the parts that appear arbitrary, will never go away.

Meanwhile, we have assumptions a foreigner from a different place could easily identify as “Christian” even if you’re unaware that’s what they are.

When a thief is caught, we don’t cut off their hands as punishment. Yet, there’s no “objective” reason for why we don’t do that. Justice exist as a human universal, but what precisely it does is a matter of perception. It’s simply that in the Christian ethic, that punishment doesn’t seem to match the crime.


Can you give me an example?

No, but there are practical reasons. Furthermore, why do reasons need to be objective? Units of measurement are chosen subjectively, does that mean they aren’t incredibly useful?

Sure, environment plays a big role. For example, In an environment where survival is a challenge, societies are less likely to extend rights and freedoms to those that cannot be productive.

Agree completely. Furthermore, in Christianity, I’m guilty of a “crime” (sin) committed that I had no hand in from the moment I was born. Where is the justice in that?


Compare any common law system. The very essence of it is reactive; setting down decisions that form a precedent that future decisions will invoke. The entire process of creating it is exploratory, and different traditions have gone in different directions.

Anglo-Saxon CL has different standards than French CL (and we actually have both thanks to Louisiana).
Anglo-Saxon CL was built out of standard derived by Christian Jurists like William Blackstone.

I don’t see the point in replacing it, when whatever you replace it with will be just as arbitrary.

You can argue that it’s practical to know who thiefs are. Or to set this threshold so as to discourage thieving.

That’s not what original sin is. It’s the capacity to choose evil, and thus being counted among the fallen. It’s only a “sin” in the regular sense for those who committed it.


I don’t see a conflict thus far, other that the “problems” (at least some of which we’ve debated before).

How can humanity be morally objective about itself?

Because they’re unstable nonsense otherwise.

Born in iniquity, or not born at all? In the latter, you have nothing. In the former, God provided a way out. And He went through a good bit of pain to offer it to you. And if you accept it, you’ll find that that submission is ironically (from a worldly perspective) liberating.


Not relevant to the discussion. What’s relevant is whether morality and the resulting “rights” pre-exist society or government. You appear to agree with me.

This is more or less the Objectivist approach to the question. I don’t think the Objectivist framework quite works, but it gets us all to more or less the same page, which is that morality and our rights precede our society and government.

I think it’s wrong to harm other people – but I am not entitled to use your life to reduce my suffering except as you choose. So no society cannot just burn people.

You have categorically rejected the notion in the past that our rights, which logically must proceed from our moral framework precede society or government hence my question in this thread.

I doubt that an objective moral standard can exist apart from God just as an Objectivist doubts that an objective moral standard can be derived from God. I don’t care much about this, nor should an Objectivist care much about it (notwithstanding Ayn Rand’s all-or-nothing approach). We share very similar political values.

What’s important to me is that aggression against my life, liberty or right to pursue happiness is not infringed by you, society or the government, that i am well within my rights to defend them and that my government was created under the Enlightenment idea that a government’s purpose is to protect those rights – rights I am morally entitled to. We can argue about why all day, but the why isn’t highly relevant if we agree on the fact.

You’ll note that you suggested they ought to be based in practical “objective” experience in a previous thread.


Louisiana uses the Napoleanic Code…NOT French Common Law, AS. They are NOT the same thing. Just for example, the Napoleanic Code prevents anyone from disinheriting a legal heir. ALL children of the deceased MUST be given an equal proportion of the deceased’s estate…including adopted kids…regardless of the deceased’s wishes.




I said grounded in objective human experience.

If you hit your finger with a hammer, assuming that your nervous system functions normally, would you say that you objectively experience pain? The amount of pain you experience might be subjective, but, do you think that under reasonable circumstances (a person who is aware, not on drugs or has some sort of brain damage or nervous system disorder) that being hit in the finger with a hammer will never result in a subjective feeling of pleasure.

That’s what I mean when I say grounded in subjective human experience.

Being hit in the finger with a hammer feels bad. If the word bad has any coherent meaning at all, it can be used to describe the feeling one experiences when they are hit in the finger with a hammer.

Thus, because people value freedom from those kinds of experiences (as an example), things that cause unjustified pain, suffering and misery can be considered immoral.

I gave you an example of objective harm and the fact that healthy human minds value freedom from those kinds of experiences. Now we move from values to morals. We subjectively choose to embrace our values and agree not to hit each other with hammers because we know that cooperation is the best defense against being hit with hammers.

Thus the decision may be subjective, but it’s grounded in moral objective facts about human experiences.

I think there are more choices than the two you’ve offered. How about, no god and just being born and embracing the fact that we are conscious creatures who understand the consequences of the actions we take and how those actions affect others and lastly, we have the capacity to care (empathy). However, all this intelligence and self-awareness we’ve been blessed with also comes with free will. The option to ignore what is good for us and others. To do what we want to ourselves and others and it’s the moral systems of groups that protect themselves from the actions of outliers.


I guess you’d have to define society in that context, because as far as I know, humans have always been social animals. So I’m not sure how you can pre-date that.

I’m definitely not an Objectivist. Rand is one sandwich short of a picnic as far as I’m concerned the result of the environment she grew up in.

I don’t recall the exact conversations you’re speaking of, but I would say to you now that

Experience leads to—>Values, which leads to—>Morality

Morality is ALWAYS in the context of a social system. Without other people to interact with, the term morality wouldn’t even make any sense.

And yet you are left, paradoxically, with the fact that you need a government to protect your rights and there will always be examples where the government will restrict your freedoms because they infringe on the freedoms of others. This is what happens when social groups live and work in close proximity.


Those systems aren’t arbitrary:

Arbitrary in this context meaning “based on random choice or personal whim, rather than any reason or system.”

The choices of these systems are subjective, not random. Possible decisions aren’t pulled out of a hat, but are based on past experience.

My couch is a certain width and height. Those weren’t chosen arbitrarily, but neither is there an “objective” size for a couch. The choices about how to design and build a couch are based on subjective measurements, but they are constrained to real objective physical parameters that have to do with the people that will use them and the size of the doorway they will be expected to fit through and the rooms they will adorn.

Even the decision to call a couch a couch is subjective, but now that what a couch is, is defined, then within the subjective confines of language a couch is objectively a couch.

The capacity to choose evil is not the same as choosing evil. That’s like getting a ticket for running a red light because you possess the capacity to do, even if you haven’t actually run a red light.


No one is born knowing that it is “A conscious creature who understands the consequences of the action it takes and how those actions affect others and with the capacity to care (empathy.).” Humans are NOT naturally empathetic. That’s a LEARNED behavior characteristic. NOTHING is more ego-driven and uncaring about anyone else than a new-born baby. Why you don’t know this surprises me not, CSB. It’s typical of most LIBERALS, too.


I had no illusions.


How did you logically get from “painful” to “bad” (immoral)?

I invite you to prove those other choices. Starting with how the universe came into being without a supernatural event, and thus, a supernatural source for that event.


What does the word “bad” even mean if it does not describe a situation like that?

Let me ask you, hypothetically, why wouldn’t you want someone to smash your finger with a hammer?

And I’d like you to prove that it was a supernatural being that caused it all.

Neither can be proven via repeatable verifiable experiment, so we are left in the same place. Except only one group isn’t looking for answers on how the universe began because they believe they already know. But history is replete with examples of people who thought they knew based on their interpretation of the words in the Bible but ended up being wrong. Of course, this just leads the same people to go back and reinterpret information and proclaim that the correct answer was there all along, that it was just misinterpreted. But if that keeps happening over and over again, what good is it?

Most Christians I run across would happily fill that void of ignorance with god. A void that has been shrinking ever smaller as knowledge has increased.

Christians claim to know and then seek evidence for their claims. Those who embrace science admit they don’t know and look for evidence to explain what they don’t know, but they also admit they can be wrong and that better explanations are possible. Maybe even that, in fact, a god is responsible for it all. All that would be needed to embrace that idea is the evidence (repeatable, verifiable and testable evidence).


Fine, my word choice was poor then. But the point remains.

These decisions were made based on reasoning formulated through Natural Law, and Natural Law was derived from Judeo-Christian ethics.

I don’t see the point in replacing it. I don’t think either through whim or intellectual exercise that a superior frame could be created. Just like how we can’t create a better calendar than the Gregorian one, only ones with different errors.

I know… I think you’re stumbling on something here, so I’m going to rephrase.

Original sin is only the capacity to sin for everyone who is not Adam & Eve. We are among the “fallen”, because people who aren’t fallen, can’t sin.