Objective Moral Good/Evil?

So I keep hearing statements like the following:

If the Nazi Regime had won, would it not follow that we now looked back and called them morally good..

Firstly, NO!

This notion however gets trumpeted a lot in the ‘God must exists for moral objectivity’ arguments..

It seems to me, that the aboriginal peoples of various subjugated nations and our historical view on the situation answers this in full. That is to say, as an Australian of English decent I do not look back on the way the English colonised Australia with any thought other than contempt. 

I therefore would assert that moral objectivity does not hang on the idea that we need some cosmological dictator to cause our reflection on the matter to be repulsion by fear, rather I would like to say that we are rational creatures capable of viewing past acts successful or no in the correct moral light, a light built entirely on evolutionary psychology.

I’ve not heard this idea put forward anywhere else before and would be keen to know if anyone knows of a version of it that has been significantly fleshed out.

Does this not just seem clearly and distinctly true?

iDikko

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23 thoughts on “Objective Moral Good/Evil?

  1. Could we see objective defined as with the object in mind? How would that relate to how a society determines what is and is not moral?

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  2. Morality can only stand on a fixed object. Psychology is not a fixed object as demonstrated by the way psychology has changed over the years making things that used to be morally bad into a morally good thing. Morality and conscience stands on a fixed mark that can not change. That’s the thing about conscience and some people have tender consciences and others don’t and allow themselves to do anything. Others don’t allow themselves to do anything hardly. But I believe in God … and he’s not angry at us anymore for Jesus took all the anger and now we can be reconciled to God thru Jesus – without fear.

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      1. That comment was meant to be a reply to the wonderful Christian lady, not to your post. Your post seems spot-on to me.

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      2. I follow the Bible and it speaks of God and I think that God thinks and acts in rather black and white terms. 🙂 Good and bad – good or bad. You can not measure an inch without a ruler that tells you the value of an inch. Therefore you can not know what is moral or ethical without knowing what God and Jesus considers moral and ethical. The problem with society is that everyone is only following their “feelings” and feelings RARELY if EVER give the proper direction. Before 1963 the Bible was read in school – but since then it’s all gone downhill and everything that used to be right is now wrong and vise versa. Is that what you meant?

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      3. I’ve read the Bible through every year since I was in short-sleeve pants. I find moral particularism a solid foundation for morality and it is consistent with the way Yahweh acts in the Bible. I simply encouraged you to explore the idea.

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      4. It seems that since you find it in the Bible – I am already reading and studying it? God is a God of justice and none of his judgments of people or anything else are anything but spot on. But I am not God … 🙂 He only lives in me and guides me when I am listening to Him. 🙂 Thanks.

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      5. Hmmmm…just because Yahweh acts consistently with moral particularism doesn’t mean it’s explained in the Bible. In fact, Yahweh’s morality appears pretty fluid in the Bible.

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      6. It is not so fluid in the Old Testament as when he deals with the ppl surrounding Israel when they came into the promised land. The Lord was having difficulties with the ppl following His commands to the inth degree and usually the Israelites decided to fall short of His requirements. But that’s what Judges, 1st and 2nd Samuel, Kings and Chronicles is all about – not to mention Ezekial and Jeremiah and the minor prophets. God is always working around the “sin that so easily entangles” ppl. The ppl in the O.T. did not follow Him concerning the worship of idols and the kings of Israel except for a few didn’t follow Him well at all. In the New Testament His judgments have been taken by Jesus – so enters grace and ppl can make many mistakes and be forgiven. But if ppl do NOT repent and ask forgiveness from Him as in 1 Jo. 1:9, then the problem is God has to have them reap what they sow.

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  3. If I remember correctly Richard Dawkins deals with the issue of religious versus secular morality in The God Delusion. I don’t agree with all his arguments, but he does make some very valid points, raising some important issues and is very thought provoking.

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  4. There’s nothing less objective than having morality dictated by a single conscious being. If you’re looking for an objective morality, try a morality with an objective, such as Consequentialism, which has the aim of minimizing harm and suffering and maximizing pleasure and well-being. Obviously the view has its flaws, but it’s a lot closer to the mark than grounding morality in the opinion of a single being, especially when that being is notorious for being silent, enigmatic, and easily misunderstood.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by my blog today. My post today was about intentionally avoiding controversial stuff for a bit, but you bring up an interesting point. I will definitely stop back by and comment at a later date – if I remember what it was I was going to say, that is. Today is just not the day. My heart, brain, and soul are weary – I’m in the States by the way if that gives you any clue, but in my present mood the whole world just seems broken. I’m struggling with seeing the good amidst the bad – hence the break. Hopefully, we shall chat again.

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  5. I find the comments on this post quite interesting, esoteric, sometimes beyond my ken, and using terms I have no familiarity with. They are mentally challenging as is the question raised in the post itself.

    I am not a Christian, nor does God play a role in my decision making process, and I can’t say I have a working knowledge of the bible. My moral compass is based on the conviction that as a human being, I have the responsibility to recognize the human-ness in others, a responsibility to be kind and considerate of others feelings and needs, and to provide help to others in a way that they ask for, not what I dictate is the right thing for them.

    I think primitive societies that have not yet been reached by missionaries have the ability to have a morally good approach to living.

    Peace, kindness, mutual respect, giving, forgiveness–all of these things define my life and I act consistently within my moral compass in the absence of a scripture to guide me.

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  6. Isn’t there a lot of ethics out there dealing with the objection that there can be no ethics without God? I know Peter Singer has written on it, and there are other attempts to justify metaethical positions that don’t rely on God – Christine Korsgaard takes a Kantian approach in her ‘Sources of Normativity’ book which relies on recognizing and respecting autonomy in others.

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    1. I’ve not read either work, so I can’t comment on the arguments directly, but I don’t really know how or why you’d want to stuff God into Kant’s moral philosophy. It stands perfectly well on its own merits, without recourse to the dubious proposal that there’s an invisible,all-powerful, yet undetectable intelligence out there. One can recognize and respect autonomy in others whether or not God exists, and moreover, if one is to meaningfully apply the adjective “good” to God’s behavior, then the moral standard must exist independently of God. In other words, God is a moral agent like the rest of us, and Its behavior must conform to a standard of morality which is independent of It in order for us to properly classify Its behavior as either good or evil.

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  7. From what work I’ve done with First Nations people, it seems to me that their narrative of the institution of colonialism remains quite different from that believed by most whites. The difference seems to stem at least in large part from the use of power- the dominant culture doesn’t really teach their side of the story in schools or cover it in the news, and the combination of poverty and geographical isolation tends not to put one in a strong position to be heard. So I wouldn’t want to underestimate how much of what we think we know about morality is ultimately based on what’s in our own interests, the interests of powerful people, and the interests of our society.
    But even so, that mostly comes down to unequal access to information- there’s still the question of what you’re going to do with that information, which is a more fundamental one than you might think. If you had already decided to go with, say, Kant’s definition of doing whatever you could consistently wish to make a universal law, then you could reason your way to a set of specific actions from there. But reason in general and objectivity in particular are just really, really shitty at helping you decide which specific morality you should follow in the first place- which is part of the reason existentialism happened.

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