View Poll Results: Are morals objective or relative?

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  • Morals are objective

    46 32.17%
  • Morals are relative

    97 67.83%
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  1. #41
    The Lightbringer Kevyne-Shandris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thebum06 View Post
    Perhaps, but there are cultures where they consider other things morally right than we do. There are people who genuinely believe that getting rid of their enemies is morally right because "it will make the world a better place". These people might be mad men, but it still means that morality is not objective.
    But if you look at their aims it's for a purpose that isn't universal and for society's own good.

    Folks can bring up a various numbers of dictators who justified their greeds, but each one wasn't for the good for their people overall.

    Not to envoke Godwin's Law, but just take Hitler for example. He had a vision of a "Thousand year reich". He had an idea of what he thought was right. But both flies in the face of universal truths of "do no harm". He executed his own people for simply being different or disagreeing with his policies. Just disagreeing or being different isn't justified for killing (or in this case murder). No matter how he could justified his aims, he was morally bankrupt after violating the universal morals/truths.

    Those universal morals/truths defy even dictators, because they must harm and control those morals/truths to not be a pariah of society itself (and society getting rid of that pariah for preservation).
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  2. #42
    Quote Originally Posted by Typrax View Post
    Basically, do you think there is an objective truth to be found in the concepts of right or wrong?

    Personally, I feel that there may not be absolute truth regarding morals, just as there isn't absolute truth regarding beauty. But for the sake of society, I think there should be objective morals. I feel that things people do (like murder, rape, steal) which have a negative impact on other peoples' lives, are immoral. Things that severely inhibit personal freedom are immoral. Yes, I think morals are completely objective. They have to be to have a productive society.
    I certainly believe in absolute truth. I believe that God created everything and that he laid down laws by which to live. To determine whether something is moral or immoral I simply have to check and see what He said.

    If you don't believe in God, or simply choose to ignore his existence you have no basis to determine right and wrong. All you have is relative morality. That boils down to: if you can convince society that what you do is either in their best interest or has no affect on them then society allows you to do it. This would absolutely scare the crap out of me because relative morality changes over time. If you can convince society that unwanted, unborn children being killed (abortion) doesn't harm anyone, then you are free to do so. (already happened where i live) What if next we can convince society that people over the age of 60 should be killed (we'll call it euthanized) because it costs too much money to take care of people as they grow old? The absolute worst case scenario of relative morality is every man doing what is right in his own eyes.

    I understand religion isn't supposed to be discussed but for me this question really can't be answered any other way.

  3. #43
    LOAD"*",8,1 Fuzzzie's Avatar
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    Let's try to keep religion out of this discussion all together please. Thank you.

  4. #44
    Obviously relative. Considering all cultures have different morals. Heck, most people in every culture have different morals. There's no universal law.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stickybuds View Post
    Odd logic.

    So if there is a large group of people that disagree with the theory of evolution, does that mean the theory of evolution is not objective?
    Evolution is not a question of moral, so that's irrelevant.
    Last edited by Fojos; 2012-02-17 at 02:47 AM.

  5. #45
    Quote Originally Posted by Borzo View Post
    People's definition of morality is relative. But once you have a definition, you can determine morality objectively.
    Exactly.

    The poll is a false dichotomy, a fallacy of false choice, black-and-white thinking.

    The above quote answers OPs title. Morals are both.

    Perhaps someone can refute this, but I strongly doubt it. I'll reword it a bit so it's perfectly clear:

    People's criteria for what constitutes a moral action is relative. But once you have a criteria, you can determine moral actions "objectively".

    ---------- Post added 2012-02-17 at 02:56 AM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Fojos View Post
    Obviously relative.
    Obviously both.

    Evolution is not a question of moral, so that's irrelevant
    Simply pointing out how people disagree on morality is not a valid argument against moral objectivity. Thus, me giving an example of how his logic doesn't apply elsewhere is completely relevant.
    Last edited by Stickybuds; 2012-02-17 at 02:57 AM.

  6. #46
    And this is where it goes wrong.

    You assume bad men don't have any morals, why? And how do you classify someone as utterly bad or evil?

    Let's for example take a group of 100 people, one of them is ill and it is possible this disease spreads. The disease will kill the victim if he/she is not cared for continously. You are now one of the 99 people. What will you do?

    a ) Will you simply throw this person out before the illness spreads to the remainder of the group? You will save 99 lives at the cost of one.
    b ) Will you keep this person in and risk having everybody fall to the illness as it spreads?
    c ) Will you sarcifice yourself to take care of this person away from the 98 others?

    Of course most people will consider option A as the immorale action. Purposely putting a fellow person in danger of losing their life is something that is considered inhuman. This is pure instinct sine we as humans are socialy very connected. Cold logic would simply say that option A would be better since the amount of people surviving is higher vs the lifes lost.
    Option B will put the other 98 people besides yourself in danger wich raises the question, are you in any position to put them in this danger? Are you allowed to make this call? What do the other 98 people think? Heck what does the actual victim think of putting everybody in danger simply because of his illness?
    Option C is considered very noble by people as an act of self sacrifice to save the group including the victim. However wat if you fail to do so? What if you also fall victim? Again do you have the right to make that call? What about your famely? Your friends? Will they be okay with you sacrificing yourself?

    A more simple example is that of a resent debate down here in the Netherlands arising from a law propposal. This propposal forbids all forms of facial coverage with the exception of intended facial protection. The reason behind it was that *The community feels threatened when some one purposly covers and thus hides their face from it's members*. In some countries it is completely normal for people to cover their faces and they do not see it as a threat but as perfectly normal. In the netherlands it's not, people get nervous about it. They do not like it because it is strange to them? Why would some one do this?

    Again, is this moraly right? For the so called *community members* this is the right way, they do not feel at ease otherwise. However for the other group they only see this is a law restricting them in their normal day life.

    Who is right? What is moraly correct?

    It's not as simple to say THAT person is EVIL. You think it is evil and have your arguments for it, they do not agree and probably have a counter argument.

    Morals are subjective as heck.... and yes, they are partially to blame for some wars, such as the crusades, even the world wars to some extend since one nation considered itself powerfull enough to rule over the other nations and so on and so forth.

    If morals where set in stone we wouldn't even see a thread like this on the forums, sadly they aint. Morals are decided upon by humans and aslong as we humans are subjective by our very nature morals are too.

    /end rant

  7. #47
    Quote Originally Posted by Stickybuds View Post
    Odd logic.

    So if there is a large group of people that disagree with the theory of evolution, does that mean the theory of evolution is not objective?
    I think there's sometimes confusion between good/bad and correct/incorrect. I'll change the example from evolution to gravity just to avoid derailment, hehe. Gravity is testable, observable, if there were people that disagreed with the theory of gravity they'd at least admit that something is going on, we're just misunderstanding it. So however you look at it, evolution, gravity, whatever is a thing being measured.

    Morality though is different, it's more like a measurement of the way other people react to each other and that's not constant. Different cultures have different sets of values, your actions are interpreted as "good" in one place and "bad" in another, and usually the "goodness" of an action comes down to how it effects society as a whole. Murder is bad because it weakens your social unit, lowers the size of the group. You could think of it as sociological evolution, societies that did not discourage murder are more likely to die out (as a social unit, they might change or scatter).

    I know a lot of people are uncomfortable with moral relativism because they think it means morals aren't important because they're not true. I think moral relativism means there are no "true" morals, but there are morals that we believe in and we have to fight for them to survive just like an organism. They are relative, but they're ours and we settled on them for a reason. If that moral set isn't effective, then it'll be superceded by another in the long run, but the fact that you believe it means it's important. You know, it's like saying if evolution is true then humanity might as well give up (!), being aware the game is there doesn't mean you stop playing.

  8. #48
    Bloodsail Admiral Ishu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevyne-Shandris View Post
    But if you look at their aims it's for a purpose that isn't universal and for society's own good.

    Folks can bring up a various numbers of dictators who justified their greeds, but each one wasn't for the good for their people overall.

    Not to envoke Godwin's Law, but just take Hitler for example. He had a vision of a "Thousand year reich". He had an idea of what he thought was right. But both flies in the face of universal truths of "do no harm". He executed his own people for simply being different or disagreeing with his policies. Just disagreeing or being different isn't justified for killing (or in this case murder). No matter how he could justified his aims, he was morally bankrupt after violating the universal morals/truths.

    Those universal morals/truths defy even dictators, because they must harm and control those morals/truths to not be a pariah of society itself (and society getting rid of that pariah for preservation).
    I suppose it depends on how you define morality. Yes, do no harm is generally accepted as being correct so I suppose you could call it some universal truth or something (even though there's still people that disagree with that). I personally consider morality to be a personal belief on what's right and what's wrong. Hitler believed that what he did was right since according to his own morality he was doing what was best for the world. The fact that not everyone agrees with his decision shows that morality is not universal or objective.

    Also, let's say that we had the ability to see into the future, and one person was destined to cause great ham in the future (say similar to what Hitler did). There was no way to stop this besides killing the person. Would it be morally right to kill this person, even if it would cause harm to him, his family and his friends? Even if he hadn't done anything wrong yet? Some people would say yes, some people would say no. I'd say this shows that morality really is not objective.

  9. #49
    Morality is unique to each individual. What one person considers moral, another considers immoral. There is no broad rule, no defining law, no exact definition. It is simply each individuals personal code.
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  10. #50
    If you define morality as "what's best for human society" then people's personal opinions about what's best don't actually matter. There will always be a correct and incorrect answer.

  11. #51
    The Lightbringer Kevyne-Shandris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whitepepper View Post
    I certainly believe in absolute truth. I believe that God created everything and that he laid down laws by which to live. To determine whether something is moral or immoral I simply have to check and see what He said.
    That's one's religion's take on morality though. I'm a Deist, try telling me what God has said as some truth. As a Deist I have no scripture, but natural law and reason.

    But our aims are similiar, because your morality is similiar to my ethics.

    This is called "universal truth".

    A person without a religious belief system can come to the same conclusions that is in scripture, purely on observation and observing natural law and reason it. Your morality to you is divine; mine is inspired by God but concluded by man's reason...yet we can agree on a measure of "universal truth" of "do no harm".

    ---------- Post added 2012-02-16 at 10:46 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Borzo View Post
    If you define morality as "what's best for human society" then people's personal opinions about what's best don't actually matter. There will always be a correct and incorrect answer.
    Those are "universal truths".

    Individual reasoning of morality is different, but there's a rough rule book that multiple societies and cultures have adopted so civilization can thrive. Without it, it's chaos and anarchy (anti-civilization).
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  12. #52
    Morals are relative to different cultures generally, and within that can even be relative to individuals. Is it morally wrong to kill someone? Perhaps, what if they molested your child? In that case, would it be morally right while being legally wrong? There are many situations where morals can bend and blur.

    Morality itself is a human concept, and therefore never absolute. Of course, since its human nature to believe you are better than others who are different, I believe my own moral code is better than anyone else's

  13. #53
    I'll just leave this quote here...

    Whatever ya need to do, ya do it. There is no wrong. If someone needs to be killed, ya kill 'em. That's the way.

    But OT: I suppose they're for the most part objective, though I dunno, killing and raping (and then forms of abuse umbrella'ing out from those) seems like it should just be plain wrong, but then people are raised in certain belief systems or whatever you want to call it, that says doing such things is okay. So yeah.
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  14. #54
    Okay...

    What if you were to ask people what determines whether something is morally right or wrong? What will they say? Would there be any agreement?

    Would they say:

    1) "What's good for me"
    2) "What's good for me and my family"
    3) "What's good for me and my family and friends"
    4) "What's good for my society"
    5) "What's good for all societies everywhere"
    6) Something else...
    Last edited by Borzo; 2012-02-17 at 04:00 AM.

  15. #55
    The Lightbringer Kevyne-Shandris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BatteredRose View Post
    But OT: I suppose they're for the most part objective, though I dunno, killing and raping (and then forms of abuse umbrella'ing out from those) seems like it should just be plain wrong, but then people are raised in certain belief systems or whatever you want to call it, that says doing such things is okay. So yeah.
    Those are closed societies that can only live in the shadows, because civilization itself will call it "inmoral".

    Why?

    Preservation.

    By doing harm civilization is harmed. If civilization is harmed to a degree that chaos/anarchy/fear/destruction takes root, it's in it's best interest to rid itself of the blight.

    Mankind could not exist without civilization. What we know of ourselves, our identity as humans exists in the civilization concept, as well. We aren't even humans if we forego being humane. We are judged by being humane.
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  16. #56
    Quote Originally Posted by Jackdemenzes
    I think there's sometimes confusion between good/bad and correct/incorrect.
    You misunderstand my position.

    if there were people that disagreed with the thory of gravity they'd at least admit that something is going on
    Just to run with this analogy for a second, (I'd rather we not get bogged down on it though) someone might disagree that getting stabbed is bad. However, if they were to get stabbed they would at least agree that it felt bad, and much like in the example of gravity, even if they still disagreed, they fall over if they trip, much like they would flinch when stabbed.

    Morality though is different
    Morality is only different in that the variables that effect the well being of conscious creatures are infinity more complex then than the variables that effect something like gravity. But we can still work with these variables, it's not impossible (eg. game theory) This is the reason people disagree on ethics so much, it's one of the most complicated topics there is. Think about how planets interact? It's relatively simple. Now think about how humans interact? It's infinitly more complicated, yet they are subject to the very same laws of nature. Humans are not magic, they are not exempt from the workings of the universe. They just happen to be the most complex known expression of said universe.

    The facts are this: what I choose to call bad is relative to my experiences (much like what we choose to call gravity is relative to our experiences (much simpler, easier to define experiences, please do not rehash the "but everyone disagrees on morality" argument, I have already adressed this and not one person has succesfully refuted my responce)), but once I have defined and set up criteria for what is bad, it now becomes objective. It doesn't matter if anyone disagrees with my criteria for what constitues a bad action, as that is relative. The objective part is what comes after we accept the criteria.

    Ever tried proving something to someone who doesn't believe in evidence? Even belief in empiricism is relative. It's just a lot simpler to accept, and easier to look like a retard when you don't.

    Eg.

    (1) I declare that stabbing someone is bad. (People can disagree, I doesn't matter for now, why? Because my reasons for declaring so are relative)

    (2) It is now possible to objectively tell that someone has done something bad >>>BASED ON MY CRITERIA<<< Eg. Is forensic science subjective? No. We can objectively prove when someone has been stabbed! Thus, objectively proving that someone done something bad based on my criteria.


    I'll type this one more time:

    What constitutes a moral action is relative to various criteria. But once you have a criteria, you can determine moral actions objectively.

    The poll is a fallacy of false choice.

    Comprende? :P
    Last edited by Stickybuds; 2012-02-17 at 04:11 AM.

  17. #57
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    Best way I've ever heard it was that morals are objective, while values are subjective (hopefully that makes sense).

  18. #58
    Quote Originally Posted by Stickybuds View Post
    People's criteria for what constitutes a moral action is relative. But once you have a criteria, you can determine moral actions "objectively".
    Then they would be subjective, not objective.

  19. #59
    Quote Originally Posted by Fuzzzie View Post
    There is no natural evidence of right and wrong. Morality is a human construct and thus very much objective.
    I agree with this. Even our morality of murder etc is only based on humans being the most evolved species on this planet. We kill animals because they are not as evolved as we are. hence for a species which is much more evolved than us, destroying human race for their own purpose would not be wrong?

  20. #60
    Quote Originally Posted by Fojos View Post
    Then they would be subjective, not objective.
    No, it would definitely be objective, not subjective.

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