Proving Objective Morality can Exist without God.

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Proving Objective morality can exist without religion

Submitted: November 14, 2015

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Submitted: November 14, 2015

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Proving Objective Morality can Exist without God.

Over the past decade, this country has been involved in a culture war, partially motivated by each sides philosophical view of morality and life. The religious right claims objective morality exists, and it exists because of God's commands, and these commands exist in the bible. The non-religious left claims that morality is subjective and is not absolute. Though there are various people stuck  in the middle, few happen to be non-religious, believe in objective morality, and are on a quest to prove it. A major goal of some of these individuals has been to prove morality can be absolute without a higher power directly commanding or creating it; and in the process, carving a third way/third path between the two sides. This process is hard, but there is at least one way objective morality can exist without god. Through it is a long process that takes several steps, it is philosophically sound and can easily become a third force in this culture war that can maybe unite both sides in the future.

Thesis: Objective morality does exist because it is ingrained within objective reality. Sense there are different ways for conscious beings to interact with objective reality and each other, some of this ways are right and wrong, meaning that some of these actions will be good (moral) and some will be evil (immoral).

The first item to prove objective morality is to lay a foundation everyone can agree on. The universe and everything around us that surrounds us is called objective reality. Objective reality is consisted of objective material and thus, objective facts and laws exist as well. An example of objective reality would be a book on top of a building. The book is objective material that exists and can be touched and interacted with. The book is both one foot long and 30.48 centimeters long. Though some would claim that numbers (and all of mathematics) themselves are illusions and man-made inventions, this claim is non-logical. If 2+2=4 is a man-made creation and is actually an illusion and 2+2= ?, than what is 2? 2 is a combination of 1+1. If there is one book and one book, than that means there are two books. It doesn't matter what you call "one" or replace "one" with, it still means there is one book. You could replace "one" with the word "Huckledard" and the same result occurs (one book and huckledard book numerically mean the same thing). As a result, 1+1=2, and 2+2=4 because 1+1+1+1=4. Though this might seem simple, there are individuals who will claim this is all just an illusion that must be proven wrong. Since a book is objective material and an objective fact about the book is that is 30.48 cm long, an objective law would be the law of gravity, which means if you throw the book off the top of the building, it will fall to the ground. In the process, the book goes through air (objective material) which is at a certain density (something that can be measured and thus, objective fact), and the velocity of the book will change as a result of not only the height above the ground at which the book was thrown, but also how hard it was thrown and the density of the air will change the velocity as well. Mathematical equations (objective laws) determine the time and location that the book will hit the ground. Objective reality is thus, established as the foundation of objective morality.

The next step in proving objective morality exists is by recognizing we are beings capable of free will, advanced intelligence, and being fully conscious. Humans have developed their groups into societies growing ever more and more complex; and as society grows ever more and more complex, it becomes more necessary for humans in these societies to understand more and more about their environment. In order to understand more and more about their environments, these humans developed science and logic. Science and logic were developed by humans (individually and collectively) to understand and make sense of objective reality. As conscious beings with free will, there are different ways humans can interact with objective reality. Some ways are neutral, while some are correct and incorrect. For example, a book that is 30.48 cm long should be used correctly by reading its contents. An incorrect way to use a book that is 30.48 cm long would be to kill someone with it by dropping it from a 40 foot tall building on top of someone. Thus, if a human is trying to find a solution to solve the problem of how to use and/or interact with a book (objective reality), the correct solution to this problem would be to read the book. There are of course, different levels of being correct and incorrect, and different levels or solutions. Some solutions are good if not great (not simply just correct), while some solutions are bad if not evil (not just simply incorrect). For example, making a bad move in chess with a pawn made of metal is not evil, but is just incorrect, while mass murdering people with that pawn made of metal by stabbing them in their sleep would be both incorrect and evil. Making a good move with a metal pawn in chess would be correct, but not good in a moral sense, while winning a financial prize from a chess game and giving the financial prize away to charity would be good in a moral sense. How do we determine how correct or incorrect (or neutral) a solution is? Through the market place of ideas, science, and logic. Through science and logic, we can measure objective facts about certain solutions (50 hours of community service by cleaning up trash is more community service from an objective point of view than volunteering for 5 hours by teaching another human how to play guitar). By using the market place of ideas, human societies can determine which objective characteristics are more important than others and how to interpret information to determine what is moral/ethical and what is not. Thus, our ability to reason is what allows us to determine what is moral and what is not; meaning that morality is objective. Objective solutions based off of science/logic that is used to interpret/discover objective reality can be used to ethical and moral dilemmas that allow us to determine the morality of certain situations and actions. Morality exists in objective reality and only conscious beings can realize what is moral and what is not since conscious beings have the capacity to develop science and logic and the capacity for free will.

However, there are still some objections some have towards objective morality. Some wonder what the consequences for violating objective morality is. Though "what goes around comes around" can somewhat apply to some individuals and actions, but some individuals will never suffer the consequences of their actions. However, if enough individuals in a society are violating enough of objective morals, than the society will collapse. For example, if 5% of the individuals in a society are constantly killing their neighbors every day, than that society will collapse because eventually, the society will cease to exist and/or descend into anarchy. That fact that the consequences of a society disobeying the morality of nature is objective (the society disappearing) proves that the morality is objective (because the consequences of being immoral are objective and thus, measurable, proves that morality is objective). A great example of this is in the differences between Western civilization and Islamic civilization. Islamic civilization is more violent, sexist, and homophobic than the west and as a result, has stagnated (poverty and illiteracy is higher in Islamic civilization while GDP per capital is also lower in Islamic civilization than it is in Western civilization) while Western civilization has achieved a standard of living unparallel in the history of the world (while also achieving an unbelievable amount of scientific progress never before seen). Thus, it can be determined that Western civilization is more moral than Islamic civilization due to the objective consequences of obeying certain morals and disobeying certain morals (stoning homosexuals to death, putting berka's on wives, and blowing yourself up in the name of a god is immoral). In order to achieve more progress and become more prosperous as a society, humans need to be rational (both individually and collectively) and reason about what the consequences of certain behavior is on the societal level. If the behavior is moral, and almost everyone in the society practices it, than the society will over time become more prosperous if everything else stays the same.

The main purpose of objective morality is to say that morality exists independent of us. This means that regardless of what we think, certain actions are morally wrong. Thus, objective morality has to be discovered and thus, reasoned and deducted by us. Even if Hitler won World War Two and conquered the whole planet and everyone was brainwashed into thinking the Holocaust was good, that Holocaust would still be evil regardless of what everyone thought. It is possible in objective morality for everyone to be wrong, though this is unlikely. The "market place of ideas" is a concept that requires a civil society, freedom of speech, and a certain level of intellectual tolerance. The market place of ideas allows the members of a society to discuss the rationality and validity of certain concepts in a way where the truth can be discovered. Once a certain number members of a society have come to an agreement, a census has been established and other questions can be answered. It doesn't require all of a society to agree that certain truths exist. Though there are a few holocaust deniers in our society, most of our society believes that the holocaust was an actual historical event. Why? Though few alive today have actually seen the holocaust, enough videos and programs on TV (especially the history channel), enough books, and enough discussions have been held for most of us to safely assume that the holocaust happened. It is possible that the holocaust is an elaborate hoax, but the odds of this compared to the holocaust being a historical event are very low; and thus, most of us rationally assume that the holocaust happened. When we assume the holocaust is an actually historical event, this is an assumption, just like the millions of other assumptions we make throughout our lives. Though some of our assumptions maybe wrong, this doesn't mean that objective reality doesn't exist, it just shows that as humans, we are imperfect and thus, wrong in our interpretations of objective reality sometimes. However, it is important that we have correct assumptions, which require a better understanding of objective reality, truth, and collective discussions. The more incorrect assumptions a society has (or enough members of a society has), the more dysfunctional a society becomes. The more correct assumptions a society has, the more functional it is. One assumption that is wrong will not hurt a society, just as one murder will not hurt the society. However, the more murders and more incorrect assumptions a society has, the more dysfunctional it will be. Sense the consequences of murder and incorrect assumptions on a society are objective and can be measured, it can be assumed that morality is objective as well sense the consequences are real.

Though some would argue that there is no morality, and that the main idea/concept driving human society and thought is sexual reproduction (survival of the fittest). Though this may be true to some degree, it still wouldn't disprove objective morality per se. Though other animals are incapable of understanding or discovering math or writing, this doesn't mean math and writing don't exist. Also, just because Europeans didn't know North America existed a thousand years ago doesn't mean North America didn't exist a thousand years ago; all that means is that North America wasn't discovered that. Though some argue nature is not moral or immoral, this argument is oversimplified. Other primates have shown altruism, saving other primates of the same species and helping each other. Some primates also share food with one another. This seems to suggest that some of our morality is driven by evolution and is inherent within our DNA. Though much capacity for evil is also present within our DNA, this does not disprove objective morality in nature. Sense some of our morality is based off of our DNA, this shows not all of our behavior or ideas seem to come from society, but seem to come inherently within us. Though we learn much of our behavior and ideas through society, society can also act as a key, unlocking certain elements of our DNA and instincts. Though there have been some experiments done on primates to see whether primates have certain survival and reproductive instincts that seem to suggest that primates don't have instincts, these studies are oversimplified and even if morality is learned through the society, it doesn't disprove or prove objective morality. The individuals of a society could learn objective morality and pass it on to their offspring. Sense however, some of our behavior, ideas, and moral intuitions (these intuitions can be right or wrong) are within us, this seems to suggest that "survival of the fittest" does not disprove objective morality. We are the only species capable of discovering objective morality on our own, capable of being fully conscious, capable of discovering math, capable of developing advanced technology (computers, airplanes, tanks, etc). Because our species seems to be so unique, we are the only species that can improve our lives (and constructing advanced societies in the long run) and thus, "survival of the fittest" doesn't necessarily apply to us all the way, or to the extent that it applies to all other species. Sense we can construct advance societies that allow us to progress economically, socially, and scientifically, we can improve our condition without evolution and thus, without a "survival of the fittest" concept (at least at the individual level, different societies can compete). Sense humans can innovate and thus, improve productivity per unit of force we use during working, we can eventually though technology mass produce goods that mean our offspring are almost guaranteed to survive (infant mortality dropping to near zero) and thus, "survival of the fittest" at the individual level has become irrelevant be default. However, just as different species (and groups of members of the same species) compete against each other, different human societies do compete with each other and "survival of the fittest" does drive social evolution, though not biological evolution. Eventually, if global civilization ever emerges, "survival of the fittest" will no longer apply to different members of our species if we reach an advanced level of economic, social, and scientific progress (most likely beyond what we have now). Given the human capacity to create an almost infinite amount of wealth and thus, resources to survive, "survival of the fittest" will eventually become totally irrelevant to our species unless we encounter an alien species (or robots/computers that we create our selves) that compete against us for these same resources, or compete against us for other reasons.

Another objection to objective morality is that there is no clear standard for defining what is moral and what is not. Who has the right to define what is moral? Isn't it arrogant to claim that our morality is better than others? These are good questions and objections to objective morality, but there are answers to these. Objective morality says that morality is absolute, and absolute truths exist, independent of whether we agree with it or discover it, or not. The next step to refuting these objections is to develop criteria for this. One way to develop criteria is to look at how functional and dysfunctional a society is (the higher the murder rate, the more dysfunctional a society is). The specific  criteria would have to be developed through the "market place of ideas" and collective discussions. However, the general criteria would be a reflection of the different levels of progress different societies have achieved. For example, Western civilization is more economically, socially, and scientifically advanced than Islamic civilization. However, there are different ways to measure each of these three levels of progress. Economic progress can be measured by GDP, Manufacturing Production, Assets, Stock Markets, Liquidity, Savings, and many other ways; but no one way of measuring economic progress can give us the full picture of economic progress. This does not disprove that there are clear distinctions between different civilizations in terms of progress and thus, functionalism, and thus, morality. Today in the United States of America, the debate of homosexuality is focused on whether homosexuals should be allowed to marry or not. There is no serious national discussion on whether to ban homosexual behavior or punishing it today. Contrast that to Islamic civilization, where homosexuals are stoned to death for doing any homosexual act. In the United States of America, we are having a national discussion on the different restrictions on abortions and tax payer founded birth control. In Islamic civilization, most woman are not allowed to be educated, most woman are forced to wear berka's, and are considered the property of their husbands. Woman in Western civilization used to be seen as property, but this has now changed. Whether you judge social progress based on what homosexuals are allowed to do, the status of woman, who is allowed to vote (if voting is allowed at all), and the level of individual rights, social progress is the combination of all of these things (and much more). Social progress is obviously much higher in Western civilization than it is in Islamic civilization. Thus, the problem of "who has the right to judge another culture" is refuted. The claim that it is arrogant to judge other cultures and societies (as inferior presumably) by our standards is also a claim that has no relevance and is self contradictory. By claiming that all cultures are morally the same, "moral relativists" (people that think morality is relative and morality is not absolute) have to concede that a culture that has slavery, woman are considered property, and massive corruption is just as moral and equal as a society where every adult has an equal vote, woman and men are equal, and corruption is limited.

Though the theory of objective morality is not yet complete, a solid foundation and response to some basic objections to it have been completed in this essay. Though some technically items and logic still need to be developed; that can be done at a future time. Through the use of science, logic, and the "market place of ideas", we can discover objective morality without the need for organized religion. This will allow not only our civilization, but also other civilizations and societies to progress if they choose to do so.

Sources/Inspirations

 

Sam Harris (The End of Faith)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mm2Jrr0tRXk

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jUxxZqynsBM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DMFnSTPsbFg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZCOQukCn0kg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CqyTSSPIUF4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KtN4-lwnHX4&feature=related

http://powertochange.com/students/uqmorality/


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