Is there Really Right and Wrong?
Side Score: 85
Side Score: 79
Objectively no, subjectively yes.
Objectively, the universe is really just matter and energy. There is no right and wrong. There is no reason for anything, everything just exists.
However, through an accidental formation of matter and energy, consciousness has formed. Consciousness results in a new reality - the subjective reality. We as humans can create meaning for ourselves. We can feel joy and sorrow. It is here that we find right and wrong.
I say what's right is what best maintains a level of relative happiness for everyone; something is wrong if it results in an overall unhappiness for everyone.
Objectively there might be more questions than answers about the universe. Therefor it is arbitrair to state that the universe is really just matter and energy. Although we suspect there is no right or wrong in a objective point of view, we cannot prove it until we have answered all possible questions about the universe.
We as humans are influenced constantly by a proces called socialization. The subjective reality is not soully based on the meaning we create ourselves. Chunks of it are synthetic. Right and wrong from a subjective point of view may shift and even become their counterparts as time and ongoing socialization occurs.
"Right and wrong from a subjective point of view may shift and even become their counterparts as time and ongoing socialization occurs."
I agree that what is socially acceptable shifts around over time. However, we can find a more absolute right and wrong by observing the positive or negative emotions that occur as a result of an action.
Absolutely there is a right and a wrong. You know this by a little thing called a conscience. Its a nagging little voice in your head when you've done something wrong and you KNOW you did something wrong. Knowing right from wrong is whats differentiate us from animals. Animals do things according to nature, we humans do things according to will.
there will always be a right and wrong. personal morals and the benefit of the population govern laws. people will always think 'that just wrong' when someone does something against someone elses morals or ethics. wrong is also something against law, such as theft or underage sex etc.
Of course there is right and wrong. For instance, chopping off a childs hands for stealing bread is wrong. Helping an elderly person across the road is right. Needless to say, this my personal opinion which others may or may not agree with. So, it's subjective with varying appeal. If I wanted to impose any sort of laws based on my view of right and wrong, I'd need a democratic mechanism to do so.
Only monsters and fans of Linkin Park wouldn't agree with these examples.
First of all, there are no absolutes. What you decide is "right" may be "wrong" for another; what one society decides is "right" may be "wrong" for another.
And secondly, if you are a true atheist, then there is no such thing as "right" and "wrong." People are just highly evolved organisms, chemical "blobs," if you will. A dog doesn't think in terms of "right" and "wrong." It simply acts based on the environment. Same goes with humans.
Side: the atheist
I completely disagree with your second statement regarding a true atheist believing in no such thing as right and wrong. I have an ethical and moral code built into me, partly from evolution and partly from society's influence.
Knowing that we are simply highly evolved organisms has no relation on whether we accept the morals of current society and those ingrained within us due to our evolutionary history. Your comparison between a human and a dog has completely missed the mark.
Society has a set of laws and morals that are judged to be right and wrong at the time. I live my life in regards to these principles and those of treating others how I would wish to be treated. Murdering is wrong, firstly because society says so, but secondly (and most importantly) because I wouldn't want to be murdered myself and I have the intellectual capacity to contemplate and empathise with the hurt and suffering that would be caused to friends and families of the murdered. A dog doesn't have the intellect to fully understand and contemplate his actions from another's view point. He can not see the world through another's eyes, where as humans can.
You're right that there are no absolutes. A quick glance through history and what would be considered right and wrong shows this quite clearly. But we're living in today, with today's moral codes (as decided by society) and the ability to understand how our actions affect others.
Saying a true atheist doesn't accept such things as right and wrong is absolute nonsense.
Er, I agree that with concept that there is no universal right or wrong. But to say "if you are a true atheist there is no such thing as 'right' and 'wrong'", is er, wrong. I don't need a God to know what I consider to be right and wrong.
As a biologist, (Darwinist, physicist, etc etc) I would agree with the second statement, but atheism is just the belief that there is no God, not that there are no morals.
Side: the atheist
But what makes murder wrong? Are you advocating the "sanctity of human life?" If we all evolved from the same thing, what makes it okay for animals to kill others of their species but not okay for humans?
Why can humans reason at higher levels? Biologically, their brains function in the same way as all other animals (i.e. neurons, calcium messengers, etc.). And, to the atheist, there is no such thing as "reason" - if it can't be explained scientifically, then it is supernatural, and the supernatural does not exist (remember, "supernatural" only means "something attributed to a force outside science and the laws of nature").
On a side note, what I'm saying here may sound loony, but this is what atheists really should believe. Unfortunately, 99% of atheists don't hold to everything that they should. Atheism isn't just saying that there is no God and no afterlife. It is also saying that:
- there are no absolutes
- your life has no purpose (everything happened by chance...this why true atheists are nihilists)
- souls and conscience don't exist
- mind and thought aren't real
- free will and dignity do not exist (behaviorism - your position is imposed by the environment)
If you don't believe all those, then you are not a true atheist. You are simply rejecting the possibility of God while unknowingly believing that in other areas there are supernatural elements to life.
Side: the atheist
It's completely wrong. Atheism!=Nihilism in any sense.
Nihilism falls down in asserting that no action is logically preferable to any other in regard to the moral value of one action over another. This is true if we are assuming that these morals are objective; however they are not. They are subjective and subject to change. An action I perform now may have more moral value than another, but may not in the future.
Objectively no, subjectively yes. 'Right' and 'wrong' only exist due to a societal culture which may or may not have stemmed from a particular religion, either way right and wrong for that culture helps keep order and the continuation of that society. e.g if a culture says it is 'right' to kill someone if they steal a banana from you the only judges are a court of law and/or cultural influences throughout life
Side: Murder is neither wrong or right
Who is to decide what is right and wrong? We have rules because they keep us safe, created out of fear that, gone unchecked, one person or group would harm another person or group, we keep these rules for safety, but when pressed enough we behave like any other animal.
Side: Define it