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Post Reply Who determines the value of human life society of individuals?
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Posted 6/6/15 , edited 6/7/15
So now you're trying to reconcile the individual and society.You do realize that your first two lines just reflect your own bias towards atheists as seen through a believers perspective.A poster above suggested you sit in on some philosophy seminars.I don't know what state you live in but many state universities let you audit classes (no credit) for free .Usually you just introduce yourself to the prof. and sit in.It couldn't hurt to check out some course work in exposition while you're at it.Good luck.
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silversongwriter wrote:

Now... if you don't believe in a God, then life cannot have any objective value, or inherent meaning to it. Nor would objective morality exist.
Therefore, humans would be in charge of how much a human life is worth. But is it the individual or society

If the individuals life is determined by himself, then that leads to two issues. Someone who doesn't achieve anything or does makes a life out of doing malicious things would be able to justify himself and claim his life is important or worth something. Even if everyone see's this person as a villain
In other words... If Hitler won the war, he would have been the hero of WWII, the holocaust would have been right and just, and the world would benefit... but ONLY because Hitler lost the war, is he a bad guy. Maybe it's just cause I believe in a God, but that whole point of view just seems fucked up to me
Another issue would be that ones life is worthless upon declaring themselves worthless. If individuals decide their own value, then that meas that 911 is in the wrong for responding to suicide attempts.
If someone determines their own value, than ALL suicides are right and just and paramedics who try to save them are simply infringing on their freedoms.
Another issue is that all life would be equal? That sounds good but that would mean
Doctor=Terrorist
Rapist=Humanitarian
Bigot=Philanthropist
Can we really say those people are equal to one another, despite the feelings of society?

Well, that's the issue of us determining our own life... what about others. Well... it seems like our lives are determined by others. After all, it's society that's free to enact capital punishment. It's society that praises those who do good. But the problems with letting the people around you set the value of human life is the same problems associated with democracy? What if the majority of people are wrong?
If society dictates the value of human lives then ALL of the actions of the Third Reich and Spanish Inquisitions were completely morally correct. The witches burned during the Salem trials practiced a religion offensive to the populous, therefore, their murders were just.
If you're gay and you live in Iran, you must deserve to get hung, if society dictates the value of human live.
That also means if more than half the people around you tell you to kill yourself, than you should do it. Since society is so stupid so often, can we really trust our fellow peers, friends, and society to determine how much our lives are worth



The individual determines the meaning should you leave God out of the equation. This is a rather simple problem to answer. I suggest we turn to Rene Descartes' ideas on this one. The Cartesian philosophers had a very useful vision of a mind-body world. The mind being literally thought itself and body being simply all forms of matter. Now the interesting fact is that the Cartesians thought mind is of a different substance because it doesn't necessarily seem to follow natural physical laws. They thought this because they observed that each human individual has a limited structure and amount of data given to it, but seemingly embarks upon this strange phenomenon known as "creativity." To put it differently, our free will/creativity is neither random (which would make it meaningless) nor determined (which would make us no different from a rock or a cup of water following physical laws). The best example of this fact is through the use of human language and the ability to making an infinite number of sentences, ideas, etc. So the Cartesians stated thus that human nature is this creative aspect, and it also sets us apart from animals.

Now before I go on, I just want to say that the Cartesian idea of the body has been disproven. Newton did that. I won't go into the details, but really no one since then has given an adequate definition of what body or matter is. You cannot on any basis prove that matter exists. Why? Because your senses could be lying to you. We assume that our senses tell the truth because it just convenient. Again, the only thing we can be sure of is that we ourselves exist individually since we are each thinking.

Now Rousseau noted this discovery of Descartes and wrote mostly political philosophy. Rousseau said that since human nature is to be creative, then any form of authority or power that restricts this creativity is tyrannical and unjust. This of course became the foundation for the Enlightenment's political ideals, otherwise known as natural human rights.

There is one problem however. How the hell can I figure out that you, my mom, or anybody else is a creative/human? How do I know that any of them have a mind? How can I tell if they are thinking? The answer is that I don't know for sure. We all only trust our senses because it is convenient. So you look like me, and you seem to be able to use language in a creative way, etc. so therefore I will simply assume that it is true. I don't think this poses a significant problem though.

Now this goes pretty far for answering some key dilemmas about morality. I think just through self-introspection, just as the thinkers of the Enlightenment did, figure out some very basic points of morality. Robbing someone, murdering someone, etc. are all covered under Descartes' discoveries in his discourse on the mind-body problem. That being said, I sometimes wonder how far it can take us in explaining other facets of moral codes. Let's say, how does this introspection relate to caring for one another when one is sick?
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silversongwriter wrote:


Jan- wrote:


I think the key question is does morality exist outside religions?I would say yes to this question since its part of social skills that help us get along with others better. It's constantly changing and evolving,coming up with new solutions for new problems. True religions mostly give good sets of morales bound together,but that doesn't mean one couldn't figure them out outside of a religion.It's just easier that way. Besides i think morality is an wellspring,compelling you do things for the sake of morality not fear of god/s.

Saying that human life not having any value outside religion,you are quite wrong my friend.There is the value that we think of ourselves and the value that others think of us and at some point where they crossover you'll get your current value.As they say man/woman is sum of their deeds and words which affect how others and they themselves see their selves,you dont need god in that mon ami.^^


Yea, but without a soul, doing good things is only a form of programming.
You do good, because the electrical/chemical device in your body (the brain) programs you to think it's good.
Meaning, you don't even really have free will, just an illusion of free will.


And?you think with god/s you have a free will?Nope you pretty much have to do as your god/s tell you to do,what things to uphold and what things drop aside. Since soul doesn't automatically equate to free will you know.
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Posted 6/6/15
I have questions about the human condition. Gonna go ask Crunchyroll.
Rohzek 
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silversongwriter wrote:


Jan- wrote:


I think the key question is does morality exist outside religions?I would say yes to this question since its part of social skills that help us get along with others better. It's constantly changing and evolving,coming up with new solutions for new problems. True religions mostly give good sets of morales bound together,but that doesn't mean one couldn't figure them out outside of a religion.It's just easier that way. Besides i think morality is an wellspring,compelling you do things for the sake of morality not fear of god/s.

Saying that human life not having any value outside religion,you are quite wrong my friend.There is the value that we think of ourselves and the value that others think of us and at some point where they crossover you'll get your current value.As they say man/woman is sum of their deeds and words which affect how others and they themselves see their selves,you dont need god in that mon ami.^^


Yea, but without a soul, doing good things is only a form of programming.
You do good, because the electrical/chemical device in your body (the brain) programs you to think it's good.
Meaning, you don't even really have free will, just an illusion of free will.


A soul does not necessarily require a god or a deity. It might just be something we don't fully comprehend yet, and maybe we never will. If a monkey can't understand how to appreciate death metal music, then maybe we like other animals also have cognitive limits. That being said, it is pretty obvious that we exist simply by thinking. Therefore, there is some sort of creative aspect going on. The question then becomes, am I just a puppet of some other dude who is controlling me somehow? The answer is that I don't know. Nor do I think it really matters. I still exhibit this creative aspect and thought process, which is the foundation for much of morality to say the least. See my first post above for my comments about your initial post.

But I want to leave off with this. I think Noam Chomsky offers a good discussion of all this. The first two videos are his thoughts on free will. The first video is from a larger lecture, which I think is a brilliant lecture. So I've included in the third link, the whole lecture. I think if you have the time, you would benefit greatly from watching it.

Noam Chomsky - Free Will I https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J3fhKRJNNTA

Noam Chomsky - Free Will II https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=py-PJQKzQIw

Noam Chomsky - "The machine, the ghost, and the limits of understanding" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D5in5EdjhD0
Posted 6/7/15
Thanks for the lecture.

Came here to get my 2 cr points.
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Humanity determines the value of individuals, the concept of value is just that, a concept. It was (as far as I know) created by humanity, it is an illusory product of our continuous activity as purposive beings. It is the same with regard to moral values, moral values are based on a learning process, and are never intrinsic or absolute. Think of it like money, why is money valuable to us? it only has actual value when enough people agree that it does. If I say that bottle caps are a currency, and enough people agree with me, then that bottle cap is now valuable to us as a group. "Value" is something we created, it has no actual meaning, the way I see it nothing actually does unless we say so.
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thestars201 wrote:

Thanks for the lecture.

Came here to get my 2 cr points.


you can have my 87793 cr points.^^
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The title of this "discussion" made me want to share this link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=faWQFUdrp6M

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Posted 6/7/15 , edited 6/7/15

silversongwriter wrote:

Now... if you don't believe in a God, then life cannot have any objective value, or inherent meaning to it. Nor would objective morality exist.
Therefore, humans would be in charge of how much a human life is worth. But is it the individual or society


Since this appears to be objectively how the world works, in that, in reality, people really do seem to ascribe value to other humans, and society operates accordingly (from prisons to genocides to whatever else), in practice, it seems if 'objective morality' does exist, then it does nothing. So... 'objective morality' or 'subjective morality' seems irrelevant to dealing with the reality of 'huh, our society appears to somewhat arbitrarily give strange rather unequal value to human lives'.


If the individuals life is determined by himself, then that leads to two issues. Someone who doesn't achieve anything or does makes a life out of doing malicious things would be able to justify himself and claim his life is important or worth something. Even if everyone see's this person as a villain


Who cares? If they 'justify it' for themselves or not, in practice, 'how people react' matters in a society. People are *already* free to attribute whatever value they want to whatever, and use whatever justifications they have prebuilt, and if they say "I'm allowed to kill, but no one is allowed to kill me", they might find few supporters. Hopefully, very few. Empathy is a great evolved trait, I'm glad most humans have it.


In other words... If Hitler won the war, he would have been the hero of WWII, the holocaust would have been right and just, and the world would benefit... but ONLY because Hitler lost the war, is he a bad guy. Maybe it's just cause I believe in a God, but that whole point of view just seems fucked up to me


But it's not a 'point of view', it'd be a simple matter of historical record and fact. If Hitler had won, and managed to suppress all dissent, and no society ever came to hold an empathetic view for the masses slaughtered, then yeah, 'the holocaust would have been right and just'.

That would require a staggering amount of empathy to be suppressed by a staggering number of humans, I doubt Hitler would have been able to keep that game up for very long... so, in the end, I'm willing to bet Hitler would always be seen as at least something of a tyrant, but his actions were possible regardless of 'objective morality' or 'subjective morality'.

Asking "is this objectively moral" doesn't begin to help addressing the problems of "how could we prevent these types of things in the future". It's pointless naval gazing. If a god does exist, clearly this god doesn't want to intervene no matter how 'objectively immoral' something is. Or perhaps this killing is 'objectively moral', after all, 'god operates on a higher plane'? The 'objectivity' of it does *nothing* to address actual moral issues.


Another issue would be that ones life is worthless upon declaring themselves worthless. If individuals decide their own value, then that meas that 911 is in the wrong for responding to suicide attempts.
If someone determines their own value, than ALL suicides are right and just and paramedics who try to save them are simply infringing on their freedoms.


Why should "this person believes they are right" translate to "therefore, others should agree that this person is right, and abide by their standards"? This seems absurd. "I believe I am a holy person allowed to kill whoever I want, but NO ONE should be allowed to do any harm to me in return!"

Just because someone believes something doesn't mean others are compelled to abide by that individual's standard. This seems like saying "if a sociopath has a coherent conclusion based on premises you disagree with, you are compelled to abide by the sociopath's standards, as well as accepting their premise".


Another issue is that all life would be equal? That sounds good but that would mean
Doctor=Terrorist
Rapist=Humanitarian
Bigot=Philanthropist
Can we really say those people are equal to one another, despite the feelings of society?


Are all of those people 'equal' in the sense that they are all human? Yeah. They are. Does this mean collective society would, or even 'should', treat them the same? No, what the hell kind of insane version of 'equality' is that? Who says the 'feelings of society' are unimportant, when effectively, they're clearly *the* standard for determining the severity of those crimes. There's no other standard we have access to, so again, even if 'objective morality' exists, by virtue of it being unobtainable by us, it's useless for answering those types of questions. Society, and collective agreement of other humans, potentially informed by a near ubiquitous empathy... however... might be a bit more useful.


Well, that's the issue of us determining our own life... what about others. Well... it seems like our lives are determined by others. After all, it's society that's free to enact capital punishment. It's society that praises those who do good. But the problems with letting the people around you set the value of human life is the same problems associated with democracy? What if the majority of people are wrong?
If society dictates the value of human lives then ALL of the actions of the Third Reich and Spanish Inquisitions were completely morally correct. The witches burned during the Salem trials practiced a religion offensive to the populous, therefore, their murders were just.
If you're gay and you live in Iran, you must deserve to get hung, if society dictates the value of human live.
That also means if more than half the people around you tell you to kill yourself, than you should do it. Since society is so stupid so often, can we really trust our fellow peers, friends, and society to determine how much our lives are worth


What other choice do we as humans have? There exists *no* other source accessible to society for making these kinds of decisions than collective human agreement. If you don't like it and wish there was some universal all powerful arbitrator who would constantly step in and prevent humans from making bad decisions, well, so do I, but clearly, either that doesn't exist, or it doesn't mind allowing events like the Holocaust.

I as a human find the Holocaust vile. But the universe does not appear to have any rule to prevent those kinds of things from happening, since, well, they happened.
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Posted 6/7/15 , edited 6/7/15

silversongwriter wrote:

Now... if you don't believe in a God, then life cannot have any objective value, or inherent meaning to it. Nor would objective morality exist.
Therefore, humans would be in charge of how much a human life is worth. But is it the individual or society

If the individuals life is determined by himself, then that leads to two issues. Someone who doesn't achieve anything or does makes a life out of doing malicious things would be able to justify himself and claim his life is important or worth something. Even if everyone see's this person as a villain
In other words... If Hitler won the war, he would have been the hero of WWII, the holocaust would have been right and just, and the world would benefit... but ONLY because Hitler lost the war, is he a bad guy. Maybe it's just cause I believe in a God, but that whole point of view just seems fucked up to me
Another issue would be that ones life is worthless upon declaring themselves worthless. If individuals decide their own value, then that meas that 911 is in the wrong for responding to suicide attempts.
If someone determines their own value, than ALL suicides are right and just and paramedics who try to save them are simply infringing on their freedoms.
Another issue is that all life would be equal? That sounds good but that would mean
Doctor=Terrorist
Rapist=Humanitarian
Bigot=Philanthropist
Can we really say those people are equal to one another, despite the feelings of society?

Well, that's the issue of us determining our own life... what about others. Well... it seems like our lives are determined by others. After all, it's society that's free to enact capital punishment. It's society that praises those who do good. But the problems with letting the people around you set the value of human life is the same problems associated with democracy? What if the majority of people are wrong?
If society dictates the value of human lives then ALL of the actions of the Third Reich and Spanish Inquisitions were completely morally correct. The witches burned during the Salem trials practiced a religion offensive to the populous, therefore, their murders were just.
If you're gay and you live in Iran, you must deserve to get hung, if society dictates the value of human live.
That also means if more than half the people around you tell you to kill yourself, than you should do it. Since society is so stupid so often, can we really trust our fellow peers, friends, and society to determine how much our lives are worth



My question to you the becomes how is religion any different if humans and societies are the ones carrying out these acts? In holy scriptures, there are decisions made about who should be treated better than others, of what acts are considered to be good or evil, and this is because politics have shaped the scriptures for centuries (i.e. removing the Nostic Gospels in 400 C.E. by Roman order and by the Catholic Church's orders). In some cases, committing atrocities such as the Spanish Inquisition or the Crusades or even what goes on now between Israel and Palestine was done in the name of God, of religion.

So this brings up the question: if God exists, why would God write scriptures that are so humanly flawed to begin with? If there is a God, then why do humans claim the arrogance to have communicated with God and then use the word of God to commit horrific acts against other people, to discriminate, to hate, to destroy? Why do we call God a 'he', clearly establishing a sexist patriarchy, considering we don't truly know the face of God but merely speculate it? Religious institutions are merely another component of greater society and have committed as many atrocities as political and economic leaders. They are just as human as humanity, after all.

With that established, there is validity in saying that anyone can view anything however they like. Humans, as a result, feel the need to create a code of law and a moral code that is generally agreed upon to prevent total anarchy and to coexist as individuals on this planet. As a result, we have gone through many trials and errors, trying out different societies, governments, and leaders until we find something we are content with. Even then, we go on to correct the mistakes of the past and attempt to better ourselves overtime as a species.

Considering this, that is really no different from what an individual does with their life. We struggle, we try to improve, we become content with our current selves eventually, and then we correct our mistakes or beliefs we consider to be backwards or flawed and continue on bettering ourselves. That is what humans do throughout their lives or else we'd never progress as individuals. This is what societies do in order to progress as well.

Existentialism, the concept you are trying to explain here or that we determine our own fates, was in fact created by three Christians who, despite their belief in God, believed that determining their own fate was essential to their own growth. In other words, believing in God and existentialism co-exist, and in truth, we have either been determining our own fate from the very beginning (or allowing other people to dictate our faith, which is still dictating your fate, but the lazier version of it).

As for what we are worth...I think that really depends on your self-esteem and how cynical you are. All I can say is if you draw your self-esteem from others or from God, then I'd consider that unhealthy. Self-esteem must come from the self (hence, "self"-esteem, not "other people or God" - esteem) or else you'll keep on seeking approval from others and as soon as you don't receive it, you lost the ability to really do anything or to be happy.

In the end, how I view life, I'd say do whatever makes you happy as long as it doesn't hurt anyone else. Be a balanced person, believe in yourself, and strive for your dreams. That's really all there is to it, but that's my interpretation.
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Incredible how much crap the brain produces. And here I thought it was unique to the digestive system.

Your life is worth as much as a chicken's. In another era you'd be dinosaur meat just like cows are ours.
Posted 6/7/15 , edited 6/7/15
Its society itself. Which is really humans/people I guess. As a whole. I don't believe science is a big part of it either.
People interacting with other people seem to have more of an influence on them than anything else. Some just wanna believe what they want to believe then just try to get others to believe/think like them. Because they make it seem more favourable/convincing to others. Does that make sense?
For an example, the world being anti-LGBT. The only reason it is so is because of the Christian Europeans traveling the world & forcing their beliefs on everyone. (Not really even actual Christian beliefs either). In ancient civilizations, there were homosexuals & everyone was pretty fine with it. (Look at Ancient Grecian Gods. Also the Japanese Samurai in the Edo period). Some believed it to be a type of birth control to prevent human overpopulation. Also a good amount of well-known historical figures were homosexual & even bisexual as well. But of course, they don't want you to know that.
All these stupid claims about them just to give people a reason to hate them.
People are often easy to manipulate. Especially at a young age. Just feed them ur shit practically all their life & they'll be on your side.
But, everyone's life is worth something. And society shouldn't tell you otherwise.
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Posted 6/7/15
Logic tells us 1 life = 1 life
society dictates worth based on knowledge and practical worth; 1 doctor > 1 cashier
individuals dictate worth based on usefulness to self
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Posted 6/7/15 , edited 6/7/15

Rohzek wrote:

The individual determines the meaning should you leave God out of the equation. This is a rather simple problem to answer. I suggest we turn to Rene Descartes' ideas on this one. The Cartesian philosophers had a very useful vision of a mind-body world. The mind being literally thought itself and body being simply all forms of matter. Now the interesting fact is that the Cartesians thought mind is of a different substance because it doesn't necessarily seem to follow natural physical laws. They thought this because they observed that each human individual has a limited structure and amount of data given to it, but seemingly embarks upon this strange phenomenon known as "creativity." To put it differently, our free will/creativity is neither random (which would make it meaningless) nor determined (which would make us no different from a rock or a cup of water following physical laws). The best example of this fact is through the use of human language and the ability to making an infinite number of sentences, ideas, etc. So the Cartesians stated thus that human nature is this creative aspect, and it also sets us apart from animals.

Now before I go on, I just want to say that the Cartesian idea of the body has been disproven. Newton did that. I won't go into the details, but really no one since then has given an adequate definition of what body or matter is. You cannot on any basis prove that matter exists. Why? Because your senses could be lying to you. We assume that our senses tell the truth because it just convenient. Again, the only thing we can be sure of is that we ourselves exist individually since we are each thinking.

Now Rousseau noted this discovery of Descartes and wrote mostly political philosophy. Rousseau said that since human nature is to be creative, then any form of authority or power that restricts this creativity is tyrannical and unjust. This of course became the foundation for the Enlightenment's political ideals, otherwise known as natural human rights.

There is one problem however. How the hell can I figure out that you, my mom, or anybody else is a creative/human? How do I know that any of them have a mind? How can I tell if they are thinking? The answer is that I don't know for sure. We all only trust our senses because it is convenient. So you look like me, and you seem to be able to use language in a creative way, etc. so therefore I will simply assume that it is true. I don't think this poses a significant problem though.

Now this goes pretty far for answering some key dilemmas about morality. I think just through self-introspection, just as the thinkers of the Enlightenment did, figure out some very basic points of morality. Robbing someone, murdering someone, etc. are all covered under Descartes' discoveries in his discourse on the mind-body problem. That being said, I sometimes wonder how far it can take us in explaining other facets of moral codes. Let's say, how does this introspection relate to caring for one another when one is sick?


If matter cannot be proven to exist. Than how can Dualism be disproven by anyone? If our sense can lie to us and our concept of reality isn't down pat. I don't know how Issac Newton could disprove the existence of a soul. Trying to disprove dualism is like trying to disprove the believe in a god


anzn wrote:

Its society itself. Which is really humans/people I guess. As a whole.
People interacting with other people seem to have more of an influence on them than anything else. Some just wanna believe what they want to believe then just try to get others to believe/think like them. Because they make it seem more favourable/convincing to others. Does that make sense?
For an example, the world being anti-LGBT. The only reason they are is because of the Christian Europeans traveling the world & forcing their beliefs on everyone. (Not really even actual Christian beliefs either). In ancient civilizations, there were homosexuals & everyone was pretty fine with it. Some believed it to be a type of birth control to prevent human overpopulation. Also a good amount of well-known historical figures were gay/bi as well. But of course, they don't want you to know that.
All these stupid claims about them just to give people a reason to hate them.
People are often easy to manipulate. Especially at a young age. Just feed them ur shit practically all their life & they'll be on your side.
Everyone's life is worth something. Honestly. Society shouldn't tell you otherwise.


Christianity isn't the only religion that speaks against homosexuality... plus, think about it. If religion is made by man, and the bible is anti-gay. Then obviously people must have been anti-gay before the creation of religion
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