Comments Posted By Ajita Krishna Dasa
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I don’t get the idea? Why is it a fictional conversation? Why not build it on something real? To me what you call reformer sound very boring and watered down. The only quotation you have from Prabhupada is supporting the opposite of what you are arguing for. The way to argue is 1. stating your position. 2. Stating a doubt about your position. 3. Giving an argument opposing your argument. 4. Giving the siddhanta. 5 Giving a summery.
At least we need more than this to believe that we should act like this “reformer”.
Ajit Krishna Dasa
» Posted By Ajita Krishna Dasa On Jan 9, 2012 @ 4:39 pm
Dear Bhaktivinode Td,
I appreciate both your and Kulapavana Prabhu’s point. We should always see things in a positive light and use them as preaching opportunities. But this, at least to me, doesn’t really change the situation. Darwin’s theory still is what it is and has the consequences it has. It must be addressed in the same way. Or, there might be different ways to address it, but to attack it seems inevitable to me since that is the instruction we got from Srila Prabhupada.
Ajit Krishna Dasa
» Posted By Ajita Krishna Dasa On Mar 10, 2009 @ 6:24 am
Dear Kulapavana Prabhu,
“Darwin’s ideas paved the ground for rejection of the simplistic religious views…”
As we say in Denmark (and probably in many other places): “Nothing is so bad that it isn’t also good for some things. Darwin does not go karma-free because his ideas freed us from certain negative things. His ideas are filled with morally unacceptable things.
“Free thinking people looked towards the theory of evolution to explain such changes. Can you really blame them?”
Prabhupada blamed them. We are all to be blamed for our spiritual ignorance. Atheistic people are looking for a theory to suit their views. Darwin’s theory was used like that.
» Posted By Ajita Krishna Dasa On Mar 7, 2009 @ 10:24 am
While some argue that Darwin was against slavery it’s still true that he was a racist. You’re not necessarily against racism because you are against slavery. Darwin’s book are filled with racism. He consistently wrote that the European white was the most superior race and that black were almost like apes. This view follows logically from evolution theory. Some must be more evolved than others. The weak dies and the string lives on. Thus Darwin predicted that soon the “savage races” would die in the struggle for survival, being eliminated by the stronger races (the white caucasians).
Darwin used his theory of evolution to explain that men must be more evolved than women because they were the ones who were out of the house struggling to get food. Thus they encountered more pressure and thus acquired superior survival traits. Some places Darwin would say that a woman, like a dog, was good to keep the man with company.
There is definitely a logical link between Darwin’s ideas and evil. When these six points combined together it gave a “scientific” justification for all sorts of social evils. How much Darwin will be held accountable for propagating such a view is, as I’ve said, between him and Krishna. But Darwin was warned about the consequences, even by his own mentor and friends. But he didn’t do anything to prevent them. Nor did he protest when his cousin Francis Galton insituted a eugenics society. He also didn’t object to the sick way in which many contemporary thinkers took his ideas.
Are there logical links between Darwin and all the socials evil performed in his name by other people, like Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao, Mussolini and more? Well, I think in some areas there are. But in other ways it might be their interpretation of Darwin. However, without Darwin’s theory it’s hard to see how they would argue for their case and thus to see how their actions could have been performed without Darwin’s theory. Darwin’s theory was been used as the building block for many social evils. It has fueled, inspired and “scientifically” justified things like euthanasia, infanticide, abortion, racism, forced sterilization, sexism, liberalizing sex and criminal justice, experimentation with humans and animals, wars, artificial famine, elimination of the inferior, eugenics…and many other things.
Darwinism penetrates everywhere and makes people identify with their bodies and think that God is unnecessary.
» Posted By Ajita Krishna Dasa On Mar 3, 2009 @ 12:27 pm
2. Moral relativism
This is of course related to the above. If we can explain everything without God it becomes irrational to believe in God. Darwin argued that all human traits including moral trait can be explained by his theory. This leaves us with moral relativism. The consequences of moral relativism can be seen in my article “The Moral Argument for the Existence of God” (see link in previous post). The consequences are that all actions are morally equal. There can be no true normative moral statements. Thus it becomes impossible to condemn things like rape, murder, oppression, child abuse etc. And we also can’t praise things we normally consider morally good like helping people in need, caring for our children, spreading spiritual knowledge etc. Everything become equal. Darwin himself arrived at the conclusion that morality was simply relative. If we want to do good, he said, we can do nothing more than listen to what we feel is good. This moral relativism was condemned by Prabhupada (see “Prabhupada and the Moral Argument for the Existence of God).
It should be obvious that such a view leads to disastrous moral consequences.
3. There is no progress in our evolution as a species without war, disease, famine and other sorts of pressures which eliminates the weak speciments and forces the strong to adapt and pass on their superior traits.
Darwin often praise war as a good thing and later thinkers and political leaders like Stalin, Lening and Hitler used this to justify their wars. Some, like Lenin (or was it Stalin, even created artificial famine in their countries to eliminate the weak.
How accountable was Darwin for this? Well, that’s between him and Krishna, but his ideas were evil. To say that there’s no progress without wars and that wars are therefore a good, and even necessary thing, is in itself an evil doctrine.
4. The use of eugenics.
Darwin favored the use of eugenics. Just like we can make better and stronger animals by not letting the weak speciments procreate and by letting the strong procreate so we can make better and stronger men by hindering the weak in body and mind to procreate and by helping to strong in body and mind to do so. There are quotes were Darwin says that the poor should not be allowed to procreate and were he says only humans, among other animals, were so stupid as to take care of their weak.
» Posted By Ajita Krishna Dasa On Mar 3, 2009 @ 11:55 am
Dear devotees! Pamho, agtSP!
I appreciate your views. Especially thanks to Akruranath Prabhu for his views on the matter!
I’ve said that I want to defend two contention. I’ve presented my case for my first contention. I will now present my case for the second.
The Social Impact of Darwinism
There’s a lot to be said about this subject matter. My intention is to write a longer articles presenting more detailed explanations and giving more evidence for the points I will give here.
I will argue that social evils follows logically and inescapably from Darwin’s theory. I’ll mention six things about Darwin’s theory which makes it an evil theory:
1. Leaving God out of the picture.
Darwin’s ideas made it possible, like it was never possible before, to explain the world without the need for God or any sort of supernatural phenomenon. Darwin was himself heavily influenced by materialistic philosophy from his very childhood and from earlier and contemporary philosophers like Hume and Combte. Even before he published his books he would lean towards the rejection of God. Evidence for this can be found in his earlier notebooks and manuscripts. At the end of his life Darwin would totally reject Christianity. His theory became a “scientific” justification for leaving God out of the picture – and Darwin knew this very well.
The social impact of leaving God out of the picture is that from that it follows that there can be no absolute standard for right and wrong. We are left with no spiritual guidance. This is common sense which I show in my version of “The Moral Argument for the Existence of God”. Prabhupada agrees fully with this view which I document in my “Prabhupada and the Moral Argument for the Existence of God”. These two texts can be found here:
Making people think that we don’t have any need of God in order to explain the origin of and development of life leads naturally to disastrous moral consequences. It makes people identity the body with the self, for example.
To be continued…
» Posted By Ajita Krishna Dasa On Mar 3, 2009 @ 11:41 am
Dear Rasasthali Mataji! Pamho, agtSP!
Our process is to repeat the words of our spiritual master and therefore not contradict his words.
My first contention is that you are contradicting Prabhupada’s words when you claim that Darwin’s theory is not “to a large extent” “responsible for the moral decline of human society.”
My second contention is that you’re wrong when you claim that it is “unproven” that Darwins theory is “to a large extent” the cause of the moral decline in our society.
The first contention
Prabhupāda: “Darwin is a rascal. What is his theory? We kick on your face. That’s all. That is our philosophy. The more we kick on Darwin’s face, the more advanced in spiritual consciousness. He has killed the whole civilization, rascal.”
Prabhupāda: “That is nonsense. Darwin was a number-one nonsense. Yes. Rascal. He has confused the whole world.”
Prabhupāda: “Full nonsense, this rascal. How much havoc he has done to the human society. A grand rascal, this Darwin. And he is taken as the basic principle of anthropology. The whole world has become…”
Prabhupada: “The Darwin’s theory, this theory, that theory, simply they are bewildered, thinking this body is the self.”
Prabhupada: “So the modern civilization, according to Darwin’s theory, they are advancing to become animal. That’s it. Therefore they are claiming their forefathers are coming from monkeys.”
Prabhupada: “Because they are standing on a wrong theory, all their calculations are wrong, and people are suffering. The rascal Darwin’s theory. So many, based on this foolish theory, wrong conception of life. So we have to challenge, protest. defeat. This will be our work. Our worshiping of Kṛṣṇa, that is our internal affair. The external affair—we need to establish this theory. Otherwise they’ll be leading this society. Misleading. They are misleading, not leading, misleading. So we have to stop this misleading.”
To sum up: According to Prabhupada Darwins theory has killed the whole civilization, that is has confused the whole world, that is has caused a lot of havoc in human society, that is bewilders people be making them identify the body as the self, that it makes people become animals, that it misleads people and makes them suffer. Darwins theory has created so much trouble that Prabhupada want us to stop it.
Thus I think it is proven that my first contention is correct: You are contradicting Prabhupada.
Arguments for my second contention is coming soon.
Ys, Ajit Krishna Dasa
» Posted By Ajita Krishna Dasa On Feb 27, 2009 @ 8:54 am
I don’t think they are capable of applying that in a scientific and/or philosophical way to the universe. As far as I know they usually don’t apply the “laws” of quantum mechanics to other areas – maybe because they know accepting that the laws of logic are not true will cause havoc in our world views and scientific pursuits. Because then anything can be true and false at the same time. Besides that there are at least 10 competing theories of quantum mechanics, so I would reply that they should sort their speculation out before using them to support what they would like to be true. But even if they open up for the idea that some things doesn’t work according to the laws of logic maybe we can use that to push them towards Krishna acintya-sakti. Further, just becuase something is possible doesn’t make it a good explanation or scientific. So if they postulate that the universe could create itself they have to offer us some evidence.
» Posted By Ajita Krishna Dasa On May 17, 2008 @ 1:08 am
I have just finished the first version of a paper that show that Prabhupada agreed with and used “The Moral Argument for the Existence of God”.
Here a preview:
“Prabhupada agrees with and uses TMA. He is of the conviction–I should say he knows–that an unchanging, absolute, ultimate, universal morality that transcends space and time exists. He thinks this fact can be known by analyzing the stringent laws of nature which is impossiple to neglect without being punished. He further argues that behind every law there must be a lawmaker, and so behind the laws of nature there must be a Supreme Lawmaker, God. So Prabhupada accepted TMA as a valid and sound argument which can be used in arguing for the existence of God. Consequently we should also embrace it as such.”
Please view the whole paper here:
Your comments are needed,
» Posted By Ajita Krishna Dasa On Jan 24, 2009 @ 2:47 pm
Thanks prabhu! I’ve just been trying to reduce my internet activity.
Nice that we seem to agree now. My experience tells me that it’s very difficult to convince very sceptic people with a single argument even if it is good. But I know from experience and from others that it is a very powerful argument – and that people are attracted to it. Some have been convinced by it. The argument has the following benefits:
1. It very simple, easy to understand and remember
2. It touches people because it has to do with morality and the consequences of our world views – on an individual and social level. It provokes so everyone gets fired up about it.
3. It brings even the most hardcore atheist on thin ice – if it is presented and defended properly
4. It strengthens theists in their belief
5. It’s easy to defend – you don’t need a lot of scientific knowledge about biology and physics etc.
When I think about using logic and science to defend belief in God I always think of an old fashioned weight – a weight scale – with two weights. You can put many arguments on each scale and see which scale has most weight. I this way you get what is called a cumulative argument. I would say that this argument is one of the heaviest for the existence of God. I’ve been using it for years and I know practically all the arguments against it and they are really poor which gives me an opportunity to appear very confident and make the atheist look very pathetic.
It’s actually more or less the “lawmaker argument” which Prabhupada also uses: Where there is a moral law there must be a lawmaker behind. Prabhupada often used this argument, as you know. Ok, enough for now. Ys, AKD
» Posted By Ajita Krishna Dasa On Jan 13, 2009 @ 3:16 pm
Sorry for the long absence!
Dear Caitanya Caran Prabhu!
It seems clear to me that you’re misunderstanding the term “absolute morality”. You seem to think it has something to do with when, how and why we are punished for our moral misdeeds. But that’s a secondary issue in this connection. We are simply talking about ontology – if such a thing as absolute moral laws exist.
A common, straight forward, simple and fine definition of “moral absolutism” is
“…the view that there is at least one principle that ought never to be violated.”
Prabhupada’s books are filled with moral rules that ought never to be violated. The most fundamental of these are that we always ought to remember Krishna and never forgive him. So moral absolutism is definitely integral to our philosophy. Prabhupada was totally against moral relativism/subjectivism and he critizised these views by pointing out that if there is no Krishna there is no fixed morality.
Ajit Krishna Dasa
» Posted By Ajita Krishna Dasa On Jan 13, 2009 @ 1:10 am
Dear Caitanya Prabhu!
I believe I have given a very clear definition of what I mean by absolute morality and absolute values. I also don’t think I have borrowed anything from any other tradition. I think that moral absolutism is so obviously integral to our tradition (as well as all other monotheistic traditions) that I’m astonished to meet devotees who disagrees. If one don’t agree that morality is absolute then one must necessarily think it’s relative. But that would mean that any moral judgment is just as good as any other moral judgment and that’s not our philosophy. This will be clear if we read what Prabhupada says about morality. I gave some references from the vedabase.
Regarding the Prabhupada quote: While researching the vedabase for quotes on morality I found it very clear that Prabhupada says that absolute morality exist and that we can know it – at least in proportion to our advancement in Krishna Consciousness. But due to being conditioned sometimes we can’t understand the behavior of the pure devotee. But it’s not that we can’t know absolute morality at all. By weighing the different quotes on morality against each other this became clear to me and I think it will be clear to anyone who take a look at these quotes.
All the best,
Ys, Ajita Krishna Dasa
» Posted By Ajita Krishna Dasa On May 14, 2008 @ 3:12 pm
Continued from the above:
You wrote: “What, if anything, makes the objective reality of moral values any more dependent on the existence of God than the objective reality of a rock on the university lawn?”
The Moral Argument is in fact a sort of Design Argument, because it argues that absolute moral values, duties and accountablity must be designed by a person; an absolute person. Now, to address your point. You and I can agree that the objective reality is a proof of the existence of God because we share the same world view in many ways. And the argument as you presented it is indeed both valid and true. But the success of the argument in terms of preaching is how convincingly you can argue in favor of the premises. In this case you have to provide evidence to the effect that “If God does not exist, then the objective reality does not exist”. It will be great if you can do that. However I don’t think it will be as convincing as the first premise in my argument. Values point directly towards a person of some sort. Almost anyone will admit that values are always produced by persons. The same can not be said about the objective reality.
» Posted By Ajita Krishna Dasa On May 11, 2008 @ 9:28 pm
Dear Akruranatha Prabhu!
No excuse needed!
You wrote: “You do not mean “absolute” in the sense that one particular type of action is good or bad universally, without consideration of time, place, circumstance or the situation of the individual actor.”
In fact I do mean absolute in the sense of universal. It is an absolute, universal, eternal, objective and true moral principle/value/duty that any moral agent ought to please Krishna in any given situation we are in. That’s the absolute and universal standard against which every act any moral agent has performed in past, is performing in the present and will perform in the future is measured. Krishna further gives us some absolute and universal moral duties to perform like remembering Him for example. And then He gives specific moral duties according to time place and circumstances, but these can all be traced back the the absolute and universal “do what pleases Krishna-principle”. So even in the relative (though not relative in the same sense as atheistic morality) moral duties that Krishna gives there is an absolute and universal moral component.
You wrote: “My next question to you would be (proceding slowly), what does the existence of “absolute” moral values, in this sense, have to do with the existence of God?”
I think I have given clear arguments in my text to show that only an absolute person with absolute power can create absolute moral values (first premise). I’ve also presented arguments why the negation of that first premise can’t be accepted as rational even though it’s a logical possibility.
» Posted By Ajita Krishna Dasa On May 11, 2008 @ 9:26 pm
Continued from above:
Prabhu, it’s not fully clear to me how your last post is relating to my argument. I think you’re somehow discussing your own misunderstanding of what I’m trying to say. I would like to invite you to search the vedabase for “morality”. You’ll see that SP again and again differentiates between mundane and absolute morality. He calls the absolute morality by different names like the “real”, “actual”, “highest”, “absolute”, “universal”, “greatest”, “spiritual”, and “transcendental” morality. There are many places where it is clear that SP agrees with both premises in The Moral Argument. Take a look at the BG lecture given in London, August 29, 1973 (730829BG.LON). SP talk about the standard of morality throughout this lecture.
So, as far as I can see, we have to accept both premises of the argument both on the strength of SP, sastra and logic and reason, and since the argument is logically valid (it’s based on the valid logical form modus ponens) then we have to accept the conclusion on the basis of the premises. Given the arguments I gave in favor of the premises I think we can give atheists a really hard time and provide devotees with a solid, rational foundation for accepting the existence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna.
» Posted By Ajita Krishna Dasa On May 10, 2008 @ 12:26 pm
Continued from above:
You wrote: “But from a practical point of view, the connection to sastra and practical realizations of other devotees are more valuable, then mathematical logic.”
Logic is definitely not absolute. But consider that you are using logic to argue against this argument and thus you have to admit that logic is indeed valuable. Logic is in fact pramana, evidence, according to our tradition. This argument might not be perfect, because it’s based solely on sense perception and logic, but that does not make valueless, nor does it make the atheistic conclusion just as good. Logic and sense perception can bring us to the conclusion that theism is the only rational position to hold. Prabhupada used such arguments to provide support for theism.
You wrote: “I will accept your argument, if the first instance the meaning is acceptable to you as in – sa vai puṁsāṁ paro dharmo.”
What I mean is that the absolute moral principle is to act in a way that pleases Krishna. Every single act that any moral agent has ever performed can be evaluated according to this absolute moral principle. And because this absolute moral principle exist it makes sense to discriminate between different actions and divide them into morally good and bad and place acts into a moral hierarchy. I’ve heard that SP sometimes said: “It’s not very good, but it’s still good.” This means that it pleases Krishna, but that there’s something that pleases Krishna even more. Krishna also reveals through scriptures, the guru and our hearts what pleases Him, and because to please Him is an absolute moral principle it makes sense to follow the moral commands He issues through these three mediums. In an atheistic universe there are no such absolute moral principles and therefore it does not make sense for an atheist to make normative moral judgments and make a moral hierarchy. In their universe all acts are morally equal/neutral.
If we have to present arguments in favor of theism it’s important that the arguments are good. One of the reasons I posted my argument here was to receive feed back. So if you think you can argue successfully against the argument I would be happy if you did. Don’t consider it an attack against me, but as you and me coorporating to find good arguments and reject bad ones.
» Posted By Ajita Krishna Dasa On May 10, 2008 @ 11:55 am
Dear CC Prabhu!
Regarding the quote from Srila Prabhupada: You said that “absolute morality does not exist”. I can’t see why you think it makes a difference that I didn’t mention the whole context of the particular quote, because the important thing is that SP said that a pure devotee acts on the platform of “Absolute Morality”. Thus absolute morality does exist – contrary to what you claimed. And when SP says that a conditioned soul does not know absolute morality it first of all does not mean that we can’t know that absolute morality does exist. We can know it exist (SP just told us in the above), but not always know exactly what it is, just like we can know Krishna exist, but not always know everything about Him. It also seems clear to me that when SP says that a conditioned can’t know about absolute morality it simply means that sometimes we can’t understand the actions of a pure devotee, because He’s acting on the absolute platform. I’m a conditioned soul, but I know some absolute moral principles – like that I ought to always act in a way that pleases Krishna. That’s the ultimate and absolute moral principle.
You wrote: “…maybe you can go to a debating club in your university and see if they will accept “If God does not exist, absolute moral values do not exist” as a first proposition,…”
First of all I don’t think their acceptance is the only measure of success. It’s also a success if we can get them in trouble by providing good arguments in favor of the premise and show that there are big problems with their arguments against it. Secondly, most atheists agree with the premise. Many people have been taught in school that once we believed in God and thought that morality was absolute, but now that God is dead we know that morality is something relative which differs according to individuals, societies, cultures, nations etc. So this premise is really confirming what most people have been taught in secular educational institutions. Thirdly, I already explained that this argument is one of the most successful arguments when presented to big audiences and in universities. I haven’t presented it such a place myself, but I’ve heard lectures on the argument from universities and heard evaluations of such presentations by scholars. And when I present this argument to atheists they also get into serious problems.
» Posted By Ajita Krishna Dasa On May 10, 2008 @ 11:36 am
The argument is logically valid. You seem to be implying the argument is circular. But it’s not. I’m not trying to prove premise 1 in my conclusion. The conclusion is that God exist and to prove that I use the premises. If the premises are true then the conclusion follows necessarily. I can’t really recognize my argument when I look at your presentation of it:
“…if there is no God, therefore there is no morality, because there is God, there must be morality.”
That’s not the way I present the argument. I invite you to study it carefully again.
I don’t really think the first premise is an act of faith. I’ve given ample reason to support it. And if I can show that it’s more plausible than it’s negation then we have a good case for it. In this instance it’s not just more plausible, but very much more plausible. It seems like the only acceptable choice.
Regarding the IX argument from the link you provided: This point is incorporated in my argument. I’ve shown that if people accept moral relativism they end up being morally crippled monsters.
I see no reason to rephrase the argument in the way you present. I find that formulation quite obscure. The argument as I’m presenting it (and this is a standard way of presenting it not invented by me) is a valid syllogism.
Sometimes Prabhupada makes the point that Krishna is above morality and that on the trancendental platform there’s no morality. But I think it’s clear that SP is talking about “mundane morality” here. In other places Prabhupada talk about “real morality” and “absolute morality”. Take a look at this quote:
“If the conduct of the pure devotee crosses the lines of ordinary morality it is because he acts on the plane of Absolute Morality…”
Even our duties in our varna and ashrama are absolute in the sense that it’s really true that we ought to perform them. It’s not just another opinion or based on feelings or agreed upon or a product of our genes. It’s true that any person in any particular situation has a moral duty which is based on moral values. These values are comes from Krishna and they are absolute. So there is an absolute foundation for morality unlike in the atheistic universe. Even in the spiritual world if you act against Krishna desire you’ll be thrown into this world. It’s not like we can do whatever we like in the spiritual world.
» Posted By Ajita Krishna Dasa On May 4, 2008 @ 12:06 pm
Dear Pandu Prabhu! Thanks for the feed back.
Like I wrote this is one of the most effective arguments for the existence of God – if presented in the proper way.
I’ve already addressed the point that atheists can be moral. Atheists can be moral, and actually always is, and that supports the argument, because it shows they are then philosophically inconsistent, that they can’t live according to their philosophy and that they contradicting reality.
You say we don’t accept absolute morality. I’m bewildered. What do you mean by that? Where in our sastra is it said that all morality is relative?
I’ve also addressed the point that argues that even moral absolutists disagree about morality. That’s also irrelevant to the argument. Actually it’s the fallacy called “inflation of conflict”. You can read my refutation of that objection above in my previous comments.
You wrote: “I don’t think helps to rely on the idea that, “Deep down we all know that something is really right and something is really wrong.”
I see no more reason to reject the objectivity of morality than to reject the objectivity of the objective world, the past, other minds etc. Humans can’t stop making moral judgments and thus the moral relativist is forced to think inconsistently, live inconsistently, contradict reality – and if they actually try to live according to moral relativism they become very immoral.
When evaluating a moral philosophy it’s common practice to see what the consequences of that moral philosophy is. And if it goes against what most peoples moral intuition tells us then it’s rejected. If the logical consequences of a moral philosophy is that people who follow it comes to think that all acts are morally equal so that torturing babies for fun has the same moral status as nurturing the children then it will be normal practice to reject that moral philosophy.
The whole point is that if we can show the problems with moral relativism I pointed out, and if moral absolutism doesn’t suffer these consequences then we have to choose moral absolutism. We can’t accept a philosophy we can’t follow, that’s inconsistent, contradicts reality and makes us monsters. If one think just a little about it he/she will be forced to accept God.
» Posted By Ajita Krishna Dasa On May 3, 2008 @ 8:10 pm
“I guess my question about the first premise would be, what is your distinction between “absolute moral values” and “relative moral values”?”
Normally we test the truthvalue of a proposition by holding it up against reality. The statement “the Earth is round” is true if, and only if, the Earth, as it is existing independent of our perception of it, is actually round.
So when testing the truthvalue of moral propositions we have to hold them up against reality. The moral proposition “there’s something we ought to do” is true if, and only if, there exist an absolute moral standard in the real world – independent of our consciousness – that tells us that there’s something we ought to do. If no such standard exists and we only have peoples opinions and feelings about it then none of these can be said to be any better or any worse than any other of them and thus we are left with relative morality. This means that no matter which moral proposition we have – be it articulated by a single person, agreed upon by many, written down as a law, the product of our genes and environment – we can’t hold it up against any absolute normative moral standard to test it’s truthvalue. In such a scenario the only absolute moral standard (but not a normative one) would be the one telling us that there’s really nothing we ought to do. And thus all normative moral proposition would be wrong. This can be shown like this:
Objective reality: “There’s nothing you ought to do” >
» Posted By Ajita Krishna Dasa On May 3, 2008 @ 10:11 am
Dear Akruranatha Prabhu!
Thanks for your feed back! First of all I would to clarify again that the argument doesn’t say that one has to be a theist to follow a moral philosophy. Atheists can and do follow moral philosophies. But the argument says that makes them inconsistent, because morality can only be founded in God. So even moral values held by atheists prove the existence of God.
You wrote: “Or must we take it when you say “no one” knows about them you mean “no one but God”?)”
Yes, that’s what I mean. Thanks for pointing it out. I think I’ll just put it like this instead:
“Absolute moral values are values that exist objectively and are true for all human beings, even if only some or no one agrees to them, knows about their existence or can act contrary to them.”
I think that should do the job. I’ll not include demigods and other beings. I don’t want to introduce the reader to too many new things that will distract his/her attention from the point.
The last part of your comment doesn’t really refute any of the premises as far as I can see. Moral absolutists might disagree about what they consider absolute moral values. But that doesn’t make all moral values relative. At one time people disagreed about whether or not the Earth was round or flat. But that didn’t change the truth about the Earths form. When discussing this I think we start to move from a talk about the foundation of absolute morality to an epistemological talk about how we can know them. If we have some sort of a moral sense then we might perceive moral values differently. For a sense to work properly it has to function correctly and be in the right circumstances. If it has problems meeting these criteria then it will not collect trustworthy data. But that doesn’t change the truth about nature of the object it observes. It’s possible that a moral absolutists moral senses doesn’t meet these criteria. Atheists moral senses might many times work better than many theists moral senses. But they would still be inconsistent in following such a morality, since it can only be justified by reference to God.
Looking forward to your response Prabhu!
» Posted By Ajita Krishna Dasa On May 3, 2008 @ 9:22 am
OK! We then agree on the validity of the argument. Then the only question is if the premises are true – or actually they just have to be more plausible than their negation in order for us to show that the conclusion is more plausible than it’s negation. Since we are arguing on the basis of logic and reason then there always some uncertainty, but that doesn’t at all make it impossible to show that theism is the only rational position. And that’s really sufficient for us. (I’m not talking directly to you, Prabhu, but just revealing my thoughts and giving some background for the readers in case they need it). So excuse me if I seem arrogant (which I tend to be) in my presentation.
I suggest we then take the first premise of the argument. What are your thoughts about that?
» Posted By Ajita Krishna Dasa On May 2, 2008 @ 11:39 am
“Any follower of the Vedas would probably agree that some acts are acceptable for sudras but not for brahmanas or ksatriyas, and vice versa. Would that make them moral relativists?”
There’s an important difference here. In an atheistic universe EVERY moral value and duty is relative. I think it makes sense to say that in the Vedic culture for any person p in a specific context x there’s something he/she ought to do. So a sudra doesn’t have all the same oughts as a kshatriya on a battlefield. But if he were a kshatriya in the exact same context he would have the exact same duty. Someone might be a sudra but if he were in the exact same situation as Arjuna his absolute moral duty would be to act as Arjuna. So in Vedic culture morality can be relative to time, place and circumstances, and the only reason it makes sense to follow them is because by doing that we serve some higher absolute moral values and duties which all can be traced back to “you should do what is pleasing to Krishna”. That’s the ultimate measuring standard for morality in our philosophy. Everyone should follow that, but exactly how differs according to varna and ashrama and time, place and circumstances. That doesn’t make morality relative and inconsistent as in an atheistic universe where there’s no absolute standard against which to measure our acts.
Regarding the need for further elaboration on “absolute moral values” and “moral relativism” I’m not sure what it is you feel is missing for a complete understanding. Could you please try to elaborate on that and then I’ll do my best to answer.
Looking forward to your reply.
» Posted By Ajita Krishna Dasa On May 2, 2008 @ 9:21 am
Dear Akruranatha Prabhu! Since I have some more time I’ll continue commenting on some of the points you made.
Dostoevsky said that if God does not exist then everything is permitted. In other words he said that morality is contingent upon the existence of God. This is the first premise of my argument.
Something can only be judged evil if there’s an absolute moral standard against which to measure. That absolute standard can only be made by God. At least it’s the only acceptable explanation. So if evil exist then God exist.
“Of course hardly anyone would agree that “no behavior can be said to be wrong or bad, because morals values are completely dependent on one’s situation.” I doubt though, that people who identify themselves as “moral relativists” would take such extreme positions.”
This is my point. The logical outcome of moral relativism is that every act is morally equal to every other act. But the moral relativist can’t help making moral judgments and usually he also doesn’t want to. He seems to think it makes sense to be moral in the absence of existence of God. But it doesn’t and therefore both his moral philosophy and his behavior are inconsistent with reality – as reality looks like in his own moral relativistic universe. To ground morality in society or in genes doesn’t make it absolute and true. It would still be relative . In fact we can’t derive any “ought” from a morality that’s grounded in society and/or in genes. This would be the naturalistic fallacy of deriving an “ought” from an “is”. (cont.)
» Posted By Ajita Krishna Dasa On May 2, 2008 @ 9:10 am
Dear Akrunatha Prabhu! Thanks for your feed back. Let us work through this one step at the time.
1) Is the argument valid?
The argument is indeed logically valid. The formulation of the first premise is the “contrapositive” of “If A then B”. In other words if we know that “if A then B” then we also no that “if not B then not A”. Consider this example:
If we know that it’s true that “if I press the button then the bomb explodes” then we also know that “If the bomb does not explode then I don’t press the button”. So if it’s true that “if absolute moral values exist then God exist” then we also know that “if God does not exist then absolute values do not exist.” These are equivalent and therefore the argument might as well have been presented as:
1. If absolute moral values exist then God exist (equivalent to my first premise)
2. Absolute moral values do exist
3. Therefore God exist
You can read more about conditional statements and their contrapositive here: http://www.regentsprep.org/Regents/Math/relcond/Lcontrap.htm
Do we agree now?
» Posted By Ajita Krishna Dasa On May 1, 2008 @ 10:19 pm
Dear Prabhu! Thanks for your feed back. I’m very attached to this argument which I’ve studied for quite some years. So I’m going to defend it. Hope you don’t mind.
Your first point is that an immoral person will not care for this argument. If the person is in fact extremely immoral I think you’re right. However, most people are, fortunately, not that immoral and so the argument might persuade many–or at least make them reflect deeper about this and in due time push them in the right direction. I know from people who are presenting this argument to large groups of people that it’s the argument which has the biggest impact on people. And I know that you can really press atheists with it. If they have a little conscience they will usually start to feel very uncomfortable when challenged with it. And here I’m not just talking about the hardcore atheists but about all those people who are just not very concerned about religion and tend to believe in moral relativism.
Your second point is that a person who is morally bound will usually be religious. I don’t think that’s true. I think religious people generally tend to be more morally inclined than atheists, and also that the morality of the religious people are more in line with “real” morality, Gods moral laws. But atheists usually have a strong opinion about morality. And this argument can show that if they are just a little morally inclined they are inconsistent.
In your third point you open the discussion about “religious” people being immoral. But it’s important to remember that this argument doesn’t state that atheists are immoral and that religious people are moral. It doesn’t even state they can’t perceive what is actually good and bad. The argument deals only with the questions of whether or not it make sense for an atheist to bo moral and what the foundation for morality is. Even if atheists are moral they still have to explain what the foundation for their morality is and how it makes sense to be moral if atheism is true.
We simply have to show that our argument is logically valid and that our premises are better than their negations. Then our argument is succesful, because it then shows theism to be the best explanation. And to be rational one has to adopt the best explanation.
» Posted By Ajita Krishna Dasa On Apr 28, 2008 @ 10:21 pm
Pamho, agtSP! I find this article to be absolutely wonderful. Thanks a lot! Just one thing:
“17. Read Sastras: Everyone knows that reading Srimad Bhagavatam or chanting Hare Krsna is a guaranteed method of instant sleep!!”
Is this a joke, or?
Ys, Ajita Krishna Dasa
» Posted By Ajita Krishna Dasa On Apr 24, 2008 @ 9:35 pm
Pamho, agtSP! Wow! I can’t find anything I disagree with in this very important article. Thank you very much prabhu! Brilliant work! Ys, AKD
» Posted By Ajita Krishna Dasa On Feb 26, 2008 @ 2:37 pm
Dear Karnamrita Prabhu! Thanks for taking the time to discuss my objection with me. I appreciate that. I guess we don’t agree. But then again, it’s not the end of the world :)
Ys, Ajita Krishna Dasa
» Posted By Ajita Krishna Dasa On May 1, 2008 @ 11:31 pm
Back To Stats Page
I’m sorry for not responding to this before. I’ve somehow forgotten about this until I came across it again.
In philosophy the term “reality” usually refers to the state of being as it actually is, independent of people’s knowledge or perception. If something is real it is an actual fact. It is true. From reading your nice article I got the impression that you think that it’s possible that the “subjective reality” can be in conflict with the “objective reality”. In other words that the “subjective reality” can be false. But can it then really be called a “reality”? Of course in the word jugglery of philosophy everything is possible nowadays, but my point is that I think it’s dangerous to by into terms which are popular among relativists, because we are very much opposed to their philosophy. Instead of using the term “subjective reality” I would prefer terms like “subjective experience” or “subjective perception.”
Thank again for a good article and I must again apologize for this very late answer!
Your servant, Ajita Krishna Dasa
» Posted By Ajita Krishna Dasa On Apr 28, 2008 @ 9:37 pm
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