God vs Human Rights

5wize

Well-known member
Not trying to be a pain here - are you now venturing into morality? If so then yes, I think we've identified many morals that I think should be enforced as rights. Freedom of the press, of religious belief (not necessarily practice), etc.
It is one theory of human rights that those commonly identified morals are *human* rights regardless of whether social legal fictions enforce them. I personally subscribe to that theory. The efficacy of the theory is supported in one small part by the moral evolution of slavery. A legal fiction granted the right to own slaves in America. That was overcome by a moral reality. It isn't a large leap for a moral realist to just cut out the middle step in such obvious human realities.
 

Electric Skeptic

Well-known member
It is one theory of human rights that those commonly identified morals are *human* rights regardless of whether social legal fictions enforce them. I personally subscribe to that theory. The efficacy of the theory is supported in one small part by the moral evolution of slavery. A legal fiction granted the right to own slaves in America. That was overcome by a moral reality. It isn't a large leap for a moral realist to just cut out the middle step in such obvious human realities.
I'm familiar with that theory, but I find it lacking. What does it mean to say that (for example) I have the human right to be free if I'm a slave living in 1800 America? What's the point of even mentioning something that (if it exists, which nobody can determine) is obviously being ignored and can't be granted?
 

Furion

Well-known member
Why not just try and declare truths about humans? I'd be vastly content with that.
Human atheists gather and declare the truths of the universe, on a message board no less!

You already do it so you must be content.
 

5wize

Well-known member
I'm familiar with that theory, but I find it lacking. What does it mean to say that (for example) I have the human right to be free if I'm a slave living in 1800 America? What's the point of even mentioning something that (if it exists, which nobody can determine) is obviously being ignored and can't be granted?
To say that simply means to declare that there is a legal fiction in force that is a violation of an objective human natural state. I agree that the declaration can be ignored so it wouldn't fall under the category of a "legal" right. We can call it something else, but the term natural right as opposed to legal right suffices for me at least.
 
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Electric Skeptic

Well-known member
To say that simply means to declare that there is a legal fiction in force that is a violation of an objective human natural state. I agree that the declaration can be ignored so it wouldn't fall under the category of a "legal" right. We can call it something else, but the term natural right as opposed to legal right suffices for me at least.
Okay, but then I don't know what "X has the natural right to Y" means apart from "I think that X should be allowed/permitted/able to do Y".
 

5wize

Well-known member
Human atheists gather and declare the truths of the universe, on a message board no less!

You already do it so you must be content.
No... Christians declare the truths of the universe. Atheists declare the observations. The observations just don't comport with the truths.
 

5wize

Well-known member
Okay, but then I don't know what "X has the natural right to Y" means apart from "I think that X should be allowed/permitted/able to do Y".
It's usually not something that starts in the intellect with a statement like "I think....." based on some external set of actions one is or is not allowed to do. It originates in common experiences along the lines of an emergent property of being like hunger, sex, and sleep. The recognition that something is going on is followed up with statements to describe the issue being experienced. From those expressions we sort out needs from wants.
 

Algor

Well-known member
To say that simply means to declare that there is a legal fiction in force that is a violation of an objective human natural state. I agree that the declaration can be ignored so it wouldn't fall under the category of a "legal" right. We can call it something else, but the term natural right as opposed to legal right suffices for me at least.
Where can I find an objective human natural state?
 

Electric Skeptic

Well-known member
It's usually not something that starts in the intellect with a statement like "I think....." based on some external set of actions one is or is not allowed to do. It originates in an experience along the lines of an emergent property of being like hunger, sex, and sleep. The recognition that something is going on is followed up with statements to describe the issue being experienced. From those expressions we sort out needs from wants.
But, again, in the end it's "I think...". If I think that all people have a right to freedom and the other guy thinks that black people are inferior and should be subjugated and so white people have the right to do so, who's right and how do you determine that? I think we're circling back to morality...so-called 'rights' are nothing more than moral principles, and morality is subjective. So is the determination of what rights people have or should have.

As for what you call 'emergent propert[ies]' - I have a right to sex? Would you tell all the women who, in my 50 years, have completely failed to have sex with me? And I have a right to not be hungry? Who do I demand to supply me with the food I don't have because I'm too lazy to grow my own?

I would definitely reject any claim that any person has a right to anything that demands any kind of action from another person. That's why I completely reject claims like "Medical care is a human right" and even "Good internet access is a human right". But when I say that they are nonsense - who's to say that I'm right? Maybe people should have a right to some things even if it needs action from others. How do you determine?
 

5wize

Well-known member
But, again, in the end it's "I think...". If I think that all people have a right to freedom and the other guy thinks that black people are inferior and should be subjugated and so white people have the right to do so, who's right and how do you determine that? I think we're circling back to morality...so-called 'rights' are nothing more than moral principles, and morality is subjective. So is the determination of what rights people have or should have.

As for what you call 'emergent propert[ies]' - I have a right to sex? Would you tell all the women who, in my 50 years, have completely failed to have sex with me? And I have a right to not be hungry? Who do I demand to supply me with the food I don't have because I'm too lazy to grow my own?

I would definitely reject any claim that any person has a right to anything that demands any kind of action from another person. That's why I completely reject claims like "Medical care is a human right" and even "Good internet access is a human right". But when I say that they are nonsense - who's to say that I'm right? Maybe people should have a right to some things even if it needs action from others. How do you determine?
The moral realist claims that there is a core set of moral principles that are objective, so we would not accept your statement that morality in total is subjective.

As far as the emergent properties are concerned, you have a right to pursue them to the degree you make contract for them. These are some of the core human issues that regardless of any legal fiction to suppress them, they will express themselves anyway.
 

Algor

Well-known member
Does an authority have the right to not let you sleep? How does that play out?
Happens all the time: prisons, for instance. OK, not sure how the edit changes things.

The point is that "universal" human rights are never universal: they are often waived using other "universal" human rights as a reason, and the reasons are generally at the desire of the powerful. There is no set hierarchy of rights: all can be played off against each other and abrogated. Many things claimed to be universal human rights have NEVER been universal, or even majoritarian (education, for instance). The language of "human rights" is so debased that it supports innumerable legal fictions and naked political action and repression. How can a right to liberty be proclaimed universal when institutions are erected specifically to abrogate those rights?
 
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5wize

Well-known member
Happens all the time: prisons, for instance.
But the point is that it doesn't work naturally. The underlying urge expresses itself anyway. In that case someone saying I don't have a right to sleep is as meaningless as someone claiming I have a right to sleep then. In those cases rights are meaningless whether declared in the negative or the positive.
 

Algor

Well-known member
But the point is that it doesn't work naturally. The underlying urge expresses itself anyway. In that case someone saying I don't have a right to sleep is as meaningless as someone claiming I have a right to sleep then. In those cases rights are meaningless whether declared in the negative or the positive.
Denying the right doesn't work naturally, but saying that everybody can exercise the right naturally doesn't work either. Rights ARE meaningless, precisely because their realization is both completely theoretical AND socially undesireable, given current human nature. If everyone was given liberty, we would have violent psychopaths roaming the street etc.
 

5wize

Well-known member
Denying the right doesn't work naturally, but saying that everybody can exercise the right naturally doesn't work either. Rights ARE meaningless, precisely because their realization is both completely theoretical AND socially undesireable, given current human nature. If everyone was given liberty, we would have violent psychopaths roaming the street etc.
Agree. That's why I believe this is really a semantic issue. If one is used to viewing rights as legal fictions only there is no reason for them to add a category of natural rights to it. It isn't necessary.

All that ethical realism is categorizing as natural rights are quintessential expressions of humanity that cannot be suppressed in the individual as long as they are supported via contract or a non imposing expression of self. You can make legal fictions against alcohol, sex, masturbation, and personal freedom but you cannot stop them from arising and finding expression as a result. Ethical realism simply attempts to identify these forces and promote a natural state of *freedom* towards them regardless of what you would like to call them.
 
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Algor

Well-known member
Agree. That's why I believe this is really a semantic issue. If one is used to viewing rights as legal fictions only there is no reason for them to add a category of natural rights to it. It isn't necessary.

All that ethical realism is categorizing as natural rights are quintessential expressions of humanity that cannot be suppressed as long as they are supported via contract or a non imposing expression of self. You can make legal fictions against alcohol, sex, masturbation, and personal freedom. Ethical realism simply attempts to identify these forces and promote them regardless of what you would like to call them.
OK, that's fair.

My principle issue with human rights is that the language has become so debased that the term inspires distrust, rather than trust, and connotes manipulation instead of aspiration, to me, anyways.
 
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