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We need to distinguish absolute-relative from objective-subjective

In conversations with apologists, it seems like these two sets of terms are mistaken thus making the conversations run in circles and misunderstandings that could be avoided if only we agreed on the terms (well, not only these terms, but many others. However, these seem rather problematic). It seems also that people in general have this problem and treat absolute and objective, as well as relative and subjective, each pair as synonyms. Absolute means that it holds all by itself, relative means that it depends on something else. Objective and subjective are different. Objective means that it is something individuals can check and might be beyond individuals control, subjective means left to the individual.

Thus, for example, if our most basic instincts towards moral behaviour are the result of our evolutionary history as a social species, then our inclinations would have an objective reality as a basis. Would the basis be also absolute? Well, no. The evolution of such basal instincts would be relative to us having evolved as social animals. Thus, things can be both objective and relative.

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Closing Statement from Gabo Moreno

A creationist confirmed the precedent.

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    Apr 20 2012: TED should when it comes to scientists giving their short talks also give links to their papers that they had published on their work,it would save us time trying to look for it for those who are interested,this way a lot of confusion can be avoided as with Frans presentation as there wasn't any "in the field" examples other than three pictures in black n white.I suppose one could cite Jane Goodall.
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      Apr 20 2012: I would like to voice my agreement to your statement.
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    Apr 19 2012: At the first look I would agree with you, what you said seem to be some pretty good partial definitions but let's take the one about objective :
    what do you mean when you say that objective it's something individuals can check ? what is that 'check' about ? what does that mean 'to check' ? how could it be done ?.......... without explaining it what you said is very obscure and no more than a platitude .
    • Apr 19 2012: Eduard,
      If you understood that there is a difference between absolute and objective, and that there is also a difference between relative and subjective, then that's it. My aim is not to provide you with all-encompasing and infallible definitions, nor to give you examples of real things being absolute, relative, objective, or subjective. All I want is to clear up the confusion. Is it clear enough for you? Will you mistake absolute for objective again? If the answers are that this is clear, and that you will not mistake absolute with objective, nor relative with subjective, then all is fine. I agree that the definition I provided might not be enough (there is the "beyond the individual" bit, did you notice?), but if you contrasts the proper word with the proper word, say objective against subjective, you might get it.
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        Apr 20 2012: Did I ever mistake absolute for objective ? I don't remember .

        (Well , I got it (the contrast) long time ago after I heard them and used them first time ; don't worry about it .
        -let me warn you that we aren't idiots and that we realize very easy this contrasts : absolute-relative , subjective-objective .)

        As for the main idea I agree with you .
        • Apr 20 2012: Yes, in the other discussion you are talking about "absolute moral," and relating it to some god. Thus, you don't know what absolute means, and seems a lot like you mistake it for objective.

          I did not say that anybody was an idiot. Mistaking terms is not a symptom of idiocy as far as I know. I doubt that there is anybody who does not mistake terms.
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        Apr 24 2012: I'm still talking about 'absolute moral' and I relate it to some god , but I know what absolute means, it seems logical to me to say what I say .

        Well, well I was expecting you to say that I don't know what objective means when I say that God is objective (as long as you think there aren't proofs for God) .

        In fact I say the both things : God is absolute and objective (if I mistake absolute for objective nothings change anyway in this case) .
        • Apr 24 2012: Well, it is not logical. For morality you need moral beings, thus morality is always relative. It depends on there being moral beings. Then, if you related morality to some god, it would then be relative to such a god. So, it can never be absolute.

          A real god would be objective in the sense that we don't have a say in whether it is there or not. Maybe you can conceptualize a god that is both objective and absolute. That still does not make morality absolute. You are claiming it to be because you link it to a god, but that would make it, again, relative to such god, no matter how much you cry that this god is absolute, the "quality" of being absolute does not transfer from one object to an object that depends (is relative to) it.

          Got it?
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    Apr 19 2012: To me the problem is with the inability to separate objective and subjective.

    Absolutes can just about be ignored as there are hardly any of them.

    The problem with relative is the inability to determine importance s.

    On TED I would say that the first one seems to cause the most trouble.
    • Apr 19 2012: Hi Pat,
      Eduard (E G) just confirmed you comment.
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        Apr 20 2012: Really ?