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What I'm trying to achieve here is the screening out of irrelevancies. Were I to say "most people agree with me", it would be IRRELEVANT (and that's ignoring the fact that I can't substantiate that claim). Were I to say "My friend John from down the road agrees with me" (a claim I might actually be able to substantiate), it would STILL be irrelevant. In fact, were I merely to say "I agree with you", then that, too, would be irrelevant. On the other hand, if I said "I agree with you BECAUSE..." then that would be a different matter, because only the "because" (or to be more precise, the text that follows it) is relevant to the debate. It doesn't matter WHAT I think, or WHAT you think, it matters WHY we think it: What is the REASON for our respective beliefs? What are the chains of logic leading to our respective conclusions? THAT'S what I want to know.

Anything not pertaining to the thread's question is off-topic. It's that simple. So unless the topic of the debate is "The majority of people think X - true or false?" (which is hardly a controversial topic), it's going to be off-topic,

Rommie
Rommie, I said I thought it was relevant to topics that address morality, I didn't say I believe it would be generally relevant (I have conceded that point).
I am also happy to leave this to the moderators to decide, but I do hope that we don't wind up with an unnecessarily and most unusually regulated format.
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My apologies, Conus, I didn't see a distinction between moral and non-moral questions - basically because I can't tell the difference. So majority opinion matters when it's a question of morality does it? Hmm...

If out of ten people in a room, nine of them agree to murder the other, is that moral? It's a majority opinion, after all. Perhaps the problem here is that my sample isn't big enough. What about a whole building - would that be better? What about a whole village? A whole town? A whole country? Not so long ago, a majority of Americans believed that slaughtering American Indians was okay, and that abducting people from Africa and enslaving them was okay. Was that a sufficiently large majority to make it moral? A few years before that, majority opinion in Europe was that nine million women should be burnt at the stake. Was that moral? Or do you require your sample to be the whole of humanity, in toto. Of course, that would include muslims, the Chinese, gay people, Australian aboriginies, and so on. Has there ever been an opinion poll that inclusive? I certainly wouldn't be able to ask the Chinese anything, because I don't speak Chinese. The opinions of this particular population are an unknown to me. Of course, some Chinese folk can speak English, but that subset is not a random cross-section, and is therefore statistically biased.

But it's all irrelevant anyway. I don't base my morality on what other people think. Apart from being recursive, such a strategy would demonstrate a remarkable lack of self-confidence. I form my own opinions. As should we all.

Rommie
Rommie, I would urge you to avoid the use of sarcasm. It is not conducive to a civil and constructive discussion.

Your examples do not support your argument. Contrary to your argument I believe that due to the moral opinions of majorites the above practices were all fought against and stopped. If it wasn't for those majority opinions some of those practices may well still continue.

In a civil society the opinions of the majority must be taken into account when trying to establish what is moral and what is not. Morality is subjective, you are quite right ... but that is why collective morality is so important when assessing what is appropriate for a society as a whole.

I would suggest that this thread is not the right place to be debating this. Let's agree to await adjudication because if we keep this up our keyboards will no doubt run out of ink.
Agreed. Have moved this to another thread. For what it's worth though, I was not being sarcastic, and I'm not sure why you would think that. (It's against the rules anyway). And you're right - I can't possibly know what the majority believed at any given point in time. How foolish of me even to have imagined that. See you on the other thread.
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Conus Lotus, Rommie:

I've added Rommie's suggestions; I agree (if I’m correct in my interpretation of CL's addition) that "common" perspectives can be relevantly referenced.
I would just like to say how much I appreciate this site, that I can communicate with a diverse group of people and share my opinions and feelings with them and, in return, learn from theirs.
Well, now that the rules have been laid before us, let's have an intelligable debate about something other than rules and majority morals! What shall we debate?

What about gas prices?
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Gosh you set of rules are even tighter than the BBC messageboards! Emotion: stick out tongue
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