Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Wallowing


Oh, what a smorgasbord!
And at least one more (anon) who missed the satirical irony of the previous post. We'll get to that.
Thanks to Kyle who has stepped in to aid my aching fingers.

Paul C said:

Any moral statements I make are subjective.

Yes, I know. It's been my point for posts and posts now.

You have never denied that this is the case

Exactly. I've affirmed it vigorously.

you only argue that you find subjective moral statements inadequate

Inadequate to prescribe or proscribe actions to anyone else. Such as raping children. You can't tell anyone whether that action is OK or not OK, they should or shouldn't.

So we can live quite happily by our positions, as JN has said, with subjective morals;

Well, you SAY you can, but I don't believe you. You slip into objective moral language so often that it's about the most obvious thing I've ever seen that you can't.
But that's never been my argument, so it doesn't matter to me whether you can or can't.

Genesis 3:22 states: "And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil", clearly indicating that, prior to eating the fruit of the tree, Adam and Eve did not know good and evil.

And you didn't deal with the counterexamples I cited.
Unless you think the author had a brain aneurysm between 3:20 and 3:22, recovered several yrs later with no memory of what he wrote, and returned to continue on with no memory of the preceding, you need to find another interpretation. Your ineptitude is part of the point I was making. And it's not a knock on you - you're an atheist! Why *would* you learn proper biblical hermeneutics? I'm serious.

These are not predictions, they're merely observations and opinions.

Why aren't they predictions? Make your argument.

If humans are in fact inherently sinful, then it is not a prediction to say that humans are sinful

I said that FUTURE people will be sinful. That's a prediction. Of the future.

We're a pretty poor show

You mean, YOU THINK we are a poor show. You have no objective moral statement on this topic.
(See what I mean about your slipping?)



the JN said:
So I have not made any claims to moral fact.

Which was my point for this whole post.

no factually correct moral standards.

Right. So it's not a fact that raping a little girl is morally objectionable.
Is this not what I've been saying?

I was expressing the incompatibility of my opinions with Yahweh's supposed opinions.

And why should anyone care about your opinion on what YHWH said? I'm serious, not being sarcastic. You deny any rationally compelling fact that could persuade someone of the truth of your position; you deny any moral force to a statement such as this. Why even express it?


Rintintin said:
why even give us the opportunity to make a mess of it in the first place?

B/c He wanted to.
Lots of reasons, but that's the primary.
He is merciful, patient with sinners, hateful and wrathful to sin, compassionate, and salvific.
All of these attributes of God would have gone unexercised, unglorified, in a world without the Fall and Redemption.
Etc.

So he gives A+E no capacity to understand good and bad

Which is not the case, so let's go ahead and lay this to rest.

places a tree that he doesn't want them to eat from right in the exact location they live,

Along with hundreds or thousands of other trees.

then is angered when they did something bad even though they had no way to actually know what good and bad were.

Rather, then is angered when they did something bad despite His direct command not to do it.


Anonymous said:
Rho says this because he has made up what other people think and since Rho is always right, it must be what they actually think.

Wow, look who read the first paragraph of the post and neglected to read the rest!

Good grief Rho, try listening to what people are saying instead of telling us what we must be thinking.

Try reading the post and THEN commenting on it.

43 comments:

Rintintin said...

I should probably clarify the predictions bit since it was me who originally started that conversation - I was meaning predictions about what should be found in nature in terms of physical findings (eg in relation to geology, etc). biblical models can't do this because all of them at some point rely on invoking miracles (eg radioactive decay, speed of light can/have all radically change(d) at God's command) which don't offer any further means to generate hypotheses. Either that or the models don't fit with observed reality (eg the global flood model).

Rhology said...

Can you give an argument telling us why these predictions should be restricted to your narrow scope?

The Jolly Nihilist said...

Even though my cinematic opinions are not facts but rather opinions, there is no reason I should not compose a Top 10 list every year, and compare it to others' lists.

Rhology said...

I love this - you're playing right into my "rape a child/dislike vanilla ice cream" motif. It comes out when you seem not to expect it.

Do you then tell others that their cinematic preferences are wrong?
Presumably not. So presumably you wouldn't have any reason to tell someone that they shouldn't rape a child.

...

Yet you DO do so. Which shows that you can't live consistently with your professed worldview.
Or maybe you don't do so. In which case you're just sick.

Rintintin said...

"Can you give an argument telling us why these predictions should be restricted to your narrow scope?"

I'm not saying they are - I'm just saying that if you

a) rely on miracles to describe features of the natural world, it is impossible to generate falsifiable hypotheses or explanations

b) all biblical models eventually degenerate into invoking miracles (even by the admission of the creation scientists)

c) if they don't invoke miracles, they can't generate accurate an accurate model of the world - for example both the creationist radioactive decay and global flood models fall prey to this.


I'm not saying they shouldn't attempt to make these models, but because they always eventually require reverting back to miracles, they don't explain or predict anything.

Paul C said...

Oh dear, Rhology. It's not going well for you at all, is it?

Inadequate to prescribe or proscribe actions to anyone else. Such as raping children. You can't tell anyone whether that action is OK or not OK, they should or shouldn't.

No, I can tell people whether an action is OK or not OK - but only based on my subjective experience. Whether or not they acknowledge that experience has any authority is entirely up to them. As I said, your only objection is that you find this inadequate - which is a subjective opinion itself.

At this juncture, I should point out that this puts me in exactly the same position as you. To somebody who doesn't share your belief in god - such as me - your moral statements are entirely subjective. In fact, to a Christian who doesn't share your exact moral beliefs, your moral statements are entirely subjective.

You slip into objective moral language so often that it's about the most obvious thing I've ever seen that you can't.

No, I never slip into objective moral language, since there is no such thing. All moral language is subjective, mine included.

Unless you think the author had a brain aneurysm between 3:20 and 3:22, recovered several yrs later with no memory of what he wrote, and returned to continue on with no memory of the preceding, you need to find another interpretation.

How does this even relate to the interpretation of these verses? They eat from the tree of knowledge of good and of evil; thus they gain knowledge of good and evil. Oh, they were disobedient towards God, but that's not a question of good and evil; a child can disobey its parents without any moral reasoning at all. Nice try, but you should probably take it back to bible study.

I said that FUTURE people will be sinful. That's a prediction. Of the future.

If humans are inherently sinful, then sin is an attribute of being human in the same way as (for example) having a brain is. "Future people will be sinful" is a prediction only in the sense that "Future people will have brains" is a prediction, i.e. not much. This is useless, can't you do any better?

You mean, YOU THINK we are a poor show.

When I express an opinion, it's generally my own. Are you saying that when you express an opinion, it's not yours? How queer!

Rintintin said...

Inadequate to prescribe or proscribe actions to anyone else.

I don't understand this obsession with being able to tell people how to behave? without a list of rules to follow, would your behaviour be radically different to what it is now - I mean would you be out murdering and thieving? What do you feel is really achieved by being able to tell us 'don't do that'? After all, there are still 15,000 murders a year in the US despite the threat of imprisonment or the death penalty.

The rules aren't really morals as such, just commands - there's no real reason why they're good or bad, they're just what God wants. I don't see a reason I should 'love my neighbour' for example, if he's a wife-beating thief. Any attempt to do so would just be a pretense on my part. I'd imagine many of your actual opinions don't tie in with what you want to be told to believe too. This also exposes God's incompetence - he could have made us morally perfect - thus we would still have free will, as we could choose from many options, but all the choices we made would be good.

You can say 'good comes from God's character' (and even that's doubtful after your concession of God's capability of evil, despite the attempted goalpost shift later on plus yet another circular reference to the bible to justify your change in opinion), but then you just start checking off examples of God's behaviour and commands as 'good' or 'moral' that you spend post after post railing about atheism's inability to proscribe purely to keep up the facade that 'anything God does is good by default'.

Finally, you also complain atheistic moral relativists are just people trying to enforce their opinions on people - but I don't recall asking Adam and Eve to eat the apple or Jesus to get himself killed on my behalf either. People who do want all that are welcome to it, but for me it's the meal I didn't order and I see no reason I should be accountable for the actions of people who (apparently) lived thousands of years before me in a region I've never even been to.

The Jolly Nihilist said...

Rhology,

I am slightly perplexed at your comment.

You write: I love this - you're playing right into my "rape a child/dislike vanilla ice cream" motif. It comes out when you seem not to expect it.

I do not see how it is "your" motif because I have made similar comparisons myself. I listed four questions that, as far as I can tell, are analogous to moral questions:

1. What is the best color in the spectrum?
2. What is the best number between one and 20?
3. What is the best film ever made?
4. What is the funniest joke ever written?

These are not questions of fact but questions of opinion, just as moral issues are not questions of fact but questions of opinion. "Is it moral or immoral to rape children" is not a question of fact but a question of opinion.

And, speaking generally, I do not dictate to individuals what they should or should not do. I have no moral authority over other individuals, so I eschew meddling and interference. There is no reason for me to tell people not to rape or not to murder; in the United States, government and law enforcement are responsible for making up rules and holding us to them. I have no business interjecting myself into people's lives, prescribing or proscribing this or that. I leave people to their own devices, and hope I get the same non-intervention in return.

Strong Tower said...

"rely on miracles to describe features of the natural world, it is impossible to generate falsifiable hypotheses or explanations"

This is a caricature, no one does this. What is explained is what can be observed and checked against the available theories. Though you assert that there is error in the divine models, there isn't. And, it is interesting that the Scientific Theory was the product of Christian thought, namely that the world was ordered and that that order could be observed. Quite to the contrary with the mechanistic materialist. Though he can observe nature he has no basis for order (just mere belief, shallow faith of hopeful possibility, that it has always been). In other words, since there is no telos, no purposing of order, there is no basis for prediction of future events except blind faith. The only thing that can be said is what has been experienced and that can only be validated as continuing experience. Far from having any predictive value the anti-supernaturalist has no reason for there to be any future at all and in reality no past, only subjective, that is, current experience. Seeing that the future does not exist, it can not be observed, and the past is to no avail for it cannot be observed, either. Observation being the basis of their whole world view schema, in effect, subjective experience, not even memory serves them, for that may be only a dream.

The same rationale is why no one trusts an atheist. Without some transcendent morality; meaning, without some future judgement about human action that actually happened in the past, there is nothing except the current experience or subjective value judgement by which one might judge right or wrong; if it feels right, do it. There is no telling what will happen next by that standard and no dependable memory track, and by that, though JN might argue that he would not rape a child because he is currently not rapping a child, he can give no basis to trust that he will not tomorrow.

Beside that JN is a liar: "I eschew meddling and interference". He said he was a Democrat activist. And who more violates this claim then Democrats? It is infact the entirety of bare democracy's claim, the rule of the majority and the power to oppress granted through the strength of numbers. Let's test him and see. Would he reject other's telling him what he must do? Hmm... That rejection is telling them what they must do. It seems that Jesus was right. There is no neutrality. That is an insane plank chosen by those who fear. There is no wonder why Nietzsche went mad. No one can remain sane in a world that has no boundaries. Boundaries tell us what we must do. But for the nihilist that is intollerable and so he takes to telling everyone else where the boundaries are. The problem is they aren't set by the whims of men. Having removed the boundaries the lunatic is adrift in a see with no shore, hopeless.

The Jolly Nihilist said...

I have a constitutionally enshrined right to petition my government on behalf of my interests. I exercise this right. And my exercise thereof has nothing to do with whether my interests are objectively moral, objectively immoral or nothing of the sort. This right was invented for American citizens, and I exercise it.

And, if people were acting coercively toward me, I would seek governmental assistance, citing my invented rights. Many forms of coercion are illegal, given our invented laws.

John Morales said...

strong tower, you exemplify a caricature:

1. Though he can observe nature he has no basis for order (just mere belief, shallow faith of hopeful possibility, that it has always been).

2. since there is no telos, no purposing of order, there is no basis for prediction of future events except blind faith.

3. The same rationale is why no one trusts an atheist.

And here is where you exhibit your misunderstanding.

1. Empirical evidence.
2. Induction, logic, theory.
3. Um, This is a non-sequitur.

Why is evidence of trustworthiness not sufficient for you? ... and why do you believe your belief is universal ("no-one trusts an atheist")?

Your pomposity would be ameliorated by some education.

Paul C said...

I love these really long, barely coherent posts - they're what I live for.

Though you assert that there is error in the divine models, there isn't.

Brilliant - I'll let everybody know. If they ask how I know that there isn't any error in the divine models, I'll tell them you told me - that should shut them up.

And, it is interesting that the Scientific Theory was the product of Christian thought, namely that the world was ordered and that that order could be observed.

Basic mathematical theory (which clearly relies on order) long predates "Christian thought", disproving your statement.

Though [the mechanistic materialist] can observe nature he has no basis for order (just mere belief, shallow faith of hopeful possibility, that it has always been).

Apparently observing that nature has order is not a good basis for believing that nature has order. Zing!

In other words, since there is no telos, no purposing of order, there is no basis for prediction of future events except blind faith.

The basis for predicting future events is past experience.

The only thing that can be said is what has been experienced and that can only be validated as continuing experience.

Yes - that's the basis of the scientific method, which you earlier said was a Christian monopoly. Could you decide which line of argument you want to pursue? It's just that if you pursue two different lines at once, it makes you look a bit silly.

Far from having any predictive value the anti-supernaturalist has no reason for there to be any future at all and in reality no past, only subjective, that is, current experience.

Hell, why stop there? THERE'S NO PRESENT EITHER, DUDE. We're all, like, figments of each others' imaginations. Pass the bong, man, I'm coming down.

The same rationale is why no one trusts an atheist.

I trust atheists, which disproves your point.

Without some transcendent morality; meaning, without some future judgement about human action that actually happened in the past, there is nothing except the current experience or subjective value judgement by which one might judge right or wrong; if it feels right, do it.

No, this is a stupid argument that only works if you are either grossly ignorant or deliberately ignoring several hundred years of philosophical thought.

There is no telling what will happen next by that standard and no dependable memory track, and by that, though JN might argue that he would not rape a child because he is currently not rapping a child, he can give no basis to trust that he will not tomorrow.

Bless, it looks like we've got yet another one who thinks too much but not deeply enough. Unfortunately for your theory, nearly all humans do have a "dependable memory track", and even those that don't have such a track still exhibit consistent behaviour.

Let's test him and see. Would he reject other's telling him what he must do? Hmm... That rejection is telling them what they must do.

No, this is a stupid argument.

It seems that Jesus was right. There is no neutrality. That is an insane plank chosen by those who fear.

Hey, if you're building a crazy house, insane planks are exactly what you need. To be honest, it sounds like you've built an entire city block out of insane planks there.

There is no wonder why Nietzsche went mad. No one can remain sane in a world that has no boundaries.

Yes, because mental illness is a spiritual disease. I hope you don't work in mental health.

Boundaries tell us what we must do. But for the nihilist that is intollerable and so he takes to telling everyone else where the boundaries are.

Do you actually know anything about nihilism? Because that's pretty much the opposite of what nihilists tell everyone else.

The problem is they aren't set by the whims of men. Having removed the boundaries the lunatic is adrift in a see with no shore, hopeless.

I really didn't realise that people like you actually existed until I discovered the internet. You see, the problem with you - as with Rhology - is that you've spun this inelegant theory out of your religious prejudice without bothering to check how real people function in the real world. Tragically for you, and luckily for us, the world looks absolutely nothing like how you describe it.

Rhology said...

Paul C said:

I can tell people whether an action is OK or not OK - but only based on my subjective experience.

Exactly, and someone else's experience might've been different. So maybe in THEIR experience raping a child is perfectly fine and even preferable. What do you do then?

I should point out that this puts me in exactly the same position as you.

Not at all. I invite anyone to see this post that explains how wrong that is.
Paul C, maybe you should deal with the argument posted there, since you repeat this assertion fairly often these days.

All moral language is subjective, mine included.

You SAY that, but are you willing to look a serial pedophile in the eye and say that?
The way you slip into it militates against your assertion here. Disaffirm it all you want - until you exercise MUCH better umpiring of your words, it's empty.

They eat from the tree of knowledge of good and of evil; thus they gain knowledge of good and evil.

You're just repeating yourself now. Have fun with that.

they were disobedient towards God, but that's not a question of good and evil;

What is your argument for that?
According to the biblical worldview (which is what we're dealing with here), disobeying God is the very definition of evil. If you're right, they didn't know it was wrong to disobey Him.

If humans are inherently sinful, then sin is an attribute of being human in the same way as (for example) having a brain is. "

You're suffering from the same ignorance of the force of the problem of induction that you do in various other areas of your thinking here.
No one can KNOW with certainty that the sun will rise tomorrow or that all the laws of physics won't turn opposite in 20 seconds.
So, given that, on atheism, we don't KNOW that humans will be born sinful tomorrow, you should be impressed that this prediction keeps coming true.

When I express an opinion, it's generally my own.

You said "We are a poor show". You didn't say "I think we are a poor show." The distinction is pretty obvious, especially when we're on the topic we are.


RTT said:

I don't understand this obsession with being able to tell people how to behave?

I don't know about you, but I'd like to be able to know for sure that it's morally wrong to rape a little girl.
Maybe it's just me.

without a list of rules to follow, would your behaviour be radically different to what it is now - I mean would you be out murdering and thieving?

Who knows? I DO know from all my discussions with you that I live by far more consistently with my worldview than you do, so if that carries over to atheism, there'd be nothing stopping me from murdering and thieving.

After all, there are still 15,000 murders a year in the US despite the threat of imprisonment or the death penalty.

Why is that relevant?

there's no real reason why they're good or bad, they're just what God wants.

I'd encourage you to read the post I referred Paul C to.

I don't see a reason I should 'love my neighbour' for example, if he's a wife-beating thief.

For you, an atheist, neither is there a good reason beyond "I want to" to love your wife.

I'd imagine many of your actual opinions don't tie in with what you want to be told to believe too.

Speak for yourself only, not for me, please.

This also exposes God's incompetence - he could have made us morally perfect

What is your argument for why that exposes incompetence rather than a plan that He finds to be really quite good?
Make sure to rule out all possible contingencies that an omniscient God could see.

that's doubtful after your concession of God's capability of evil

And how did I qualify that statement?

I don't recall asking Adam and Eve to eat the apple or Jesus to get himself killed on my behalf either.

You would've eaten the apple, and you ratify their decision every day. Spend a day without sinning and then let's talk.
As for Jesus dying for you, don't worry, you won't taste any of those benefits unless you repent.


The JN agreed with me, saying:
I do not see how it is "your" motif because I have made similar comparisons myself.

Yes, I know, that's what I said. And it makes my point brilliantly, so I appreciate it.

"Is it moral or immoral to rape children" is not a question of fact but a question of opinion.

Yes, according to you.
That's the horror of your position. "Is it moral or immoral to rape children?" is equivalent to "What is the best color in the spectrum?"

I have no moral authority over other individuals, so I eschew meddling and interference.

I hate to say this 'cause you're a nice guy, but you're a Democratic activist. This is an amazing lie.
StrongTower sees it.

I have a constitutionally enshrined right to petition my government on behalf of my interests.

Which is not the endgame for Democrats in general, but anyway. I don't feel like talking politics today.

I don't have time to answer what's been said to StrongTower, but this caught my eye.

Paul C said:
The basis for predicting future events is past experience.

Ridiculous. Do you even know what the problem of induction is?

Peace,
Rhology

The Jolly Nihilist said...

There is a material difference you are ignoring, Rhology. I do not meddle and interfere on a person-by-person basis. Nor do I imagine my moral opinions are objective moral facts. But, nevertheless, I do lobby my government, because my government invented a right for me to do so. And the United States government, indeed, has some constitutional powers to behave coercively toward citizens.

Paul C said...

Exactly, and someone else's experience might've been different. So maybe in THEIR experience raping a child is perfectly fine and even preferable. What do you do then?

I explain to them why I believe that they are wrong. What do you do?

Not at all. I invite anyone to see this post that explains how wrong that is.

That post does not in any way explain how wrong that is, and as far as I can tell, John Morales and merkur demolished your position.

You SAY that, but are you willing to look a serial pedophile in the eye and say that?

Yes.

The way you slip into it militates against your assertion here.

You have not demonstrated that I "slip into" anything, and I will repeat: all moral statements are subjective.

What is your argument for that?

I gave my argument for that. If you tell your two-year-old child to take only one cookie and they take two, are they evil? Clearly not, unless you're a fanatical psychopath.

According to the biblical worldview (which is what we're dealing with here), disobeying God is the very definition of evil.

This is a naked assertion. Prove that this is the biblical worldview. At a minimum I demand to see Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox justifications for your position before I will accept this.

So, given that, on atheism, we don't KNOW that humans will be born sinful tomorrow, you should be impressed that this prediction keeps coming true.

Except I don't think it does keep coming true, because I don't believe that humans are sinful, since I don't believe in sin. I was pointing out that even to somebody who believes that humans are inherently sinful, the statement "future humans will be born sinful" is not a particularly compelling prediction, if it's a prediction at all.

You said "We are a poor show". You didn't say "I think we are a poor show."

I was clearly expressing an opinion. When I eat a tasty burger, I say "This is a tasty burger" - I don't say "I think this is a tasty burger", because anybody who has a halfway decent grasp of the English language clearly understands that I am expressing an opinion. There is no need to say "I think" in front of every single statement one utters.

Oh, and:

Do you even know what the problem of induction is?

Yes, thanks. I don't find the problem of induction as compelling as you do, for two reasons. Firstly, I follow Hume in believing that induction is a human instinct rather than a rational approach, and can be used as a tool as long as we acknowledge the potential problems. Second, I believe that induction is not unacceptably problematic if we accept a probabilistic rather than a deterministic view of the world, as I do.

Rintintin said...

This is a caricature, no one does this.

Creationists believe that many/most features of organismal biology, geology and cosmology are best explained by miraculous creation by God do they not? In fact, if i remember correctly, you believe God created man from the dust of the ground - based on that, what chemicals would you have predicted the human body to contain?

What is explained is what can be observed and checked against the available theories.

You can't build testable theories or hypotheses if they use miracles. This doesn't mean they aren't right of course, but there is no means of formulating a hypothesis. Every theory you will refer to about how the world works is built on methodological naturalism.

Though you assert that there is error in the divine models, there isn't.

That's not what I asserted - I asserted they couldn't generate testable, falsifiable hypotheses.

And, it is interesting that the Scientific Theory was the product of Christian thought, namely that the world was ordered and that that order could be observed.

I suggest you recheck the history books - ideas of empricisim predate Jesus' existence (eg Aristotle), and the 11th century Muslim polymath Ibn al-Haytham was the first known person to formulate the scientific method in a fashion comparable to today. In fact, Roger Bacon borrowed much of his work on optics centuries later. Many others have contributed since (eg Karl Popper, who was an agnostic). You also ignore the possibility of Christianity borrowing from any other worldview, especially as it didn't actually exist until 2000 years ago (for example, systems of logic were first formalised by the ancient Greeks well before Jesus existed).

Quite to the contrary with the mechanistic materialist.

Go on then, give me an example of a research discipline that doesn't utilise methodological naturalism. Chemical bonding theory, gravitation theory, atomic theory, germ theory - none of them make room for supernaturalism either. Alternatively, you could explain how God put cells, dogs or humans together if you feel miracles explain the process better.

Though he can observe nature he has no basis for order (just mere belief, shallow faith of hopeful possibility, that it has always been). In other words, since there is no telos, no purposing of order, there is no basis for prediction of future events except blind faith.

You may not have read my John Frame link that I posted before - when explaining how he knows that God illumines the mind of man, or how he knows God communicated with the writers of the bible his statement, 'we know without knowing how we know'. In which case how does he separate God really illuminating his mind from mere products of his imagination or wishful thinking?

Second - do you not do the same? I kind of like to test things still work once in a while myself -

The only thing that can be said is what has been experienced and that can only be validated as continuing experience. Far from having any predictive value the anti-supernaturalist has no reason for there to be any future at all and in reality no past, only subjective, that is, current experience. Seeing that the future does not exist, it can not be observed, and the past is to no avail for it cannot be observed, either. Observation being the basis of their whole world view schema, in effect, subjective experience, not even memory serves them, for that may be only a dream.

You believe in miracles and the governance of the universe by an all powerful consciousness that can bring anything about just by willing it - ie breakdowns in the observed consistency of the world. If your God wishes for humans to have 10 arms, or there to be 6 moons orbiting Earth, it can be so. If you believe miracles can happen, then you have no reason to believe anything will work as you expect it to in the future. As events of the past also relied on miracles (apparently), there's no guideline to make predictions about that either (eg try predicting what the fossil record should look like based on a miraculous flood).

The same rationale is why no one trusts an atheist.

Don't they? I can think of plenty of people who know I'm an atheist and trust me. There are plenty of Christians that many other Christians trust, who they probably would be better off steering clear of (eg some televangelists and megachurch pastors are a prime example).

Without some transcendent morality; meaning, without some future judgement about human action that actually happened in the past, there is nothing except the current experience or subjective value judgement by which one might judge right or wrong; if it feels right, do it. There is no telling what will happen next by that standard and no dependable memory track, and by that, though JN might argue that he would not rape a child because he is currently not rapping a child, he can give no basis to trust that he will not tomorrow.

Again - you believe miracles can happen. How can you tell what will happen next if you believe that? As for morals - are you saying if you didn't have some list of rules telling you what to do, you would be unable to stop yourself going on a killing spree?

And when you say the JN might end up 'rapping a child', do you mean covering him/her in 24-carat bling while telling tales of ghetto life over a backbeat? ;-D

Being serious again though, I'm interested to do a little thought experiment - if I told you one human had shot another one, with no other identifying information, what would your moral judgement of it be?


Would he reject other's telling him what he must do? Hmm... That rejection is telling them what they must do. It seems that Jesus was right. There is no neutrality. That is an insane plank chosen by those who fear. There is no wonder why Nietzsche went mad. No one can remain sane in a world that has no boundaries. Boundaries tell us what we must do. But for the nihilist that is intollerable and so he takes to telling everyone else where the boundaries are. The problem is they aren't set by the whims of men. Having removed the boundaries the lunatic is adrift in a see with no shore, hopeless.

There are plenty of boundaries that exist in my world - I cannot fly for example, no matter how much I wish it to be true. I cannot run the hundred metres in 6 seconds. Similarly, I could not feel happy if someone was trying to slice my arm off.

Rintintin said...

I don't know about you, but I'd like to be able to know for sure that it's morally wrong to rape a little girl.
Maybe it's just me.



Who knows? I DO know from all my discussions with you that I live by far more consistently with my worldview than you do, so if that carries over to atheism, there'd be nothing stopping me from murdering and thieving.

How so when there's nothing encouraging me to do those things? I simply choose not to - I'm not really sure why I need someone/something to tell me how to behave in order to interact with the rest of society in an amicable manner. I prefer to do these things. There's also nothing immoral about me defending my family, property or person if the need arises in my worldview. After all, I'm just acting in accordance with my preferences like you ask us to.

Why is that relevant?

I'd guess for the overwhelming majority of people spending a long time in jail or getting executed isn't that high on their list of priorities, no matter what other beliefs they hold - but despite the threat of both of these it doesn't stop quite a large number of people committing the very offences you are talking about.


I'd encourage you to read the post I referred Paul C to.

Will do


For you, an atheist, neither is there a good reason beyond "I want to" to love your wife.

I was actually taking the Christian point of view - if God tells me 'love thy neighbour', I cannot force this if I don't believe him/her deserving of love.

In terms of your response - I'm not married, but yes, I think my preference/opinion of loving my wife if I had one would be fairly central to the point of me marrying her in the first place. If didn't, why on Earth would I marry her?

What is your argument for why that exposes incompetence rather than a plan that He finds to be really quite good?
Make sure to rule out all possible contingencies that an omniscient God could see.


This is the plan that seems to have no apparent point other than God's own entertainment, consists of God getting angry at things he doesn't like even though he created them and has complete control over them, as well as taking him the best part of 4000 years before he hit on a solution to the problem of sin despite a few attempts in the past to get rid of it.

And how did I qualify that statement?

By circular reference to the bible, without first explaining how you've worked out how he is good or evil to determine whether that biblical explanation isn't also misleading.


You would've eaten the apple, and you ratify their decision every day.

Speak for yourself only, not for me, please.

I think it might be worth heeding your own advice on this front - this is also somewhat ironic given your claim that authors don't lose consistency in their views within a matter of sentences.

Spend a day without sinning and then let's talk.
As for Jesus dying for you, don't worry, you won't taste any of those benefits unless you repent.


We're gradually moving into full on fire and brimstone mode I see. It seems to be a remarkably hate-filled worldview this - you'll note that this is again the command/threat or cost/benefit style of morality you're preaching.

John Morales said...

To put it another way - I'd say Rhology needs moral laws whereas many atheists accept moral guidelines are all that's possible.

I also note Rhology utterly denies Christian morality (i.e. morality as practiced by Christians) has evolved over the 2000 years it's been in existence, historical evidence notwithstanding.

Hasty generalisation and denial - evidence of a non-rational mode of thought.

John Morales said...

Rhology has made reference to his previous post, which I think is fairly summarised thus:

Atheistic worldview
We haven't seen a justification yet for saying that, say, raping little girls is definitely, always morally wrong.

Biblical worldview
Raping little girls is wrong because:
1) Rape is specifically proscribed.
2*) Rape is also theft, which is specifically proscribed.
3) Rape is also wanton aggression against another, which is specifically proscribed.


Revisiting this, I shan't recapitulate the previous discussion but instead directly address his (plaintive but core even if rhetorical and implied) request.

I'll change terminology to something more relevant and generalised for simplicity; to wit, (rational and considered)atheist->moral relativist (MR) and (practicing Christian)theist->moral absolutist (MA).

Then, consider raping little girls is definitely, always morally wrong..

I claim that
(a) You conflate the concepts of sin and of morality; this is not necessary and atheists consider sin to be an imaginary ailment of an imaginary organ.
(b) I believe both MR and MA can both say that yes, it's always definitely morally wrong.
The justification is the same in each case - both have ethical belief systems that lead to this conclusion.
(c) the more interesting case is whether raping a little is never the morally appropriate thing to do - the question of quantity or degree of immorality/sin arises. For propriety's sake, I avoid explicitly constructing a hollywood-level plausible scenario where raping a little girl is indubitably the only and certain way to avoid the rape and murder of a hundred other little girls, but, at the end, both MR and MA face the question - does the end justify the means?

I myself think that, depending on the relative disparity of outcomes and one's best considerations, it sometimes does.

Do you not applaud the Christians who sheltered Jews from the Nazis by outright bearing false witness?
I do.

Sometimes sinning is the moral thing to do, apparently. The question is, of course, when to do so, and that is ineluctably something only our best judgement based on our best information can determine.

You, Rhology, deny that your putative objective morality requires subjective choices in real-life applications.

I understand why, of course - cognitive dissonance. You don't like facing your irrational fear.

* May I say I thought then and think now... Theft??!?
Theft would be the last thing I'd consider - assault, trauma psychic and physical is what come to mind.
It beggars the imagination; is Rhology thinking of innocence? Of *virginity*?? What the ...?

** Ironically, in Rhology's source of morality, servitude and concubinage often involved young girls, and Rhology gibly handwaved his way past the implications.

The Jolly Nihilist said...

Excellent points, John.

Just one quick thing to add...an undercurrent that needs a spotlight:

Rhology constantly cites the rape of a little girl as, essentially, the worst possible act of brutality. He can think of nothing more singularly heinous.

I can think of more brutal and heinous things, though, at least from my subjective stance.

How about the endless, agonizing, ceaseless torture of billions of people? How about boiling flesh and flaky, charred skin? How about perpetual screams of agony and anguish?

Compared to such brutality, I view one child being raped--while absolutely horrible--as being relatively mild.

Rhology said...

JN,

Lobbying the GOVERNMENT means that you are attempting to influence the way it obligates others to live. It is unavoidably an exercise in prescriptive morality. Thus inconsistent with your stated position.

I have a constitutionally enshrined right to petition my government on behalf of my interests

Which right doesn't extend beyond the gov't, on atheism, BTW.

I can think of more brutal and heinous things, though, at least from my subjective stance.

Big deal. From another man's subjective stance, that might be totally fine. Who's right and how do we know?
From your position, nobody's right. So why even bother saying it? Cookie jar.



Paul C said:
I explain to them why I believe that they are wrong. What do you do?

On what basis are they wrong? What evidence would you present to support that claim?
Me, I'd share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with them; He has commanded that we not rape. It's evil.

all moral statements are subjective.

Except when you just said that you'd tell them they were wrong.
You mean "I ***THINK*** you are wrong." Correct?
See how you slipped into it again? It's almost like you're a different person between any two sentences you write.

I gave my argument for that.

{snicker}
Good to know.

Prove that this is the biblical worldview.

This is my position. How about you just take my word for it?
1 John 3:4 - Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness.

When have I ever asked you to prove that ___ is your position? I just ask and take your word for it that it is. Let's not waste time.

I follow Hume in believing that induction is a human instinct rather than a rational approach

OK. I'll keep that in mind in the future.
This undercuts any appeal you might make to the question of God's existence on the basis of lack of evidence seen, for one thing. It's just an instinct that you haven't seen it, but you can't draw any rational conclusion from what you've seen.
And it's just an INSTINCT that the sun will rise tomorrow.

I believe that induction is not unacceptably problematic if we accept a probabilistic rather than a deterministic view of the world, as I do.

So why not be an agnostic? Why an atheist?
Can you be sure about anything?
Is the world probably probabilistic? Or definitely probabilistic?



RTT said:
many/most features of organismal biology, geology and cosmology are best explained by miraculous creation by God do they not?

Many, not necessarily most, certainly not all.

you believe God created man from the dust of the ground - based on that, what chemicals would you have predicted the human body to contain?

Dunno - to know that, would I not have to conjecture about the composition of the soil at that location at that time? I'll leave such slavish conjecture to the Darwinian camp.

You can't build testable theories or hypotheses if they use miracles.

And? There are lots of things you can't test. You can't test the concept that testing things is the best way to truth. You INDUCE it. Paul C tells us that's not rational. Maybe you'll call him out for that?

ideas of empricisim predate Jesus' existence (eg Aristotle), and the 11th century Muslim polymath Ibn al-Haytham was the first known person to formulate the scientific method in a fashion comparable to today.

Which is not the point; God created the universe the way it is. And the universe happens to operate according to the principles we call physical laws. Who first DISCOVERED them is a little beside the point.

Chemical bonding theory, gravitation theory, atomic theory, germ theory - none of them make room for supernaturalism either.

But they could. What reason to exclude them is there?
And don't make the neophyte mistake of saying that supernaturalism means that no natural means are admitted at all. What we're saying is that BOTH are on the table, and supernatural things events take place according to certain parameters which are recognisable. Natural are far more numerous.

'we know without knowing how we know'.

You're in the same boat. Fortunately, my worldview is not self-refuting.

If you believe miracles can happen, then you have no reason to believe anything will work as you expect it to in the future.

Neophyte mistake again. Miracles do not occur in a vacuum. It's TGOTB who performs them, and He has made many promises about the order of the world and its end.
You, OTOH, b/c of the problem of induction, have no assurance that physical laws will even be in place tomorrow.

I'm not really sure why I need someone/something to tell me how to behave in order to interact with the rest of society in an amicable manner.

And why couldn't an evil man say the same thing? A serial killer? Tkalim from my "scenario" post?

I prefer to do these things.

Which has always been my point. Your morality is based on nothing more than personal preference. And that changes and warps. And it gets carried away. And it can tell no one else to be good. There's no OUGHT, just IS.
And you prefer vanilla ice cream to chocolate, just like you prefer not raping a child to raping a child. And the equality between those preferences is what worries me.

RTT said:that's doubtful after your concession of God's capability of evil
Rhology said: And how did I qualify that statement?
RTT said: By circular reference to the bible


Yes, b/c in my worldview the Bible is God's self-revelation. This point is lost for you.

It seems to be a remarkably hate-filled worldview this

Why is this hate? What shallow thinking!



John Morales said:
Rhology needs moral laws whereas many atheists accept moral guidelines are all that's possible.

My argument has been that moral "guidelines" are nothing more than personal preference, they're not prescriptive.
The point is clear.

Rhology utterly denies Christian morality (i.e. morality as practiced by Christians) has evolved over the 2000 years it's been in existence, historical evidence notwithstanding.

How did I do that?
A people's understanding of the Bible becomes deeper as time goes on, so some evolution occurs, but not at the base.
Not all evolution is good. Evolving into Hitler's 3rd Reich is bad. Of course, not for an atheist (since nothing is bad nor good on atheism), but for a Christian.


(a) You conflate the concepts of sin and of morality; this is not necessary and atheists consider sin to be an imaginary ailment of an imaginary organ.

B/c in my worldview they are inextricable.
Since in your worldview "morality" is "What I think is good, much like ice cream flavor only more emotionally and societally invested", I don't see why I should care about a critique flowing therefrom.

yes, it's always definitely morally wrong.

Unless their ethical systems change, in which case it wouldn't be.
And of course other human beings have had ethical systems that did NOT condemn this behavior. What now?

I myself think that, depending on the relative disparity of outcomes and one's best considerations, it sometimes does.

So it's NOT always wrong. We have our answer.

Do you not applaud the Christians who sheltered Jews from the Nazis by outright bearing false witness?

A lie to a murderer is not wrong. Bearing false witness to a NEIGHBOR is, but an SS soldier is not my neighbor. You're responding to Rick Warren, to pop evanjellyish-ism.


Peace,
Rhology

Paul C said...

Me, I'd share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with them; He has commanded that we not rape. It's evil.

In what way does that differ from what I would say to them? In fact, it would be singularly less convincing than my approach if they didn't believe in Jesus, wouldn't it? "A dead guy who you don't believe in told me to tell you that you shouldn't do this. Why? Because he doesn't like it." It... doesn't sound very convincing to me. Probably better to go with an argument from universal morality - or better still, to dispense with philosophical arguments altogether and go with a psychological approach. Now that I've thought about it, that's what I'd do - I probably wouldn't even mention right and wrong, with hindsight.

Except when you just said that you'd tell them they were wrong. You mean "I ***THINK*** you are wrong." Correct? See how you slipped into it again? It's almost like you're a different person between any two sentences you write.

I have not "slipped into it again" - I have already pointed out that anybody with a halfway decent grasp of the English language understands that most statements are assumed to be prefaced by "I think", without the need for one to explicitly state "I think". Read my previous comment for a specific example, since you seem to have missed it first time round.

{snicker} Good to know.

I gave the argument that if you tell your two-year-old child to take only one cookie and they take two, you would not consider them evil. This effectively destroys your argument by decoupling the question of good/evil from the question of obedience/disobedience.

When have I ever asked you to prove that ___ is your position? I just ask and take your word for it that it is.

We've already identified that this is one of your problems, Rhology. You don't actually ask what people's positions are - you just assume you already know and then build a strawman case. When people point out to you that you've got their position wrong, you ignore them and proceed to tell them what their own position is.

This undercuts any appeal you might make to the question of God's existence on the basis of lack of evidence seen, for one thing.

No, it doesn't. How on earth do you draw that conclusion?

It's just an instinct that you haven't seen it, but you can't draw any rational conclusion from what you've seen.

No, it's a fact that I haven't seen it. It's more accurate to use the term heuristic rather than instinct, and that's what I then use to draw conclusions from facts. Those conclusions can be perfectly rational within the heuristic framework being used.

So why not be an agnostic? Why an atheist?

My position is that agnosticism is atheism with a false beard on. They look different, but in practice they're not.

Can you be sure about anything?

Fundamentally, no.

Is the world probably probabilistic? Or definitely probabilistic?

I humbly suggest that you don't understand the meaning of the word.

John Morales said...

[what Rhology responded to is in brackets to retain context]

Rhology:

[Rhology needs moral laws]My argument has been that moral "guidelines" are nothing more than personal preference, they're not prescriptive.

Yes, and it's been refuted numerous times over many threads.

Specifically, you are conflating the concept of whim with that of considered judgement. Atheist commenters here have made it clear their ethical system are not capricious yet you ignore this.

By definition, morality is prescriptive - I previously posted:
"I define ethics as the set of axioms and rules on which you make choices about what is right and wrong. This is essentially prescriptive, so yes, when faced with a moral choice, I ought to do as my ethical system dictates.
I ought to behave so as to avoid future ethical problems."

This you too ignore.
The point is you chose an ethical system by which to make moral choices, as did I and other atheists. In both cases, judgement was required.

A difference is that my ethical system is not fixed, but can adjust as my knowledge and experience accumulate.

[Rhology utterly denies Christian morality has evolved over the 2000 years it's been in existence]
How did I do that?
A people's understanding of the Bible becomes deeper as time goes on, so some evolution occurs, but not at the base.


The issue is that, as societal mores have changed over the centuries, so have Christian mores in keeping with the times, yet you agreed (in the thread you referenced above) that "Biblical law is fixed".

For example, since in Biblical times slavery was a norm, there are Biblical laws applicable to slaves.

You use hermeneutics to rationalise these discrepancies, but I am reminded of Ptolemy's epicycles by the futility of that endeavour.

[You conflate the concepts of sin and of morality]
(1) B/c in my worldview they are inextricable.
(2) Since in your worldview "morality" is "What I think is good, much like ice cream flavor only more emotionally and societally invested", I don't see why I should care about a critique flowing therefrom.


1. We are in agreement, then, about this. Yay?
2. Your modelling of my worldview is incorrect - in my worldview, I don't base my choices upon ethical considerations when I choose a flavour of ice-cream; but I do when faced with a moral choice.

I don't know how many times you've got it utterly wrong when stating what an atheist's worldview is (as indicated by their subsequent correction), but it's somewhere around the second order of magnitude.

[I believe both MR and MA can both say that yes, it's always definitely morally wrong.]
Unless their ethical systems change, in which case it wouldn't be.

It's evident you've taken my "can say" for "will say". Let me clarify - if their ethical system says it is, they will say that.

I note that, according to Biblical morality, if God asked you to sacrifice your child, you'd go right ahead (presumably hoping you're only being tested, but determined nonetheless). Nice!

[[I think sometimes the end justifies the means, morally speaking]]
So it's NOT always wrong. We have our answer.

Well, you have an answer. You'd have to elicit answers from other discussants for us to know what their view is on this point.

By the way, do you ever think about the current conflicts our countries are involved in? How many little girls have been blown up (justified as unavoidable collateral damage) by Christian soldiers?

Not to mention your enlightened views regarding waterboarding as not torture and morally justifiable. Ahem.

[Do you not applaud the Christians who sheltered Jews from the Nazis by outright bearing false witness?]
A lie to a murderer is not wrong. Bearing false witness to a NEIGHBOR is, but an SS soldier is not my neighbor.

A police officer knocking on your door may well not be your neighbour, either.

I can but interpret your above answer to mean you'd feel no qualms bearing false witness to the policeman if it would gain you something.

Perhaps you've been too general in your answer? :)

Rhology said...

I asked: Can you be sure about anything?
Paul C answered: Fundamentally, no.


One wonders to what argument Paul will retreat now that we know he's not even sure whether what he's saying is right or rational. Or that he's even saying it. Or that he's saying it to me on a blog (maybe he's saying it to ZZxtruiyng the nine-toed ffNNNodmad-or of planets near Alpha Centauri).
That's good stuff, Paul, but all good things must come to an end.


John said:
you are conflating the concept of whim with that of considered judgement... my ethical system is not fixed, but can adjust as my knowledge and experience accumulate.

Then maybe you could share with us what evidence you considered to reach your moral conclusions.
What "is" did you consult to arrive at your "ought"?

This you too ignore.

I deny the premise that you get to magick into existence a prescriptive morality, especially when you can't tell me WHY it is prescriptive.
It's much like the ontological argument for the existence of God.


as societal mores have changed over the centuries, so have Christian mores in keeping with the times, yet you agreed (in the thread you referenced above) that "Biblical law is fixed".

The Bible *is* fixed, and that is what is at issue. Never have I argued for the purity of behavior for anyone.

there are Biblical laws applicable to slaves.
You use hermeneutics to rationalise these discrepancies, but I am reminded of Ptolemy's epicycles by the futility of that endeavour.


And the OT slavery is no longer in effect...why? Can you answer that? Unless you can offer some argument beyond what equates to "I don't get it, therefore it makes no sense", I don't see what we have to discuss here.

do you ever think about the current conflicts our countries are involved in? How many little girls have been blown up (justified as unavoidable collateral damage) by Christian soldiers?

Yes.
War sucks, no doubt about it.
I've never had much desire to discuss the war, really. The USA is not a Xtian country.
For your 2nd statement to stick, you'd need to provide evidence that ALL of the following are true:
1) little girls HAVE been blown up
2) intentionally
3) by US soldiers who claim to be Christians and who were serious about it.


Not to mention your enlightened views regarding waterboarding as not torture and morally justifiable.

As if you have any standpoint from which to judge anyone else's morality as good OR bad.

A police officer knocking on your door may well not be your neighbour, either.

Why not? Unless he's a known dirty cop and violent, he is.
There's a social contract in this idea of "neighbor". You don't seem to even care to take that into acct.

I can but interpret your above answer to mean you'd feel no qualms bearing false witness to the policeman if it would gain you something.

Sorry, your exegesis of my statement is about as good as the exegesis you've displayed of Scriptural passages.
I would have no qualms about such if I knew the policeman were up to evil and I could prevent him from doing so by lying.
I'm commanded not to murder, as well, but if the policeman were going to shoot my wife or daughter, I would kill him if I had to to prevent it. And that killing would be justifiable; not murder at all. Similarly, if one lies to one who is not his neighbor, one does not break the commandment.

Peace,
Rhology

Paul C said...

One wonders to what argument Paul will retreat now that we know he's not even sure whether what he's saying is right or rational.

Paul won't "retreat" anywhere, thanks.

Why don't you take a stab at answering the other questions I asked? Your strategy for avoiding questions you're afraid to answer is getting really, really obvious.

Rhology said...

Let's not get ahead of ourselves, Paul. Are you sure you asked me one or more questions? How do you know?

Paul C said...

I don't think that Christians are stupid, but you're doing a great job of providing evidence for people who think that they are. Since you clearly have no idea of what my philosophy is (despite your much-trumpeted psychic powers), try answering the questions instead.

Rhology said...

you clearly have no idea of what my philosophy is

Are you sure?
I'm just going on what you say. You're welcome to recant any of your statements at any time. If indeed you think you made any.

Paul C said...

Yeah, I'm absolutely sure that you have literally no idea what my philosophy is. You continue to demonstrate that every time you comment.

Oh, and you can keep avoiding my points, which were made in good faith - but everybody who subsequently visits this blog will see you doing so.

John Morales said...

I deny the premise that you get to magick into existence a prescriptive morality, especially when you can't tell me WHY it is prescriptive.

1. It's not a premise, it's an observation.
2. I have told you, at least twice. Remember? "I define ethics as the set of axioms and rules on which you make choices about what is right and wrong. This is essentially prescriptive, so yes, when faced with a moral choice, I ought to do as my ethical system dictates."
If I make moral choices based on my morality, my moral choices are by definition prescribed by my morality.

Then maybe you could share with us what evidence you considered to reach your moral conclusions.

Sure - my life experience is the evidence I've used to reach my moral conclusions. This of course includes all the education I've received, all the actions I've done and the resulting consequences, all the reading and thinking I've done.

The Bible *is* fixed, and that is what is at issue.

Yeah, that's what I mean too.

And the OT slavery is no longer in effect...why?

Because, in the 2000+ years since then, societies have in general become more humane.
We're now at the point where most Christians, if you asked them, would say slavery is immoral.

For your 2nd statement to stick, you'd need to provide evidence that ALL of the following are true:
1) little girls HAVE been blown up
2) intentionally
3) by US soldiers who claim to be Christians and who were serious about it.


What, you don't need the serial numbers of those involved too?

It's been well covered in the newsmedia, For example here and here.

Snippet: "The number of airstrikes carried out each month by U.S. aircraft rose almost fivefold this year, from roughly 25 in January to 120 in November, according to a tally provided by the military. Accounts by residents, officials and witnesses in Anbar and the Marines themselves make clear that Iraqi civilians are frequently caught in the attacks.

On Nov. 7, the third day of the offensive, witnesses watched from the roof of a public building in Husaybah as U.S. warplanes struck homes in the town's Kamaliyat neighborhood. After fires ignited by the fighting had died down, witnesses observed residents removing the bodies of what neighbors said was a family -- mother, father, 14-year-old girl, 11-year-old boy and 5-year-old boy -- from the rubble of one house." (dated December 24, 2005)

I'd call a policy of airstrikes on populated areas deliberate, and the bulk of the administration and the army claims to be Christian.

That those prosecuting the war think they're achieving a greater good by doing a lesser is clear.
And I'm pretty sure there are more Christians than non-christians involved in this enterprise.

There's a social contract in this idea of "neighbor".

Only in the same sense that there's a social contract in the idea of "fellow citizen".
You're obfuscating.

I'm commanded not to murder, as well, but if the policeman were going to shoot my wife or daughter, I would kill him if I had to to prevent it. And that killing would be justifiable; not murder at all.

Maybe, maybe not. What if you thought your family was in danger, but in fact this was not the case and was so provable in a court of law?

See, just because you thought your kill was justified doesn't mean a jury necessarily would.

Rhology said...

Paul C,

Hopefully those who read this interaction will understand the point that one who claims his epistemology denies he can know anythg for certain can't thus make an argument that another guy's worldview is wrong. This seems to be lost on you, and frankly it's a bit astonishing.



John Morales,

BTW, you said English isn't your 1st language. What is it? ¿Español? But you're Down Under...? Just curious. Don't feel obligated to answer. I just really like foreign language, is all.

This is essentially prescriptive, so yes, when faced with a moral choice, I ought to do as my ethical system dictates."

That's fine for YOU, I guess, but is it prescriptive for anyone else?
And part of the question of morality is whether an action is wrong for EVERYone vs just "wrong" for you.

If I make moral choices based on my morality, my moral choices are by definition prescribed by my morality.

Which is nothing if not tautological.

my life experience is the evidence I've used to reach my moral conclusions.

What evidence informed you of the moral wrongness of hurting others?
In what way was said evidence authoritative so as to affect what you think OUGHT TO BE?

We're now at the point where most Christians, if you asked them, would say slavery is immoral.

Well, most of the Christians YOU know, but you live in a Westernised nation.
Biblically, one would have to define "slavery" before a proper answer could be made.
Slavery in the US before 1865? More or less morally wrong, yes.
Slavery in the OT? Morally right.
It's a sloppy question.
And of course you are inconsistent in the way you apply human consensus to moral questions. When it's all about you, yeah, the morality you espouse is fine. When it's a society out of control, like N Korea or the 3rd Reich, alluvasudden humans aren't so trustworthy or competent to make moral judgments. Right?


What, you don't need the serial numbers of those involved to

*YOU* are the one who claimed that these men were Christians. Back up your claim.
And simply saying "the bulk of the military is Christian" won't cut it. You're not talking to Joe Methodist, you're talking to a guy who takes the Bible seriously. If you want that point to fly with me, you need to supply evidence that these people were Christians, biblically. Or you can w/draw your claim. That's always allowed around here too.


I'd call a policy of airstrikes on populated areas deliberate

Just for the record, can you share on what basis you know this is wrong?
And is it wrong for all people, at all times, in all places, under any circumstance? Is it wrong no matter whether anyone believes it is wrong or not? Either way, how do you know?

Only in the same sense that there's a social contract in the idea of "fellow citizen".
You're obfuscating.


Argument?


What if you thought your family was in danger, but in fact this was not the case and was so provable in a court of law?

Surely you realise and would agree that there's a distinction between what is morally right and what is legal.

Peace,
Rhology

John Morales said...

Rhology,

Si, nací en Madrid en 1960 y allí crecí. This,however, has little relevance, other than provide a large cultural parallax baseline.

I'm don't want to further dispute stated opinion on either side, but I owe you anwers.

1. What evidence informed you of the moral wrongness of hurting others?
2. In what way was said evidence authoritative so as to affect what you think OUGHT TO BE?


1. Most saliently, my sense of empathy and shared humanity.
2. If I find the argument (for all x such that x is a member of Humanity, when x is hurt, x suffers) compelling, and realise I am a potential instantiation of x, that is authoratitative enough to convince me.

[I'd call a policy of airstrikes on populated areas deliberate]

Just for the record, 1. can you share on what basis you know this is wrong?
2. And is it wrong for all people, at all times, in all places, under any circumstance? 3. Is it wrong no matter whether anyone believes it is wrong or not? 4. Either way, how do you know?


0. Define "wrong", or at least distinguish between "absolutely wrong" and "relatively wrong".
You know I don't consider anything absolutely wrong, so we can only meaningfully communicate if you understand that, by "wrong", I mean "relatively wrong".
That is to say, in my view, the morally right choice is that choice which, out of the set of choices you have, incurs the least morally wrong outcomes; conversely, a (not "the") wrong choice is any other.
Answers to your 4 questions relate to that sense of "wrong", which is the only sense I recognise morally speaking.
1. Only my considered opinion.
2. I have no authority nor knowledge to affirm that. So no, I can't say that in any meaningful sense, only wish it were so.
3. Well, no. You already know I don't hold to moral absolutes.
4. I don't, epistemologically, "know". I can only say that this is as close as I can come to knowing, and that it functions more than adequately as a life-guide.

[Only in the same sense that there's a social contract in the idea of "fellow citizen".
You're obfuscating.]

Argument?

You've seem to be using "neighbour" as jargon for "someone I consider righteous". If you are, say so.

And, an implied question.

Surely you realise and would agree that there's a distinction between what is morally right and what is legal.

Indeed. There is no precise overlap, however I think that to a first approximation, what is legal is what's morally right, being the beneficiaries of millennia of civilization.

And, more importantly, that which is illegal is generally considered immoral.

Paul C said...

Hopefully those who read this interaction will understand the point that one who claims his epistemology denies he can know anythg for certain can't thus make an argument that another guy's worldview is wrong.

It really doesn't matter what my epistemology is, since I am still able to point out that your arguments are nonsense, and you don't seem to be able to mount any sort of defense. You can keep avoiding the questions if you want, but do remember that everybody's watching.

Paul C said...

Oh, and I would like to apologise for my tone in a number of these posts, although it's likely to happen again. I just get tired and irritable when other people tell me what I think.

The one benefit of my first principle - that it is fundamentally impossible to know anything with certainty - is that it helps to provide me with some intellectual humility (possibly all of you disagree).

However this is also the reason I take issue when other people try to prescribe what is real for everybody. As far as I'm concerned, nobody has a monopoly on reality, and to claim otherwise is simply arrogance.

That does not mean, however, that all claims are equally valid. Life is sometimes a tiresome process of sifting through the chaff of nonsensical arguments. Such as yours :O

Rhology said...

It really doesn't matter what my epistemology is, since I am still able to point out that your arguments are nonsense

If your epistemology does not account for intelligent discourse or critique, then it matters a great deal. It's a deal breaker if you can't account for such, since it's so integral a part of day to day life and especially of debate and finding out truth.

That's why I'm asking, but I kind of doubt you're up to the task of accounting for such since you don't even think you have a worldview. That does not inspire confidence in your ability to critique others' views. You might as well just tell us all how you feel, all the time with no exceptions.
'Course, with all the emoting you do, it's more or less that way already.

Paul C said...

If your epistemology does not account for intelligent discourse or critique, then it matters a great deal.

Lucky then that my epistemology can account for intelligent discourse.

That's why I'm asking, but I kind of doubt you're up to the task of accounting for such since you don't even think you have a worldview.

No, I do think I have a world view. What I think is that your version of "worldviews" is a feeble echo of the Weltanschaung concept, pressed into service to lend your apologetics some sorely-needed credibility.

You should probably get around to answering the points I made about now, although I suspect that your continued evasion is because your weekend investigations failed to yield any convincing answers.

John Morales said...

Yah, though to be fair, I think Rhology's sect considers Sunday to be the "Sabbath", upon which worldly tasks are set aside.

That's real life, to most of us.

Rhology said...

my epistemology can account for intelligent discourse.

How?

Paul C said...

My participation in this discussion demonstrates that my epistemology can account for intelligent discourse. This is what we sometimes refer to as an "axiom", in that it is self-evident.

Rhology said...

I don't grant it.
My worldview certainly can; there is a God who is the source of all intelligibility and rationality, and His thoughts are the model after which I and anyone can (and actually do) model their thinking. His is the standard.

Saying "it's obvious" just begs the question.

Paul C said...

I didn't say that it was "obvious", I said it was "self-evident". If you need to have the difference explained to you, might I suggest that you're not ready for these discussions?

I have no doubt that you'll continue to avoid answering by trying to attack me rather than the points I'm making. It's another standard apologist tactic, it seems. Oh well.

Rhology said...

your weekend investigations failed to yield any convincing answers.

Sabbath

Just FYI, I didn't do any weekend investigations, and John doesn't understand the biblical theology of Sabbath.

I often don't answer on wknds b/c I lack the time. This blog is a hobby; it seems Paul may take it more seriously than I do, and John may as well, given his apparent penchant for warning other bloggers of how nasty and unpleasant I am. If I have to leave a combox un"finished" (as if there could ever be a finish where all agree, where we discuss topics like this), it's b/c I didn't have time or energy to continue ad infinitum. I have a life outside the blog. A family, a job, a church, other things going on. Paul, in particular, I'd simply suggest you take a look at the way you've been addressing me. I fear you're too intense for your own good. But don't expect me to be like that - you'll be disappointed.

Paul C said...

Perhaps you didn't read my earlier post where I apologised in advance for my tone, and explained why I adopt it. It's also fair to say that I find your snide tone fairly insufferable, especially when you're talking about child rape.

The idea that I take these discussions seriously just made me snort fruit juice through my nose, on the other hand. I'll cease plaguing your blog with questions that you can't answer, and get back to the plumbing.