From the previous post, Tom Foss said:
What does it mean to be "worthy" of something that does not depend on one's worthiness?
But what is his argument that being killed does not depend on one's worthiness? I don't grant that at all.
If I say, "you are all worthy of feet," I'm not making a moralist statement, I'm making a Dadaist one.
OTOH, he is welcome to his view. It emasculates, however, any statement that might otherwise imply a moral obligation, since I could just make the same claim about anything, no matter how evil it might appear to be.
This bleeds over into the "worthy of death" vs "worthy of being killed" thing. Apparently, it's by Tom Foss' arbitrary fiat that these two statements are of different quality. But why should anyone be more consistent with Tom's method than he himself is being?
The "should" is determined by society, and at its core, by the necessary elements required for society to exist.
Apparently, the basis for Tom's morality is society - it all starts there. Simple humanism, really. Ah, the dangers of making man the focus!
And what can this say to someone who doesn't like society? Who doesn't think there should BE a society? Call them a sociopath, throw them in jail, whatever - that's just might makes right, the imposition of morality by force, the shoving of his moralistic views down another's throat. What is his argument for this assertion?
Killing someone is not merely allowing death to take place; killing someone necessarily implies that death would not have otherwise taken place at that moment.
Feeding someone is not merely allowing eating to take place; feeding someone necessarily implies that the feeding would not have otherwise taken place at that moment.
1) There's no necessity that society exist.
There is if the species is to continue.
Let me restate my #1 then.
1) There's no necessity that the human species exist.
that society exists is a given.
Well, who would argue that?
The question is: Society exists. What are our moral obligations?
Where is the prescription?
Last I checked, humans couldn't asexually reproduce.
Humans could take the approach from other animals, like eagles and lions - raise the young for a bit and then send them out on their own. Get together just long enough to reproduce, then separate again.
Again I have to bring up the So What? On your view, humans could have evolved so that we live together in societies or live apart as individuals, either way. What does that say about morality, about telling us what we OUGHT to do, what we OUGHT to value, how we OUGHT to think, what we OUGHT to hold dear?
morals evolve as society progresses.
You're confusing categories - IS and OUGHT. Please understand me - I'm not questioning THAT societies have general scruples. I'm questioning the prescriptive power of said scruples. The simple fact that most people hold that, say, it is morally right to shove Jews into ovens doesn't mean that I should believe that such is right. But apparently Tom thinks that if the society believes that to be true, it's true. If it evolved that way, that's the moral right. Thus the danger of basing one's morality on humanity.
Praying mantises and black widow spiders evolved in such a way that the male and female fornicate and then engage in cannibalism. If humanity had evolved and flourished with that behavior as its model, would Tom now be arguing that such behavior fits very well within his moral framework? If not, why should anyone respect a system that can only support such inconsistent and arbitrary appeals?
women are not property, slavery is not right, and unruly children should not, in fact, be stoned to death.
1) Neither are women property in the Bible. Ignorant statements like this don't help anyone.
2) One wonders whether Tom realises the nature of biblical, Old Testament slavery, which is more properly termed 'indentured servitude', with all sorts of legal rights and protections.
3) Tom also shows unfamiliarity with the 'stoning children to death' thing in the OT, tipping his hand that he's probably reciting Hitchensian or ironchariots talking points or something. It was not young children who were subject to this penalty, but rather grown children. Tom might be well-served to read the entire passage in question.
And of course, he shows his gross inconsistency right here. Apparently, for Tom, societal evolution determines morality except when it makes Tom uncomfortable and militates against his own morality. In that case, suddenly, it's NOT OK.
Inconsistency is the sign of a failed argument.
The consensus is not a matter of percentages
He himself said in his first comment:
-A single, solitary person, so far as I can figure it, cannot be moral.
-the morals of a given society are determined by what that society can agree on.
But society is not unanimous about anything. Thus, I introduced the question of %. Apparently Tom is more interested in making naked assertions that sound good at first and then back off of them when challenged.
I'm sure you're not stupid enough to think that it is.
I made no guess or hypothesis one way or the other. I was waiting for him to explain it to everyone, and I'm disappointed.
They're generally free to band together and secede.
1) They're still part of society, though.
2) This speaks not at all to the question of whether it's morally OK to secede.
3) One wonders at what point someone ceases to be part of "society". I'll venture a guess - it's whenever their presence IN society stops discomfiting Tom's argument.
People seclude themselves from the larger social group in order to form their own small societies, based on their own consensus of morality.
And one of these small secluded societies might conceivably come to believe that it is a moral obligation to seek out and murder all humanists who have first names that begin with "T". And Tom Foss would presumably call them immoral to do so. But why?
why those at the YFZ compound do not share our moral outrage over raping children.
Well and good, but is it OK to rape children?
I don't care whether anyone BELIEVES it's OK to rape children. I want to know WHETHER it is OK.
we come again to the closest thing society has to moral absolutes:
Not at all. As we've seen, these 'absolutes' are arbitrary and inconsistent. Tom has failed.
God-defined moral absolutes, however, are absolute and right by definition, AND they are backed up by disciplinary and punitive authority and force.
"killing people is morally wrong"
Even this, his "most basic" of precepts, is hopelessly misaligned. Apparently it is now immoral to kill a guy who is holding a knife to my wife's throat after breaking in to my bedroom and trying to kill me.
Or to shoot a terrorist who is about to blow up a schoolbus with a bomb belt.
because society cannot exist if we cannot reasonably trust one another not to kill us when we stop watching them
Tom must not watch the news. Is it really possible for someone in the modern age, who uses the Internet, to be this hopelessly naive? I guess so.
Tom apparently does not realise that morality exists not only to tell us what we ought to do, but to tell apart good from bad and correct action and desire from incorrect action and desire. It serves to protect us against bad people. If everyone were perfect, there's really no need for law, nor law enforcement.
Everyone knows deep down that God's Law exists and condemns them as sinners (Romans 2:14-16). This is one of the reasons why Tom, while embracing a humanist morality at one level, also tries to bind others' consciences to moral judgments as if they SHOULD follow them.
we have to roll up our sleeves, get together as a society, and decide what the parameters
Once again, we have to ask: When and where did "society" get together and establish this moral agreement? Where would "society" do so in the future?
Tom has not answered this question. He tells us that it's in evolution, in development. But again, different forces in "society" are evolving and developing in different directions. Which one is correct? They can't all be correct.
The Yanomamo, the Auca, the 3rd Reich, Vichy France (who willingly exceeded the quotas for sending French Jews to Germany set by the Nazis)... when was their moral consensus created? And was it OK? Tom Foss would probably say no, but on what basis?
Don't presume to speak for me, Rhology.
Let the reader judge whether presuming that Tom would think that the Nazi genocide was a bad thing was a mean and nasty thing for me to do. Tom seems a little prickly on this topic. Will we be frightened by what we'll find about his thoughts?
On a personal level, Rhology, I would say that these "astray" societies were obviously doing morally wrong things
Well well, I was right.
And I love it - "on a personal level".
Fine then. On a personal level, I would say that hunting down and murdering all humanists whose first names begin with the letter "T" is obviously morally RIGHT, since I, and the society (which my society and I have defined) of which I am a part, consider their existence morally reprehensible. We're right back at the beginning - I have decided that he is worthy of death.
Tell me - what is the qualitative difference between these two statements?
Just because a government does something or codifies a law doesn't mean that those actions or codes are in line with the moral consensus of the people.
Don't wriggle out of this. Answer the question.
Forget the Nazis, then - take the Auca, the Yanomamo, Vichy France.
Taking the easy way out is no way to make quality, substantial arguments.
The always-prolific Anonymous chimed in:
It's not a single decision, it's a process consisting of vast numbers of decisions made by huge numbers of people over large expanses of time.
So these decisions are "made" during an unobservable and unexaminable period of time by an amorphous, undefined group in an undefined area on undefined questions. Pardon me if I'm not bowled over in wonder at the fecundity of societal moral reasoning.
By definition they're not part of that consensus.
By definition? Whose definition? Make an argument that the definition doesn't include them.
They can either remove themselves from society or risk the consequences.
In most other contexts, my guess is that Anonymous would reject the notion that "might makes right", but here he has no problem throwing it out there.
They're composed of individuals who make choices.
Oh, NOW we're talking about individuals! Great - I'm ready.
Who? How many? Their entire life histories and backgrounds? Who made the study? What questions were asked?
The point to all this is to demonstrate the vacuity, the void, of the alternatives to the Christian worldview, where the living God is the source of morality. The distinction is more than obvious, and given Tom and Anon's terrible confusion and inconsistency, thank God for it!