Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The CIA isn't Jack Bauer


Some interesting thoughts on the real live practices involved in interrogating and de-briefing, among others, jihadists including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed appeared in the recent National Review article Meet the Real Jack Bauers.

The tidbits that most intrigued me were:

"...there is a difference between “interrogation” and “de-briefing.” Interrogation is not how we got information from the terrorists; it is the process by which we overcome the terrorists’ resistance and secure their cooperation — sometimes with the help of enhanced interrogation techniques.

Once the terrorist agreed to cooperate, I was told, the interrogation stopped and “de-briefing” began, as the terrorists were questioned by CIA analysts, using non-aggressive techniques to extract information that could help disrupt attacks."

"Just the experience of being brought into CIA custody — the “capture shock,” arrival at a sterile location, the isolation, the fact that they did not know where they were, and that no one else knew they were there — was enough to convince most of them to cooperate. Others, like KSM, demonstrated extraordinary resistance. But even KSM’s interrogation did not take long before he moved into debriefing. He had been captured in early March, they said, and before the end of the month he had already provided information on a plot to fly airplanes into London’s Heathrow airport."

"...interrogations involved strict oversight. There was no freelancing allowed — every technique had to be approved in advance by headquarters, and any deviation from the meticulously developed interrogation plan would lead to the immediate removal of the interrogator."

"He said that the interrogators’ credo was to use “the least coercive method necessary” and that “each of us is put through the measures so we can feel it.” He added: “It is very respectful. The detainee knows that we are not there to gratuitously inflict pain. He knows what he needs to do to stop. We see each other as professional adversaries in war.” (Indeed, Mike Hayden told me years later that K[halid] S[heikh] M[ohammed] referred to Harry as “emir” — a title of great respect in the jihadist ranks.)

Critics have charged that enhanced interrogation techniques are not effective because those undergoing them will say anything to get them to stop. Soufan, the FBI agent and CIA critic, has written: “When they are in pain, people will say anything to get the pain to stop. Most of the time, they will lie, make up anything to make you stop hurting them. . . . That means the information you’re getting is useless.”

What this statement reveals is that Soufan knows nothing about how the CIA actually employed enhanced interrogation techniques. In an interview for my book, former national-security adviser Steve Hadley explained to me, “The interrogation techniques were not to elicit information. So the whole argument that people tell you lies under torture misses the point.” Hadley said the purpose of the techniques was to “bring them to the point where they are willing to cooperate, and once they are willing to cooperate, then the techniques stop and you do all the things the FBI agents say you ought to do to build trust and all the rest.”

"CIA interrogators like Harry would ask detainees questions to which the interrogators already know the answers — allowing them to judge whether the detainees were being truthful and determine when the terrorists had reached a level of compliance."

And most interesting of all:

"Several senior officials told me that, after undergoing waterboarding, Zubaydah actually thanked his interrogators and said, “You must do this for all the brothers.” The enhanced interrogation techniques were a relief for Zubaydah, they said, because they lifted a moral burden from his shoulders — the responsibility to continue resisting." (emph. mine)

Very interesting, this last part. Even jihadists who are hardened to the murder of women and children feel the weight of God's law on their hearts, convicting them of guilt. May the Holy Spirit be pleased to bring them all to repentance, not just conviction of moral burden.

70 comments:

Derrick said...

Even jihadists who are hardened to the murder of women and children feel the weight of God's law on their hearts, convicting them of guilt.

HAH HAH HAH HAH HAH...*reads again* BWAH HAH HAHH...

Okay, moment over. It says nothing of the kind. What it says is that once someone is convinced that resistance is useless, they no longer feel responsible to do so. Religion has utterly nothing to do with it.

And even if it were, are you suggesting that your religion actually benefits from people being tortured into conversion? You're unbelievably barbaric.

Rhology said...

Do you consider mockery and strawmen valid forms of argumentation?

Also, do you have some sort of moral problem with torturing people into conversion? What if I like it? How do you know I'm wrong to like it? Can that be verified like one can verify that 2+2=4? If so, how? If not, why should anyone else listen to your moralising?

Derrick said...

I will ridicule that which I find ridiculous. As far as straw men, I see no straw men, I'm responding directly to your last paragraph, wherein you suggest that torturing people into feeling guilty is a positive thing.

I disagree. In this instance, you may not shift the burden of proof--this is your post and these are your morals in question. You said "May the Holy Spirit be pleased to bring them all to repentance, not just conviction of moral burden." (the article actually says the opposite, that their moral burden vis a vis resistance was lifted, and you have not addressed your error.) I invite you to defend that position, if you think you can.

Questions such as "what if I dislike it? How do you know you're right to like it? Can that be verified like one can verify that 2+2=4? If so, how? If not, why should anyone else listen to your moralising" are your questions to answer. I'm all ears.

bc said...

Even if they are tortured into conversion, that still spares them from an eternal life in hell, right?

zilch said...

bc says:

Even if they are tortured into conversion, that still spares them from an eternal life in hell, right?

And that's what counts, isn't it? In fact, this is the apologist's ace up the sleeve, the "get out of moral responsibility free card": no matter what atrocities are perpetrated here in the mundane plane, no matter how many children are skewered or dashed against the rocks, the only thing that counts is the ticket to Heaven. The murdered children get one automatically (although I've yet to find anywhere in the Bible that says anything like this), and the perps get one if they are following God's command- or if they accept Jesus before they die.

Nice system- heads I win, tails you lose- but no thanks. I'll take my subjective, ill-defined, fuzzy, humanistic morals any day.

cheers from snowy Vienna, zilch

Rhology said...

Derrick, zilch, thanks for your emoting, but I was looking more for an argument, rather than naked assertions.

Derrick said...

What naked assertions? I am directly responding to your post. I'll boil it down for you.

You said "May the Holy Spirit be pleased to bring them all to repentance, not just conviction of moral burden."

What if I disagree? How do you know you're right? Can that be verified like one can verify that 2+2=4? If so, how? If not, why should anyone else listen to your moralising?"

Convince me, please.

bossmanham said...

We apprehend morals the same as we apprehend the external world. It seems as if there is a computer in front of me that I am using. Likewise, it seems some things are wrong no matter what someone says. Until someone can show that my moral sense isn't reliable, I will assume it is just like I assume my physical senses are reliable.

Rhology said...

Derrick,

YOU are making the case that what I said is immoral or bad or whatever. YOU make the argument, or concede that you just made a naked assertion based on your religion.


bossmanham,

I don't know if I can agree with that, actually. We'd have to ask how we can access that knowledge and know that it's true.

marhaban said...

im⋅mor⋅al
  /ɪˈmɔrəl, ɪˈmɒr-/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [i-mawr-uhl, i-mor-]
–adjective
1. not conforming to the patterns of conduct usually accepted or established as consistent with principles of personal and social ethics.

I think that torturing people is not conforming to the patterns of conduct usually accepted as ethical. Therefore, torturing people is immoral.

Rhology said...

Since you apparently want to play the naked assertion game, *I* think that torturing people IS conforming to the patterns of conduct usually accepted as ethical. Therefore, torturing people is moral.

Please prove me wrong if you disagree.
If you have no problem with my statement, please explain how one can know whether ANYthing is right or wrong. If it doesn't matter, why even discuss torture?

marhaban said...

I believe that morality is generally determined by social consensus. Do you disagree?

Rhology said...

Yes, I very much disagree. Please this article for more information.

marhaban said...

So to be immoral, it must be considered bad in the Bible? Just want to make sure I understand your definition of morality, before I respond further.

Rhology said...

If Christianity is true, yes, that is correct.

If atheism is true, for example, then NOTHING is objectively immoral. I've made that point over and over again on this blog (I'm just letting you know).

bossmanham said...

I don't know if I can agree with that, actually. We'd have to ask how we can access that knowledge and know that it's true.

Rho, we apprehend it the same way we apprehend the external world, with a sense we are born with. We access it by apprehending the rightness or wrongness of a duty or value with our moral sense. We know it's true in the same way we know the external world is true; it's self evident. We theists have an additional foundation on which to justify this belief (just as the EAAN points out that rationality is impossible to justify on naturalism), and that is knowing God would not lie to us about the external world or moral values and duties, and being made in His image we have these objective standards written on our hearts.

Derrick said...

*I* think that torturing people IS conforming to the patterns of conduct usually accepted as ethical. Therefore, torturing people is moral.

Yes, *there* is the naked, undefended, bald assertion.

Please prove me wrong if you disagree.

You don't get to make an unsupported statement and then shift the burden of proof, sorry.

bossmanham said...

Derrick, that doesn't make any sense. Rho is (sarcastically) stating what he thinks is okay to do. It's his own personal opinion. He is perfectly within your view in that statement, since moral values are subjective if you're correct. How would he be out of line in stating what he subjectively holds to be right?

bossmanham said...

And if you think he's wrong, it's up to you to show that what he subjectively holds as right is objectively wrong.

marhaban said...

Torture is immoral according to the definition I know because it does not conform to the patterns of conduct USUALLY ACCEPTED or established as consistent with principles of personal and social ethics. Social consensus is required.

But, you don't agree with my definition so to show that it is immoral on your terms, I need to know how you align your moral compass. I am assuming that if it is considered bad in the Bible, then you also would consider it bad and immoral. Is this correct or are you using your atheist definition of morality for this discussion?

Derrick said...

The person making the claim has the burden of proof, it's that simple.

"*I* think that torturing people IS conforming to the patterns of conduct usually accepted as ethical. Therefore, torturing people is moral."

Convince me.

bossmanham said...

Derrick,

So he has to convince you that he actually subjectively believes that? You don't seem to understand what "subjetive" entails in the least.

Derrick said...

I want to know his reasons for making that claim, be it a subjective one or an objective one. Don't be intentionally dense.

bossmanham said...

I want to know his reasons for making that claim, be it a subjective one or an objective one. Don't be intentionally dense.

What other possible reason would one have for making a claim about what they subjectively believe other than they believe it, or are trying to prove a point? Nobody but you is looking dense here.

Derrick said...

He holds his belief...because he believes it.

Truly you have a dizzying intellect.

bossmanham said...

He holds his belief...because he believes it.

Truly you have a dizzying intellect.


That's the point of subjective moral values. There is no burden of proof to show reasons for something that you subjectively believe. Otherwise it would be objective. There's no needed justification if I say I like apples better than oranges. To ask me to justify this is ridiculous. There is nothing one can show to "prove" a subjective opinion they hold. Most people take others at their word on subjective opinions. So it's not "He holds his belief...because he believes it," but he holds the belief because he prefers it. It's his subjective belief that torture is morally right (sarcastically to prove a point).

It's somewhat sad that this has to be explained. It shows the lack of thought you've put into your own position.

Derrick said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Derrick said...

No, it doesn't. Surely, if you like apples better than oranges, you have at least some reasons. You can say, "well, I like the crisp flesh and the juice of the apple, and I don't like how bits of that white pith always stick to the orange slices." We could then go on to have a conversation about the relative merits of one versus the other. But if you just leave it as "well, I'm not going to say, it's just my opinion," we really can't have a conversation and it doesn't give the impression that the initial belief is all that well thought out.

Now, stop going to bat for him. You're making your side look bad.

bossmanham said...

Surely, if you like apples better than oranges, you have at least some reasons

Reasons =/= justification. The reasons are just as subjective as the final conclusion. Do you want reasons for every reason?

But if you just leave it as "well, I'm not going to say, it's just my opinion," we really can't have a conversation

What difference would it make what his reasons are?

Now, stop going to bat for him. You're making your side look bad.

Heh. You keep telling yourself that, really. It makes me chuckle. Sounds like something someone who isn't too sure of their position would say.

Derrick said...

Oh, don't get me wrong, my opinion on the matter is quite definite. Although somehow we've gotten from Rho saying unequivocally:

"*I* think that torturing people IS conforming to the patterns of conduct usually accepted as ethical. Therefore, torturing people is moral. (emphasis mine.)

...to you calling that his "subjective opinion." Why don't you let the man talk, rather than putting words in his mouth. Or, if you have an opinion, we can talk about yours, and I'll be happy to go over mine.

However, I would like to hear Rho's justification for his beliefs, since that's lacking from the OP. Justify, verb: "to defend or uphold as warranted or well-grounded." Should be the same process for either an objective statement (which Rho has made) or a subjective opinion (which you've retroactively declared that it is.) I'm not asking for *proof,* I just want to know why he believes what he believes. Now please, speak for yourself, or I'm not going to respond to you any further.

Rhology said...

I would like to hear Rho's justification for his beliefs, since that's lacking from the OP.

The OP is expressing a view that parrots the Bible. God's Word is a properly basic belief in and of itself - there is no higher authority, no greater corroborator. It is true by itself.

Now, when I said the other thing, about how "*I* think that torturing people IS conforming to the patterns of conduct usually accepted as ethical. Therefore, torturing people is moral", I was pretending to be an atheist for a moment, for the sake of argument. It's called a reductio ad absurdum. IF atheism is true (thank God it isn't), then on what basis is my statement not of equal non-value to your statement about how you think torturing people is IMmoral? That's the point, and you've so far missed it badly. Tell me why I'm wrong IF ATHEISM IS TRUE.

Derrick said...

Thank you for making that clear--it wasn't. My response: I reject Biblical morality, because it is chockablock with awful conduct by both its characters AND ITS GOD, so I am eternally grateful that in reality, it is a book of bronze-age fables that's far outlasted whatever usefulness it may have had.

As for me, you make the fundamental mistake, as always that atheism is the positive assertion that god does not exist.

A am an atheist because I withhold my assent from the belief "God(s) exist." I do not know to any kind of absolute certainty that no god exists, and I don't honestly know of any atheist who claims to.

So, to the moral issue at hand:

1. As a human being, I possess the ability to imagine what someone else is experiencing. I do not want to do to someone else that which I would find unpleasant in their place.

2. Torture in particular, while it may or may not be effective for certain uses, is in the long run both unhealthy for the society which practices it, and in the short term puts American lives at risk should they be captured by those with no such qualms.

I'm sorry that I hold myself to more humane standards than your holy book.

Rhology said...

Derrick,

Yes, I understand that you THINK your morality is more humane and better. I'm asking by what standard you judge that. How do you know?

See, I could just as easily say "oh yeah? Well, MY morality is better! Torturing doggies and children for fun is morally obligatory! You're evil if you don't do so." And if atheism is true, there'd be no way to tell me I'm wrong, other than "I disagree" or "I feel you're wrong", much like "I like vanilla ice cream". Is it a fact (like the fact that 2+2=4) that your morality is good and biblical morality is bad? Or is it just your opinion? If it's not a fact, why should anyone else care?

Rhology said...

marhaban,

Please see here.

bossmanham said...

A am an atheist because I withhold my assent from the belief "God(s) exist." I do not know to any kind of absolute certainty that no god exists

Derrick, if that's the case, you're an agnostic, not an atheist. Atheism is the positive assertion that God does not exist which, incidentally, requires justification.

Derrick said...

Theism/Atheism is a dichotomy of belief, Gnosticism/Agnosticism is a dichotomy of claim to knowledge.

Rho, I think would agree, would be a Gnostic Theist. (historical Gnosticism not meant to be implied.)

My parents and family, though active in their church, I would appraise as agnostic theists.

I am an agnostic atheist, though I prefer to self-label as a "skeptical rationalist" as telling people you're an atheist tends to be "hors de combat." That's why I'm very keen that people should be able to articulate the reasons they hold beliefs, opinions, and claims to knowledge.

Similarly, I don't claim absolute knowledge that my morality is necessarily correct in the cosmic sense, and the very first reason I ever left Christianity was a desire not to impose my morals on other people. In fact, I can and have changed my mind on moral issues on occasion as I incorporate new information. It's simply my best estimation.

However, claims that the bible and God are the source of morality are unproven, and at any rate subject to the Euthyphro dilemma, so I prefer to deal with the pragmatic realities of life, laws, politics and social interactions which are at least adequate to deal with such straw man arguments as raping children and torturing puppies.

Torture of terrorists, in my opinion, should be at most a repugnant necessity even under theoretically extreme circumstances. It offends me that Rho, in the OP, seemingly rejoices at it, even as he indulges in ignorance by completely misreading the situation described.

PChem said...

Euthyphro dilemma

Several people have dealt with Euthyphro's dilemma. The short answer is it is false dilemma.

For starters, you can read William Lane Craig's responses on reasonablefaith.com (article numbers 65, 66, and several others in the Q&A). Otherwise, you can read Geisler's response in his Christian Apologetics.

Derrick said...

*reads* No, still haven't seen a convincing refutation of Euthyphro. It's the typical hand-waving and hairsplitting, while completely failing to address the central criticism.

Rhology said...

It offends me that Rho, in the OP, seemingly rejoices at it, even as he indulges in ignorance by completely misreading the situation described.


It offends me that Derrick, in his comments, seemingly rejoices at his own ideas, even as he indulges in ignorance by completely misreading the comments in which I've been trying to show him how ridiculous it is to be offended when there is no objective morality.

Who cares about offense? I'm interested in the truth. Show me where I'm wrong or just concede, as ChooseDoubt and the JollyNihilist, other atheist bloggers have, that your ideas about morality are nothing more than preference. And why should anyone care about your preferences, as if it were a question of whether 2+2=9 vs 2+2=546?


Euthyphro is not a dilemma, by the way. The answer is one of the horns of the dilemma - God commands that which is good, and that which is good is defined by His own character. Not hard.

PChem said...

No, still haven't seen a convincing refutation of Euthyphro. It's the typical hand-waving and hairsplitting, while completely failing to address the central criticism.

I disagree. This does deal with the central issue. That is, euthyphro assumes there are only two alternatives. This is false.

You can revise your "dilemma" if you wish, but as it stands you haven't exhausted all of the potential alternatives.

Derrick said...

The central criticism is not splitting hairs over the fine structure of the argument's phrasing. It is where, under a theistic worldview, does morality come from?

Just going back to Rho's newest post, he makes two claims:
1) good is grounded in God's character, which does not change and is eternal.
2) That which is bad is that which runs contrary to God's law.

Why is God's nature the way it is? Did he choose his nature? Why do so few theists actually agree on what that nature is, and what those laws are? Does his nature correspond to transcendent principles? Is god the be-all and end-all, or not?

Certainly the Bible doesn't help the situation. You have a very different set of laws in the Old Testament than in the New Testament, as though God sacrificed himself to himself so that he could change his mind about the rules he created. It's incoherent.

Rhology said...

Why is God's nature the way it is? Did he choose his nature?

There is no why, really. That's the way He is. It's like asking "Why is truth true?"
And He doesn't change His nature, so there's no "choosing" really; He has always been like He is, and will always be like He is.


Why do so few theists actually agree on what that nature is, and what those laws are?

1) Sin.
2) Give me a good reason to make human agreement the standard for truth.


You have a very different set of laws in the Old Testament than in the New Testament

And you are very ignorant of why, aren't you?
This will help. So would a decent introduction to systematic theology. I don't recommend flouting one's ignorance in public, honestly.
Statements like "rules he created" - that's nonsense on Christianity. He didn't "create" the Law. It is that which corresponds to His nature. If you're trying an internal critique of Christianity, you first have to have an at least basic grasp of its principles, which you don't at this time.

Derrick said...

As a former christian, I am aware of the various doctrines. You confuse ignorance with the realization that they are false teachings, and rejecting them as such. In general, I consider them ad-hoc rationalizations and special pleading, designed to cobble together the writings of disparate faith communities and "retcon" them into something that makes some modicum of sense--and failing. I feel a great pity that you cannot see exactly how illogical your beliefs truly are.

Rhology said...

You confuse ignorance with the realization that they are false teachings, and rejecting them as such.

I see ignorance in apostates like you all the time, actually. I'll dignify your statements with "that's correct" when they're, you know, correct.


I feel a great pity that you cannot see exactly how illogical your beliefs truly are.

You pity me? What do I lose by being a Christian and not an atheist, even if atheism is true?

PChem said...

Derrick,

The central criticism is not splitting hairs over the fine structure of the argument's phrasing.

Your the one advancing an argument that relies on the two horns being the only two mutually exclusive alternatives. I contend they are not the only two alternatives nor are they necessarily mutually exclusive. So yes, it is important.

It is where, under a theistic worldview, does morality come from?

It comes from God's nature.

Why is God's nature the way it is? Did he choose his nature? Why do so few theists actually agree on what that nature is, and what those laws are? Does his nature correspond to transcendent principles? Is god the be-all and end-all, or not?

I think one can successfully argue that if God exists then He is necessarily good. So no, God does not choose his nature. That is similar to me asking you why you chose to be human.

Concerning the lack of agreement among Christians. First, there are a great many things that Christian theists DO agree about. Second, lack of consensus about some idea does not count against the idea being true.

You will have to clarify what you mean by asking if his nature corresponds to transcendent principles. If you mean to construe this as principles which are above God then no.

I feel a great pity that you cannot see exactly how illogical your beliefs truly are.

What are you trying to accomplish with this statement (along with the tirade that comes before it)? Usually aggressive comments like this don't advance discourse. I guess my question is why are you here? Is it to mock, or is it to have a discussion about an incredibly deep and important subject?

Derrick said...

Your the one advancing an argument that relies on the two horns being the only two mutually exclusive alternatives. I contend they are not the only two alternatives nor are they necessarily mutually exclusive. So yes, it is important.

The object of deconstructing a syllogism is to point out what the logic has missed. In your case, you *continue* to run headlong into the brick wall that the Euthyphro argument is trying to illuminate. Either:
A) Morality does derive from God (and saying whether it’s divine command, divine nature, or divine law is completely irrelevant. That’s why I’m completely unimpressed by Craig’s supposed refutation, as I am with everything the man's ever said.)

or

B) Morality does not derive from god.

That’s a true, mutually exclusive dichotomy, and it does create a dilemma.

If (A), then you have to accept that Yahweh has the right, if he so chooses, to commit mass genocide if he doesn’t like the state of affairs of mankind. According to your holy book, he’s done exactly that on the scale of cities, nations, and damn near the entire species. He sends bears to eat youths who mock the prophets. He commands the stoning of unruly children. He commands that a rapist may marry his victim if he pays money. He does *not* condemn slavery, gender inequality, racism, torture, murder, or human sacrifice (he’s actually fond of that one, it would seem.) Disobedience merits the death penalty. (Although he seems not to be able to do this anymore, strangely.) The notion, that both of you argue, that he does not change his nature means that these examples still speak to his awful character, whether or not he ultimately changed his mind about whether or not to enforce them. If it was ever moral to do these things, they are in concert with Yahweh’s unchanging nature. Abraham certainly thought it just and moral to kill his own son to please the whims of his deity.

If (B) is true, then theists’ answers to Rho’s absurd moral dilemmas are no more or less valid than atheists-—the recourse is to Yahweh’s "power" to save, or to inflict infinite punishment for finite crimes. Might makes right, if he exists.

Personally, I find B far more acceptable, but then, non-existence pretty much puts me in that camp anyway.

Usually aggressive comments like this don't advance discourse. I guess my question is why are you here? Is it to mock, or is it to have a discussion about an incredibly deep and important subject?

Rho's entire blog is chockablock with aggressive comments and mockery of people who disagree with his pet interpretation of scripture. I'm not under any illusions about any supposed level of mutual respect. I am here to plumb the depths of hypocrisy and ignorance to which fundamentalist Christians can take themselves to, and I don't particularly feel the need to be gentle with the delicate emotions of people who come into the argument thinking I deserve to burn in hell for infinity.

PChem said...

Either:
A) Morality does derive from God (and saying whether it’s divine command, divine nature, or divine law is completely irrelevant...or
B) Morality does not derive from god. That’s a true, mutually exclusive dichotomy


I think you have adopted more of Craig than you realize. In Plato's Euthyphro, the dilemma is formulated as either (a) piety is loved by the gods because it is pious or (b) piety is pious because it is loved by the gods. Bertrand Russell used a similar version to argue against Christian morality. In both situations, those options are NOT mutually exclusive.

I agree that what you put forward here is mutually exclusive, but it is not a defeator for Christianity. Stipulating how or why something is moral is important, and it underlies exactly why I suggested you revise the dilemma. As stated, option A is correct. Morality flows from God, and it is good BECAUSE his nature is necessarily good. This is very different from morality flowing from God and it being arbitrary, which is what the two versions of Euthyphro cited above construe. At least that is normally why atheists claim horn A is problematic for Christians.

Long list of problems with option A.

Yes, God is supreme and He certainly has every right to judge those who have broken his commands.

Can't you see how you are slipping back into the view that I explicitly reject? God is not arbitrary w/ respect to his moral commands. This is precisely why I suggest a third alternative to the dilemma. God's moral commands flow from his necessarily good nature.

The rest of your criticisms seem to lie with whether or not God is truly good. I'll leave those alone for now as this has grown long enough. I will add that you have ignored that this same God has chosen of his own accord to pay for the sins of those who broke his commands and offer them forgiveness. Certainly that is a good thing indeed for people who deserve nothing by judgement.

Rhology said...

thinking I deserve to burn in hell for infinity.

Not that there's anything objectively wrong with thinking that. You just don't like it. Big screaming deal.

Derrick said...

In Plato's Euthyphro, the dilemma is formulated as either (a) piety is loved by the gods because it is pious or (b) piety is pious because it is loved by the gods. Bertrand Russell used a similar version to argue against Christian morality. In both situations, those options are NOT mutually exclusive.

I agree that what you put forward here is mutually exclusive, but it is not a defeator for Christianity. Stipulating how or why something is moral is important, and it underlies exactly why I suggested you revise the dilemma.


This is exactly why I said you were dodging the point, because WLC, and by proxy yourself, are confusing something that was phrased poetically, a kind of A-B-B-A rhetorical rhyme, with the construction of a logical syllogism. Lowercase dilemma, in my opinion. Calling it a false dilemma and then making ad-hoc assertions to get around the main idea is a dodge, not a refutation.

I have problems with asserting God’s nature as a workaround, as shown by [long list of problems with option A.] These are the actions and commands of a tyrant.

Yes, God is supreme and He certainly has every right to judge those who have broken his commands.

An assertion with which I disagree in the strongest possible terms.

Morality flows from God, and it is good BECAUSE his nature is necessarily good…God is not arbitrary w/ respect to his moral commands. This is precisely why I suggest a third alternative to the dilemma. God's moral commands flow from his necessarily good nature.

My whole point is that you are not suggesting a third option, you’re just taking Option A, “piety is pious because it is loved by the gods” and substituting “God’s Nature” for the conditional.

I’m not suggesting Yahweh’s commands are *arbitrary.* You may be entirely correct to argue that he lacks the free will to deviate from or alter his nature, but I question whether that nature is moral.

I can’t accept the unsupported assertion that god is necessarily good, either. There’s no shortage of flawed, imperfectly moral deities throughout the pantheons of the world, I just think that Yahweh happens to be a fellow traveler with Zeus, Wotan, Marduk, Ba’al, and the rest.

I will add that you have ignored that this same God has chosen of his own accord to pay for the sins of those who broke his commands and offer them forgiveness. Certainly that is a good thing indeed for people who deserve nothing by judgement.

You’re begging the question of whether we deserve judgment, to which I’ve already raised objections. But it’s this whole “paying for sin” concept which I also find barbaric—what’s apparently consistent with God’s perfectly moral nature is “without the shedding of blood, there can be no remission of sin.” I find that appalling, a law of a Bronze Age tribal blood-god, but also arbitrary. God cannot simply forgive that which is desired to be forgiven of, he has to go through this rigmarole of self-sacrifice in order to open up a loophole? It’s bizarre, as well as being an extension of his barbarism.

thinking I deserve to burn in hell for infinity.

Not that there's anything objectively wrong with thinking that. You just don't like it. Big screaming deal.


Just so we have an understanding that your beliefs make you a bit of a bastard in this respect, and that this was the first reason I ever stopped being a Christian.

Rhology said...

Yes, that's right - I am taking the first option.
I know you question whether His nature is moral, but until you can give me a good argument with an objective standard, I don't see why I should care. Argue for your "He is flawed" assertion. Or you could just keep repeating it like you have been.


Just so we have an understanding that your beliefs make you a bit of a bastard in this respect,

Not that there's anything objectively wrong with my being a bastard in your estimation. You just don't like it. Big screaming deal.
It would appear you have no standard outside yourself. A morality of one. It's no morality at all. You need to get over yourself.

Derrick said...

Yes, that's right - I am taking the first option. I know you question whether His nature is moral, but until you can give me a good argument with an objective standard, I don't see why I should care. Argue for your "He is flawed" assertion. Or you could just keep repeating it like you have been.

My objective criteria, as I’ve said elsewhere, rest on the principles of prosocial/antisocial behavior, and the minimization of unnecessary suffering. I don’t care that you find them inadequate. Big fat screaming deal. They work, and they’re perfectly acceptable first principles for human societies.

Biblical law produces societies which are demonstrably more unhealthy, because their first principle is supplication and kowtowing to the supposed whims of the imaginary man in the sky, and if something goes wrong, they go looking not for the true causes or practical solutions, but beat their breast over how they must have screwed up, to say nothing of the manifest cruelties excused by the effort to impose those beliefs on others.

Your beliefs are demonstrably harmful.

It would appear you have no standard outside yourself. A morality of one. It's no morality at all. You need to get over yourself.

Of course they are my standards. Who else would make the decision? You yourself along with every human being who ever lived are presented with multiple competing belief systems and moralities during your life, and you are choosing which you favor—-you simply have stopped looking and probably wouldn’t concede that you ever did in the first place, and I contend you have reached an objectively bad conclusion. The difference is, I actively question not only my own beliefs but actively go looking for as many different opinions as I can, in an effort to make my beliefs better. I am open to having my mind changed. The fact that your arguments are so COLOSSALLY unconvincing isn't my fault.

If you think your particular morality has advantages in the real world, make your case. If the objective is not healthy societies, but rather pleasing the imaginary sky-daddy, don’t waste your time unless you can demonstrate any good reason whatsoever to believe he exists.

PChem said...

This is not dodging the issue. The Euthyphro dilemma assumes that either God is subject to a higher moral code or morality comes only from him by fiat. At least, this is what I gather from a basic read of Plato's dialogue and Bertrand Russell's reformulation of this dilemma. This is simply not a dilemma because there are other alternatives, namely God issues moral commands by fiat FROM his nature. Thus, God is not arbitrary nor is he subject to a higher moral authority. This is a third and viable option that needs to be distinguished from the notion that God's commands are arbitrary. What this does is split horn A into two separate horns: call them horn A' (God's fiat is arbitrary) and horn A" (God's fiat is not arbitrary but flows from his unchanging nature). So, the dilemma becomes either A', A", or B instead of A or B. You listed a form of the argument that implicitly includes my alternative along with the "arbitrary" alternative. Albeit, it is mutually exclusive, but I do not think it is particularly informative because there are nuances to your horn A that must be teased out before one can say Christianity is impaled.

In a later comment on your post, you state that you are not arguing that God is arbitrary, but then you state, "If (A), then you have to accept that Yahweh has the right, if he so chooses, to commit mass genocide if he doesn’t like the state of affairs of mankind." To be perfectly honest, you have missed the point with your list for option A, for it demonstrates how you are trying to shoehorn option A to mean that God is in some way arbitrary (A only equals A' and A never equals A"). God is not arbitrary if he commands from his nature, which is necessarily unchanging and good. Again, it is this subtle difference that makes the difference, and for the Christian turns the dilemma into a false dilemma. Since I feel this is the central thrust of this discussion, I want to move on to your comment about God being necessarily good. This is not meant to minimize your opinions and other criticisms of God, but there is only so much time.


You also questioned whether or not God is necessarily good. I think an argument for this might take a form like

1. If God exists, then he is the greatest possible being.
2. It is greater to be good than not good.
3. Therefore from 1 and 2, God is good.

Taken with the other attributes normally attributed to God (immutable and infinite in particular), God must be eternally and unchanging in his goodness, and God's goodness must be infinite. I suppose that you could argue that "good" does not exist, but I think it is intuitive that goodness exists.

God cannot simply forgive that which is desired to be forgiven of, he has to go through this rigmarole of self-sacrifice in order to open up a loophole?

I don't see this as a loophole. Rather, I see it as a way of not compromising his holiness in letting sin go unpunished.

My objective criteria, as I’ve said elsewhere, rest on the principles of prosocial/antisocial behavior, and the minimization of unnecessary suffering.

How do you define minimization of suffering and for whom? I would argue that your objective criteria are not objective at all but are extremely subjective. Further, which society gets to decide what is good and bad social behavior? This is the central problem of a subjective approach to morality. In the end, there is no morality, only personal opinions of what you (or your society) likes. Frankly, I can't even see how you could make an argument that something like rape, cowardice in battle, or murder are morally reprehensible under such a model. If it can't do that, certainly something is wrong.

Cheers!

Rhology said...

Ho hum, nothing new here. When will Internet atheists learn to provide actual argumentation?


rest on the principles of prosocial/antisocial behavior, and the minimization of unnecessary suffering.

1) You arbitrarily and subjectively define what constitutes the society you like and don't like.
2) You arbitrarily and subjectively define what constitutes suffering.
3) You arbitrarily and subjectively define what constitutes unnecessary.
Give me an objective standard. So far, total failure.


. I don’t care that you find them inadequate. Big fat screaming deal. They work, and they’re perfectly acceptable first principles for human societies.

1) Prove they work.
2) And since you're into naked assertions, I assert that they DON'T work. Nyah nyah.
3) Prove that "working" = truth.

You might learn a little sumpin if you read my interaction with ChooseDoubt.

marhaban said...

1) You arbitrarily and subjectively define what constitutes the society you like and don't like.
2) You arbitrarily and subjectively define what constitutes suffering.
3) You arbitrarily and subjectively define what constitutes unnecessary.


I don't think it is arbitrary. As discussed in this newsweek article, people from many different backgrounds come to the same moral conclusions. It seems pretty universally accepted that you should minimize suffering, practice kindness, do good to others.

It's a life philosophy that makes sense and can be tested. If you are hurting others consistently, you will probably have negative consequences like going to jail.

Rhology said...

Hi marhaban,

1) A lot of ppl coming to the same conclusion doesn't make that conclusion less arbitrary. What if most ppl believed that 2+2=5?
2) I'm asking for the objective standard. Derrick hasn't provided one, and society definitely doesn't cut it.
3) Neither does "empathy".
4) I would expect most ppl to come to similar moral conclusions, b/c everyone is made in the image of God, and the law of God is written on their hearts. Read Romans 1-3.


It seems pretty universally accepted that you should minimize suffering, practice kindness, do good to others.

Sure, but why SHOULD I? I know most ppl think I should, but I want to know why.


It's a life philosophy that makes sense and can be tested. If you are hurting others consistently, you will probably have negative consequences like going to jail.

So might makes right.
Read this.

Derrick said...

[24 lines about classical Euthyphro]

Please answer the arguments I make, rather than the arguments I don’t. Otherwise I’m going to ask if the punching bag you’ve set up for yourself is filled with straw or not.

Yahweh has the right, if he so chooses, to commit mass genocide if he doesn’t like the state of affairs of mankind.

This isn’t a distinction between Fiat and Nature (don’t care, don’t find it a meaningful distinction.) The only point I was making is that God seems to have a range of options for whether and how he goes about smiting us. Floods, brimstone, earthquakes, televangelists, etc.

1. If God exists, then he is the greatest possible being.
2. It is greater to be good than not good.
3. Therefore from 1 and 2, God is good.


Bad syllogism. You’re building “Goodness” into the definition of greatness, and thus begging the question. Your proof is semantically identical to:

1. God is the “good-est” (among other great qualities) possible being (if he exists.)
2. It is greater to be good than not good.
3. Therefore from 1 and 2, God is good.


All you’ve done is conceptualize a deity that is as good as you or anyone could possibly imagine, not make his goodness a necessary attribute. It’s a sharpshooter’s fallacy, then, to take the god of the bible and draw your bullseye for perfect goodness around the data points of his commands/nature and declare that he’s the one you were thinking of.

To me, Yahweh misses the mark. A god for whom WITH the shedding of blood there can be no remission of sin is greater in my estimation than one for whom bloodshed is required. A god of ultimate goodness would never at any time condone slavery, as Yahweh does, or condone that a slave could be beaten to death so long as he lingers in agony for three or more days. I could go on.

How do you define minimization of suffering and for whom? I would argue that your objective criteria are not objective at all but are extremely subjective.

You’re absolutely right, I should not have said objective, I was in a hurry. My objective criterion is the simple statement that actions have consequences. Prosocial, antisocial behavior and the minimization of unnecessary harm are the subjective criteria that I use to find the optimal result of an of Rho’s silly little moral dilemmas. They're not perfect, but they're serviceable, as well as adaptable, encouraging of critical thinking, and capable of self-correction in the case of undesirable results.

If one can’t look at the dictionary definition, though of “antisocial” and determine why rape, murder, cowardice in battle etc. ad nauseam are problematic, then one quite possibly could have a structural brain defect.

This is why I don’t care whether Yahweh’s commands derive from fiat or his nature: they fail the real-world consequences test.

They lead to the limited capacity of Haitian relief convoys being taken up by solar-powered bibles. They lead to the murder of infidels. There is a strong negative correlation between levels of religiosity and measures of societal health. By OBJECTIVE REALITY (that’s for you, Rho) they fail to produce good results.

If any theist has a claim of a moral system that is objectively better than the situational, subjective, messy criteria I use, then the burden of proof is on them to come up with some reason, some justification that holds up to even cursory scrutiny why anyone should give it the time of day.

Cheers, PChem. Keep it up, I actually think we're communicating. (unlike Rho, who thinks that linking in dead threads does anything for his position but stifle discussion in the here and now. If you have something to say, you can bloody well restate it.)

And sending someone to jail isn't might makes right, it's self-defense--one of those real-world consequences that you know, actually exist. It's no different than the troop of monkeys who kick out the one who keeps stealing other monkey's bananas.

marhaban said...

Sure, but why SHOULD I? I know most ppl think I should, but I want to know why.

Because it will make the world a better place. I think that is a good enough reason.

bossmanham said...

Just FYI, Euthephro's dilemma has had its horns split. Things are good because God is good. His nature necessarily determines what is good or bad, and He makes commands and declarations based on His nature.

Derrick said...

I addressed this. The true dichotomy is either Morality does/does not derive from God. His fiat or his nature is irrelevant.

Either way, it must be demonstrated, not asserted, that his commands/nature actually *are* good. The bible itself indicates otherwise.

Of course, if he does not exist or is his nature is imperfect with respect to objective measures of benefit/harm, then we're on the 2nd horn and have no problems unless he plays the might-makes-right card and throws me into hell anyway. So what, that doesn't give him the moral authority to do so.

I only wish it were a moot issue, but apparently some of his followers have it in their heads that systematic torture of prisoners is compatible with God's infinitely good, unchanging nature.

Rhology said...

marhaban,

How do you know what constitutes better? Please provide an objective standard.

Also, how do you know that "making the world a better place" is morally good? Please provide an objective standard.

Rhology said...

God seems to have a range of options for whether and how he goes about smiting us. Floods, brimstone, earthquakes, televangelists, etc.

Not that there's anything objectively wrong with that.


It’s a sharpshooter’s fallacy

Not that there's anything objectively wrong with committing logical fallacies.


To me, Yahweh misses the mark.

And to me, Yahweh hits it. I guess we're at an impasse - each claim is equally true.


A god of ultimate goodness would never at any time condone slavery

1) NOW who's committing a sharpshooter's fallacy?
2) Not that there's anything objectively wrong with enslaving others against their will.


My objective criterion is the simple statement that actions have consequences.

1) You do not know that with certainty. The best you can say is that according to your inductive observation, which is extremely limited, and according to your senses, you THINK that actions have consequences.
2) Now we just need a standard of morality to take us from what IS (actions and consequences) to what OUGHT TO BE.
You are apparently totally unfamiliar with Hume's Guillotine. Let me help.



They're not perfect, but they're serviceable,

1) You wouldn't know about perfection, w/o a moral standard.
2) Killing Jews was plenty serviceable for the Nazis.
3) Likewise, living for Jesus and believing that He ordered the massacre of Amalekites and such is plenty serviceable for me. I guess it's true, good and moral by your reasoning!


This is why I don’t care whether Yahweh’s commands derive from fiat or his nature: they fail the real-world consequences test.

DERRICK HATH SPOKEN. LET ALL THE WORLD BOW AND BE SILENT BEFORE HIS AWESOME POWER OF FIAT.

Derrick said...

A god of ultimate goodness would never at any time condone slavery.

1)NOW who's committing a sharpshooter's fallacy?


You might consider actually understanding why I liken shoehorning Yahweh into the definition of "ultimate goodness" to the Texas Sharpshooter’s Fallacy and knowing what you’re actually talking about.

Not that there's anything objectively wrong with committing logical fallacies.

Not that there's anything objectively wrong with enslaving others against their will.


Cute, very cute.

You do not know that with certainty. The best you can say is that according to your inductive observation, which is extremely limited, and according to your senses, you THINK that actions have consequences.

Have I mentioned how indescribably unimpressed I am with your ENDLESS whining about inductive reasoning and the ostensible weakness of observation and evidence?

Now we just need a standard of morality to take us from what IS (actions and consequences) to what OUGHT TO BE.

Thank you for acknowledging that actions and consequences do properly belong to the realm of what IS. Rather neatly proves that you're willing to contradict yourself in order to attack the argument of the moment.

Slavery, political violence and the prevalence of fallacious thinking tend to be destructive to my desired ends—I’ll leave them to religion. I think my society ought to be (among other things) peaceful, prosperous, and stable. The application of reason, the evaluation of prosocial and antisocial behavior, and the limitation of harm and unnecessary suffering are the standards that I use to judge decisions and actions in light of what ought to be.

I don't need some absolute standard of perfection to know that they're imperfect. I'm skeptical that any objective standard in the sense you mean exists at all. I can simply see that there's always room for improvement, that people can and will disagree about subjective values, and that they won't necessarily prevent every antisocial act that people are capable of. It has problems, but I don't know that we have anything else workable to go on, and religious morality is arguably worse.

The killing of Jews by the Nazis is actually a fine example, under the standards I'm advocating. The widespread promotion of antisocial values such as racism, eugenics (the corrupted, misunderstood, unrecognizable version of evolution), ultranationalism, conspiracy-mongering, and political violence all ultimately contributed to a bad end for that society, and we have since come to view Nazi Germany as a byword for morality gone completely sideways. What about Christianity makes the holocaust immoral?

As far as religious teachings failing the real world consequences test, don't take my word for it. Look at study after study that shows religious values failing to prevent societal ills, and those measures of social health rise in correlation to declines in levels of religiosity. I’m just pointing out the facts.

Derrick said...

Now, I challenge you: give me something better. I acknowledge that the morality I've tried to articulate here is not cosmically universal, it's objective only in a certain sense, and that it's not free from error--at best it's capable of recognizing and learning from past examples. I'm open to having my mind changed, or I wouldn't be here. I'm interested in examining the arguments which disagree with my position, or I wouldn't be here. Present a case and support it, because taking potshots at my beliefs doesn't make you look any smarter or more moral. Frankly, this entire thread makes you out to be pretty much a prick with no good ideas of his own.

Your next post needs to give me some reason to believe your God, your bible, your rules would do better than mine, or else I'm done, and I'm going to stick to dealing with human nature and human reasoning.

A few tips:

1) If you can't give me some reason to think your God exists, if you can't demonstrate that the Bible is his word, then your moral arguments are worth less than nothing.

2) A link to a dead thread or LMGTFY does not make an argument. State your case, state your support.

3) If you whine about "what is your evidence for evidence" and then act like faith produces anything more than wildly divergent, mutually contradictory, and universally unsupportable conclusions, you fail.

4) Bonus points if you can provide justification as to why systematic torture of POWs can be considered moral--your OP remains completely unjustified.

Rhology said...

Not that there's anything objectively wrong with committing logical fallacies.

Not that there's anything objectively wrong with enslaving others against their will.

Cute, very cute.


Non-response noted.
I know you think it's cute. I want to know why it's false and why it doesn't completely destroy your argument.


Have I mentioned how indescribably unimpressed I am with your ENDLESS whining about inductive reasoning and the ostensible weakness of observation and evidence?

Yes you have; now how about responding to it?



Thank you for acknowledging that actions and consequences do properly belong to the realm of what IS. Rather neatly proves that you're willing to contradict yourself in order to attack the argument of the moment.

You are apparently 100% unfamiliar with the notion of internal critique. Typical ignorant atheist.
On atheism, there is no bridge from IS to OUGHT, and that's what I've been saying to you this entire time.
On Christianity, there absolutely is such a bridge - the law of God.



Slavery, political violence and the prevalence of fallacious thinking tend to be destructive to my desired ends

But if my desired ends are polar opposites to yours, then there's apparently no way to decide between them other than circularly appealing to one's desires. 2+2 can equal 7, if I just desire it.



peaceful, prosperous, and stable

None of which are objectively good, right? You just happen to like them.



I don't need some absolute standard of perfection to know that they're imperfect.

Um, yes you do. What a moronic thing to say.



The widespread promotion of antisocial values such as racism, eugenics (the corrupted, misunderstood, unrecognizable version of evolution), ultranationalism, conspiracy-mongering, and political violence all ultimately contributed to a bad end for that society

You keep making naked assertions. PROVE it! PROVE it was a bad end for Nazi Germany. Don't assert it, prove it!



What about Christianity makes the holocaust immoral?

God has commanded people not to murder other people. QED.



religious values failing to prevent societal ills

You keep making naked assertions. PROVE it! PROVE there are objective societal ills, or if not objective, "things that society does that I SHOULD care about". PROVE IT.



Now, I challenge you: give me something better.

On atheism, there is no such thing as an objective better. Until you realise your complete waste of a system, there's no point in going any farther.



it's objective only in a certain sense, and that it's not free from error--at best it's capable of recognizing and learning from past examples.

Learning implies progressing, and progression implies an objective end, a standard to which one is striving. You have repeatedly failed to give such a standard. Your system is incoherent.



A link to a dead thread or LMGTFY does not make an argument. State your case, state your support.

You moron - Hume's Guillotine is a well-known and obvious philosophical problem for atheism. Read it, respond to it.



3) If you whine about "what is your evidence for evidence" and then act like faith produces anything more than wildly divergent, mutually contradictory, and universally unsupportable conclusions, you fail.

B/c you say so. Got it.

Wow - 2 pretty long comments, zero arguments. You approached the world record. Do better next time.

Derrick said...

Hoookay, not willing to put forward any argument of your own. In that case, I'm through wasting my time on your empty criticisms.

"God exists."

I've never seen any reason to believe this statement is true, therefore I'm comfortable not believing it. When challenged to do so, you don't.

PChem said...

answer the questions
That is what I am doing. I am challenging your claim that Euthyphro is a fatal dilemma for Christianity. Your attempt to dismiss this resolution because you don’t care about the distinction between “from God’s nature” and “from God’s whim” is not convincing. These distinctions are important, and if you are going to maintain that Euthyphro is a valid dilemma then it is your responsibility to advance your own argument.


Bad syllogism
Greatness and goodness are not conflated in this argument. The first premise describes the nature of God, and the second premise discusses what appears to be a rather straightforward observation that being “good” is greater than being “not good.” I think you are confusing the issue. I haven’t laid out WHAT is the good, but merely that there IS a good. How can you declare the sharp shooter fallacy if I haven’t even circled what is good yet?


Prosocial, antisocial behavior and the minimization of unnecessary harm are the subjective criteria that I use to find the optimal result of an of Rho’s silly little moral dilemmas. They're not perfect, but they're serviceable, as well as adaptable, encouraging of critical thinking, and capable of self-correction in the case of undesirable results.

Again though, for whom are we measuring the prosocial/antisocial behavior? Different societies may very well have different measures of what constitutes prosocial behavior. To get this off the ground you need a measuring stick of what constitutes prosocial behavior that is independent of any society. However, this is exactly what you are arguing against. Moreover, minimization of unnecessary harm is equally problematic. What constitutes unnecessary harm and who decides this? Again, what may be unnecessary harm for one society may very well be necessary harm for another? So, which society is correct, especially if their interests overlap and conflict? On a different note, it seems as though to make objective moral judgments on this strategy you would need to know how your decision impacts all involved over long haul. Often, things that are harmful in the short term eventually have long term benefits that overcome the temporary harm. These two factors (needing to know the impact of your decisions on everyone involved and the long term effects of decisions to minimize unnecessary harm) seem to paralyze any moral judgment by this strategy. To not take these into account seems to be reckless under your pragmatic model for morality and may actually increase harm even if you are intending to minimize it.

PChem said...

Part 2

look up antisocial behavior…
How can you determine that rape, murder, cowardice in battle, etc. are universally immoral for all people even if everyone engages in those behaviors? That is the crux of the issue. Do you deny that they are?


This is why I don’t care whether Yahweh’s commands derive from fiat or his nature: they fail the real-world consequences test.

On the contrary, they satisfy real-world criteria quite well. If God’s commands are grounded by His good nature, then we have great assurance that what he commands is in the long run for our best interests because he is good. Further, those moral commands provide an objective standard by which we may make moral judgments. It removes the problem of relativism between different societies and individuals, and it takes care of the paralysis that results from your pragmatic moral decision making process. This is immensely practical.


There is a strong negative correlation between levels of religiosity and measures of societal health. By OBJECTIVE REALITY (that’s for you, Rho) they fail to produce good results.

I disagree that Christianity reduces societal health. On the contrary, where Christianity has spread there is typically a surge in positive societal health, one example being education. I would argue that if anything atheistic regimes are the antisocial ones. Now, don’t get me wrong. I agree that Christianity has been abused in the past, especially medieval Christendom, but those are cases of people being inconsistent with the core of Christianity. The dictators of atheistic regimes are not being inconsistent with their core presuppositions. That is a major distinction that must be observed.


If any theist has a claim of a moral system that is objectively better than the situational, subjective, messy criteria I use, then the burden of proof is on them to come up with some reason, some justification that holds up to even cursory scrutiny why anyone should give it the time of day.

I reject your idea that we should default to atheism, thereby placing a special burden of proof on the theist. Better luck with that one next time.

dreamking00 said...

PChem: I'd love to continue this discussion, but as I don't think Rho is an honest or reasonable person to be having discussions with, I have decided not to participate further in his blog. Please contact me privately, and I'd be delighted to address your points.

Rhology said...

"Reason exists."

I've never seen any reason to believe this statement is true, therefore I'm comfortable not believing it.

See you Derrick, dreamking00. It would appear that in your world, one who is unafraid to point out unsubstantiated assertions that you make and refuse to believe just on your personal say-so is unreasonable and dishonest. Good luck with that in the real world.

dreamking00 said...

It's easy to spew out a tweet's worth of hogwash that would take pages to refute accurately.

I can't condense my points to paragraph length without Rho saying I'm making unsupported assertions. Meanwhile he gets to spew whatever nonsense he wants while NEVER ONCE presenting a coherent argument, even when specifically challenged.

So, no, you're not an honest person to have a conversation with, because you won't even engage the actual issues. It's bullshit, and I'm not playing anymore. It's like trying to have a baseball game with someone who thinks he can win by continually throwing the ball at your head and picking up the bat to kneecap the base runners. No thank you.

PChem, again, I'd be happy to continue by private email where I can articulate the support for my points more fully.