Monday, March 22, 2010

The Eastern Orthodox humanist

John, "Eastern Orthodox"/humanist commenter:
By restricting perspicuity to some small spiritually determined group you blow your own legs off.
1 Cor 2:14 But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. 15 But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one. 16 For WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD, THAT HE WILL INSTRUCT HIM? But we have the mind of Christ.

Why am I surprised at the disdain you show to the Word of God? After all, you're just a humanist dressed up in icons and incense.
In my view, *God* is the standard of truth and error. In yours, man is. Humanism. It's not very far from there to Soviet humanism, you know - no coincidence what's the majority religion in Russia...

74 comments:

John said...

James White says: "there is no question that an unregenerate man can read the words of the Bible and even come to a correct understanding of its contextual reading".

I'm not the one who has to simultaneously affirm perspicuity to fend off the authority of the Church, and deny perspicuity to fend off the same thing.

I'm just pointing out the wounds you are self-inflicting, it says nothing about my position.

As for 1Cor 2, it doesn't actually help you because in the context Paul is complaining that these brothers "in Christ", are not accepting the things of the spirit of God, thus he regards them as "infants" and yet "in Christ". So obviously making this some kind of proof text that nobody can interpret scripture if they differ from you, because only you are Christian is a load of awful exegesis. And that's even before we observe that your claims are question begging in a KJVO kind of way that you get to define which interpretation is correct because only you are spiritually discerned.

Rhology said...

John,

"A correct understanding of its contextual meaning" is far from
1) what 1 Cor 2 is mentioning, and
2) what you were discussing in the comment to which I am responding.

Lucian said...

John,

I know you're Orthodox, but are you "Orthodox"? :-\

zilch said...

Hey Lvka- I'm orthodox. An orthodox atheist, to be sure, but it's the "orthodox" part that's important, right?

Lucian said...

[Shakin' his head:]

Poor Zilch, tryin' SO hard to fit in...

[Tsk, tsk...]

Rhology said...

Why won't John answer Lvka's question? I know Lvka is a very bizarre personage, but still, it's a valid question.

John said...

I don't understand the question

Lucian said...

Are you "The Blogger Formerly Known As `Orthodox`", John? Because this is what seems to result from here.

John said...

I'm orthodox on Scott Windsor's Catholic forum.

zilch said...

"Tryin' to fit in" is my middle name, Lvka. Or perhaps "Tryin' to keep the peace". They are not unrelated. And when I say I am an "orthodox" atheist, what I mean by that is that my atheism is restricted to not believing in gods. I don't make a religion of it: I don't claim to know the truth, insofar as truth is knowable to us, and I'm willing to admit that many people, including religious people, know stuff that I don't, so I keep an open mind.

Cheers from cloudy Vienna, zilch

Lucian said...

You're right when defining atheism, Zilch: atheism is just that (i.e., not believing in God)... it's not something else... for instance, communists saw no contradiction between it and the mass slaughter of two dozen million... the Americans on the other hand see it as a synonym for liberalism [defending women-rights to the expense of baby-rights]... the Brittish as an equivalent of humanism... etc. -- but it is neither of these: it is simply the disbelief in the existence of any gods or otheriwse spiritual and/or supernatural creatures or beings. (That's why there are pro-life atheists, pro-choice atheists, moral atheists, immoral atheists, amoral atheists, humanist atheists, inhuman atheists, pro-gay atheists, anti-gay atheists, atheists who support tyrrany, atheists who support democracy, etc)

The Spartan Cinephile said...

I'm orthodox on Scott Windsor's Catholic forum.

Why the numerous words, John? It would've sufficed to simply write "thou sayest".


Cheers from cloudy Vienna

That a reference to "Himmel uber Berlin", Zilch?

zilch said...

I said:

Cheers from cloudy Vienna

Spartan Cinephile said:

That a reference to "Himmel uber Berlin", Zilch?

Not being a cinephile, I had to google that to find out what you meant. No, that is not a reference to the 1987 film, but simply my greeting from cloudy Vienna, where I live.

Lvka: you're right. Of course, all these political and ethical positions are also held by various believers too: they too come in nice and nasty flavors, and everything in between as well. And as I've said here many times, I don't really care what someone believes, as long as they behave nicely. Of course Rho will say I have no right to say what is nice and what is nasty because I don't have an objective source of morals. That doesn't bother me too much, however, since I am still capable of behaving nicely even without this theoretical construct. And luckily, most people are capable of behaving nicely even with it.

cheers from dark, starry Vienna, zilch

Rhology said...

I am still capable of behaving nicely even without this theoretical construct. And luckily, most people are capable of behaving nicely even with it.

That all sounds great in principle, in the abstract, but it only works when society is in general in agreement with you. Dip your toe in some difficult situations, and it all falls apart.

Lucian said...

it only works when society is in general in agreement with you


Yep. It's called the human society.

Rhology said...

Nazi society was human society too.

Lvka said...

The problem with your position is that, somehow miracously, Germans weren't Nazis for the thousands of years before WWI, nor for the few decades after WWII; nor was the rest of the world during WWII turned into Nazis. -- now, why do you think that is?


Nazis gained credence, acceptance and territory in a post-World-War-One Germany which was defeated and on its knees, bent over while the Great Powers did to it what RC priests do of late with their acolytes. They were humiliated and empoverished while most bankers were Jewish [because Christianity forbids usury -- the Nazis turned this sentence around, distoritng it, and making it into `most Jews are bankers`] and the rest of Europe was basically mocking and belittling them (at least finacially, from an economical POV)


In this atmosphere of hatred and shame they sought to justly do unto others what others have done unto them... or so they thought. In other words, they were deluded.


If you don't "buy" what I've just said, and think that such a thing can't *possibly* happen to YOU, of all people (i.e., being deceived through hatred by your own weakness, so far as blaming an entire people or nation for the faults or some), I friendly urge you to read your own posts in Islam and Muslims. [They're Semites too, so I think the same title applied to WWII Germans can be applied to you as well... all your self-righteous morality-talk notwithstanding].


Anyway, my point wasthis: people aren't by nature hating of others, only if they feel in a very *real* way threatened or attacked by them: and I don't know if morality forbids self-defence. -- so morality isn't enough: you ALSO *have to* have wisdom and discernment... otherwise you end up doing the most heinous crimes with a clear, justified conscience (as did also the communists, who were also animated by feelings of justice and equality at first, fighting for the poor, equally distributing wealth, etc -- OR SO THEY THOUGHT!).

Rhology said...

Germans weren't Nazis for the thousands of years before WWI

Yes, I know that. So what?



In this atmosphere of hatred and shame they sought to justly do unto others what others have done unto them... or so they thought. In other words, they were deluded.

I don't expect you to understand this, but ON ATHEISM, on what basis can you say they were deluded? What is the correct path and how does the atheist know?


I friendly urge you to read your own posts in Islam and Muslims.

I friendly urge you to try making sense once in a while.


people aren't by nature hating of others

I prefer to ask God about human nature than weird E Europeans.

godescalc said...

I prefer to ask God about human nature than weird E Europeans.

Maybe God answered you by sending you a weird E European to provoke certain thoughts? For indeed, some have entertained angels in their comboxes without knowing it :)

Zilch: in ancient times, in Greece and Rome, looking after the downtrodden, the poor, &c, was not really regarded as a moral imperative. It is today, largely because Christianity came along and had a huge influence. (Pagans may not have seen the need to look after the poor, but poor pagans were certainly impressed when Christians did it... see Julian the Apostate for testimony on this: he had his revived pagan priesthood do charitable work because the charity of the "impious Galileans" was making the pagans look bad and attracting the poor to the church.) So if your definition of "let's be nice to each other" involves "let's be charitable to the poor", then you are working off a change in general morality effected by Christianity, and effected so completely that many atheists see the Christian ideal as self-evident.

This could have been effected by other religions or worldviews as well, in theory - it didn't have to be obedience to Christ that caused the world to see generosity to the poor as such a high virtue; Mohammed also commanded almsgiving (though he probably got that from Christianity); it's possible that someone could have effected the change through an atheist framework or that some branch of paganism could have done so. But that's all counterfactuals; the change happened and was driven by belief, and since then, helping people who need it has been seen as a strongly worthwhile thing to do.

Also, additional testimony from Roy Hattersley, an atheist: "The truth may make us free. But it has not made us [atheists] as admirable as the average captain in the Salvation Army."

(Link; read the whole thing.)

Lucian said...

By what could an atheist know? By what I've said: humanity. WWII Germany was a figment in the space-time continuum, that was very far away from the way normal people almost anywhere and almost everywhere behave(d).


And yes, Christianity destroyed slavery not by officially or politically abolishinjg it, but by the way every human being, including the outcast (sinners, poor, slaves, servants, widows, orphans), were viewed and treated: God's image, God's children, for whom Christ died. -- "Truly, truly I say unto you, if ye do this unto the least of these, ye do it unto Me".

Lucian said...

P.S.: that should read: anywhere and anytime (instead of anyhwere and everywhere). -- Sorry.

Ryan said...

"WWII Germany was a figment in the space-time continuum"

Are you suggesting Nazi's weren't humans?

"...that was very far away from the way normal people almost anywhere and almost everywhere behave(d)."

a. If Nazis were humans, what objection could you have to the idea that some part of our "humanity" implies Nazi-like reaction to certain circumstances? The reason you don't perceive prevalent Nazi-like actions in the history of humanity may simply be an extension of the idea such circumstances are not prevalent.

b. If Nazis weren't humans, why not?

zilch said...

godescalc- yes, I will agree with you, and with Roy Hattersley at the link you posted, that faith can move people to be generous, and that Christianity has been and continues to be influential in this regard. More power to you believers who are moved to be generous! But I would dispute your notion that everyone who is generous is borrowing, whether they realize it or not, from expressly Christian ideals, although I can see why people brought up in the West might think so. I would rather say that religions, being made up by people, ascribe to God the desire to do what the people find to be good. And of course what people desire runs the gamut from "be generous to the poor" to "kill our enemies". So while the Christian ideals of generosity are admirable, they are not evidence for the truth of Christianity.

I said:

I am still capable of behaving nicely even without this theoretical construct. And luckily, most people are capable of behaving nicely even with it.

Rho replied:

That all sounds great in principle, in the abstract, but it only works when society is in general in agreement with you. Dip your toe in some difficult situations, and it all falls apart.

Certainly things can fall apart in difficult situations, but I don't see any evidence that Christians are better equipped generally for difficult situations than atheists. Yes, self-proclaimed Christians are more charitable than atheists, but they also murder and rape more than self-proclaimed atheists.

Sure, you can pull the "they are not real Christians" argument on me, but in doing so, you are simply separating the "nice" Christians from the "nasty" Christians based on works- I could do the same for atheists and then we could amalgamate our lists to "nice or nasty regardless of religion or lack thereof", and prove that nice people are nice and nasty people are nasty- not a very enlightening result.

Being an atheist, I tend to judge people more by their fruits than by what they say they believe. Perhaps the most generous person I ever met was an old woman sitting in front of her tiny house, built stone upon stone without mortar, which she shared with her goat and chickens, who offered me a wrinkled apple that came from God knows where, in the middle of a barren landscape with nothing visible growing except a few olive trees in the distance. This was in a little village in the hills of Turkey, and I somehow doubt that Jesus (or Mohammad for that matter) had very much to do with her generosity: it was simply the age-old tradition of hospitality to strangers, still to be found everywhere, especially among the poor, which I'm sure predates Mohammad and Jesus. In any case, I didn't want to accept this treasure from her, but I had to. I felt embarrassed and enriched at the same time.

cheers from sunny Vienna, zilch

Lucian said...

Ryan,

my measuring-rod is humanity as a whole, throughout space and time, not historically or geographically isolated events.

Ryan said...

Lucian,

You're missing the point:

"If Nazis were humans, what objection could you have to the idea that some part of our "humanity" implies Nazi-like reaction to certain circumstances? The reason you don't perceive prevalent Nazi-like actions in the history of humanity may simply be an extension of the idea such circumstances are not prevalent."

Lucian said...

It's clear to anyone that the Nazis departed from humanity. (Otherwise we should've seen such behaviour more often, in which case it wouldn't be called Nazism anymore, for the exact same reason whoredom isn't called Clintonism).

Rhology said...

??? It's not clear to Dahmer. Or Manson. Or Gacy.

It's just begging the question to then respond "but those guys were FREAKS!"
IOW, your argument is garbage. Change your argument.

Ryan said...

"Otherwise we should've seen such behaviour more often..."

Hello? I specifically anticipated this objection when I wrote:

//The reason you don't perceive prevalent Nazi-like actions in the history of humanity may simply be an extension of the idea such circumstances are not prevalent.//

Lucian said...

Dahmer, Manson and Gacy are three people. The world has six billion. The remaining 5,999,999,997 --for some mysterious reason unbeknownst to us-- don't act or think like them. Ever asked yourself why?


I mean, you can't have it both ways: making recourse to universal morality to prove the existence of a common Creator who fashioned it in His image and likeness; ... and then turn 180 degrees around and say there's no universal morality in the first place.


Common sense is based on our common humanity (human nature). We're all human: all distinct in our own way as individual persons; and yet all of us equal as concerns our being human.

Rhology said...

Maybe you can give us a reason why we should figure morality by counting noses - majority rule.



you can't have it both ways: making recourse to universal morality

So I don't. Maybe you confused me with someone else.


We're all human: all distinct in our own way as individual persons; and yet all of us equal as concerns our being human.

By your reasoning, then, anything a human does is 'human'. Dahmer, Nazis, Gacy - all the things they did are human.
Give it up; you're blabbering.

Ryan said...

"Dahmer, Manson and Gacy are three people. The world has six billion. The remaining 5,999,999,997 --for some mysterious reason unbeknownst to us-- don't act or think like them. Ever asked yourself why?"

Why don't you answer my question? Maybe the fact you don't perceive prevalent Nazi-like actions in the history of humanity may simply be an extension of the idea such circumstances are not prevalent. Why is this not plausible? Why is it more plausible to suggest Nazis and other humans don't possess humanity or don't act on it?

Lucian said...

I'm merely observing the rather obvious fact that when we do apply the majority rule with regards to what people find moral, it just-so-happens that what we obtain is what we ourselves call morality.

Rhology said...

The majority of ppl throughout history have found it moral to reject the EOC and Jesus Christ.

Lucian said...

Ryan,

dogs chase cats and cats eat mice. There are a few exceptions, but you can't make spring with just one flower.

I do consider Nazis human, just like I also consider cat-friendly-dogs dogs, and mice-friendly-cats cats; but for some rather very mysterious reason unbeknownst to us, this simply doesn't overturn the end-results, now, does it?

Lucian said...

The majority of ppl throughout history have found it moral to reject the EOC and Jesus Christ


Your sentence is nonsensical: morals are an integral part of (every) religion, but you can't arrive at revealed truths without (special) revalation. [There's a (general) revelation of God in nature, therefore even pagans are without excuse if they sin (Romans 2:14-16)].

Ryan said...

"I do consider Nazis human, just like I also consider cat-friendly-dogs dogs, and mice-friendly-cats cats; but for some rather very mysterious reason unbeknownst to us, this simply doesn't overturn the end-results, now, does it?"

Like I said, circumstances for each Nazi/cat are different. Why, then, would you consider humanity/catness to be defined by how humans/cats act regardless of circumstance. It may be the case that had you lived as did Nazis, you would have acted like a Nazi. So. Please address this objection by explaining in clear terms why it is more plausible to suggest Nazis and other humans don't possess humanity or don't act on it over against the suggestion they simply acted as any human would have given their circumstances.

Lucian said...

Ryan,

for mysterious reasons unbeknownst to us, many people who were in circumstances similar to theirs did not act or behave like they did. (For instance, jealousy MAY lead to murder, but not generally or necessarily).

Ryan said...

Your attempt to draw arbitrary similarities in circumstance must come at the expense of the truth that every individual human experience is unique. A reason one human's jealously may lead to murder and another's does not may, in your world-view, follow merely from different circumstance, including background.

The fact is, you have no good reason to suppose Nazis were acting inhumanly because you have no reason to suppose that their actions stemmed from anything other than difference in circumstance. For you to claim that you know their actions were wrong because they were inhuman is, unfortunately for you, question-begging.

Lucian said...

Ryan,


I think I've just said the exact opposite (i.e., that other people in similar circumstances have done different things then them).


I called them inhuman because of their departure from the way humans act or behave. (exception). When trying to determine how humans act or behave, I did not exclude them, but their ways simply turned out to be in obvious minority: human beings simply don't seem to behave like the Nazis did... sorry. (What do you want me to say?)

Ryan said...

"I think I've just said the exact opposite (i.e., that other people in similar circumstances have done different things then them)."

I am slightly exasperated. I fully dealt with that when I wrote:

//Your attempt to draw arbitrary similarities in circumstance must come at the expense of the truth that every individual human experience is unique. A reason one human's jealously may lead to murder and another's does not may, in your world-view, follow merely from different circumstance, including background.//

You perceive similarities but neglect differences. The latter may provide the basis for different actions, and for you to assert otherwise is question-begging.

"I called them inhuman because of their departure from the way humans act or behave."

But you have not explained how you know that if you were placed in the EXACT SAME circumstances (not merely "similar" circumstances), you would not act as a Nazi would. You are assuming that, as you have provided no answer to why it is more plausible to suggest Nazis and other humans don't possess humanity or don't act on it over against the suggestion they simply acted as any human would have given their circumstances.

"human beings simply don't seem to behave like the Nazis did... sorry. (What do you want me to say?)"

I want you to understand that I anticipated this response in my very first post when I wrote:

//The reason you don't perceive prevalent Nazi-like actions in the history of humanity may simply be an extension of the idea such circumstances are not prevalent.//

Why is that so hard to understand? Honestly, you are not addressing my internal critique at all.

Lucian said...

Ryan,

your comments make little to no sense. Human history may probably offer an answer to your questions: I personally can't because I don't understand them.

All I can tell you is that were human beings throughout space and time to have acted like Nazis, your position would make sense: but, as history stands, it kinda doesn't.

Humans are all human and have a common nature. Morality is part of that common nature. (You ask me WHY it is so; all I can tell you from simple observation is THAT it is so). I tell you the grass is green, you ask me why it is green. Ask God, I don't know.

Lucian said...

every individual human experience is **unique**


It's unique, but it's also human. I mean, we're all human. There is something common, and something personal. It is not all common, nor is it all personal. Understand.

Ryan said...

Your post to which I originally responded was an answer to the following question asked by Rhology:

//I don't expect you to understand this, but ON ATHEISM, on what basis can you say they were deluded? What is the correct path and how does the atheist know?//

You answered that we know by "humanity." Now you say:

1. "Humans are all human and have a common nature."

Of course, this includes Nazis, my point being that human nature could be such that if anyone were placed in the exact same circumstance as Nazis, he would act as did the Nazis; that is, perhaps Nazis acted humanly insofar as they acted within the circumstances in which they were placed. If this be so (and you have provided no reason why this is implausible), then your appeal to humanity as a ground for your account of morality is dubious, as your position could be in conflict. If you think the Nazis acted wrongly because they acted inhumanly, you should - must - show that my above hypothetical is implausible. Otherwise, to say you "know" they acted immorally is question-begging.

2. "You ask me WHY it is so; all I can tell you from simple observation is THAT it is so."

You cannot tell me that it is so without telling me why it is so. You cannot dogmatically state humanity implies "x" (Nazis acted inhumanly) without explaining why it cannot be "y" (Nazis acted humanly insofar as they were placed within certain circumstances).

If you can't understand the relevance, I can't spoon-feed my points to you any more explicitly.

Ryan said...

"Ask God, I don't know."

You realize Rhology's question was emphasized as one of wonderment of an ATHEIST'S perspective, right? He asked

//...ON ATHEISM, on what basis can you say they were deluded? What is the correct path and how does the atheist know?//

"It's unique, but it's also human."

...and?

"It is not all common, nor is it all personal. Understand."

I understand that you are admitting not all circumstances are the same. Why can't you understand that, such being the case, Nazis may have acted humanly (as any other human would have if placed in the exact same circumstances)?

Lucian said...

You cannot tell me that it is so without telling me why it is so.


No shit? I can't tell you THAT the grass is green without also knowing WHY it's green?


I understand that you are admitting not all circumstances are the same.

I wasn't talking about circumstances, I was talking about human beings, all members of the SAME species, sharing our COMMON humanity, yet also each a distinct person. If we were all unique instants of a different class or species, maybe you would be right to ask yourself why the sameness, but since we're all the same in so many (though not all) things, your question becomes senseless.

Lucian said...

what basis can you say they were deluded?


On the basis that their beliefs about races in general and Jews in particular were simply false. :-\

Ryan said...

"No shit? I can't tell you THAT the grass is green without also knowing WHY it's green?"

Disanalogous. You comparing an observation statement to a question of morality, an is-statement with an ought-statement.

"...since we're all the same in so many (though not all) things, your question becomes senseless."

Senseless? Even though I first made note of this when I wrote:

//Your attempt to draw arbitrary similarities in circumstance must come at the expense of the truth that every individual human experience is unique.//

In fact, I don't believe you ever responded to this charge of arbitrariness - by what means have you deduced what humanity is? If you don't think circumstances shape who we are or what it means to be human and possess humanity, what more plausible explanation do you have?

Ryan said...

*On atheistic grounds, of course.

Lucian said...

by what means have you deduced what humanity is?


I did answer this question several times: by seeing how human beings throughout space and time act or behave. I also told you it's the same with deducing similar things, like what "dogness" or "catness" is.


You comparing an observation statement to a question of morality

I've merely observed the simple fact that what most or almost all people all over the world and throughout history regard as moral is the same as what you and I view as being moral. -- Interesting little coincidence, huh? Weird!

Lucian said...

I think I'll have to repeat here what I've said before: I'm sorry that the vast, overwhelming majority of all people who have ever lived weren't Nazis. :-(

Ryan said...

"I did answer this question several times: by seeing how human beings throughout space and time act or behave."

Your argument is circular:

1. You say humanity is derived from observation.

2. Then you dismiss Nazi-like behavior as human-like because it's not prevalent, at which point I note that such may simply be an extension of the idea cricumstances in which Nazis acted are not prevalent.

3. Then you balk at my request to explain why it is more plausible to suggest Nazis and other humans don't possess humanity or don't act on it over against the suggestion they simply acted as any human would have given their circumstances.

4. Then, to compensate for a lack of response to this point, you talk about people's actions in "similar" circumstances.

5. But since you admitted all experiences are unique, you really don't have a reason to object to the idea that if any person were placed in the EXACT same circumstances as Nazis, he would act as would a Nazi.

6. When I repeat that you have seemingly arbitrarily come to believe humanity is incompatible with Nazi-like actions (since, given the above, you can't rationally harmonize your definition with the idea circumstances shape who we are or what it means to be human and possess humanity), your repetition of point 1 is circular.

"I've merely observed the simple fact that what most or almost all people all over the world and throughout history regard as moral is the same as what you and I view as being moral."

Not "merely." You're attempting to use this idea as a basis for a response to Rhology's question regarding how we can know, on atheistic grounds, whether or not an action is correct. Appeal to the majority is a fallacy and in any case does not address the possibility that such is the case simply because Nazi-like circumstances are not prevalent or that, if they were, we would view morality as Nazis.

Your lack of an alternative explanation to the question what it means to be human and possess humanity - let alone a justification of the plausibility - is obvious. If circumstances don't shape our humanity, what does? If circumstances do shape our humanity, why do you deny that it could be the case Nazis acted as any human would have in the exact same circumstances?

Lucian said...

Many nations or peoples found themselves in the course of their history in situations very similar to that of post-WWI-Germany. They didn't become Nazis.


You also seem to think that we're either absolutely unique (which we're not), or absolutely the same (which we're not). We're both. We're both similar, as well as dissimilar. Common sense, common values, and common morality come from what's common in all of us: our common human nature.


I've also repeatedly said that Nazis are (obviously) human. Yet their actions and behaviour did not represent common humanity, because they were particular or peculiar to them, and them alone. What's so hard to understand?

Ryan said...

"Many nations or peoples found themselves in the course of their history in situations very similar to that of post-WWI-Germany. They didn't become Nazis."

As I already wrote:

//Your attempt to draw arbitrary similarities in circumstance must come at the expense of the truth that every individual human experience is unique. A reason one human's jealously may lead to murder and another's does not may, in your world-view, follow merely from different circumstance, including background.//

You could substitute "nation" for "human" and the point would remain. You continually beg these questions.

"We're both similar, as well as dissimilar."

I haven't argued otherwise. I simply am saying that what differences we possess make us unique. There is no one who has experienced the exact same circumstances as another; any difference in action may be attributable to these differences in experiences. If you disagree, kindly provide an alternative, more plausible (with justification, please), atheistic explanation as to what defines the parameters humanity. If you can't do that, you can't "know" that "humanity" functions as a sufficient answer to how you know that the actions of the Nazis were immoral. Speculate? Yes. Know? No.

"Common sense, common values, and common morality come from what's common in all of us: our common human nature."

Merely asserted and seemingly without the slightest consideration of the above points I made.

"I've also repeatedly said that Nazis are (obviously) human. Yet their actions and behaviour did not represent common humanity, because they were particular or peculiar to them, and them alone. What's so hard to understand?"

It is hard to understand how you have decided what constitutes "common humanity" non-arbitrarily. It is hard to understand why you have not attempted to show why this is more plausible than the idea that had you been placed in the exact same circumstances, you would have acted like a Nazi. It is hard to understand how you could not have followed my 6 point outline of your circular reasoning and replied accordingly.

Lvka said...

Ryan,

I don't like talking to people who on one hand don't even really listen to what I'm saying, and on the other hand quote *themselves* extensively. (I mean, I simply find the later pathetic).

Germans were trempled underfoot in their own country by foreigners: this experience is something very frequent. Romanians suffered the same. And, unlike the Germans, we suffered it for entire centuries, not merely a few decades: but when we gained independence from the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian Empires, we didn't set out to exterminate Romanian citizens of ethnicities other than Romanian. Quite on the contrary. South-African negroes didn't do what the Germans have done either, after abolishing the Apartheid, although they've also suffered longer and harder than them. The initial conditions were the same. The end-results were different.

Rhology said...

Lucian/Lvka,

on the other hand quote *themselves* extensively. (I mean, I simply find the later pathetic).

Oh, you mean like you did here? Snort.

Ryan said...

I don't like talking to people to whom I have to quote myself extensively to get across a simple point. Ball's in your court.

"...we didn't set out to exterminate Romanian citizens of ethnicities other than Romanian."

Why not? Refer to the 6 point outline of your circular reasoning before you answer, please.

"The initial conditions were the same."

Impossible. Nobody has the exact same initial conditions because nobody acts within the exact same circumstances.

Rhology said...

I don't like talking to people to whom I have to quote myself extensively to get across a simple point.

Welcome to the world of talking to Lucian/Lvka. Get used to it.

Lvka said...

Why not?

I'm not here to tell you "why", I'm just observing the mere fact THAT we didn't do it. And, seemingly, we aren't alone.


Impossible.

If you'll permit me a little humor, yes, the conditions weren't the same: ours and the South-African's were by far worse. :-)

The idea is that there's no essential difference there between them.


Rho,

I don't like excessive self-quoting, whether by links or copy-pasting. It's just sick/bizarre.

Ryan said...

"I'm not here to tell you "why""

Then you cannot tell me that you know Nazi-like actions aren't an extension of humanity which we see only in certain, Nazi-like circumstances. Your response to Rhology's request for an atheistic grounds for morality falls apart.

"The idea is that there's no essential difference there between them."

As you haven't experienced Nazi-like circumstances, you can't know that.

Lvka said...

My forefathers experienced much harder circumstances.

You're honestly implying I can't tell you THAT grass is green without also explaining to you WHY it's green?

Ryan said...

"My forefathers experienced much harder circumstances."

Even if you could know that, why is that relevant? We're not comparing you to your forefathers.

"You're honestly implying I can't tell you THAT grass is green without also explaining to you WHY it's green?"

Look who's repeating himself now.

//Disanalogous. You comparing an observation statement to a question of morality, an is-statement with an ought-statement.//

Lvka said...

Harder than those of the Germans, Roy. (And harder than mine as well, of course).

If you don't know in what these circumstances consisted, Roy, no-one's stopping you from informing yourself about them by consulting encyclopedic or historic articles.

Ryan said...

"Harder than those of the Germans, Roy. (And harder than mine as well, of course)."

//As you haven't experienced Nazi-like circumstances, you can't know that.//

Maybe if you stopped repeating unsubstantiated points, I'd stop repeating myself. Did you ever think of that?

"If you don't know in what these circumstances consisted, Roy, no-one's stopping you from informing yourself about them by consulting encyclopedic or historic articles."

Do such articles contain infallible, comprehensive information? No. Even if they did, you're asking me to do your homework for you. No go, pal, the burden of proof is on you.

Ryan said...

“You're basically posing ridiculous expectations”

I have no expectations other than that you justify your knowledge-claims. Since you don’t really know that atheist’s have a justifiable moral ground, perhaps it is absurd for me to ask such from you. But since you persist in begging the question, I will persist in asking.

“For the rest of us earthlings, my observations are enough…”

Lol! I would love to see your polling data on that one.

“…if such Nazist manifestations are so rare, then they're not representative.”

It may simply be the case that Nazi “manifestations” are rare because Nazi circumstances are rare. Hence, it may simply be the case that Nazi “manifestations” are intrinsic to “humanity.” Simple. I’m still waiting for a demonstration that this is implausible.

”For you, all generalizations are impossible”

All generalizations which don’t follow from premises are unjustified. That a basic principle of logic. That you perceive people have had worse circumstances than Nazis is:

1. Subjective
2. Unknowable, as one cannot experience any circumstances other than his own.
3. Irrelevant, as the fact all individual circumstances are unique means that what differentiates circumstances could be that which prompts Nazi-like actions in one circumstance and not another.

You’ve said absolutely nothing that rebuts any of this.

“…according to you we can't even speak of humans or eyes, because everybody and everything is SO unique, that NO commonalities *whatsoever* can be found ANYwhere AT ALL.”

Obvious straw man. Quote one post in which I say humans possess no common qualities.

You say that Nazi actions are wrong because they are uncommon, but would you analogously deny an amputee is a human because he possesses no arms or legs? Different – even rare - circumstances yield different actions and consequences, but these actions and consequences would still fall under the purview of what it means to be a human (or, analogously, possess humanity).

“And, for the love of God, please just STOP quoting *yourself* ad nauseam in EVERY single little comment you post: it's pathetic”

You had just quoted yourself. What’s with the double standard?

Lvka said...

It may simply be the case that Nazi “manifestations” are rare because Nazi circumstances are rare.


The situation of people being bellitled by others is not rare.


The handicapped are humans, but humanity is not handicapped, because handicaps are not definining or essential or relevant to our humanity. (Same for homosexuality, etc).

Ryan said...

"The situation of people being bellitled by others is not rare."

Who said it was? Do you think that the circumstances in Germany was comprised of nothing else???

"The handicapped are humans, but humanity is not handicapped, because handicaps are not definining or essential or relevant to our humanity. (Same for homosexuality, etc)."

You think you can just say "it is for one, isn't for another," without providing reasons why it's essential for one and not the other, and slip that by as though it makes sense. No go dude. Try again. Why are handicaps "essential or relevant" to what it means to be a human? Why aren't handicaps "essential pr relevant to humanity"?

Why do you think you wouldn't act like a Nazi, given the exact same circumstances?

Lvka said...

Belittling, and poverty caused by unemployment, both providing for a sense of defeat and frustration. -- But Romanians and South-Africans had it even worse, and for longer periods of time.


Do you think that the circumstances in Germany was comprised of nothing else???

... which was also relevant for the birth of hitlerism? No. (What exactly do you think I left out?)


Why aren't handicaps essential or relevant to humanity?

DNA? (And the fact that when a negative mutation does occur, it is held in check or even elimined by way of natural selection).

Ryan said...

"Romanians and South-Africans had it even worse, and for longer periods of time."

You didn't experience either circumstances, so you're hardly an authority on the matter.

"DNA?"

Like I said, perhaps people don't act like Nazis because circumstances are different. You can't know, because you have only had one experience (FYI: you don't live in Nazi circumstances).

Unless you want to argue nature over nurture (instead of both, as I would), your argument falls apart because you just can't know that the way Nazis acted was how you would have acted given the exact same circumstances.

Lvka said...

Ryan,

everybody suffers. Suffering is universal, and diverse. I've also been mocked and belittled. But I've also been unable to make illogical generalizations, no matter how great the pain.

The point is that although these things that lead to Nazism were and still are wide-spread, Hitlerism is still called by the name of one man, whereas other things aren't, since they have no founder (no-one calls adultery Clintonism, for instance).

You also begin repeating the same stupid statements as before, contradicting your contradiction of me, when I accused you of seeing no commonality in humanity (which is absurd [contradicting reality], and self-contradictory, since you yourself use the word).

Ryan said...

"But I've also been unable to make illogical generalizations, no matter how great the pain."

Your fallacious reasoning is most obvious in your continual refusal to address the point that had you been raised in the exact same circumstances as were Nazis, you might have been led to act like a Nazi. As soon as you admit this is possible, you can no longer claim to know that Nazi-like actions aren't simply an extension of humanity which is rare because Nazi-like circumstances are rare. You avoid this because you don't want to commit yourself to an indefensible position. I get it. But that itself implies you don't know Nazi-like actions are, by your own standards, immoral.

"The point is that although these things that lead to Nazism were and still are wide-spread, Hitlerism is still called by the name of one man, whereas other things aren't, since they have no founder (no-one calls adultery Clintonism, for instance)."

The function of language is a separate issue.

"You also begin repeating the same stupid statements as before, contradicting your contradiction of me, when I accused you of seeing no commonality in humanity (which is absurd [contradicting reality], and self-contradictory, since you yourself use the word)."

I made no contradiction. People can have common qualities as well as different. The point you are missing is that if you endured the same circumstances as another, it is possible there may no longer be differences. You may act exactly the same as another. What this implies is that our humanity is affected by our circumstances. Rare circumstances could mean rare actions or rare manifestations of humanity. You ignore this possibility.

Lvka said...

Uhm, ... the point I (explicitely) made was that such circumstances weren't rare.

Ryan said...

You can't say that unless you are omniscient. You haven't experienced the exact circumstances, so you can't know them exactly, so you can't know whether or not there is some unknown quality you are presently committing which is indeed rare.

Lvka said...

Suffering, frustration, mockery, belittling, and low self esteem are anything but rare.

Ryan said...

"Suffering, frustration, mockery, belittling, and low self esteem are anything but rare."

The ways in and extent to which each are manifested can be,