Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Some non-thinking on abstinence-only education

A columnist from the local student rag let fly this idiocy recently.

My response:

Grogan said:
--Democrats are now actively funding abstinence-only education, which contributes to ignorance, the spread of STDs, teen pregnancy and death.

Actually, if you actually follow the guidelines of abstinence, it's 100% successful in preventing unwanted pregnancy, STDs, etc.
The problems start when you STOP ABSTAINING.  
By contrast, if you use a condom or something, then you have a, what? Let's be generous - 90% success in preventing unwanted pregnancy, STDs, etc.  You start getting lower %s when when you STOP USING CONDOMS.
So you can go with 100% if yes and a lot lower results if no.
Or you can go with 90% if yes and the same lot lower results if no.

This isn't that hard, but it is common sense and logic, which are not liberals' strong points.


--the idea that sex is a repulsive, despicable and dangerous act

Show me anyone who says that sex is REPULSIVE.  Or DESPICABLE.
It certainly IS dangerous, kind of like fire, if used outside of its intended context.  Fire's great for my fireplace or my stove, but not in the middle of my bedspread.  Like sex.  No interaction with this obvious fact from Grogan.


--Should we just ignore the high school students that identify themselves as gay, lesbian or bisexual?

Depends on what you want.  Are you trying to prevent unwanted pregnancy, STDs, etc?  If so, abstinence has a 100% success rate.
Why is Grogan moving the goalposts in the middle of his column?


--People are going to have sex before marriage

So why are you complaining about abstinence-only education?  
People are also going to have unprotected sex.  I guess that means that condom ed is hopeless and shouldn't be done, since some ppl won't wear 'em. 

Wow, this column was a crappy and sappy expression of love for and blind faith in liberalism.  Thanks for sharing, but leave the thinking to someone else, dude.

74 comments:

bossmanham said...

What really frightened me was the guy's picture. *shiver*

NAL said...

Rho:

It certainly IS dangerous, kind of like fire, if used outside of its intended context.

That's what we need, a bunch of conservatives determining what the "intended context" of sex should be.

Rhology said...

Apparently the consequences of sex outside that context don't worry you. You're selectively outrage-able.

Plus, it's not "conservatives"; it's God.

NAL said...

Why is that apparent?

Rhology said...

B/c you said "That's what we need".

NAL said...

Sorry, I still don't see how my concern regarding who determines the "intended context" makes it apparent that I'm unconcerned with consequences outside (or even inside) said context.

Rhology said...

Fine, then please let us know what your problem with the post is, if any.

Ron Murphy said...

"This isn't that hard, but it is common sense and logic, which are not liberals' strong points."

This is a bit rich. Your point is simplistic. It's the liberal argument that is common sense. Wishful thinking isn't.

The general argument is that:

a) societies that don't condem sex outside marriage and that provide appropriate sex education, including education about the proper use of condoms, generally have less STD's and unwanted pregnancies;

b) societies that stigmatise sex outside marriage, call for abstinance, and refuse to educate about condom use and actively discourage condom use, generally have higher rates of STD's and unwanted pregnancies;

and these two facts counteract your basic fact that abstinance is better than condom use; the point being that abstinance inevitably isn't practiced. We're only human.

I could say God's standards are too high, but of course they are not God's standards, they are conservative human standards; just as all moral codes and standards are human. This too is common sense.

Rhology said...

Ron,

Thanks for stopping by.
What I've been interested in is Grogan's claims.
Societies that blah blah blah.
People that embrace abstinence faithfully will have a 100% success rate in preventing the bad things.
People that have unprotected sex will have a much lower success rate.
People that embrace condom ed faithfully will have a ~85% success rate in preventing the bad things.
People that have unprotected sex will have a much lower success rate.

It's that simple.

NAL said...

Rho:

The problems start when you STOP ABSTAINING.

And your solution to these problems is to show that other ideas are not 100% effective. It seems you are the one not concerned with the problems when the inevitable "STOP ABSTAINING" happens.

Rhology said...

The reduction in effectiveness of condom ed starts when you stop using condoms.
And your solution to this problem is to ignore that other ideas (like abstinence) are 100% effective. It seems you are the one not concerned with the problems when the inevitable "STOP USING CONDOMS" happens.

marhaban said...

The reduction in effectiveness of condom ed starts when you stop using condoms.

So why not teach the more effective means of birth control. The best numbers I've seen give condoms a 80% effective rate, there are way better methods.

Even people who wait till marraige may find the info helpful eventually. I don't understand why not educating people is preferred.

Rhology said...

marhaban,

So why not teach the more effective means of birth control. The best numbers I've seen give condoms a 80% effective rate, there are way better methods.

Agreed.

Ron Murphy said...

"People that embrace abstinence faithfully will have a 100%"
...
"So why not teach the more effective means of birth control. The best numbers I've seen give condoms a 80% effective rate, there are way better methods."
...
"Agreed."


Abstinence is 100% effective - agreed. But people want sex and don't want to wait for marriage, and some don't want to marry. And even in marriage not everyone wants sex with just the one person. People want sex! So abstinence as a method is 100%, but abstinence as a practical policy is less effective that is condom use under conditions where education about unprotected sex is part of the policy.

Simple - just not overly simplistic. You are making it simplistic because you're motive is abstinence for religious reasons, and it suits your religious views. Apologies if I'm mistaken about that, but that is how many religious people that promote abstinence see it. It's the religion that's driving the call for abstinence, not health. Pregnancies are of interest religiously primarily because they don't fit the 'sex and childbirth only within marriage' principle.

From a liberal point of view the issues are simply health, in the case of STD's and welfare in the case of pregnancies.

Why can't religious promoters of abstinence also approve of sex education that includes condom use? Abstinence can be the policy; but accepting as religions do the sinfulness of man and the likelihood of sex taking place, simply use the belt and braces approach of teaching condom use too.

Rhology said...

Ron Murphy,

Abstinence is 100% effective - agreed

And NOT abstaining is not, right?
And condoms aren't either.
And NOT USING CONDOMS isn't either.
4 options here - one is 100% effective, two have low effectivity, and one is ~80-85%. Which one is most reasonable to educate on? Yeah, I'm thinking the 100% approach.



But people want sex and don't want to wait for marriage

But people want unprotected sex and don't want to wait for the guy to roll on the condom. In short, so what?



So abstinence as a method is 100%, but abstinence as a practical policy is less effective that is condom use under conditions where education about unprotected sex is part of the policy.

So condom usage as a method is ~80-85%, but condoms as a practical policy is less effective than is abstinence under conditions where education about unprotected sex is part of the policy.



You are making it simplistic because you're motive is abstinence for religious reasons

That's a darn sight better than your motive, which is selfish and arbitrary.



Apologies if I'm mistaken about that, but that is how many religious people that promote abstinence see it.

1) No, you're right. But that hasn't been the point of this post, as I was responding to the article's author on his own grounds, of effectiveness.
2) What you need to realise, however, is that EVERYONE has worldview motivations, not just Christian ppl. Yours is more humanistic and far more arbitrary, based in whatever whim you happen to think is cool this week/month/year, but you have no underlying standard for knowing what is right and wrong. So it's far less respectable.



Why can't religious promoters of abstinence also approve of sex education that includes condom use?

Why can't religious promoters of abstinence also approve of sex education that includes abstinence? Aren't you concerned with BETTER effectiveness? Or are you, b/c of your self-interest and your own uncontrolled sexual lust, arbitrarily ruling out abstinence b/c it would make you uncomfy, b/c you like to sample as many women as will be so unwise as to let you into their pants?

zilch said...

The problem, as has been pointed out here, is that while abstinence is 100% effective against pregnancy and STDs, abstinence education is demonstrably not 100% effective- not by a long shot.

So Rho, what good does it do to support abstinence-only education if it doesn't work? If you're actually interested in reducing transmission of unwanted pregnancy and STDs, and are not of the persuasion that "it's the thought that counts", then you should look around to see what works better than abstinence-only education. And what works better is real sex education.

Rhology said...

while abstinence is 100% effective against pregnancy and STDs, abstinence education is demonstrably not 100% effective- not by a long shot.

And while condom usage is ~80-85% effective against pregnancy and STDs, condom education is demonstrably not ~80-85% effective- not by a long shot.
So zilch, what good does it do to support condom ed if it doesn't work?
What does it really gain for your position to continue to ignore all the double-edged sword arguments you're laying down?

Ron Murphy said...

"Yours is more humanistic..." - Yes. "...and far more arbitrary, based in whatever whim..."

My view isn't a dogmatic view, in that the view isn't absolute or based on any conceived absolute source, such as God. But nor is my view based on what could pejoratively be called a whim, which implies spur of the moment and without much thought; nor is based on what could pejoratively be called lust.

Dealing with lust first, lust is a motive for wanting sex, but many other motives determine whether or not I do have sex and whether or not I use condoms. My view in this respect is not at all selfish, because I hold this view whether or not I can have sex or do have sex; my view is that is the choice of individuals whether or not they do have sex, even if I'm one of the ones not getting any.

My view is not a whim. It's a rational view based on the observation that humans, like most animals, have a sex drive, and that biological and social evolution has left humans wanting sex as a form of pleasure we want to share with some other people, of either sex. The only restrictions I would support are regarding the unfair manipulation of minors, vulnerable adults and animals, and the requirement not to do harm (e.g. pass on STD's) - all basically summed up as the least harm approach.

So, my view is that barring the above restrictions any consensual sex is ok - it's none of my business, unless I'm one of the participants.

As for my view being arbitrary, I agree there is an arbitrary element to it - I am unable to determine all the evolutionary and social bases upon our morals are built, so there are some elements that differ from one culture to the next and are in that sense arbitrary. I'd say yours is arbitrary to the extent that your views on permitted sex are determined by the arbitrariness of your religion. This is obvious when you look how some churches have changed other rules, such as on women and homosexual priests. There are so many Christianities all with different dogmas that they are obviously arbitrary. So it's far less respectable.

"Aren't you concerned with BETTER effectiveness?" - Yes, on the understanding that consensual sex is permitted and likely to occur; and under that condition I assume sex will occur, and under that condition the use of condoms is advised, and the appropriate education about sex is required. I don't have a problem with abstinence as a personal choice. I don't have a problem with religions promoting abstinence. But I think it's irresponsible wishful thinking that flies in the face of evidence if you think promoting abstinence only is a good solution. Promote abstinence, but teach safe sex.

"...b/c you like to sample as many women as will be so unwise as to let you into their pants?" - This betrays the single minded dogmatic immoral nature of your religious position that assumes man is sinful and castigates those that don't hold your religious views. I'm married and haven't had sex with another woman for some years, so I don't particularly want to sample as many women as...; though I'm not sure I'd decline an interesting offer. But if you were using 'you' in the general sense, then I don't see what the problem is if any man wants to sample as many women, or men, as he likes, of if any woman wants to do likewise. "...let you into their pants" - This phrase seems to imply you have a dim view of women that would. If I'm willing to let them into mine, I don't see why I should have a dim view of them letting me into theirs - there are no grounds for sexual discrimination.

Rhology said...

Ron,

Actually, your entire comment is an exercise in self-referential arbitrary "whatever I say" fiat thinking.

But nor is my view based on what could pejoratively be called a whim, which implies spur of the moment and without much thought

Oh? Can you give me some evidence that you won't change your mind in the next minute?



lust is a motive for wanting sex,

Yep, which is what I was referring to.



My view in this respect is not at all selfish, because I hold this view whether or not I can have sex or do have sex;

I was referring to your desire not to abstain.




my view is that is the choice of individuals whether or not they do have sex

How do you know? How do you know whether it's just a consequence of their genes' driving them to certain behaviors?
Plus, you seem to think that humans' exercising free choice is a good thing; how do you know that? (If I've mistaken you, please correct me.)



My view is not a whim. It's a rational view based on the observation that humans, like most animals, have a sex drive

If you claim that REASON pushes you to this view, please provide the evidence that we SHOULD allow humans to fulfill their sex drive. Do the impossible, please, and derive an OUGHT from an IS, on atheism.




The only restrictions I would support are regarding the unfair manipulation of minors

Give me evidence that this is morally wrong.


Now, switching gears to the actual topic:

But I think it's irresponsible wishful thinking that flies in the face of evidence if you think promoting abstinence only is a good solution. Promote abstinence, but teach safe sex.

But I think it's irresponsible wishful thinking that flies in the face of evidence if you think promoting condom usage only is a good solution. Yet ANOTHER double-edged argument. Do you guys never tire of them?




This betrays the single minded dogmatic immoral nature of your religious position that assumes man is sinful and castigates those that don't hold your religious views.

Please give evidence that man is not sinful.
And that thinking what I think is "immoral".

marhaban said...

But I think it's irresponsible wishful thinking that flies in the face of evidence if you think promoting condom usage only is a good solution.

I agree, but who promotes condom use only as ideal? Most "liberal" people want comprehensive sex education. Go ahead and cover abstinence, but also cover other methods and their pros and cons too. Almost all humans will have sex eventually, and may find the information helpful.

Holland (which was mentioned in the original article) has educated its population to the benefits of always using 2 forms of birth control. They also have the lowest teen pregnancy rate in the world.

I'm guessing that the Christian/Conservative goal is not to reduce the number of teenage pregnancies or they would be less opposed to following what has worked elsewhere. What do you see as the main goal of abstinence only? To me, it looks like it wants to make sure that people who "sin" have negative consequences by omitting information that would give them a better chance of staying safe.

Ron Murphy said...

"Oh? Can you give me some evidence that you won't change your mind in the next minute?" - I don't need to. Your accusation was that I arrived at my view on a whim. I can't be certain I won't depart from it on a whim, thought that isn't my intention. If I do depart from my current view I expect it to be because I've considered some point I hadn't before and consequently changed my mind.

"How do you know whether it's just a consequence of their genes' driving them to certain behaviors?" - Absolutely? I don't know absolutely. In my opinion that's the best explanation we have so far. What do you think drives behaviour?

"Plus, you seem to think that humans' exercising free choice is a good thing; how do you know that?" - I simply have no reason to think otherwise, and the evidence is that humans do tend to want to make free choices. There are circumstances where individual choices conflict, and that's where the least harm principle appears to be the least intrusive in restricting choice.

"...please provide the evidence that we SHOULD allow humans to fulfill their sex drive." - Do I have to give reasons why animals should be allowed to fulfill their sex drives, or my cat be allowed to have it's tummy tickled on request, or justify any number of other actions animals take? I've given reasons why I think it's justified in restricting some freedoms - least harm. You want to restrict the particular freedom of casual sex, and what I presume is your justification, your religious beliefs, mean nothing to me and many other people.

...regarding the unfair manipulation of minors - "Give me evidence that this is morally wrong." - It isn't inherently wrong, as if there is something absolutely objectively evil about it. The immorality of it is a derived from the observation that children are generally naive and gullible and that adults can easily take advantage of this to gain sexual gratification, which may harm a child physically, mentally or both. I'm not saying it always and necessarily would - there may be children of some ages who might cope well with such an experience, but not being able to determine ahead of time if this would be the case it makes practical sense to assign a minimum age limit for sexual activity. Just as for speed limits, such as 30 mph, 50 mph etc., the actual age is somewhat arbitrary - some may be sexually and mentally mature enough below 16, other may not even at 18, or even older. So, based on this and other human characteristics, such as empathy, a particular society will class people below some minimum age out of bounds for sex. Your religious views may want a more certain and authoritative source of moral codes, but I don't think there is one, and there's certainly no evidence of one.

"But I think it's irresponsible wishful thinking that flies in the face of evidence if you think promoting condom usage only is a good solution." - First, I'm not promoting condom use only. Abstinence is fine for any individual who chooses it, for religious or any other reason, and yes it will, if adhered to, offer more protection than sex with condom use. But for anyone who accepts that sex is likely to occur, whether abstinence is the intention or not, then condom use and education in condom use is helpful. So, I still don't see what your problem would be in your case promoting abstinence and still providing education about condom use. Can you answer that specific point - why not belt and braces?

Ron Murphy said...

"Please give evidence that man is not sinful." - I don't need to. There's no evidence that he is. It's an ancient notion that is out of place today. That doesn't stop us using the terms sin and evil to classify actions we as a society disapprove of, but there's no evidence of universal or metaphysical evil or sin. People who are considered good can be made to do things considered evil just by manipulating them; and people considered evil can easily be cured of evil actions and intents, albeit at the expense of their cognative abilities (e.g. frontal labotomy). All the evidence supports biological causes for deviations from social norms, and some of these deviations we call evil, for historical and traditional reasons.


"And that thinking what I think is "immoral"." - I think it's immoral to impose unrealistic and unnecessary restrictions on people based on ancient belief systems that have no evidence whatsoever. I don't have evidence that it's absolutely immoral because I there's no evidence of moral truths good or bad. It's simply my opinion based on what I've said before.

Rhology said...

marhaban,

I agree, but who promotes condom use only as ideal?

Plenty of liberals I've known.



Most "liberal" people want comprehensive sex education.

By which they mean they want to give lip service to abstinence, follow it up with "but we know that's unrealistic, so never mind" and proceed to spend 95% of the time on contraceptive ed. It's quite disingenuous, but it's the way to subvert culture thru education. John Dewey would be extremely proud.



Almost all humans will have sex eventually, and may find the information helpful.

I didn't need the ed I got in HS, I can tell you that. Give me a book. Teach me about consequences. Teach me the only 100% safe method.
I didn't have sex until I married my wife. If I can do it, so can others.



Holland (which was mentioned in the original article) has educated its population to the benefits of always using 2 forms of birth control. They also have the lowest teen pregnancy rate in the world.

And a country that had most of its ppl practicing abstinence would have an even lower teen pregnancy rate. You're missing the double-edged nature of every one of these arguments your side is making.



What do you see as the main goal of abstinence only?

There are quite a few, really. Sex is like fire - dangerous when used out of its intended context, and awesome when used within that context. So I mostly want ppl to avoid the bad consequences of bad usage.




To me, it looks like it wants to make sure that people who "sin" have negative consequences by omitting information that would give them a better chance of staying safe.

Yet ANOTHER double-edged argument. How are you not seeing that if you apply the same reasoning to condom ed and if ppl don't follow it, the same conclusion follows?

Rhology said...

Ron Murphy,

I don't need to. Your accusation was that I arrived at my view on a whim. I can't be certain I won't depart from it on a whim

That's a concession. Thank you.



"How do you know whether it's just a consequence of their genes' driving them to certain behaviors?" - Absolutely? I don't know absolutely

Another concession. Again, thank you.



What do you think drives behaviour?

It's complex, to be sure, far more than the atheistic biological determinist gives it credit for.
In the fundamental sense, God's overarching, unchanging, and eternal decree was made and defines everything that will come to pass. In the more immediate sense, God directly intervenes in some things, and humans are agents in their own right, and are in turn affected by varying degrees of recognition of and obedience to God's revelation, obey their lusts, desires, and sinful temptations, listen to and obey what the Devil suggests they do, listen to and obey what other people and world systems tell them to do. Etc.




I simply have no reason to think otherwise

But what is your reason NOT to think otherwise? If I turn your skepticism back on your own position, how would you convince me of your position?




the evidence is that humans do tend to want to make free choices

The evidence is also that lots of humans lots of times want to restrict others' free choices and take advantage of others. How do you tell diff behaviors apart, on the moral side of things?




Do I have to give reasons why animals should be allowed to fulfill their sex drives, or my cat be allowed to have it's tummy tickled on request, or justify any number of other actions animals take?

Yes. The point is to show you that you have no grounds on which to make ANY "ought/should" statement that you think SHOULD apply to anyone outside of yourself, with or w/o conditions like "well, IF you want to fulfill this or that desire, you SHOULD do this or that".




I've given reasons why I think it's justified in restricting some freedoms - least harm.

How do you know that minimising harm is the best course of action?




You want to restrict the particular freedom of casual sex, and what I presume is your justification, your religious beliefs, mean nothing to me and many other people.

You want to restrict the teaching of abstinence-only, and what I presume is your justification, your humanistic beliefs, mean nothing to me and many other people.




It isn't inherently wrong, as if there is something absolutely objectively evil about it.

Well, you're willing to be more consistent than many atheists. I applaud you for that!
I'd like to know your reaction to my scenario.




such as empathy,

"Empathy" is no basis for morality.




But for anyone who accepts that sex is likely to occur, whether abstinence is the intention or not, then condom use and education in condom use is helpful.

But for anyone who accepts that unprotected sex is likely to occur, whether condom use is the intention or not, then condom use and education in condom use is unhelpful.
It would seem your only recourse is to double-edged arguments that cut your own position just as much as mine.

Rhology said...

Can you answer that specific point - why not belt and braces?

1) B/c your only arguments in favor of condom ed are all double-edged. There's no reason to accept them.
2) I want to teach ppl how to actually avoid the bad consequences, not sidestep them and hope they don't catch up to them.
3) I want to teach ppl the true meaning of sex, what God created it for and why.
4) I want to teach ppl that they have a choice and are not obligated to fulfill their baser instincts, unlike apparently y'all humanists who make these certain statements, "People are going to have sex". Maybe "people" are, but YOU don't have to. You are obligated to obey God, and every time you disobey His law and fornicate, for example, you sear your own conscience and go further into darkness. I don't want that for anyone.
You may bite back with "But there's no evidence that your God exists!" or "not everyone believes in your God!". I simply reply that there's no evidence that evidence exists - you have to presuppose it; and not everyone believes in humanism or human freedom or your own arbitrary moral values. You have a lot farther to go before you make any headway in proving that your way is morally superior.



"Please give evidence that man is not sinful." - I don't need to. There's no evidence that he is.

The Word of God says he is sinful.
Now, please provide evidence that he is not. You're making the positive assertion that man is inherently good; I want evidence.



It's an ancient notion that is out of place today.

Ah, yes, b/c anything that's old is automagically false.




People who are considered good can be made to do things considered evil just by manipulating them

That might be an evidence of the sinful nature, you know.




It's simply my opinion based on what I've said before.

OK. And if I said that it's simply my opinion that it's morally obligatory to hunt down, kill, dismember, and have sex with the corpses of your entire family and you, how can you tell the difference between our two opinions? What is the standard to which you'd appeal to make that judgment?
The point is that w/o God, you're stuck with arbitrary subjective opinions. You're lucky you live in the modern West with its Judeo-Xtian underpinings, but those won't last forever and they're far from the majority in history.
(BTW, in no way do I actually intend to hunt down you or your family; I'm using a complete hypothetical. I mean you no violence, but I do mean to make you answer tough questions about your position.)

Peace,
Rhology

Ron Murphy said...

"You're making the positive assertion that man is inherently good; I want evidence." - I'm making no such assertion. I'm saying there is no evidence that man is either good or evil.

You want evidence, but it sounds like you won't accept it anyway ("I simply reply that there's no evidence that evidence exists"). I don't presuppose evidence. In an attempt to understand what we can know the best starting point I can find is Descartes Cogito. From there my thoughts lead me to believe I have senses. I use my reason and senses to make what I can of the world. I find that science is the most effective way to overcome some fallibilities of the mind and the senses. The process of accumulating sense data and thinking about it leads me to conclude that no better way has been found to gain knowledge. This is all that evidence consists of, so in this sense I conclude that evidence for and against particular opinions exists. Since it appears all humans rely on reason and the senses in this way, ANY opinion expressed by humans is open to scrutiny by the general use of reason and the senses, and more rigorously by the scientific method. As a human being you too fall under these limitations of accessibility to knowledge: the Bible is just a book, Jesus is not God, there is no God - all working conclusions based on the absence of any evidence (reason and sense data) to say otherwise. Further, there is plenty of evidence to suggest most religious believers are wrong on at least some religious views and possibly all of them. There's the view that the variety of religious beliefs are derived from cultural differences which suggests they are arbitrary beliefs; there's the difficulty in distinguishing between delusion and revelation - most if not all religious people can accept that some people are delusional, just not them.

"The Word of God says he is sinful. Now, please provide evidence that he is not." - First, I need evidence that there is a word of god, or a god. And because I don't conclude from anything that man is good or evil I can hardly use that as a starting point to give evidence. You need first to give evidence that there is a god, then that he gave the word of god, than evidence that we need to obey that word, and then evidence that man is sinful. The burden of evidence is yours, since you want to impose your view on others. I don't want to impose my view - if you want to abstain, go ahead.

"Ah, yes, b/c anything that's old is automatically false." - No, not automatically. In this instance yes, because they are views that were concocted in an age when this sort of mumbo jumbo was popular and there was no good counter evidence - a gullible age.

"That might be an evidence of the sinful nature, you know." - It might be, if you can first provide evidence than man is sinful in the first place.
...

Ron Murphy said...

"OK. And if I said that it's simply my opinion that it's morally obligatory to hunt down, kill, dismember, and have sex with the corpses of your entire family and you, how can you tell the difference between our two opinions? What is the standard to which you'd appeal to make that judgment?" -

Well, first off, in principle the necrophilia wouldn't bother me. They'd be dead corpses. But being human I may find I have a latent attachment to what was a person, and as such probably would find that distasteful.

But on your general point, I could have no ultimate absolute god-given moral objection. All I would have to go on is my personal feelings, for which the current best explanation is that they are evolutionarily and culturally derived. That, along with other human social feelings of empathy have driven me to accept most of our societies moral codes, which your hypothetical actions would contravene. They would also violate my earlier stated principle of least harm.

This is my point. We, individually and collectively, make up these moral codes. Some have been handed down to us through traditions, some of which we accept, some of which we discard - examples of the latter being making homosexuality a crime, and implementing capital punishment.

Ron Murphy said...

While we're on hypothetical examples, here's one. When a male lion finds a mate that already has cubs he kills the cubs; which brings the female on heat and makes her ready to conceive the new male's cubs. If this characteristic had been part of man's evolutionary past then in second marriages the man would be inclined, biologically, maybe as part of his sex drive, to kill the wife's previous children. There might be some societies that would have dropped this practice, which is clearly possible since homophobia is probably evolutionarily determined, and we've managed to legislate against that. Historically such a society may have used anti-divorce principles as part of its mechanism to protect against this type of infanticide. But what if second marriage infanticide was still in force in some cultures? It's not too far fetched to see it having a role in religious practice. Just as stoning adulterers is a religious deterrent for adultery, so might infanticide be a deterrent for woman taking second partners, or committing adultery. This is how arbitrary moral opinions are, religious and secular - they are dictated by evolutionary and cultural history. But we don't have to live by them if we now disapprove of them.

Some religious anti-evolutionists condemn evolution because it is red in tooth and claw, and they see it as an excuse for odd ideas like eugenics. Yes, evolution can appear brutal, but just because we acknowledge how evolution has left us there's no need to remain on that path. We can choose what moral codes we want based on our personal and collective opinions. In some respects religions do this, but my opinion is that they hold on to too many older views that have no use and now restrict peronal freedoms unnecessarily.

"The point is that w/o God, you're stuck with arbitrary subjective opinions." - Yes, and therefore so are you. Just because you think there is a god doesn't mean there is one. Just because you think you're obeying his word doesn't mean you are - all the evidence suggest you are not. You are following moral laws made up a long time ago. They are arbitrary in that sense, as are mine. Which moral codes we adopt as a society is down to persuasion and consensus.

"You're lucky you live in the modern West..." - Yes, and I'm glad I do. I'm glad I don't live in what is now perceived to be a barbaric society that uses a ficticious and vengeful god as an arbitrary authority.

"...but those won't last forever ..." - Maybe not. I hope we can improve further and turn around religious zealots like yourself. Or wait until you all die off. I can only hope that the enlightnement principles continue to improve and increase their uptake.

"...and they're far from the majority in history." - True. That's part of my point. They are antiquated naive views. Let's consign them to history, observe them from a distance as a warning, and move on.

Thank's for the reassurance, but I assumed it was a hypothetical point. I also assume that you are an evolved human, and even though I think some of your views ancient and out of place, I've seen none of the characteristics of what science would describe as psychopathic tendencies. I don't think you are inherently sinful. I'm sure you're parents' arbitrary combination of genes have produced a within normal bounds empathetic human being. It's reasonable to assume that because natural selection would tend to select for that. Natural selection would also tend to select against humans that were psychopaths, though the nature of evolution doesn't prevent them popping up now and again.

Rhology said...

You want evidence, but it sounds like you won't accept it anyway ("I simply reply that there's no evidence that evidence exists")

Well, I certainly accept that evidence exists, but b/c it's grounded in God's and man's intellects being rational, which I know b/c God has created us in His image. But on atheism I doubt that evidence exists, so I need some arguments from the atheist.


Descartes Cogito

Just ask one more question, though: How do you know you think?



I use my reason and senses to make what I can of the world.

You need to read this.



First, I need evidence that there is a word of god,

Before THAT, please provide evidence that evidence is a good and reliable way to discover truth. The burden of evidence is yours, since you want to impose your view on others.



No, not automatically. In this instance yes, because they are views that were concocted in an age when this sort of mumbo jumbo was popular and there was no good counter evidence - a gullible age.

Do you really think this throw-away disclaimer changes the fact that you in effect view old things as automagically false?



It might be, if you can first provide evidence than man is sinful in the first place.

God said so. What higher evidence could I bring forward?
Now, please provide evidence that man is good.



But being human I may find I have a latent attachment to what was a person, and as such probably would find that distasteful.

Does "distasteful" = morally wrong? And how do you know?
If not, why should I care? Maybe I find NOT killing and dismembering you "distasteful"...



All I would have to go on is my personal feelings, for which the current best explanation is that they are evolutionarily and culturally derived.

And I can say the exact same thing of my own desire to kill and dismember you. So who is right and how can we know? IS there a right answer? If not, how does society function?



But what if second marriage infanticide was still in force in some cultures?

Then it would be an example of man's sin - God has commanded us not to murder babies.
But if atheism is true, the only consistent response would be "Meh".

Rhology said...

Yes, evolution can appear brutal, but just because we acknowledge how evolution has left us there's no need to remain on that path.

And no reason not to. To make such statements is extremely inconsistent of y'all.



"The point is that w/o God, you're stuck with arbitrary subjective opinions." - Yes, and therefore so are you.

Yes, IF atheism is true.
However, given that you don't in fact live like all moral claims are arbitrary and subjective opinions, you provide evidence that you don't believe in it, deep down. My own position is that God exists and has spoken in the Bible, and so on my own position, if we look internally, moral claims are OBjective and universally normative and prescriptive. In no way can that be true if atheism is the case.



"You're lucky you live in the modern West..." - Yes, and I'm glad I do

1) But an atheistic position would not have produced this West. So again inconsistency.
2) You're inconsistent to be glad. You shouldn't be glad - all just IS. "Glad" implies that you think there's something more meritorious about your current situation than another situation, but you don't have any reason to ascribe merit to one position over another.



I'm glad I don't live in what is now perceived to be a barbaric society that uses a ficticious and vengeful god as an arbitrary authority.

Right, you prefer to be the one making the arbitrary moral value judgments. Wouldn't want God doing what you get to do!



"...but those won't last forever ..." - Maybe not. I hope we can improve further and turn around religious zealots like yourself.

If you were consistent, you wouldn't care whether I'm a zealot or not. But you're not consistent, and you're acting like morality is not subjective and arbitrary. Why can't you live consistently, if you're so sure atheism is true?

Ron Murphy said...

"How do you know you think?" - Only based on the what it appears I'm doing when I think I'm thinking. The sense perceptions I have appear to show other people are thinking too, or at least that's how it appears from their behaviour. Nothing more. But if I don't think, that puts my senses in question too. And if we don't think, that seems to rule out free will. And, if we don't think, if we're just complex biological goo, then we don't think about god, as well as all the other stuff we don't think about. And, since we're supposed to be his main project that doesn't leave him much to work with, which in turn gives him no reason to exist. Which I guess is pretty close to the physicalist argument. Still, as long as I appear to be thinking I'll carry on with that until I receive evidence to the contrary.

The referenced article consists of a bunch of questions unanswerable by anybody, including you. Interesting, but it doesn't add much to this debate. If you think it does I'd be interested to know how.

"Before THAT, please provide evidence that evidence is a good and reliable way to discover truth." - I can't give you any evidence of evidence other than what I've given, the chain of reasoning. We all use our senses and reasoning - that is evidence. You are in the same boat. Picking an arbitrary god and starting from there seems less reliable to me.

"Do you really think this throw-away disclaimer changes the fact that you in effect view old things as automatically false?" - Yes. There are many ancient ideas that are still useful today. Theism isn't one of them.

"God said so. What higher evidence could I bring forward?" - Well your quality and quantity of evidence couldn't get any lower. You're the one questioning evidence. There's no evidence of god, so without that your claim that god said so means nothing.

"Now, please provide evidence that man is good." - I don't have any, just as I have none that he is evil. Thought I'd already said that.

Does "distasteful" = morally wrong? And how do you know?" - Depends on the context. It might do. In my example I was reporting how I might feel about you having sex with dead corpses of my relatives. I don't find that morally wrong. Just a bit yucky (evolutionary determined bias against corpses for health reasons).

"Maybe I find NOT killing and dismembering you "distasteful"" - Maybe you do. That would be one outcome of your evolution and environment working on you with the result that this is how you feel. So what?

"IS there a right answer?" - Not in any ultimate non-human sense, that I'm aware of. "If not, how does society function?" - As I've explained, evolution and cultural history has arbitrarily left us with the human feelings we have: love for family and friends, empathy, a distaste for killing and inflicting pain on others, reciprocity that invokes fairness. Of course everyone is slightly different, so the norms that we live by, our society's moral codes that help it function, don't match exactly with everyone's personal moral feelings; and some individuals are so far off the common standards we label them as evil or sick.

"Then it would be an example of man's sin." - Only because we would choose to label it as that. Or at least we think we would. Some people think it's a sin (i.e. an action labelled as a sin) to inflict religious views on gullible people. Our moral codes are subjective. This is so consistently observable I can't see why you don't get it - other than you want (subjectively) to have your particular god in on the act.

Ron Murphy said...

"And no reason not to." - Agreed, it's only our current opinions that choose not to. "To make such statements is extremely inconsistent of y'all." - It seems consistent to me. It is all arbitrary, relative to something more permanent than us, such as the Earth or the cosmos. It only appears to be non-arbitrary to us, in our context.

"However, given that you don't in fact live like all moral claims are arbitrary and subjective opinions." - Yes I do. As do you. You just don't feel like they're arbitrary and subjective because they are somewhat consistent across cultures and time - time spans of human lifetimes. Clearly morals have changed over time, and there are some differences across and within cultures. If we are driven by evolution and culture to have similar but not identical moral codes, how would that appear? Well, just as it does.

"My own position is that God exists and has spoken in the Bible" - no evidence - "if we look internally" - unreliable without corroborating evidence - "moral claims are OBjective and universally normative and prescriptive" - doesn't look like it - "In no way can that be true if atheism is the case." - How do you know that? It could that there are moral truths that are objective and universally normative, we just wouldn't know how to establish that, and so we'd be left to our own moral opinions anyway. But 'prescriptive' suggests some agency doing the dictating- but there's no evidence of one.

"But an atheistic position would not have produced this West." - How do you know that? But, still, even if I were to agree that false religious beliefs gave the West a good start, that doesn't make those beliefs are true. This is irrelevant and does not make my position inconsistent.

"You're inconsistent to be glad. You shouldn't be glad - all just IS." - I agree, all just IS. My attribution of merit is one of normal human feelings. I like the comparative sense of freedom I get from modern western secular humanist values. Draconian thought suppressing religious dictatorship leaves me cold. Think of it, if you will, as if I have an animal reaction against religion; that makes me wonder what worth it is; lack of evidence provides no reason to hold to it; and I can find no reason not to reject it; and I find other reasons to actively reject it. Of course this assumes I do have some conscious say in the matter - if not then all this is still the outcome, but of an autonomous automaton rather than the thinking being I think I am. I don't see inconsistency.

"Right, you prefer to be the one making the arbitrary moral value judgments." - You say this as if I want to randomly make up moral codes on the spot, as if on a whim. I've already addressed the extent to which the arbitrariness applies, and what appears to be your interpretation isn't it. Imagine if two or more intelligent species had evolved with quite different moral codes, then clearly they would be subjective and arbitrary across species. But, because of evolutionary and cultural history, this species, we humans, appear to have a reasonably consistent set, but with subjective differences.

"Wouldn't want God doing what you get to do!" - I don't think he's there to do it, but even if he existed I'd still want us to make our own personal and collective minds up. Of course if he existed and if he were even half the entity you claim he is it might be worth listening to his advice. On the other hand, if exists and his method of getting in touch is as you claim it is - the Bible - then I'm not impressed, he can stick his advice.

Ron Murphy said...

"If you were consistent, you wouldn't care whether I'm a zealot or not." - I care because my moral codes are consistent as described above, but subjective enough that I find your particular moral codes sufficiently different to dislike them. How more consistently can I express the subjective nature of our morals?

"you're acting like morality is not subjective and arbitrary." - Just to make sure you've understood me: our morality is arbitrary with regard to anything outside our species - we can imagine any number of moral codes having evolved, as long as they were compatible with natural selection. Within our species morality is fairly consistent, but because of the natural variation in humans there are subjective differences, and some of those differences are influenced by culture and environment.


"But you're not consistent" - "Why can't you live consistently, if you're so sure atheism is true?" - I try, and I think I am. You've suggested I'm inconsistent and seem to imply any inconsistency I show demonstrates the failure of atheism. It doesn't. Fallible humans can be inconsistent - that's one of the reasons the scientific method helps. But we'd be fallible whether god existed or not.

Rhology said...

Ron,

But if I don't think, that puts my senses in question too.

Well, that's what I'm doing - extending the willingness to question things to EVERYthing. Not taking anything for granted. I see no other logical conclusion, if atheism is true.
It's why I'm glad atheism is not in fact true, and one way I know it's not.



And if we don't think, that seems to rule out free will.

As many atheists do think, that free will does not in fact exist.



Still, as long as I appear to be thinking I'll carry on with that until I receive evidence to the contrary.

This is blind faith, wishful thinking. You have zero evidence in support of your faith, and you try to sound all high-minded in insisting on evidence to the contrary; you have no evidence for either one!



The referenced article consists of a bunch of questions unanswerable by anybody, including you.

1) Why don't you point out 3 that you think I can't answer and let ME see if I can answer 'em? I don't know why I should think you are familiar enough with my position to make that kind of assertion.
2) Since you can't answer them, why should I think your position is true?



We all use our senses and reasoning - that is evidence

More blind faith. Prove that "We all use our senses and reasoning".



You're the one questioning evidence.

Yep, I'm the one being consistent. You're the one expressing blind faith in your position and then expressing ideas that, taken to their logical conclusion, militate against your blind faith position. Must be tough.



"Maybe I find NOT killing and dismembering you "distasteful"" - Maybe you do. That would be one outcome of your evolution and environment working on you with the result that this is how you feel. So what?

No, no so what. That's precisely my point. There is no OUGHT. There just IS. the conclusion - meh. To everything, meh. To assisting millions of poor children, meh. To shoving millions of Jews into gas chambers and ovens, the same meh. That is atheism.

Rhology said...

"My own position is that God exists and has spoken in the Bible" - no evidence

Just as much evidence as you've presented for your own blind faith in evidence and your cognitive faculties' reliability. But you can't bear to think about that, apparently.



"But an atheistic position would not have produced this West." - How do you know that?

B/c you actually think that certain things are wrong for more than just you. You're a living example.
You think it's morally commendable to believe truth, if nothing else, but you have no evidence and no argument for that assertion. Believe truth, or don't - meh. If everyone is there, just one big meh, there's no dvlpment of some overarching morality.



You say this as if I want to randomly make up moral codes on the spot, as if on a whim.

1) On the geological time scale, ANYthing you do is a momentary whim.
2) You've already told me you can't guarantee you will hold this or that moral position one second from now. That's what a whim is.
3) Further, you can't give me any evidence for why one SHOULD hold to an identical moral position as you. that's arbitrary, subjective, whim.



I care because my moral codes are consistent as described above, but subjective enough that I find your particular moral codes sufficiently different to dislike them. How more consistently can I express the subjective nature of our morals?

1) Your moral codes are not consistent, and that should be clear to anyone.
2) If you think it's bad to be a religious zealot, and I think it's commendable, how can we tell which of us is correct?



"But you're not consistent" - "Why can't you live consistently, if you're so sure atheism is true?" - I try, and I think I am.

You're not consistent. If you think that a SHOULD/OUGHT exists for ANYONE at ANY TIME on ANY TOPIC, you're inconsistent with your stated worldview. No one can actually live that way, so that's why I say that.
I'm sorry, you're not very self-aware, especially of all the questions you beg, all the special pleading in favor of your own position. Some deeper thinking is in order for you.

Ron Murphy said...

The fact that we appear to think and have senses is the only evidence we have that we have them. I'm not presupposing anything before that because I don't see anything else, any other evidence. You presuppose God, that God then gives you your mind and senses. But the only difference between us at that point is that you, with your mind and your sense, make a prior claim. But the outcome, our mind and senses is exactly the same if your God existed, if the Muslim God existed, if multiple gods exist, or if no god exists.

So, the fact that you are willing to question everything, but the conclusion could lead to any of those positions, yet you choose to believe it's your particular version of God that gets the ball rolling. I pick the simplest one, but not as a faith position, not as a belief, simply as a working model. If all I can detect are my thoughts and senses, why invent a precursor God?

"...Not taking anything for granted." - Well, that isn't true is it. You proclaim that God comes first. You take God for granted. It's your presupposition, a presupposition made in your mind.

I mentioned the ruling out of free will because that's a problem for your particular God fiction. Free will is required by you. I don't need it as an essence of a belief. I'm happy to let the science figure that out.

It's not blind faith or wishful thinking to act as if my mind and sense are a starting point for understanding. It's simply a conclusion. If we humans started to develop some other capacity that filled our lives to the extent that thinking and sensing do I'd have no choice but to play along with it. I don't believe in my senses. If it could be somehow shown that I don't have senses, that it's all in the mind, then I'd be happy to accept that.

I don't get why you call my position a faith position. If you think that can you explain what it would be like not to have a faith position? Or do you think everyone's position is a faith?

"More blind faith. Prove that "We all use our senses and reasoning" " - I can't. I simply observe it as I use it. If you think we don't use senses and reasoning I'd be happy to hear what we do use. I think you know full well that in the context of these discussion that asking someone to prove something is just a bogus request. Notice that I don't ask you to prove anything. I simply ask for reasons and sensory evidence.

"No, no so what. That's precisely my point." - I'm not sure what your point is. But, yes, there is no OUGHT, other than the ones we choose.

"To shoving millions of Jews into gas chambers and ovens, the same meh. That is atheism." - This isn't atheism. The distinction you miss is that from an atheists point of view the holocaust was wrong because we value human life, we have empathy for other humans, it is in-humane to kill, we have a human derived OUGHT; but the cosmos, the universe, does not care - there is no absolute OUGHT, so in that context ours is arbitrary.

On no evidence for God of the Bible - "Just as much evidence as you've presented for your own blind faith in evidence and your cognitive faculties' reliability." - But you use those same faculties. For example, if my senses don't exist then everything I think I sense has no evidence, including the Bible. Senses and thinking are prerequisites for reading the Bible. You must have them too. Our only difference on this is that you think God exists to create your mind, your senses, and the Bible. Well, if that's possible it's also possible he also created the Koran. How do you justify your religion over others?

Ron Murphy said...

"You think it's morally commendable to believe truth, if nothing else, but you have no evidence and no argument for that assertion." - Not morally commendable. Morality doesn't come into believing the truth. You do or you don't, as your brain determines. I'm not saying you OUGHT to believe the truth. It's your subjective choice.

"...there's no dvlpment of some overarching morality." - That's right, there isn't. There's just the human personal morality which we all put into the pot to develop a cultural, social and legal morality.

You seem to be using the word 'whim' completely out of context.
Whim: an odd or capricious notion or desire; a sudden or freakish fancy; erratic.

How do you justify using 'whim' in this sentence, "On the geological time scale, ANYthing you do is a momentary whim." Anything we do on the geological time scale is relatively insignificant, but it's not a whim.

"You've already told me you can't guarantee you will hold this or that moral position one second from now. That's what a whim is." - No it isn't. I might be persuaded by your brilliant arguments to change my mind, or I might be bamboozled by your strange rhetoric. But I don't expect to change my mind on a whim.

Your use of the word 'whim' is just one of your typical rhetorical ploys to discredit.

"Further, you can't give me any evidence for why one SHOULD hold to an identical moral position as you. that's arbitrary, subjective, whim." - Almost right. There is no ultimate SHOULD or OUGHT. Your and I, our moral views are determined by our arbitrary evolutionary and cultural past, and they are subjective because they are influenced by our personal differences of mind and environment - that's what 'subjective' means, to be different from one person to the next, which they clearly are - you say they are, that's why you are busy pointing out our differences, our subjective views on morality. But they are not whims. If anything your position appears more like a whim, because you choose one particular god fiction over many without good reason - i.e. an odd or capricious notion. But of course yours isn't a whim; your theistic view is determined by your arbitrary Christian background, of if you once weren't a Christian then by the precise arbitrary environment that convinced you.

Subjective: existing in the mind; belonging to the thinking subject rather than to the object of thought; pertaining to or characteristic of an individual; relating to properties or specific conditions of the mind as distinguished from general or universal experience.

"If you think it's bad to be a religious zealot, and I think it's commendable, how can we tell which of us is correct?" - Exactly, we can't. I observe that historically zealots have inflicted harm in the name of their beliefs, so my subjective morality determines that to be immoral. If you think it's commendable then your subjective morality determines it is.

"If you think that a SHOULD/OUGHT exists for ANYONE at ANY TIME on ANY TOPIC, you're inconsistent with your stated world view. No one can actually live that way, so that's why I say that." - But we do live that way. I live my way, you live yours; I apply my moral views to my life, you try to inflict yours on everyone; clearly we (the ANYONE) are different. And clearly the consensus on what (the TOPIC) is immoral changes over time (the TIME). I'm not sure how more obvious it can be. Unless you give me other reasons I can only conclude your commitment to blind faith is also blinding you to the obvious.

Rhology said...

The fact that we appear to think and have senses is the only evidence we have that we have them

So a circular appeal to the very senses whose existence is in question is your best evidence? Isn't that circular, aka blind faith?


I'm not presupposing anything before that because I don't see anything else, any other evidence.

I don't buy that, but let's grant it for the sake of argument. You're presupposing your senses and cognitive faculties, when that's what I was asking about.
And there's also the problem that, once we look at naturalism/atheism, there's no reason to think that your senses and c.f. are reliable. You can ASSUME it if you want, but you can also assume the opposite and be just as consistent. Your position militates against your presuppositions.
As opposed to the Christian view, where we presupp God, and we learn from God's revelation that He created us in His image, so our senses and c.f. ARE in fact reliable, and we can think and be confident that our thoughts can make sense. Etc. So our position does not fall into the same abyss that yours does. That's one reason I'm a Christian today.



"...Not taking anything for granted." - Well, that isn't true is it. You proclaim that God comes first. You take God for granted. It's your presupposition, a presupposition made in your mind.

Well, that isn't true is it. You proclaim that senses and c.f. come first. You take senses and c.f. for granted. It's your presupposition, a presupposition made in your mind.



Free will is required by you. I don't need it as an essence of a belief. I'm happy to let the science figure that out.

Not at all, free will is not required on my position.
I was simply pointing out that, on your position, there's every reason to reject fw. If you're happy rejecting fw, then fine - we file that away for future reference and move on.



It's not blind faith or wishful thinking to act as if my mind and sense are a starting point for understanding. It's simply a conclusion.

Actually, yes, it IS blind faith. You claim it's a "conclusion" - fine, bring fwd your argument and evidence.
But since you say later: "'More blind faith. Prove that "We all use our senses and reasoningm,"' - I can't. I simply observe it as I use it", it turns out that in fact this is a bald-faced falsehood.



Or do you think everyone's position is a faith?

Everyone has presupps they can't prove. That's faith, and so one of the ways we can analyse them is to see whether their position militates against their presupps.



The distinction you miss is that from an atheists point of view the holocaust was wrong because we value human life, we have empathy for other humans

And let's say I have empathy for the killers of the Jews and so think that the Holocaust was preferable to the not-Holocaust. Please let me know why I'm wrong to hold that view.

Rhology said...

Well, if that's possible it's also possible he also created the Koran. How do you justify your religion over others?

By analysing the internal consistency, is the first step. And the Koran is internally inconsistent, so there you go - Islam is prima facie false.



I'm not saying you OUGHT to believe the truth. It's your subjective choice.

It's amusing for you to say that, but you don't live like it.



How do you justify using 'whim' in this sentence, "On the geological time scale, ANYthing you do is a momentary whim." Anything we do on the geological time scale is relatively insignificant, but it's not a whim.

Given that your moral positions ARE freakish fancies, and erratic, and totally capricious, based on desires of yours and others, the definition fits exactly.




"If you think it's bad to be a religious zealot, and I think it's commendable, how can we tell which of us is correct?" - Exactly, we can't. I observe that historically zealots have inflicted harm in the name of their beliefs, so my subjective morality determines that to be immoral. If you think it's commendable then your subjective morality determines it is.

So is there ANY way to know which position is correct?

Ron Murphy said...

My starting point of reason and senses is not a faith (unless you mean simply to have confidence in), because I don't have blind faith in it. It's an observation that's so obtrusive I can't find a way out of, and as such I put some trust it, but not total absolute trust.

And nor is it circular - or if it is it is trivially so, and your presupposition of God is then circular because you presuppose it; not a particularly helpful notion, and not the usual use of the term circular.

Your presupposition of God could lead to creating thought, but presupposing is an act of thinking, so what you call your presupposition of God requires you to think first; or, using your other approach: presupposed God => thinking, thinking => presupposed God - i.e. circular.

I'd like to offer you more than these observations, but I don't have any more. Trouble is neither do you, but you don't realise it.

"no reason to think that your senses and c.f. are reliable." - I've already said they are not. That's why the next best thing we can do is pool our ideas, repeat tests, compare results - do science. And that's why your presupposition of God, though a reasonable hypothesis, has nothing to back it up, and is no better than any other religious hypothesis, and why it's far simpler to wait for confirmation one way or the other. And, rather than go around imposing a hypothesis on anyone through the religious dogma of OUGHTS I'd rather use the atheis view as a working model.

"As opposed to the Christian view, where we presupp God, and we learn from God's revelation that He created us in His image, so our senses and c.f. ARE in fact reliable" - Only if that presupposition, which you use your cognative abilities to come up with, is correct. There's no reason to think it is.

As to the other religions, are you sure there are inconsistencies in the Koran that there are none in the Bible? Any particular ones that convince you this about the Koran?

How do you know the Bible is consistent?


"[it's out subjective choice to believe the truth, and there's no OUGHT about it] It's amusing for you to say that, but you don't live like it." - I'm not sure what you mean by that. We might happen to or tend to believe the truth, but quite often the truth is presented and people are in denial about it, they don't want to hear it. I think that about you, and it appears you think that about me, so clearly at least one of us is capable of doing that. And there is no reason to suppose we OUGHT to believe the truth - it's not a question of OUGHT.

"Given that your moral positions ARE freakish fancies, and erratic, and totally capricious, based on desires of yours and others, the definition fits exactly." - You're entitled to your opinion, but that's not how they look to me. You simply declaring them so doesn't make then so either. You appear to have this notion that if you declare something it becomes true; like your God.

"So is there ANY way to know which position is correct?" - No, precisely. It's all arbitrary in one context, and subjective in another.

Paul C said...

"As opposed to the Christian view, where we presupp God, and we learn from God's revelation that He created us in His image, so our senses and c.f. ARE in fact reliable, and we can think and be confident that our thoughts can make sense."

Very little time due to work (hence failing to complete previous comments thread) but: how did you learn about the nature of God without using your senses to apprehend Him?

Paul C said...

p.s. "It certainly IS dangerous, kind of like fire, if used outside of its intended context."

Fire doesn't have an intended context.

Anonymous said...

"People are also going to have unprotected sex. I guess that means that condom ed is hopeless"

You seem to be confusing abstinence-only education with abstinence education. Yes, people might disregard any information given. That's why you give them all the facts. If you choose abstinence, this is likely to happen. If you choose condoms, the chances are something else. That way when people disregard the best option, they at least won't choose the worst option. And there tends to be a heck of a lot of difference between the 2nd best option and the worst option. Generally like, you know.. life and death.

Anonymous said...

"I didn't have sex until I married my wife. If I can do it, so can others. "

That's great and all, but education aims to inform people who might not believe what you believe. Since there's no way you ever know for sure what someone else believes, you can't educate people with the assumption that they have an intention to follow a particular moral code. (Actually, even if did know what they believe, you can't guarantee they end up following their own code).

Rhology said...

Ron Murphy,
It's an observation that's so obtrusive I can't find a way out of,

You observe yourself observing stuff? Circular. Faith. I don't know how else to explain this to you.



as such I put some trust it, but not total absolute trust.

I doubt you don't put total absolute trust in it. How do you plan to correct what you think you observe? By other observations? That you subject to yet other observations?
Give it up, man.



And nor is it circular - or if it is it is trivially so, and your presupposition of God is then circular because you presuppose it

Never did I deny that my presupp of God is circular, if you were paying attention. I explained all that in my last two comments; maybe you should read them again.



so what you call your presupposition of God requires you to think first

Sure, it's CHRONOLOGICALLY first, but it's not my first presupposition. I can certainly doubt that I'm thinking.



I've already said they are not

Now you don't even remember what you wrote a few lines ago. Remember how you said: "It's an observation that's so obtrusive I can't find a way out of"?



do science

Observations. Trusting your senses and c.f.



And that's why your presupposition of God, though a reasonable hypothesis, has nothing to back it up

And that's why your presupposition of evidence, senses, and c.f., though a reasonable hypothesis, has nothing to back it up.



is no better than any other religious hypothesis

Since you haven't even grasped my argument yet, I don't think you're in a position to make that kind of judgment stick.



As to the other religions, are you sure there are inconsistencies in the Koran that there are none in the Bible?

Quite sure, yes.



How do you know the Bible is consistent?

B/c I've sunk quite a lot of time into study of that topic and have epistemological reasons for thinking it is.
Now, how do you know your senses and c.f., as well as those of other people, as well as YOUR OBSERVATIONS of other ppl (and thus observations and science) are consistent?



And there is no reason to suppose we OUGHT to believe the truth - it's not a question of OUGHT.

Then it's not true that we ought to do anything, including believe atheism. I knew that, but it's always a pleasure to hear an atheist unwittingly affirm that.



You're entitled to your opinion, but that's not how they look to me.

"that's not how it looks to me" is, um, not a very scientific or logical argument.

Rhology said...

Paul C,

how did you learn about the nature of God without using your senses to apprehend Him?

Sure, it's CHRONOLOGICALLY first, but it's not my first presupposition. I can certainly doubt that I'm thinking.


Fire doesn't have an intended context.

1) On atheism, nothing has an INTENDED context, since there is no overarching telos, no design, no intention. All just IS (allegedly).
2) On Christianity, fire certainly has an intended context - to help and be useful to ppl, not to harm or injure.


Anonymous,

You seem to be confusing abstinence-only education with abstinence education.

Then so is Grogan, the author of the article.



Yes, people might disregard any information given. That's why you give them all the facts.

Fine, but don't rip abstinence when ppl don't abstain. Like Grogan did.



If you choose abstinence, this is likely to happen.

What is? Someone won't abstain?
So what? If you choose condom ed, unprotected sex is also likely to happen. Yet ANOTHER double-edged argument. It's like all you guys have.


Since there's no way you ever know for sure what someone else believes, you can't educate people with the assumption that they have an intention to follow a particular moral code.

Shrug. I fully intend to educate ppl that they have an obligation to ascribe to and follow a moral code on sex, so...

Paul C said...

Sure, it's CHRONOLOGICALLY first, but it's not my first presupposition.

What is your first presupposition?

2) On Christianity, fire certainly has an intended context - to help and be useful to ppl, not to harm or injure.

What's your basis for this belief?

Also, why do you keep typing "ppl" rather than "people"? It looks a bit ridiculous.

Rhology said...

My first presupp is that the God of the Bible is and speaks.

My basis for the belief about fire is the Bible.
I type "ppl" to abbreviate.

Paul C said...

"My first presupp is that the God of the Bible is and speaks."

Yes, and my question was how did you learn about the God of the Bible without using your senses?

"My basis for the belief about fire is the Bible."

I guessed that. Which bit?

"I type "ppl" to abbreviate."

I can understand why - saving three whole letters must rlly cut down on th typng.

Paul C said...

I'll cut to the chase, because otherwise it gets boring.

There is no way you could presuppose that the God of the Bible exists without first learning about the God of the Bible. There is no way you could learn about the God of the Bible without using your senses, and in order to do that you had to presuppose that your senses were reliable.

Chronologically or any other logically you care to mention, you presuppose your senses are reliable before any other presupposition.

Rhology said...

I didn't learn about Him or the Bible apart from my senses. But my presupps - formed chronologically but not logically later - don't militate against the reliability of my senses.

The bit about fire is God's creation, His purpose in design. Ephesians 1:10-11. His sovereignty, His design, etc.

Paul C said...

"I didn't learn about Him or the Bible apart from my senses. But my presupps - formed chronologically but not logically later - don't militate against the reliability of my senses."

You presuppose, for example, that God has made your senses reliable. Yet your senses may be unreliable, which cause you to falsely presuppose that God made your senses reliable in the first place.

Paul C said...

And that passage in Ephesians doesn't mention what the intended context of fire is. The most you can draw from it is that it has an intended context.

Rhology said...

You presuppose, for example, that God has made your senses reliable

Yes, I am made in the image of God and God speaks, and when He speaks, naturally there's someone to whom He is speaking.
The diff between me and an atheist is that my position doesn't militate or annul my presupps.

If my senses were generally unreliable, I'd be in the same position as an atheist. I'm glad I'm not, though.

The psg in Ephesians and the whole thrust of the Bible is that God has made EVERYthing for a purpose.

Ron Murphy said...

"You observe yourself observing stuff? Circular. Faith. I don't know how else to explain this to you." - Try the way I explained it to you. If you insist on calling it 'faith', then fine, 'faith' as in 'trust', because it's all I'm aware of and don't have any other experience. Whereas you have 'faith', as in 'absolute certainty', in a supposition you don't even experience.

We can have doubts in our reasoning and senses because we do find fault with them, but still it's all we have. To have absolute certainty in something you don't even experience seems a far weaker option.

You seem to have a confidence in deductive logic that isn't warranted - at the limits of our capacity to know. You may even be able to construct a valid argument; but what you think you have is a sound argument, but you can't prove your presupposition, therefore you can't be sure it's sound. I'm not offering a deductive argument.

Mine's entirely inductive, using what I agree are suspect particulars, of reasoning and senses, accumulating them to form generalisations about the world, which hang together in fairly consistent ways to lead us to where we are now - exactly the place you are.

I don't use your deductive argument because it doesn't get me anything I haven't got anyway. On top of that there are many presuppositions that could also lead to where we are, so it's arbitrary which you choose - i.e. any religious or non-religious metaphysical hypothesis can be used to deduce any damn thing you like, and is therefore useless, and that's why I think theists have nothing to offer, least of all the claim to the authority of their gods to create OUGHTS for the rest of us.

"I doubt you don't put total absolute trust in it." - That's OK, doubt away. But I've been saying all along that we are fallible and and our senses can be at fault, as can our reasoning - yours being a prime example.

"How do you plan to correct what you think you observe? By other observations? That you subject to yet other observations?" - yes, along with similar data from others - that's one of the ways science tries to establish facts.

"Give it up, man." - Clearly I don't give it up, and I get by with this imperfect experience, knowing full well it has flaws, but having no other reasonable options available. I don't consider putting my absolute faith in a fiction, one particular finction of many, as a reasonable option.

"Never did I deny that my presupp of God is circular." - I stand corrected, you didn't. So are you saying it is?

"Sure, it's CHRONOLOGICALLY first, but it's not my first presupposition. I can certainly doubt that I'm thinking." - I doubt you are thinking too. But your doubt you are thinking doesn't mean you are not, just as when you say you believe in your presupposed God doesn't mean you actually do.

Ron Murphy said...

[Me: I've already said they are not (reliable)] "Now you don't even remember what you wrote a few lines ago. Remember how you said: "It's an observation that's so obtrusive I can't find a way out of"? " - I do remember. Yes, so again: our senses and reason are found to be unreliable, that's why we do science. But, in the mean time there all we've got, every waking minute our thinking and senses are all we experience. So dispite their flaws I can't find a way out of using them. I don't know if you've anything better to offer, but presuppositions about fictional beings which offer no experience don't really do it for me.

[Me: do science] "Observations. Trusting your senses and c.f. " - Yes, as far as they go, but not having complete trust, not blind faith, as you appear to have in something you haven't experienced.

"And that's why your presupposition of evidence, senses, and c.f., though a reasonable hypothesis, has nothing to back it up." - Other than they are allowing us to engage in this conversation, which you agree we are doing. And, though you think your God is behind this capability and I don't, at least between us our doubt in our senses and thinking isn't stopping us, and it is obvious we have some confidence in our abilities. But, yes they are flawed - e.g. you.

"B/c I've sunk quite a lot of time into study of that topic and have epistemological reasons for thinking it is." - Shit, your hot! Theologians have spent lifetimes on this stuff, but you know it so perfectly there's absolutely no doubt you've got it right. The rest of us are stupid enough to buy that.

"Now, how do you know your senses and c.f., as well as those of other people, as well as YOUR OBSERVATIONS of other ppl (and thus observations and science) are consistent?" - How many times? We are not absolutely assured they are. We are just doing the best we can, and on the whole they appear to be consistent. Naturally, in this evidentially subjective world we will disagree - as I'm sure many of us atheists do with each other, just as you do with other theists when debating your abstract theological fantasies. I admit there may be inconsistencies, I just think there are fewer than yours.

"Then it's not true that we ought to do anything, including believe atheism." - Correct, there are no OUGHTS other than what we personally and collectively decide. You don't have to believe in atheism, nor agree with my moral code, if you don't want to. And it wasn't an unwitting admission, it was an open statement.

Paul C said...

"Yes, I am made in the image of God and God speaks, and when He speaks, naturally there's someone to whom He is speaking."

How do you know when God speaks to you? Through your senses.

How do you know your senses are reliable? Because you're made in the image of God.

How do you know that the image of God includes reliable senses? Because God speaks to you.

How do you know when God speaks to you? Through your senses.

And the circle is complete!

"The diff between me and an atheist is that my position doesn't militate or annul my presupps."

My presupposition is that my senses are partly reliable. My lack of belief in a god has no bearing on that presupposition.

"If my senses were generally unreliable, I'd be in the same position as an atheist."

You are in the same position as an atheist, unless you think that you have different senses to them.

"The psg in Ephesians and the whole thrust of the Bible is that God has made EVERYthing for a purpose."

I agree that this is the thrust. My point was that the passage you quote does not tell you what the intended context of fire is.

Rhology said...

because it's all I'm aware of and don't have any other experience.

And yet you have no evidence for it. So why do you keep insisting on evidence for God's existence?
Don't you get how your atheistic position makes the reliability of your c.f. and senses utterly dubitable, whereas the existence of Jesus, Who created you in His image with reliable senses and C.f.s CONFIRMS what you think you can rely on?


To have absolute certainty in something you don't even experience seems a far weaker option.

Another naked assertion. Now all you have to do is supply an argument that I don't experience God. Good luck.



You seem to have a confidence in deductive logic that isn't warranted - at the limits of our capacity to know.

A throwaway line, designed to make yourself look smarter. My suggestion if you want to look smarter - stop making self-contradictory arguments.



I'm not offering a deductive argument.

So much the worse for you. You must not be familiar with the problem of induction. Here's a primer.



"Never did I deny that my presupp of God is circular." - I stand corrected, you didn't. So are you saying it is?

Yes. It is a necessary precondition of intelligibility. One way to confirm that is by analysing the utter failure of atheistic presupps like yours in providing the preconditions of intelligibility.



Yes, so again: our senses and reason are found to be unreliable, that's why we do science.

Oh, I get it - one fallacious inference is bad, but 1000 fallacious inferences are much better.



But, in the mean time there all we've got

Or Jesus could exist.



So dispite their flaws I can't find a way out of using them.

that's b/c you don't want to question your blind faith position, b/c you hate Jesus. It's sad to watch you like this.



but presuppositions about fictional beings

Prove Jesus is fictional.



We are just doing the best we can, and on the whole they appear to be consistent.

Which, for the tenth time, is just another assumption to back up your assumption.



Paul C,

Where did I deny that my position on Jesus is circular?
Rather, what I've been doing here and forever on this blog is demonstrating that the atheistic position is also circular, but it can't handle the circle; it breaks down its own presupps when it comes to what it builds on top.
As for the senses coming first thing, I've told you that they come CHRONOLOGICALLY 1st, but not LOGICALLY 1st. You seem to think it helps you to keep trying to prove that they come chronologically first.


You are in the same position as an atheist, unless you think that you have different senses to them.

Naked assertion noted. Now you just have to solve the problem of induction, disprove the strong possibility of solipsism on atheism, and show me why the edifice built on top of Xtian presupps is inconsistent with those presupps. Get to work!



My point was that the passage you quote does not tell you what the intended context of fire is.

Yes, I know. But my point has been that fire has an intended context, not that the Bible specifically explicitly says what that context is. Rather, it is derived by good and necessary inference from Scr.

Ron Murphy said...

In your critique of induction you state that atheist must avoid solipsism. But solipsism is just an observational position - that maybe thought is all there is. This is a reasonable possibility. But what the mind appears to be doing, is recognising external inputs that we commonly call senses. Yes, these senses could be pure thought and not a representation of anything external or physical. If that is the case, if the external does not exist, then fine. But acting, thinking, as if the external does exist doesn't seem to make much difference. In fact I don't know how we could tell the difference. If solipsism is the case, if there is no external, this could raise interesting questions philosophically, but I don't think either of us is too interested in this since we both live as if the senses are real in some way beyond solipsism. I'm content to say, well it appears as if I've got working senses that access some external non-mental world, so I'll go with the flow until I'm shown some other possibility of interest.

Form there, through these senses, imaginary or real, we discover other people who appear, according to our senses to have the same experiences. But on closer examination, by our minds, these senses appear to be fallible, so we concoct methods for gaining confidence in particular sense experiences. On even further examination we discover that or reasoning and other cognitive faculties can also be fallible, so we take steps to account for that observation. So all we do is construct experience and look for multiple ways of confirming what we experience to gain confidence in it, to give credibility to it.

At no point so far has there been any requirement for God, and no sight of him. Yes, it's all contingent, all inductive, just hanging there. So what? This isn't a problem for me. And if you want to call my original position a presupposition, fine, we'll have to disagree on that. From my point of view I'm not presupposing my thinking, I'm experiencing it - I see a difference, you don't. In the context of this discussion I would choose to reserve the term presupposition to mean something that comes before experience, something that I need to stand my experiences on. I have nothing. I don't find I need anything.

You seem to need your presupposition in order to create your OUGHTS. I don't, because I don't need your OUGHTS. These OUGHTS seem to be the driver that makes you want and need God. From my viewpoint it appears as though these needs you have cause you to create God.

I can still accept the possibility of God, but then I can still accept the possibility of many different gods. So many of them can be made to fit experience, so easily because they don't require to fit the sense experience, they only have to be conceptual, which means they can get by being imaginary. But even then, no matter what god is chosen, the theist, just like the atheist is still left with the thinking and (maybe unreal) senses and the practical world that seems to ensue. Far easier just to skip the god stuff.

I'm not sure how else to explain my position, and to explain how satisfactory it is. It is even amenable to your God revealing himself to my satisfaction; but it also means I haven't closed off my mind to the Islamic God, unlike you. And conversely, in not closing myself off the Islamic God I'm not closing myself off to yours. They are open questions for me - albeit ones for which I currently think there are no answers, no reasonable explanations, including yours.

I still see your position as more difficult. According to you God has created you and given you the reasoning and senses, that I think we both agree are fallible; but in your case you think they are still adequate to be able the assess the validity of the Bible. But a Muslim would say the very same. Any claim you have made for your version could be said by a Muslim - including the capability to assess and write off the other's good book.

Ron Murphy said...

"It [circularity] is a necessary precondition of intelligibility. One way to confirm that is by analysing the utter failure of atheistic presupps like yours in providing the preconditions of intelligibility." - First, I don't know how you figure circularity is a necessary precondition. Second, your objection to atheism has been that atheists don't acknowledge the presupps that you say atheism has, not that they fail. If they were presupps then that's just what they'd be, in contention with yours. You haven't shown that if atheist presupps exist that they fail.

"Oh, I get it - one fallacious inference is bad, but 1000 fallacious inferences are much better." - Fallacious is out of context here. They haven't been shown to be fallacious. I do acknowledge they are individually suspect, but it I find it sufficient that more of them does increase confidence.

"Which, for the tenth time, is just another assumption to back up your assumption." - On the point of reason, isn't that what we do, use prior assumptions with data to create more assumptions to be used in further reasoning, whether deductive or inductive? How else do we work? But we dispute whether my initial condition is an assumption of not. I see it as a mental experience, nothing more.

Paul C said...

Rather, what I've been doing here and forever on this blog is demonstrating that the atheistic position is also circular, but it can't handle the circle; it breaks down its own presupps when it comes to what it builds on top.

My presupposition is that my senses are generally reliable for the purposes that I require. How do my beliefs break down under that presupposition?

As for the senses coming first thing, I've told you that they come CHRONOLOGICALLY 1st, but not LOGICALLY 1st. You seem to think it helps you to keep trying to prove that they come chronologically first.

Please feel free to demonstrate how they come logically first rather than just continually asserting it.

Now you just have to solve the problem of induction, disprove the strong possibility of solipsism on atheism, and show me why the edifice built on top of Xtian presupps is inconsistent with those presupps.

Why do I have to solve the problem of induction? Why do I have to disprove the possibility of solipsism? Neither of those things seems to have any relevance to how I live.

As for whether your presuppositions are consistent or whatever, if you can tell me what those presuppositions are, I can give it a try.

Yes, I know. But my point has been that fire has an intended context, not that the Bible specifically explicitly says what that context is. Rather, it is derived by good and necessary inference from Scr.

And that's what I asked you: what Scripture lead you to that specific description of the intended context of fire?

Rhology said...

Ron Murphy,

But solipsism is just an observational position - that maybe thought is all there is. This is a reasonable possibility.

Which you can't disprove. So why would I take your position seriously? Perhaps Paul C and I are just figments of your imagination!



But what the mind appears to be doing, is recognising external inputs that we commonly call senses.

Yes, appears to be. But you can't tell me why not to think that's true.



If that is the case, if the external does not exist, then fine.

Yep, then fine. You're more than happy making these strong statements about how you see no evidence for God, but you won't make the same strong statements about the existence of the external world and the reliability of your c.f. and senses. You're inconsistent, and your bias is showing.



At no point so far has there been any requirement for God, and no sight of him.

Ditto for evidence, senses, c.f.s...



I don't, because I don't need your OUGHTS.

If you don't need ANY "oughts", then you have no reason and certainly no power to tell anyone else what to do.



Any claim you have made for your version could be said by a Muslim

I'm sorry, that's not the case. I've already told you why I reject Islam. How about you actually respond to what I said some time ago?



I don't know how you figure circularity is a necessary precondition.

It isn't. God is.



your objection to atheism has been that atheists don't acknowledge the presupps that you say atheism has, not that they fail.

The failure to acknowledge your presupps means you're inconsistent and biased.
The presupps fail for diff reasons, that they actively militate against the framework atheists erect on top of them.



Fallacious is out of context here. They haven't been shown to be fallacious.

Sorry, if you don't know how inductive statements on universals are always fallacious, you need to read some more. Go look up "the problem of induction".



On the point of reason, isn't that what we do, use prior assumptions with data to create more assumptions to be used in further reasoning, whether deductive or inductive? How else do we work?

The argument from unsavory consequences here.
The whole point is that naturalistic presupps lead to absurdity. What I'm saying is that you can fix it all by subscribing to Christian presupps, which are not absurd.


Paul C,
How do my beliefs break down under that presupposition? AND Please feel free to demonstrate how they come logically first rather than just continually asserting it.

See the above convo I've been having with Ron M. Show me a reason to think your senses and c.f.s are reliable.



Why do I have to solve the problem of induction? Why do I have to disprove the possibility of solipsism?

Gosh, I don't know, b/c you want to know the truth?
I can't make you want to know the truth.



if you can tell me what those presuppositions are,

Already have. See the sidebar on my blog for "Posts I refer back to alot". I've referred you back to those multiple times. I'm a Christian; it shouldn't be that hard.

Ron Murphy said...

If solipsism is true then it's all illusion, but in that illusion there is still no evidence of God. If the senses are real then there still is no sign of God. Since I can't tell the difference between solipsism and real senses my choice is arbitrary - I have to deal with the imaginary you or the sensed you (via the internet). I could be a solipsist and conclude just as well that there is no evidence of God.

"If you don't need ANY "oughts", then you have no reason and certainly no power to tell anyone else what to do. " - Correct, and neither do you. But as a human I don't want you to do things to me I don't like, like killing me, and because of my human empathy I suspect you don't want me to kill you, but even if you did my human empathy would prevent me - this is evolutionarily derived morality forming. When we add further reasoning about us humans we can collectively put together arbitrary but mostly common moral codes for our society. No need for God. And strickly speaking no need of morals - we could choose to live what we commonly agree are totally immoral lives. There's no OUGHT about it, other than what we make.

"I've already told you why I reject Islam." Well, you made a claim, "By analysing the internal consistency, is the first step. And the Koran is internally inconsistent, so there you go - Islam is prima facie false.", to which I respond that any Muslim could make the same claim by reversing the roles. Simply saying "I'm sorry, that's not the case." isn't really saying why you don't think a Muslim could make a similar case.

"The failure to acknowledge your presupps means you're inconsistent and biased" - The fact that we disagree on whether something is a presupp or not is not enough - i.e does no mean I'm inconsistent or biased. Even if I was biased it wouldn't falsify my position, and nor would it necessarily if I was inconsistent in some areas. And your claim that they are my presupps doesn't magically make them so.

"universals are always fallacious" - Only if I'm claiming certainty, which I'm not. I'm claiming support. Beyond that, an inductive fallacy is less formal, in that I might not provided enough support for the conclusion. I think what our minds and senses provide are all we have, and they support either solipsism or a physical world, and I arbitrarily choose the latter.

Paul C said...

See the above convo I've been having with Ron M. Show me a reason to think your senses and c.f.s are reliable.

My presupposition is that my senses are generally reliable for the purposes that I require, not for the purposes that you require. So I don't have to show you any reason to think that my senses are reliable, since a) that's not my presupposition and b) from a philosophical perspective it's I who require the reason, not you.

Now, how do my beliefs break down under that presupposition?

Gosh, I don't know, b/c you want to know the truth?

My questions were meant to indicate that I don't see either of those things as problems to begin with, which means that I don't even see them as things to be solved. I don't have a problem with induction, since I act on a probabilistic approach, and I don't worry about solipsism because the truth of the hypothesis would have no influence one way or another on the way I act.

If you can demonstrate that they are actually problems to me, without me having realised it, then your point might have merit.

See the sidebar on my blog for "Posts I refer back to alot". I've referred you back to those multiple times. I'm a Christian; it shouldn't be that hard.

As far as I can see, the only presupposition that you have explicitly stated is your belief in the God of the Bible?

Now, since I've given you comprehensive answers to your questions, perhaps you'd like to answer my one simple question regarding how your "logical" argument beats the "chronological" argument?

Paul C said...

"If you don't need ANY "oughts", then you have no reason and certainly no power to tell anyone else what to do."

This is a) a non sequitur and b) demonstrably false. He could well have reasons, even if you don't think they're strong reasons, and he could well have the power to tell people whatever he wants.

Rhology said...

Ron Murphy said...
If solipsism is true then it's all illusion

Correct.


in that illusion there is still no evidence of God.

There's no evidence of ANYthing. And the fact that you can't give me a reason not to think solipsism isn't true, EVERYTHING is meaningless. That's why atheism reduces in all ways to "Meh".



If the senses are real then there still is no sign of God.

I see plenty. It all comes down to presupps.
After all, if the senses are real, then there is no sign that the senses are real. You have to presuppose it. You're still not willing to be consistent.



But as a human I don't want you to do things to me I don't like, like killing me

So what? I as a human don't like you saying things like "God doesn't exist".
Other humans don't like you trying to intervene when they torture babies for fun. Give me a reason to care what you like and don't like.



, and because of my human empathy I suspect you don't want me to kill you,

I've already told you appealing to empathy is a fail. A pity you don't care to educate yourself or actually respond to my arguments.



to which I respond that any Muslim could make the same claim by reversing the roles.

Wow, that's pretty devastating! So, let me get this straight - the bare fact that a Muslim disagrees with the statement means the statement is false?
So, is that same thing true of the statement "God does not exist"? Or does it depend on the argument?
Tell you what, you tell me exactly how a Muslim could defeat this argument. Surahs 5 and 10 tell the reader to believe exactly what the Taurat (the OT) and the Injil (the NT) say, b/c they came down from Allah first. Then Surah 4:157 also says that Christ was not actually even crucified. This is an internal inconsistency in the Qur'an.
Defeat that argument for me, and then we can talk. If you can't, then please be so kind and consistent as to concede the point.



Beyond that, an inductive fallacy is less formal

1) I'm not sure you know what "informal" and "formal" means with respect to fallacies, given the way you seem to be using it here.
2) You seem comfortable with having committed a fallacy. Please let me know how that translates to "my worldview is worthy of lots of rational respect".

Rhology said...

Paul C said...

My presupposition is that my senses are generally reliable for the purposes that I require

1) That's not all you presuppose, though, if senses are generally reliable. You have to presupp the existence of the external world, the existence of logic, the reliability of your cognitive faculties and the pathways from senses to those faculties, and quite a few other things. Why not just be honest about ALL your presupps?
By contrast, I have ONE presupp - TGOTB lives and speaks. What's your ONE presupp?

2) As I've said and as you haven't replied to, my worldview goes on to build constructively on my presupp. Yours goes on to break it down, reducing humans to molecules in motion, bags of biochemicals, banging around. Why would anyone grant that they are capable of cognition; we don't grant cognition to more complicated organisms with more complicated genetic code, like onions!



I don't worry about solipsism because the truth of the hypothesis would have no influence one way or another on the way I act.

Right, b/c we've seen quite a few times that you're not particularly interested in truth. If you were, you'd care about whether solipsism is true.



he only presupposition that you have explicitly stated is your belief in the God of the Bible?

How silly of me to think that you might have some memory of the past lengthy convos we've had.



how your "logical" argument beats the "chronological" argument?

I don't know what you mean. I didn't make an argument on either of those points. You questioned ME about which presupp came first. I answered that the God presupp comes LOGICALLY first, but I granted you that the senses are reliable presupp comes CHRONOLOGICALLY first. What's so hard about that?



This is a) a non sequitur and b) demonstrably false.

Yes, you seem to think that "ought" and "should" mean whatever you want them to mean at the time. Not everyone's with you on that, unfortunately.

Paul C said...

That's not all you presuppose, though, if senses are generally reliable. You have to presupp the existence of the external world, the existence of logic, the reliability of your cognitive faculties and the pathways from senses to those faculties, and quite a few other things. Why not just be honest about ALL your presupps?

I am being completely honest, for I only have one presupposition: that my senses are generally reliable for the purposes that I require. Once that presupposition is in place – and really, it's hard to see what other choice I could make there – then as follows:

1.My senses inform me that there is an “external” world, i.e. a domain which I apprehend and over which I have limited influence, but which has a huge influence over me.
2.Logic is a tool, a series of heuristics, by which I can place this external world in some sort of mental order to avoid being overwhelmed by it as it makes its way through my senses.
3.My senses inform me that my cognitive faculties (by which I assume you mean my thought processes) are largely opaque to me, but that where they are exposed seem “reliable”.
4.Not sure what the other things are.

By contrast, I have ONE presupp - TGOTB lives and speaks.

You previously used the phrase “Xtian presupps”, indicating that there was more than one. You even went to the trouble of pointing me towards your complete oeuvre of blog posts, claiming that they could be found there. However I'm happy to acknowledge that you have ONE presupposition, as you'll see below.

What's your ONE presupp?

I've told you. That my senses are generally reliable for the purposes that I require.

As I've said and as you haven't replied to, my worldview goes on to build constructively on my presupp. Yours goes on to break it down, reducing humans to molecules in motion, bags of biochemicals, banging around.

I can reply to that quite easily: no it doesn't. I believe that life is an emergent property of the physical universe with an intrinsic value that can't be reduced to its constituent parts, and that consciousness is an emergent property of life, ditto.

Why would anyone grant that they are capable of cognition; we don't grant cognition to more complicated organisms with more complicated genetic code, like onions!

Cognition refers to thought processes. As far as we know, onions don't have thought processes. Perhaps you have insight into the inner life of the onion, in which case please share it with us.

Right, b/c we've seen quite a few times that you're not particularly interested in truth. If you were, you'd care about whether solipsism is true.

If solipsism were true, how would it affect the way in which I live my life? As far as I can tell it would make no difference at all, and so I simply have no interest in it.

How silly of me to think that you might have some memory of the past lengthy convos we've had.

I raised the question, “As far as I can see, the only presupposition that you have explicitly stated is your belief in the God of the Bible?” You verified my observation above, saying “I have ONE presupp - TGOTB lives and speaks.”

Yet now you seem to be claiming that our past lengthy conversations contain other presuppositions. Can you please decide which it is – do you have one presupposition, clearly stated, or a range of presuppositions which we must ferret around on your blog to uncover?

I answered that the God presupp comes LOGICALLY first, but I granted you that the senses are reliable presupp comes CHRONOLOGICALLY first. What's so hard about that?

That's what I'm asking you to explain. As far as I can see, the distinction between logically and chronologically makes no sense whatsoever. Logic by its nature depends on chronology – you can't retrospectively claim that your senses are reliable based on a presupposition that you arrived at using your senses.

Ron Murphy said...

Me, "If solipsism is true then it's all illusion" You, "Correct." - But it's still qualified by the 'if', and remains merely an option. It's the inability to tell the difference that makes either option feasible, and in both there is no evidence or requirement for God.

"And the fact that you can't give me a reason not to think solipsism isn't true, EVERYTHING is meaningless." - Since there's no evidence that there is any entity out there to give meaning, e.g. a god, then everything is meaningless, in that sense. But I suspect your meaning of 'meaningless' has other connotations. Anyway, I don't know how you get from solipsism to everything being meaningless.

"I see plenty. It all comes down to presupps." - If presupps were sufficient then the Islamic god would be sufficient - but see later. You still haven't show why that presupp would be wrong, you've merely boasted of your personal prowess to determine that. Neither have you shown that your presupp is sufficient, in the sense that "it all comes down to presupp[s]" And was the plural intended? You seem to switch between a single and multiple presupps.

"After all, if the senses are real, then there is no sign that the senses are real. You have to presuppose it" - No, I've stated clearly they may not be. All I can say in their favour is that they appear real, and as such I can't tell whether they are or not, as under solipsism. I can't even be sure your particular God hypothesis doesn't make them real, not thta of a Muslim. All I can say is that they appear real to such an extent that I have come to rely on them.

Me, "But as a human I don't want you to do things to me I don't like, like killing me" You, "So what?" - Quite. As I've been saying, it's arbitrary and subjective. I'm merely giving my subjective opinion.

"Give me a reason to care what you like and don't like." - I can give you a reason why I want you to care, but you have to make up your own reasons. Again, it's arbitrary and subjective.

"A pity you don't care to educate yourself or actually respond to my arguments." - Yet again you have an exaggerated opinion of your capabilities. You point to more of your words of wisdom, but on reading the referenced post I actually find Paul C's responses more enlightening than yours, which consist of more arrogant rhetoric slapped on top of an unsubstantiated claim that is your overriding presupp.

"...the bare fact that a Muslim disagrees with the statement means the statement is false?" - No, of course not. This is where your biased dogmatic mind misses simple stuff. It means your presupp and a Muslim's are indistinguishable, and as such yours doesn't contain the certainty you think it does.

"So, is that same thing true of the statement: God does not exist?" - Yes, when used as a presupp. Hope you don't think that's a presupp I'm offering.

"Defeat that argument [about islam] for me, and then we can talk." - First, why would you think I think that Islam is any better than your particular Christianity, when my whole point is that they are both nonsense. But your claimed inconsistency would easily be dealt with by a Muslim, using the same technique you do, "God determines that it is consistent and therefore true, and has given me, the Muslim, the capacity to see that, and the capacity to see the inconsistencies in your claims; but you, being under that false impression you understand it, don't see the inherent consistency." Bollocks, I grant you, but your methods are no different.

"You seem comfortable with having committed a fallacy" - I can only ask you to indulge me and give me a more coherent explanation of in what sense I've committed a fallacy.

bc said...

subscribing - carry on

Rhology said...

Paul C,
that my senses are generally reliable for the purposes that I require.

And I've explained why that can't be alone. Sorry.
Also, this makes any nagging cry for "evidence!" irrelevant, both on your presupp and on mine. So I'll expect you won't be doing that, ever.



You previously used the phrase “Xtian presupps”, indicating that there was more than one.

Sorry for not being as specific as I should've been. What I mean to express is that the fundamental presupp is that God lives and speaks.
There are other things I presuppose, but not at the most fundamental level, and they're derived from the fundamental.



As far as we know, onions don't have thought processes.

An assertion for which you have no evidence.
An assertion for which, about yourself, you have no evidence either. And it's not part of your fundamental presupp, like I said before. What about arranging the various elements of DNA in different ways from an onion into a human brings about meaningful thought, intentionality, volition, personhood, human rights?



If solipsism were true, how would it affect the way in which I live my life?

I don't know about YOU, but if I knew solipsism were true, I'd certainly change the way I live MY life. Why would I "waste" my time serving Jesus? Why not just rape, take, and pillage others? Even if I get incarcerated or injured or sthg, it's all illusory and it's certainly not wrong, since I haven't hurt anyone.



Logic by its nature depends on chronology

Um, K.

Rhology said...

Ron Murphy,

But it's still qualified by the 'if', and remains merely an option.

And "not-solipsism" is still qualified by the 'if', and remains merely an option.



It's the inability to tell the difference that makes either option feasible, and in both there is no evidence or requirement for God.

So what if there's no evidence for God? You can't give me any evidence for ANYTHING if solipsism is true. And here you admit you can't bring forth any evidence that it's not true. Your whole harping on "evidence" is a farce.



Since there's no evidence that there is any entity out there to give meaning, e.g. a god, then everything is meaningless, in that sense.

And so the statement "there's no evidence for God" is meaningless. Thank you.



I don't know how you get from solipsism to everything being meaningless.

Please give me a reason to think that if solipsism is true, meaning exists outside of your own wishful thinking.



If presupps were sufficient then the Islamic god would be sufficient

It's not "presupps" that are sufficient, but the CORRECT presupps. And you haven't understood my point about Islam yet.



You still haven't show why that presupp would be wrong, you've merely boasted of your personal prowess to determine that.

Sorry, yes I did. Here, I'll repaste it here.
Tell you what, you tell me exactly how a Muslim could defeat this argument. Surahs 5 and 10 tell the reader to believe exactly what the Taurat (the OT) and the Injil (the NT) say, b/c they came down from Allah first. Then Surah 4:157 also says that Christ was not actually even crucified. This is an internal inconsistency in the Qur'an.
Defeat that argument for me, and then we can talk.



I'm merely giving my subjective opinion.

Yes, I know that, and I applaud your willingness to be consistent up to this point.
So, let me ask you this - SHOULD I give up my belief in God, since it's wrong, and accept atheism, since it's true? If so, why?



First, why would you think I think that Islam is any better than your particular Christianity

I didn't say I thought you thought it was better. You asked why I think Xtianity is true and Islam isn't. I answered.



But your claimed inconsistency would easily be dealt with by a Muslim, using the same technique you do, "God determines that it is consistent and therefore true, and has given me, the Muslim, the capacity to see that, and the capacity to see the inconsistencies in your claims; but you, being under that false impression you understand it, don't see the inherent consistency."

1) Um, quote me ANY Muslim saying that.
2) Um, quote me or any Christian saying that in response to you.
IOW, you just made that up.



I can only ask you to indulge me and give me a more coherent explanation of in what sense I've committed a fallacy.

Look up "the problem of induction". Inductive reasoning applied to the purpose of making a universal truth claim is always a logical fallacy. I'm sorry you don't know that, but I'd encourage you to surprise me and learn something.

Ron Murphy said...

"and remains merely an option." - Yes. And I've chosen.

"So what if there's no evidence for God? You can't give me any evidence for ANYTHING if solipsism is true. And here you admit you can't bring forth any evidence that it's not true. Your whole harping on "evidence" is a farce." - Under solipsism, since there is only thoughts, I have thoughts that there is no evidence of God, as my thoughts understand the word evidence. That's sufficient. And in my thoughts you are wrong. So if solipsism is true, who cares.

Me, "Since there's no evidence that there is any entity out there to give meaning, e.g. a god, then everything is meaningless, in that sense."

"And so the statement "there's no evidence for God" is meaningless. Thank you." - You're confused over that word 'meaning' again. In my comment I was referring to what theists commonly mean as telological purpose, the meaning given to our lives and our morality by God - I'm saying without evidence for God to provide that type of meaning or purpose to human lives my working model of the universe is that there is no meaning or purpose of that type. Your use of 'meaning' with regard to my statement "there's no evidence for God" is that it has no semantic meaning, which it clearly does.

"Please give me a reason to think that if solipsism is true, meaning exists outside of your own wishful thinking." - well, it doesn't. But then neither do you and your presupps. So what?

"And you haven't understood my point about Islam yet." - You seen to make it pretty clear. Faulty, but clear.

"Sorry, yes I did. Here..." - That's just your opinion. And I agree with you, Islam is nonsense. But it doesn't matter if if you and I agree on that, the Muslim simply has to use your technique to say you've got the wrong presupp, claim his to be right, and your done.

"So, let me ask you this - SHOULD I give up my belief in God, since it's wrong, and accept atheism, since it's true? If so, why?" - You do what you want. There's no SHOULD involved. I'm just offering my opinion.

[Islam] "I didn't say I thought you thought it was better." - Sorry, I wasn't clear. What I meant was that I had no intention of showing that islam was better than your Christianity. I think both are nonsense. I wasn't offering the example of Islam as something I think is right, I was offering it as an example of how your technique of relying on a specific God presupp is no better than any other.

"1) Um, quote me ANY Muslim saying that.
2) Um, quote me or any Christian saying that in response to you.
IOW, you just made that up." - Yes, obviously I made it up. This idea that some presupp about God then guantees your c.f.s about your particular religious believe is available to anyone to make up. It's my opinion you made yours up; obviously influences by the Bible.

"Inductive reasoning applied to the purpose of making a universal truth claim is always a logical fallacy." - But I'm not making a universal truth claim. I've said I'm not, many times. What makes you think I am?

Paul C said...

And I've explained why that can't be alone. Sorry.

I'm sorry, but you haven't. There's nothing in this comment thread which constitutes a rebuttal to my presupposition that my senses are generally reliable for the purposes which I require.

Also, this makes any nagging cry for "evidence!" irrelevant, both on your presupp and on mine.

This doesn't follow from my presupposition at all. My presupposition allows for evidence, but also allows for scepticism about my handling of evidence. It doesn't make requests for evidence irrelevant.

What I mean to express is that the fundamental presupp is that God lives and speaks.

And once again, my question is: how did you form that presupposition without the prior supposition that the version of God which you now presuppose was reliably presented to you by your senses?

An assertion for which you have no evidence.

Well, I did say, “As far as we know” onions don't have thought processes, based on the evidence that onions don't have the physical apparatus through which thought processes occur, i.e. a brain.

This is a non-controversial point – but if you wanted to dispute it, I also invited you to present any insight that you have into the mind of the onion that suggests otherwise.

An assertion for which, about yourself, you have no evidence either. And it's not part of your fundamental presupp, like I said before.

I don't understand what you're trying to say here.

What about arranging the various elements of DNA in different ways from an onion into a human brings about meaningful thought, intentionality, volition, personhood, human rights?

I don't know, and that's what makes it fascinating to me. Since we're at a very early stage in understanding these things scientifically, and since the concept of emergent properties is relatively recent, I don't expect answers immediately.

It may be the case that we simply can't answer that question convincingly, and that would be fine with me as well. However just because I don't know what the answer is does not mean that your answer is correct.

I don't know about YOU, but if I knew solipsism were true, I'd certainly change the way I live MY life. Why would I "waste" my time serving Jesus? Why not just rape, take, and pillage others?

As you explained in a previous comments thread, “serving Jesus” could include raping, taking and pillaging, if that was God's command (I'm not claiming that it ever would be), so it would be more accurate to say that you'd change the way you live if solipsism wasn't true.

If your understanding of solipsism was true, you'd have no reason to change the way you live because there'd be no point to any of those changes. Luckily that's not what any of the variations of solipsism actually say about meaning or morality (as far as I understand).

However for the purposes of discussion let's agree that your belief in God is the only thing preventing you from raping young girls. Can you explain why an acceptance of solipsism would cause me to rape, take and pillage, things which I have no desire to do whatsoever?

Um, K.

So would it be fair to say that you have no response to this point, and cannot explain the distinction you make between “chronological” and “logical”? I've asked this question before and you've never given an answer – which is surprising considering that normally you love to explain your philosophy in great (some might say repetitive) detail.