Friday, September 17, 2010

About Morality on Atheism with magx01 - 2

magx01 has responded to my last post.  I'd like to reiterate that I appreciate his courtesy in these exchanges - one could certainly do worse for a debate partner.

Now, let's pause first of all to examine the admissions he's made, which will lead directly into the structure of the post I'm about to write.

He says (emphasis original):
You are correct. My morality is subjective. Everyone's morality is subjective, to be technical about it, but let's stick to atheism. Yes, subjectivity, relativity, all true. 
Your critiques are true.
I have no objective standard by which to demonstrate that my morality is such.
What does this mean for him and for our discussion?  Quite briefly, he has conceded the majority of what I contended.  What does that mean?  That all his complaints about how tGotB treats rape, rapists and rape victims can only reasonably be attributed to him as an individual.  Why did he bother telling other people how he feels?  Why did he bother disagreeing with someone else (me)?  Based on what evidence does he think that his moral assertions are better than mine?  Merely his feelings that they are?  But of course, my feelings are that mine are better, so where does that leave us?  Where does that leave him with respect to Tkalim, the avatar of my thought experiment?
Quite simply, it leaves him stuck in the middle of nowhere.  Have you ever tried to convince someone who preferred pizza with pineapples and canadian bacon that pizza with pineapples and canadian bacon is, in fact, revolting?  How far did you get?  What evidence did you adduce to that effect?  What if you showed your friend comparative brain scans whereby you demonstrate that different parts of your brain lit up when you had your favorite pepperoni and mushrooms pizza than when you ate pineapple and canadian bacon pizza? And what if you showed him that the same parts of his own brain lit up in similar circumstances?  Wouldn't he look you in the eye and shrug, "So?  I like it better"?  And add, "Did you seriously scan our brains while eating pizza?  I can only hope it was prohibitively expensive so you won't waste your time again"?

Now I hope magx01 will ask himself - have you ever tried to convince someone that raping and murdering children for fun is, in fact, revolting?  What if you had to?  What will you tell him?  Some nonsense about a brain scan?  That you feel that what he's doing is wrong?  So what?
Remember - it's not as if raping and murdering little children is objectively wrong.  Everyone's morality is subjective.
Let's see how far magx01 is willing to take his position.

Now for his actual post.  I'll divide my response into 2 parts.

Part 1 - In Which I Apply His Own Rationale To His Contentions 

You can't just say they are because he said they are. 

Why not?  Who says?  Is there something wrong with it?
If he says it is irrational, again, so what?  Is there some reason I shouldn't be irrational, on his worldview?  What if my morality says it's morally obligatory to be irrational?  What will magx01 say to that?


I don't see you offering a justification for your assertion that god's laws are moral at all

Should I?  Why?



you have contradicted yourself:

So what?  Is there something wrong with self-contradiction?  If he says it is irrational, again, so what?  Is there some reason I shouldn't be irrational, on his worldview?  What if my morality says it's morally obligatory to be irrational?

If they did come from god, well there goes your claim of objectivity

magx01 doesn't seem to think that's a problem, so why should I?  Why not keep holding to my Christian worldview anyway?
If magx01 points out that it's inconsistent, so what?  Is there some reason I shouldn't be inconsistent, on his worldview?  What if my morality says it's morally obligatory to be inconsistent?


I have to ask, the fact that all 'sins' are considered equal, and the fact that all 'sins' are punished the same.....this doesn't bother you?

A much better question is why this bothers magx01.  Why can't be live consistently with his stated worldview?

Part 2 - In Which I Defend The Christian Worldview On Its Own Contentions
magx01 will make numerous references back to this post of mine:  Contrasting atheistic preferences and biblical law

Me:  a moral system that is prescriptive and that is true whether or not anyone believes it or not.
magx01:  Okay, so you think a moral system exists that is not contigent upon a mind to exist.


Hmm, this brings up a good point, which can serve as a clarification for our further discussion.  I shamelessly ripped that line off of William Lane Craig, but I forgot to tweak it for my own use.  I mean it is a moral system that is prescriptive and that is true whether or not any human believes it.
So hopefully that will help.


You can't just say they are because he said they are. So I looked in that post for evidence.  


Now, wait just a minute.  I'm defining my position.  You don't get to tell me what I believe.  Let me tell you what I believe, and then you can deal with that on its own merits.
And God most certainly can say they are b/c He said they are - He's the Creator of the universe and the Ultimate Lawgiver.  You don't get to judge God any more than I do.


So the fact that god punishes everyone the same is what makes his laws objective? 

No, not at all.
1) Just b/c all unrepentant get eternal torment does not mean the torment will be of equal intensity.
2) What makes His laws objective is what I described in the post. God is unchanging, the Creator, His law applies across the board.  It enables me to say that rape is always wrong.  Philosophically speaking, He is the ultimate standard.  Questioning the ultimate standard is nonsensical - on what standard would one do so?

I don't see you offering a justification for your assertion that god's laws are moral at all. Let me keep looking...Ya, nothing.

How could anyone justify the ultimate standard?  Based on what...standard?  This question is irrational.


So, which is it? The laws existed in and of themselves, and god is simply the messenger, or god created them?

Looking at what I wrote, I never made that intimation.  It's neither of the above.  As I said: The law He gives flows out of Who and how He is.  If it helps, let "gives" = "communicates/reveals".  Such that the law He communicates/reveals to humans flows out of Who and how He is.


If they did come from god, well there goes your claim of objectivity, since they are not independent of a mind. 

Hopefully the clarification above will clear this up.  The mind in question is a transcendent mind, of the Ultimate Lawgiver.

other than him telling you so, where do you get the idea that he is holy? 

Nowhere else.  So what?

the fact that all 'sins' are considered equal, and the fact that all 'sins' are punished the same.....this doesn't bother you?

Not all sins are considered equal, far from it.  And not all sins are punished the same.  So there you go!  :-)


And you want to say that's justice?

I have no other means by which to identify justice.  As we've seen above, neither do you.

76 comments:

Paul C said...

Why did he bother telling other people how he feels?

For exactly the same reason you're bothering to tell him how you feel in this blog post.

Why did he bother disagreeing with someone else (me)?

Because humans develop themselves and the societies they live in through continual negotiation.

Where does that leave him with respect to Tkalim, the avatar of my thought experiment?

In exactly the same position as you. Since "Tkalim" doesn't believe in your god, your contention that your god provides an objective morality is meaningless.

Look, since you won't accept that your thought experiment is a failure, I'll make an offer. I'll play Tkalim, and you try to explain to me that what I'm doing is wrong. I promise I'll enter into the role in good faith.

Rhology said...

Paul C,

But I don't think the world is atheistic, like what y'all say it is. So I have numerous reasons to tell him how I "feel".


Because humans develop themselves and the societies they live in through continual negotiation.

1) Does "benefit" has some objective meaning? What is it? What is the purpose? Whence does it come?
2) And so what? Why should I care about benefiting anyone else? If you respond "so it'll go better for you", why should I care?



Since "Tkalim" doesn't believe in your god, your contention that your god provides an objective morality is meaningless.

No it's not. He might THINK it's meaningless but it's not in the grand scheme of things. And I'll preach the Gospel to him. God may grant him repentance.


I'll play Tkalim, and you try to explain to me that what I'm doing is wrong. I promise I'll enter into the role in good faith.

We'll see how well you represent him and me, but OK.
OK, Tkalim, (beginning to nearly quote Acts 17) - I observe that you are very religious in all respects. 23For while I was passing through and examining the objects of your worship, I also found an altar with this inscription, ‘TO THE GOD OF THE JUNGLE.’ Therefore what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you. 24The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; 25nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; 26and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, 27that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; 28for in Him we live and move and exist...29Being then the children of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and thought of man. 30Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, 31because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.

Paul C said...

Hi, I'm Tkalim. Every village in our jungle worships their own god. You worship your god, but that's not my god, so what you're saying is meaningless to me.

Paul C said...

p.s. I didn't use the word benefit, so I have no reply to the other part of your comment.

Rhology said...

You said "develop". Sorry, I didn't realise you were in a picky pedantic mood.

Because humans develop themselves and the societies they live in through continual negotiation.


1) Does "develop" has some objective meaning? What is it? What is the purpose? Whence does it come?
2) And so what? Why should I care about developing anyone else? If you respond "so it'll go better for you", why should I care?

Rhology said...

Tkalim,

Have you ever done anything you consider to be a moral wrong in your life? If so, do you think that you will have to pay restitution for it?

Paul C said...

"Have you ever done anything you consider to be a moral wrong in your life? If so, do you think that you will have to pay restitution for it?"

Yes, I have sometimes committed offences against my gods and against my village. I usually make restitution for these offences by sacrificing a goat.

Paul C said...

1) Does "develop" has some objective meaning? What is it? What is the purpose? Whence does it come?

No word has an objective meaning. I take "develop" to describe changes over time as a feature of any dynamic system.

2) And so what? Why should I care about developing anyone else? If you respond "so it'll go better for you", why should I care?

I never said you should care about developing yourself or anyone else. You obviously do, otherwise you wouldn't have this blog.

Rhology said...

Paul,

So "develop" means what you want it to mean, no?
But OK, it's not true that I should care about developing myself or others. Exactly.

Rhology said...

Tkalim,

Why do you think that sacrificing a goat makes restitution?

magx01 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
magx01 said...

I have RESPONDED.

This might be the turning point in the debate. I still want to be civil, truly I do, but I might tick you off with this one....

Hope to hear back, really.

magx01

David said...

"Why do you think that sacrificing a goat makes restitution?"

Why do you think that sacrificing a goat made restitution in ANE Isreal?

Tkalim said...

Why do you think that sacrificing a goat makes restitution?

That is what our tradition tells us: that for some wrongs, the gods require that we sacrifice a goat.

Paul C said...

So "develop" means what you want it to mean, no?

No. The word "develop" has a range of meanings. I am telling you which of those meanings I intended when I used the word in my earlier comment. Uf that makes you unhappy, I can use another word - personally I'm not that comfortable with "develop" because it has implications of "progress" which I don't necessarily agree with.

"But OK, it's not true that I should care about developing myself or others."

No, that's not what I said. I merely pointed out that *I* never said that you should care about developing yourself or anybody else. It may or may not be true that you should.

This does raise a question I've been puzzling over: why do you persistently misrepresent what other people say?

Paul C said...

Okay, last attempt to post failed. Trying again.

So "develop" means what you want it to mean, no?

No. The word "develop" has a number of meanings. I merely explained to you in which sense I was using it, in response to your question about whether "develop" has an objective meaning. It doesn't.

But OK, it's not true that I should care about developing myself or others.

No, that's not what I said. I haven't offered an opinion on whether you should or not; I've merely observed that you do care, otherwise you wouldn't have this blog.

Paul C said...

Hmmmm. Posted a comment twice, gone missing twice. I'll try one more time, and hope this isn't a blogger glitch that sees me repeat myself three times!

So "develop" means what you want it to mean, no?

No. You asked if "develop" has an objective meaning. It doesn't. It has a number of different meanings, and I am clarifying which of those I intend when I use it here.

But OK, it's not true that I should care about developing myself or others.

That's not what I said. I offered no opinion on whether you should or not. I merely observed that you do.

Paul C said...

p.s. "Tkalim" above is also - obviously - me. I thought I'd get into role, even though it's doubtful the Tkalim would have access to the internet.

thechemistscorner@wordpress.com said...

I really like the brain scan part! That is great.

thechemistscorner said...

No word has an objective meaning.

How does this not make communication impossible? Or do you hold that communication is fundamentally impossible?

Paul C said...

How does this not make communication impossible?

What a bizarre question. Words are invented by humans in order to make communication possible.

Rhology said...

magx01,

I'll get back to you when I get a chance, thanks for the response.



Paul C,

I'm sorry about that blogger glitch. Annoying!
i found your comments in the Spambox. I've marked them "Not Spam" and so hopefully it will figure it out. I'll try to check that more regularly in the future.


personally I'm not that comfortable with "develop" because it has implications of "progress" which I don't necessarily agree with.

I don't either. Yes, I'd prefer another word, one that doesn't imply that there exists some telos toward which one SHOULD move.




I merely pointed out that *I* never said that you should care about developing yourself or anybody else. It may or may not be true that you should.

OK, so it's not true that I should care about that.
Now, let's go back to what I'd originally said, with which you disagreed.

ME: Why did he bother disagreeing with someone else (me)?

PAUL C: Because humans develop themselves and the societies they live in through continual negotiation.


But as I understand what you're saying here, the only reason that "matters" is b/c magx01 has an emotional investment in it. There's no reason outside himself for it.
I'm outside him. Yet he seems to be trying to norm my own behavior, to urge me to act differently. The only consistent thing he could say would be "you prefer that, but I don't". He's not being consistent, and that's my point.


"Tkalim" above is also - obviously - me. I thought I'd get into role, even though it's doubtful the Tkalim would have access to the internet.

Yea, I figured. ;-)
It's a good idea - that way we can make sure to separate the conversations out.



Words are invented by humans in order to make communication possible.

I expect you to understand me when I say that jell-o 19 bone horizonalitactionplfugen and the further they fly the much purplewise.
Don't you think?

Rhology said...

Tkalim,

How do you know that your traditions accurately represent what the gods actually said?

Rhology said...

David,

Technically, goats didn't provide restitution in ANE Israel.
But I know what you're getting at, and the answer is that God said it did. He instituted the practice and said that His wrath against sin would be assuaged.

David said...

Rho,

"How do you know that your traditions accurately represent what the gods actually said?"

Exactly.

Paul C said...

I expect you to understand me when I say that jell-o 19 bone horizonalitactionplfugen and the further they fly the much purplewise.
Don't you think?


Sorry, I have no idea how this is supposed to be relevant to my argument.

Tkalim said...

How do you know that your traditions accurately represent what the gods actually said?

The tradition of sacrificing a goat doesn't represent what the gods said, it represents what our ancestors did.

Paul C said...

OK, so it's not true that I should care about that.

No. What I have clearly said is that it may or may not be true that you should care about that.

But as I understand what you're saying here, the only reason that "matters" is b/c magx01 has an emotional investment in it.

No, that isn't what I said there. Look, what I said is pretty clear and there is no subtext. It is solely an observation about how humans operate: through continual negotiation.

Yet he seems to be trying to norm my own behavior, to urge me to act differently. The only consistent thing he could say would be "you prefer that, but I don't". He's not being consistent, and that's my point.

That's the process of negotiation, and it's entirely consistent.

These have now become two separate threads, and it may be worth actually separating them.

Rhology said...

David,

Exactly. Glad we had this little talk. :-D



Paul C,

Words are invented by humans in order to make communication possible.

I invented those words. You know, to make communication possible.


And the process of negotiation doesn't tell me what I SHOULD be negotiating toward, or even whether I should. Just tells me what people do, but that's hardly the question I've been asking here.

Rhology said...

Tkalim,

The one true God, Who created the heavens and the Earth, created mankind and created us good, but we have turned aside from serving Him properly and giving Him the glory and gratitude that He deserves. I used to be that way, and you are that way now.
Your ancestors have passed down to you a way of life that does not understand the one true God. You have broken His law, which applies to everyone, in many ways, and He is calling you to repent of your lawbreaking and to ask Him to forgive you.
Would you like to be forgiven of the ways you have offended the one true God, and to live in His way?

Paul C said...

I invented those words. You know, to make communication possible.

Clearly those words didn't make communication possible because a) I didn't know what half of them referred to and b) your grammar was nonsense. Concentrating on the first part of that, thanks - you've just demonstrated that words have no objective meaning, but are the result of consensus amongst their speakers.

Paul C said...

But please feel free to enlighten us with your views on how language operates.

Paul C said...

The one true God

There isn't one true god. I've told you, we believe in five gods. You may believe in one god, but that's your business.

David said...

"Glad we had this little talk."

Yes, it's been a lovely chat, but you didn't answer the question.

Rhology said...

David,

What question?


Paul C,

I take "develop" to describe changes over time as a feature of any dynamic system.

OK. The important thing here is that you use it in an amoral sense. In a discussion of morality.


Tkalim,

How do you know things about your gods?

David said...

"How do you know that your traditions accurately represent what the gods actually said?"

Paul C said...

How do you know things about your gods?

The gods are all around us, interacting with us all the time, if you know what to look for. Obviously you won't see them because they're not your gods and you don't know what to look for.

Paul C said...

OK. The important thing here is that you use it in an amoral sense. In a discussion of morality.

Why is that problematic? You just used the word "discussion" in an amoral sense.

thechemistscorner said...

What a bizarre question. Words are invented by humans in order to make communication possible.

I am fine with this, but if there is no objective meaning to a word, then how can I possibly know what you are trying to communicate with the words you choose? It becomes impossible. I think you wrote this too strong when you said that words do not have objective meanings. Of course they do. If I say, "Paul look at the cat," the word cat does convey information in an object sense. If not, then how can you be certain that I am referring to a cat and not say a ham sandwich?

Paul C said...

I am fine with this, but if there is no objective meaning to a word, then how can I possibly know what you are trying to communicate with the words you choose?

Because we share a language and the meaning of the words is contained within that language. You can see quite easily that words do not have an objective meaning because the meaning of words changes over time. The word “gay” for example has a contemporary meaning that would be completely unknown to an English-speaker from 200 years ago.

I think you wrote this too strong when you said that words do not have objective meanings. Of course they do. If I say, "Paul look at the cat," the word cat does convey information in an object sense.

I am using the word “objective” in the philosophical sense, as in existing independently of individual perception. While the word cat has an objective meaning in another sense – i.e. it refers to an object – it does not have an objective meaning in the philosophical sense. Luckily words do not need to have an objective meaning in order to have meaning.

Incidentally, neither does morality.

Paul C said...

Great, my reply was swallowed again.

I am fine with this, but if there is no objective meaning to a word, then how can I possibly know what you are trying to communicate with the words you choose?

Because we share a language and the meaning of the word is contained within that language (and how we use it).

I think you wrote this too strong when you said that words do not have objective meanings. Of course they do. If I say, "Paul look at the cat," the word cat does convey information in an object sense.

When I say that words do not have objective meaning, I mean it in a philosophical sense, that is independent of individual perception. While the word cat may be objective in another sense, i.e. it refers to an object, it is clearly not objective in the philosophical sense.

Luckily a word does not have to have an objective meaning in order to have a meaning. The same applies to morality, of course – but that's a discussion for another time.

Rhology said...

Tkalim/Paul C (you forgot to change your name this time) ;-)


What do you look for to know that your gods are operating around you?



(And I de-spammed your comment, Paul C. Wish this Blogger combox would suck less. Sorry.)

Rhology said...

David,

So you're asking me how I know that your traditions accurately represent what God actually said?

Here
Here
Here

Rhology said...

Oops, meant "my traditions".

Tkalim said...

What do you look for to know that your gods are operating around you?

The gods are present everywhere, so you can see them everywhere.

Excuse me, I've got to go and kidnap a young girl from a neighbouring village. Want to join us?

Rhology said...

My question is how you know that your gods are present everywhere as opposed to not-gods, or as opposed to the God of the Bible. Do you know a way to distinguish between those?

Did your gods create everything? Did they exist before? Which one came first?

Tkalim said...

My question is how you know that your gods are present everywhere as opposed to not-gods, or as opposed to the God of the Bible.

What's a not-god? What's the God of the Bible? Is that one of your gods?

Do you know a way to distinguish between those?

Our gods are with us, yours are with you. Can't you see your gods?

Did your gods create everything? Did they exist before? Which one came first?

The gods created the world from their essences. They existed before and will exist after. If you ask me, none of them came first, but some people disagree. Heretics!

David said...

Rho,

Checked out your links. Looks like a lot of presupposition and circular reasoning to me. Using that line of reasoning, "Tkalim" is just as likely to be the right answer as "Yahweh" is. So, we still have the question of "How do you know that your traditions accurately represent what the gods actually said?"

magx01 said...

magx01,

I'll get back to you when I get a chance, thanks for the response.


Alright man, no problem.

Peace.

thechemistscorner said...

Okay, I am with you now Paul C. I still think it might have been best to mention philosophical objectivity when you said no word has objective meaning. The other view is way too radical.

I wouldn't expect anything less on the morality, but yes let's please leave that alone. Unless you want to duel Rhology about it.

Rhology said...

Tkalim,

A "not-god" is something that is not a god. How do you tell the diff between gods and things that are not gods?

The God of the Bible is, as I explained earlier, the creator of the heavens and the Earth. He truly exists, whereas the gods you worship do not exist, and you break His law by worshiping gods other than Him.
I too am a lawbreaker b/c I have broken His law, not in worshiping trees and the sky and such, but b/c I do not love others like I am supposed to, and put too much value on other things that are not Him. We are both idolaters. I am letting you know that the One True God will judge idolaters and that we will suffer eternal torment b/c of our idolatry, unless we ask the One True God to forgive us.

No, I do not see my God. He is invisible. I know of His existence through other means.

How do your gods share eternality in that way? Again, how do you know the exist?



David,
Read my Flying Spaghetti Monster post and get back to me.

David said...

Read my Flying Spaghetti Monster post and get back to me.

That ok, I've spent enough time following your numerous links to posts that fail to answer the question. Now, if you don't have time to answer the question, that's fine. But if you wish to offer an answer, why not outline it here?

Tkalim said...

A "not-god" is something that is not a god. How do you tell the diff between gods and things that are not gods?

You mean like bad spirits or ancestor spirits? They're completely different! They're not in everything, they're only in some things. You can tell a bad spirit because it brings bad luck to your life.

The God of the Bible is, as I explained earlier, the creator of the heavens and the Earth. He truly exists, whereas the gods you worship do not exist

So I can see my gods, but they don't exist; you can't see your god, but he does exist. My friend, you are mixed up like my cousin Xloto!

I too am a lawbreaker b/c I have broken His law, not in worshiping trees and the sky and such

Who worships the trees? Trees are just trees. I worship the god of the trees. Actually, we don't really “worship”, we just pay respects and make sure they have what they need from us.

How do your gods share eternality in that way? Again, how do you know the exist?

I know they exist because they're all around us. I have no idea what “share eternality” means.

Rhology said...

David,

OK, nice talking to you. You can lead an atheist to truth...
I don't like to reinvent the wheel and my time is limited. Read it or don't, I don't care, but if you don't respond to what I've said on it, that's not my problem.



Tkalim,

How do you know that bad spirits and ancestor spirits are not in everything? What is your source of information about spirits and about gods?

Also, how do you distinguish your gods from trees and rocks? Are all trees and all rocks gods?

Worshiping the god of the trees is the same in the One True God's eyes, since you are not worshiping Him. Let me ask this way - what makes you think that sacrificing a goat is sufficient to redeem the bad things you've done?

"Share eternality" means that they have all been together forever. How do you know they are like that?

Tkalim said...

How do you know that bad spirits and ancestor spirits are not in everything?

I told you already, you can tell a bad spirit because it brings bad luck into your life. Ancestor spirits aren't in things, they are always with you.

What is your source of information about spirits and about gods?

These are our traditions, handed down from the first men.

Also, how do you distinguish your gods from trees and rocks? Are all trees and all rocks gods?

You are a funny man. Trees and rocks aren't gods! The gods are in the trees and rocks, they're not the actual trees and rocks. When you wear a leopardskin, are you the leopardskin?

Let me ask this way - what makes you think that sacrificing a goat is sufficient to redeem the bad things you've done?

I haven't done many bad things, so I think a goat is sufficient, yes. That's all that is asked of us.

"Share eternality" means that they have all been together forever. How do you know they are like that?

The absurdity of the alternative.

David said...

"OK, nice talking to you. You can lead an atheist to truth..."

That's cute, but I see little evidence to support that conclusion that you have any truth to dispense.

With respect to the word "atheist", I have to agree with Paul C when he said, "Rhology, on the other hand, keeps telling me what I think, which gets a little tiring."

Rhology said...

Tkalim,

May I ask how you distinguish bad luck from good luck?

As for your traditions, do you believe ALL of the things that are reportedly handed down from the first men? Either way, how do you know they came from them? If not, how do you decide which ones to disbelieve? How do you know they correctly passed their traditions down?

You said that your gods are "in" the trees and rocks. Do you know of a tree or a rock in which are not gods? Or are gods in all rocks and trees?
You said that the gods are from eternity past. Are trees and rocks from eternity past as well? Is matter and the physical world eternal?




David,

What would you prefer that I call you? And why do you always argue like an atheist if you're not in fact an atheist? Isn't a bit of intellectual consistency in order if you're complaining about this?

Paul C, for his part, revels in his refusal to accept the obvious logical conclusions of his position. Here's an outstanding example thereof. It's not MY fault if I demonstrate the logical conclusion and the other guy doesn't accept it. I'm being more consistent than he's apparently willing to be.

David said...

"What would you prefer that I call you?"

Don't call me anything. Just respond to my arguments. No need for labels.

"And why do you always argue like an atheist if you're not in fact an atheist?"

I believe that I argue that your particular version of God is almost certainly wrong. Does that make me an atheist?

Paul C said...

May I ask how you distinguish bad luck from good luck?

Bad luck means bad things happen to you, like losing the trail on a hunt or your child becoming ill.

As for your traditions, do you believe ALL of the things that are reportedly handed down from the first men?

Personally I'm a bit of a skeptic about some of them, but it's better to be safe than sorry.

Either way, how do you know they came from them?

Where else would they have come from?

Do you know of a tree or a rock in which are not gods? Or are gods in all rocks and trees?

The god of the trees is in the trees – that's his nature. The god of the rocks is in the rocks – that's her nature. They're not in everything all of the time though – sometimes the world is empty.

You said that the gods are from eternity past. Are trees and rocks from eternity past as well? Is matter and the physical world eternal?

What does “eternity past” mean?

Paul C said...

Paul C, for his part, revels in his refusal to accept the obvious logical conclusions of his position. Here's an outstanding example thereof.

Reading that back (oh so long ago), the only things that stand out are

a) you didn't answer my point about coherentism and skepticism providing a way out of the regress, and

b) you still have demonstrated that an infinite regress is irrational. You keep saying it, but never provide an argument, and

c) Your initiall argument falls apart because while evidence *may* be the best way for humans to approximate truth, it is not necessarily the *only* way to approximate truth.

I'll accept a logical conclusion when you put forward a logical argument, and actually bother to see it through.

Paul C said...

you still have demonstrated that an infinite regress is irrational.

Should be "not demonstrated". Sorry.

Rhology said...

Paul C,

Have you been trying to count to infinity all this time? How far are you?


Tkalim,

Bad luck means bad things happen to you, like losing the trail on a hunt or your child becoming ill.

How do you know that losing the trail on a hunt or your child becoming ill is bad?
Just b/c you don't like it? How do you equate "I don't like it" with "bad"?


but it's better to be safe than sorry.

How do you know that?



Either way, how do you know they came from them?

Where else would they have come from?


What if they didn't come from the ppl you think they came from but instead came from later people or even recent generations? Or evil spirits, trying to deceive you?


The god of the trees is in the trees – that's his nature. The god of the rocks is in the rocks – that's her nature.

Did these gods exist the trees and rocks? Or have the trees and rocks been forever too?


You said that the gods are from eternity past. Are trees and rocks from eternity past as well? Is matter and the physical world eternal?

What does “eternity past” mean?


Really? Come on, Paul C, don't waste everyone's time like this.

Anonymous said...

Have you been trying to count to infinity all this time? How far are you?

That isn't an argument that an infinite regress is irrational.

So what is you argument that an infinite regress is irrational?

Paul C said...

How do you know that losing the trail on a hunt or your child becoming ill is bad? Just b/c you don't like it?

If you lose the trail, that is bad. If your child becomes ill, that is bad. "Bad" is just the word we use to describe these things.

How do you know that?

Because being "safe" is something you like, while being "sorry" is something you don't like.

What if they didn't come from the ppl you think they came from but instead came from later people or even recent generations? Or evil spirits, trying to deceive you?

They come down through all generations, so you are right, they also came from later and more recent generations as well.

Also you are right that sometimes evil spirits try to deceive us! It is very hard to tell, especially for a young person who does not know the world.

Did these gods exist the trees and rocks? Or have the trees and rocks been forever too?

No individual trees or rocks are forever, but obviously trees and rocks are forever since the world was created with trees and rocks.

Really? Come on, Paul C, don't waste everyone's time like this.

I'm not “Paul C”, I'm Tkalim. My people have a cyclical concept of time, not a linear concept. You'll have to explain “eternity past” to me.

Rhology said...

Anonymous,
So what is you argument that an infinite regress is irrational?

Is this Paul C?
How do you know when anything is rational?



Tkalim,
If you lose the trail, that is bad..."Bad" is just the word we use to describe these things.

So you don't have a reason to label them "bad". You just do. It's based solely on your preference.
What if I came along and told you that losing the trail is in fact "very good"? And that it were my moral obligation, given to me by my gods, to cause you to lose the trail every time and injure your child every time? And that it was "very good"? Is that OK? Is it really good for me? Can you tell which of us is right?


It is very hard to tell, especially for a young person who does not know the world.

Why were you so quick to tell me that the news that I brought you was incorrect, about the God Who created the world and Who will judge you for your lawbreaking, but Who offers forgiveness to those who repent?



the world was created with trees and rocks.

How can the world have existed forever and also have been created?

Tkalim said...

So you don't have a reason to label them "bad". You just do. What if I came along and told you that losing the trail is in fact "very good"?

Then I will understand that the word for “bad” in your language is “very good.”

And that it were my moral obligation, given to me by my gods, to cause you to lose the trail every time and injure your child every time?

Then your gods are set against our gods, and we will see whose gods are stronger.

And that it was "very good"? Is that OK? Is it really good for me? Can you tell which of us is right?

It is good for you if that's what your gods tell you to do.

Why were you so quick to tell me that the news that I brought you was incorrect, about the God Who created the world and Who will judge you for your lawbreaking, but Who offers forgiveness to those who repent?

Because the five gods created the world.

How can the world have existed forever and also have been created?

I didn't say that the world has existed forever.

Paul C said...

Sorry, it is Paul C.

How do you know when anything is rational?

So you're saying that you don't have an argument that an infinite regress is irrational?

Rhology said...

Tkalim,

Then I will understand that the word for “bad” in your language is “very good.

OK, sounds good.
Now, it sounds like you are having difficulty showing me how you can know moral values for things, given your position. You can label things arbitrarily, according to your whim at the moment, but why wouldn't that lead to outcomes that are clearly counterintuitive like what you just said?


Then your gods are set against our gods, and we will see whose gods are stronger.

Yes, and that is exactly what I am getting at. It seems clear to me that your moral position's real outcome in the real world is that those who are in power decide what is morally good. But is that how you really live? Is it always the case, in your view, that the strong get to decide what is morally good? Or are there sometimes injustices visited by strong ppl on weak ppl?


I didn't say that the world has existed forever.

But trees and rocks did? Could you please clarify what has always existed and what hasn't?




Paul C,

I'd answer your question but I'm still counting.
Aren't you? Or do you just think it's OK to have blind faith in your own cognitive faculties? Is that what you're telling me?

magx01 said...

Hey man, do you have a response coming my way?

magx01 said...

Ah, nm, scratch that. I see you already replied, some time ago....

sorry. Going to go read it now.

Rhology said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paul C said...

I'd answer your question but I'm still counting.

So just to confirm – you don't have an argument that an infinite regress is irrational. Thanks.

When you do have an argument, we can discuss it. Until then, all you have are assertions.

Also: still no response to the other two points I made. Just to remind you:

a) you didn't answer my point about coherentism and skepticism providing a way out of the regress, and

b) Your initial argument falls apart because while evidence *may* be the best way for humans to approximate truth, it is not necessarily the *only* way to approximate truth.

Tkalim said...

Now, it sounds like you are having difficulty showing me how you can know moral values for things, given your position. You can label things arbitrarily, according to your whim at the moment, but why wouldn't that lead to outcomes that are clearly counterintuitive like what you just said?

I'm not having any difficulty at all. I've explained to you what makes something “good”, and you've explained to me that the word for “good” in your language is “bad”. What's arbitrary? What's counter-intuitive?

Yes, and that is exactly what I am getting at. It seems clear to me that your moral position's real outcome in the real world is that those who are in power decide what is morally good.

What makes you think that's my moral position? Nothing I've said suggests that. Make an argument, not an assertion.

But trees and rocks did? Could you please clarify what has always existed and what hasn't?

The gods have always existed. The world – containing trees and rocks – go in cycles.

Rhology said...

Paul C,

I'd answer either of your a) or b) points but I'd have to stop counting, and I can't right now - I have to make more progress toward infinity. Might take a while.

But I'd like to ask about b), to be honest. What other way to "approximate" truth would you propose? And what does "approximate" mean to you?


Tkalim,

you've explained to me that the word for “good” in your language is “bad”.

It's not a translation issue. You haven't answered my question. Please go ahead and answer it.


What makes you think that's my moral position? Nothing I've said suggests that.

I'm sorry you're having trouble following my argument, but that's not my problem.
I would like to ask you, if that's not your moral position, to SHOW me why I'm incorrect. Don't just assert it. SHOW it.


Earlier you'd said:
The gods are in the trees and rocks, they're not the actual trees and rocks...The god of the trees is in the trees – that's his nature...obviously trees and rocks are forever since the world was created with trees and rocks.

Now you're saying:
The world – containing trees and rocks – go in cycles.

Apparently you're confused. Could you please explain which of these is true?

Paul C said...

I'd answer either of your a) or b) points but I'd have to stop counting, and I can't right now - I have to make more progress toward infinity. Might take a while.

If you don't have an argument that an infinite regress is irrational, stop saying it.

Tkalim said...

It's not a translation issue. You haven't answered my question. Please go ahead and answer it.

In my language, there is no separate word for “good”. The nearest approximation is “what benefits the people”. So I'm not sure what question it is you want to ask me.

I would like to ask you, if that's not your moral position, to SHOW me why I'm incorrect. Don't just assert it. SHOW it.

Nobody decides anything: what is “good” is what benefits the people. If your gods do not benefit the people, then it is not “good”.

Apparently you're confused. Could you please explain which of these is true?

In my culture we have a cyclical conception of time, so trees and rocks last forever going through cycles.