I will do my best to separate out our interactions under the categories he set out, and add two others of my own.
DISCUSSION 1: Objective morality.
What about "the degree to which systems of behaviour mutually satisfy all adult participants"? Wouldn't that rule out the "bad" behaviours you list, and rule in the good ones?
1) This would mean that kiddie porn rings are perfectly acceptable.
2) How in the world would this work in the real world for most anything (except kiddie porn rings)? When are ALL adult participants "satisfied" in this fallen, messed-up world? Aren't there always dissenters? By what standard and authority do you simply write them off and arbitrarily exclude them? You didn't tell us, which tells us --AGAIN-- that you have a different moral standard than the one you're expressing explicitly. And it seems to be nothing more or less than "That which is moral is what is in accord with my personal preferences".
3) Why SHOULD anyone else accept this moral standard? Where is your Pope of Morality badge to foist this moral standard on the rest of us?
4) Why not choose "the degree to which systems of behaviour mutually DISsatisfy all adult participants"? Why did you choose that which is more comfortable to you? Again you're letting your real motivations slip through the cracks. There's no a priori reason to accept satisfaction over dissatisfaction, pleasure over pain, survival over death, other than your personal preferences.
5) In fact, I bet there are situations about which you'd agree it's better not to achieve wide acceptance from other people, such as heroically standing up against a prevailing attitude of injustice. This causes dissatisfaction among the majority of people, and can lead to pain among everyone involved. One example would be opposing S African apartheid, or the American civil rights movement of the 1960s with Martin Luther King.
6) You say "the 'bad' behaviours" I listed. how do you know they are bad? Isn't that the very question at hand? Which you're, here, begging?
7) You put "bad" in quotes. May I take that to mean that you don't in actuality think that torturing children, creating a fascistic state, and killing all intellectuals and freethinkers are not really bad, but just "bad"? What does this even mean? And why don't you live like that?
it was made clear to me that being a dick wasn't the way to go, for anybody.
This begs the question that "the way to go" = what people wanted you to do.
In essence, you caved to peer pressure. Why should that be an example for anyone else to follow?
How do you know that what you heard was right? To what did you compare it to make a correct judgment? It sounds like societal approval was, here, the very standard itself.
How do you know that following the path of less resistance in this case was the right move?
Why did you follow society's definition of "being a dick"? Are we supposed to accept this as some sort of well-thought-out move on your part, which others should emulate because of your deep and profound reflections about it?
Unless I wanted to be a hunted maniac cackling in the deep woods while the FBI dogs searched for me, I'd have to "get along".
Notice that this is merely an argument from unsavory consequences.
You didn't want to be persecuted, so you acceded to others' demands. There is no principle here.
It's simply never occurred to me to wonder why genocide is "wrong"
I know, and that's probably one big reason you're a "possibilian" - you haven't ever thought deeply about these issues and realised your position's utter absurdity.
Now's your chance. I encourage you not to let the opportunity pass you by. Stop feeding yourself, and the rest of us, this pablum and actually deal with my questions, the ones I am asking, not the ones you wish I were asking.
I looked through a few of the archived discussions on your blog, and see that a few other people have expressed similar reactions - they get a few posts in before they realise that what seemed like a Socratic method is more like a five year old emptily repeating "why".
Oh yes, like the amazingly profound and thoughtful tracieh from the Atheist Experience, LOL.
Notice that the passage you quoted from her was nothing more than dismissive drivel. Where did she actually deal with my questions?
I'm starting to know how she feels
Imagine how stimulating our conversation would be if you actually started dealing with my questions the first time around, instead of requiring that I keep digging at you to get you to deal with the real issue!
You seem to think of morality as a top down set of rules held together by the authority of their author (etymology pun?), whereas Damion and I think of it as a system for "getting along" held together by its internal consistency.
Morality is defined as "what one OUGHT TO do", basically. How else to explain that besides an authority, a source of normativity?
You're assuming that "getting along" is an ought. I keep asking you to PROVE IT. Here's another chance.
>That's the naturalistic fallacy.
I admit I've never heard of that before. So I looked it up. I don't find it compelling.
Oh, do tell. How precisely do you take an IS and turn it into an OUGHT?
As Darwinians like to say (in their naked appeals to authority) - how about you take your thoughts, write them up, and submit them to a philosophical journal? I'm sure the philosophical community would love to see Hume's Guillotine solved! You could be famous overnight!
If it is, in fact, "good" to torture, rape, kill, and exterminate each other, suffer for no reason, etc - so what?
If that was what god wanted, would you do it?
This "if that was what God wanted, would you do it?" may sound sophisticated and trenchant, but it's actually 100% irrelevant. God's morality and laws exist above any obedience from His creation. Even if nobody ever obeyed His law at any time in any way, His law would be no more or less righteous and just than it is now.
At the risk of overwhelming you with proper theological reasoning, see here if you're really interested in the answer.
The term "good", in that sense, just seems empty and uninteresting to me. It's like asking how we know breathing is "fantabulous" - I don't care. What's "fantabulous"? Why is it "fantabulous" that I should care what "fantabulous" is? It's just a fatuous term that refers to nothing.
Then why did you frame your initial comments to me using those terms?
You don't really believe this. You're just backtracking to it now that your bluff has been called.
So is this what you meant?here's my problem, and maybe what I should have said in the first place - "the important thing" about his atonement here is still that it is *scapegoat human sacrifice*.Any person that did that would be reprehensible - but somehow it's good when god does it.
I can only assume that this is the only consistent way to take your initial comments to me.here's my problem, and maybe what I should have said in the first place - "the BLAH" about his atonement here is still that it is *scapegoat human sacrifice*.Any person that did that would be BLAH - but somehow it's BLAH when god does it.
Here's another one, ripe for filling in the blanks with what you really meant:
The overall vision of the world you seemed to paint for me *was*, in fact, simply nihilism - with the concomitant lack of reasons for "good" and "bad": the only addition you had made to nihilism, as far as I could see, was the far-more-horrifying introduction of the possibility of an infinity of suffering if we guess wrong about the nature of our situation, and an infinitely powerful, infinitely free agent (I said "entity" because the way you described said agent didn't sound like any god I've ever heard of) roaming through the universe, plucking living souls out of life and burning them forever as it felt like it.
What's so very funny/sad about this is it only took about 7 comments for you to fulfill precisely what I was saying, and which you had originally decried.
"Lack of reasons for 'good' and 'bad'" - you've just now demonstrated that this is exactly what you believe.
And given that, your complaints about the "infinitely powerful...entity...burning them forever as it felt like it" are meaningless, aren't they? So what? Is this a bad thing? Isn't "bad" the opposite of "good"? And as you said, in your view, the term "good", in that sense, just seems empty and uninteresting to you. It's like asking how we know breathing is "fantabulous" - you don't care. What's "fantabulous"? Why is it "fantabulous" that you should care what "fantabulous" is? It's just a fatuous term that refers to nothing.
So this stuff about God being mean for casting people into Hell... it's fatuous. So what? What's "bad"? Why is it "Bad" that you should (or shouldn't) care what "bad" is?
You're lost in a sea of autonomous cluelessness. Such is the fate of all those who reject the God Who created the universe in which you live.
I don't see why an invalid if invalidates ifs. "If" we want to catch a cold, we "ought" to lick doorknobs. Does that invalidate hygiene?
That's a far too simplistic restatement. It's not "invalidating 'if's". It's showing you that they're useless.
People have all sorts of desires. The whole "if" thing you've set up doesn't differentiate between "if"s - that's the problem. You have no way to know whether my "if"s are better than yours, even if my "if"s are based around (to take approximately the worst thing I can imagine) how I can achieve power over the maximum number of girls so as to rape and kill them whenever the mood strikes) and your "if"s are about feeding and clothing starving children and elderly.
why would I want to do brutal things?
B/c of personal preference, and nothing more.
My question was designed to reveal that you don't have a reason beyond your preferences and peer pressures and "upbringing".
See, that's not how *I* answer moral questions, thank God. I have an ultimate standard to which I can appeal, no matter what zilch cluelessly says.
DISCUSSION 2: Radical solipsism.
you're of course free to disagree, but I invite any third party readers to contemplate their own feelings of ambivalence regarding the relative worth of fortune cookie based decisions vs evidence.
Of course, this is no answer to my challenge. You're acting like an insecure bully who, after your ritual posturing of dominance didn't work, now appeals to his buddies for courage. This isn't a fight, of course, but you're turning around to your audience and asking "Right? Right?" and feeding off their imagined chuckles and snickers.
This doesn't assist you in actually answering the question, however. That's the main problem. How about you just answer it?
It's like saying a glass of water and the ocean are both "water", so how can you decide which one you'd rather drink without referring to supernatural authority?
I don't see how this analogy applies. I'd appreciate clarification.
There comes a point when "our spade is turned". My question to you would simply be: why is your spade-turn moment more valid than mine? You claim that, because god has such-and-such attributes, you know logic works - but how do you know he has those attributes?
Mine is more valid because it is internally consistent, while yours is internally INconsistent.
Mine answers the fundamental questions, and yours merely assumes them.
I have a coherent First Principle - God lives and speaks - and you don't.
I have every reason, given my First Principle, to think that I have access to truth using my cognitive faculties. You don't have any reason to think that.
I know He has those attributes b/c He spoke and revealed them.
And dear god, don't quote the bible at me
Tell you what - I won't quote the Bible as soon as you stop quoting YOUR Bible at ME. Stop aiming the utterances of your cognitive faculties and personal preferences at me until you justify them.
Oh wait, that's impossible.
It's impossible for me to reason apart from God, b/c He is the source and author of reason itself. He is the necessary precondition for all reasoning and rational thought.
You're doing the same thing as you think I'm doing, but you don't realise it.
If you disagree, give me some evidence that your cognitive faculties are reliably aimed at producing true beliefs, given your position's tenets and implications. Do us all a favor and make sure to analyse your answer in advance and ask yourself "Did I just make another set of blind-faith statements and naked assertions, or did I actually answer Rhology's questions?"
How do you know the bible didn't just randomly form out of nothing in the last few seconds, along with your false memories of it?
Here you go.
You have a far bigger problem with that question than I do.
MAX 2: "when confronted with multiple spade-turn moments, we pick the option requiring the least faith".
1) How do you know that is right and true?
2) How do you measure "least" vs "most" faith? What is your standard?
Can't you see how, as you continue to explore your rebellious and autonomous 'reasoning', you keep raising more crippling questions than you're answering?
(My own addendum)
DISCUSSION 3: Defining the Christian position
I invite you to post "only a religion of scapegoat human sacrifice can provide a standard of morality" on your blog header.
1) I'd be happy to do so, if it were true.
Christianity is far, far more than what you said, for one thing.
Also, it's not just "a" religion. It's THE TRUE religion, the one God revealed. Christianity has no value unless it comes from God.
2) The statement's content is not actually true. ANYone can provide "a standard of morality". The challenge I've been making to you is to provide one that is beyond:
a. Your own personal preferences (ie, show me your Pope of Morality badge)
b. Fallacious appeals to IS to get OUGHT
c. Counting noses (ie, appeal to societal approval, as you imagine it) (which is, of course, a mere argumentum ad populum)
The question here is, once you give your your standard, whether your standard is correct and has any value.
By that virtue, Christianity's standard is of infinite value and truth, since it is based in an infinitely knowledgeable and good Creator.
>>God is always justified in putting anyone to death whenever He wants. You and other humans are not so justified.
The idiom "above the law" means "exempt from the laws that apply to everyone else."
The condition you've described for god is *exactly* "above the law".
You didn't say how He is above the law, so there's nothing to do here.
To explain what I think you're saying: Since God is justified in putting anyone to death at any time, He obeys His law perfectly, since the law is "Don't unjustifiably kill".
Such is not true of humans. We're not God.
In what sense is he the definition of goodness if he does things that aren't "good" (scapegoat human sacrifice)?
On Christianity, the sacrifice of Jesus was the good-est thing that was ever done - the ultimate expression of God's love for His rebellious and evil people.
I'm not sure what this question is meant to express.
(My own addendum)
MINI-DISCUSSION 4 - Odds and ends
If the wars of the twentieth century had killed the same proportion of the population that die in the wars of a typical tribal society, there would have been two billion deaths, not 100 million. "
1) Even if that were true, it still requires much more effort to kill 100 million than to kill 100.
2) You forget that y'all education-idolaters like to claim that, with education, anything is possible and massive advances are just over the horizon. Has the entire world ever been at war before?
3) More than just "war" occurred during the 20th century. Remember the massive genocidal projects, beyond the scope of anything attempted before. Done in the name of "scientific progress"?