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July 19, 2013

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Our own human experience confirms these truths.
Or maybe it's a sign of something else something else - something only to do with us (humans)?

    Regardless of geographic location, place in history or form of culture, it’s never been morally acceptable to kill or lie without proper justification.

People who write stuff like this might want to read about Spartan or Mongol history. Or US history back in the 1800's. It has always been completely acceptable to kill about anyone who is not among your particular "tribe". Universal human rights is a recent invention.

“Dr. Harris has to defend an even more radical claim than that: he claims that the property of being good is identical with the property of creaturely flourishing. And he’s not offered any defense of this radical identity claim. In fact, I think we have a knock-down argument against it. Now bear with me here; this is a little technical. On the next-to-last page of his book, Dr. Harris makes the telling admission that if people like rapists, liars, and thieves could be just as happy as good people, then his “moral landscape” would no longer be a moral landscape. Rather, it would just be a continuum of well-being whose peaks are occupied by good and bad people, or evil people, alike. Now what’s interesting about this is that earlier in the book, Dr. Harris explained that about three million Americans are psychopathic. That is to say, they don’t care about the mental states of others. They enjoy inflicting pain on other people. But that implies that there’s a possible world, which we can conceive, in which the continuum of human well-being is not a moral landscape. The peaks of well-being could be occupied by evil people. But that entails that in the actual world, the continuum of well-being and the moral landscape are not identical either. For identity is a necessary relation. There is no possible world in which some entity A is not identical to A. So if there’s any possible world in which A is not identical to B, then it follows that A is not in fact identical to B. Now since it’s possible that human well-being and moral goodness are not identical, it follows necessarily that human well-being and goodness are not the same, as Dr. Harris has asserted in his book. Now it’s not often in philosophy that you get a knock-down argument against a position. But I think we’ve got one here. By granting that it’s possible that the continuum of well-being is not identical to the moral landscape, Dr. Harris’s view becomes logically incoherent….” From “Navigating Sam Harris' The Moral Landscape” by WLC.

There is this housed atop Love’s Immutable Semantics:

There is no world W in which putting children atop an altar of fire is “The-Good”.

Often in these conversations some just redefine (rather than dialogue). In a recent thread this sort of word play led to this is comical move when discussing moral terms when one arguing in favor of Atheism asserted that a God is not needed for his (the atheist’s) moral definitions to “exist”. He said, “Prove that a God is needed to substantiate that these definitions (the atheist’s definitions) can “exist””. Perhaps they consider this to be serious thinking: “Is God needed for the meaning of atheism’s terms to exist?” So goes the strategy of ever digressing into moral epistemology to skirt and hedge out of discussing moral ontology.


For Atheism’s definitions to have their sort of meaning, there are several possible bedrocks to regress to. Either no god, or, a mutable god, or, an immutable god of immutable malevolence. All three of those allow for the Moral Terms which Atheism defines to “exist” for Love and Truth and Person are all at some point in the journey merely a means to an end. But none of these bedrocks justify any objective (transcends human whim) differentiation between the word “cruel” and the world “beautiful” where our child is lying atop an altar of fire for the solar winds of wave, or of particle, or whatever Materialism and Immaterialism (their Moral Landscapes are one and the same) ultimately regress to, ever push and change such volition-less inclinations and reverberations within Mind as Mind is pushed around and is but the slave of some ill-defined autocratic tyrant which is its precursor void of will, void of immutable love.


As it turns out, even with Immutable Love as our final regress, Atheism’s god of “Self as the end of all definitions” can still flourish for the Self’s volition is left un-accosted, un-coerced and thus The-Self finds it is free to move out of the community of the Self-Other that just is love’s embrace for the only autocratic tyrants enslaving their automatons in this game are the Materialist’s and Immaterialist’s ontological categorical endpoints void of Immutable Love.

The Immaterialist attempts to hedge out of the Material and therein make a claim on Volition (he mistakenly thinks that volition alone can save our child atop the altar of fire from mutable semantics) but he is unable to give us his proof of a change in category anywhere in his circular reasoning: Mind is yet the automaton and not the Immutable End of Regress. Thus the moral landscapes of the Immaterialist and the Materialist are one and the same for the only objective anything is Mutability and this in that place where The-Self is the End of all definitions and therein we find all sorts of possible worlds (even this world on atheism’s terms) where the child sacrificed atop the altar of fire is, well, The-Good, or, The-Lovely, or, The-Beautiful. Mutable Semantics. The Immutable Semantics of Love's Triune gives to these children the Life these confused moral landscapes of materialism / immaterialism can never give to them, not ever, for their mutable semantics deny these children, and us, of life by their arbitrariness. -Tis Love Himself Whose Immutable Semantics rescues them, and us, from irrationality's lie. God is Love and we find that Love is Triune necessarily and therein we find our epistemology and our ontology wholly satisfied from A to Z.

It seems there has always been a reason, a criteria to justify. Something, anything. Color. Tribe. Sex. Religion. Tribe. Something.


For the sheer fun of it? I'm not sure that's been the fingerprint of Man Alive, Man upon the Stage on this small blue planet. Ever. Sickening justifications, yes (there has always been “criteria”) but For The Fun Of It? Where is the evidence from this small blue planet of this species roaming about the planet in such a way? Was it ancient Egypt? No, I don’t think so. How about what is now China, say, about 25K years ago? Any evidence? No, there doesn’t seem to be. How about some long forgotten civilization in North Africa from, say, 100K years ago? 10K years ago? No, there doesn’t seem to be any evidence of such Books-Of-Conduct.

We have no evidence that Man upon the Stage is, say, 10% for fun and 90% for some criteria "now" vs., say, 70% for the fun of it and 30% for some criteria "back then" upon the world stage.

What proportion of humanity was killed by man against man in the year 50,000 BC? How about 25,000 BC? How about 500,000 BC? What proportion was for fun and what proportion claimed some justification criteria?

When did the Fun/Criteria ratio sink to 0.5? 1.0? 0.001? What mathematical evidence do we have to prove Man Upon The Stage was lying and killing and 90% of this for the fun of it “back then” and is now only 5% for the fun of it?

Less violence now vs. “then”? What evidence do we have on proportions and percentages here? Where is this Global-Math recorded to make such exacting accounts that we may reference it?


Sadly, we do have our brutally repeatable moral experience here in the wasteland of the knowledge of good and evil to refer to.


A reply to the assertion that Man was, "back then", 90% for fun and is now only 5% for fun, or, on Man Upon The Stage:


What about the periods of great calm amid empires in recorded history? You give us no reason to believe that these are insulations against a nadir into violence, just as you give no reason to believe our current calm is an insulation against future nadirs into violence and this becomes especially apparent given how mathematical frequencies on survival will be impacted by mathematical frequencies in energy, food, weather, and other stressors on Man to weigh in over the next few thousand years. Meanwhile all the evidence we have tells us that such nadirs into calm are just no insulation at all against nadirs into violence, as all we have at our fingertips shows us Man in this perpetual ebb and flow amidst Good and Evil, never free of either. And you have no recorded data to support your proportions of 500K BC, and so on.

When did Man not love? Not hate? When did it become 0.50, half love, half hate? How about 40/60 there inside of our thoughts, moods, desires, fantasies, jealousies, passions, and other sorts of internal heat, good or otherwise? When did 40/60 there inside Man forever transition to 60/40 in favor of “the ugly stuff” or in favor of “the good stuff”?

What recorded evidence do you have on the human condition to show us your unidirectional plane of differentiation where Man upon the Stage is concerned?

When Man appears on the stage, all our records, all evidence, shows us Man as we now find him where social needs are concerned, where tendencies are concerned, where interior nuances are concerned, where learning is concerned, where love and hate are concerned, and so on. We find Man alive, Man at war, Man in love, Man learning, Man in the fight for his life, Man in Worship, Man in pain, Man in hate, Man in cruelty, Man in empathy, Man rescuing Man, Man killing Man, and so on.


The Naturalist’s entire story of some sort of imaginary plane of progress where Evidence for Mankind is concerned in all these nuances and traits shows us nothing which is not still with us as all that we find has never left us. Unity and Division. Love and Hate. Empathy and Cruelty. Learning and rising to the joy and peace which Love’s Image brings and also rebelling against this Light and falling into misery. All can be traced back to whatever evidence we have on Man eons ago and all are still right here with us today. All this talk of some sort of uni-directional plane of progress amid these nuances within Man, within the human condition, within his selfishness and his love and so on is imaginary and without real evidence at all for every time we find Man upon the Stage carving, writing, singing, building, and so on we find Man in War and Love, in Empathy and Cruelty in countless peaks and troughs over the eons for these are all alive and well, right up till the last millionth of a second and there is no Nadir now nor Calm now nor War now which shows us any evidence at all which we don’t also find in eons past where recorded human history is concerned.


The Naturalist also presents us with no reason at all to think such ebbs and flows are any sort of natural insulation to yet further ebbs and flows for all the evidence points in the opposite direction. When Man arrives on scene he arrives with the interior human condition we find him with this very day.


When did Man not love? When did Man not hate? When did Man not make war? When did Man not hope for peace? When did Man never have peace amid war? When did Man never have war amid peace?


You present no evidence for the evolution of the human condition and yet you keep pointing to periods of Calm and periods of Violence as if these are somehow occurring on some sort of uni-directional plane while all the evidence we can lay our fingers testifies against your entire hypothesis.

You have no evidence to support your hypothesis on Love and Hate where Man Alive upon the Stage is concerned from 25K years ago, nor do you have any from 500K years ago, nor do you have any from 10K years ago, and you can never tell us when the magical 50/50 mark was finally, and forever, passed. All the evidence that we do have shows us the human condition as one perpetual condition with perpetual ebbs and flows, peaks and troughs scattered about by the winds of the human condition upon the world stage there in all his nuances.


He longs to be free of all of it yet he longs to employ all of it for he is never able to declare himself free of any of it.

The knowledge and the experience of Good and Evil are traced forever backwards through all that we find in Man Alive, Man upon the Stage. The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil is our Actuality. Yet we know there is another Tree after all and it is not the false god of naturalism’s Life-Less-Ness but is instead the Uncreated Topography of Love Himself there within Immutable Life.


Erkki S.

People who write stuff like this might want to read about Spartan or Mongol history.

And what valuable lesson might one learn from this reading? That Spartans and Mongols killed for the heck of it? Shamanism spasms? Or wait…that these cultural killings were okay?

You misunderstand. The OP is simply saying that killing without proper justification has always been wrong despite culture, customs, ritual, etc. There have been justifications galore. Let’s take female circumcision for example. It’s practiced in almost 30 countries. What gives? Well, what we can say confidently is that this is immoral. Despite popular opinion. Despite, well, everything.

Universal human rights is a recent invention.

Just because humans increasingly start to behave more morally doesn’t mean anything was invented morally. See?

That’s the gist of the OP.

    And what valuable lesson might one learn from this reading? That Spartans and Mongols killed for the heck of it? Shamanism spasms? Or wait…that these cultural killings were okay? You misunderstand. The OP is simply saying that killing without proper justification has always been wrong despite culture, customs, ritual, etc.

Well in that case the OP could be much clearer on this issue, as the very phrase affirms:

Humans have historically recognized these two objective moral absolutes; these principles transcend culture, location and history.

A more cynical person might acknowledge that about the only thing humanity has recognized is that it is not usually smart to try to kill people who will kill you back.

The opening post by Mr. Wallace presents a truly refreshing perspective, and on the whole, I fully concur. Thank you, Mr. Wallace.

The only point I have trouble with is in the concluding paragraph:

All laws require law givers.

That's a bare assertion that amounts to nothing more than special pleading for the existence of a divine, all-knowing, all-powerful, all-benevolent creator (as repeated ad infinitum in every one of WLC's public appearances).

Quite apart from the unresolvable logical enigmas inherent in positing any sort of omni-everything, sentient, purposeful Creator of the Universe - and quite apart from the even greater implausibility that such a creator is actually the deity as described in either the OT or NT - the core problem here is an unwillingness to consider that these objective moral standards simply could not be any other way - that they are simply a logical entailment that comes as a natural consequence of natural selection among a species whose survival depends on social organization and collaborative behavior.

Saying that our natural code of ethics was designed for and granted to us by a conscious, deliberate entity is entirely consistent with saying that the same applies to the laws of gravity, electro-magnetics, genetics, relativity, and so on. It's a matter of having that sort of worldview.

But let's not kid ourselves: that sort of worldview isn't really knowledge on our part. It's guesswork, as evidenced by all the different, incompatible descriptions that have been posited about the alleged sentient creator. Why can't we just admit that we don't know?

Actually, atheists can do that - that's what we do, and it's the one thing that defines us as a group: we don't accept specific assertions about the existence of deities, because there's no reliable evidence to support those assertions.

Otto,


“……..the core problem here is an unwillingness to consider that these objective moral standards simply could not be any other way - that they are simply a logical entailment that comes as a natural consequence of natural selection among a species whose survival depends on social organization and collaborative behavior….”

Now, here you say “objective moral standards”. Well, if by subjective and mutable, such that the sacrifice of a child atop an altar of fire can be good in some given world, then you are not speaking about the same standard as is the Christian.


For example, this quote shows us how we may kill our brother for The-Good:


“The philosopher of science Michael Ruse reports,


‘The position of the modern evolutionist … is that humans have an awareness of morality … because such an awareness is of biological worth. Morality is a biological adaptation no less than are hands and feet and teeth. …Considered as a rationally justifiable set of claims about an objective something, ethics is illusory. I appreciate that when somebody says ‘Love thy neighbor as thyself,’ they think they are referring above and beyond themselves. … Nevertheless, … such reference is truly without foundation. Morality is just an aid to survival and reproduction, … and any deeper meaning is illusory…..’


If we were to rewind the film of human evolution and start anew, people with a very different set of moral values might well have evolved.


As Darwin himself wrote in The Descent of Man,
If…….men were reared under precisely the same conditions as hive-bees, there can hardly be a doubt that our unmarried females would, like the worker-bees, think it a sacred duty to kill their brothers, and mothers would strive to kill their fertile daughters, and no one would think of interfering…..”

Epistemology is not Ontology, as in:

“So how does Sam Harris propose to solve the Value Problem? The trick he proposes is simply to re-define what he means by “good” and “evil”, in non-moral terms. He says, “We should “define ‘good’ as that which supports [the] well-being” of conscious creatures. So, he says, “questions about values . . . are really questions about the well-being of conscious creatures.” And therefore, he concludes, “it makes no sense . . . to ask whether maximizing well-being is ‘good’.” Why not? Because he’s redefined the word “good” to mean the well-being of conscious creatures. So to ask, “Why is maximizing creatures’ well-being good?” is on his definition the same as asking, “Why does maximizing creatures’ well-being maximize creatures’ well-being?” It’s just a tautology. It’s just talking in circles! So Dr. Harris has “solved” the Value Problem just by re-defining his terms. It’s nothing but wordplay…...” (WLC)


Feel free to call the subjective objective (you merely redefine) and then state Atheism’s Mantra, “God is not necessary for the meaning of atheism’s terms to exist”. Yes, but Immutable Love at the Beginning and End of all things is needed for the meaning of the Christian’s terms to exist. By doing what you are doing here you only highlight the inability of Atheism’s description of reality to encompass our experiential reality which is testifying ever more often and from ever more vectors of that which we see in Eden, of that which we see atop Love’s Cross, and of that which we see fated to Man’s various End Points described in painful and brutal detail there in Scripture’s A to Z: E Pluribus Unum, Love's Triune Ontology of The-Self and The-Other and the embrace therein which forever births the Self-Other of the Singular-We, Love's Necessarily Begotten E Pluribus Unum. If observational reality is the ticket then Theism is more plausible, by far, than is Atheism.

Now, if you want to assert that we are a brain in some mad scientist’s test tube, then you must present a defeater of sufficient strength to convince us that our brutally repeatable experiences are in fact in some sort of Matrix. Of course, we are in a Matrix, for nothing that is in this universe can self-account, as all that is found here inside our Actuality, including Actuality itself, is, obviously, contingent, but, there too, Theism enjoys a greater plausibility, by far.

Only, not just any Theism, but, a Peculiar sort of Theism wherein a leisurely E Pluribus Unum precedes all things, begets all things, pours into all things, embraces all things, and, ultimately, there in love’s final felicity, redeems all things unto, into, Himself.

Atheism's Moral Landscape fails to hold up. The creature's good and moral duty just cannot find each other, much less a happy marriage:

“Thus, Dr. Harris’s view lacks any source for objective moral duty. [A] second problem: “ought” implies “can.” A person is not morally responsible for an action which he is unable to avoid. For example, if somebody shoves you into another person, you’re not responsible for bumping into him. You had no choice. But Sam Harris believes that all of our actions are causally determined and that there is no free will. Dr. Harris rejects not only libertarian accounts of free will but also compatibilistic accounts of freedom. But, if there is no free will, then no one is morally responsible for anything! In the end, Dr. Harris admits this, though it’s tucked away in the endnotes of his volume. Moral responsibility, he says, and I quote, “is a social construct,” not an objective reality: I quote: “in neuroscientific terms no person is more or less responsible than any other” for the actions they perform. His thoroughgoing determinism spells the end of any hope or possibility of objective moral duties because on his worldview we have no control over what we do....

Thus, on Dr. Harris’ view there is no source of objective moral duties because there is no moral law-giver, and no possibility of objective moral duty, because there is no free will. Therefore, on his view, despite his protestations to the contrary, right and wrong do not really exist……..”

“In his last speech, he [Dr. Harris] said, “But we simply must rely upon certain axioms”. Well, that’s the same as saying you’ve got to take it by faith! And if these axioms are moral axioms, then I think he’s admitting my point, that on atheism, there simply is no ground for believing in objective moral values and duties. He just takes them by a leap of faith.”

(Dr. Harris cannot reach an ontological End Point which coherently grounds his assertion, and thus he must cut the Chain before its bitter end and leave his newly found ends dangling in the winds of inexplicable axiom and incoherence. It doesn’t work with “this universe is just not contingent” and it doesn’t work here. This is the death caused by circular reasoning. Only by following our ontology to its Necessary End can one avoid this death.)

“Dr. Harris has to defend an even more radical claim than that: he claims that the property of being good is identical with the property of creaturely flourishing. And he’s not offered any defense of this radical identity claim. In fact, I think we have a knock-down argument against it. Now bear with me here; this is a little technical. On the next-to-last page of his book, Dr. Harris makes the telling admission that if people like rapists, liars, and thieves could be just as happy as good people, then his “moral landscape” would no longer be a moral landscape. Rather, it would just be a continuum of well-being whose peaks are occupied by good and bad people, or evil people, alike. Now what’s interesting about this is that earlier in the book, Dr. Harris explained that about three million Americans are psychopathic. That is to say, they don’t care about the mental states of others. They enjoy inflicting pain on other people. But that implies that there’s a possible world, which we can conceive, in which the continuum of human well-being is not a moral landscape. The peaks of well-being could be occupied by evil people. But that entails that in the actual world, the continuum of well-being and the moral landscape are not identical either. For identity is a necessary relation. There is no possible world in which some entity A is not identical to A. So if there’s any possible world in which A is not identical to B, then it follows that A is not in fact identical to B. Now since it’s possible that human well-being and moral goodness are not identical, it follows necessarily that human well-being and goodness are not the same, as Dr. Harris has asserted in his book. Now it’s not often in philosophy that you get a knock-down argument against a position. But I think we’ve got one here. By granting that it’s possible that the continuum of well-being is not identical to the moral landscape, Dr. Harris’s view becomes logically incoherent….”

(Quotes from “Navigating Sam Harris' The Moral Landscape” by WLC)

Otto,

You seem to be saying that the way that bees evolved is immoral. That's a tough sale to make on atheistic grounds. They flourish. You are, at best, contradicting your own stated claims, or, at worst, employing circular reasoning as you just cannot reach your stated End Points coherently.

Otto,

Genetic Fallacy. Is To Ought Fallacy. Epistemology. Slaughter. Flourish. Ontology. Coherence...... simple lines to draw.....

scbrownlhrm,

Thank you for your insightful and profound insights on this issue.Having read through the posts on this and several other related articles on STR blog, I have two thoughts on the matter.

In your point: Atheism's Moral Landscape fails to hold up. The creature's good and moral duty just cannot find each other, much less a happy marriage. // To attempt to assert that a divinely-originated set of morals is preferable to a man-made code of conduct that is subject to change via whim, political or economic advantage ... how is such to be proven or at best understood?

Second, can it be that in the whole scheme of things ethical, the atheist is content to strive to discover the best method to live a moral life, while the theist strives to live a godly one? Such a moral mid-set is derived from God knows where (oh wait, strike that!), while the godly life is better defined yet difficult to maintain (which is why the concept of God's grace must be offered).

Let us suppose that in the year 2525 (if man is still alive). We still haven't made it back to the Moon, let alone to gone to Mars or any other planet. We are contacted by a federation of planets that are capable not only of interstellar, but inter-galactic travel. They've been around for a long time and have surveyed every rock in the universe. They know where intelligent life is and where it isn't. They even know where it will exist in the future.

Suppose that they give us thorough and convincing proof that all life in the rest of the universe will be destroyed unless every human sacrifices their own life.

They show us the art, the literature the music of countless worlds. Its depth and poignancy is so rich that just beholding the meanest portrait or hearing the simplest poem or melody reduces even the most stolid human to sobs of joy. All of which will be lost if humanity does not make the great sacrifice.

What is more, they show us how no other life will ever arise and humanity will never advance to even the most rudimentary achievements of the most insignificant member of the federation.

Just in case you were thinking that if we did make the supreme sacrifice that we would remembered in the songs of these great peoples, you can put that out of your mind. The whole situation is so horrifying to the aliens, that they've developed a technology that will cause universal and irreversible forgetfulness of the whole episode, should we choose to sacrifice ourselves.

Furthermore, all evidence that we ever existed will be cast into the sun. In fact, the entire earth and every planet or rock we've ever touched will be cast into the sun.

That particular chain of events has put in place in such a way that it will happen automatically should we choose to make the sacrifice, but will remain dormant forever if we do not. The aliens have no way of undoing that...so we can't bargain for them to remember us in exchange for the sacrifice.

So on one side of the scales is humanity alone in a universe once teeming with life that we could have saved. On the other side we have a universe still teeming with intelligent life, but total oblivion for humanity.

I do not ask whether this federation has the right to obliterate us. Obviously, they would be quite capable of it, but let us suppose that our sacrifice won't save the rest of the universe unless it is made willingly.

Nor do I ask whether we have a duty to die in the face of this choice.

But I do ask this: Would it be a fine thing if humanity chose to lay down its own life on behalf of the rest of intelligent life in the universe?

I tend to think it would be a fine thing. But that intuition seems to rip evolutionary ethics to shreds, which, I think, implies that it would be the worst evil imaginable.

DGFischer,

In “July 16, 2013 Challenge: You're a Higher Source Than the Bible” I enjoyed your comments on Grace and Law. I’m not going to dive into your question right in much detail now (places to go, etc) but briefly this comes down to what we all experience in the moral realm with such things as the notion of I-Ought-Not-Have and Conscience and what “good moral life” actually means and so on (child sacrifice?), irrational itches and autohypnosis, and so on as all these scattered and isolated assertions dangling in mid air (inexplicable axiom such as Sam Harris attempts, and fails at) run up against a certain need for coherence and plausibility as a singular whole. Grace is an interesting nuance as well. As is accountability in a strictly legal/exterior sense and in a strictly interior/personal sense regardless of what “we” “define” as legal in the exterior. The Self/In. The Out/Other. The Self-Other over there inside the triune topography of I-You-We which just is E Pluribus Unum. Disjointed and confused attempts at mergers won’t do for such wishful thinking hints of fantasy. Or autohypnosis. And so on. Or irrational itches which embrace both child sacrifice and love wholly unable to differentiate one from the other, so long as XX or XY thrive. It’s all a matter of intellectual coherence, logical consistency between presuppositions, philosophical plausibility, and the necessary power of exposition on our brutally repeatable experiential reality here inside this observational Matrix. Blind inexplicable axiom as a means of merger just won’t do when there are other rigorously sound options at hand unless a defeater of sufficient power is presented. And none have been. Immaterialism seems to end in the same places as Materialism as Mind is but the automaton of indifference which cannot differentiate. Ever. Differentiation leads, therein, to irrationality, incoherence, and fantasy. I’m not interested in fantasies. I’m interested in reality. That’s why I’m such a big fan of science. More later. Thank you for your work on Grace and Law in that prior thread; very helpful ~~~

WL,

My comments on Immaterialism are directed toward a certain kind of such. Immutable Mind, Immutable Will, and so on are, well, immune, of course. I think we overlap in large part here. Of course, such alone cannot give us Immutable Love, but, as it turns out, such becomes the most plausible as Mind is found to have the In/Out, the Self/Other necessarily, lest my small intestine not exist utill I think of it, or not at all if I never think of it.


And so on ~~~

What is about to ensue from Atheism approximates as such:


Typically there will be two logical fallacies: the Is-To-Ought fallacy, and, the Genetic Fallacy.


Then, there will be some sort of contorted logic (which is simply non-logic) to explain away naturalism’s embrace of slaughter as moral as it benefits the flourishing of just so many stepping stones in just so many vectors. Bees not withstanding, of course.

BTW, this is one of the fundamental incoherencies with, “It could not have evolved any other way” for such a stance asserts that atheism’s bedrock of the Indifferent is somehow out there differentiating violence from non-violence. If it happens to turn out a certain way, very well, and, well, it seems to have turned out “better” (whatever that means) for us than for the Bees (whatever that is supposed to mean in genomic terms). But Atheism does not stop at that logical fallacy (“better”, as if genomic evolution is “regretting” the bees and “regretting” man’s ongoing interior “ugly” appetites). “Ugly”? What? That’s a non-sense word, like “round-square”. Well, as if that is not bad enough Atheism then proceeds to ignore the Bee’s “violence” and Man’s “violence” and wants everyone else to ignore it as well and simply engage in the fantasy that there is something objectively different between non-violence and violence when clearly both the itch and the scratch are wholly indifferent in the objective, scientific realm. In Atheism even the subjective realm embraces violence in countless arenas as there just is no difference in Atheism between “subjective and objective” as there is no such thing as a physical system within Nature that is free of her. It’s all the same arena. There is no Objective-Subjective in Atheism; only a bedrock of undifferentiating indifference.


This is why Sam Harris fails at an attempt at arguing that objective morality (or any morality) exists anywhere in this universe, for creaturely flourishing and the moral landscape are not the same property: they are not identical and the claim of identity fails miserably. This is why WLC proves that the continuum of human well-being is not a moral landscape (in Atheism’s construct). The peaks of well-being are occupied by all sorts of violent and ugly things right before our eyes. In the actual world, the continuum of well-being and the moral landscape are not identical for genomic evolution is, right before our eyes, valuing all sorts of ugly itches which the atheist is forever trying to claim are “immoral”. Immoral? On what grounds? (Theism of course permits rational differentiation) If this move by atheism to attempt a differentiation between violence and non-violence cannot be housed within its own ontological regress (to its Necessary End) then atheism’s stated Truth Claims about Reality cannot support its fantasy that is the Atheist’s attempt at “differentiation” between violence and non-violence. The Atheist has merely jumped ship prior to the bitter and Necessary End of atheism’s ontological regress and faces the incoherence of circular reasoning. It must be either one’s stated Necessary Ends of one’s ontological regress to those bitter (and necessary) Ends, or if no Ends, then one is left with a Circle (End-Less) and the death of one’s argument. It is better to have Necessary Ends which can support one’s Truth Claims which one means to affix to them than it is to have circular (End-Less) reasoning. Atheism’s attempt to differentiate between violence and non-violence fails on pain of circularity. And on the evidence of the plane of well-being manifest before our eyes from bacteria to bugs to birds to homosapiens.

Next, the Atheist will appeal to Mathematical Frequency as his proof of his irrational “better”. Well, we’ll await that card to be played and then we can jump into what Math and Frequency have to say about this universe’s notions of Violence, Life, Non-Violence, Death, and Life-Less-Ness.

Next, the Atheist will appeal to an imaginary “plane of uni-directional progress” and state that, say, 250K years ago the proportion of human deaths via being killed by humans was, say, 80%, and is in the last 100 years, well, make that the last 50 years, about, say, 5%. On a clock of 250K years, he will (without evidence) appeal to his 50 years, his mammoth 0.02%, as his Grand-Uni-Directional-Plane of Progress. And all this he will do without ever presenting his mathematical proofs on the human condition from 250K years ago, from 50K years ago, and also, without presenting his mathematical proofs on prior nadir’s in violence successes and failures at insulating mankind from future nadirs, or on any of his asserted proportions. Well, we will await that card to be played and then we can look more closely at the actual data (what there is of it) out there on Man Upon The Stage here in the wasteland of the knowledge of good and evil that is the felt human experience.


Observational Reality here inside our Matrix: The Creature’s Good and any sort of Moral Landscape (as mankind experiences it inside of his contextual, observational reality) are simply incoherent within atheism’s constructs. Atheism must make the fatal mistakes which Sam Harris made in the quotes posted earlier; it must jump ship before it reaches the bitter end of its ontological End Points and leave its newly found ends dangling in the winds of inexplicable axiom and thus die the death of circular reasoning for it fails to ever reach a Coherent End Point. Atheism must do this for its simplest of moral claims (Okay vs. Not Okay, never mind the mammoth Right vs. Wrong), and, it must do this for the existence of this universe, as in, the existence of everything for it well knows all of this stuff is contingent. Nothing within our Matrix can self-account within the Matrix. Not morality. Not Ought. Not existence. Not the universe itself. Not Volition of any kind (and thus not accountability), and so on, and so on. Exactly nothing in our brutal contextual experiential actuality can find its coherent Necessary End within this Matrix. On all these fronts Atheism must appeal to inexplicable axiom and various assortments of logical fallacies (and contorted non-logic to explain away slaughter’s morality within flourishing) for its stated ontological end points fail to provide coherency in any of these arenas.

Such is somewhat plausible; well, not really. Whereas, by far, Theism enjoys the ability to present a cohesive whole which fully accounts for all of the above within our brutally repeatable experiences here inside our observational Matrix. The Immaterialist (assuming Immutable Mind is not his ontological end point) and the Materialist give us nothing that is even remotely close to Theism’s power of exposition. Immaterialism does offer us Mind’s regress into the Triune for Know-Ing, that is, the epistemological contextual experience just does take place in the contexts of the In/Self and the Out/Other and the Singular In-Out / Self-Other that is its Necessarily Begotten E Pluribus Unum as our contextual experience presents yet another proof of the triune. Even further, our ontological contextual experience also regresses into the triune for Being itself regresses to Love's embrace among the I and the You wherein the Singular-We streams uncreated.

Our ocean sail is not done yet though for we can sail these winds to yet another shore of a triune topography over in that Peculiar Theism of Love’s Triune Ontology which causally sets sail across the infamous Ocean which no other can traverse and meticulously encompasses our entire blissful, brutal, bloody, joyful, painful, and love-stained contextual and experiential reality as all these vectors slice up every context out there from the skies above our heads down to the nerve-embedded skins in which we live and die. This ontological regress testifies of that which we see in Eden, of that which we see atop Love’s Cross, of that which our tasted fists implore of Justice, of that which our felt tears plead of Mercy, and of that which we see fated to Man’s final End Points described in painful and brutal and wonderful detail there in the entirety of Scripture’s A to Z: E Pluribus Unum, Love's Triune Ontology of The-Self and The-Other and the embrace therein which forever begets the Self-Other of the Singular-Us; Love's Necessarily Begotten E Pluribus Unum that is Man’s final amalgamation in Love’s Word-Corporeal. Love begets yet more love. That is what Love does. That is why Love creates. Love shouts, “Let Us make Man in Our Image!”, and He means it to the bitter end for Love Himself, Ultimate Actuality Himself, spreads His arms wide, and He pours His-Self out, and this for the Beloved-Other, which is You and I and Us. And the God Who is Love’s Triune shouts everlastingly: “This is what I-AM! This is the Way to Life!

Such is the Beginning of Man. Such is the End of Man. Nothing comes close to the all encompassing expository power of this: Ultimate Actuality Is Love’s Triune.

DGFischer,


You asked this: “To attempt to assert that a divinely-originated set of morals is preferable to a man-made code of conduct that is subject to change via whim, political or economic advantage ... how is such to be proven or at best understood?” (I took the liberty of adding bold type…..)


The Moral Argument is not in isolation the entire groundwork about various evidences for God. It’s just one vector through which our reason can be applied. There are many other vectors which impinge upon our reality other than this and so I’d hate for this to be thought of in isolation as any sort of “sole” reason one would have for thinking towards God.


That said, in isolation all this is about is our universal moral experience. Whether we appeal to observational reality, or genetic evolution, or God, or whatever, the OP is correct: we all experience these peaks and troughs in our conscience, in our moral experience. Now, if I experience that I have a head, one needs to present a defeater of sufficient power if one wishes to prove to me that my experience, my “properly basic belief”, (more on that later) is irrational. Until such proof is given, I am rational and reasonable to believe my properly basic belief. Our brutally repeatable contextual experiences here inside the observational reality of the Matrix testify of those things which cannot find their coherent rational End in our Matrix. And our universal moral experience is one (there are others) of those vectors. Thus God; for Atheism’s ontological end points cannot provide our moral landscape, as noted earlier in this thread.


Some helpful quotes and background follow; you’ll have to forgive my merging of Immaterialism (etc.) as Immutable Mind is attractive for obvious reasons:


“’Any argument for moral skepticism will be based upon premises which are less obvious than the existence of objective moral values themselves’. That seems to me quite right. Therefore, moral skepticism is unjustifiable.....


The humanist philosopher Peter Cave gives the following example:


Whatever skeptical arguments may be brought against our belief that killing the innocent is morally wrong, we are more certain that the killing is morally wrong than that the argument is sound. . . . Torturing an innocent child for the sheer fun of it is morally wrong. Full stop.”
“In moral experience we encounter objective moral values and duties, and so, in the absence of some sort of defeater of that belief, we are perfectly rational to hold to it. Moral realism is the default position, and the moral skeptic needs to provide some powerful defeater to overcome it.”

This next concept is valid within the confines of Immaterialism assuming its final regress is to Immutable Mind and not to Mind / Thought-Content as but the automaton being pushed around by some ill-defined precursor, for such fails to change category from that of Materialism. Our brutally repeatable contextual experiences here inside the observational reality of the Matrix testify of those things which cannot find their coherent rational End in our Matrix: thus God. As in:


“One can make the same point another way by comparing, as William Sorley does our apprehension of the moral realm with our apprehension of the physical realm. Just as we can’t get outside our moral perceptions to try to justify them, so we cannot get outside our sensory perceptions to try to justify them. Just as, in the absence of some defeater, we trust our sense perceptions that there is a realm of objectively existing physical objects around us, so we trust our moral perceptions that there is an objectively existing realm of moral values and duties. For any argument for skepticism about our moral perceptions we could run a parallel argument for skepticism about our sensory perceptions. But you’d have to be crazy to doubt the veridicality of your sense perceptions of a realm of objectively existing physical objects. Similarly, until we are given a defeater, we ought to trust our moral perception of a realm of objectively existing values and duties. Now, as I say, this is not a theistic justification of belief in objective moral values and duties; this is the way almost every moral realist justifies his belief in the objectivity of values and duties........”


Along this same line of argument and still valid within Immaterialism as described above:


“Rather many or most of our beliefs are, as Plantinga says, basic beliefs. They are not inferred from more basic beliefs but constitute a person’s foundational beliefs. Beliefs which are appropriately grounded in experience are properly basic. We are perfectly rational to hold such beliefs unless and until we encounter some defeater of those beliefs. We don’t begin from a point of doubt but from what we are confident that we do know.


For example, it seems to me that I have a head. Does anyone really doubt that he has a head? Notice that the mere possibility of error is not enough to defeat this belief. Just because I could be a brain in a vat deceived by a mad scientist doesn’t give me any reason to think that I am. Until you give me some compelling proof that I do not have a body, I am perfectly rational to believe in a properly basic way that I have a head.


Similarly, the theist would need some compelling reason to think that God is deceiving him in order to abandon the belief that he has a head........ turn the tables on the skeptic by asking him to give you a proof that theism gives you a defeater of your properly basic beliefs. About all he can say is, “God could be deceiving you.” But that provides no reason to think that He is. We could be deceived by a mad scientist; but that possibility is not sufficient to defeat our properly basic beliefs. At most, it shows that one cannot prove inferentially that one’s foundational beliefs are true. That’s right; that’s the lesson of Descartes. But that doesn’t imply that our properly basic beliefs are therefore irrational or unwarranted.


The non-theist might reply that the theist is still in a worse position than the non-theist because the theist thinks that an omnipotent God does exist whereas the non-theist does not think that he is a brain in a vat. But the theist will see in God, not a reason to be skeptical of our senses and thinking, but rather the guarantor of the reliability [Immaterialism’s regress to Immutable Mind] of our belief-forming faculties. By contrast, the non-theist has no such guarantee. This is Plantinga’s point. What does it mean for our beliefs to be warranted, to constitute knowledge? Plantinga’s answer is that these beliefs are formed by cognitive faculties functioning properly in an appropriate environment. [Environment, as in the epistemological experience in its contextually triune environment of the In/Self, Out/Other, and their composite inside the Self-Other] What does it mean to function properly? Well, to function as they were designed to. The theist is in a position to explain the proper functioning of our cognitive faculties, whereas the naturalist is at a loss to give an account of this crucial notion. Indeed, for the naturalist, since our cognitive faculties are not selected for truth but for survival, there is no basis at all to think that our faculties are reliable, for there is no probability that beliefs that promote survival will be true.......”

Further:

“You must resist resolutely the tendency to conflate moral ontology with moral epistemology. If the unbeliever tries to steer the conversation toward epistemology, you must bring the conversation back on track. It is just irrelevant that, as you put it, “either side can offer an explanation of how we come to an understanding of morality.” You could agree with everything the unbeliever says about that: we come to an understanding of morality through biological evolution, societal conditioning, parental influences, etc., etc. All of that is irrelevant to the question of whether objective moral values and duties exist, as you yourself observe.....”


“Of course, the unbeliever might present the socio-biological account as a putative defeater.... in which case you’ve got to deal with it. [As in the quotes with Dr. Harris earlier in this thread wherein atheism fails miserably to account for such on rational and coherent grounds, on pain of circularity]


“As for the warrant for [our belief in objective moral standards], you are right in saying that it is a properly basic belief grounded in moral experience. Moral realists have compared it to belief in the reality of the external world of physical objects around us. Belief in physical objects is a properly basic belief grounded in our sensory experience. There is no way to get outside our sensory perceptions to test their veridicality. Still, until we are given a defeater for our sensory beliefs, we are rational to hold to them.”


“Appeal to examples is in this respect an appeal to the moral experience which grounds moral beliefs. It’s like saying to someone, “Don’t you see that stone? If I drop it on your foot, will you still deny its existence?” “Don’t you see that torturing a child for fun is morally abominable? If someone did it to your daughter, would you persist in thinking it to be morally indifferent?””


“The above is the standard justification that moral realists of all stripes give as justification for moral beliefs. I think it obvious that those who facilely dismiss this as merely an appeal to emotions only betray their lack of understanding. As if to say that my belief in the reality of Mt. Rushmore is based merely on emotions! [Regress to Mind....]


To say that a belief is properly basic is not to say that it is indefeasible. As Plantinga has emphasized, properly basic beliefs often face defeaters, and then some defeater-defeater is needed if one is to persist rationally in that belief. Moreover, properly basic beliefs differ in the amount of warrant they enjoy and therefore in the tenacity with which they are held. My memory belief that I left the car keys in the ignition is properly basic but very lightly held and easily defeated, whereas my belief that I have a head is much more powerfully warranted and more reluctantly given up.”

“[The] question about the veridicality of NDE’s [near death experiences] depends upon the warrant they enjoy and what defeaters we have for them. Maybe they are not as powerfully warranted as our most obvious moral beliefs. One of the reasons I do take such experiences seriously is precisely because of the powerful warrant claimed for them by those who have undergone them. Eben Alexander has remarked that his NDE was far more real than his experience of the world around us. But, as I said in the passage you quoted, we have a powerful defeater of the veridicality of these experiences: they are self-contradictory. So some of these experiences have to be non-veridical. Notice that in the sermon you cite I am speaking about others’ experiences, not one’s own. For the person himself, it may be rational to believe that what he has experienced is veridical. But not having had an NDE, I’m uncertain about whom to believe.


By contrast we all share moral experiences. And some of our moral beliefs are very powerfully warranted. When the psychopath reports that to him child rape seems just fine, we are rational if we see this as a deficit in his moral perceptions, akin to blindness or deafness, rather than think that our moral experience is not veridical. Why should you listen to him?—he’s a psychopath!” [The Wholly-Amoral Human Experience just is not a defeater of sufficient power, and is (Atheism can only “define” here) the psychopath. On atheistic terms, the argument that the one void of conscience is “irrational” is itself an irrational assertion, for such is merely definition unsupported by Atheism’s ontological end points.]


“What exactly IS this properly basic belief in that allows you to affirm premise [objective moral laws]? There will be multifarious moral beliefs that imply this premise. “It is wrong to torture a baby for fun;” “It is wrong to kidnap Africans and use them as slaves;” “The Spanish Inquisition was wrong to torture people,” etc. These are examples from applied ethics of beliefs that are powerfully grounded in and warranted by moral experience. To say that these beliefs are properly basic is not to say that they are indefeasible; but in the absence of a defeater I am rational in holding them. Doubtless, I, like the slave traders of the past, have some moral beliefs that are wrong; we all have moral blind spots. That allows for moral growth. But there is a world of difference between humbly acknowledging my fallibility and thinking that none of my moral beliefs is true.” [That I have a blind spot to the fifth galaxy from our own does not mean its shadows and echoes are not radiating from a real galaxy, it only means my information (and mind) is finite. The regress to Immutable Mind offers us (as noted earlier) a philosophical strength which atheism just does not possess in its search for a “reason” to ground its own experience, much less its own mind.]


“I remember talking once with a black student who claimed to be a moral skeptic. I simply asked him, “So you think that racism is really not immoral?” He reflected for a moment, and then said, “I guess I do think it is immoral.” That settled it for him, and we were able to move on. You can view this dialectical approach as an exercise in values clarification, using stark examples rather than murky moral dilemmas. Hard-nosed skeptics may dig in their heels and affirm that religious persecution, sexual assault, child abuse, intolerance, and the like are all morally neutral, but in so doing they merely expose their insincerity. If the person you’re dealing with is not a psychopath, then resistance to [our own experience in objective moral standards] is usually borne out of a desire to avoid the argument’s conclusion.”


Quotes are from “Warrant for the Moral Argument’s Second Premise” and “Does Theism Foster Skepticism?” and “Justification of the Moral Argument’s Second Premise” in WLC’s Q&A’s.

There is this:


There is no world W in which the sacrifice of the Child atop the altar of fire is The-Good.


I’ve read on a webpage that Man’s Mind cannot claim to know all of God’s Mind and this is used (in that person’s philosophy) as a “defense” of agnosticism (Huh? …..wide logical disconnect there in that “reasoning”….), and, then, when the obvious is stated, i.e. a good God’s methods and ends for allowing volition in the Self to motion either into The-Other or into Privation (into the Isolated Self, aka evil) certainly has some nuances we (Created Mind) can grasp and, certainly has more (probably much more) we cannot grasp, this same person will then claim that if we don’t know all of God’s reasoning on this matter (after he just got done insisting that our finite Mind cannot see to the end of God’s Mind) that such a statement “….just won’t do…”. “If we don’t know how God’s rules are ultimately good for us then no appeal to those rules will serve….” In other words, unless Finite Mind can contain the Immutable Infinite Mind in capacity of comprehension, one cannot appeal to Immutable/Infinite Mind in one’s arguments.


Bizarre.


This same person also challenges the theist with this: “Prove to us that God’s existence is necessary in order for the meaning of Atheism’s terms to exist.”


Bizarre.

He also states this to misrepresent the Christian’s (WLC’s) definition of Objective Moral Laws: “So even if God does not exist, moral language still has meaning, and hence moral statements can be objectively evaluated for truth or falsity against that meaning. So it really is the case, regardless of whether God exists, that sentences like "murder is wrong" and "love is good" can express objectively true statements, so long as we understand wrongness and goodness to be characterized by those semantics which are independent of God…… [WL]Craig defends premise (2) of his moral argument by insisting that we apprehend objectivity in our moral experience. I think that is probably correct, except that the objectivity we apprehend is not the sort of objectivity Craig needs for his argument. In particular, we apprehend semantic objectivity; but we do not experience anything to justify inferring a concrete exemplar of perfect goodness any more than encountering an imperfect meter stick justifies inferring the existence of a perfect iridium meter bar.”

But, of course, objectively true in-spite of Human Mindsets is what is meant. And our moral landscape does give us this, and the proof is that Atheists themselves employ words like “psychopath” or “irrational” to define some acts/persons even though their ontological end points cannot support that definition. In other words, if 100% of Human Mind’s declare X to be semantically, morally, and whatever term we wish to confabulate, Right, and God declares X to be Wrong, then X is wrong. Thus raping babies for fun is, If-God, psychopathic and irrational, and, if No-God, fully set to evolve as The-Good, just as bees have evolved to kill their brothers and daughters (etc). There is nothing above this evolved mind to say otherwise for the Immaterialist is at bottom a Materialist, his Contents of Thought are but the slave, the automaton of some ill-defined will-less, volition-less precursor. In Atheism there is no immutable moral standard and thus our moral landscape is incoherent for we actually believe (via experiences) some to be “psychopathic” for such just “cannot” be “right” no matter what anyone shouts.

Atheism can only “define” psychopath here for on atheistic terms the argument that the one void of conscience is “irrational” is itself an irrational assertion, for such is merely definition unsupported by Atheism’s ontological end points.

If one’s presupposition is God-Is, then it is that raping babies for fun is always wrong even when 100% of cultures define it as “beneficial” for A or B or C, or “good” (and so on) and such is that there is a Standard, and Exemplar, an Immutable Moral Measuring Stick (as far as our experience is showing us) which defeats Man’s Semantics and Man’s Semantics are no longer the end-point of definitions. Thus, our moral experience is telling us that there is (relative to our context) an immutable standard for nothing in our reality, nothing in our context, can bend it. Our brutally repeatable contextual experiences here inside the observational reality of the Matrix testify of those things which cannot find their coherent rational End inside our Matrix. And our universal moral experience is one (there are others) of those vectors. Thus God; for Atheism’s ontological end points cannot provide our moral landscape.

If one’s presupposition is No-God, then such experiences cannot show one the Exemplar for one presumes such does not exist. Though we have experiences which tell us our context is impinged upon by some Other Context, that just will not be seen as evidence, for God cannot be. The trick he plays here is to put the Exemplar up for grabs regardless of our common moral experience in the arena of Peter Cave’s example: “Whatever skeptical arguments may be brought against our belief that killing the innocent is morally wrong, we are more certain that the killing is morally wrong than that the argument is sound. . . . Torturing an innocent child for the sheer fun of it is morally wrong. Full stop.”

Now, if one’s presupposition is Atheism, then of course there is a Possible World where the sacrifice of a child atop an altar of fire is “The-Good” for no Immutable (Perfect, Exemplar) moral ruler exists, and of course the fact that our mutable contextual experience is being impinged upon by some other immutable context cannot be taken as evidence for an immutable moral standard relative to our context, (which BTW is enough to make the case: something outside our perceived context dominates our mutable semantics. Enter Immutable Semantics as far as we can “see”).

Our experience is telling us that some things are always wrong and that those who inwardly moralize otherwise are “psychopathic” and also “irrational”. Now, Atheism cannot provide for this moral landscape we experience, nor can it provide for its own “reason” to believe its own mind nor can it provide (coherently) for the definition of “psychopath” because such becomes mere definition unsupported by Atheism’s ontological end points. There is no world W in which the sacrifice of the Child atop the altar of fire is The-Good. Our moral experience is telling us that. Torturing an innocent child for the sheer fun of it is morally wrong. Full stop. Our moral experience is telling us that. So much so that “psychopath” comes into play for those who moralize any other way. Thus, again, there is a Standard, and Exemplar, an Immutable Moral Measuring Stick (as far as our experience is showing us in our contextual moral landscape) which defeats Man’s Semantics and Man’s Mutable Semantics are no longer the end-point of definitions. Thus, our moral experience is telling us that there is (relative to our context) an immutable standard, a set of immutable semantics (as far as we can see) for nothing in our reality, nothing in our context, succeeds in bending it. And when it is bent, we actually believe this: psychopath. Our brutally repeatable contextual experiences here inside the observational reality of the Matrix testify of those things which cannot find their coherent rational End inside our Matrix. And our universal moral experience is one (there are others) of those vectors. Thus God; for Atheism’s ontological necessary end points cannot provide for any of this.

So, this is all a big circle back to the same challenge he gave elsewhere: “Prove to us that God’s existence is necessary in order for the meaning of Atheism’s terms to exist.”


Bizarre.

Contrary to flawed philosophy there is in all our brutal, bloody, horrific felt moral experiences of bare, naked evil that foreboding testament of our Immutable Exemplar whose unbending context and unyielding semantics impinge upon all our painfully mutable contexts and semantics.

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