« Clarifying, Not Banning | Main | Only One Question: What Is Marriage? »

January 17, 2014

Comments

What's all the fuss?

Morality, politeness and civility obviously exist. You could sum them up with the word cooperation. It's how we survive as human beings.

Our dreams, loves, opinions, and desires are not figments of our imagination, as "John" says, but instead they are fleeting electrical signals that fire across our synapses - as "John" says. Those electrical signals are real, not imaginary. Just because they only fire "for a moment in time," that does not mean they aren't real.

"My only directive is to obey my genes. Eat, sleep, reproduce, die," as "John" says. What's wrong with that? I think it's great. It's what I passionately want to do.

There are indeed reasons to obey laws, be polite, protect the weak etc. As "John" points out later, we want to avoid incarceration so we have a better chance of passing on our genes. That's an excellent reason. It's the only real reason.

"John" speaks of "my greedy little gene's need to reproduce" as if that's a small and negligible thing, or a shameful thing, but it's what drives all of human life, history and culture. We should appreciate it.

Genes do not make "you" do anything. Genes are merely blueprints on how your cells construct and organize themselves. There are no genes that program you to kill, rape or make it so that so you can only "eat, sleep, reproduce, die". There are genes that affect how aggressive you are and your self-control, but none of these genes program you to kill or harm people. This whole letter is mostly just nonsense.

As for the morality part, like I commented on the Wintery Knight blog (which for some reason still does not show my comment), did we suddenly move back in time to a world before Immanuel Kant?

Surely there's some genetic cause for our urge to survive. Genes may not tell us specific ways to survive, but I think they make us strive desperately for survival.

I posted in response to this blog entry over at crossexamined.org

Two points:

1) I re-read the responses to Laddymac’s original comment. (I am uncertain why you cite the statement but change the name. You are aware how Google works…right? *grin*) I did not see a single response by anyone—Christian, non-Christian, theist, non-theist—in any way coming across as “infuriated.” In fact…if anything…the comments seem amused.

I know mine were.

In this week’s podcast you indicate your displeasure Peter Boghossian utilizes a quote from you in promoting his book, “A Manual for Creating Atheists” on the Amazon front page. You felt, while the quote was technically accurate, it was taken out of context and implies endorsement where none was intended. You stated you wrote letters and e-mails and took every action you could to have Amazon remove the quote…to no avail.

Yet now you engage in the exact same behavior by claiming atheists were infuriated. We are not. Consider this comment…just like your letters to Amazon…our request to modify this blog entry both here and elsewhere to accurately reflect the actual interaction OR at least have the common courtesy to cite the original blog and comments allowing readers to investigate themselves whether atheists were “infuriated.”

Treat others as you would like to be treated.

2) I hoped Laddymac…er “John”…would be kind enough to provide bona fides regarding being an atheist. Especially as he is so willing to be “blunt.” And willing to “come out.” And considers us “inferior.” Not sure what the problem would be in doing so.

Alas, Laddymac has declined.

As I have stated before—whether posting anonymously, pseudo-anonymously or with one’s actual name—our most prized possession in making claims is credibility. And…to be forthright… I don’t trust you, J. Warner Wallace.

On December 27, 2013, you explicitly and precisely claimed you had researched Laddymac and confirmed (in your words), “Yeah—he’s an atheist!” But on January 3, 2014, you confessed you had researched him and (in your words), “…I could not find anything that really tipped the scale in one direction or the other. In other words I couldn’t find—this guy’s social media or on his websites for his business—I could find nothing that gave him away as either a Christian or as an atheist.” You confessed your December 27th statement was not correct.

Now you are asserting he claims to be an atheist in private communication. We have no such verification…yet. (Hopefully some will be provided someday). But why should we believe you now when you admitted in a matter of a week you were not honest about the research you claimed to have done?

And this is what results when all you do is focus on your own species. You have no frame of reference, so you just start making things up whole cloth. Look up bonobo monkees. They are entirely peaceful, social apes which live cooperative lives while still satisfying their genetic role of gene survival. Do they have religion, too?

The examples are countless of cooperative species which live in harmony with one another, work together, have rules to follow, have punishment for disobeying those social rules, etc.

This atheist poster (and you) still cling to one major special pleading fallacy, that somehow we, among the entire continuum of evolutionary life, are special. Our genes have the exact same drive as the genes in everything else still around today, the drive to continue the line. Note how I did not say reproduce, as a genetic line does not mean personal reproduction, but reproduction of the lineage, or family if it helps you understand it.

Put simply, if I help my family, or my neighbor, or any human at all, reproduce and raise their young to survive, my line has successfully reproduced and I have succeeded in perpetuating the species. That is the meaning of "selfish genes".

Now, stop talking about topics you know nothing about, because not only do you look like an idiot to those who understand the topic, you also perpetuate the same nonsense by vomiting such ignorance on your blog. This post is literally codified ignorance run amok.

Edward,

I read Hadley Arkes' book, First Things, several years ago, and I remember there was a section in there where he attempted to show what distinguished humans from animals when it came to morality.

He said (and I'm just going on memory here) that what distinguishes them is that humans can give reasons for their actions and demand reasons for other people's actions which reasons are meant to serve as moral justifications. And he argued that's what morality is based on--having justifiable reasons for doing things or for not doing things.

Since only humans seems to have languages in which these sorts of things can be communicated, it follows that only humans can have morality. Other animals can have behavior that is conducive to social well-being, but they can't really have morality.

What do you think about that?

Hi Sam,

I'd say it is the same special pleading to say morality is limited to humans because only humans communicate exactly like humans.

It is also circular to define morality by putting "moral justifications" in the definition. What is moral if you define moral by using the word moral?

Remove these fallacies and, if you recalled his argument correctly, he has no logical basis whatsoever for limiting morality to humans.

This, of course, ignores the fact Arkes seems to assume all communication is human language, when the internet shows quite admirably how horrific human language is, especially English, at transmitting emotions, a primary basis in many human actions.

The fact is, all social creatures have quite complex forms of communication, some of which we humans are just beginning to unravel and understand. This is displayed best in the fact we cannot directly communicate in any meaningful way to nearly any creature on the planet using their own language.

An example is horses, where it is only recently (past 30-40 years) we began to understand how a mother teaches a foal how to act, and this is basic communication. We haven't even begun to understand what information is transferred when they exchange breath (it is believed horses communicate more directly via pheromones than humans), vocalizations or the nuances of head tilts and shakes, body positioning and leg movements.

The fact we can't figure these communications out and horses have a temporal lobe the size of a walnut should tell you we humans are far from the top of any communication pyramid.

We have no idea what non-humans relay for communication outside our limited human understanding based on, what else, human communication.

An American Director of Intelligence put it well "We don't know what we don't know", and making guesses based in ignorance is unwise in any language.

Edward,

If horses and other animals do, in fact, exchange reasons and moral justification for their actions, then that would undermine Arkes' reason for thinking humans are moral creatures and animals are not. I suppose if Arkes were to be modest, the best he could say is that we have no reason to think animals convey reasons and justifications for their actions to each other the way we do.

I agree that using "moral" in your definition of moral is unhelpful, but hopefully that doesn't prevent you from understanding what Arkes' position is. Arkes believes that morality is based on the whole idea of giving reasons for your actions that are meant to justify your actions, i.e. to show why you actions are right and not wrong.

For example, when we see somebody shove an old lady, we want to know why they did it so we can assess whether it was right or wrong. If the reason they did it was to save her from being hit by a car, then we call the action "right" or "justified." If the reason they did it was because they have an irrational hatred toward old ladies, then we call the action "wrong" or "unjustified." So the reason they did it is what justifies or fails to justify their action. And that's what Arkes thinks morality is all about.

And he believes that since humans are the only animals that communicate reasons to each other for why they behave the way they do which reasons are meant to justify their actions, then humans are the only animals that are moral creatures.

I don't understand why you think that's special pleading. It sounds like what you mean is that it's tautological to say that only humans communicate like humans. But if the "like humans" is in reference to the "giving reasons for your actions," then that is not a tautology, and it's not special pleading either. If it turns out to be true that humans are the only creatures that give reasons for their actions, and if it turns out that morality is based on giving reasons for your actions, then it would follow that humans are the only moral creatures. I don't see any tautology or special pleading in that. You could take issue with the premise that only humans communicate reasons, and you could take issue with the premise that morality is based on giving reasons for your actions, but that seems to be about all you could really object to.

Several weeks ago, a gentleman (we’ll call him “John”) replied to a blog I posted at CrossExamined.org.

How about providing a link to the original post so that we can see the discussion for ourselves instead of relying on you to recount it for us?

Wow. If you’re an atheist you’d better not step out of line.

Edward,

I disagree that "John" commits a special pleading fallacy. I can't see anywhere that he inherently privileges humans over animals. He personally privileges humans over animals, just as he personally privileges social behaviour over anti-social behaviour, but he seems to be claiming that it is a pragmatic consideration for him rather than a truism.

On the other hand, Christians do privilege humans over animals, claim a particular morality, and make a number of privileged claims, on the basis that these particular claims are divinely inspired.

In either case, the charge of "special pleading" is weak. In one case there is no special pleading beyond explicitly privileging his own preferences, while in the other there's clear authority to say "this is not like that".

Sam,

Thanks for clarifying Arkes' definition of morality, that helps. After giving it some thought, I don't see how his definition gives morality any special usefulness. What good is morality if the entire concept is to simply get others to agree with you?

Wouldn't it be more useful to define morality as the reduction of harm, or increase in content? I think Arkes adds a layer to morality which is superfluous and can be removed without affecting the overall utility of morality as a concept.

If someone pushes an old lady they are causing harm (or increasing discontent, however you wish to define it), but the context defines the morality of it. No special form of communication is required in order to view context, nor does any justification change the outcome.

I think Arkes actually harms morality by adding a layer of apologetics to an otherwise straightforward concept. We see this happen quite often in the major religions, where they attempt to justify the misdeeds and outright falsehoods in their holy books. No amount of excuses change the context of an action. At best, all a justification can do is alter the contextual scope in which the action is viewed.

For example, pushing the old lady is still causing harm, but widening the scope in which the action is viewed shows, on a wider temporal scale, harm is reduced. No amount of justification alters these events, only the ignorance level of the witnesses.

In summary, Arkes is defining morality as the ability to manipulate the opinion others hold of you, which is not saying much for the value of his morality.

Andrew W,

The special pleading comes into play because he is adding an assertion (ie: attempting to convince the reader) of "human communication" as a limiter of the conclusion, which is the definition of a special pleading.

It doesn't matter if a premise is his personal preference or a fact of reality, if he is using it in an argument, he is claiming it is necessary for the conclusion to be reached. And if he is using it as a premise, he must provide evidence as to why it is necessary. If it is not necessary, then his entire basis of morality being limited to human animals falls apart.

I think it's important to clarify one thing in this discussion, humans are animals. Humans are not 'more evolved' than any other living thing, everything is equally evolved, as we all stem from the same ancestors. Humans simply evolved in a different direction for different circumstances. If we lived in water, we would not be 'less evolved', we would be less adapted to that environment.

This is a big reason the 'humans are special' argument is baseless, as humans are far from the only social creatures on the planet. In fact, humans are far less reliant on other humans than, say horses or buffalo are to other horses and buffalo. We can survive on our own, where many herbivores require at least a mate in order defend themselves, preen, deal with insects (horses must stand head to rear in order to use each others' tail to swat flies off the others' face, as they have no means to protect their own face). We humans are well adapted to solitary survival which reduces evolutionary pressures to communicate effectively.

In short, we're less adapted to socially communicate than other species, making Arkes' argument less plausible even if it weren't fallacious.

The fundamental premise of the article is false. Atheism does not entail nihilism or even materialism. Buddhists have been atheists for thousands of years. Atheists can be as "spiritual" as anyone. Atheism implies nothing but a rejection of a theistic style god who is an agent that goes about pretending not to exist.

The most grievous error in the article is the assertion that there could be no objective morality without a God. That is entirely false. Morality is objective, like a pair of scales. Google that phrase if you want to see why.

"Atheism does not entail nihilism or even materialism."

1- Materialism, in my opinion, does point to nihilism unless
a)you simply don't give it enough thought to take it through to the logical end. Some self-professed atheists don't seem to take it past the point where they are living Christian lives sans God telling what to do.
b) You have such a high view of one's own importance that you believe deciding that your life has such and such a purpose is more than just a delusion to keep from admitting that your supposed purpose is only there to distract from the fact that the universe as a whole doesn't care what you do or what happens to you.

2- Most people who use the term atheist use it to refer to the "New" Atheists who are primarily from a western worldview and believe that science trumps faith (pretending to know what you don't - a definition used by people such as Peter Boghosian). To be fair, most atheists that they will meet online (blogs, article comments, YouTube)or in the public forum in real life that will challenge them will be arguing from this vantage point.

"Atheism implies nothing but a rejection of a theistic style god who is an agent that goes about pretending not to exist."

He has to exist to go around pretending not to exist.

For AJG, who wanted the original post

http://crossexamined.org/case-god-strong-skeptics-attack-christianity/#comments

"1- Materialism, in my opinion, does point to nihilism unless"

That's irrelevant because atheism does not entail materialism. Atheism implies nothing but the fact that I am not a theist. An atheist, for example, could believe in cosmic mind that underlies all reality, much as a dreamer dreams. This presumed "cosmic mind" is not a "god" in the theistic sense, so the person who holds this view would be an atheist but not a nihilist. The Christian arguments appear to me to be nothing but shallow sophistry.

"The Christian arguments appear to me to be nothing but shallow sophistry."


As is much Atheist responses to it. Whether it appears that way to you is not relevant to whether it has any value.

"That's irrelevant because atheism does not entail materialism"

Perhaps things would seem less like sophistry if you read the entire post.

"Perhaps things would seem less like sophistry if you read the entire post."

I have read the entire post. Now let's start with this statement found immediately following the extended quote: "John bluntly captured the true nature of morality when it is untethered to a transcendent source."

This statement is absurd. Morality is entirely naturalistic. It is objective, like a pair of scales. I explain this in my article "The Logic of Love: A Natural Theory of Morality". Google will bring it up by that title. It is based on objective principles that have nothing to do with God. William Lane Craig confirms this fact when he says that everyone - theists and atheists alike - can discern what is actually moral or immoral without any reference to God. How then can God be the foundation of objective morality? Craig answers by driving a wedge between moral epistemology and moral ontology, and asserts that even though the atheist could determine what is immoral without God, it would not be "really" immoral without God. His argument is absurd and incoherent. I discuss this specific error in my attached article.

Bottom line: The assertion that theism is necessary for meaning and morals has no foundation of any kind in logic or life. It strikes me as little more than dogmatic religious assertion masquerading as philosophy.

http://www.biblewheel.com/blog/index.php/2012/10/11/the-golden-rule-and-the-foundation-of-objective-morality/

Edward, I see nowhere that John pleads "human communication". Sam appears to, and Sam might well be wrong, but that's nowhere in John's argument and you accused him of special pleading before Sam posted (17 Jan, 09:35, para 3 of 5). In fact, John's piece could be summarised as "No-one is special, so stop pretending your atheism is moral and admit you're just looking out for #1 (or not, I don't care)". While critical of some minor details, John M seems to concur.

-----

Richard. You seem to be missing the key underlying issue. Yes, your "Golden Rule" formulation is a good formulation, but it has two key weaknesses.

The first is simple: "So what?". There's a difference between identifying behaviour as moral and positing a reason for conforming to that behaviour. John, above, boils those reasons down to genetic bias and historical and social convenience. You can argue a hundred reasons why it's pragmatic for me to conform to "morality", but any moral reason to conform is entirely circular.

Secondly, it requires me to embrace the idea that you are equally valuable to me. I'd say that history is littered with examples of "I can do this to X because …", but slathered would be more accurate. The absolutely critical moral question is not "how should I behave?" but "why should I not want to be king?".

John addresses this head on: you can if that suits you.

>>> "There's a difference between identifying behaviour as moral and positing a reason for conforming to that behaviour."

Hey there Andrew, it is good to be discussing this with you. What reason is there for "conforming to that behavior" which has been identified as moral in my theory? Simple: it is the best, and rational people want what is best. It is not "pragmatism" but love that motivates.


>>> "Secondly, it requires me to embrace the idea that you are equally valuable to me."

Yes, my moral theory would require that, but not as a blind presupposition as you seem to be putting it. My theory is based upon the idea of INTEGRITY which has both an ontological as well as moral meaning:

1) The state of being whole, undivided, perfect in composition; unity, wholeness, completeness.

2) The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.

It is no mere coincidence that the word integrity has these two meanings. Morality is fundamentally ontological, as is love. Love of self is the root of morality, and that love is modulated through the symmetric logic of the Golden Rule. Here's an article that explains my take on the central importance of integrity.

http://www.biblewheel.com/blog/index.php/2012/12/31/on-integrity-as-the-highest-value/


""Perhaps things would seem less like sophistry if you read the entire post." I have read the entire post. Now let's start with this statement found immediately following the extended quote: "John bluntly captured the true nature of morality when it is untethered to a transcendent source"

I meant my response that you were quoting.

>> I meant my response that you were quoting. >>

OK, I'll respond to in more detail.

>> 1- Materialism, in my opinion, does point to nihilism unless
a)you simply don't give it enough thought to take it through to the logical end. Some self-professed atheists don't seem to take it past the point where they are living Christian lives sans God telling what to do. >>

I've given it plenty of thought. Your assertion is false because atheism does not entail materialism. Furthermore, the idea that Christianity is the root of our basic values like love and justice is utterly absurd, as is evident by the fact that these values are found in all cultures.

>> b) You have such a high view of one's own importance that you believe deciding that your life has such and such a purpose is more than just a delusion to keep from admitting that your supposed purpose is only there to distract from the fact that the universe as a whole doesn't care what you do or what happens to you. >>

Any "ultimate purpose" must be an end in itself. You have chosen to delude yourself with a future "endless life in paradise" as your "ultimate purpose" for living. I have chosen to take this life as an "end in itself." I think my choice makes more sense.

And as for the wonderful "purpose" the Gospel provides - try telling that to people damned for eternity through no fault of their own, but only because they were born in the wrong place and time or raised in the wrong religion. Such is the absurdity of the pseudo-philosophy required to justify Christianity.

>> 2- Most people who use the term atheist use it to refer to the "New" Atheists who are primarily from a western worldview and believe that science trumps faith (pretending to know what you don't - a definition used by people such as Peter Boghosian). To be fair, most atheists that they will meet online (blogs, article comments, YouTube)or in the public forum in real life that will challenge them will be arguing from this vantage point. >>

Science not only trumps faith, it explains why "faith" promoted by dogmatic religons tends to corrupt the minds and morals of believers. I explain this in this article called The Art of Rationalization: A Case Study of Christian Apologist Rich Deem.

http://www.biblewheel.com/blog/index.php/2012/10/06/the-art-of-rationalization-a-case-study-of-christian-apologist-rich-deem/

"Any "ultimate purpose" must be an end in itself. You have chosen to delude yourself with a future "endless life in paradise" as your "ultimate purpose" for living. I have chosen to take this life as an "end in itself." I think my choice makes more sense."

But it still doesn't matter to anyone other than you, and there is no evidence that you matter, so if anyone believes it is any actual value would seem to be deluded.

Ultimately, you may not have decided, but rather it is a trick of your brain to keep you from killing yourself prior to reproducing. If an addiction to crack keeps you going long enough to produce another offspring, it should be as much value as practicing medicine to help the poor.

Not advocating crack, but on the long view of history as a whole, there is probably no difference.

""Any "ultimate purpose" must be an end in itself. You have chosen to delude yourself with a future "endless life in paradise" as your "ultimate purpose" for living. I have chosen to take this life as an "end in itself." I think my choice makes more sense."

Either way, we are both dead, and likely forgotten within a generation or so leaving nothing significant behind.

Unless Christianity pans out. In which case,I win.

>> Unless Christianity pans out. In which case,I win. >>

And if Islam pans out, you lose. And if some version of Christianity that you disagree with, be it JWs, SDA, Mormons, Catholics, or whatever, pans out, you lose. And if INTEGRITY is what really matters in life, you lose if you have chosen to pretend that you know things that you don't really know. Need I go on? Your approach to the question of the truth of competing religious claims is not one that I could follow with any confidence.

Personally, I could not imagine that "I won" if it entailed the eternal conscious torment of those who disagreed with me.

>> But it still doesn't matter to anyone other than you, and there is no evidence that you matter, so if anyone believes it is any actual value would seem to be deluded. >>

There is no evidence that I matter? Fascinating comment to come from a Christian. In my theory of morality, everyone "matters" equally. This is based on the fact that every person "matters" to themselves, and by the principle of indifference I have no justification to prefer myself over another. So logic entails the Golden Rule and the equal valuation of each human. It's too bad that you didn't learn anything like this from Christianity.

Richard, I don't think I agree with your last comment. You say that everyone matters equally because everybody matters to themselves. But not everybody matters to themselves equally as much, do they? Donald Trump probably matters more to himself than a lot of people matter to themselves. Some people are pretty down on themselves and consider themselves worthless. They even want to kill themselves. So if mattering depends on how we regard ourselves, it seems like you would have to conclude that NOT everybody matters equally.

You say that by the principle of indifference, you have no justification to prefer yourself over another. What is the principle of indifference?

You say that logic entails the golden rule and the equal valuation of each human. But I don't see how either follows from what you said before. Even if we assume that each person values himself just as much as each other person values themselves, how does it follow that we ought to value each other? I don't see any logical way to get from, "Jim matters to himself," to, "Jim ought to matter to Bob."

Hey there Sam,

When I said that everyone matters to themselves, I was not talking about an inflated or deflated "self worth" relative to others in a social or psychological sense, but rather that the consciousness of value itself originates in the ontology of being a "self." Nothing could matter "to me" if there were no "me" for it to matter to. And if nothing matters TO me, then I cannot value anything because it makes no sense to say I value something that does not "matter to me". Even if I were to sacrifice myself for others, it could be for no other reason but that they matter to me because I love them. But note: though my root sense of value necessarily originates in my own self-being, it does not mean that I could not choose to sacrifice myself if I see greater value in others.

The idea Integrity is the foundation of my moral theory. Indeed, it is the foundation of everything - epistemology, science, logic, and love (as explained in the linked article). It is the highest value that unites all values (wisdom, knowledge, truth, and love) in itself and by itself, because it is the essence of what it means to "be". It may help for you to meditate on the relation between love and unity to see this.

INTEGRITY is wholeness and unity of self. It is the key to everything. It simultaneously refers to both the ontological and moral condition of a self. It is no mere coincidence that "integrity" denotes both the ontological "wholeness" of a thing as well as the condition of being morally intact. They both derive from the same concept. A compromised integrity literally entails a disintegration of the self, whether physically, mentally, or morally. That's why a lack of morality is called "corruption" which comes from the root meaning "to break". It refers to the destruction of the integrity of a self.

Now with these ideas in mind, perhaps my previous brief statements will make more sense. The principle of indifference is a mathematical concept that basically says that we should treat things with no relevant differences as identical. This is applied in mathematics to justify the calculation of probabilities, like the 1/6 chance of a particular face showing on a rolled die that follows from the six sides being the same. I apply this principle to all humans. I know that I could just as well have been born in your condition, and you in mine. There is no logical reason for me to think that there is any relevant difference between any humans in as much as they are human. Thus, the principle of indifference, coupled with my valuation of my own self, leads to the Golden Rule. I could, in principle, be you, and if that were the case then it would MATTER TO ME what the person standing in my place would do to you (me). Thus the Golden Rule follows from basic logic coupled with the idea that all value is rooted in the self.

Finally, you question about "ought" is the root of much confusion about morality. The old "is/ought" thang. The "ought" flows directly from the concept of value which is intrinsic to any conscious self. Self love is the root of all morality. It is the only reason anyone can love another. In my moral theory (which is normative, btw), love replaces the traditional concepts of "duty" or "moral obligation" or "the good" which are all divorced from the fundamental ontology of the self. The integrity of self is the root of everything. Here are a couple links to articles where I explain my theory if you are interested.

http://www.biblewheel.com/blog/index.php/2012/10/25/the-logic-of-love-a-natural-theory-of-morality/

http://www.biblewheel.com/blog/index.php/2012/12/31/on-integrity-as-the-highest-value/

Great chatting!

Richard

"I know that I could just as well have been born in your condition, and you in mine."

By that logic, could you have just as easily been born a mole? What would be your moral status then? Without some external referent, it seems to me that your argument either proves way too much or nothing at all.

(Changing focus, I'm also going to assume that you are strongly anti-abortion, right?)

>> By that logic, could you have just as easily been born a mole? What would be your moral status then? Without some external referent, it seems to me that your argument either proves way too much or nothing at all. >>

Well, in as much as I said that I could have been born in your condition, I suppose you have a point.

But seriously, moles are not moral agents, so they have no "moral status" like human animals and are not relevant to the point I was making. Your comment reminds me of one of William Lane Craig's fundamental errors. He asserts that human animals would be "just animals" under atheism, as if the properties that enable us to be moral agents - (self-consciousness and language) - would be impossible without God. I discuss his error in the attached article "Why Most Animals are not Philosophers: Fatal Flaws in Dr. Craig's Moral Argument for God."

What do you mean by "external referent" and how does that have anything to do with anything? You obviously can't be referring to God because that word does not refer to anything that can be objectively known. It is not a "referent" to anything but an abstract speculative presumption.

As for abortion, I would be happy to discuss that after we lay a foundation of objective morality. If we can't agree on the fundamentals, then there would be no point discussing the more advanced topics.


http://www.biblewheel.com/blog/index.php/2013/01/18/why-animals-are-not-moral-agents-fatal-flaws-in-dr-craigs-moral-argument-for-god/

Interestingly, Edward above vigorously denies that animals are sans communication / some form of language, which would negate your key distinguisher. But let's run with it for now...

(1) the distinction might not be language but thought (vs brain-as-computer). Nagel, for example, is tending towards a non-materialist metaphysic in order to explain thought. But then you'd need to assert that animals cannot "think" as humans do, and evidence for this that is stronger than "I don't perceive it" (similar issue arises for language).

(2) Does lack of language imply lack of morality? Is an infant is not moral - and therefore not "another person" - until they acquire language.

(3) Or does potentiality for language matter? If so, what about the severely mentally disabled? What if they can understand language but cannot yet respond in a way I can perceive? What about apes or dolphins, who might acquire human-comparable language if provided the correct environment? How would we know?

Basing "humanity" and morality on a divinely given teleology (for good or ill) neatly answers most of these issues. I'm fine with doing away with this (for the sake of argument), but I want to be sure we're actually doing away with it, and are not the kid who claims to be the "tallest in the room" while sitting on his father's shoulders.

>> Interestingly, Edward above vigorously denies that animals are sans communication / some form of language, which would negate your key distinguisher. But let's run with it for now... >>

Mere "communication" is not "language" in the sense of a system of communicating ideas and doing such things as mathematics and moral philosophy. No animals other than humans are known to have this faculty. Likewise, no animals are known to have the kind of self-consciousness characteristic of humans (though the rudiments appear to exist in our primate cousins). So your point is a mere distraction. It is not relevant to my argument at all.

>> (2) Does lack of language imply lack of morality? Is an infant is not moral - and therefore not "another person" - until they acquire language. >>

The relevant question is if the infant is a moral agent. The answer is obviously "no" because infants have neither faculty required for moral agency, namely language and self-consciousness. This does not mean they are not a "person". It only means that not all people are moral agents. The same goes for the "severely mentally disabled."

If other animals have the faculties required for moral agency then they would be moral agents.

>> Basing "humanity" and morality on a divinely given teleology (for good or ill) neatly answers most of these issues. >>

I don't see how a "divinely given teleology" answers anything at all. If life is meaningless without a god, how would a god make it meaningful? By fiat? If it has no intrinsic meaning in and of itself, how would a god make it meaningful?

>> but I want to be sure we're actually doing away with it, and are not the kid who claims to be the "tallest in the room" while sitting on his father's shoulders. >>

I get the impression you are suggesting that I am somehow using moral concepts that derive from a Christian worldview while denying their root in Christianity. What would give you that idea? My ideas are based on logic and facts. My moral theory is fundamentally ontological - based on what it means for something to "be". The integrity of being and the love of self is the root of all morality and meaning. It has absolutely nothing to do with any concept of god. This should be obvious since the concepts of love, truth, and morality exist in all cultures quite independently of any particular theology.

"This should be obvious since the concepts of love, truth, and morality exist in all cultures quite independently of any particular theology." - This doesn't prove what you seem to want it to. All it proves is that knowledge of morality can exist without reference to a specific concept of god. If morality is innate in humanity, this is what you'd expect. It doesn't explain how it got there, or how to wisely evaluate morality.

Why evaluate? Because while all moral views share some strong similarities, they also share some strong differences, to the point that the specific union of all such views approaches the null set. Thus, we must consider "Why morality? What is it for?" and use this to discern what is actually moral.

-----

On another tack, it's one thing to personally hold to a system of morality. But to claim universality - that a particular morality applies to everyone, not just self or those who assent to it - three requirements must exist.

(1) It must make a clear claim as to why it has a claim over all people.

(2) It must establish consequences for those who follow it and those who will not.

(3) Claims 1 & 2 must be true.

Traditional Christian morality easily meets claim 1: God made you and is king of all creation. It is almost incontrovertible that IF this is true, that God has moral authority.

Similarly, Christian teaching establishes consequences for moral behaviour. There are some subtleties and complications, but suffice to say that consequences exist.

Requirement 3 is up for debate.

In contrast, any form of atheist morality struggles to pass claims 1, though you seem to have made a pretty good attempt.

But then we run into claim 2. If their is no afterlife and no reckoning, why not maximise personal gratification? Yeah, it's not "nice", and maybe you miss out on whatever pleasures altruism and integrity might offer, but in any scenario you end up dead and no longer care.

If the utility of a moral system only applies to those who subscribe to it, then it ultimately fails, much like a legal system without any concept of punishment.

If there is no claim and no reckoning, then there is ultimately no morality beyond "what I prefer" and "what my right hand can take and hold". A shooter kills 30 in a shopping centre and then turns the gun on himself - there is pain, terror and loss, but no justice. He may have suffered in the past, but now finds relief … unlike those left behind. The dictator dies peacefully in his bed, while his ex-country lies in ruins and its people suffer and mourn. One child dies of a spider bite; his twin brother survives. Either Good and Evil are fiction, or the world is brutally immoral. Or else there is life beyond life, but naturalism denies itself this option.


No world view has easy answers for some of these questions, but with its explicit denial of anything beyond the material, atheism significantly increases the work it must do to answer them.

It appears my last post didn't make it through cyberspace, so here it is again:

>> This doesn't prove what you seem to want it to. All it proves is that knowledge of morality can exist without reference to a specific concept of god. If morality is innate in humanity, this is what you'd expect. It doesn't explain how it got there, or how to wisely evaluate morality. >>

The purpose of my moral theory is to explain what it is, how it got there, and how to wisely evaluate the truth or falsehood of moral statements.

http://www.biblewheel.com/blog/index.php/2012/10/25/the-logic-of-love-a-natural-theory-of-morality/

>> Why evaluate? Because while all moral views share some strong similarities, they also share some strong differences, to the point that the specific union of all such views approaches the null set. Thus, we must consider "Why morality? What is it for?" and use this to discern what is actually moral. >>

Moral facts are universal. The disagreements are based on alien moral values taught by social and religious traditions. I contrast "alien" vs. "native" moral values. Native moral values are universal and arise from the fundamental ontology of what it means to "be". It is founded in the integrity of self-being. Alien moral values are taught by traditions and do not derive from the ontology of the self. I'm in process of writing an article explaining this.

Morality is not an alien thing added to people as if it were not innate, so I wouldn't ask "what is it for" except in the sense of "what are my eyes, ears, hands, and feet for?".

>> On another tack, it's one thing to personally hold to a system of morality. But to claim universality - that a particular morality applies to everyone, not just self or those who assent to it - three requirements must exist. >>

>> (1) It must make a clear claim as to why it has a claim over all people. (2) It must establish consequences for those who follow it and those who will not.

I think both of your conditions miss the point entirely. Morality is about what is actually right or wrong. The consequences that follow from it follow by necessity, like logic. For example, if you like poking yourself in the eye with an icepick, you will suffer the consequence that necessarily follows from destroying the INTEGRITY of your eye. Remember, integrity is the key to my moral theory. As the old saying goes, virtue is its own reward.

>> Traditional Christian morality easily meets claim 1: God made you and is king of all creation. It is almost incontrovertible that IF this is true, that God has moral authority. >>

I consider "traditional Christian morality" to be a perversion of true morality. It actually corrupts good morals because it conflates OBEDIENCE with morality. This is evident from your response since you speak of God as a "king" that must be "obeyed" and that's what you take as "morality."

>> Similarly, Christian teaching establishes consequences for moral behaviour. There are some subtleties and complications, but suffice to say that consequences exist. >>

That exemplifies how Christian morality is based fundamentally on alien moral values that must be enforced by an agent (God-king) because they are not based on the ontology of being. The "consequences" do not flow from innate morality, but from a "king" that has power to punish whoever he will. Or not, since Scripture shows that God did not punish David according to the law.

>> In contrast, any form of atheist morality struggles to pass claims 1, though you seem to have made a pretty good attempt. >>

Thanks for the good word, but I reject your claim #1 as malformed. Morality is objective, like a pair of scales. (Google that). It has the same claim over all people because it is based on what it means for a person to "be".

>> But then we run into claim 2. If their is no afterlife and no reckoning, why not maximise personal gratification? >>

For the same reason you don't poke out your eyes. It is bad for your integrity and rational beings seek to preserve themselves, which means all rational people seek to preserve their integrity. If a person does not seek their own well being, there is something profoundly wrong with them.

>> If there is no claim and no reckoning, then there is ultimately no morality beyond "what I prefer" and "what my right hand can take and hold". >>

Your statement reveals fundamental failure to understand what morality really is. It is not about getting rewards in the afterlife. It is about what really is right or wrong here and now.

It is strange that you speak of justice, since the gospel is fundamentally contrary to that concept. Where is the "justice" when that shooter of yours gets saved and goes to heaven? He gets away with murder, quite literally. There is no "justice" in the Gospel.

>> No world view has easy answers for some of these questions, but with its explicit denial of anything beyond the material, atheism significantly increases the work it must do to answer them. >>

Atheism means nothing but that a person is not a theist. It does not entail materialism. Atheists could be just as "spiritual" as anyone. They could even believe in something like a "Cosmic Mind." The only thing excluded by atheism is a theistic style personal god who is an agent, like a glorified person.

And as for the difficulty of this topic - that's largely do to two thousand years of religious conditioning, so folks are now trapped in false categories that confuse the topic. I find that the answers come very easily when the traditional categories like "duty" and "is/ought" are tossed out. The problem is that folks have been in a linguistic trap based on fallacious religious presuppositions which they have taken for granted.

Great chatting! I really appreciate the time and effort you are putting into this conversation.

Richard

Richard,

I could, in principle, be you

No you couldn’t. Not even in principle. What an odd thing to think. We can use what we know about ourselves to aid us in how we treat others, sure, but we could never “in principle be someone else”.

My ideas are based on logic and facts.

I don't think so. In addition to your comment above ruling that out, take this for example:

If a person does not seek their own well being, there is something profoundly wrong with them.

Let's put this to the "logic and fact" test:

People sacrifice their own well-being all the time when deciding to do the moral thing. They do so logically. They do so not having anything "wrong" with them. So that fails the "logic fact test" straight up.

Let me guess, in sacrificing, it really is for their own well-being? How convenient. What nonsense. There are times when doing the moral thing brings nothing but pain, hardship, shame, loss, or even death.

Your statement reveals fundamental failure to understand what morality really is. It is not about getting rewards in the afterlife.

The Christian position isn’t about getting rewards in the afterlife. A very limited understanding of Christianity, or a simple reading up, would clarify this for you. While some people may believe this - it’s not Christianity. People believe all sorts of things.

I’ve gone through the pains to read all your comments on this thread. It seems you have no understanding of Christianity even though you claim to have been one.

I’m not saying Christianity is above criticism. What I am saying is that you have to have accurate information if you want to criticize.

Knowing what Christians actually believe would be a start.


No you couldn’t. Not even in principle. What an odd thing to think. We can use what we know about ourselves to aid us in how we treat others, sure, but we could never “in principle be someone else”.

Are you saying you reject soul/body dualism? If not, then what is there to prevent God from putting your soul in someone else's body, and vice versa? It doesn't matter if you think he would never do this. My point is that in principle he could. And more to the point, my point was never that I could "be you" in a literal sense. On the contrary, I explicitly spelled out exactly what I meant when I said: "I know that I could just as well have been born in your condition, and you in mine.". There is, therefore, no excuse for your misrepresentation of my point. The fact I need to explain such elementary concepts seems to indicate that either you are not willing or not qualified to discuss these matters.

People sacrifice their own well-being all the time when deciding to do the moral thing. They do so logically. They do so not having anything "wrong" with them. So that fails the "logic fact test" straight up.
Again, you failed to read and understand the very thing you think you are refuting. I never said that people would not sacrifice their own well-being. On the contrary, I explicitly stated exactly the opposite! Here is what I said: "Even if I were to sacrifice myself for others, it could be for no other reason but that they matter to me because I love them. But note: though my root sense of value necessarily originates in my own self-being, it does not mean that I could not choose to sacrifice myself if I see greater value in others."
Let me guess, in sacrificing, it really is for their own well-being? How convenient. What nonsense. There are times when doing the moral thing brings nothing but pain, hardship, shame, loss, or even death.

You don't need to "guess" - I already explained this point earlier in this thread and you are a thousand miles off. Folks sacrifice themselves for others because they love them. You obviously have jumped into the middle of this conversation without any clue of what we are talking about or who I am or what I believe. I have formulated a normative (objective) theory of morality. It is based on the scientific definition of objectivity, and the same principles that have led to our discovery of the unified laws of physics. If you want to challenge my theory you will need to read and understand it. Here is a good place to start:

http://www.biblewheel.com/blog/index.php/2012/10/25/the-logic-of-love-a-natural-theory-of-morality/

The Christian position isn’t about getting rewards in the afterlife. A very limited understanding of Christianity, or a simple reading up, would clarify this for you. While some people may believe this - it’s not Christianity. People believe all sorts of things.
First, I was answering Andrew's point that a valid moral system must have consequences enforced by an agent. Specifically, he said God is "king" and that "Christian teaching establishes consequences for moral behaviour." So you should take this up with your fellow Christian. And note: if you do not dismiss him as having a "very limited understanding of Christianity" then your duplicity will be exposed. And by the way, the true implication of your false assertion that I have a "very limited understanding of Christianity" is that you have a very limited ability to formulate logical arguments.

Second, it is absurd to say that Christianity is not about "getting rewards in the afterlife". The Bible is perfectly clear and explicit on this point:

Matthew 16:27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.

Romans 2:5 But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; 6 Who will render to every man according to his deeds:

1 Corinthians 3:14 If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.

Revelation 22:12 And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.

I could, of course, cite many more verses that demonstrate the error of your assertion.

I’ve gone through the pains to read all your comments on this thread. It seems you have no understanding of Christianity even though you claim to have been one.
It would have been better for you had you not claimed to have read my comments since now you have no justification for the irrational responses you wrote (John 9:41).

Once again you exalt yourself above the throne of God and stand in judgment of those who do or do not have "understanding of Christianity"? Stunning. Your judgment is entirely unsupported, arrogant, ignorant, absurd, corrupt, and immoral. It was not designed to edify anyone, but rather to diminish my standing in this forum to free you from the hard work of formulating rational responses to my arguments. You appear to be fundamentally anti-intellectual.

Knowing what Christians actually believe would be a start.
Your constant repetition of the false assertion that I don't understand Christianity sufficiently to criticize it does not make it true. Have you presented any evidence that would suggest I have a general systematic failure to understand what Christianity is really all about? Of course not. You merely cited one utterly fallacious example and then simply repeated your assertion as if it were a fully established fact. Anyone with integrity of heart and mind can see through such tactics quite readily.

Richard,

I’ll follow this post up with a response, but I just want to post a few of your comments from above.

Exhibit A: The Christian arguments appear to me to be nothing but shallow sophistry.

Exhibit B: I consider "traditional Christian morality" to be a perversion of true morality. It actually corrupts good morals

Exhibit C: The assertion that theism is necessary for meaning and morals has no foundation of any kind in logic or life. It strikes me as little more than dogmatic religious assertion masquerading as philosophy.

Exhibit D: Furthermore, the idea that Christianity is the root of our basic values like love and justice is utterly absurd

Exhibit E: You have chosen to delude yourself with a future "endless life in paradise" as your "ultimate purpose" for living.

Exhibit F: There is no "justice" in the Gospel.

Exhibit G: Such is the absurdity of the pseudo-philosophy required to justify Christianity.

Exhibit H: Science not only trumps faith, it explains why "faith" promoted by dogmatic religons tends to corrupt the minds and morals of believers.

Exhibit I: So logic entails the Golden Rule and the equal valuation of each human. It's too bad that you didn't learn anything like this from Christianity.

So please spare us this victimhood. Please don’t act like you haven’t been overly aggressive here. You've been heavy on accusations, heavy on new age mumbo jumbo, and light on real arguments (or as you say, "logic and facts")

Are you saying you reject soul/body dualism?

Now I’ll have to appeal to your reading comprehension, did I say that? Your comment was that you could, in principle, be me. This just isn’t true no matter how you try to explain it away. It’s easier just to say that you didn’t mean it.

If not, then what is there to prevent God from putting your soul in someone else's body, and vice versa?

Now you’re being disingenuous because you don’t believe God can do this. You don’t believe in God. Putting your disingenuousness aside, let’s say He did. I’d still be me. If God, did do that, what would that look like? Would I not still be me? God putting my soul in someone else’s body? You’re making it worse for yourself.

It doesn't matter if you think he would never do this. My point is that in principle he could.

So do you believe in God or not? Let me get this straight, you’re using the God you don’t believe in to help make your point? Come on, Richard.

"I know that I could just as well have been born in your condition, and you in mine."

Condition? What do you mean by condition?

There is, therefore, no excuse for your misrepresentation of my point. The fact I need to explain such elementary concepts seems to indicate that either you are not willing or not qualified to discuss these matters.

I’m not misrepresenting anything. You said these things yourself. You typed them out. I didn't make you type them out.

Here is what I said: "Even if I were to sacrifice myself for others, it could be for no other reason but that they matter to me because I love them. But note: though my root sense of value necessarily originates in my own self-being, it does not mean that I could not choose to sacrifice myself if I see greater value in others."

Sometimes doing the moral thing means doing something for someone that we do not love. Again, there are times when doing the moral thing brings nothing but pain, hardship, shame, loss, or even death. Our self-interest is not in the equation.

Folks sacrifice themselves for others because they love them.

Sometimes they love those they sacrifice for, sometimes they don’t. Sometimes the moral thing to do is to help the one we dislike or even hate (gasp!)

Second, it is absurd to say that Christianity is not about "getting rewards in the afterlife".

The Christian position on morality (i.e. the primary reason for being moral) is not about getting rewards in the afterlife. Of course, Heaven is a very important part of Christianity.

Once again you exalt yourself above the throne of God and stand in judgment of those who do or do not have "understanding of Christianity"?

What does this even mean? Why do you keep invoking God? Are you a Christian, or do you just throw His name around to try to disparage, belittle, and demean Christians?

I’ll give you the last word because I don’t have the time for this. I will, however, do you the courtesy of reading your response.

KWM wrote:

So please spare us this victimhood. Please don’t act like you haven’t been overly aggressive here. You've been heavy on accusations, heavy on new age mumbo jumbo, and light on real arguments (or as you say, "logic and facts")

I did not claim or complain about any "victimhood". I simply pointed out that your judgments about my level of understanding were unjustified and fallacious, both logically (ad hominem) as well as factually (they are false).

Now as for your "exhibits" - I can understand why you might feel they were "overly aggressive" but that's speaks more about the thickness of your skin than the nature of my comments. I am in the habit of direct speech. And note: None of my comments were directed at any individual but rather the system of beliefs known as Christianity. Yours, on the other hand, were blatant unjustified ad hominem.

I'm really glad you quoted my words. Perhaps that will make it possible to have a rational discussion:

Exhibit A: The Christian arguments appear to me to be nothing but shallow sophistry.
You took that statement out of its context that justified it. I was responding to a comment by Trent C that falsely conflated atheism with materialism. Such sophistry is extremely common among Christian apologists such as William Lane Craig and seeing it repeated in Trent's comments so my comment was fully justified. If you disagree, the rational response would be to challenge my reasons, not complain about my "aggressiveness".
Exhibit B: I consider "traditional Christian morality" to be a perversion of true morality. It actually corrupts good morals because it conflates OBEDIENCE with morality. This is evident from your response since you speak of God as a "king" that must be "obeyed" and that's what you take as "morality."
I italicized the words that you clipped from you "exhibit". They justify the part of the statement that you quoted. Note the word "because" - I was explaining the reason for my judgment. So once again, if you think my judgment is wrong, the rational response would be to challenge my reasons, not complain about my "aggressiveness".
Exhibit C: The assertion that theism is necessary for meaning and morals has no foundation of any kind in logic or life. It strikes me as little more than dogmatic religious assertion masquerading as philosophy.
What is this "exhibit" supposed to prove? My statement is fully justified by logic and facts. Case in point - William Lane Craig's defense of the Moral Argument is a philosophical sham. No serious philosopher could make the kinds of error he has made, let alone continue in them for a span of twenty years! Google "Why Most Animals are not Philosophers: Fatal Flaws in Dr. Craig's Moral Argument for God."

None of your "exhibits" support your false assertions. Simple as that.

KWM wrote

Now I’ll have to appeal to your reading comprehension, did I say that? Your comment was that you could, in principle, be me. This just isn’t true no matter how you try to explain it away. It’s easier just to say that you didn’t mean it.

You've only left me two options: You are either refusing to admit a concept any child could understand or you actually don't understand it. Either way, it ain't pretty. You are simply ignoring my explanation of what I meant when I said "I could, in principle, be you". I explained, in original statement and again in my response to you, that I was talking about how I could have been born in your condition. And now you play the sophist and ask "Condition? What do you mean by condition?" Pure sophistry! You have reduced yourself to pretending not to know what the word "condition" means? You have placed yourself far outside the realm of rational discourse.

I’m not misrepresenting anything. You said these things yourself. You typed them out. I didn't make you type them out.

You are totally misrepresenting what I meant and you know it because I have explained it to you twice. The first time was in the very context of my statement. Anyone can see that you are misrepresenting my words. I based my comments on the principle of indifference which underlies the mathematics of probabilities. My argument is apparently totally over your head. Here it is again, with highlights:

Now with these ideas in mind, perhaps my previous brief statements will make more sense. The principle of indifference is a mathematical concept that basically says that we should treat things with no relevant differences as identical. This is applied in mathematics to justify the calculation of probabilities, like the 1/6 chance of a particular face showing on a rolled die that follows from the six sides being the same. I apply this principle to all humans. I know that I could just as well have been born in your condition, and you in mine. There is no logical reason for me to think that there is any relevant difference between any humans in as much as they are human. Thus, the principle of indifference, coupled with my valuation of my own self, leads to the Golden Rule. I could, in principle, be you, and if that were the case then it would MATTER TO ME what the person standing in my place would do to you (me). Thus the Golden Rule follows from basic logic coupled with the idea that all value is rooted in the self.

Your comments indicate that you simply do not understand what I am talking about. There is nothing like "New Age mumbo jumbo" in anything I have written. I was talking about the logical foundation of the Golden Rule! Nothing could be more plain and obvious. My moral theory is based on the scientific definition of objectivity and the same principles of symmetry that have led to the discovery of the unified laws of physics. Again, you assertions have no basis of any kind. You simply have no idea what you are talking about.

So do you believe in God or not? Let me get this straight, you’re using the God you don’t believe in to help make your point? Come on, Richard.

Oh my. You are thick. I was using YOUR ASSUMPTION that there is a God to make a point that would follow if YOUR ASSUMPTION were true! This does not imply that I believe your assumption. I was only showing you that your argument contradicts your beliefs. Duh.

I’ll give you the last word because I don’t have the time for this. I will, however, do you the courtesy of reading your response.

I would be delighted to continue this conversation with anyone interested in authentic rational discourse. Apparently you have chosen to exclude yourself and I'm more than fine with that.

KWM,

"Oh my. You are thick". "Duh".


I've been called thick, dense, stupid, and such things too.

In my case they may be right, well, are right, but, for what its worth, in your case, well, I don't think you're stupid or dense.

KWM wrote

I've been called thick, dense, stupid, and such things too.

In my case they may be right, well, are right, but, for what its worth, in your case, well, I don't think you're stupid or dense.

My point was not to call you names, nor to suggest that you are chronically dense. My point was to push you past your sophistry. I have no reason to think you are too dense for rational discourse. I just think you've fallen into the typical sophistic style required to defend Christianity. I think everyone could benefit by a principled discussion of these matters.

All the best,

Richard

Richard,

To clarify:

On being stupid,

"In my case they may be right, well, are right.."

KWM did not make that comment about himself.

I made it about myself.

There are better ways to push people.

Don't follow your feelings.

scbrownlhrm wrote:

Richard,

To clarify:

On being stupid,

"In my case they may be right, well, are right.."

KWM did not make that comment about himself.

I made it about myself.

There are better ways to push people.

Don't follow your feelings.

Ah, my mistake. For some reason I didn't notice who wrote that post. Thanks.

How would you suggest pushing a person past their sophistry if it is being laid down as thickly as in KWM's comments? Remember, he began by setting himself up as judge over me and declaring that I had a "very limited understanding of Christianity" when in fact he knows nothing about be and has no evidence justifying his false assertion. And he repeated his false assertion a number of times. And worse, his assertions were ridiculous in that Christianity has everything to do with rewards and other Christians in this thread have said that such rewards are a freaking REQUIREMENT for any moral theory to be valid. So please, if you have any insight how to cut through such sophistry, let me know.

Thanks!

Thanks, scblhrm!

Richard,


This thread is about the location of Atheism's moral end of regress. This thread is not about the defense of the moral bedrock housed necessarily within that fully singular, that fully triune [Self-Other-Us] Who is the everlasting E Pluribus Unum, Who is, therein, Immutable Love, in Whom all regresses end necessarily.


I read your post. You write wonderfully. You follow your feelings, there in your Self, and therein mistreat the Other.


I do that too.


I'll give you the last word, and, I'll read it.


Thank you.

scbrownlhrm wrote

This thread is about the location of Atheism's moral end of regress. This thread is not about the defense of the moral bedrock housed necessarily within that fully singular, that fully triune [Self-Other-Us] Who is the everlasting E Pluribus Unum, Who is, therein, Immutable Love, in Whom all regresses end necessarily.

I read your post. You write wonderfully. You follow your feelings, there in your Self, and therein mistreat the Other.

I do that too.

I'll give you the last word, and, I'll read it.


First, your comments are a mildly amusing but mindless caricature of what I wrote. In other words, pretty much what I expect from the top-level of Christian apologists.

Second, you assertion is incoherent. If this thread is about "the location of Atheism's moral end of regress" then it is about the "moral bedrock" which is the foundation of my theory.

My last word? This thread exemplifies exactly the level of intellect I have come to expect from Christians. Nuff said.

KWM,


You are quite welcome. As your comments are always a help for me, it was an easy move.


The nature and contents of all that is in my own Self are, I find, all over the map, frequently misaligned, innately fragmented, and too often sickeningly unkind toward the Other. Confession and repentance are ever my companions.


Perhaps (I selfishly hope) I am not alone in such uncomfortable discoveries about my Self, as another Christian once noted:



“All this is flashy rhetoric about loving you.
I never had a selfless thought since I was born.

I am mercenary and self-seeking through and through –

I want God, you, all friends, merely to serve my turn –

Peace, re-assurance, pleasure, are the goals I seek –


I cannot crawl one inch outside my proper skin: I talk of love -- a scholar's parrot may talk Greek -- But, self-imprisoned, always end where I begin –


Only that now you have taught me (but how late) my lack. I see the chasm. And everything you are was making my heart into a bridge by which I might get back from exile, and grow man.


And now the bridge is breaking - For this I bless you as the ruin falls. The pains You give me are more precious than all other gains.” (C.S. Lewis)

KWM I wonder...... has your experience been similar, or is it just me here in my own Self?

The comments to this entry are closed.