« Paul's Apologetic Strategy | Main | Was Jesus Misquoted? »

September 29, 2006

Comments

Once again I feel the love. William, shame on you; every one of your points is the result of taking my comments out of context.

What you term "ad hominum" might be better termed "accurate evaluation of character." A person who aids and abets slave labor, forced abortion and prostitution like Abramoff and DeLay did is a depraved person. Sorry if you disagree.

"Alan says: ".. you and Patrick and Melinda are often wrong when you attempt to translate generally good values into public policy but I see no evidence of debasement." First no argument of specifics about the "wrong" opinions. Second there is no ground for defining "good values". There is also an implied judgement of character.

I didn't give examples because that was a reply to the assertion that I might consider all those with whom I disagree to be debased and I was merely pointing out that I am able to differentiate between disagreement on issues and the character of those with whom I disagree. There was no implication; there was a direct statement that some of the people with which I disagree are of good character and some not.

There is a public record for those folks like Bush and Cheney and it isn't good. If Iraq and Afghanistan, OBL and Abramoff, etc. isn't overwhelming, you aren't following things very well.

I think we agree on what is basically "good" so what's the point of going into reasons? If you believe we do disagree on the basics let me know and we can go from there.

For example we agree that "The content and development of character, the knowledge of vice and virtue is essential to the success of our democratic republic." All I want are elected officials that feel the same way and practice it. Sadly that is not the case for the Bush Administration and the leadership of the Republican party in its present form.

Four seconds? Glad you give things a fair hearing, Patrick. Now that we know you don't go beyond right wing sources of "information", we understand.

"Four seconds? Glad you give things a fair hearing, Patrick. Now that we know you don't go beyond right wing sources of "information", we understand."

What can I tell you, Alan. You appraoch a pit bull and get bit a few times, you learn to stay away whem you hear the pit bull growl!

CNN is about as much as I can tolerate. I find most liberals to be very poor critical thinkers, largely emoting and avoiding objectivity. The formula is much like yours "anyone that does such and such is an animal and bad person. Bush does such and such. Therefore Bush is a bad person." All this with the presumption that what the person is doing is actually bad, and there is rarely a discussion about the thing done or being done. It is somewhere between circular and straw man - it is strawcular! What they criticize thay have have become closed to discussing and love to preach to the chior and be preached to. Liberals are wong about most things - certainly all the important things. Liberalism is like a sharpening stone - very dull in itself, but it does provide a good surface against which a conservative may sharpen thier thinking.

"All this with the presumption that what the person is doing is actually bad,"

Well, in my world:

1. Going to war without a plan is a bad thing.

2. Aiding and abetting slave labor and forced abortions and prostitution is a bad thing.

3. Blowing up small animals with firecrackers is a bad thing.

4. Sending innocent people off to be tortured is a bad thing.

5. Handling firearms while intoxicated is a bad thing.

6. Winning elections with racial slurs is a bad thing.

(partial list)

Any disagreements?

Alan,

I thought that I was pretty gentle. Its always nice to find some point of agreement no matter how small. I didn't think that you would feel comfortable with my last paragraph, considering your personal philosophy, but I did think that it would appeal to you.

I think all the contexts were appropriate except for the exception below.

If you have been a parent you surely know that sometimes you have to be firm with those you love.
Just so you know and to be a little pedantic, the term is ad hominem with an e no u.

You said "I didn't give examples because that was a reply to the assertion that I might consider all those with whom I disagree to be debased and I was merely pointing out that I am able to differentiate between disagreement on issues and the character of those with whom I disagree. There was no implication; there was a direct statement that some of the people with which I disagree are of good character and some not."

Fair point, Melinda, Patrick and William T. will take heart, but you do still have the issue of defining good. I still also feel that your confidence in character evaluation is not entirely warranted. We may agree on what is basically good (I don't know that for a fact) but how we ground our belief is more important in my opinion.


Whoops, a typist I am not. In my view grounding isn't important if there is basic agreement. As an athiest, Christian, Jew, Muslin, Hindu and Buddhist will pretty much agree on the basics and some version of the Golden Rule is universal, I assume basic morality is the manifestation in the physical world of certain basic things in our genetic makeup that seem to be present, more or less, in all social animals.

Absent pathology of some sort all humans are capable of empathy and bonding and those, interacting with our capacity for symbolic manipulation, are probably all you need to arrive at concepts like "good" and "morality".

We often are faced with conflicting choices that reveal a lot. For example Powell had to choose between Party and Administration (team, if you will) and larger considerations (country and mankind), he choose team and hoped things would work out - unfortunately they didn't.

When Bush, as President, sends someone off to be tortured he displays the same lack of empathy as he did for the frogs he blew up as a young boy. That is what I mean by likely pathology.

Alan:"pretty much agree on the basics and some version of the Golden Rule is universal, I assume basic morality is the manifestation in the physical world of certain basic things in our genetic makeup that seem to be present, more or less, in all social animals."

What a load of bunk!! If it is all genetics then you have no right to imprison anyone or to correct them or condemn thier actions. Neither is there some ethereal "golden rule", for if all is physical I have no reason to agree and indeed being selfish may well serve me to the best possible degree. you cannot have it both ways. You cannot be a metaphysical naturalist and argue for objective universals. Furthermore, if it is all about genetics, there is no room for "character".

What "certain genetic basic tings" account for morailty?

Here is my specific answer to your questions above:

1. Going to war without a plan is a bad thing.

To suggest that we went to war without a plan is not only simplistic, but really not well thought out. I surely concede that the plan is inadequate, and that in some serious ways. But to say we did not have a plan is just quite silly. Congress approved of action, and people that are not Pres. Bush fans agreed to it. You could call the plan anything but "not a plan".

2. Aiding and abetting slave labor and forced abortions and prostitution is a bad thing.

I have no idea what you are talking about. Please elaborate. Of course those things would be wrong, but then it would also be wrong for you to misprepresent the truth and build one of your straw men that annoy me. But I digress and give you a chance.

3. Blowing up small animals with firecrackers is a bad thing.

Yes it is. Although, on your view, I not know what bad is. I hear you describe what you consider to be bad actions. But genetics are neither good or bad, they just are. By the way, as a young boy, I shot bullfrogs with a shotgun on a few occasions. That is not only "bad" but it is sin and goes against the creators mandate to be stewards over HIS creation.

4. Sending innocent people off to be tortured is a bad thing.

Of course it is. But again, I sniff a straw man. Please specify.

5. Handling firearms while intoxicated is a bad thing.

Of course it is. Actually it is foolish. But if all is genetics, then the alcohol is only doing what genetics determined what it should do. Sadly, another man's face was in the way when the gun, controlled by the genetics determing VP Cheny's arm movements, further dictated by the very natural effects of alcohol on the genetically determined central nervous system, with no respect of persons.

6. Winning elections with racial slurs is a bad thing.

Of course, but ditto above. Specifics please. Which slurs and when and to whom.

I appreciate your sticking to this. I know it is helping me intellectually, and I KNOW you need help intellectually!!
Patrick

Alan said: "As an athiest, Christian, Jew, Muslin, Hindu and Buddhist will pretty much agree on the basics and some version of the Golden Rule is universal,".

We have visited this theme before and I will recommend once again C.S. Lewis "Mere Chrsitianity" which if nothing else will give a reasonable Christian view of this observed fact of human belief.

Attempts have been made to use genetics to explain morality. What I have seen has not convinced me. I have a hard time understanding how moral values are produced in a materialist universe. Here is C.S. Lewis from "Miracles" that begins to touch on why I remain unconvinced:

"Thus a strict materialism refutes itself for the reason given long ago by Professor Haldane (Possible Worlds): “If my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain, I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true…and hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms.”

“Throughout the long tradition of European thought it has been said, not by everyone but by most people, or at any rate by most of those who have proved that they have aright to be heard, that Nature, though it is a thing that really exists, is not a thing that exists in itself or in its own right, but a thing which depends for its existence on something else.” R.G. Collingwood, The Idea of Nature.

This perhaps helps to make a little clearer what the laws of Nature really are. We are in the habit of talking as if they caused events to happen; but they have never caused any event at all. The laws of motion do not set billiard balls moving; they analyse the motion after something else (say, a man with a cue, or a lurch of the liner, or, perhaps, supernatural power) has provided it. They produce no events: they state the pattern to every event—if only it can be induced to happen—must conform, just as the rules of arithmetic state the pattern to which all transactions with money must conform—if only you can get hold of any money. Thus in one sense the laws of Nature cover the whole field of space and time; in another, what they leave out is precisely the whole real universe—the incessant torrent of actual events which make up true history. That must come from somewhere else. To think the laws can produce it is like thinking you can create real money by simply doing sums. For every law, in the last resort, says “If you have A, then you will get B”. But first catch your A: the laws don’t do it for you."

is religious right really not a complimentary.......

The comments to this entry are closed.