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« Is the Existence of Evil an Argument against God's Existence? (Video) | Main | No Stable Rights without Intrinsic Human Value »

July 23, 2013


Even from a relativistic viewpoint, those views have to be objectively true or false with respect to the real object in question. In other words, saying "from my perspective torturing for the fun of it is wrong" isn't free license to avoid the true/false nature of your statement.

In my example, the statement, or claim, being made is that "torturing for the fun of it" (the real object or situation in front of you) falls into some particular real category (wrong). Since there is only ONE reality, that statement is either an objectively true statement about reality or it is an objectively false one (or perhaps partially true/false).

If the category of "wrong" doesn't exist beyond the confines of your highly active imagination, then the real object can never actually be a part of that category. "Wrong" is an imaginary category that your mind invented out of thin air - with no connection to anything beyond your mind - and so the claim is objectively false in this particular example.

Same old false dichotomy: 'objective or taste/convention/perspective'.

Moral matters are 'grounded' (if you insist) in our nature. A village of psychopaths cannot exist. There are some conventions/perspectives that simply won't work for us humans.

These constraints are dictated by our nature. There is no need to think they 'transcend' anything or have an independent existence of their own.

Bees kill brothers and daughters.


Ontological indifference.

XY and XX coming together, violently.


Ontological indifference.

Thus incoherence in all of us who are NOT psychopaths. (If no god)

You're confusing absolute morals with universally accepted morals.

Why imagine absolute morals when things are nicely explained by our sharing a common moral sense because we're the same species?

(And sorry to be so verbose today, but it'd be nice to have some way to get notification of replies to comments. Perhaps your commenting system already provides that? If not, consider that a suggestion. Thanks.)

You're confusing ontology and epistemology.

Child sacrifice.

Morally good until......until what?

Agree with Bob on email thing.

Thus incoherence in all of us who are NOT psychopaths. (If no god)

Or, if this is easier to admit: Noble Lie.

Nature has lied to Man. She has infused him with illusion. He has preferred the Noble Lie to the Truth of all things. Either truth will be cheap, or life.

But we know and believe that both....... both matter.

Thus, again, we are incoherent.

Unless: Immutable Love.

"A village of psychopaths cannot exist."

I doubt that the survivors of the concentration camps in WWII would share the same sentiment...

"Psychopath" is a meaningless word inside of Atheism. Volition-less Indifference just is the definition of "psychopath" and such is the ontological end point of every sentence within atheism. It is the Subtext beneath all Context. Thus to attempt the differentiation to something outside of, other than, separate from indifference is, without god, irrational and incoherent. If the Subtext beneath one’s feet cannot support the Context above one’s head, one’s entire philosophy loses all plausibility.


Let me put it in a question(s).

Is 'torturing for fun' really a matter of cultural convention?

That is: Supposing (even!) that moral realism is false, could a culture really exist having adopted the convention: "torturing for fun is OK"?

Or, are there some facts standing in the way of such a convention. If such facts exist, what are they? What class or kind of facts are they? What adjective fits this kind of fact?

"Psychopath" is a meaningless word inside of Atheism.

Ya, well, my questions above could be asked by a theist. The false dichotomy I first posted about could be recognized by a theist.

I'm going to repeat a thought experiment I used a couple threads earlier. I've taken the liberty of fixing it up a little bit. I think it gives the lie to the evolutionary 'ethics' that Ron and others like to trot out in threads like this one:

Let us suppose that it is the year 2525 (and 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 this 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 they call the Device for the Erasure and Anihillation of all Traces of Humankind (or D.E.A.T.H.). D.E.A.T.H. will cause universal and irreversible forgetfulness of the whole episode, and of humanity altogether, should we choose to sacrifice ourselves.

And there is more. D.E.A.T.H. will also cause all evidence that humanity ever existed to 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.

D.E.A.T.H. has already been deployed in such a way that it will go into operation automatically should we choose to make the sacrifice, but will remain dormant forever if we do not. The aliens have no way of undoing D.E.A.T.H. we can't bargain for them to remember us in exchange for the sacrifice.

Note that D.E.A.T.H., unlike death, doesn't actually kill us. Instead, it obliterates all evidence that we ever were should we die.

In case anyone has the idea that we're simply being asked to commit suicide, that's not it. Instead we're being asked to do something to save all the non-humans. Something only we can do. But that act will have the unfortunate side-effect that we all die.

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 force us on to undertake this suicide mission or whether the D.E.A.T.H. device is a good thing. Obviously, they would be quite capable of forcing us to perform whatever task the require. But let us suppose that the task won't won't save anyone unless it is done willingly.

Nor do I ask whether we have a duty to undertake this suicide mission.

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 go against evolutionary ethics. Evolutionary ethics, I think, implies that it would be the worst evil imaginable.

BOB - "things are nicely explained by our sharing a common moral sense because we're the same species?"
Really? Not in the world I observe. And I live in the civilized part. Unless you believe 'greed' and 'self serving' are "good common moral sensibilities". Heck we can't even agree within the subset of the North American human species if killing babies in the womb is or isn't 'common moral sense'........


I’m curious as to the responses you’ll get on this on a number of fronts.

From my perspective:

The first thing that jumps out at me is the advanced nature of the federation. I don’t see the implications of this apart from the single important necessity of gettting the experiment off the ground (i.e. the intergalactic travel, the ability to see future events, ability to design D.E.A.T.H, etc.) In other words, I don’t see a moral implication, as it relates to suicide, to preserve advanced things. Put another way, just because they have literature that makes Shakespeare look like a slipshod scribbler (which is mind blowing) or Bach look like a street performer (more mind blowing) those things don’t necessarily point to a moral imperative as it relates to self-sacrifice.

All of this will be lost if humanity does not make the great sacrifice.

Though emotionally I would hate to see this amazing stuff obliterated, it really wouldn’t lead me to off myself, or wish the same for my family, to preserve them (or play a role in the decision for that matter). Let’s say the federation was equal in advancement to humans I think the experiment holds, through my perspective, (maintaining the necessities I mentioned above to make the whole thing work).

That said, the sheer numbers of the federation and their total obliteration is obviously relevant. However, how do we value non-human life? I’ve always found sci-fi and alien thought experiments challenging due to our deep sense of what it means to be human. In other words, it can be hard to throw non-humans into the mix and not get rattled as it relates to ethics and morality.

Many on this forum don’t have the luxury of taking the above position – so this can go a bunch of different ways.

Just my thoughts for now. This kind of thing takes more time than I’ve given it at this point.


Child sacrifice.....good and moral until.....what? Or was that bit of evolution's production line "immoral" from the get go? If you concede relativism as your ceiling I may be able to take you seriously. Atheists never like that term though. It sounds so.....mutable. So indifferent.

WL, If 'evolutionary ethics' were a philosophical position you would have a good argument against it. RonH


You mean to say you have something in your skull that is not the automaton of indifference? That you transcend nature? If so, then evolution may have been immoral. If not, then moral relativism.

We liked it. Those Child sacrifices. Natural selection liked it. She even nursed it along so it could get off the ground. And soar. Thus, it was The-Good. The-Ought. It was in our nature to be thus.

Grounded (if you insist) in our nature. A village of Child Killers can exist quite fine.

You seem to resist the need to ground your epistemology in your ontology; as if you can just make up a fantasy "in here" and think it to be "real".


I mean to say that evolution can explain why we have morality (so we enjoy the fruits of social cooperation).

This explanation says the odds are long for the descendants of folks that live in villages full of sociopaths. And, low, we few such villages.

This explanation doesn't say right and wrong exist as real things.

I seems like an easy enough distinction to grasp.

Get it?


Remember, we're not talking about suicide, we're talking about providing a life saving service to the aliens which happens to kill us.

The bit about the quality of their art and literature was not intended to imply any duty to perform this service. I don't think you'd be able to easily prove that there is such a duty no matter what. Note that I am not merely saying that their art is more advanced, but that it is far more beautiful than anything we've come up with.

The rest of the technical advancements of the aliens, like the D.E.A.T.H., is meant entirely to avoid 'corner-cases' that muddy the waters rather than providing clarity.

What I was trying to motivate is the idea that the self-sacrificial life-saving act for the aliens would be morally laudable even though it does go above and beyond the call of duty.

In fact, all I really need for my argument to go through is that it is at least arguable that it would be a morally praiseworthy act for humanity to sacrifice itself for the sake of all non-human life in the universe.

This conclusion is something evolutionary ethics cannot tolerate. The total destruction of humanity completely goes against the survival of our genome.

Now, I am, of course, assuming that the evolutionary ethicist believes that the survival of our genome is an actual good that should be achieved. Indeed, that that is how the term "good" is to be defined.

There is a different type of evolutionary ethicist who simply says that ethics evolved in fact because it helped humanity to thrive. So we just happen to be constituted, by evolution, to behave in a certain way that includes heaping a certain type of praise on people who behave one way and scorn on those who behave another way.

The former is clearly defeated if my argument is successful. The latter (which I now take Ron to be associating himself with based on his latest reply to SCBLHRM) is not.

Now there is a different sort of difficulty with
the later sort of evolutionary ethicist. To wit, when we ask whether he can ground ethics, we mean, at least in part, that he is to provide some reason to believe ethical claims are true.

But his answer is little more than a development of the old "Boo!/Hurrah!" theory of ethics. He's, of course, free to hold that view if he likes. Pardon me, though, if I view his sounds of moral outrage as being not terribly more interesting than reports of the state of his digestive tract.


The problem is, when it is my daughter, I am awakened to the error of all your fancy philosophy. That is what you don’t get. You don’t seem to understand what we all believe. Atheists and all.

No one really believes your sermons on indifference as the truth of the matter when it is our daughter………some do……hence: psychopath. Indifference.

And thus we have made full circle. Psychopath. Another irrational and incoherent non-word inside of atheism.

Your appeal to the genetic fallacy is amusing. You’ve yet to answer the question on child sacrifices. Until you do I think we are don in this thread. The genetic fallacy just doesn’t permit you to justify your anger at anything. As Brad B pointed out to you, if you begin drawing distinctions, you must borrow from something other than your immutable indifference. Yet you have, are now, and will tomorrow differentiate, and the reason is that you believe something to be the truth of the matter. We all do. Brad B noted this: "RonH you state: "Our social nature and our moral nature are interlocked. Neither is foundational to the other. The two are mutually dependent." While I see reasons to quibble with this statement in general, it is the mutual dependence term I see as obviously problematic. [It does nothing to answer the questions necessary to make authoritative judgments.] Your view seems to attempt a descriptive accounting as though observing proves authority. When there is no anchor--something you need for binding and unchanging moral rules, you have no authority to compel obedience. Morals, I think are self evident prescriptive oughts that rule over social behavior, they cannot be mutually dependent. Unless your view allows for changing standards and are ok with it, you are incoherent within your system. If you are ok with changing standards, you have no supportive authority to judge any behavior as good or bad."

Yet we do.

And worse, we use words like “psychopath”.

Again, until you answer the question about child sacrifices, we’re done here. Perhaps in another thread we’ll pick up some other topic. At least Dawkins was honest. Your perpetual dance on trying to show how immutable (no mass killing going on in this world now?) your mutability (natural selection) is is a bit wearying. Child sacrifices, RonH. Moral or immoral there in the land where all embraced it. You may want to read Dawkins.

"Pardon me, though, if I view his sounds of moral outrage as being not terribly more interesting than reports of the state of his digestive tracts...."

And yet, the outrage.

"Pardon me, though, if I view his sounds of moral outrage as being not terribly more interesting than reports of the state of his digestive tracts...."



Repeat your thought experiment a billion times. Do this throughout the universe.

NOT just with us.

Be sure to vary your humanities and the conditions.

If you vary things enough and do enough trials, now and then a humanity will save itself.

Keep repeating, generation upon generation.

Eventually you'll weed out the humanities, like ours, willing to sacrifice ourselves.

And there's the problem with the other interpretation of your story - the one that says evolution evolution is wrong when it predicts we'd save ourselves rather than lay our lives down for our friends when we know we'd admire if not make the sacrifice.

Eventually you may be left with nothing but humanities descended from humanities that saved themselves - whether we (you and I) think it fine or not.

Actual good? I would think that would, upon investigation, turned out to be something that, as a first priority, actually existed - even if it did not turn out to be what you thought existed or what you wished existed.


There is an interesting bridge here into Immaterialism as our various properly basic beliefs, our vividly perceived actualities, may all be illusion. And so on. It’s the typical parallel drawn amid the Whole that is Mind, our Mind, there within all our painfully perceived moral nuances and all our perceived physical experiences and all our vividly perceived mental experiences and all of our perceptions of volition, of will, and on and on. Obviously a defeater of sufficient power is needed should one try to tell us we’re mad. Mind will have to be given a rather wonderfully powerful defeater should it be asked to eject everything as imaginary, the Self, the Other, and the whole wide World. And what if the Naturalist is onto something when he tells us all our perceived moral pains are in fact illusion? What if our contextual experience within this observational reality that is our clearly contingent Matrix is illusion? Well then, clearly, we are an illusion. That is to say, We don’t exist. Nor does this contingent universe. And why is that? What is the evidence for we the perceiver but the perceiving of the perceiver which takes place in-here? What is the evidence for any universe at all? -Tis but The-Perceiver’s perceptions thereof. What is the evidence for any electron at all? –Tis but The-Perceiver’s perceptions thereof. Very well; let us take the Naturalist at his word. Brutally repeated perceptions are of Non-Actualities. Thus too our perceptions themselves (for we perceive them too) are Non-Actualities. Thus too the “we” of “for we perceive them” (for we perceive we) are Non-Actualities. For what is the evidence for any of it? This all brings us to this: Mind. The Naturalist who takes this road must become his own abdication, and to the uttermost degree: all the way to non-actuality for with each step there is yet another perception perceived, which would bring yet another step, which would find yet another perception perceived, which would bring…… all the way to non-existence. We find then this: nonsense. It would be a relief to say here that we would be only insane, but it would actually be much worse, for we would be a non-actuality experiencing an illusion, and thus non-actualities would be having experiences, and thus we have arrived not at mere insanity, but at we-know-not-what. That is, unless this: Willful Mind.

Until a defeater of sufficient power is presented we are within reason, by far, to believe our brutally repeated perceptions. Cleary we are in a Matrix and whether we are Theists or Atheists, Immaterialists or Materialist, this is the case for our journey across the ad infinitum is leading us, all of us, beyond the perceived for nothing within this obviously contingent universe accounts for all that is in this clearly contingent universe, including our experiences and thus this “universe”, whatever it is, is but a brief delay in all of our philosophies. Even Naturalism, that is if it wishes to reassemble itself out of the Non-Actuality it just committed itself to and joint in. Our hollowed academic halls are echoing of Laws and other such Pre-Material stuff as the Materialist and a certain brand of Immaterialists are seen packing their suit cases and heading for that train, while the Theists and a second brand of Immaterialists are found perceiving that which perceives and which is not the Non-Actual automaton which ends in the Non-Actuality of illusion: Willful Mind.

It seems if we are asked to reject our perceived truth of the matter in that rock that smashes our windscreen, or, our perceived truth of the matter when it is our daughter thus violated, or our perceived truth of the matter inside our experience of volition, or the truth of the matter in our experience of streams of thought, and so on in all that Mind does and all that Mind is, well, such a request of Mind to thus unload Mind must have an incredibly powerful defeater, far more weighty than a delicate and spindly “it’s possible”. Little green men are possible too, but, well, who cares? The Naturalist or the Theist or anyone at all cannot simply suggest it’s possible that the Whole that is the Mind is thus fashioned on the Con without some perceivable defeater of sufficiently perceivable strength that these myriad imprints upon Mind and Will of some actuality are in fact not a real actuality at all and that such a Con is the truth of the matter and that we are in this Matrix thus conned into “perceiving” these non-realities. “It may be the case” just won’t do given all the evidence of Mind’s topography within the In/Self impinging and being impinged upon by the Out/Other there within the wedded blending of Mind’s Net Perception: E Pluribus Unum within the Singular-We. Such a request by the Naturalist, by the Theist, or by anyone at all need not be entertained should they provide only the brittle, “But it’s possible it’s all illusion and not real-things”. Short of the mammoth defeater which can overturn the Whole that is Willful Mind, that is our entire contextual experience with this observational reality that is our clearly contingent Matrix, short of that we’ve all the reason in the world and all the logical wherewith within Mind’s brutally repeatable perceiving-s to shout Look out! should those strong vectors again and again and again slice open the skies.

It becomes self-evident that the guarantor that is our Immutable Exemplar is testified of in many and various ways and not only in Good and in Evil and in Love. But also right here for all these vectors witness of what must necessarily exist lest there be no evidence for anything at all, which is the Unyielding Exemplar of Immutable Mind. All of us little I-AM’s pushing against that Exemplar and against one another find, perceive, the motions of Actual-Selves motioning into/out-of the Self, into/out-of the Other, and by these two motions we perceive that which is therein begotten, those motions into/out-of the Self-Other of the Singular-Us. Such is Willful Mind. Such is Love’s embraces. Such is Self. Such is Other. Such is the Singular-Us of the necessarily begotten E Pluribus Unum.

The Self Evident and the Unyielding Exemplar and the non-existence of a defeater of sufficient strength:

"Psychopath" is a meaningless word inside of Atheism. Volition-less Indifference just is the definition of "psychopath" and such is the ontological end point of every sentence within atheism. It is the Subtext beneath all Context. Thus to attempt the differentiation to something outside of, other than, separate from indifference is, without god, irrational and incoherent. If the Subtext beneath one’s feet cannot support the Context above one’s head, one’s entire philosophy loses all plausibility.

When the hard fist of bare, naked evil hits us in the face we just do not believe the moral relativism which atheism’s ontological end points are forced to assign to our brutally felt contextual moral experience here inside our observational Matrix. Our existential moral experience in such places as those is telling us something about actual reality which is objectively true, or, it is telling us of an illusory fantasy. We all know fantasies in-here do not become realities out-there. This is the critical difference between epistemological semantics and ontology’s regress to its bitter end. It is self-evident that The-Real is to be desired above The-Fantasy, that Truth is more desirable than Autohypnosis.

And so atheism’s only hope is to try to ground this existential witness of “This can never be right even if everyone on earth believes it is right into man’s own mutable psyche: man’s own biological composition which is but the automaton of Nature’s ontological end: Volition-less Indifference. Raw evil ripping at the one we love is enough to bring the witness of this unbending Exemplar. We can stop here. But, we can add to one more thing to make the point. So let us add to it this: for the fun of it. Now the witness becomes a symphony which brings the existential testimony into the fore as that ominous hideousness presents us with a certain actuality which speaks inside the self-evident in witness to a Truth which we believe, which we know, and that Truth is this: “This, whatever this is, this is ever the filth, ever the ugly, and never the lovely, this is ever the Ought-Not and is never the Good, and such is true always, and should all the world delight in this down to the last of us there would be that certain Other which yet stands in contradiction to this. That unspeakable Immutable Exemplar is found in this symphony as that which is alive, that which speaks, that which stands in the self-evidence of the unyielding.

Against this properly basic belief housed within the Self-Evident Atheism can never counter with a defeater of sufficient strength and so it instead resorts to committing suicide rather than admit its incoherence with this move: “Well, all these brutally repeatable contextual experiences within our observational reality are illusions for Mind is but a Con”. And of course it never does present us with the perceived defeater of sufficient power to make such a claim and thus this move only makes it worse for the Atheist for instead of a mere “gap” of raw incoherence he is now faced with utter non-existence for all of Perception, all of what Mind does, all of what Mind is, is, by this move, laid atop the altar and, by his own hands, slaughtered. Suicide via self-proclaimed psychosis.

Against this properly basic belief housed within the Self-Evident, against this symphony, Atheism's sickly relativism can never present a defeater of sufficient strength as such attempts cannot withstand that Unyielding Exemplar the weight of Whom is just too pressing for the Subtext which lies beneath all of Atheism's Contexts: indifference. Atheism’s attempt at moral semantics cannot rise above relativism and the chorus of all its semantics here end in incoherence within both the existential and the intellectual for Atheism's regress to its own ontology's bitter end at the end of ad infinitum brings the death of circularity as it struggles to escape and deny the sheer volition-less indifference which saturates its skin. This death of circularity our Immutable Exemplar can never see for He is never afraid to allow His Immutable Semantics the right to cross the ad infinitum to the bitter end of His Ontology, which is Love, which is Himself. Michael Ruse is not afraid to grant his epistemological semantics the right to follow his ontology to its bitter end at the end of ad infinitum as he prefers Truth over Fantasy: “The position of the modern evolutionist…… 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…..”

Darwin in The Descent of Man is also not afraid to grant his epistemology and his semantics the right to traverse the ad infinitum and climb out of the ocean onto the shore of their ontological bedrock as he embraces Truth over Fantasy: “If…… 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…..”

Dawkins too is not afraid of his ontological end points and chooses Truth over Fantasy: “……there is at bottom no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pointless indifference. . . . We are machines for propagating DNA. . . . It is every living object’s sole reason for being…..”

There is intellectual incoherence for all of us who are not psychopaths for volition-less indifference is the final regress of all of atheism’s ontology. Our existentially felt realty in the face of the hard fist of bare, naked evil unmasks a foreboding witness of that Immutable Exemplar whose unyielding and immutable semantics impinge upon all of our painfully mutable contexts.

This moral landscape fragments into incoherence inside of atheism and becomes but a Lie infused into our psyche by Nature herself. We find that this Lie, this Fantasy, is embraced as a Noble Lie for such seems to help Man thrive. Dr. Craig elucidates, “Dr. L. D. Rue……. boldly advocated that we deceive ourselves by means of some "Noble Lie" into thinking that we and the universe still have value. Claiming that "The lesson of the past two centuries is that intellectual and moral relativism is profoundly the case”, Dr. Rue muses that the consequence of such a realization is that one's quest for personal wholeness (or self-fulfillment) and the quest for social coherence become independent from one another. This is because on the view of relativism the search for self-fulfillment becomes radically privatized: each person chooses his own set of values and meaning. If we are to avoid "the madhouse option”, where self-fulfillment is pursued regardless of social coherence, and "the totalitarian option”, where social coherence is imposed at the expense of personal wholeness, then we have no choice but to embrace some Noble Lie that will inspire us to live beyond selfish interests and so achieve social coherence. A Noble Lie "is one that deceives us, tricks us, compels us beyond self-interest, beyond ego, beyond family, nation, [and] race." It is a lie, because it tells us that the universe is infused with value (which is a great fiction), because it makes a claim to universal truth (when there is none), and because it tells me not to live for self-interest (which is evidently false). "But without such lies, we cannot live."”

Noble Lie, i.e. incoherence in all of us who are not psychopaths (if no god) for volition-less indifference is the Subtext beneath all of our Context (if no god) and we find that the Subtext beneath our feet cannot support the weight of the Context above our heads and thus the skies are forever falling here within the Matrix. Our brutally repeatable contextual experiences here inside the observational reality of the Matrix testify of Love’s Perfect Exemplar and this cannot find a coherent rational End within our Matrix if we track Atheism out to its bitter ontological ends and thus Atheism simply loses all plausibility in the face of both Love and Evil.

To the contrary, the Immutable Semantics of Uncreated Word there inside Immutable Love maintains, to His bitter Ends, congruence and symmetry with our felt experiences on all these varied fronts and therein we find plausibility and coherence not only in the existential realm but also in the intellectual realm. We have no need of the Noble Lie, of any Lie at all for the Unyielding Exemplar’s A to Z swallows up all of atheism’s artificial and frayed ends which it created in haste in its state of panic as it tried to grasp something beyond the indifferent by slicing up its ontological regress in the attempt to set its epistemology free. We find in the Immutable Semantics of Uncreated Love our existential, logical, intellectual, and contextual spouse.

Nature has lied to Man, if no god. She has infused him with illusion, if no god. We have preferred the Noble Lie to the Truth of all things, if no god. Either truth will be cheap, or, life will be cheap, if no god. But we believe, we know that both Truth and Life matter. Such is Self-Evident. Thus, again, we are wholly incoherent. Unless: Perfect Exemplar. Unless: the Immutable Semantics of Immutable Love.

The Goat Head addresses RonH:

Your last comment actually argues against your position.

Evolutionary selection pressure works against self sacrificial ethical behavior. Yet somehow, after all this time for evolution to work it out of us, we still value the idea that it is noble for a person to sacrifice himself for others before he reproduces.

I realize my comment doesn't have aliens or anything, but......

Goat Head 5


Had you read the thought experiment carefully, you would see that it does not admit of repetition once even one 'humanity' decides to live instead of sacrifice. The weeding out process is total. The aliens prove not only that universal doomsday is coming, but that there will be no recovery. Remember that the aliens "even know where it (intelligent life) will exist in the future." When they said all intelligent life would be destroyed, they meant all of it.

I didn't want to put much more into a thought experiment already too detailed, but we may suppose that the particular service we will be providing to the rest of the universe is the forestalling of some cosmic event that will not only destroy all life but render every other opportunity for evolution impossible.

If we grant that unending chain of speciation we will find the ultimate weeding out of those sorts of Self-s who Self-Sacrifice for such just will not propagate.

The illusion of Love’s Eternally Sacrificed Self is the best that simple selection can hope to offer but such cannot be the gritty bedrock of actuality. It must be, at best, simple Gesture and never Actuality for it cannot find that sort of living water which can in actuality have itself forever poured out and yet find itself forever filled up. Such a peculiar living water cannot be obtained therein.

That is what everlasting volition-less indifference looks like.

Everlasting Love looks like, well, what?

Inside of that Everlasting Love that is the Triune I/Self and You/Other and Singular-We that is the embrace of the former two. There is the Self, the Other, and the Self-Other, and we find, even before creation of any kind here within Time, in Everlasting Love, in God-Is-Love, that perpetual death and that perpetual resurrection that just is found inside of Love. There is no Love void of Death. There is no Love void of Resurrection. There is no Love void of Self. There is no Love void of Other. There is no Love void of Self-Other within unity's embrace by which the perpetual Resurrection of Each is forever begotten within the Singular-We, by which embrace Each is found, having utterly died, now Alive Again.

And how is that?

In Love we find that Self does die and utterly so. Self is lost. Not in mere gesture, but actually. I dies. Self dies. Death. Self shouts utterly, "Thine and not Mine! You and not I! Other and not Self!".

This is that Motion into the Other which we call the Self's Death. It is not simple Gesture. It is Actual. Self glorifies Other. Self is debased. And in God this Motion is to the uttermost such that all our attempts at comparisons here within our tattered and frayed Now cannot by the Mind encompass its distance.

In Love we find that the Self is thus received by the Beloved who in loving return too does Die. She does with arms open wide receive this Offering, Love's Sacrifice, and this Beloved, this Other, now Lifted Up, now made full, is herein Glorified. She is Alive, and to the Full and not with Her own life alone but with that Life that is both Her life and that Sacrificed Life therein.

This is that Motion by which Love does Glorify not Self but Other. It is not simple Gesture. It is Actual. She is Glorified. Other is Glorified. Self is lost. Self is no more. And in God this Motion is to the uttermost such that all our attempts at comparisons here within our tattered and frayed Now cannot by the Mind encompass its distance.

And in this Fullness She too now does, having been thus Glorified, also offer Her Perpetual Sacrifice and in like manner pours Herself out. And here we find Two Deaths and now a Third, fully Alive. Here we find Embrace. And in these Deaths we find that which is perpetually Begotten, that which was no more, which was Dead, yet is now Alive, and in this Third and Perfect Distinct we find Love's Fruition for that which was Offered In Full, that which was Debased, which was Lost, which was Dead not in mere gesture but in sheer Actuality, is now found Alive Again there within this Singular-We thus Begotten for this Us is that very I and that very You, that very Self and that very Other Who by Love's Eternally Sacrificed Self had thus Poured Out and Lifted-Up, had thus Debased and Glorified, Who had thus Died and Who now are found quite Alive Again in the Begotten-We though they had tasted of Death. All these things are no mere gesture but are Utter Actuality and to the Full. And in the Triune God Who is Love's I-You-We all these Motions are to the uttermost such that all our attempts at comparisons here within our tattered and frayed Now cannot by the Mind encompass their breadth, nor their height, nor their depth nor their sheer distance.

Love is Eternal Death. Love is Eternal Resurrecting. Love is Eternal Glorifying. Love is Eternal Begetting.

This is what Everlasting Love looks like.

If we have not seen these motions, we have not seen God, for God is love.

God looks like this.

God is this.

God is Love.

"weeding out is total"

Yes. I know - in your version.

I knew that because I did read it carefully.

Your version flunks evolution on a test it never studied for.

(And I should have just said that instead of bothering rework.)

That whole thing was a distraction.

I'm just going to restate the tiny wee little point I wanted to make at the outset. Then I'm probably going to be done.

The OP repeats a false dichotomy: morality is either 'objective' meaning 'god-given', or it's arbitrary. However evolution describes a morality that is tied to our social nature.

Being social drives a stake in the ground and morality is tethered to it.

This keeps us within certain boundaries: if our taste or convention wanders too far from that stake in the ground, then we cannot be the kind of social animal we are. Or, we simply cannot be. Period. This, for the thousandth time, is not a prescription; it is an explanation.

There's another thing going on along side the false dichotomy: anything not 'objective' ('god-given') is doomed, by assumption or definition, to be rejected as not 'real' morality.

Goat Head 5,

Evolutionary selection pressure works against self sacrificial ethical behavior.

Not every risk results in actual sacrifice. Evolution doesn't predict every action; it predicts trends, tendencies.

Arbitrary. Bees killing brothers & daughters.

Arbitrary. Men killing brothers & daughters.

When it is my daughter thus violated, my Mind perceives the unyielding truth of the matter. If the atheist thinks he can just assert that I am therein delusional he had better come up with a defeater of sufficient power that Mind is but the Con here in our contextual experiences in this observational matrix. And since he cant he has no claim to the term "descriptive". If he means to commit suicide by self-proclaimed psychosis he need not think his baseless assertion can take all Minds with him. It can't.


The biological evolutionary process cannot accomplish what you are asking of it. Evolution ONLY selects through successful reproduction. And it only happens on an individual basis.

Evolution cannot explain why we put value on an exemplary individual letting his genes go extinct through a self sacrificial moral act.

Cowardice is selected for, yet somehow we value self sacrificial courage. Christianity provides an explanation for this. Evolution fails to provide an explanation. No mechanism.

Goat Head 5


I think I noted that that was your position in a follow up post. That follow-up was based on something I gleaned from your answer to another post in this thread. At the same time, I noted that I did not think a position like yours was affected by my thought experiment. So I'll have to admit that I was a little surprised that you even bothered taking issue with it (beyond your initial comment which preceded my follow-up).

And, indeed, I'm a little confused about why you bother defending the idea that my thought experiment 'flunks evolution'. First of all that comment is so cryptic as to be utterly meaningless. But if it is your point that I've somehow run afoul of the laws of evolution in constructing the thought experiment, then you don't know what you are talking about.

But that is largely neither her nor there.

My issue with your position was different.

As you noted yourself, you are not actually trying to do anything other than explain why people behave morally (using evolution).

So, you are not answering the question "What reasons do I have that I should be moral?" You are answering the question "What causes are at work in me that I am moral?" What's more, you really think that that's all the question there is.

And it's that latter belief that renders you immune to the charms of my thought experiment.

It makes me wonder whether the continued attack on the thought experiment, irrelevant to your stated position, isn't a veiled effort...perhaps even veiled to have your cake and eat it too. To say you are only trying to describe moral behavior, but at the same time defend an unacknowledged prescriptive evolutionary ethics against the thought experiment.

(BTW - Please take that former paragraph in a logical sense, not a psychoanalytic sense...I'm suggesting that you may have unexamined presuppositions, not that you have some kind of suppressed beliefs)

Be that as it may, there are problems inherent in the idea of a purely descriptive ethics. And you don't even need that ethics to be based on evolution...indeed, evolution is a sideshow. The main event is the fact that we've limited our address to the causes for a fact and excluded discussion of the reasons for an end.

I grant that if there are causes at work in me that cause me to be moral (be they evolutionary of culinary), those same causes will make me outraged at some things that I call immoral and delighted by others that I call moral.

But from a purely disinterested perspective, it seems that someone might be very interested in studying this behavior of human beings, just as there are some people that are interested in studying cow flatulence. But that's hardly the same as, nor does it justify the interest people generally seem to show in being moral, or even in talking about what it takes to be moral. The interest, for example, that we are showing for it here in this thread.

[Actuality] is but the Perfect-1. There is not, are not, 1.0000009 Actualities. There is One. 1. The Everlasting. The Uncreated. The Immutable. The Non-Contingent. Man's Mind perceives this within the Self-Evident, though his finger cannot touch it. Mind, Logic, outreaches finger. Mind, Logic, touches the end of ad infinitum though not omniscient. Man's Mind perceives the Unyielding, Immutable, Truth of the matter, the Self-Evident, when his daughter's violation is assigned to Atheism's regress of necessary indifference. Love here stands, remains the unyielding, the immutable, in total contradiction to what is found to be a falsehood in that regress to indifference. Man's Mind, his Love, perceives this within the Self-Evident, though his finger cannot touch it. Mind, Love, outreaches finger. Mind, Love, touches the end of ad infinitum though not omniscient. The Perfect Exemplar in all these things is not only witnessed but is the obvious, self-evident, Guarantor of Mind's Perceiv-ing. If the atheist thinks he can just assert that Mind is perceiving non-actualities inside of delusion he had better present his defeater of sufficient power that Mind is but the Con here within our contextual experiences inside this obviously contingent observational Matrix. He never has, for he cannot present this little green man, this magician. He thus has no right, no claim, on the term "descriptive" in his philosophy. The Atheist thinks the move of suicide by self-proclaimed psychosis is a clever way to salvage his incoherence, and, the Atheist thinks that such a fatal move permits him to take all of Mind with him. Alas, it is all too Self-Evident, he finds only groundless assertion void of evidence and the death of his philosophy. Logic and Love easily traverse the ad infinitum and touch the finger of Actuality’s Immutable Exemplar.

Moral matters are 'grounded' (if you insist) in our nature. A village of psychopaths cannot exist. There are some conventions/perspectives that simply won't work for us humans. These constraints are dictated by our nature. There is no need to think they 'transcend' anything or have an independent existence of their own.

Logical non-sequitur, RonH. You are attempting to bridge the is-ought gap using a series of facts - none of which have a moral component.

1) Humans have a certain nature.
2) Fill in the gap with as many true facts as you want.
3) Presto, morality appears out of thin air (humans ought to live a certain way)

Either that or you are watering down the term 'morality' such that it has nothing to do with how humans ought to live. If so, you aren't addressing the morality question.


There are some conventions/perspectives that simply won't work for us humans.

Killing other people works. Stealing works. Lying to get what you need to survive works like magic. Using power over others works too. And manipulating people to help me works flawlessly.

I know this because my human nature says it works for me and my intended goals.

Are you suggesting that some natures are wrong or immoral to think only of themselves? By what measure are they wrong or immoral?

The very idea that this is even possible contradicts your prior statement that moral matters are grounded in our nature (who we are). Who I am says all of that stuff works great!

Of course, I don't really think any of this is true, but hey, this is where your flawed argument leads.

“The human mind has no more power of inventing a new value than of planting a new sun in the sky or a new primary color in the spectrum…”

And, once again, attempts to resolve the moral experience into something else always presuppose the very thing they are trying to explain —as when a famous psychoanalyst deduces it from prehistoric parricide. If the parricide produced a sense of guilt, that was because men felt that they ought not to have committed it: if they did not so feel, it could produce no sense of guilt. Morality, like numinous awe, is a jump; in it, man goes beyond anything that can be ‘given’ in the facts of experience. And it has one characteristic too remarkable to be ignored. The moralities accepted among men may differ —though not, at bottom, so widely as is often claimed —but they all agree in prescribing a behavior which their adherents fail to practice. All men alike stand condemned, not by alien codes of ethics, but by their own, and all men therefore are conscious of guilt.”

“The second element in religion is the consciousness not merely of a moral law, but of a moral law at once approved and disobeyed. This consciousness is neither a logical, nor an illogical, inference from the facts of experience; if we did not bring it to our experience we could not find it there. It is either inexplicable illusion, or else revelation.”

(C.S. Lewis)

"If nothing is self-evident, nothing can be proved. Similarly if nothing is obligatory for its own sake, nothing is obligatory at all.” CSL

“Real” is not a false dichotomy. And this is why:

Bees: Kill the brother and kill the daughter.

Man: Kill the brother and kill the daughter.

Evolution can bring Mankind through various places like this, and in fact, if no god, then evolution has nurtured the trend and the tendencies which brought about Child Sacrifice. Evolution invested generations fine-tuning the sets of trends and tendencies needed to get that plane up in the air.

Now, evolution in all those places will program into man’s mind various “intuitions” and to the degree that there was no perceived aversion to the Child Sacrifice (which evolution brought about) then such, being grounded in man’s mutable nature, was “Good”, and “Okay”, and “Right”, and “Moral”, and so on.

This is why honesty on this issue of cultural normative values (Child Sacrifice) is critical if the atheist is to be trusted in dialogue. The Atheist here usually skirts and hedges. As another has pointed out here man’s nature is, right now, grounding all sorts of “ugly” things that are working in the favor of DNA propagation.

“Descriptive” has its hard stop right there.

That is as far as the word “real” can go if no god.

But “Real” does not mean this when we speak of Ought.

“Real” means this: Those whose Minds thus perceived Child Sacrifices were blind to the truth of the matter simply because Man is not the end-point of Definitions. That’s the beauty of the revelation of the truth of the Man’s fallen condition. It accounts for reality as it is actually experienced. It accounts for both the actuality of moral blindness which permits such horrors and for the reality of the actuality that such things actually were just that: moral horrors and not “Good” or “Okay” or “Right” or “Moral”.

Evolution can never get us to that place, for there is no Transcendent Moral Law which stands in opposition to Mankind’s Mindset should Man affront it, whatever his temporary condition here within Time may be.

But God does get us to that very place which fully accounts for this duality:

When it is my daughter thus violated, Atheism had better not tell me that the Truth of the Matter that my Mind is therein perceiving (which is that this slaughter of my daughter, of all such daughters in all times and in all places, was ought-not, and is ought-not, and always will be ought-not) is pure illusion, delusion, and the self-proclaimed psychosis of the Con that atheism calls Mind. And if Atheism does posit this, it had better present a defeater of sufficient power that gives the proof that Mind is but the Con here in our contextual experiences within our clearly contingent observational Matrix. And if it cannot produce this Magician, this little green man, then it is not science. Mind must be given the proof that it is but an illusion and a Con being played on itself. How does an automaton of illusion prove to itself what is and is not illusion? Good luck finding that little green man. Properly basic beliefs must be given weighty defeaters if we are to allow reason to rule.

As for that pervasive and numinous awe within Mind’s omnipresent and foreboding witness of the Tao and of all the fragments thereof which mankind has arbitrarily wrenched out of that Whole and then swollen into madness via isolation, such brings to light mankind’s brutally repeatable experience laying beneath all of his moral psyche here inside this clearly contingent Matrix. The tired and unsophisticated attempt to speak of “different” morals just does not hold and for more see “July 26, 2013 Does Disagreement Prove There Are No Objective Moral Truths?”

Wallace wrote:

"While there are many cultures that have justified their actions with rationalizations we might reject as insufficient, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a culture that used 'for the fun of it' as a justification."

Really? There have been many societies with slave-like classes where killing for the fun of it was perfectly acceptable. The regular and random killings of Helots in the Cryptia comes to mind.

But even should we find a particular immoral action which has no historical precedent, that hardly constitutes evidence for "transcendent" moral truth (whatever that means).


You seem unaware of both biology and anthropology. Not to mention that your whole thesis rests on the assertion that Mind is but the Con. Good luck with that. Of course there are folks who kill for fun. Did they kill their own husbands for fun too? The singular Tao remains intact beneath all our fields of carnage there in mankind’s universal foreboding witness of the unyielding Exemplar which you seem to assert is not found planet-wide in all of our twisted codes; all of which take but fragments of the Exemplar’s Tao and, in isolation, swell them to madness. The very definition of “slave”, of “madness”, of “definition” itself is but incoherence but that such are in actuality such a kind of fragment.

It’s fun watching atheists change descriptive language midstream.

First they assert that evolution has programmed enough pan-world common some-thing in man’s moral psyche for such has been selected for as this common “village” thing has allowed/promoted survival. Then, when this “pan-world common some-thing” is noted as being “pan-world” by the theist, the atheist will then say, “Oh no! Not at all! There is NO common moral psyche in mankind or in any pan-world way that we can see, so what are you talking about with this “Tao” and so forth? Can’t you see we are all radically different and thus there is no pan-moral-any-thing here!”

Well, that’s comical but, for the sake of sparing repeats I’ll leave this post for good now and move any remaining comments (or dialogue) to the thread in: [July 26, 2013 Does Disagreement Prove There Are No Objective Moral Truths?]

Divine command morality is insane. It can easily be used to defend the murder of women, children, prisoners of war and even animals as the Bible demonstrates. Morality is objectively based on the value of human life itself. That which protects and enhances life is "good" and that which harms or destroys human life is evil. This leads to a much more rational form of morality than morality based on the whims of an imaginary deity that is not constrained in any manner from the commands it supposedly gives to others.


Sorry, no is-ought gap bridging intended. When I say 'morality', I mean one thing and you hear another. I don't think real oughts exist in the sense you mean so I don't try to save them.


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