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8 comments | Tuesday, November 22, 2005

"…After severing the teenager's head with a tomahawk, Mr Roughan wrapped the torso in a carpet, dragged it under the house and stabbed it repeatedly with the knife... "

I wonder how moral relativists deal with this kind of sickness. Can they call this person a psychopath? This person can only be judged if there is a transcendent standard of morality above all individuals—societal standards—and culture. Anything less, is just someone’s arbitrary opinion. Otherwise, it really makes no difference (ultimately). Really, what’s the difference between helping an old lady across the street and running her over for the moral relativist?

If relativism is true then there is no transcendent standard; there's no sense to the notion of justice or fairness. Everybody does their own thing. And when we have incidents like the above—what do we say now?

Full story here



Blogger Andrew C. said...

That's... disgusting to say the least.

However, I think moral relativism, (at least the term), is something of an old shoe for atheists nowadays, because it's so unreliable. I've seen some that say there is an objective morality in which an action is only wrong if it has negative secular consequences (and really this is just a cover-up for moral relativism).

This form of objective morality still doesn't define the concept of "negative". Like in this situation, they could say that this killing has a negative consequence: somebody died. But who is to decide if death is a bad thing? How does one define a "wrongful death?" Why is a "wrongful death" worse than a death by natural causes? Thinking secularly, there is just NO WAY to define the negativeness of negative consequences, besides arbitrary passions of the majority, which are really just meaningless. And I suppose that brings us right back to moral relativity, doesn't it?

11/24/2005 10:08 AM

Blogger Beowulf said...

When I say “moral relativists” I am not confining the term to atheists. Some of the more intellectual atheists realize that the system is not only bankrupt—but incoherent. Yet, in so far as I can tell, relativism is still a vibrant ideology in our society/culture. Mainly, I suppose, the defectors of truth and proponents of the system of relativism still strengthen due to lack of dispute by mainstream America (including the Church).This is a tragedy

11/24/2005 2:02 PM

Blogger harveyg said...


Of course Roughan is a psychopath and anyone (even a moral relativist) who has a sound mind can easily see that by his actions alone.

What's that you say? Oh I see! Moral relativists (because they feel free to think outside of your absolutist box) are not capable of sound judgements and cannot possibly distinguish right from wrong.

That's very interesting!

I love that phrase you used in your response to andrew: "the defectors of truth." That "truth" you speak of, that wouldn't, by any chance, be 'biblical truth' would it?

11/30/2005 6:53 AM

Blogger harveyg said...


I'm enjoying our back-and-forth arguments and, even though I may get 'lost in the moment' I do respect your positions and your right to your positions.

I just have this desire to have my 'world view' understood and respected even if it is disagreed with so 'forgive me my sarcasm as I forgive those who use sarcasm as a weapon against me.'

11/30/2005 7:01 AM

Blogger Beowulf said...

Harveyg, it’s good to see you here! I have been enjoying the responses in your blog. I have to say though, if I had a nickel for every time you contradicted your self (I say this a little facetiously), I would buy you a copy of “Relativism Feet Firmly Planted in Mid Air”. Of course, I mean no disrespect; moreover, unless someone is obnoxious, everyone will remain hypnotized—so I appreciate your enthusiasm!

11/30/2005 10:27 AM

Blogger Andrew C. said...

harveyg, I have one question for you:

Is it just an expression of opinion, or irrational emotions, to say that this man is wicked?

If it's not just an expression of opinion or emotions, then congratulations! You've joined the absolutist box!

If you think it is an expression of opinions and emotions, then unless I'm mistaken you remain a moral relativist.

12/01/2005 3:49 PM

Blogger harveyg said...


I am also enjoying the back-and-forth and the respect is mutual.
I have, finally, posted a response to your last comment.
Andrew C.

As I am continually stating to BF, I feel that actions that cause people to be harmed in any way are wrong. BUT, note I said "I feel," I don't presume to be a spokesman for humanity so, in a sense, this is my opinion.

Moral absolutists, on the other hand, SEEM to think (and I may be wrong about this) that they ARE the spokesmen for humanity. Whatever I am, I don't fit that profile.



12/02/2005 10:59 AM

Blogger Jeff said...

So Harvey, if you were a jurist at this guy's trial would you be able to render a verdict?
To do so makes an absolutist, moral pronouncement.

I don't think the judge will appreciate you saying 'I feel he was wrong'.

You could try to separate the concept of legal justice with an objective moral standard, but that would cause problems. Perhaps, then you would agree that if a majority of people voted, that it would be just as valid to allow murders on Tuesdays as long as you used the government approved death apparatus? (say a painless lethal injection).

BF, I like your blog. :)

2/07/2006 10:23 AM


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