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9 comments | Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Apparently, there is a double standard when it comes to justifying ones own assumptions on presuppositional matters. The Christian must give an account of all affirmations of the Christian worldview, or such assertions are deemed unfounded and are rejected as unsupported beliefs or non-rational lines of reasoning. Conversely, some atheists have excluded themselves from the burden they impose. This special pleading effect is evident in the area of foundational beliefs—such as morality, logic, reason and so on. However, when those foundational beliefs are represented as deductive premises in an argument, they should not be surprised when they are challenged on it. In fact, their case hinges on many unspoken assumptions for which they often offer no supporting argument.

I have found that some unbelievers may even become infuriated when one points out that secularism has no principled basis for morality. This is often pointed out when a non-believer, such as a secularist, uses morality (e.g. problems of ‘evil’ and ‘suffering’ etc…) to argue against Christianity. Nevertheless, rather than supporting their premise of “evil”; they assume the challenge as a type of personal affront. Responses vary from statements such as “I m a moral person” and “I don’t need a book or a ‘god’ to be moral.” Thus, rather than address the question, they regress on to an erroneous trail of personal and observational testimony. However, when I challenge an unbeliever about their moral premises, I am not judging their character, or calling into question their moral behavior; rather, I am questioning the referent they use that governs their moral system. In other words, I am questioning their own yardstick they use to determine what is-or-is-not moral.

For instance, when an atheist uses the existence of evil as an argument against Christianity, the Christian has every right to challenge the premise of their argument. Recently, I have heard an atheist state that the challenge of moral substantiation is a dishonest tactic to trap the atheist, because the theist already deduces that the atheist cannot provide a basis for morality; thus, Christianity is true by default. Yet, this is untrue—at least in my own challenges. Though I do think that secularism cannot provide a sufficient basis to support their premises and always will fall short of grounding morality in something other than oneself; the position leads to moral relativism or nihilism. However, I don’t think that qualifies the secular position as *necessarily* false. So the intent of the challenge is not to entrap per se, but to entice one to examine and substantiate their position. Thus, such arguments should be challenged until demonstrated otherwise, or is recognized to be flawed.

Though I think their argument to be flawed, I do not think it to be meaningless. Interestingly, the meaning within their argument is not recognized by the very person making the argument. In fact, the very argument counters their polemic against Christianity. From the words of C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity:

My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. ... Of course, I could have given up my idea of justice by saying that it was nothing but a private idea of my own. But if I did that, then my argument against God collapsed too--for the argument depended on saying that the world was really unjust, not simply that it did not happen to please my private fancies. Thus in the very act of trying to prove that God did not exist--in other words, that the whole of reality was senseless--I found I was forced to assume that one part of reality--namely my idea of justice--was full of sense. Consequently atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be without meaning.

So the moral argument against God and Christianity has meaning, but not with an atheistic worldview (at least not one than I have seen). The atheist must borrow the Christian worldview of morality in order to argue against the Christian worldview. Ironic.

Case In Point

The Reluctant Thinker (A.K.A. the Reluctant Atheist) has become aggravated and eager to avoid grappling with the theistic challenge of a moral framework. I want to look at his post on the subject of morality to demonstrate my point. Before I start though, the Reluctant Atheist is not a reluctant thinker because he does not think, or that he is unintelligent; he is a reluctant thinker because he is reluctant to think about where his position leads and doesn’t lead. I am sure he is an intelligent man, and many intelligent people hold the same position of morality he does—so this not to an affront on him, but an affront on his position and response to the moral challenge. Nevertheless, there are some very intelligent unbelievers who go to desperate lengths to deny the obvious or silence the opposition with backbiting refusal to engage in order to justify their unbelief.

In the beginning of his post, he states:

[S]omewhere, somewhen, there’s some unwritten rule that we atheists are required to explain how it is that we’re moral creatures, without the benefit of having transcendent guidance.

I hate this crap.



I know why this is hated, because every time this challenge is brought up—they cannot substantiate their claims of theodicy. This is basically saying “talk to the hand.” It gets old defending the indefensible I suppose. I have had this discussion with the author before. When pushed against the wall hard enough, he stated, “Truthfully, my position is ad hoc.” Yet, if a position is ad hoc, it loses its deductive power and thus does not provide adequate premises to argue in favor of theodicy.

Secondly, why is it okay for the atheist to avoid justification for their beliefs, while the theist must be substantiate their beliefs?

Continuing…

At some juncture, I just lose interest. Besides which, I think it’s a trap, a pitfall we fall into as a rule. I mean, really, why on earth do I HAVE to explain it? I don’t. I feel that I (and my fellow atheists) best exemplify by example. To wit: the large percentile of crimes committed in this (or for the most part, any other) society is committed by religious folk.

This is a reluctant thinker’s way of plugging his ears to any critique of his position on morality. He says, “why do I HAVE to explain it”; the answer is—you have to explain it when it’s a premises in your argument. If you’re going to go on the offensive, and give Christianity the finger, don’t expect a free pass. Those who state one doesn’t have to answer on this issue are usually indicating that they cannot answer it.


It would be one thing to corner someone to justify morality when they have not given an opinion on the matter; however, the rub comes in when someone uses a moral deduction to argue against Christianity. Thus, one is required (if they want to preserve the argument) to support the premises of the deduction.

Secondly, the author goes to state that “the large percentile of crimes committed in this (or for the most part, any other) society is committed by religious folk.” So what is being said is that atheists have exemplified superior morality than ‘religious folk.’ However, (1) this is an assertion not an argument (2) only gives a descriptive measure of morality (3) begs the question (4) fails to note the center of moral substantiation—that is to substantiate the prescriptive basis of such actions (5) what of the crimes committed by ‘non-religious folks’. The statement means nothing, and solves nothing without giving prescriptive justification for atheists. For if there is no prescriptive justification, then there is no condemnation of not being moral.

Natural Ethics

Continuing, we now explore the paradox of natural ethics:

Thus far, it seems I’m a moral naturalist.

“Moral naturalism is a form of cognitivism derived from applying evolutionary game-theory to ethics. Rather than interpreting morality as the result of negotiations between members of a large group of free moral agents, moral naturalism sees morality as an emergent phenomenon arising as an unintended side-effect of the interaction of those agents in smaller groups. In other words, morality is not to solve a single problem but a number of recurring problems, in the same manner that natural selection adjusts populations of organisms for changing environmental conditions. This puts moral facts in a class with natural facts about the world, which contradicts the assertion of divine command theory that morality is defined by the arbitrary revelation of God.”


I think that covers it very nicely, thanks.

It’s hard to see how giving a definition of moral naturalism provides a substantiation of morality. At best, this is just inches improved over moral relativism as it provided a more cognitive relation to reality than a reconstruction of reality. Ambiguity does not substitute well for rationality. Moral naturalism seems to affirm that moral values are (1) real, (2) an objective property of the natural (or physical) world. Thus (I presume), a moral decision is either “true” or “false”, depending on the facts of the world as it exists. The problem with this view is that the morals are not mere description of human behavior but a prescription for human behavior.

However, moral naturalism is just another way to adopt Christian values without God. With moral naturalism there is a strong emphasis to base morality on ‘facts’. However, moral naturalist still smuggle in a moral premise, namely the principle that it is wrong to do X as a fact without a priori knowledge. To exclusively base morality on descriptive facts is to enter into a never ending circular abyss. To state that X as a fact is wrong and that X is wrong as a fact is a tautology. Having done this, to then say that “pleasure is valuable” would be to affirm a mere vacuous statement, as would “pleasure is good”

Only with moral knowledge already in place does it make sense to say that you can derive a moral conclusion from a set of facts. Hence, you have to have some standard to evaluate the facts themselves. So, moral naturalism does not answer the question of were morals come from in the first place, which is central to supporting their position.

The problem I see with naturalistic principled morality is that it makes morality arbitrary. One wonders, “Why is rape wrong?” The moral naturalist would have to say, “This tendency proved useful in the processes of natural selection.” So, it seems that rape is not *necessarily* morally wrong. I think most people find this entirely odd. Moreover, naturalistic ethics seems to fall prey to a type of genetic fallacy, in that it doesn't give a reason to believe that certain actions or things are right and wrong; rather, it purely tries to elucidate to why we have certain inclinations of morality as we understand it.


Continuing…


I personally believe that morality is an individual choice, and that one’s environment is a huge factor in that choice.

It’s difficult to put your finger on what certain people actually believe, it’s like their trying to derive some theory to explain away their a priori moral knowledge, but end up going all over the map with ‘naturalistic morals’ to ‘personal choices.’ Nevertheless, regarding morality as an individual choice, I presume without any ultimate accountability--that’s true. Considering evolutionary involvement and moral choices, Jeffery has a question for the atheist:

“If a person doesn’t think there is a God to be accountable to, then—then what’s the point of trying to modify your behavior to keep it within acceptable ranges? That’s how I thought anyway. I always believed the theory of evolution as truth, that we all just came from the slime. When we, when we died, you know, that was it, there is nothing…’”

~ Jeffrey Dahmer

Continuing…

This isn’t to say I was ‘saintly’: most young boys engage in behavior that would be considered Sociopathic in an adult – it’s a matter of whether it’s a touch, or a wholesale wallowing that makes the distinction. I found the flavor wholly repulsive, and turned my face away from that innate darkness that humans have built into their nature. With no help from religion, I might add.

These statements sound an awful lot like the doctrine of original sin. Yet, while recognizing the “innate darkness” humans have, they venomously deny original sin. Secondly, if humans have “darkness built into their nature”, what makes that darkness wrong? Isn’t that what evolutions has brought? If we have evolved to be natural rapists what does it matter? Moreover, how does one turn their face away from something said to be “innate in humans?”

At least Richard Dawkins is honest about his worldview when he says:

There is at the bottom of it all no good, no evil, no purpose, nothing but blind pitiless indifference. DNA neither knows nor cares. DNA just is, and we dance to its music.

So if were honest about atheism, aren’t human beings just what natural selection made us to be? Aren’t we just a higher form of animal; perhaps we are some form of killer apes manufactured by evolution?

So, in short, I’m a morally upright individual – I don’t steal, I rarely lie, I’m excruciatingly honest (to my own detriment, I might add), I understand what the word no means (I feel that rape – the ultimate conscious violation – is perhaps the most disgusting crime one being can commit on another), children absolutely adore me, domestic pets as a rule gravitate to me, I’m about as friendly as another human being can be in person, and I won’t strike another person without due provocation. I also haven’t seen the inside of a cell in approximately thirty years (one time was enough: in some things, I’m a fast learner).

Another thing we see here is the “I am a good person defense”; as if that answers the question of moral foundations. Due to natural revelation, the Image of God imprinted on people, and common grace by God, unbelievers retain a remnant of common decency. This classic response gets old, because the question is not, in the first instance, whether an unbeliever can exhibit common decency, but whether moral absolutes are consistent with, or inherent in, an atheist worldview. Saying you’re a moral person doesn’t cut the cheese.

In fact, this quote explains my sentiments well:

In America, however, most of our atheists are actually thinly disguised Christians, or sometimes thinly disguised Jews, who want to retain the humanism taught by the Creator, without believing in the Creator. They believe in the image of God, without believing in God. They want the Kingdom of God; --- compassion, justice, peace, love, integrity, honesty, and commitment; without God, the King.
-- Michael Novak


Following to the end of this post, we see that evolution is now the source of morality:

Which begs the question (for the theists): from whence came morality?

So I’ll paraphrase myself (I’m entitled to), and add to an earlier quotation of mine:

‘From the womb of evolution sprang religion. From that womb also came morality.’

Because, let’s face facts, folks: any individual of a species that behaves in a manner contrary to the well being of the herd, is cast out. I won’t trot out any scholarship in this regard: I leave it to my readers to investigate for themselves.


So morals evolve, but how would one know whether action X is more evolved than action Y? This is just another lonely assertion in search of a warm-bodied supporting argument. Here, the author is pontificating morality. He says that morals evolve, but if rape is a result of evolving genes of survival how can it be immoral? How many ways can ‘evolving morality’ be reduced to absurdity before one stops using the excuse? I am still waiting to see the secular foundation for morality…

If humans are merely complex material, molecules without purpose, if no one piece of matter is any more valuable than any other piece of matter, if we are self-governing (without God), if the circumstances warrants it, and if we can advance our own selfish interests by doing so, could we not lie, steal, maim, or murder at will? If not, why not?

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9 Comments:

Blogger KA said...

The Reluctant Thinker (A.K.A. the Reluctant Atheist) has become aggravated and eager to avoid grappling with the theistic challenge of a moral framework.
Excuse me? No, I get tired of people demanding I justify something that my actions already do.
Nevertheless, there are some very intelligent unbelievers who go to desperate lengths to deny the obvious or silence the opposition with backbiting refusal to engage in order to justify their unbelief.
I’m not going to any lengths. I already have all my answers. Sorry if they don’t gibe w/yours.
I know why this is hated, because every time this challenge is brought up—they cannot substantiate their claims of theodicy.
Here’s the crux of the matter:
Theodicy (from answers.com):
“A vindication of God's goodness and justice in the face of the existence of evil.”
I don’t need any vindication whatsoever. You’re reading more into the post than what was there.
This is basically saying “talk to the hand.” It gets old defending the indefensible I suppose. I have had this discussion with the author before. When pushed against the wall hard enough, he stated, “Truthfully, my position is ad hoc.” Yet, if a position is ad hoc, it loses its deductive power and thus does not provide adequate premises to argue in favor of theodicy.
So what? Pushed against a wall? I think you're taking too much credit. It was a natter (& due to the length of your posts, I kinda nodded off).
Secondly, why is it okay for the atheist to avoid justification for their beliefs, while the theist must be substantiate their beliefs?
And here it is again:
I don’t need to justify my ‘beliefs’. The fact that I’m even engaging in this dispute is giving your presuppositions value, which I feel are epistomologically null and void. Nothing personal.
This is a reluctant thinker’s way of plugging his ears to any critique of his position on morality.
No, it’s my way of saying, “Hey, I really don’t need to explain it to anyone.” I shouldn’t even be discussing this, but for the part beneath (that got me REALLY irritated at first).
He says, “why do I HAVE to explain it”; the answer is—you have to explain it when it’s a premises in your argument. If you’re going to go on the offensive, and give Christianity the finger, don’t expect a free pass.
Hey, no way. We’ve had this discussion before. I flip off anything that doesn’t live up to its hype.
Those who state one doesn’t have to answer on this issue are usually indicating that they cannot answer it.
Missed the point entirely. More on this later.

It would be one thing to corner someone to justify morality when they have not given an opinion on the matter; however, the rub comes in when someone uses a moral deduction to argue against Christianity. Thus, one is required (if they want to preserve the argument) to support the premises of the deduction.
That’s really amusing. I use the rules and the book to show that many fall short. In a nutshell: doesn’t work. In some cases, this is valid, but not here. I expect xtians to play by their own rules.
Secondly, the author goes to state that “the large percentile of crimes committed in this (or for the most part, any other) society is committed by religious folk.” So what is being said is that atheists have exemplified superior morality than ‘religious folk.’ However, (1) this is an assertion not an argument (2) only gives a descriptive measure of morality (3) begs the question (4) fails to note the center of moral substantiation—that is to substantiate the prescriptive basis of such actions (5) what of the crimes committed by ‘non-religious folks’. The statement means nothing, and solves nothing without giving prescriptive justification for atheists. For if there is no prescriptive justification, then there is no condemnation of not being moral.
I’m sorry BF, but what a crock. Res ipsa loquitor: “the thing speaks for itself.” You really overanalyze a great deal.
It’s hard to see how giving a definition of moral naturalism provides a substantiation of morality. At best, this is just inches improved over moral relativism as it provided a more cognitive relation to reality than a reconstruction of reality. Ambiguity does not substitute well for rationality. Moral naturalism seems to affirm that moral values are (1) real, (2) an objective property of the natural (or physical) world. Thus (I presume), a moral decision is either “true” or “false”, depending on the facts of the world as it exists. The problem with this view is that the morals are not mere description of human behavior but a prescription for human behavior.
Sorry, I fail to see how that’s ambiguous in the least.
However, moral naturalism is just another way to adopt Christian values without God. With moral naturalism there is a strong emphasis to base morality on ‘facts’. However, moral naturalist still smuggle in a moral premise, namely the principle that it is wrong to do X as a fact without a priori knowledge. To exclusively base morality on descriptive facts is to enter into a never ending circular abyss. To state that X as a fact is wrong and that X is wrong as a fact is a tautology. Having done this, to then say that “pleasure is valuable” would be to affirm a mere vacuous statement, as would “pleasure is good”
And thus ‘pain is bad’ is vacuous as well. Seeking paradoxes in an extreme world’ll drive you crazy.
Only with moral knowledge already in place does it make sense to say that you can derive a moral conclusion from a set of facts. Hence, you have to have some standard to evaluate the facts themselves. So, moral naturalism does not answer the question of where morals come from in the first place, which is central to supporting their position.
Hey (& I know this drives you crazy, sorry): everything just is.
The problem I see with naturalistic principled morality is that it makes morality arbitrary. One wonders, “Why is rape wrong?” The moral naturalist would have to say, “This tendency proved useful in the processes of natural selection.” So, it seems that rape is not *necessarily* morally wrong. I think most people find this entirely odd. Moreover, naturalistic ethics seems to fall prey to a type of genetic fallacy, in that it doesn't give a reason to believe that certain actions or things are right and wrong; rather, it purely tries to elucidate to why we have certain inclinations of morality as we understand it.
Why is rape wrong? It does savage harm to the recipient. This causes a ripple effect, which is spread to the offspring. I’ve never taken a course in anthropology, but it don’t take a degree to see that.
It’s difficult to put your finger on what certain people actually believe, it’s like their trying to derive some theory to explain away their a priori moral knowledge, but end up going all over the map with ‘naturalistic morals’ to ‘personal choices.’ Nevertheless, regarding morality as an individual choice, I presume without any ultimate accountability--that’s true. Considering evolutionary involvement and moral choices, Jeffery has a question for the atheist:
“If a person doesn’t think there is a God to be accountable to, then—then what’s the point of trying to modify your behavior to keep it within acceptable ranges? That’s how I thought anyway. I always believed the theory of evolution as truth, that we all just came from the slime. When we, when we died, you know, that was it, there is nothing…’”
~ Jeffrey Dahmer

Wow, I can’t decide if that’s brilliant or simply idiotic. Bear w/me here:
A. I assume this was post-conversion? And
B. Let’s face it: this guy used to drill holes into young men’s skulls, to create his own ‘love-slaves’. That’s really not what I’d call a rational mind.
These statements sound an awful lot like the doctrine of original sin. Yet, while recognizing the “innate darkness” humans have, they venomously deny original sin. Secondly, if humans have “darkness built into their nature”, what makes that darkness wrong? Isn’t that what evolutions has brought? If we have evolved to be natural rapists what does it matter? Moreover, how does one turn their face away from something said to be “innate in humans?”
Here’s 1 part that irritated the everliving crap outta me. Firstly, I was using a figure of speech (& I will continue to use these figures, because there’s no written rule I can’t, & if there is, well everyone can go bugger themselves). Secondly, I get thoroughly fed up w/people telling me what imagery I can use when I say something. That’s not directed at you, BTW: it’s this assumption that my vocabulary is limited by my beliefs (or lack thereof). We all fall prey to it. I will be posting on this subject soon.
So if were honest about atheism, aren’t human beings just what natural selection made us to be? Aren’t we just a higher form of animal; perhaps we are some form of killer apes manufactured by evolution?
Got it in 1. Hey, I ain’t thrilled about it either. Them’s the breaks.
Another thing we see here is the “I am a good person defense”; as if that answers the question of moral foundations. Due to natural revelation, the Image of God imprinted on people, and common grace by God, unbelievers retain a remnant of common decency. This classic response gets old, because the question is not, in the first instance, whether an unbeliever can exhibit common decency, but whether moral absolutes are consistent with, or inherent in, an atheist worldview. Saying you’re a moral person doesn’t cut the cheese.
I’m sorry: Downright amusing. I know you hate this phrase: Res ipsa loquitor. No way in…screw it: no way in Hell am I beholden to you, your god, or any other damn thing for the way I am.
In America, however, most of our atheists are actually thinly disguised Christians, or sometimes thinly disguised Jews, who want to retain the humanism taught by the Creator, without believing in the Creator. They believe in the image of God, without believing in God. They want the Kingdom of God; --- compassion, justice, peace, love, integrity, honesty, and commitment; without God, the King.
-- Michael Novak

See, there we go again, w/the sweeping presuppositions. “Oh, they’re like us, they just won’t admit it.” Innate human decency owes no allegiance to a deity. Can I prove it? No. Neither can you.
So morals evolve, but how would one know whether action X is more evolved than action Y? This is just another lonely assertion in search of a warm-bodied supporting argument. Here, the author is pontificating morality. He says that morals evolve, but if rape is a result of evolving genes of survival how can it be immoral? How many ways can ‘evolving morality’ be reduced to absurdity before one stops using the excuse?
I already answered that: see above. Consider your rape analogy thoroughly refuted. Please.
Following the evolutionary edict, the author states, “if your objective is to persuade as many people as you can of the glorious truth of atheism…”. Why do unbelievers so often act as if this world were paradise lost, and it’s their sacred atheistic duty to redeem it with “T”ruth and restore it to its natural evolutionary perfection? Secondly, I am still waiting to see the secular foundation for morality…
Here’s 1 of 2: I didn’t SAY THAT AT ALL. Those aren’t EVEN MY WORDS. I’m going to err on the side of honesty, assume a mistake on your part, & hope you correct that egregious error ASAP.
If humans are merely complex material, molecules without purpose, if no one piece of matter is any more valuable than any other piece of matter, if we are self-governing (without God), if the circumstances warrants it, and if we can advance our own selfish interests by doing so, could we not lie, steal, maim, or murder at will? If not, why not?
Because we don’t. That simple. To behave as such, is contrary to the benefit of the species.
Here’s TWO OF TWO of why I’m pissed. The end of my post was THIS:
‘Words, not deeds, shall speak me.’ – John Fletcher, English dramatist (1579 - 1625)
Because, in short, no argument, no words can fly in the face of the facts themselves. No justification, no excuses.
I leave you w/this:
” Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclination, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.
John Adams, in Defense of the British Soldiers on trial for the Boston Massacre, December 4, 1770”

6/28/2006 6:15 PM

 
Blogger Beowulf said...

That was interesting, but if you’re going to argue against Christianity in moral terms, you might want to work on that moral foundation—that’s the point of the post. If you use a premise in an argument—support it, or drop it.

6/28/2006 8:57 PM

 
Blogger Beowulf said...

“I didn’t SAY THAT AT ALL. Those aren’t EVEN MY WORDS”

Your right that was an html error on my part. The < / blockquote > was dropped too low and the wrong text was put in the box. Fixed and apologies.

6/28/2006 9:09 PM

 
Blogger GooseHenry said...

Hi, great post

there is something i can't get my brains (mind?) around...

Let's say we have an argument that society says what is good&evil. This means that morals would be just a convention or a behaviour.

But cant the atheist then say that you should do this/shouldn't do that because this is how we do it/don't do it here? A form of "local absolute morality"? Relative of course, globally.

This is fallacious but i don't see it. That's why i am asking you:)

Is it valid to say that you should follow the morality that society has decided upon?

6/29/2006 12:19 PM

 
Blogger KA said...

bf:
That was interesting, but if you’re going to argue against Christianity in moral terms, you might want to work on that moral foundation—that’s the point of the post. If you use a premise in an argument—support it, or drop it.
I'll take that under advisement. The point of MY post was...actions speak louder than words. Truth of the matter is, sometimes the outsider has a valid criticism, because folks that are insiders can't see the forest for the trees. As I see it, you're basically saying, "Hey, who are YOU to be criticizing ME?"
Don't confuse the messenger w/the message. I am no better, or worse than anyone else. Unless my actions say otherwise.
Your right that was an html error on my part. The < / blockquote > was dropped too low and the wrong text was put in the box. Fixed and apologies.
Noted, & much appreciated. I knew you were all right, no matter what anyone says about you. ;)

Goose:
Is it valid to say that you should follow the morality that society has decided upon?
To the extent it does no harm. It is 1 thing to discipline a child by a slap on the wrist, another entirely to punish a rapist by raping his daughter.

6/29/2006 12:36 PM

 
Blogger Beowulf said...

RA

“The point of MY post was...actions speak louder than words.”

I have no problem with that. My approach was more toward the importance and purpose of the challenge, rather than setting a trap.

“As I see it, you're basically saying, "Hey, who are YOU to be criticizing ME?"

That’s not what I was saying at all. I am open to criticism. I think we are all fair game. I was hoping to convey the “support your premise” message, rather than “your cant criticize me.”

If someone uses a premise that they cannot support, then their argument falls.

6/29/2006 3:04 PM

 
Blogger Beowulf said...

Goose,

I am going on vacation for the holiday and will be (hopefully) eons away from a wireless connection. So answering your question may take a week or so. I have my sprint vision to connect with the laptop, but getting away from the virtual world every once in a while is good for everyone.

6/29/2006 3:06 PM

 
Blogger Beowulf said...

Goose,

There are several crucial problems with “Local Absolute Morality.”

(1) Local morality is never *absolute*

(2) What ever the moral stance is on a particular issue (like rape) is not *necessarily* wrong, but only by social convention.

(3) Who ever says a certain society determines what is/not moral can only states their belief as a result of everyone else’s position (it’s ‘groupthink’). In other words, they only believe it because everyone else does.

(4) There is no inferior or superior between culture X (rape is permissible) and culture Y (rape is reprehensible) [you may think the one your in the superior; however, it’s only because your in that culture—you have NO WAY of knowing]

(5) To tell the difference between culture X and Y you have to appeal to some other standard—hence morality would not be determined by society, but some other referent.

(6) With “Local Absolute Morality,” rape is neither moral nor immoral—rape would be amoral until placed into a social/cultural context to determine the referent to use.

(7) In local absolutes, how can there be moral progress? It is impossible to rail against it. Because there is not other standard that one can appeal to. What standard did abolitionists appeal to when the “society” determines that slavery was morally permissible? Nothing could ever improve, because the ‘way it is”---IS the standard. To rail against “society” would be immoral. We can throw moral reform out the window

(8) There is also a problem with using the term “society”. There are groups and subgroups in society that are not fluid. Plus, if society determines that slavery is morally acceptable, then whose opinion is it? The slaves or the slave holders?

The problems keep going and going—like the energizer bunny.

Did that answer your question or did I miss something?

7/10/2006 6:02 PM

 
Blogger GooseHenry said...

BF

Wow, thanks.

Yes it definitely answered my question.

Keep up the good work.

7/10/2006 11:22 PM

 

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