How Much Faith to Be an Atheist? Geisler and Turek’s Moral Argument.

How Much Faith to Be an Atheist? Geisler and Turek’s Moral Argument. September 17, 2015

This is a continuation of my response to the Christian apologetics book I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist by Norm Geisler and Frank Turek. Begin with part 1 here.

I don’t have enough faith to be an atheist by Geisler and TurekGeisler and Turek (GT) spend 25 pages giving their argument for a divine source for morality. I’ve written a lot about the weak Christian justification for morality before, but this is the most thorough version of the Christian argument to which I’ve responded.

That doesn’t mean that it’s well thought out. The chapter is titled, “Mother Teresa vs. Hitler,” and we’re already off to a bad start. Mother Teresa isn’t the saint that GT imagine and has received much criticism. She wasn’t much concerned about healing her patients or even preventing their pain. She saw her patients’ suffering as a moral crucible and said, “There is something beautiful in seeing the poor accept their lot, to suffer it like Christ’s Passion. The world gains much from their suffering.” The goal of modern medicine is precisely the opposite—not to celebrate suffering and disease but to fight it.

GT’s moral arguments are shallow, and the same few mistakes are made repeatedly. I’ll give a fair amount of the argument rather than simplifying it, in the hope that this prepares you for similar arguments. Their argument is aimed at the choir. The thinking is confused and sloppy and only serves only as a pat on the head to assure Christians that they’ve backed the right horse.

At this point in the book, GT has given us their Cosmological and Teleological arguments. Their third is the Moral Law argument:

1. Every law has a law giver.

2. There is a Moral Law.

3. Therefore, there is a Moral Law Giver. (page 171)

Newton’s Second Law of Motion (f = ma) is also a law. Must there be a physics law giver? GT will say Yes, but I need evidence. With GT, we rarely go beyond an intuitive, kinda-feels-right type of argument, but I suppose that works well with their target audience.

The theme running through this argument is a Moral Law that mimics the Greek god Proteus, changing shape whenever we grab it. The Moral Law is a claim of objective morality, but “objective morality” is never clearly defined. Let’s start with William Lane Craig’s definition of objective morality: “moral values that are valid and binding whether anybody believes in them or not.”

And let me define my opposing hypothesis, the natural morality position. Morality comes from two places. Our programming (from evolution) explains the traits that are largely common across all societies such as the Golden Rule. We’re all the same species, so it’s not surprising that we respond in similar ways to moral challenges. Our customs (from society) explain society-specific attitudes to issues like capital punishment, sex, blasphemy, honor, and so on. I hope to argue that natural morality explains what we see better than GT’s Moral Law hypothesis.

More from GT:

Without an objective standard of meaning and morality, then life is meaningless and there’s nothing absolutely right or wrong. Everything is merely a matter of opinion. (171)

Bullshit. Look up “meaning” and “morality” in the dictionary, and you will find no mention of an objective standard. Our colloquial uses of meaning and morality work just fine in supporting a meaningful life. GT denigrate our human evaluation of morality as “merely” opinion, but I await evidence that Christians do things differently. It’s easy to appeal to an objective standard; the hard part is showing that that standard actually exists.

When we say the Moral Law exists, we mean that all people are impressed with a fundamental sense of right and wrong. (171)

Redefinition! Now the Moral Law is that which we all feel. I suppose this is an appeal to our moral conscience? The focus is now on people, while William Lane Craig’s definition was on a morality grounded outside people.

Everyone knows there are absolute moral obligations. An absolute moral obligation is something that is binding on all people, at all times, in all places. And an absolute Moral Law implies an absolute Moral Law Giver. (171)

How about “slavery is wrong”? Is that binding on all people, at all times, in all places? I wonder why we didn’t get that from God and, indeed, got the opposite. Apparently in God’s youth, slavery was hunky dory.

Let me invent a term that will get some use as we go through this chapter: the Assumed Objectivity Fallacy. GT declares that, “Everyone knows there are absolute moral obligations”? Nope. The Assumed Objectivity Fallacy is either assuming without evidence that objective morals exist or assuming that everyone knows and accepts objective morality.

Back to GT:

This does not mean that every moral issue has easily recognizable answers. (171)

Redefinition! Now the Moral Law is something that we only dimly feel. The Moral Law is binding on all people … but we don’t really know for sure what the Moral Law is saying to us at every moral fork in the road. That seems unfair—to be bound by a law that we don’t understand—but I suppose GT’s God works in mysterious ways.

The challenge that I like to give any believer in objective morality is to take some moral issue of the day—abortion, same-sex marriage, euthanasia, capital punishment, and so on—and give us the resolution that is objectively correct and that everyone can see is correct. Like GT, they quickly back away from any claim that this Moral Law is reliable accessible. I wonder then, what good is it?

GT’s childlike idea that our morality is objective isn’t supported by the dictionary or everyday experience. Being a grownup is apparently easier for some of us than others.

Critique of Geisler and Turek’s moral argument is continued in Part 2.

If they can get you asking the wrong questions,
they don’t have to worry about the answers.
— Thomas Pynchon

Image credit: thierry ehrmann, flickr, CC


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  • If there is no objective morality, there is nothing objectively wrong with being totally unreasonable. So people who disagree with you about any of these things, whether they have reasons or not, are doing nothing objectively wrong.

    • Agreed. Luckily, when we talk about real morality (not the make-believe version), we have something to talk about.

    • tsig

      Why would disagreeing with someone be objectively wrong?

    • Ron

      Of course it’s objectively wrong: others will object to your unreasonableness and tell you you’re wrong. Duh!!

  • L.Long

    I reject the religious idea of moral! Any law that is forced on me by an outside source (gawd) is not moral.
    It may be legal or illegal from gawd’s view but that means nothing to me, especially since it has no power to force me to do so.
    Yes some act can be legal or illegal based on society (human or gawdly), but being moral means I accept it as good or bad from my point of view.
    I say gay marriage is OK, they say it is an act against gawd’s law, and I would care? Why?
    Now for what ever reason they say it is immoral…well then don’t do it!
    Gay marriage cannot be shown in any real way to be harmful, so SOCIETY as a whole agrees it is OK.
    If YOUR morals say “abomination!!!!” then don’t do it!!!
    ALL morality is relative to the person’s commitment to an idea or action, Social agreement makes them laws.
    And social agreement, if you are lucky, only cares about the act as harmful to PEOPLE not to imaginary dictators.

    • jh

      Your post brings up an intriguing thought – is “god’s” morality applicable to humans? I don’t apply my specific brand of morality onto lions and cats. Why is “god”, even if it existed, necessary in formulating/invoking our morality?

      • Abraham called God to account for not following the one, obvious set of morals. But Christians are eager to give God a pass for his moral transgressions in the Old Testament. They seem to imagine God having his own set of morals. My challenge to them: enumerate the morals that God follows.

        • tsig

          I got turned off by god when I read the story of god wanting Abe to sacrifice his son, what kind of a sicko would play that kind of a trick to find out something he should have known by being omniscient? And that is the founding story of Christianity, Judaism and Islam, sick beginnings give sick endings.

        • Ron

          I got turned off when God went apeshit after discovering that Adam & Eve ate the forbidden fruit. What “loving father” evicts his “children” for eating some fruit? Too bad Child Protective Services wasn’t around then to step in.

        • adam

          //

        • TheNuszAbides

          they could’ve been fostered at the Garden down the hall … the one with punch and pie!

        • adam

          ..

        • tsig

          Good stuff

        • Agreed. I think that a historian or anthropologist would say that the beliefs at that time didn’t have God as omniscient.

          Which, of course, doesn’t make the religion look any better.

        • In God’s Defense

          Although, if the christian God is the “God”(maximally great being) than God asking Abraham to do what he did wasn’t evil. You also seem to be admitting that there is one obvious set of morals. You seem to clearly think that what God commanded of Abraham was, according to the real objective moral law, wrong.

        • Although, if the christian God is the “God”(maximally great being) than [sic] God asking Abraham to do what he did wasn’t evil.

          Sure, thought irrelevant. You still need to show us this remarkable claim.

          You also seem to be admitting that there is one obvious set of morals. You seem to clearly think that what God commanded of Abraham was, according to the real objective moral law, wrong.

          Nope. I say that what God commanded was wrong, according to you, me, and pretty much everyone in society. Take away your bizarre and ad hoc “except if God does it” caveat, and you’d declare anyone else who demanded a child sacrifice to be a monster.

          Yet again, I find myself asking the apparently unanswerable question: can you give me evidence for this objective morality of yours? All you do is point to shared morality, which is nicely explained by natural causes.

        • TheNuszAbides

          unmoved mover
          uncaused cause
          amoral moralist?

      • Kodie

        You in fact do impose your morality on animals all the time. In this scenario, god is the host. You might admire lions in the wild, at the zoo, or in various documentaries, but you’re going to have a serious issue of a moral type when hosting a lion in your home. Same thing with a cat. Many cats are compatible to live in a home and still do things humans don’t exactly love, destroy the curtains or blinds, tend to barf where you walk and not off to the side, and bring home dead critters that you have to dispose of, yet these are minor. (Some people do not consider these “minor” and do not invite any cats to dwell). Some cats are really unhappy and behave so unpleasantly, you can’t have them in your home. Or your landlord has this problem and not you, so you have to decide on a home or a cat, most people choose a home. They also cost money, and say you don’t have enough money, can you try to keep a cat, if that cat is taking resources you can’t share? It’s not like you vs. the cat, you can often find a loving home for a pet you can no longer care for. But sometimes bringing it to the shelter means nobody will adopt it and the cat is sentenced to die.

        So, forget about the cat for a while and think about ants. It’s impossible to apply your moral standards to ants. Or mice, or fleas, or termites, or mosquitoes. I’m almost positive you have no moral issue doing whatever you need to do to rid yourself and your lovely home of a destructive pest, i.e. applying your own moral right to live in pest-free comfort over their right as any organism to try to live off available resources that you think you own.

        Now this wouldn’t be such a problem if animals could all get their shit together and not horn in on your place. As I said, in this scenario, god is the host of heaven, and applying his morals on humans who wish to be welcome there and not exterminated makes a lot of sense. In some way, think of god like some other animal whose nest you like much better than any place on earth to live. You’re just some sort of ant intelligent enough to cooperate, more like a cat, who kind of gets the gist of living indoors with humans behaves differently than a lion does, not that the lion wants to live in your home, but the ants might.

    • Kodie

      What you have to understand is these people are really selfish. Christianity appeals to a selfish need to live forever and be loved even if you suck. In my observation, it doesn’t make anyone a good person at all. From their perspective, only one can validate them and that’s god. They validate their own behavior because they believe that god validates them, and so they are really the “anything goes” people with regard to morality. God’s approval at the end of their life is the only thing they think they care about, but in the meantime, they care about other Christians’ approval. That’s their tribe. For example, lying is not really a sin. It’s always ok to lie to anyone outside your tribe, just like it’s ok to murder them – when we are at war, it’s not that those people are trying to kill you before you kill them, it’s because you are judging them as not worthy of life*. Their perspective of human life is warped entirely, and justify behaviors they know are wrong because the people don’t actually matter. That path to get to heaven is narrow, and they will do anything to cut you off.

      *Although I understand thoroughly that it’s a fallacy to maintain “there are no atheists in foxholes”, I have to wonder what they think they are doing.

  • MNb

    The word law means three different things in Law issued by Government, Moral Law and Law of Physics.

    http://www.logicalfallacies.info/ambiguity/equivocation/

    Also the argument contains a false analogy. Governmental Law is issued by human beings, ie material entities. The Argument for Morals as summarized here though replaces those material entities by an entity that is immaterial.

  • lorasinger

    Faith to be an atheist? Nope. I see superstition. I call it superstition. I walk away. Doesn’t take faith.

  • Atrus

    I’d like to ask them, “Give me one example of an absolute moral truth.” I feel like a frequent answer would be something along the lines of murder is always amoral. And to that i’ll say “So if someone is trying to kill you and the only way to survive is kill them, did you act amorally by killing them?” Pretty much everything that you can say is moral or immoral in most situations always has a situation where it is no longer such. Even if it is uncommon, if there are *any* situations ever, even only a single one, that an act that is normally one is then the other, then it is no longer absolute.

    • I once responded to a Christian blogger who tried to make sense of this by saying that if you add “just for fun” to some of these things, you arrive at something we all agree is wrong. Lying or killing just for fun is then wrong.

      He seems to imagine that this opens up a realm of new moral truth, but it obviously does nothing to illuminate the moral issues that society wrestles with–same-sex marriage, abortion, etc.

      • Jason K.

        Lying or killing just for fun is then wrong.

        Comics say things which are not actually true all the time for the purposes of entertainment. Clearly lying for fun isn’t immoral.

        • Kodie

          I thought lying for fun was called sarcasm. I’m sad now I can’t get into heaven, but it explains why Christians are terrible at sarcasm. They only know how to lie for profit or for Jesus.

    • Amoral is when it’s not a moral issue. Immoral is when it’s morally wrong. I also don’t think many would argue that killing in self-defense is murder.

      • Atrus

        I’ll give you the incorrect use of immoral vs amoral, but the other bit was semantics.

        • It isn’t semantics to point out that most don’t include killing in self-defense under murder.

  • Sherri

    Please write about and breakdown what is wrong with Islam. Or are you afraid they will put you on their hit list?

    • MNb

      Psssst – the motto is “Clear thinking about Christianity”, not “Clear thinking about Islam”. At the other hand a lot of stuff applies to Islam as well, mutatis mutandis. And finally, just to do you a pleasure, I recommend

      http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2015/03/where-is-the-islamic-renaissance-2/

      • Sherri

        Probably a wise choice to stick to slamming Jesus instead of mahammad.

        • Kodie

          If you have something to say about your special imaginary friend, don’t be shy.

        • Sherri

          So what is better, me putting my trust in a God that I cannot see or you looking in the mirror and putting trust in a god you can see?

        • Kodie

          Not having an imaginary friend is better. You clearly wish to say something but you’re not very good at it.

        • Clover and Boxer

          So is your argument “Atheists are arrogant. Therefore my deity exists”? Or “Christians are humble. Therefore my deity exists”? If so, that might make you feel good, but it’s not a good argument for the existence of your deity.

        • MNb

          When I look in the mirror I don’t see a god. Do you?

        • Sherri

          I can be very honest and say I did at one time in my life.

        • adam

          And NOW you are an atheist?

          Because if you believe in ‘Revealed ReligionTM’, then you HAVE to create your own ‘god’ in your own mind.

        • MNb

          Then that cartoon of Adam applies to you and not to me.

        • adam

          Your ‘god’ is in YOUR mirror:

        • Sherri

          Exactly, agree totally. Man thinks he is a little god and serves himself quite nicely.

        • Kodie

          Your logic extremely fails. Religion appeals to the arrogance of someone who doesn’t have enough power but thinks if they show up with their imaginary big brother, they get to judge people and punch them in the face with their fairy tale. Your imaginary friend, show him to me. Don’t just bluster and make bad logical errors. You sound like you wish you were tough enough because you’re not smart enough. You’re neither.

        • adam

          No, most are delusional enough to believe that the ‘god’ in their head, exists outside their head.

        • Is there an argument to why your supernatural claims are correct buried in there somewhere? Or are you still gloating that your religion isn’t as barbaric as another?

        • tsig

          Better a Small God than a large asshole.

        • Who here thinks of themselves as god? With that correction, obviously any thinking person would put trust in what they see rather than what they imagine or would like to see.

          You do the same thing. You don’t cross the street with God’s help, you trust yourself. Doesn’t sound that arrogant to me.

        • tsig

          Why do you need a god of any kind?

        • MNb

          It didn’t take you long to switch into denial mode. Have you actually clicked that link?

        • Sherri

          That article was so tame I almost became a Muslim.

        • MNb

          Oooohhh! That’s your trick!
          When BobS discusses some christian thing it’s virulent and militant.
          When BobS discusses a muslim thing in the same way it’s tame ….

        • It’s not a trick–it’s a superpower.

        • TheNuszAbides

          the quran is supposed to be what Gabriel said. Jesus : Gabriel :: Paul : Muhammad

    • tsig

      A case of “fatwah envy” fer sure.

    • Ron

      Please stay on topic and address the arguments presented. Or are you afraid you’re incapable of defending your position?

    • adam

      “Please write about and breakdown what is wrong with Islam. ”

      Jehovah, the EXACT same problem christianity has.

    • MNb

      Ah – Adam made clear underneath that your comment can be read as an invitation.
      This is wrong with islam:

      http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/quran/contra/by_name.html
      http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/quran/science/long.html

      and especially this:

      http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/quran/women/long.html

      and on that page especially this:

      “Women have rights that are similar to men, but men are “a degree above them.”

      I know several muslims and muslimas. My female counterpart is one and my best friend as well. They know unambiguously what I think of that quote.
      Remarkably neither the owner of Skeptic Annotated Quran nor me are on any hitlist.

      • Sherri

        This must really be bothering you MNb. Still four hours later and you are trying to explain why the majority of Atheists spend their energies slamming Jesus instead of Mohammad. Actually, I find it both humorous and telling at the same time. Humorous in the fact that I know, that you know, what I am speaking about when I point out the fact that it is a much more dangerous position in many parts of the world to slam Mohammad than it is Jesus. It is telling in the sense that “if” there is a true creator, a God, then the religion that represents this God would be the most threat and become the primary target.
        It has nothing to do with culture or if you can find a few articles. Most of these articles are very tame compared to many on Jesus.

        • Kodie

          Most people in the US are Christians. Whatever spidey-senses you think you’re using to determine by its people which god is the truest, you’re … fucking stupid. Sherri, you are dense as fuck and trying to sound like you have any type of valid argument.

        • Yes, mocking Islam is sometimes more dangerous than mocking Jesus. What’s your point? And how is that relevant to the central question at this blog, What is the evidence for the Christian claims?

          All I can imagine is that you’re crowing that your Iron Age religion isn’t as violent as someone else’s. OK, good for you.

        • primenumbers

          And of course remembering that arguments against god work on gods in general. None of the classical arguments for god argue for the tinitarian deity of Christianity, but Christians use them, and what destroys the argument when a Christian uses it also destroys it when a Muslim uses it. Incoherence and contradiction are still incoherence and contradiction no matter what particular brand of theist is arguing.

        • It is fun when the theists argue with each other. I particularly like the Muslim arguments against the polytheism of the Trinity.

        • primenumbers

          Or even within Christianity, there’s still unitarian sects like the JW’s that you can use similarly. And of course, this absolute chaos of religious belief is strong evidence that if there’s any deity at all, it’s a trickster deity who just loves all the absolute mess they’ve caused and laughs at theists fighting over who’s right when they’re all wrong!!

        • Kodie

          It seems they all believe the path is narrow, so faced with many narrow paths, they pick one out of a hat and tell us we’re all damned to hell.

          Then on the other hand, how many billions of people call themselves Christians? It’s not really at root because of any historical widespread ISIS-type effort, who would die for a lie? Probably still not as many people as would live for one.

        • I wonder how many believers lament that their religion is true because of all the unfortunate things it makes you do or the bad things your god has done or the beliefs that are completely nuts. Most everyone seems pretty pleased with their religion and are almost certain that they’ll be the ones in Paradise.

        • Kodie

          My impression is that they are not secure that well. They constantly fear of doing something that puts their salvation in jeopardy as per the narrow path they have already chosen. Like, how you would be afraid of one day stepping on a crack and breaking your mother’s back. They can’t afford to take a step back and see if what they’re doing makes them a good person or not.

        • tsig

          There’s always the nagging doubt “Is this way the right way?”

        • Kodie

          I mean they’re utterly traumatized in a way I can’t even relate to when things don’t go their way. It is one thing to stand up for one’s principles, and another thing entirely to be frightened of the eternal consequences of one wrong move. Like, one time, they could let it go and comprehend the 1st amendment. But they act like if god doesn’t see them have his back, he might burn their house down, or give them cancer. They can’t relax with Jesus at the wheel, as they claim. There are always future chances to fuck up your eternity and they seem to be as threatened as they think we are when contemplating kneeling before god that they might even fuck it all up and die before they had a chance to pray forgiveness. Of course, you get these other people who … I mean, who does Josh Duggar think he was fooling? His wife, his kids, the television audience? Surely not god! These holy rollers get caught by people, and then suddenly they’re really really sorry. Do they think god isn’t watching them all the time? I thought the whole purpose of god was to threaten people hard enough with an invisible witness so they become too paranoid to do whatever they ought not do when nobody is around.

        • tsig

          Maybe he knew that what ever god saw he would also have to forgive so Josh wagered that he’d live long enough to enjoy the sin and still beg for forgiveness. That’s having your cake and eating it too then getting to lick the icing spoon.

        • Kodie

          I’d even bet actually that he knew it was wrong and pleaded to god every time to make him stop. That didn’t work, did it.

        • MNb

          “This must really be bothering you MNb.”
          Ah, that’s christian condescence for you. You ask a question, you get an honest answer, you don’t like it and this is all you produce. Telling indeed – but no about me. It tells that your question was dishonest. You only want to see your prejudices confirmed.
          Thanks, Sherri.

        • TheNuszAbides

          *condescension

          don’t ask me why it isn’t condescent! silly English.

        • tsig

          Why aren’t you out there slamming Muhammad?

    • Homework! Thanks, I needed something more to do.

      Actually, I live in the U.S. The problem here is Christianity. Once we’ve got that problem solved, let’s then move on to Islam.

      As MNb mentioned, the failure of some of the deist arguments (ontological, moral, design, TAG, etc.) is a hit on Islam just like it is for Christianity.

      Perhaps you’ll like this post: “Where Complaints About Christian Persecution Fall Flat.”

    • RichardSRussell

      #1: They believe that there really is such a thing as the supernatural, despite the utter absence of any evidence or reason whatsoever to think so.

      #2-100: All else follows from #1.

      PS: Same is true of all the other religions.

  • tsig

    Morals is a word people use to add weight their opinions.

  • Clover and Boxer

    It would be nice to have a list if possible to conveniently mention all the important moral questions Christians disagree on. There’s abortion, homosexuality, same-sex marriage, polygamy, divorce, euthanasia, capital punishment, justification for war, collateral damage in war, pacifism, self-defense, stem cell research, drinking alcohol, getting tattoos, whether women can be members of clergy, the role of women/men in the family, hairstyles, dress codes, dietary laws, blood transfusions, possessing large sums of wealth, interfaith marriage, interracial marriage, confession, penance, and veneration of Mary and saints… Are there any more you can think of? Can they be put into categories?

    • Ron

      Off the top of my head:

      – faith alone, works, faith and works, or divine grace;
      – the correct day of worship;
      – child or adult baptism & full immersion or sprinkling of water;
      – shunning apostates;
      – celebrating the OT feasts;
      – the permissibility of using electricity, automobiles, zippers, and other modern tech;
      – burning witches;
      – stoning adulterers.

    • It’s telling that I quickly find agreement that this objective moral truth they imagine isn’t reliably accessible. What good is it, then? Just to handwave that they’re right, I suppose.

      • Kodie

        The think “self-evident” means “evident to oneself.”

        • adam

          Or more commonly, created in one’s own mind.

        • In God’s Defense

          So, the law of non-contradiction is created in one’s own mind? Or that your seeing a monitor right now?

        • Kodie

          You are mixed up. You try to make an analogy, yes, everyone who is reading your post must be looking at some kind of monitor. How are “objective morals” equally as evident, so as to be called self-evident? You are avoiding this, trying to make a comparison between the real world and something you only think is true.

        • adam

          See, I can demonstrate my monitor, how it works, where it was made and where I got it.
          I could actually demonstrate that to you without going through hoops and circles and obscure and hypothetical theology.

          I am betting that you have a monitor on your side that you could do the same with.

          Imaginary gods on the other hand require IMAGINATION.

      • tsig

        Getting one’s morals from god doesn’t help with objective morals since god’s morals in the bible change drastically from “send bears to kill the mocking kids” to “love thy enemies”.

  • In God’s Defense

    I want to reply to everyone but there are just too many. Most are the same things over and over. So, let me just reply here to this post and some of the general things I keep hearing. I understand some think that the Christian God is evil (slavery, genocide, treatment of gays and women), made up by man, and so forth. I will address all of these. I understand that at least bob and others believe morality is subjective and our moral beliefs are a product of evolution. Or in bob’s words, “Morality comes from two places. Our programming (from evolution) explains the traits that are largely common across all societies such as the Golden Rule. We’re all the same species, so it’s not surprising that we respond in similar ways to moral challenges. Our customs (from society) explain society-specific attitudes to issues like capital punishment, sex, blasphemy, honor, and so on.” This sound to me like are moral beliefs are a product of social and biological conditioning. This is important and will come up later. Anyways, I want to quickly go over more fully the moral argument. I think it will clear up a lot of things.

    First, I’m aware that the arguments for God could be compatible with other religions than Christianity. However, I don’t think that these arguments lead to a deist God. Why? If the arguments are correct then this God is the moral law and he is a maximally great being (ontological argument). If he is these things then I believe like u that he would have to or at least will show up to his creation (Divine hiddenness argument). Of course, then the million dollar question is when, where, and how has he done this? I do believe Jesus is a solid contender. However, I’m open to other options besides Jesus. Let me make this clear. The Christian God might not be the God the arguments show exists. I’m ok with that. 🙂 I’m here to defend “God “not necessarily Christianity. I do think that the arguments for “God” are convincing enough to warrant us to at least think twice about Jesus. Not to mention other stories where this “God” might have caused something to happen. We should not be so quick to write them off or take an anti-supernatural position.

    Ok, here is the argument again.

    1. If God does not exist, objective moral values do not exist.

    2. Objective moral values do exist.

    3. Therefore, God exists.

    It is important to remember that the first premise is about the ontology (nature) of moral values and duties (moral law). So, is premise 1 true? I think so. Here are three reasons why. ONE, moral values seem to exist as properties of persons, not as mere abstractions. People can be just, but can justice exist in and of itself? How can only justice be just? It seems like it cannot. So, it seems that moral values like justice if they exist would need to be in a person.

    TWO, even if somehow justice existed by itself how do we get our sense of moral duty from that? I would know what is bad and what is good, but I would not know that doing good is right and doing bad is wrong. It would be like knowing something is blue and something is red. But not knowing that you OUGHT to choose red over blue when you can.

    THREE, even if justice existed on its own it is fantastically improbable that creatures would emerge from a blind evolutionary process that corresponds to the abstractly existing realm of moral values. I mean what are the chances?

    Also, if the moral law is going to be in the nature of a “person” then it makes the most sense to be in a maximally great being rather than Zeus.

    The second premise is about moral epistemology. Is it true? The evidence for an objective moral standard or law is self-evident. Now, hear me out! We all have moral beliefs that we believe are objective. For example, raping a young kid for fun is wrong. You believe that is an objective fact about reality say as strongly as you believe 1+1=2, the law of non-contradiction is true, that all bachelors are unmarried men, that I or you seem to be seeing a computer monitor in front of me or you right now, and so forth. Those are true no matter what anyone thinks (objective facts) and are self-evident. Now the kicker here is that “…there is no more reason to deny the objective reality of moral values than the objective reality of the physical world. In the absence of some defeater, we rationally trust our perceptions, whether sensory or moral.” I can’t stress this point enough! Now, you might object and say that moral beliefs are just illusions fostered in you by social and biological conditioning. It is not really an objective fact that the truly guilty should be punished. If you really believe the previous statement you deserve a Patrick Stewart facepalm. Likewise you deserve the same facepalm for believing 1+1=3. Anyways, the problem with this objection is twofold.

    ONE, if you say that our moral beliefs have been instilled in us by socio-biological conditioning, therefore objective moral values and duties do not exist. This would be a textbook example of the genetic fallacy. A belief could be true regardless of how it came to be held. You might be conditioned to believe that 1+1=3, but that wouldn’t make 1+1=3 true. So, at best your objection just shows that our subjective perception of moral values and duties has evolved. They have changed over time with different cultures not that they are false beliefs about reality. Similarly, humans once believed that the earth was flat, but we now know that it is not. Moral values and duties are discovered not invented. For example, right now we are still trying to figure out what are the right laws for privacy and so forth.

    Important side note here is that slavery, genocide, treatment of woman and gays in the bible might from my moral experience be objectively wrong. Now, this doesn’t necessarily rule out the Christian God from being the “God” of the arguments. It might only show that biblical inerrancy is false. Or maybe after a better investigation into those verses it doesn’t go against moral experience. Also, this God could command things that might go against our moral experience, but given the big picture might not actually be a bad thing to command. Although, before you do something questionable you would have to be pretty sure this was actually coming from the “God”. If it wasn’t then you might very well be doing something evil.

    TWO, if evolution is true, then our moral beliefs have been selected for their survival value, not for their truth! In fact, all of our beliefs would be for survival value and not truth and therefore unjustified. So, even the belief that evolution is true would not be justified if evolution was true. However, given a Christian or other worldviews we can have beliefs that are rational.

    If those premises in the argument are true, then it follows logically that “God” exists whether you like it or not. It would be an objective fact. At least, I believe the premises to be more probable than not. Which would make believing in its conclusion at least rational.

    • adam

      “1. If God does not exist, objective moral values do not exist.
      2. Objective moral values do exist.
      3. Therefore, God exists.”

      From one of our other posters (please come forward, I couldnt find the post)

      1. If Santa does not exist, naughty and nice do not exist
      2. Naught and nice do exist
      3. Therefore, Santa exists.

      • In God’s Defense

        Ok… I guess I’ll take this objection seriously. How do you define Santa? Isn’t naughty and nice another way to say good and evil?

        • MNb

          Naughty and nice are objective moral values.

        • adam

          It doesnt matter how I define Santa

          One of our other posters just ‘proved’ Santa exists using your method to ‘prove’ that YOUR ‘god’ exists.

          Aren’t you NOW a believer in Santa?

        • In God’s Defense

          For your argument to work you have to prove that naughty and nice exist and there existence is only dependent on Santa. Good luck!

        • adam

          So the same kind of argument YOU make for YOUR ‘god’ is unconvincing as an argument for Santa?

          Then what would make you think that would work for an imaginary character in an old book of mythology?

          You still havent demonstrated that YOUR ‘god’ is anything but IMAGINARY.

        • In God’s Defense

          “So the same kind of argument YOU make for YOUR ‘god’ is unconvincing as an argument for Santa?”

          Yes, it is. Because santa and “God” are different things. The argument uses the same logical structure, but doesn’t work because you cannot prove the premises in your argument reasonable. It doesn’t make sense that naughty and nice come from santa.

        • adam

          The argument uses the same logical structure, but doesn’t work because you cannot prove the premises in your argument reasonable. It doesn’t make sense that objective morals come from an imaginary character in a book..

        • In God’s Defense

          I’m not arguing that morals come from an imaginary character in a book. I’m arguing that they exist and they exist in a Maximally Great Being (God). This God might not be the God of the bible!

        • Kodie

          Your superstition lacks all credibility. You are just saying things and thinking that makes it an argument. You are easily persuaded by the use of important words that don’t actually mean anything in reality. WTF is “maximally great being” supposed to relay to us? God is real, he is a maximally great being, a maximally great being exists, therefore being god, god exists. That’s your shitty argument. It’s a shitty, circular argument that tells us nothing.

          Objective morals come from it!!!! Also doesn’t tell us anything other than you are really not as smart or good at defending god as you had hoped, you’re not convincing people who can read, and if there is a god, why would he inspire such shitty arguments for him if he actually existed, and send the world’s most arrogant people who don’t know why that’s a shitty argument to speak on his behalf? It is over your head, everything I’m saying. That’s … to be expected.

        • MNb

          And again you show that your argument is circular.
          God –> morals –> god.
          In exactly the same way Adam can argue
          Santa –> morals (kids shall not be naughty but nice) –> Santa. You have by no means shown what the difference is between Santa and your god.

        • adam

          Well you arent arguing well or successfully.

          Sounds like you are right on track inventing your ‘God’

        • 90Lew90

          You just reminded me of the dyslexic devil-worshipper who sold his soul to Santa. Never heard what became of him. He’s probably making X-Boxes in a sweatshop at the North Pole.

        • Kodie
        • Max Doubt

          “Ok… I guess I’ll take this objection seriously. How do you define Santa? Isn’t naughty and nice another way to say good and evil?”

          You seem to be implying that, contrary to the comment about Santa, you’ve defined a god, good, and evil. Or you may be implying that you’re allowed special pleading and don’t need to define those things.

        • Kodie

          What a stupid question. Santa is the fat man in the red suit who drives a sleigh with 8 flying reindeer, and he lives at the North Pole, employs elves who make toys to deliver to “good girls and boys” all over the world on Christmas Eve.

    • If the arguments are correct then this God is the moral law and he is a maximally great being (ontological argument). If he is these things then I believe like u that he would have to or at least will show up to his creation (Divine hiddenness argument).

      The deist god is a clockmaker who winds up the clock and then walks away. Imagine that he’s maximally great and that he created morality—how does that get away from the deist argument?

      I do think that the arguments for “God” are convincing enough to warrant us to at least think twice about Jesus.

      The arguments for God and Jesus are both weak. More posts on this in the All Posts tab.

      We should not be so quick to write them off or take an anti-supernatural position.

      Why? You do. When you hear about Hindu statues that drink milk, do you assume that it’s likelier correct than not? Or the reverse?

      How can only justice be just? It seems like it cannot.

      I like the use of “seems.” You acknowledge that these are just guesses or feelings or inferences. I wonder then how you think the insanely bold claim of supernaturalism is supported on so flimsy a footing.

      So, it seems that moral values like justice if they exist would need to be in a person.

      In a person”? You mean like cash in a safe? Justice needs a repository?

      I don’t think the dictionary gives any clue to support this.

      TWO, even if somehow justice existed by itself how do we get our sense of moral duty from that?

      Our sense of justice comes from evolution. It served an evolutionary advantage.

      It would be like knowing something is blue and something is red. But not knowing that you OUGHT to choose red over blue when you can.

      Morality also comes from evolution.

      it is fantastically improbable that creatures would emerge from a blind evolutionary process that corresponds to the abstractly existing realm of moral values. I mean what are the chances?

      What are you talking about? In social species, things that we’d consider positive moral values are an evolutionary plus. The tribe filled with trusting people will perform better than one where everyone has to guard their stuff all the time.

      raping a young kid for fun is wrong

      Raping a young kid for any reason is wrong. But that’s just me.

      You believe that is an objective fact about reality say as strongly as you believe 1+1=2, the law of non-contradiction is true, that all bachelors are unmarried men…

      You’re confusing “objective morality” with “strongly felt morality.”

      Now the kicker here is that “…there is no more reason to deny the objective reality of moral values than the objective reality of the physical world. In the absence of some defeater, we rationally trust our perceptions, whether sensory or moral.” I can’t stress this point enough!

      And I can’t stress enough that WLC is a poor guide.

      The defeater is obvious: the natural explanation (WLC is determined to be an evolution denier, but that’s his problem, not ours) is sufficient.

      ONE, if you say that our moral beliefs have been instilled in us by socio-biological conditioning, therefore objective moral values and duties do not exist. This would be a textbook example of the genetic fallacy.

      Huh? Nature gives us our moral sense, so objective morality (morality grounded outside humanity) is unnecessary. Where’s the fallacy?

      Moral values and duties are discovered not invented.

      Weird how God couldn’t discover that slavery was wrong.

      Bonehead.

      It might only show that biblical inerrancy is false.

      Good point. And where does that leave you?

      Also, this God could command things that might go against our moral experience, but given the big picture might not actually be a bad thing to command.

      Yes, and how do you evaluate that? All the evidence points to God being a shithead … but you can’t make that determination because you’re not aware of all the evidence?

      It don’t work that way. You have biblical evidence in front of you. Decide, now: does this point to an omniscient and loving god or not?

      TWO, if evolution is true, then our moral beliefs have been selected for their survival value, not for their truth! In fact, all of our beliefs would be for survival value and not truth and therefore unjustified.

      Right—our senses and beliefs are imperfect. Obviously. Evolution explains this quite nicely.

      So, even the belief that evolution is true would not be justified if evolution was true.

      No, the belief, “Evolution is certainly true” would not be justified. And no one with any sense believes that.

      • In God’s Defense

        I’m sorry bob. I have to say something. Commenting here with these guys is like playing a game of chess. However, they (atheists here) only want to play when they can put me in a 4 move check mate and then laugh at me. Anytime, I try to have a real game they don’t want to play. I don’t know if its their intent, but either way its sad.

        • adam

          “Commenting here with these guys is like playing a game of chess.”

          Then you should know better than to bring your checkers game.

          You are amoung skeptics here.

          If you want to make EXTRAORDINARY claims, you SHOULD understand that extraordinary evidence is needed to support such claims.

          You appear to deny science and rely on MAGIC from a character in a book for how reality works, we dont.

        • In God’s Defense

          I general agree with science. So, do you. Unless you heard a good argument to believe something other than what the science was telling you.

        • adam

          I have heard no such argument, and you’ve presented no such argument.

          But you also appear to believe in MAGIC, I do not.

        • A good argument to reject science? Would that be a scientific argument? I assume not. Then what kind of argument would it be?

          A magical argument? I doubt I’ll be impressed.

        • In God’s Defense

          A philosophical argument.

        • I can’t imagine such an argument. This would not be an evidence-based, scientific argument? Give us an example.

          Your problem is that science delivers. Neither religion nor philosophy has the “Top 10 Achievements for 2014” kind of lists that science has.

        • MNb

          You say you have a degree in philosophy, but you don’t apply something philosophy has found out since Descartes’ rationalism got criticized. And philosophy should have found out since Euclides penned down his Geometry.
          The conclusion of an argument is as strong as its basic assumptions (called axiomata in math). However by definition those basic assumptions can’t be proven or they’ll cease to be basic assumptions by definition.
          You try to remedy this by calling them “self evident” and refuse to recognize that that is just a cheap cop out.
          Just because I happen to agree that “torturing kids for fun is evil” doesn’t mean it’s self-evident. As this kind of errors are more than common among apologists I assume you have a degree not in philosophy, but in philosopy of religion – which is a fancy term for “looking for lame excuses”.

        • Max Doubt

          “I general agree with science. So, do you. Unless you heard a good argument to believe something other than what the science was telling you.”

          Science is a process, a tool we use to help us explain the workings of the universe we live in. The process is based on assembling data and developing explanations that fit all the data, don’t require the inclusion of anything other than the data, and contradict none of the data. To modify the explanations reached through the process of science we must continue to apply the very same process. Science requires embracing objective reality and necessarily rejecting that which cannot be objectively supported. We don’t sidestep the process just because something seems right or makes us feel good. That would be the realm of god believers, a position which requires willful ignorance of objective reality.

        • Kodie

          You have not brought that argument. Actually, I haven’t seen you say much in your own words to make the argument you think you are making. You’re not defending god, you’re defending scientifically illiterate fools and you are one of them.

        • In God’s Defense

          I have brought an argument… the moral argument. Sometimes other people say things better than I can. Please show me how Craig is scientifically illiterate before making such a claim.

        • Kodie

          You didn’t make a moral argument, you made a claim and no argument. You believe you are defending “god” but you are defending the shitty arguments of other people, that you’re too willfully ignorant to pay attention to how illiterate they are. I believe if you have a belief in something, you ought to be able to articulate why in your own thoughts and words, or else I am to understand you’re too illiterate yourself to comprehend the arguments and why they’re good (you think) or bad (I think). You didn’t say why Craig’s arguments aren’t scientifically illiterate, you just bypassed the defense part of your name, and told us to go read links, confident that we will fall for these shitty arguments. Not like we’ve never seen them before. It’s still your turn.

        • In God’s Defense

          “You didn’t make a moral argument, you made a claim and no argument.”

          I posted a comment on this post defending the moral argument. I’m sure you can find it.

          “I believe if you have a belief in something, you ought to be able to articulate why in your own thoughts and words”

          I can. Here it is. We can rely on our conscience. At least, on the things that are so self-evident. 🙂 The guilty should be punished, raping kids is wrong, and so forth. Now, some things in the bible might not mesh well with our subjective moral experience. If so that might very well mean either we are wrong or the bible is wrong on that moral subject. I’m ok with that. What I’m arguing for is that even if our moral experience might not be that reliable, IT IS FOR AT LEAST ONE OR TWO THINGS. Although, if that is the case then this is evidence of an objective moral law. If there is an objective moral law then what is its nature? It seems most likely to be in a maximally great being (maybe not the christian god). That’s the argument in a nut shell.

          “…shitty arguments.”

          Still waiting for you to show how they are shitty. … … …still waiting…

        • MNb

          “the things that are so self-evident”
          Thumbrule: whenever an apologist uses the word self-evident assume he/she can’t argue or provide evidence for it.

          “If there is …..”
          You have been shown over and over again why this is shitty: the first word “if”. It’s not any better than “if my father had been king than I would have sat on this throne”. The only thing you do is serving up the same shit over and over again, while maintaining that it really tastes good.
          Coincidentally (?) that’s what WLC also did when he got creamed by Sean Carroll.

        • Kodie

          You keep saying these things are “self-evident” but failing to explain what you think that means. “It just is” is not an argument, not something I or anyone with any brains thinks is credible. How can I show you how shitty that is if you’re too stupid to understand why that’s not an argument?

        • Look up his name at this blog and you’ll see examples where he blundered in, giving his scientific opinions, where he really shoun’t’ve.

          The guy is a philosopher. When he starts commenting about cosmology or biology, he’s out of his depth. Let’s stick to the scientists for that, OK?

        • In God’s Defense

          I’ll check it out. Just remember though that even if a guy doesn’t have a degree in science doesn’t mean he doesn’t know anything about science. You should know this quite well. You do not have a degree in science or philosophy. I do have a degree in philosophy btw.

        • This is simple. We have plenty of cosmologists and biologists. There are consensus opinions. WLC has shown that he’s useless because he rejects evolution, a scientific consensus.

          He enjoys speculating about science’s unanswered questions, as if his uninformed and agenda-driven ideas (you do know he’s not a physicist, right?) are helpful.

        • Kodie

          From the back of a cereal box? You don’t know logical fallacies, how could you graduate?

        • Different pubs have different personalities, and this one has some tough customers. They’re pretty smart, though.

          You can disagree with them, and they’ll give you respect in proportion to the quality of your arguments. If your arguments aren’t well thought out, they might tell you that gently or they might tell you abruptly, but it shouldn’t be too hard to find out what intellectual flaw they’re stuck on.

          You’ve heard “every man is your teacher”? That applies here. If you don’t thank them for showing you your flaws, you should.

          If someone is simply calling you an idiot, demand to know what error they find with your arguments. That’s what I do.

          I hope that helps.

        • In God’s Defense

          Thanks. I’m going to reply to you only I guess. There is just to much. I don’t have the time. Unless we were having a in person conversation.

        • Your call. There are lots of teachers here. If someone makes an intellectual challenge of your argument that infuriates you, that’s a clue that you need to think more about that bit.

        • Kodie

          At least tell us you’ll pray to god tonight and tell him that you failed at defending him.

        • In God’s Defense

          Does me not changing a persons mind about God today necessarily mean that I have failed in defending him?

        • Kodie

          It means that this god you believe exists depends on dummies like you persisting with the dumbest of arguments. That you believe god needs you to defend him in the first place, and you failed? It just means people who do have their minds changed by this garbage are gullible and delusional like you. Good job, god!

        • In God’s Defense

          “It means that this god you believe exists depends on dummies like you persisting with the dumbest of arguments.”
          How do you know that is true?

          That you believe god needs you to defend him in the first place, and you failed?
          How do you know what I believe?

          “It just means people who do have their minds changed by this garbage are gullible and delusional like you.”

          You have yet to show how my argument I gave in a comment on this post is bad.

        • Kodie

          You’re not the first Christian who tries these arguments. They’re fallacious and ridiculous. That is my evidence – if there is a god, instead of doing his own work, he sends gullible dummies to make arguments from all manner of fallacy. There are no good arguments for a god, your argument was circular, and everyone told you. Just because you are not intelligent enough to put the pieces together doesn’t mean you weren’t shown.

        • Greg G.

          No, we aren’t. Your opening move has set you up for a two move mate.

          If a homicidal maniac was attacking your family and there was an absolute morality where killing was immoral, it would be absolutely immoral to kill the maniac. If stealing was absolutely immoral, then stealing his weapon would be immoral. If lying was absolutely immoral, it would be immoral to lie to him if he guessed where your family was hiding during his interrogation of you.

          But any of those things are justified to save the lives of your family because morality is relative. Stopping homicide is a very good thing to do. The world is a better place because morality is relative to what best leads to thriving and away from unnecessary suffering.

        • Kodie

          But killing an intruder for fun is still wrong.

        • Greg G.

          Even having sex for fun is sin in many Christian traditions. I think IGD can do most anything as long as it isn’t any fun.

        • Kodie

          He is allowed to do anything for fun as long as it has nothing to do with children.

        • Max Doubt

          “Commenting here with these guys is like playing a game of chess. However, they (atheists here) only want to play when they can put me in a 4 move check mate and then laugh at me. Anytime, I try to have a real game they don’t want to play. I don’t know if its their intent, but either way its sad.”

          There is no objective evidence to support any claims that any gods exist. Because that is true, atheists have the luxury of being correct before the conversation even starts. You can’t play your game of chess until you can objectively demonstrate that a god exists. Until then every single thing you could possibly say about a god is hypothetical, unsupported conjecture, and as relevant to reality as any discussion about any other figment of the imagination.

        • Kodie

          Dear Boo-hoo-hoo,

          You don’t have a real game. Sorry, but it’s true.

        • In God’s Defense

          Do you get off trolling like this?

        • Kodie

          About as much as you get off believing your arguments are fantastic and that we just don’t like you already because you’re a Christian. You don’t have a real game, don’t cry to Bob because he can’t help you out.

        • In God’s Defense

          Why do I think I’m Christian? I’m not arguing for that just God. Even if I was you have what seems like a lot of hate for Christians.

        • Kodie

          You made a specific claim as to trying to play “a real game,” your fault seems to be that you think you have one, and that we’re trying to mess you up for some other reason. No, the only reason is that you came here thinking your arguments were obvious and wonderful and convincing. We told you in what ways they are not. You, like a lot of Christians, like to think we are just mean at Christians and don’t like to listen. You never think – they must have heard this before and it’s probably not even good. Cognitive dissonance, you have it. Theists like you never think to examine your arguments for credibility or even coherence. It was circular, it’s still circular. You keep saying the same words, they sound to you like they are important enough on their own, their own “self-evidently” important arguments without any actual arguments to support them. Why don’t you examine this yourself and stop blaming other people?

      • In God’s Defense

        “The deist god is a clockmaker who winds up the clock and then walks away. Imagine that he’s maximally great and that he created morality—how does that get away from the deist argument.”

        He wouldn’t have created morality he IS morality. He is by nature love, goodness, justice, and so forth. If you think this all loving God
        would just create us and leave us be… I disagree. I think the
        divine hiddeness argument shows this very well. This loving God would have to show himself because being love demands it.

        “Why? You do. When you hear about Hindu statues that drink milk, do you assume that it’s likelier correct than not? Or the reverse?”

        I’m saying that if this “God” from the arguments exists then we
        should take all serious claims of his interaction with man into
        consideration. Not just Jesus.

        “I like the use of “seems.” You acknowledge that these are just
        guesses or feelings or inferences.”

        Well I could also use the word seem when I say, It “seems” like
        i’m typing right now. However, that “seems” to be more
        certain than a guess…right? However, yes it leaves open the
        possibility that the statement could be false. Although, I think its
        very reasonable to think that Justice cannot exist on its own.

        “In a person”? You mean like cash in a safe? Justice needs a
        repository?”

        In a way… yes. It seems to make the most sense if justice exists in a
        “person”. Again, for the three reasons I mention.

        “Our sense of justice comes from evolution. It served an evolutionary
        advantage.”

        That is one possibility. That we have the belief of Justice to help us
        survive. Although, I have mentioned the problems I have with this. If
        our beliefs about the world are there for there survival content
        rather than truth, then we really don’t have any warrant for
        believing that evolution is true. Our reasoning to find truth is just
        a belief we have to help survive not that it really helps us find
        truth. I guess it is like not really ever being able to believe
        anything Ted says is true cause he is a compulsive liar. I am sure
        you can think of other examples that might be better.

        “Raping a young kid for any reason is wrong. But that’s just me.”

        Ok, my point is that you seem to believe this is true no matter what
        anyone thinks. In other words, you think it should apply to all
        people. And you seem to KNOW it to be true because it is just
        self-evident. You didn’t have to go to Texas to find out if it was
        true. It just seems obvious like knowing that you are reading this
        right now. It is an objective fact that you reading this right now.
        It could be false, but why doubt it? It would be unreasonable to.

        “You’re confusing “objective morality” with “strongly felt morality.””

        No, if that was the case then I also would be confusing objective reality with strongly felt reality.

        “Huh?Nature gives us our moral sense, so objective morality (morality grounded outside humanity) is unnecessary. Where’s the fallacy?”

        All I’m saying is that even if your beliefs were a product of evolution
        it still could be the case that an objective moral law exists. You
        cannot necessarily rule out its existence by saying it doesn’t exist
        because we got our moral beliefs through social and biological
        conditioning.

        “Weird how God couldn’t discover that slavery was wrong”

        “GOD”would not discover morals. He already knows them all. You are talking about the God of the bible and I have addressed the question of the christian God and slavery in my main comment.

        “Good point. And where does that leave you?”

        It leaves the christian either believing that not all of the bible must
        be true. It does not necessarily show that the God of the bible does
        not exist.

        “I don’t work that way. You have biblical evidence in front of you.
        Decide, now: does this point to an omniscient and loving god or not?”

        There is a lot more to discuss and evaluate so I don’t know.

        “Right—our senses and beliefs are imperfect. Obviously. Evolution explains this quite nicely.”

        The point is that, “…on naturalism, all our beliefs, not just our
        moral beliefs, have been selected for survival value, not truth, and
        are therefore unwarranted. In particular, the belief in naturalism
        and the socio-biological account of moral belief is unwarranted. So
        the objection undermines its own warrant and is therefore incapable
        of being rationally affirmed.”

        “No, the belief, “Evolution is certainly true” would not be justified. And no one with any sense believes
        that.”

        No, if evolution is true you could not even rationally affirm it to be
        true. Why, because it would be a belief that you have that is only
        there because of its survival use. You have no rational idea what
        reality really is.

        • adam

          “He wouldn’t have created morality he IS morality. ”

          So where did it get this morality from?

          and where does this ‘god’ get its KNOWLEDGE and ABILITY to create?

          “You have no rational idea what reality really is.”

          Rational ideas are the best way in which we know reality.
          Much better than claiming MAGIC out of ignorance.

        • Greg G.

          He wouldn’t have created morality he IS morality. He is by nature love, goodness, justice, and so forth.

          But the Bible tells us God kills people. He allows people to be killed to win a bet. If God IS morality, then killing people for side bets is moral.

          There is a lot of suffering in the world and God is OK with it. You need God-goggles to think he is “by nature love, goodness, justice, and so forth”.

          The things you are arguing for as good makes a great case for avoiding becoming religious at all costs.

        • Kodie

          You have no rational idea what
          reality really is.

          Said the guy who believes god poofed it all into existence one day not enough years ago.

          You, uncannily like Fabio, seem to think evolution works with a destination in mind, some purpose. You think if it’s supposedly rational to believe evolution is true, then evolution would have “guided” all of us to be perfectly rational and have no extraneous stuff, like how many people are actually wrong about evolution and like to believe something else is true, easily manipulated by terrible arguments you think are great. Only a perfect god would have created us to be that stupid, of course. Blame the fall. They all do. You just have a high opinion of the quality of your shitty arguments, and that’s because evolution didn’t kill stupid people, just the most unattractive and socially inept.

        • He wouldn’t have created morality he IS morality.

          Whatever that means.

          He is by nature love, goodness, justice, and so forth. If you think this all loving God would just create us and leave us be… I disagree.

          Let’s presuppose the god properties you want and then you’ll get a god with the properties you want. Nice.

          I think the divine hiddeness argument shows this very well. This loving God would have to show himself because being love demands it.

          Since he doesn’t, what do you make of that?

          I think its very reasonable to think that Justice cannot exist on its own.

          Justice is a mental category. You think it must have a repository or something?

          Nature explains things just fine.

          It seems to make the most sense if justice exists in a “person”.

          Meaningless.

          If our beliefs about the world are there for there survival content rather than truth, then we really don’t have any warrant for believing that evolution is true.

          Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism. Yeah, that’s an oldie. As I said, everyone appreciates that our cognitive faculties are imperfect. Evolution explains things just fine.

          Our reasoning to find truth is just a belief we have to help survive not that it really helps us find truth

          When reality is shaping our beliefs, being true is a good way to be propagated in the future.

          you seem to believe this is true no matter what anyone thinks. In other words, you think it should apply to all people. And you seem to KNOW it to be true because it is just self-evident.

          I said I see zero evidence for objective morality. Believe me when I say that.

          Natural explanations, again, are just fine.

          All I’m saying is that even if your beliefs were a product of evolution it still could be the case that an objective moral law exists.

          Fine. Give me the evidence for the remarkable claim that objective moral truth exists.

          “GOD” would not discover morals. He already knows them all.

          Splitting semantic hairs in the hope that I’ll not see you dodging the question?

          A good god would know that slavery were wrong. Yahweh in the OT didn’t. Therefore, Yahweh is either not a good god or doesn’t exist. Why do I have to explain this?

          It leaves the christian either believing that not all of the bible must be true. It does not necessarily show that the God of the bible does not exist.

          A good start. Reject the Bible as a reliable source of information.

          There is a lot more to discuss and evaluate so I don’t know.

          Then why conclude that God exists?

          The point is that, “…on naturalism, all our beliefs, not just our moral beliefs, have been selected for survival value, not truth, and are therefore unwarranted. In particular, the belief in naturalism and the socio-biological account of moral belief is unwarranted. So the objection undermines its own warrant and is therefore incapable of being rationally affirmed.”

          Quoting Craig gets points taken off, I’m afraid.

          We’ve been over this.

          No, if evolution is true you could not even rationally affirm it to be true. Why, because it would be a belief that you have that is only there because of its survival use. You have no rational idea what reality really is.

          Huh? If evolution is true, you’re certain that all human beliefs would be false? Where does that come from?

          What I think you mean is that human beliefs can’t be said to be certainly true. Yes, obviously.

        • In God’s Defense

          I don’t think we are getting anywhere with this. Let me ask you a question. Do you believe that all our beliefs about the external world are instilled in us through biological and social conditioning?

        • I don’t think we are getting anywhere with this.

          Translation: Whoa–that’s a lot of stuff that I can’t answer! Rather than admit as much, let’s change the subject.

        • In God’s Defense

          lol No it isn’t. I could reply to everything you said. I’m trying to direct the conversation in way so I can get more out of it. In other words, so I can understand better what you believe.

        • I could reply to everything you said.

          Cool. Do so.

          I’m trying to direct the conversation in way so I can get more out of it.

          Your last change of subject meant nothing to me. Maybe we should stick with your responding to the questions already on the table.

        • In God’s Defense

          lol fine.. way to get around the question I ask. I will and then just ask my same question if it makes you feel better.

        • I spend 15 minutes replying thoroughly to your long comment, then you ignore it and change the subject, and now it’s me who’s trying to slip away from a question?

        • TheNuszAbides

          Do you believe that all our beliefs about the external world are instilled in us through biological and social conditioning?

          that covers ‘nature’ and ‘nurture’ … okay.
          1) if the answer were “no”, would you follow up with anything other than “then what/where do you think {all our beliefs} come from?”?

          2) if the answer were “yes”, what string do you pull next?

    • MNb

      “I want to reply to everyone but there are just too many.”
      Pick your favourite atheist and reply to his/her comments. Nobody will blame you.

      “We all have moral beliefs that we believe are objective. For example, raping a young kid for fun is wrong. You believe that is an objective fact about reality”
      However repeating your error without addressing any rebuttal does nothing to improve your case.

      “say as strongly as you believe 1+1=2.”
      How do you mean? 1+1 = 10 in binary counting.

      “Now the kicker here is that “…there is no more reason to deny the objective reality of moral values than the objective reality of the physical world.”
      Kicker? Like these?

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2II24Q4YGZw

      “that wouldn’t make 1+1=3 true”

      It’s meaningless to ask whether such mathematical statements are true or not. Math is about consistency. I already told you that 1+1 = 10 is mathematically consistent.

      “if evolution is true, then our moral beliefs have been selected for their survival value, not for their truth!”
      Evolution is not about survival. It’s about procreation. So you don’t understand that one either.

      “If those premises in the argument are true, then it follows logically that “God” exists whether you like it or not.”

      Yeah, but you have done nothing to show that premisse 2 is valid, so shrug. Like I already wrote – just repeating your error ad nauseam doesn’t work.

    • Dys

      Most are the same things over and over.

      If you continually say the same wrong things, why would you expect the response to change?

      And your reply in terms of socio-biological conditioning misses the boat by a mile. Biological conditioning for morality would be objective, since it would have evolved naturally, not merely reliant on a single individual or group. Humans as a species have objective characteristics that have evolved over time. It likewise makes sense that some (not all) moral imperatives would also establish in the population as a whole.

      Stop relying on the “it’s self-evident!” assertion for your version of objective morality…it doesn’t hold up, and can easily be explained without resorting to magic via the evolutionary conditioning that you’re trying to argue against.

      TWO, if evolution is true

      There is no ‘if’.

      then our moral beliefs have been selected for their survival value, not for their truth!

      Survival value is only one component of evolution. But it’s plain to see how survival value can (and has) led to many moral values. Murder, for instance, is incredibly destructive to social cohesion, which is an imperative to a social species like humanity. The same goes for theft. But they’re grounded in mankind – if we don’t exist, there’s no indication that they do either. You want to place them in a magic book floating in the aether.

      However, given a Christian or other worldviews we can have beliefs that are rational.

      Until you realize that rationality doesn’t enter a framework containing an omnipotent god who can do as he pleases. Your unfortunately stuck with an unimpressive and empty “magic” answer. “God did it” with “it’s magic” are explanatory equivalents.

    • Odd Jørgensen

      A wall of derp, congratulations, you know how to regurgitate Craig.

      https://youtu.be/XxaP19pY1FI

      • In God’s Defense

        Well thanks. I will continue to regurgitate Criag until his arguments are proven false or unreasonable. So far, for me, that hasn’t happened yet.

        • Max Doubt

          “Well thanks. I will continue to regurgitate Criag until his arguments are proven false or unreasonable.”

          William Lane Craig’s arguments are based on an assumption which has not been demonstrated to be true. That makes his arguments unreasonable.

          “So far, for me, that hasn’t happened yet.”

          Learn some critical thinking skills. Armed with those tools you’ll easily see that Craig’s arguments are unreasonable. Easily. Then if you have the honesty and courage to do it, take the next step and objectively assess your own god beliefs. You’ll see that you also can’t make a reasonable argument to support the notion that a god exists. It may be quite difficult and possibly quite uncomfortable because most Christians, or god believers of any sort for that matter, don’t seem to have the honesty or courage to do it.

        • In God’s Defense

          “William Lane Craig’s arguments are based on an assumption which has not been demonstrated to be true. That makes his arguments unreasonable.”

          Well, I’m not just going to believe your opinion. Where are his assumptions that have not been demonstrated to be true?

        • MNb

          One is the same as yours: objective morality.
          Another two are causality and “everything that begins to exist must have a beginning.”
          I already suspected that you rely heavily on WLC. You’re as fond of “self-evident” as he.
          Thumbrule: everything that WLC calls self-evident has not been demonstrated to be true.

        • adam

          “Where are his assumptions that have not been demonstrated to be true?”

          God

        • Food for thought: look up “William Lane Craig” in this blog to find examples of stuff he’s said and my negative critique.

        • Greg G.

          William Lane Craig says:

          Alvin Plantinga, one of the world’s leading philosophers, has laid out two dozen or so arguments for God’s existence. Together these constitute a powerful cumulative case for the existence of God.

          That is from http://www.reasonablefaith.org/does-god-exist-1#_ednref17

          If Craig had one argument that proved the existence of God, he wouldn’t talk about Plantinga’s “powerful cumulative case”, he would simply tout the one good one. “Two dozen or so” failed arguments for God’s existence makes a better case for the non-existence of God.

        • In God’s Defense

          “If Craig had one argument that proved the existence of God, he wouldn’t talk about Plantinga’s “powerful cumulativecase”, he would simply tout the one good one.”

          I’m sorry how do you know if Craig would do that? If I had one good argument I would use it. If I had ten good arguments I would use them all! Why not? It would just strengthen your case. Your assuming he doesn’t have a good one and has to resort to many others. How about showing how his argument is bad first.

        • Max Doubt

          “Your assuming he doesn’t have a good one and has to resort to many others. How about showing how his argument is bad first.”

          There is no objective evidence to support any claim that any gods exist. You haven’t provided any. Craig hasn’t provided any. Craig’s entire shtick is built from the presupposition that a god does exist. He’s put the cart before the horse. Claiming a position is true based on the assumption that it is true makes it a bad argument. There, I showed you how his argument is bad.

          I told you in a previous post how you can repair your flawed understanding of his arguments and your own misconception that supernatural shit is real. It looks like you don’t have the honesty or the courage to take advantage of my helpful advice. Now I predict you’ll willfully ignore it and continue to dishonestly claim that you don’t know how Craig’s argument is bad. But go ahead and surprise us.

        • Greg G.

          When Craig says “Together these constitute a powerful cumulative case for the existence of God”, he is admitting that no one argument proves the existence of God.

        • In God’s Defense

          No, he is not. lol I would bet my left arm that he believes just the cosmological argument proves God. If you have others that do the same then that just constitutes a powerful cumulative case for the existence of God.

        • adam

          “No, he is not. lol I would bet my left arm that he believes just the cosmological argument proves God. ”

          Funny, I would bet my right arm that he believes he can con people out of good money with his scam

        • Greg G.

          No, he is not. lol I would bet my left arm that he believes just the cosmological argument proves God.

          The quote I provided above comes after a few arguments including the Kalam. The sentence immediately before the quote says “These are only a part of the evidence for God’s existence”. He says it is evidence for God’s existence, not that it proves God’s existence.

          What kind of bet wager is your left arm? Is that the one you cut off because it offended you like Jesus said to do?

          If you have one successful argument, you don’t need to tout a cumulative case. Craig knows his arguments sound good to the faithful so he repeats them for those who buy his books for years and years after they have been refuted.

          A successful argument requires a sound logical structure (which means “no fallacies”) and true premises. The Kalam lacks both. Virtual pairs do not have a cause and they begin to exist. It is a non sequitur to compare things within the universe to the universe itself.

        • In God’s Defense

          “These are only a
          part of the evidence for God’s existence”. He says it is evidence for
          God’s existence, not that it proves God’s existence.”

          Well… ya. He isn’t going to say that it 100% proves God.

          “If you have one successful argument, you don’t need to tout a cumulative case.”

          Maybe… if the argument proved it to be 100% true.

        • Greg G.

          Proof in a logical argument is 100% or it is a failed argument.

          I would bet my left arm that he believes just the cosmological argument proves God.

          You lost. Good thing I didn’t take you up on the bet.

        • Greg G.

          I didn’t take you up on the left arm bet but you should still keep this promise:

          Well thanks. I will continue to regurgitate Criag until his arguments are proven false or unreasonable. So far, for me, that hasn’t happened yet.

        • MNb

          Until you start to question the assumptions (which sometimes are mutual contradictory) his arguments are based upon and start finding out what physics has to say (in the case of the cosmological argument) that won’t happen ever.
          But if you are interested in an extensive and thorough critique of WLC I recommend you to google Hallquist Craig and Uncredible Craig. That will keep you from the streets for quite a while.

    • Clover and Boxer

      The central problem is contained in the question, why do so many people (including myself) find “raping your child for fun” repulsive and utterly wrong? It’s not that mysterious. All you really need are sympathy, empathy, and the desire to not want to experience unnecessary suffering. I don’t want to experience unnecessary suffering, and I have the empathy to understand that others do not want to experience unnecessary suffering. I also have the sympathy to feel sadness or pity when a person experiences unnecessary suffering. I am deeply troubled when others experience extreme unnecessary suffering as when they are raped because I can feel their pain as my own and I care about them feeling such suffering. That is why many people are deeply troubled by the idea and reality of “raping your child for fun.”

      There’s no deity necessary to explain this.

      • Kodie

        And going with horrific crimes against children, for fun, I can’t even think of another reason one would rape a child. I can kind of, sort of remember a story about some intruder who forced a woman to have sex with her teenage son, but that sounds like they were both raped by the intruder, indirectly. Anyway, this guy’s theme is emotional – the victim being a child, and the motive for pure pleasure. Is it immoral to rape a child for some other reason, or to rape an adult for fun? He’s very interested in specifics and his own moral judgment. There are just some things that are obviously too horrible for someone to do to children for pure pleasure that might be ok in other adjusted circumstances.

    • You wrote, “Also, this God could command things that might go against our moral experience, but given the big picture might not actually be a bad thing to command.”

      This is where your presentation breaks down. It is exactly what led me finally to come to the conclusion that Christianity can’t be true.

      This sounds like situation ethics.

      When I as 17, a Christian leader tried to convince me personally that God will call us to commit immoral actions. He gave as evidence the many instances when in the Hebrew Bible, Jehovah commands actions totally contrary to the 10 Commandments, etc.

      But if we can’t rely on the text, and we can’t rely on our conscience, and we can’t obviously rely on our biased culture and prejudiced society, and we can’t rely on God to be clear and not contradictory in his commands, etc.,
      how could the average person possibly make ethical choices every day?

      I’m an academic and have read thousands of Christian tomes on the issue of ethics. For the most part they are a muddle and often contradictory. Millions of Christians have supported slavery and slaughter and lying and stealing, etc.

      There are even still Christian leaders who claim that slavery isn’t inherently wrong. And Christian leaders in the present have justified the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians.

      And now Christian leaders, even within the Evangelical wing, disagree about God’s view of same sexual marriage.

      • Kodie

        There are even still Christian leaders who claim that slavery isn’t inherently wrong.

        Like I recently said about torture, when certain words are used, we have a specific image of what “slavery” means and whether or not it is wrong. So, it’s wrong to chain a human as if they are your property to your home and make them serve you however you wish without any freedom. Ostensibly, they must be fed in order to be maintained, and given a place to rest that might be no better than the dirt floor of a barn, but not free to leave and find a better situation for themselves. Like, you might have bought a refrigerator, and that thing’s not leaving. It’s alone in the dark kitchen all night, humming, keeping your ice cream and beer cold with minimal attention to its wants (because all it wants is electricity). Humans want ice cream and beer and a soft bed indoors, and a warm shower, and a tv, but if you’re a slave, you get none of that, you might get the equivalent of electricity, and you can’t leave to find somewhere better.

        I also recently made reference to Christians who harass gay teens (and others) until they commit suicide. What they’re intent on doing is making life uncomfortable for gay people so they either die or suck it up and go back in the closet, for Christians to have those rights and liberties to comfort. What they’re not doing so much is actively murdering gay people to send that message. What they are doing, they’re trying to make a movement that will send that message another brutal way, exclusion from society. It’s one of the Christian’s biggest fears, to be told to hit the road and don’t come back. For one, they’re told how awful gay people are, and atheists, for that matter, that who will be their friend, some satanic atheists with no morals, they’ll let you be gay. Anyway, if they get someone to commit suicide, they are still murder-free on the record with “god.”

        So I wanted to tie this back to slavery – of the mind. If you get someone to commit suicide, you’re not technically their murderer. If you get someone to voluntarily enslave themselves to your Christian causes, you’re not really in favor of slavery, are you. I wanted to say because I think they are all in favor of slavery. If you have a question, you have to ask them, and accept their answer or be shunned. If you want to be a good Christian, you feel obligated to be on the hunt for new recruits, who will not get saved by Jesus in heaven, but will merely have their own obligations to the church to fulfill, including tithes. Free slaves for the church.

        • TheNuszAbides

          It’s alone in the dark kitchen all night, humming, keeping your ice cream and beer cold with minimal attention to its wants (because all it wants is electricity).

          projecting! 😉
          but seriously, more in keeping with the slavery parallel: electricity makes it work.

      • In God’s Defense

        “…how could the average person possibly make ethical choices every day?”

        Well, we can rely on our conscience. At least, on the things that are so self-evident. 🙂 The guilty should be punished, raping kids is wrong, and so forth. Now, some things in the bible might not mesh well with our subjective moral experience. If so that might very well mean either we are wrong or the bible is wrong on that moral subject. I’m ok with that. What I’m arguing for is that even if our moral experience might not be that reliable, IT IS FOR AT LEAST ONE OR TWO THINGS. Although, if that is the case then this is evidence of an objective moral law. If there is an objective moral law then what is its nature? It seems most likely to be in a maximally great being (maybe not the christian god). Thats the argument in a nut shell. Now, you have to admit as well that if you were sure (at least 99%) that this “God” existed and he told you to do something that seems moral questionable to you, you would have to believe it was the RIGHT thing to do. Given that this God is bound by his good nature and cannot command anything evil. yada yada yada. Although, you probable are not that sure that such a being exists. I understand.

        • You wrote, “Well, we can rely on our conscience.”

          ? But earlier you wrote, “Also, this God could command things that might go against our moral experience…”

          And I’ve encountered thousands of Christians who have argued that very point, that what we think is wrong, what our conscience tells us is wrong, God could command the opposite. Remember when I was 17, that is the very argument that our Christian youth leader told me personally, that I should be willing to go against my conscience because God will call Christians to do what is immoral (This is called Divine Command Theory, Calvinism, Augustinianism, and other terms).
          Also, it seems nothing is self-evident. Christians supported slavery and slaughter of unarmed civilians for over 2,000 years, even though some humans think it is “self-evident” that both are horrifically wrong.

          What seems worse is intentional burning thousands of infants and little children to death. But Christians defend that very action all the time. In fact one famous Christian leader said that the atomic bomb was “God’s
          gift to American.”

          Plus, rape is even justified in the Old Testament, as well as theft, slaughter, lying, etc. Keep in mind that when David was living in the wilderness he used to slaughter whole villages killing every single person ! so he could steal!

          As for my own views, I think ethics are objective and universal. I don’t think ethics can exist if they are relative and subjective. Then such ethics are basically personal or cultural preferences.

          Oughts such as slavery is inherently evil or it is inherently evil to intentionally burn thousands of children and other civilians to death are transcendent truths.

        • MNb

          “we can rely on our conscience”
          If you think so the concept of sin has become meaningless.

        • In God’s Defense

          How so?

        • MNb

          The conscience of many people tells them it’s OK to do things you call sin. If they can rely on their conscience in these cases it’s no sin after all.

        • adam

          “Well, we can rely on our conscience. “

        • adam

          Well, we can rely on our conscience.

        • Kodie

          How can our conscience at all disagree with the filthy immoral orders of a maximally great being who created us? If it’s wrong to rape children for fun (the way you like to frame things), but god commands you, how does that make it the right thing to do? How doesn’t that make your god wrong for commanding such? You’re warped, as I like to say, a sick fuck.

    • primenumbers

      1) moral values come from a mind
      2) objectivity means mind independence
      3) therefore, objective moral values don’t exist

      • In God’s Defense

        I disagree with your first premise. Moral values come from God’s nature and mind. Morality is not independent of God nor is it just God’s arbitrary opinion.

        • adam

          So where did YOUR ‘god’ gets its KNOWLEDGE to create it’s nature and mind.

          Of course, you’ve FAILED to demonstrate that this ‘god’ of YOURS is anything but IMAGINARY

          Belief in a CRUEL god, makes a CRUEL man, T Paine

        • In God’s Defense

          “So where did YOUR ‘god’ gets its KNOWLEDGE to create it’s nature and mind.”

          He didn’t get it from anywhere. He has always been and known it necessarily.

          “Of course, you’ve FAILED to demonstrate that this ‘god’ of YOURS is anything but IMAGINARY”

          I have presented an argument showing that God is not imaginary in a comment on this post. Look it up. You have failed to show how the argument is wrong.

        • 90Lew90

          Your name is comical.

        • TheNuszAbides

          a barrel of laughs from his very first sentence!

          I want to reply to everyone but there are just too many.

          defending Teh Almighty is hard you guys!

        • adam

          “He didn’t get it from anywhere. He has always been and known it necessarily.”

          Only true for an IMAGINARY character in a book
          You can demonstrate no such thing.

          Besides the bible demonstrates that it’s ‘god’ makes mistakes but doesnt learn very well.

          Adam and Eve and incest –
          Destroyed with a flood because the character in the story was disappointed with it’s ‘Perfect’ creation

          Of course, the drunk Noah – incest again
          With the promise of destroying it all again with armaggeddon.

          So what was YOUR ‘god’s’ first thought.

          “I have presented a argument showing that God is not imaginary in a comment on this post. ”

          No you have not, you LIE.

        • Kodie

          So god exists because you say he exists, because you say you made an argument that he exists because something that doesn’t exist is something you still believe exists, and don’t feel like you have to show any evidence, just keep making the same circular argument and whine about how everyone’s not respecting this awesome “game” you think you have. Then, sure, why not, make up qualities this being must have, being him, he can be anything you like.

          SHITTY.

        • Greg G.

          Can God control his own nature or does his nature control him? Where did his nature come from?

          If he controls his nature, then morality is subjective and not objective. If his nature controls him, then his nature is arbitrary and the morality that comes from it is arbitrary and subjective.

        • In God’s Defense

          God’s is subject to his nature. He is free to do what he wills as long as it doesn’t go against his nature. His nature does not come from anywhere… it has always been. God is a necessary being. His nature is not arbitrary. His nature just doesn’t make up what it wants! It has always been what it has always been.

        • MNb

          “He is free to do what he wills as long as it doesn’t go against his nature.”
          So the Eutyphro Dilemma is not a false one after all. From the link I gave above:

          http://moralphilosophy.info/normative-ethics/deontology/divine-command-theory/the-euthyphro-dilemma/

          “Does God command the good because it is good, or is it good because it is commanded by God?”

          You chose the latte – because you postulate that god’s nature is good. His nature is according to you the standard to decide if something is good or not.
          It was in his nature to command the Canaanite Genocide. Hence that was good. This is ultimately subjective.

        • adam

          “God’s is subject to his nature. “

        • Kodie

          In your perspective, why do you think god doesn’t like it when you rape children for fun?

        • TheNuszAbides

          hey, IGD’s not here to speak for God’s perspective – that’d be presumptuous! IGD’s here to defend … oh, shit.

        • Greg G.

          Do you understand the words you are stringing together? If God’s nature is not intelligently designed, then it is arbitrarily formed. If God follows his arbitrarily designed nature, his thoughts and actions are derived from an arbitrary source. If he follows absolute morality, it is an accident.

          If he follows an arbitrarily formed nature and not sin, how can we sin by following our natures that are created by God? A creator is responsible for his creations and ignorance is no e c use for an omniscient being.

        • MNb

          “Moral values come from God’s nature and mind.”
          Thanks. You just have confirmed that your moral argument is a circular one.

          God –> moral values –> god.

          Also I recommend studying

          http://moralphilosophy.info/normative-ethics/deontology/divine-command-theory/the-euthyphro-dilemma/

          but avoid dishonest apologists like WL Craig.

        • In God’s Defense

          Look at the first premise again. It doesn’t assume God exists. It says that IF a moral law or objective moral values and duites exists than it must exit in something like GOD.

          No, The Euthyphro Dilemma is a false dilemma. “Since our moral duties are grounded in the divine commands, they are not independent of God. Neither are God’s commands arbitrary, for they are the necessary expressions of his just and loving nature.”

          Craig, William Lane (2008-07-23). Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics (p. 182). Good News Publishers. Kindle Edition.

        • MNb

          Good to read you reject my recommendation. Then you won’t recognize that WLC here just confirmed the Eutyphro Dilemma, aspointed out in that link I just gave.
          You hopefully do understand that this quote is related to WLC’s Divine Command Theory. The fun fact is that WLC unwillingly himself shows, when applying DCT, that morals are subjective. See, according to DCT his god ordering the Canaanite Genocide was also a “necessary expression of his just and loving nature.” Still he postulates “genocide is wrong” as an objective moral law. But it’s good when commanded by the subject called god (you know, jsut and loving nature and stuff). That’s the very definition of subjective morals. I summarize WLC’s position:

          1. Genocide is good when commanded by god (DCT);
          2. Genocide is evil when not commanded by god (moral law).
          There is nothing objective here.

          Now do me a great favour and link to WLC’s analysis of the Canaanite Genocide. You’ll give me the chance to show that WLC worships an immaterial version of Hitler.

        • In God’s Defense

          Your link didn’t say anything new. It just gives the dilemma for DCT’s. Craig holds to a MODIFIED DCT. Read the quote I gave again. Anyways, If GOD commanded genocide then it would be good. Why? because God cannot command anything that would go agaisnt his GOOD nature. We just might not always know God’s reasoning to why it is a good thing to do. Just that it is a good thing if and only if GOD commanded it.
          Here is the link
          http://www.reasonablefaith.org/did-god-commit-atrocities-in-the-old-testament

        • MNb

          Thanks for confirming my argument:

          1. Genocide is good when commanded by god (DCT);
          2. Genocide is evil when not commanded by god (moral law).
          There is nothing objective here.

        • 90Lew90

          This is just outrageous. I’m counting my lucky stars that people like you are largely ineffectual politically and regarded as cranks. For a crank, sir, is what you are. “If GOD commanded genocide then it would be good.” Just fuck right off. Your offensiveness is only matched by your stupidity. Fruitloop.

        • MNb

          It’s a typical example of American seekers for lame excuses not realizing what WW-2 and the Nürnberg Trials were about. I wouldn’t know what else could explain their version of Befehl ist Befehl.

        • MNb

          I had in mind another one

          http://www.reasonablefaith.org/slaughter-of-the-canaanites

          but your link is fun too. I had forgotten about it, though I had read it before.

          “If I did that, that would be murder. But if God were to kill me right now, that wouldn’t be murder.”
          This is the exact definition of subjective morals. If X does A it’s wrong, if Y does the same it’s the right thing to do.

          “So God gave a command to these Israeli soldiers to do something that they would not have had the right to do under their own initiative.”

          “So the Führer gave a command to the Einsatzgrüppe to do something that they would not have had the right to do under their own initiative.”

          Same difference. Oh – and when you say “God is no Führer” you’re argument contains begging the question, because any difference between your god and the Führer is exactly what your moral argument tries to conclude.

          “They practiced temple prostitution in their worship of Baal.”
          Hey, the Canaanites were willing to die for their beliefs when the Hebrews attacked them! According to you that’s an argument confirming the truth of their belief system.

          And the climax:

          “If anybody is wronged by this, paradoxically – and I’ve not seen anybody else make this point – it would seem to be the Israeli soldiers themselves who would seem to be wronged.”
          Oh yes, sure, some other people made the point: nazi criminals. This is exactly how Paul Blöbel defended the Einsatzgrüppe during the Nürnberg Trials.

          https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Paul_Blobel

          “The nervous strain was far heavier in the case of our men who carried out the executions than in that of their victims. From the psychological point of view they had a terrible time.”
          It’s also exactly why Himmler ordered to develop methods using gas.

          http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005130

          “Yet in the late summer of 1941, Heinrich Himmler, noting the psychological burden that mass shootings produced on his men, requested that a more convenient mode of killing be developed. The result was the gas van.”
          Good job showing that your objective morality is a version of nazism. Fortunately the christian prosecutors and judges at Nürnberg didn’t buy it.

          Do you know who don’t like it either? Dutch orthodox protestants – WLC’s target audience. See, they were instrumental in Resistance from 1940-45. WLC reminding them of the views of their enemies to argue for god is embarrassing for them. That might explain why they rather prefer Plantinga.

          Anyhow, the irony of WLC using both an nazi argument and the practical result of that nazi argument to argue for his god is even for me too painful to make me laugh.

        • Kodie

          Why do you assume good from god? I don’t understand your argument. It doesn’t make any sense, it seems like you only assume god has good reasons, you have no critical reasoning skills and only absorb what others tell you. Whatever you think you’re doing, it isn’t philosophy.

        • Kodie

          You still have yet to show how objective morality exists. Your quote means nothing. It’s a lame excuse.

        • primenumbers

          “Moral values come from God’s nature and mind” – fine, but if you’ve already decided that then you cannot use a moral argument for god. To properly deal with my argument you can show:

          moral values that don’t come from a mind. That would completely defeat my argument.

        • In God’s Defense

          “…but if you’ve already decided that then you cannot use a moral argument for god”

          Um… yes I can. why not? Here is the argument.

          1. If God does not exist, objective moral values and duties do not exist.

          2. Objective moral values and duties do exist.

          3. Therefore, God exists.

          It doesn’t matter what I believe before I argue the argument. What matters is if the argument is circular. Which what I think your trying to say.

          “moral values that don’t come from a mind. That would completely defeat my argument.”

          That is what I’m arguing. Moral values come from GOD’s nature.

        • MNb

          They don’t come from his mind?
          Funny.

        • primenumbers

          Well first you say “Moral values come from God’s nature and mind.” and then you say “Moral values come from GOD’s nature.” but god is divinely simple and has no component parts. If something comes from god then you cannot say it does not come from god’s mind.

          The very nature of objectivity means that god (being a mind) cannot satisfy the condition of being mind independent and thus cannot be a source of objectivity.

        • Kodie

          Those words sure do sound important! But what are you actually saying. You don’t even know.

        • MNb

          “Moral values come from God’s nature and mind.”
          And hence are subjective – they come from the subject you call god.

  • ningen

    I have to say one thing that annoys me about the claim that theism is necessary for objective moral values is how little this thesis actually buys anyone when it comes to real, substantive moral issues. Some theists are absolutely convinced that it is objectively true that homosexuality is an abomination and that gay marriage therefore ought to be illegal, while others affirm the universality of God’s love as an objective truth and hold that we have a consequent moral obligation to love and accept gays and therefore also embrace gay marriage. The supposed objective grounding of morality in the existence of God is of absolutely no use even to committed theists in resolving this issue (even when they are working from the same book).

    • Agreed–it is of no use. And that’s why I’m sort of surprised that GT admit so quickly in their argument that this fabulous objective morality that they claim exists isn’t reliably accessible.

      Given that, why even imagine that it exists?

      • SteveK

        Yes, why imagine that some part of reality is actually evil when it’s all in your head (you gave reality meaning)?

        • Or, you could respond to the question at hand.

        • SteveK

          Which question is that?

        • I’m not dismissing the idea of evil; I’m demanding those who imagine objective morality (that is accessible to humans) to show me the evidence.

        • SteveK

          The idea of evil or the existence of actual evil?

        • Evil exists, though we may not agree on what that means.

        • SteveK

          Since you’re not talking about objective evil, I’m wondering what exactly you are talking about. What exists but isn’t objective?

        • The only evil you know of is objective/absolute evil? You need to look up the word in a dictionary–that’s what I’m talking about. No need for anything objective.

        • SteveK

          MNb gave an answer that I will assume is the same answer you would give with respect to evil.

          Q: What exists but isn’t objective?
          A: Opinion.Enjoying Mozart more than Metallica.

          So on your view evil is synonymous with opinion or preference.

        • Problem?

        • SteveK

          Only one. People commonly say that a behavior or a person is evil (or good) and I think that’s a problem of communication in that evil is not an objective thing like behavior or people are. Jeffrey Dahmer cannot possibly be an example of evil, nor can his behavior.

          I’ll keep all of this in mind the next time I hear you and others talking this way.

        • Is there anything here that we didn’t cover 20 comments ago? “Evil” can be applied without any appeal to objectivity. The dictionary makes that clear.

          I say Jeffrey Dahmer was evil–see how easy that was? No, I don’t have objective grounding. And despite my pleading, you haven’t shown that you have any, either.

        • SteveK

          Feel free to stop replying if it’s been said already.

          It’s not a fact that Dahmer’s behavior was evil but somehow subjective “arguments” grounded in something other than Dahmer’s behavior landed him in jail.

          Got it.

        • No, you don’t got it. Your clumsy paraphrase isn’t what I said. But thanks for trying.

          And any time you get the urge to show that your bold claim of objective morality exists, I’m listening.

        • SteveK

          Feel free to correct me, Bob.

        • I’m afraid that’s a fool’s errand, my friend.

          Gonna tackle the project of justifying objective morality? Or is that too big even for you?

        • SteveK

          Where’s Susan to call you out on being evasive, deceptive and avoiding questions?

          🙂

        • I’m happy to answer questions, once. And, since my memory is poor, I’ll probably answer the same damn question several more times. But that’s plenty, thanks.

          I do notice that you’re avoiding mine. Show us all how it’s done–be stalwart and take the question of objective morality head on. You know baby Jesus cries when you don’t.

        • SteveK

          Like you, I’ve answered that question plenty of times, thanks.

        • And the puzzlement continues. I guess my quest to understand objective moral truth is an eternal one.

        • Kodie

          You didn’t answer it, I answered it.

        • Susan

          , I’ve answered that question plenty of times, thanks.

          The problem with disqus is that someone can pretend they’ve answered questions when they haven’t because loading long threads becomes almost impossibly cumbersome after a while (edit: and almost everything’s out of temporal order.)

          Good thing there have been people here engaging with you who know that you haven’t.

          If you have, provide a link. That’s something that disqus accommodates, despite its copious bugs.

          I am hereby accusing you of never answering that question.

          All it takes is a link to a comment that supports your claim.

          It’s as simple as right-clicking on the time stamp of that comment and copying it to the comment box.

        • Kodie

          The way I understand SteveK is that he did answer that question and believed it to be coherent. It wasn’t. Or he knows the answer was incoherent, but it’s the best he could do – he did refer us all to some other references on the subject that has gone into too deep water for him. He strikes me as the kind of person who knows what he’s thinking but cannot say; he thinks what he thinks sounds great in his head, and he has a hard time understanding what’s incoherent about it. Then again, more than one of us have attempted to read what he’s written back to him, on many occasions, and well, he ignores those posts. I’ve actually seen how he operates, he only responds to posts he can handle with his limited intellect. You’re actually the only one I’ve seen where he responds by lashing out about how nice you’re not because you’re making the questions too tough for him to handle and you don’t accept his excuses. If he can’t think of anything childish to say and he can’t be snarky instead of answer the question, he totally ignores it.

          But I do believe in some way, SteveK has actually answered the question, it’s just that he’s in disbelief how unsatisfactory that answer was. His answer was that all morality was grounded in god, god is good, god has a different moral standard than humans, and anything god does (or anyone commanded by god to do) is by definition good. The real answers weren’t any more elaborate than that, but those are his answers.

        • Susan

          I wish I could upvote that several times.

          He strikes me as the kind of person who knows what he’s thinking but cannot say; he thinks what he thinks sounds great in his head, and he has a hard time understanding what’s incoherent about it. Then again, more than one of us have attempted to read what he’s written back to him, on many occasions, and well, he ignores those posts.

          Sometimes Kodie, you just nail it.

          When we attempt to read back what is written, this is what his church explains is “closed-minded” or “unsophisticated” or “not given the gift of Faith” or “wanting to sin”.

          (sigh)

          All they have are strawmen.

        • MR

          All they have are strawmen.

        • Susan

          All they have are strawmen.

          That’s all they need. Most people accept sound bytes. And that’s all their training provides.

        • MR

          Or he knows the answer was incoherent, but it’s the best he could do

          Oh…, he knows the answer is incoherent, but it’s the best he can do. That’s when he lashes out. We should change our argument because he’s incoherent. I honestly tried to understand his viewpoint, but just when he should be delivering his money shot, he goes and pouts in a corner.

          But I do believe in some way, SteveK has actually answered the question, it’s just that he’s in disbelief how unsatisfactory that answer was.

          Spot on.

        • Kodie

          I’ve actually gone at length as to what I think he means. It isn’t very pretty. Since he won’t spit it out himself, I’m pretty sure he thinks god has chosen a few to grant privileges, and everyone else can go fuck themselves.

        • Susan

          I’ve actually gone at length as to what I think he means

          So have I.

          I’ve gone at length to try to understand what he thinks he means too. And to ask questions to check that he’s thought about what he thinks he means and to make sure I haven’t missed anything about what he thinks he thinks he means.

          He’s just told me to go away.

          god has chosen a few to grant privileges, and everyone else can go fuck themselves.

          A few humans, of course, including Steve K.

          Trillions of suffering kittens (for example) are justifiable fodder in the great symphony of ultimate meaning that was created for Steve K and Fabio. .

        • MNb

          “the great symphony of ultimate meaning that was created for Steve K and Fabio.”
          LOL!

          http://speaklolcat.com/speaklolcat.jpg

        • MNb

          “I honestly tried to understand his viewpoint.”
          You did so well I hadn’t any urge to interfere.

        • MR

          It was hard not to interfere, myself, and to try to stay on track. So many strawmen and such broken thinking, and, oh!, the bit about “false documents to conceal the true citizenship or resident alien status of another person” was so transparently xenophobic! My opinion of Steve took a dark turn at that moment.

        • MNb

          “he thinks what he thinks sounds great in his head”
          I have experienced that myself. Something sounds great until I try to write it down coherently …. that resulted in quite a few aborted comments.

        • MR

          I’ve answered that question

          That seems to have been a favored tactic of his. He tried that with me and the “answer” he had given was just an excuse for why he wouldn’t answer the question. The highly deceptive world of the true believer.

        • Susan

          Where’s Susan to call you out on being evasive, deceptive and avoiding questions?

          Still waiting for you to address a single question of the dozens I’ve asked between this discussion and the last discussion.

          I’ve never had that problem with Bob. Neither have you. You pretend to have it by paraphrasing responses into your silly strawman.

          It’s transparent schtick.

          How about addressing Euthyphro?

        • SteveK

          I’m still waiting for you to go away. How about that? Don’t evade the issue and pretend it’s not the issue, Susan. Nobody in the history of the world has answers that will satisfy you and I have no reason to think I have any new information. So stop asking.

        • Susan

          I’m still waiting for you to go away.

          I’m still waiting for you to produce evidence for objective morality.

          I’m still waiting for you to honestly participate in a discussion about morality, instead of aiming your peashooter at strawmen.

          Nobody in the history of the world has answers that will satisfy you

          YOU have no answers. This is as weaselly a move as the “what evidence would satisfy you?” response you’ve provided to others, which is never a first response from someone who thinks they have evidence.

          If you have no answers and no evidence, what do you have?

          So stop asking.

          Every time you show up to piss on a strawman and do nothing to contribute to the subject of morality, I’ll ask the same questions

          It’s important because there are external consequences. Beings who are able to suffer and/or thrive are impacted by our moral models.

          That’s why it’s not (edit: even close to exactly) the same as Mozart vs. Metallica or strawberry vs. vanilla.

          That doesn’t mean it’s objective

        • Kodie

          If you have no idea, just say so. The answers aren’t satisfactory and shouldn’t satisfy you, but they do.

        • I’m still waiting for you to go away.

          Susan can come and go as she pleases, but she’s not on the Asshole list like you. You’re the one who might want to clean up his act.

        • SteveK

          I’m asking her to go away and leave me alone. How hard is that to do? Sure she can not do that – as she has been doing – but who’s the asshole then?

        • Kodie

          You’re not asking her because she’s an asshole, you’re asking her because she is asking you too many hard questions you don’t know the answers to, and you can’t troll so efficiently when someone is holding you up as the know-nothing you are for everyone to see like she does.

        • The question isn’t “How hard is that?” it’s “How reasonable is that?”

          Make the request all you want, but if you’re out there either attacking others’ views or defending your own, it’s a free-for-all.

          You’re free to leave.

        • SteveK

          I will just ignore her. That seems reasonable to me.

        • Greg G.

          Ignoring the pesky questions is a good way to maintain weak religious beliefs but a poor way to seek truth. She is trying to do you a favor.

        • SteveK

          I’m only ignoring her request for me to reply. I typically read what she writes and think through some of the questions she asks.

        • Kodie

          Good, great, you will ignore the questions we all want answers to, in favor of bullshit that doesn’t help anyone understand what the fuck you’re talking about.

          You only don’t like her because she makes thinking about morality too difficult for you to do. If you don’t have an explanation for Susan, you don’t have any satisfactory explanation for the rest of us.

          Simple as that. You’re just playing games at your low level and think that’s plenty.

        • MNb

          Opinion.
          Enjoying Mozart more than Metallica.

        • Ron

          Or enjoying both in juxtaposition.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UBfsS1EGyWc

        • MNb

          The best version of Master of Puppets:

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5g5pWCfExbk

        • SteveK

          Thanks. Since Bob refuses to answer, I’ll assume your response here is the correct answer.

        • Kodie

          The existence of an evil-doer. If hurricane or an earthquake or a tornado devastated some place, we don’t place blame on nature, but we do feel bad for the victims. In your case, you may consider those messages from your deity, and determine that the victims must have deserved it for a good reason unknowable to you. In our case, we consider your god quite a capricious dick, but at least he doesn’t actually exist. It’s the people like you who think he does that exist, and think those “messages” must have been sent for a “good” reason. Nature doesn’t intend to harm anyone, but you believe your god does so, and with good intentions.

    • Kodie

      Well, each would argue passionately that their interpretation came from god, while the others were influenced imperfectly by other humans.

    • In God’s Defense

      “…while others affirm the universality of God’s love as an objective truth and hold that we have a consequent moral obligation to love and accept gays and therefore also embrace gay marriage.”

      A Christian and God can LOVE a sinner, but hate the sin. God can love a thief and it be objectively wrong for him to steal. Likewise God can love gay people while affirming that doing homosexual acts is wrong. Their is no contradiction. Although, EVEN SO some christians twist the bible to promote their own agenda. This happens with the US Constitution as well!

      • ningen

        You missed the point here. It is a fact that Christians (and even more so, theists) very frequently disagree over what behaviors they take to be objectively right or wrong. So the supposed advantage of theism in providing a grounding for the objectivity of moral beliefs turns out to be useless when it comes to actual, substantive moral questions.

        What remains is a bit of moral smugness, where the theist says, “yeah, I don’t know whether I’m right or wrong, but if I am wrong, at least then I’m objectively wrong, and if those other guys are wrong then they’re objectively wrong. You atheists, on the other hand, have no choice but to accept relativism.”

        But wait. Different theists have (often wildly) different beliefs about what God (somehow) makes objectively right and wrong, and different views about what counts as “twisting the Bible”. So, the Bible seems to say very clearly that it is ok (therefore objectively right) to own slaves. No? You say there is a way to read the Bible so that this turns out not to be true, and that this reading doesn’t count as twisting the Bible to promote your own agenda? You say the Bible doesn’t support the social subordination of women, but that isn’t twisting, that’s just plain old reading the literal truth? Yeah. Good luck with that.

        • In God’s Defense

          Your main objection was, “The supposed objective grounding of morality in the existence of God is of absolutely no use even to committed theists in resolving this issue (even when they are working from the same book).” Well it is of some use! Not everything in the bible about morality is disagree upon by Christians. For example, the first commandment.

        • adam

          So if your ‘word of god’ cannot relay its message across, then it is no god.

          Reminds of those who think aliens who possess knowledge to travel the galaxies use crop circles to try and communicate.

        • ningen

          The punishment for disobeying which is to be stoned to death. So all Christians agree that it is objectively immoral to be a Buddhist, or an atheist, and that everyone who is not a Christian should be stoned to death.

          No? Well, then at least jailed, right? No? Socially ostracized? Shunned? Sneered at? It’s the FIRST commandment, after all. Surely it is at least as bad as murder, right?

          But look, I know theists who don’t even think non-belief is morally wrong. They accept the view that belief (or non-belief) is a private matter. Again, the question is what the so-called objective grounding of morality in God actually purchases.

          What substantive moral question facing society today could be better settled by endorsing theism?

        • In God’s Defense

          “So all Christians agree that it is objectively immoral to be a Buddhist, or an atheist, and that everyone who is not a Christian should be stoned to death.”

          No, all Christians believe in the first commandment.

          “Again, the question is what the so-called objective grounding of morality in God actually purchases.”

          It shows that he exists, whoever he might be. That is a big deal!

          “What substantive moral question facing society today could be better settled by endorsing theism?”

          All of them if you ask a christian. And all atheists think they have a better moral solution. The real question is since an objective moral law exists what is its nature and what does it say for us? Again, the God of the bible might not be the God of the arguments.

        • Greg G.

          The First Commandment

          Exodus 20:2-3I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me.

          Do all Christians think they came from Egypt?

        • Max Doubt

          “Do all Christians think they came from Egypt?”

          I predict willful ignorance and/or some dishonest re-interpretation of that commandment and/or some arrogant claim to know better than the actual words written. 🙂

        • ningen

          “All of them if you ask a christian. ”

          Um… I thought you would have noticed that the whole point I was making is exactly that Christians disagree wildly about how substantive moral questions should be answered. So “ask a Christian” will get about the same amount of agreement in the answers as “ask someone whose name begins with “J”.

        • In God’s Defense

          Yes, you might be right. Although, christians would still give you more agreement. My point is that even if christians disagree on what the moral law says that doesn’t mean that morality is subjective! It also doesn’t mean that the whole bible should necassarly be thrown out completely as a moral guide.

        • adam

          “It also doesn’t mean that the whole bible should necassarly be thrown out completely as a moral guide.”

        • In God’s Defense

          Your picture only shows that the part about slavery should be thrown out. You have to judge each moral law on its own merit. Even a crazy person might still have some good morals.

        • adam

          But it is CRAZY to think such a character in a story in a book is perfect if it cant get the basics of humans OWNING other humans as wrong.

          Even WE understand that.

          But YOUR ‘god’ doesnt.

        • Kodie

          If we’re to judge the bible for its ability to be a moral code or not, then it’s not and we don’t need to refer to it to be moral.

        • MNb

          So much for the Bible being divinely inspired.
          As self-evident and relying on your conscience doesn’t work either for moral objectivity you just have closed every single path to know the content of those objective morals.
          Good job making your view void.

        • Kodie

          Christians do not even agree to the 1st commandment. How many read their horoscopes and believe psychics? How many agree to have their children raised in another faith because they married someone from another faith?

        • In God’s Defense

          Again, disagreement on what the moral law says doesn’t mean morality is subjcetive.

        • Kodie

          So your arguments are just full of words you like but don’t know what they mean? Then you don’t actually make those arguments, you keep falling back on that they are “self-evident” without question. You also claimed to have degree in philosophy – is it self-evidently objectively immoral to lie about your education in order to lend credibility to your shitty arguments?

        • Kodie

          Then it fails at being self-evident. If that’s the major bolt holding your argument together, well, there it goes.

        • Aaron Siering

          So your argument is actually most people who profess to be Christians actually aren’t? I would agree with that.

        • 90Lew90

          Are you an actual Christian?

        • Kodie

          My argument is that it’s a myth that appeals to many people because it can be freely interpreted and incorporated.

        • TheNuszAbides

          and because Tradition. and because thought-control infrastructure. and because geography.

        • Max Doubt

          “My point is that even if christians disagree on what the moral law says that doesn’t mean that morality is subjective!”

          What an utterly idiotic statement that is. Of course it means morality is subjective. It means ex-fuckin-zactly that!

        • MNb

          No, not logically. It might be the case that a few billions of christians all understand the objective moral law wrongly but that one got it right. This is highly improbable though and thus the probability of subjective morals is quite close to one.
          That’s why we must add positive arguments (negative answer being “you’re wrong hence I’m right”). Fortunately they are not difficult.

        • MNb

          “what is its nature and what does it say for us?”
          Despite 2000 years of trying (and killing each other) christians totally have failed to formulate even the beginning of an eventual answer. So you should consider the inductive conclusion that its nature is totally void and thus that it says exactly nothing for us – ie there are no objective morals.

        • In God’s Defense

          lol Christians have formulated in answer. Although, some do disagree on some moral issues. THIS DOESN”T MEAN THAT THERE ARE NO OBJECTIVE MORALS. Clearly, you would admit to at least one objective moral law. Unless you think raping kids for fun is ok.

        • MNb

          “Although, some do disagree on some moral issues.”
          Yeah – so many and so much that they started to smash in each others heads as soon as they got the chance – ie when christianity became a state religion.

          “THIS DOESN”T MEAN THAT THERE ARE NO OBJECTIVE MORALS.”
          Using capitals (the internet equivalent of shouting) is a sign of weakness.
          Plus I didn’t write that. What I wrote is that “you should consider the inductive conclusion”.
          So you neglect my point and prefer to shout against a strawman. That’s terribly weak and makes you look foolish.

          “Clearly, you would admit to at least one objective moral law. Unless you think raping kids for fun is ok.”
          Repeating your error ad nauseam only makes you look even worse. I have told you several times that I don’t need any objective moral law to say that raping kids for fun is no OK.
          Plus of course your very own divinely inspired Holy Book tells that it’s sometimes OK indeed, but never mind.

        • In God’s Defense

          I didn’t neglect your point. I answered you. Christians have an answer to what the nature of the moral is and what it says for man. Although, there are some disagreements on what the moral laws says. However, there is no disagreement that there is an objective moral law. When thinking about the inductive conclusion of christians disagreement on moral issues is not that objective moral values do not exist.

        • MNb

          “I didn’t neglect you point.”
          You did. And you do it again.

          “I answered you.”
          Nothing in your answers addresses my point. But I’m happy to repeat it – again.

          “there is no disagreement that there is an objective moral law.”
          No. There is disagreement about everything else, even about the question if murder is permitted to bring their views home, as historical facts conclusively show (typical that you need an euphemism). And that totally should make you wonder if there is such a thing as objective moral law indeed. Actually I am inclined to say that fans of objective moral laws (whether christians, muslims, hindus or communists) tend stronger to exterminate dissidents that those who accept that their ethics are subjective.
          Combined with your repeated failure to show there is any (you only repeated WLC’s non-sequitur “without objective moral law it’s OK to rape kids for fun”) it’s clear you have done nothing to contradict “ethics are subjective”.

        • Kodie

          Your example has not been shown to be an objective moral, only a moral issue that tends to disgust most adult humans. That doesn’t mean what objective means.

        • In God’s Defense

          Does your moral experience tell you that it is an objective fact that raping a kid for fun is wrong?

        • adam

          “Does your moral experience tell you that it is an objective fact that raping a kid for fun is wrong? ”

          It is obvious that some dont.

          So AGAIN, not objective, you LIE…

        • Kodie

          No, my moral experience tells me that most people find it acceptable to rape children for fun.

        • adam

          ” Unless you think raping kids for fun is ok.”

          I dont, but it is obvious that some do.

          So AGAIN, not objective, you LIE…

        • In God’s Defense

          Yes and some people think we are in the matrix.

        • adam

          “Yes and some people think we are in the matrix. ”

          A simple:

          “Yes, I was wrong” would have been appropriate.
          But it wouldnt support your deceptive strategy.

        • Kodie

          It shows that he exists, whoever he might be. That is a big deal!

          No, it doesn’t. How stupid are you to believe that it does!!! Your attempts to draw analogies to how self-evident objective morals are, you fail and fail and fail. We’ve addressed this, and you still have your head up your ass.

        • In God’s Defense

          Lol

        • Max Doubt

          “The real question is since an objective moral law exists…”

          But an objective moral law does not exist, so any alleged consequence you may postulate is built on flawed reasoning. You failed again.

        • TheNuszAbides

          And all atheists think they have a better moral solution.

          all humans have been coming up with “moral solutions” for as long as there have been societies – i hope we can at least agree that’s ‘self-evident’.

          monotheists in general (i won’t claim anything as to “all” monotheists) haven’t exactly done a sterling job of emphasizing (by physical example, let alone any other) that the only punishment/reward that ‘truly matters’ is in the Afterlife.

          your overgeneralization is noted; perhaps a more charitable spin is that atheists who engage in moral/ethical discussions tend towards the view that discarding theistic presuppositions helps us (human society) reach clearer understanding of how we can function alongside each other in This Life.

        • Kodie

          I see plenty of disagreement among Christians about the 1st commandment.

        • In God’s Defense

          Which Christians disagree over the first commandment?

        • Kodie

          All of them. I see every Christian inventing a god before “god” from their selective interpretation of the bible influenced by other people. The god of the bible is a character they guess at, justify, rationalize, alter, and adjust to fit their personal moral experience, the one you seem to think accesses one to an objective morality. You can still find plenty of people who read the god in the bible as is, but most people find him unpalatable, yet find some other reason, fear and superstition, to force god to be some other god.

      • adam

        Then we have a VERY different definition of LOVE, when it involves slavery, death by stoning and ETERNAL TORTURE for VERY TEMPORAL acts.

        • In God’s Defense

          Those might be wrong!!!!! I’m not talking about those. I’m just showing how God can be love and love liar and yet deem being a liar wrong.

        • Max Doubt

          “Those might be wrong!!!!! I’m not talking about those. I’m just showing how God can be love and a liar and yet deem being a liar wrong.”

          What makes you right and all those who consider themselves Christians but have ideas which contradict yours wrong?

        • In God’s Defense

          What Christian Denys that God can love the lair and hate his act of lying?

        • adam

          “What Christian Denys that God can love the lair and hate his act of lying? ”

          The non-hypocritical ones?

        • Max Doubt

          “What Christian Denys that God can love the lair and hate his act of lying?”

          Your persistent willful ignorance and dishonest equivocation is noted.

          When you and other Christians disagree on your ideas about the supposed characteristics of your imaginary buddy, why should we accept that you’re right and they’re not?

        • adam

          “Those might be wrong!!!!! I’m not talking about those. I’m just showing how God can be love and a liar and yet deem being a liar wrong.”

          AGAIN, just MIGHT be wrong?

          Belief in a cruel god, makes a cruel man

          So you are attempting to demonstrate that YOUR god is a hypocrite.

          Perfectly understandable:

        • In God’s Defense

          My god theoretical could love a lair and hate that he lies. My god is not necessarily the Christian God.

        • MNb

          If your god hates me not worshipping him he can’t love me for who I am, because I cease to be me when I start worshipping him.

        • adam

          “My god is not necessarily the Christian God. ”

          I am in full agreement, your god exists only in your mind as I have demonstrated,

          That is why YOUR god has the same views as you.
          You’ve created it.

          But with Revealed ReligionTM, you really have no other choice, you HAVE to created your own god.

        • Kodie

          You’re not showing anything of the sort. You are spouting claims without the intellectual honest or capacity to make a cogent argument regarding your beliefs. Just because you believe something doesn’t make it in any way convincing to others. You have to do better than that. How about, first of all, pretending you don’t believe what you do believe, and reading your own posts. In what way do you think you’ve been convincing?

      • MNb

        “A Christian and God can LOVE a sinner, but hate the sin.”
        That’s meaningless if the “sin” (also a meaningless concept btw) is an essential part of the personhood of the “sinner”.
        I assume that not worshipping your god and Jesus is a sin according to you. Still I would not be who I am if I began to do so. So if you hate the sin of me not worshipping your god and Jesus you hate me. You – and your god – don’t love me, you two love an imaginary character eand want me to change in such a way that I look more alike that imaginary character.
        That’s a form of hate.

      • Max Doubt

        “A Christian and God can LOVE a sinner, but hate the sin.”

        The is no substantive difference between what you think of as a god and any other figment of your imagination. It is dishonest for you to attribute characteristics to that thing you call a god unless you objectively demonstrate that it actually exists or acknowledge that you’re speaking only in hypothetical terms.

        • In God’s Defense

          I have given a argument for gods exsitance in another comment on this post.

        • MNb

          Slight correction: You

          “have given a failing argument for gods exsitance in another comment on this post.”

          An argument that starts with rejecting nazi morals and ends with accepting them.

        • Max Doubt

          “I have given a argument for gods exsitance in another comment on this post. “

          So far all your arguments are purely subjective and consequently have no bearing on claims that have to do with reality. Consider this fact: There is no objective way to distinguish between the alleged existence of your god thing and its non-existence. Sure, you may imagine it exists, but you have failed consistently to objectively differentiate it from any other figment of your imagination. Since your say-so has no objective validity, why should anyone accept your notion that your god thing has any actual effect on the universe outside your mind?

      • adam

        “A Christian and God can LOVE a sinner, but hate the sin. God can love a
        thief and it be objectively wrong for him to steal. Likewise God can
        love gay people while affirming that doing homosexual acts is wrong.”

        It is VERY sad that your idea of LOVE, is that these people get tortured MERCILESSLY for ETERNITY for their temporal crimes.

        • Kodie

          What seems to escape him and others who argue for objective morality, like Brian Jenkin, “objective morality” is following a list of rules in deference to an imaginary authority – you don’t rape children for fun because god said so, you don’t be gay because god said so, and you don’t cheat on your wife because god said so. When I practice morality, I think about who will be harmed, they don’t seem to think raping a child is wrong because it harms the child, but only because god said so (and yet keep dangling that poor defenseless child as bait for “self-evidence”). Being gay harms nobody but somehow this is still wrong because of god. Brian Jenkin admits he would cheat on his wife because there’s no god to tell him that’s wrong, he doesn’t consider what’s actually wrong about doing that to his wife.

        • Aaron Siering

          Nice straw man argument.

          Actually objective morality in Judeo-Christinity is first predicated upon God’s existential encounter with Himself (as is the idea of objective truth in Christianity), and then follows something like this:

          Your don’t rape children (or anybody for that matter) because all persons have an inherent dignity by virtue of being made in God’s image and so therefore it is wrong to objectify other persons. That is to treat them as a means to an end of some self-indulgent desire rather than to regard relating to them as another subject as the end in and of itself.

          Homosexuality is to habitually objectify another person, which is in Judeo-Christian morality always wrong even if the objectification is extremely subtle or voluntary. It is incredibly perverse in Judeo-Christianity to desire to objectify one’s self. Just as wrong as it is to objectify other persons.

          However I will grant you this the objectification that happens in homosexuality is no different than many other forms of objectification that self-professing Christians seem to be willing to accept.

          From a materialist point of view there is no way to avoid objectifying the other. This is why I have so much more respect for the atheists I grew up reading, then many of the people who try and defend it today. People like Sartre and Becket were honest about this problem with any ethical system based in materialism.

        • Kodie

          I don’t think you can call this a straw man. If you have a more literate explanation for objective morality than In God’s Defense’s “self-evident” circular argument, or Brian Jenkin’s “god’s existence is mighty inconvenient to me, since without god, I would have no problems cheating on my wife,” why are you telling me and not them?

        • Aaron Siering

          Don’t be ridiculous its not a circular argument, are you just going to attempt to refute everything by claiming it some sort of fallacy? After all no belief system could possibly be that wrong where everything it asserts is actually only a mistake in reasoning–in fact what a utterly bizarre story of the intellectual history of mankind you must have concocted for yourself.

          There are so many arguments that are at least decent enough to be plausible that you could employ why do feel it necessary to go absurd ones?

        • Kodie

          Why don’t you present these “decent” arguments instead of telling me what’s absurd. I know they’re absurd – they don’t know they’re absurd. It seems your problem is against actual Christians.

        • MNb

          “Don’t be ridiculous its not a circular argument.”
          Liar. Kodie quoted In God’s Defense and Brian Jenkins and accurately so. Their version of the Moral Argument is circular as has been shown several times.
          Maybe you can do better but you don’t even try.
          Lying troll.

        • MNb

          “Nice straw man argument.”
          It’s not a straw man, troll. In God’s Defense wrote it himself explicitely: without god no moral laws, hence he would cheat on his wife.

          “Homosexuality is to habitually objectify another person.”
          So you’re a bigot as well.
          There is no difference between homosexual love and heterosexual love.

  • There is a big difference between these two forms of “law.” Gravity is described as a “law”, though so far as I know it cannot be broken. Moral laws, on the other hand, can be broken and are constantly. This is a confusion in how the term gets used. I’ve heard some physicists feel we shouldn’t even call these “laws” precisely because of that. Regardless, the idea of one universal moral law is simply nonsense. It’s true that all societies have a dislike of killing, taking others possessions, etc. in most circumstances. However, they usually disagree about what’s considered “murder”, “theft” and so on, sometimes radically.

    In the Bible, as an example, murder seems to be defined very narrowly. Clearly it does not include killing the people of other nations in wartime (even children), the death sentence for numerous offenses, and of course God’s actions. Now it may be argued that many people have simply been ignorant about the moral law. If so, however, can it really be called universal? C. S. Lewis once argued people didn’t truly disagree, they just acted on flawed beliefs. So, for instance, witches aren’t real, but if they really were, the death sentence would be justified against them. Even accepting that questionable argument, this does not apply to many disagreements. The facts may be agreed upon, but the conclusion is not.

    • A helpful clarification, thanks.

    • primenumbers

      Physical laws are not prescriptive though – they’re descriptive in that they’re models that we’ve worked out to represent what happens in the real world. To assume they’re prescriptive is to confuse the map with the territory. If we take a second to think about gravity – for particles to obey a prescriptive law of gravity, each and every particle bearing mass would have to know the exact position of each and every other particle in the universe and be able to do a massive mathematical computation just to calculate what gravity is doing to that particle. Of course that’s silly and exactly what doesn’t occur. Masses move due to gravity. We model that movement based on our measured calculations and find our models work well enough to be useful.

      • Yes, exactly my point, though you said it better.

  • I agree with your point about Mother Theresa. Her quote is repulsive. And I agree that Norm Geisler’s thinking is weak.

    But you also wrote, “Our programming (from evolution) explains the traits that are largely common across all societies such as the Golden Rule.”

    ?

    According to all the evolutionists that I’ve read, (and what used to be the standard explanation of evolution for schools), evolution is purposeless and meaningless and amoral.

    How could it possibly be “programming”? Programming is a term for intended, purposeful, meaningful coding.

    Furthermore, the famous French evolutionist Jacques Monod wrote in his book (which I have read and is on my science shelf) ,
    “…man knows at last that he is alone in the universe’s unfeeling immensity, out of which he emerged only by chance. His destiny is nowhere spelled out, nor is his duty.”

    Of course, you probably have a famous evolutionist who disagrees with Monad, right?

    And, if as some cosmologists speculate, there may be a multiverse, in which case there is infinite time and space, so anything is possible including that ethics came about solely by chance.

    I think all of this is a lot more complicated and different from what you posit here.

    Then you wrote, “How about “slavery is wrong”? Is that binding on all people, at all times, in all places? I wonder why we didn’t get that from God…”

    But according to the main leaders of the Enlightenment, the Quakers, the Anabaptists, etc.
    we did get the objective truth that slavery is inherently evil from God.

    Recheck Jefferson’s and Paine’s views.
    Even though Jefferson was contradictory in behavior, (never freed his slaves) and the passage against slavery was deleted from the Declaration, one can’t get much more objective about ethics than the Declaration.

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…”

    • Kodie

      From evolution, I would take the term “programming” to literally intend me from my ancestors to survive. A set of genetic characteristics that are passed along “program” the descendant to continue surviving.

      we did get the objective truth that slavery is inherently evil from God.

      They thought so, but we didn’t.

      • But why should human primates survive?

        That’s an ethical judgment. Millions of species haven’t. Why should ours?

        Secondly, you wrote, “but we didn’t.”

        Are you saying that slavery isn’t inherently evil?

        • Kodie

          I don’t know if human primates should survive. I think, rationally, we should do better, but we are animals doing our best for ourselves, we may be cutting off our nose to spite our face in a lot of cases. I think as a species, we’ll survive climate change. But I don’t know. Infrastructure right now depends on a lot of people. I haven’t read on the subject, but my thought is we’ll top out and then recede in population, and/or we’ll crowd, we’ll compete for even less resources. I don’t think we’re in danger of extinction just yet.

          But “why” should we survive? All species survive until the environment changes faster than they can. That’s all evolution is. The genes I inherited were allegedly to program me to have a greater chance of survival long enough to procreate. Well I didn’t procreate, so there’s that. The genes I inherited have zero awareness of what’s going on in the world of human survival today. In the last hundred or so years, the human enterprise has increased drastically and mechanically to cause environmental damage to ourselves, not to mention innocent other species.

          Our genes are like, dumb. Brain activity toward innovation takes a lot of brains, most of which are occupied by the yum yum gum song most of the time, but the genes don’t know what has yet been innovated. I’m virtually the same genetically as 10s of thousands of years ago, and I’m programmed to learn skills when I’m born, and let’s say it’s all a surprise to a newborn what era they are born, to learn different sets of culture than another era. I got to be born when there were already tvs in every home! Yay! I don’t have to learn to build a fire or train a horse or do laundry on a rock. Those are skills.

          What our species seems to excel at is finding an easier route. Mold can find an easier route. Anyway, ours is technology-based, so it would be so convenient to have a car instead of a horse and buggy, or an airplane, or a phone that requires a couple trips to outer space. As rational as some people can be, thinking far enough ahead is not one of our inherent traits. Yes, people do fear change, but not in any intelligent way – people imagine the worst, but that’s not going to stop coal mine stripping or oil well digging or anything like that. You need the person who can show up with the goods on wind and solar energy to present that fear tangibly to other people. Who doesn’t want a cleaner earth as fast as we can manage, for our own species’ best chance at survival? People raised on fossil fuels and god have the same kind of brain I have. Improbable, yet true! This is the same brain as thousands of years of homo sapiens, prepared to learn very little at a time about their own environment in order for immediate survival, and no concept of survival beyond surviving to procreate, and surviving their procreation to procreate, that’s all the satisfaction we can manage. Religious people seem to especially fear change and think it’s apocalyptic so they don’t really care. Except about embryos. Not their future, just while they are embryos. Everything has to stay exactly the same way in the future as now, or they will not be able to relate to their grandchildren (it’s just a fact of life, at least in this age).

          That’s not such an indication of intelligence, it’s maybe more than animals that don’t make technological progress, but we have the same brains as our distant ancestors. Birds are not going to make technological advances, so their baby birds have identical circumstances (except where environmental pressures force them to seek resources elsewhere – is that a technological advance – adapt, or go extinct). These are not mutually exclusive.

          I think with respect to programming, it does suggest a conscious intention, but it refers to everything except our conscious intentions. My intentions to separate recyclable materials from trash is not genetic programming, that’s cultural programming. Someone’s intention to study something that wasn’t even a thing a century ago cannot be genetic programming, but cultural programming. I guess they call this nature vs. nurture, but if you take your genetic code as a member of a species as not programming, while your parents and community intentionally (not always) imprint you with cultural programming after you’ve been born.

          Say, learning to read and know your alphabet as opposed to a different one. Seems to be intentional and essential to development. How could they help not teach you language? Improbably, as an infant, you picked it up just by hanging around people talking to you and other people with you in the room. Can you say that’s not programming? Nobody engineered you specifically to pick up language that simply, it’s that your parents were fit to mate with each other because they both had the skills to find attractive, i.e., useful to being human.

          ———————

          I guess that’s enough of that. No, I’m saying they didn’t get the “objective truth” that slavery was evil from god.

        • How else could there be an “objective ethical truth such as human rights, justice, etc. except that it is transcendentally/essentilaly true–as in the Good (Plato),

          as in the God (Alfred Lord Whitehead, Charles Hartshorne, Thomas Paine, Immanuel Kant, etc.)?

          And you, also, wrote, “Can you say that’s not programming? Nobody engineered you specifically to pick up language…”

          No, I don’t think evolution is capable of programming. It’s a natural process without intention.

          Here’s a quick overview of various philosophical and scientific speculations on the nature of ultimate reality:

          #1 All reality came about by cosmic chance.

          #2 All reality came about by a cosmic determinism of meaningless matter and energy which is eternal.

          #3 All reality came about by emergent possibilities in a quantum singularity vacuum or some unknown ultimate reality. But where did the quantum singularity vacuum come from? Here goes “turtles all the way down.”

          #4 All reality came about by an impersonal ultimate reality of cosmic beauty. Scientists such as Albert Einstein stated this was his view, that he thought the impersonal god of Spinoza was true. But this seems similar to #3. Unlike #2, the emergent possibility cosmos isn’t meaningless and purposeless, but filled with meaning.

          #5 All reality is coming about by the everlasting but limited Process God of thinkers such as philosopher and mathematician Alfred Lord Whitehead, philosopher Charles Hartshorne, theologian John Cobb, etc. This cosmic but limited God who is far beyond human understanding “woos” matter and energy and conscious life such as homo sapiens into increasing patterns and forms of beauty, meaning, and purpose. This is also the view of some Reform Jews.

          But where is the evidence for this? Process thinkers explain that consciousness, reason, mathematics, natural law, creativity, aesthetics, etc. are the evidence.

          #6 All reality came about as just one of an infinite number of universes of an infinite multi-verse, the view of some modern cosmologists. What is the ultimate of the multi-verse is unknown or maybe the multiverse itself is ultimate.

          #7 All reality came about by the Omni-God of absolute sovereignty and meticulous control who does and plans and ordains everything only for his own glory, including all natural and all human evil. This is the view of Augustinians, Calvinists, some Lutherans, most Muslims, etc.

          #8 All reality came about by the ultimately essentially all-loving God of Open Theism, Arminianisn, Quakerism, Universalism, and other forms of mystical, ethical religion, and so forth.

          #9 All reality came about somehow by a temporary, finite, imperfect, even distorted, expression of the perfect eternal Ideal Forms of Platonism.

          #10 All reality came about by the impersonal Brahma God of Hinduism and some modern New Age leaders such as Ken Wilber with his Integral Theory, and Deepak Chopra, etc. . The impersonal God Brahma is conducting a cosmic dance in which it forgets its self and dreams into billions of separated forms including in one minor edge of the universes, thinking humans.

          But all is illusion. And all events both good and evil are produced by Brahman. That is why Ken Wilber and other such leaders claim that Brahman caused 9//11.

          #11 All reality came about by unknowable factors. Everything beyond and before the Big Bang is such a complete unfathomable mystery that it will probably not ever be solved by finite humans.

          Could a flea figure out the Theory of Relativity?

          #12 All reality continually comes about by infinite impersonal reality which never had a beginning. No creator god exists. Some forms of Buddhism (though other forms are theistic).

          Think deeply on all of this. Take your pick:-)

          And you wrote, “Religious people seem to especially fear change…”

          That’s not true of some religious people. Even when I was an Evangelical, and, of course, later as a liberal, I loved change–thrived on it. I spent long hours reading about space exploration, social change, etc.

        • Kodie

          I don’t think you understood what I meant of programming vs. your own understanding of programming. Genes that make a being more fit for survival tend to survive and genes that do not do not. I don’t know what you mean programming other than you think it can only mean someone opened a panel on your skull and fixed a few parts intending you to become who you are. How do you think all the animals and plants behave how they behave? Do you think they learned it all from their environment? Do you think they weren’t programmed because there was no intention from a parent to produce offspring? I’m not tackling your list of ideas. From a quick skim, all your impressions are wrong, but I’d have to read them again if something is correct, hopefully someone else can wade through it.

        • ? Programming is an “intentional” word.

          According to most evolutionists, evolution didn’t happen by intention, but came about by chance.
          (Though there are determinists who rule out chance such as Jerry Coyne and Sam Harris who claim that ever single action, even if time happened again would be exactly the same)

          Once life began, it also didn’t work according to programming, but as Stephen Jay Gould points out is more like a “bush” going hither and thither, where ever it can move. For instance, there is the eye. According to what I’ve read, the eye wasn’t programmed, but is rather “hobbled together.

        • MNb

          Biology uses a lot of “intentional” expressions because it’s easier to formulate theories and hypotheses that way.
          You’re a scholar of literature. Then the first thing you must learn when studying other branches of science is that words used in daily life and in literature can have very different meanings in a scientific context.
          On this specific issue I’m far from an expert, but I suspect something like this is the case regarding “programming”.

        • Yes, I am a retired literature teacher and also studied under a professor of linguistic anthropology. Semantics concern me greatly.

          It does bother me that many secular scientists often use personification in ways that are unjustified.

          It causes misunderstandings among the general population.

          Sometimes it can’t be helped. But much of the time I think it shows they need to edit out the analogical words that don’t fit.

        • MNb

          “Sometimes it can’t be helped.”
          That’s an underestimation if there ever has been one. I’m a teacher math and physics. Physics is full of terms that can be misunderstood by the general population, for one thing because the general population very much likes to borrow words from sciences and alter the meaning.
          Classic examples are force and energy.
          Sorry, you’re bothering about the wrong people. Nah, that’s too strong. But you should recognize that scientists are human too and hence tend to develop their own version of language to fit their own needs. You seem to demanding too much. That is a weak basis for solving the communication issues.

        • I understand that math and physics use very technical terms.

          Where I disagree is when common terms are used in popular science which are inaccurate–such as evolution gave us ethics, or evolution was programmed, etc.

          There are many. I have them noted in the books on my shelves.

          Then you wrote, “tend to develop their own version of language to fit their own needs.”

          And I’ve agreed that is fine. Word are only squiggles we assign meaning to, empty buckets.

          But when scientists explain things to the general public, they need to be aware of what their use of a word means to most people. If they are using it technically, very different from its dictionary definition, then they need to explain that first.

          I, especially, find personification used in relation to evolution both confusing and unnecessary.

          Richard Dawkins (what a great prose stylist!) usually catches this–inaccurate analogies–and clarifies.

          But writing, even to the public (maybe especially to the public) is difficult for everyone. In my last published book, I re-wrote and edited it many times, thought I had it down to almost perfection,
          but my wife started reading it and found minor errors I had read over, missed hundreds of times! She also finds errors in almost every published book she reads:-)

        • MNb

          “I understand that math and physics use very technical terms.”
          That was not what I was writing about. Force and energy are not technical terms. They have technical meanings and it’s the general population that robbed them from the technicality, to add their own meanings.
          Otherwise I agree.

        • However, I wasn’t disagreeing with your words “force” and “energy.”

          I’m talking about statement such as that evolution gave us ethics, etc.

          Evolution is an amoral, purposeless living action of living creatures where they adapt or don’t to their environment, and there are sometimes mutations, etc.

          Evolution, as I understand it, has nothing to do with ethics–with what “ought” to be.
          I don’t think any case can be made for human rights, justice, equality, etc.
          On the contrary, most of human history, (and much of evolutionary history is based on deception, slaughter, even rape for survival).

          Look at the elephant seals here on the central coast of California. Only about 10% of the pups grow survive. And one elephant male dominates and takes all females, leaving many other males with no way to produce. ETC.

          Nothing about equality at all.

          Also, look at humans. I can’t think of almost any humans who are equal in the physical, mental, emotional, cultural senses. They are mostly unequal.
          Then where does Enlightenment concept of equality come from?

          It is an “ought,” what ought to be not what is in evolution.

        • MNb

          Ethics and especially the origin of ethics can be studied without questioning what “ought” to be. “How come humans have the ethics they have?” is a valid scientific question and in that context “evolution gave us ethics” is a sound postulation. Whether it’s correct remains to be seen.

        • Well, we have here a disagreement about terms then. Ethics are what “ought” to be.

          I’m using the Merriam-Webster dictionary definition of ethics:”rules of behavior based on ideas about what is morally good and bad

          ethics : an area of study that deals with ideas about what is good and bad behavior : a branch of philosophy dealing with what is morally right or wrong”

          Thus from my perspective one can’t talk about ethics without questioning what ought to be–what is good, what is right, what is just, what is fair, etc.

          And we completely disagree about the statement “evolution gave us ethics.”
          As I understand it, that is impossible. Evolution is amoral, is without purpose, without meaning.
          But ethics–what is right versus wrong, what is morally good versus bad are essentially purposeful, essentially meaningful.

          So before we could continue, we would have to work out some agreement first on the definition of the term, ethics.

          I don’t know your view.

          However, my wife just came home and after I finish my crab-roll lunch, we are going to a country concert in the park:-)

          Away we go. But thanks for the discussion and the fantastic science url sites you sent me to.

        • MNb

          We don’t have a disagreement about terms at all. You simply neglect my point.

          “Thus from my perspective one can’t talk about ethics without questioning what ought to be–what is good, what is right, what is just, what is fair, etc.”
          This is just nonsense. Just formulate the questions correctly. I don’t know about your education and training, but I was drilled to do so.

          What does X think what ought to be?
          What does X think is good?
          What does X think is right?
          What does X think is just?
          What does X think is fair?

          Etc. etc.

          How does that compare to Y’s views?

          These questions not at all are the same as yours.

          “As I understand it, that is impossible.”
          And it apparently doesn’t occur to you that you might be wrong, because you simply don’t address what I write. Instead you just repeat what you wrote before. Well, merely repeating an error does nothing to remedy it.
          And what I wrote is this.
          “How come humans have the ethics they have?” is a valid scientific question.

          “So before we could continue, we would have to work out some agreement first on the definition of the term, ethics.”
          No. First you should try to understand the questions I have formulated. I repeat:

          What does X think what ought to be?
          What does X think is good?
          What does X think is right?
          What does X think is just?
          What does X think is fair?

          Etc. etc.

          How does that compare to Y’s views?

          Plus

          How come humans have the ethics they have?

          You haven’t shown at all that science cannot investigate these questions. You simply ignored them.

        • I was addressing a different point of yours–your statement: “origin of ethics can be studied without questioning what “ought” to be.”

          I disagree completely. So end of discussion.

          As for this one–“”How come humans have the ethics they have?”

          Humans have ethics–the sense of “ought”–because they live in a meaningful cosmos where creatures such as humans who have consciousness, reason, creativity are by nature ethical.

          However, obviously based on human history, this ethical sense doesn’t come fully understood or practiced any more than reasoning comes fully understood and fully practiced by every human.

          It’s an objective worthy goal, not a fact.

          As far as humans (and any alien species who are conscious rational ethical beings)

          live up to the Good, to God, they are ethically true–such as when humans came to the conclusion

          that slavery is inherently evil, that rape is always wrong, that human rights are true, etc.

          (Hopefully, some day humans will also face the truth that slaughtering unarmed civilians, especially children is always wrong.)

          How could science possibly investigate whether or not atomic bombs “ought” to be invented? Ought to be used or not used?

          At least so far science hasn’t stated or shown this.

          (There are some scientists who condemn nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, but they do so based on philosophical or spiritual principles.

          I can’t think of one scientist who thinks sometimes nuclear weapons ought to be used or not used, who does so based on scientific information.

          But it would be great if nuclear weapons could be proven to be inherently evil by science.

          I don’t think it can be done.

          How could science possibly show whether or not abortion-on-demand is murder or every woman’s right?

          Science can show when conception occurs, when brain cells start working, maybe even when a infant in the womb first experiences pain–though there is disagreement on that.

          I don’t know of any scientific evidence that proves abortion is every woman’s right or that it is murder.

          And consider same sexual marriage. Again, science can explain sexuality, sexual organs, maybe even the psychological behavior of humans, BUT

          as far as I know no scientist can prove that same sexual marriage is either good and right or evil and wrong.

          As for your other questions, I don’t remember you asking them.

          You wrote,

          “What does X think what ought to be?
          What does X think is good?
          What does X think is right?
          What does X think is just?
          What does X think is fair?”

          All of those are questions of “ought.”

          So to deal with them, one needs to have agreed on definitions for all of those terms.

          Science maybe can investigate what X thinks versus what Y thinks, but that is based on the philosophical
          concept/experience of “ought” and the other terms.

          Since you have impugned my motives, I guess you don’t want to dialog.

          Thanks for sharing your perspective, even if I didn’t understand some of what you said.

        • MNb

          “I was addressing a different point of yours–your statement: “origin of ethics can be studied without questioning what “ought” to be.””
          That’s not a different point of mine. I explained exactly what I meant with it. You just refuse to accept it.

          “I disagree completely. So end of discussion.”
          OK. If you’re not generous enough to accept what I meant with “origin of ethics can be studied without questioning what “ought” to be.”” – let’s say me clarifying my position – then it’s end of discussion indeed.

          What I don’t get though is why you made your comment any longer. As it’s end of discussion and you are getting authoritarian on what my own position is there certainly is no reason for me to read on.
          It doesn’t make you look good.

          Only thing I can still do now is once again repeating what I meant with

          “origin of ethics can be studied without questioning what “ought” to be.””

          It’s not something like “grounding morals”. It’s this:

          What does X think what ought to be?
          What does X think is good?
          What does X think is right?
          What does X think is just?
          What does X think is fair?

          Etc. etc.

          How does that compare to Y’s views?

          Plus especially

          How come humans have the ethics they have?

          Especially the latter is about the origin of ethics – but without the former ones it’s impossible to answer it.

          But you disagree completely.
          Now I quite dislike repeating myself over and over again – I have repeated myself at least one time too often already. So we actually do agree in the end:

          End of discussion.
          Unless you make a serious effort to understand what my position is instead of addressing your particular interpretation, of course.

        • You wrote, “you are getting authoritarian on what my own position is.”

          I apologize, am sorry.

          That was not my intent.

          It seems that we don’t agree on the definitions of the terms we are using.

          But also, it is clear since I’ve totally misunderstood you,
          then
          I realize I don’t understand your position.

          Sorry, I will seek to be a better listener.

        • Kodie

          Ethics are a rational approach, and we are evolutionarily, rational types of creatures. We use language, we use arguments, we communicate with one another. In a way, we can talk ourselves into an ethical approach to an evolutionary behavior, such that we are social creatures who care about others in our tribe, an interdependence that has served us as a species for survival. We can’t so easily exclude others from our tribe once we recognize them as fellow humans with similar behaviors and cultures and societies. Evolution does serve ethics in the way we have been able to argue for people technically outside our tribe as belonging inside of it. We’re able to recognize how expansive our species is, where we live, what we do, etc., in a way maybe other animals can’t. We no longer have to travel to meet them, or be surprised and offended by their differences enough to disqualify them from our tribe. Our rationality and communication and technology coalesce from evolution to become something we can decide. If it’s wrong to murder people in the tribe, because we have grown interdependent and cooperative, then once we have considered others to also be part of our tribe, it’s ethically wrong to kill them also. They may have decided something different.

          For an example, some Christians like to think the US is a Christian nation, and it’s their right to deprive other people of the same rights guaranteed to all citizens as per the US Constitution. According to their own ethics, they shouldn’t have to share the freedoms of our democracy with people who disagree with them. Gay people don’t say Christians can’t live here, but the Christians seem to think if they don’t run things their way, other people will run them out. We even had one guy arguing that when a country accepts gay rights, they will be vulnerable to attacks from countries that do not, and rather than say what’s doing the right thing, the “right” thing to him would be to deny gay rights for the ultimate safety of everyone else.

          They are interested in the rights their group enjoys and do not care about another group enjoying equal rights, while the other group only seems to want their equal rights as well as anyone else. That’s where language and communication comes in. We can either convince them or we can’t. If they believe another group getting rights subtracts something vital to their own existence as a group with rights, they will arrive at a different ethical answer, namely that those other people aren’t people, they don’t belong in this huge umbrella tribe called the US. But still, we’d have to say our species propagation seems to prefer, from a small, primitive perspective, WE are right because we are we, our species propagation depends on social behaviors that keep us alive as if we are the only people on earth. Once we become aware there are people all over the earth and their differences aren’t that scary or threatening, we have to ethically choose to include them also.

        • You wrote, “Our rationality and communication and technology coalesce from evolution to become something we can decide. If it’s wrong to murder people in the tribe, because we have grown interdependent and cooperative, then once we have considered others to also be part of our tribe, it’s ethically wrong to kill them also. They may have decided something different.”

          Interesting view.

          However, I disagree. I don’t think ethics can come from evolution, and I don’t think ethical truths such as all humans are created equal, human rights, etc. have anything to do with us “extending our tribe.”

          Then you wrote, “WE are right because we are we, our species propagation depends on social behaviors that keep us alive…”

          I disagree. Survival isn’t the end all.

          On the contrary, there are possible reasons why we “ought” to be willing for the human race to cease to exist, than that we would do ____.

          But thanks for making me think about your perspective.

          Even at my late middle age I am still learning:-)

        • Kodie

          My eye wasn’t hobbled together. What word would you like to use? It seems like you are really thrown by the “intention” implied by programming, as though someone is claiming any such thing is intended by evolution itself. But that’s not what anyone means by it. Qualities that were successful more easily passed on to further generations, and they were born with these inherent human qualities that they are humans. I really think if you don’t come up with a more pleasing word for yourself, you’re just going to have to get over it.

        • ?

          Well, I’m not a scientist, but according to the secular scientists that I have read, the eye wasn’t programmed.

          According to them it isn’t designed, certainty wasn’t programmed, but was patched together, even developed from a non-eye!

          I am not a programmer, but I do understand the process, and the concept. Programming is a highly intentional process, which takes many years of study, and even then, there can be glitches, as Microsoft and other high tech companies have discovered.

          For instance, “if life is the result of evolution we should see imperfections, sub-optimal design, quirky anatomy and other manifestations of contingent evolutionary history. We should see things that no self-respecting designer would have deliberately designed, at least not by any fathomable logic.

          An examination of the human eye can serve as an example of such an analysis. I will take a decidedly medical perspective – I am a physician and physicians are familiar with all the ways in which biology can go wrong. Diseases and medical problems often arise from the quirkiness of bottom-up design, so I will examine various aspects of eye anatomy and discuss how they led to functional problems that could easily have been avoided by a more rational top-down design.”
          Steven Novella, MD
          http://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/the-not-so-intelligent-design-of-the-human-eye/

          This isn’t the many sources I’ve read in the past that say the eye isn’t designed/isn’t programmed, but Novella says basically the same thing.

        • Kodie

          The difference I’m trying to point out is between the human eye and my actual eye. My eye wasn’t hobbled together, it came out accordingly human as though programmed to, because DNA. Your problem is with the word “programming” so think of another way you’d call that.

        • MNb

          “But why should human primates survive?”
          They should not. Either they do and produce offspring or they don’t. Eventual programming is not the cause but the effect of this.

    • How could it possibly be “programming”?

      DNA. I deliberately use “programming” rather than “instinct.” Instinct kinda feels like the right term, but it’s not technically accurate.

      Evolution says that it’s not intended or purposeful.

      Of course, you probably have a famous evolutionist who disagrees with Monad, right?

      What would I want to disagree with?

      I think all of this is a lot more complicated and different from what you posit here.

      If there are problems, I’m missing them.

      • But that is my point, unless one allows for a nearly infinite time/chance, the amazing features of DNA couldn’t come about. There is no programming involved, because that term means intention.

        You wrote, “what would I want to disagree with?” (in reference to Monad)

        Because in your writing several other places as well as here, it appeared that you held a contrary view. While Monad wrote that man’s “destiny…duty” is nowhere spelled out, you in contrast wrote that ethics came about by evolution.
        How can one get an “ought” from what is
        that happened by chance (Monad) or determinism (Coyne, Harris, Cashmore)?

        This gets complicated doesn’t it? What do you think of Richard Dawkins suggestion that altruism may be a “misfiring” of evolution?

        • adam

          “But that is my point, unless one allows for a nearly infinite time/chance, the amazing features of DNA couldn’t come about. ”

          Not when you have TRILLIONS and TRILLIONS of chemical reactions going simultaneously..

          Unless you can DEMONSTRATE your claim with facts.

        • Heck, I was only reporting what I’ve read by some secular scientists.

          I’m not a scientist, but only a retired literature teacher.

          I’ll have to check back in my computer before I can tell you what secular scientists wrote that one needed big time for life to come about by chance.

          There is the other view of course, that life was determined (as well as me typing this and ISS beheading, etc.) from the micro-moment of the Big Bang.

        • MNb

          “I’ll have to check back”
          Take your time. If we are something not it is in a hurry.

        • adam

          “The ocean floor is home to a staggering 2.9×1029 single-celled organisms — that’s 10 million trillion microbes for every human on the planet ”

          Each one of these is transitional each of these are evolving.
          X 7 billion people,

          And this is just the ocean floor,

          If you want to go and get a good idea then of how much chemistry in on the planet, Avogadro provided a method:
          https://www.boundless.com/chemistry/textbooks/boundless-chemistry-textbook/mass-relationships-and-chemical-equations-3/molar-mass-41/converting-between-mass-and-number-of-moles-222-3700/

        • unless one allows for a nearly infinite time/chance, the amazing features of DNA couldn’t come about

          And yet the people who actually understand this stuff, the biologists, say that this isn’t a problem. Sorry, but I’m going to have to go with them on this one.

          Do you reject evolution?

          There is no programming involved, because that term means intention.

          Do you have a better word?

          While Monad wrote that man’s “destiny…duty” is nowhere spelled out, you in contrast wrote that ethics came about by evolution.

          A man falls into a crevasse. Is his destiny/duty to get out?

          I don’t have a lot of energy for word games. If you want to suggest clearer words for me to use, go for it.

          How can one get an “ought” from what is

          One can’t get an objective ought from an is. I don’t argue that you can. But you can get the subjective kind.

          What do you think of Richard Dawkins suggestion that altruism may be a “misfiring” of evolution?

          Sounds good to me.

        • Which biologists think that ethics and life could develop by chance in a fairly short period of big time?

          No, I am convinced that evolution is as much a fact as gravity.

          I think a more accurate term would be regularity. That doesn’t imply there is a programmer. However, I know that all humans are inclined toward being meaning-mongers in our semantics. One of my most hilarious experiences was reading The Transcendental Temptation by Paul Kurtz, where for about 400 pages he analyzes various “transcendental” movements such as Judaism and Christianity, etc., but then at the very end closes with what appears to be his own version of a “transcendental” hope.

          Then you wrote, “A man falls into a crevasse. Is his destiny/duty to get out?”

          Neither.

          Rather this one: a man falls into a crevasse and is in danger of dying.

          Is it our duty to help him?

          Yes, that is a real ought.

          Then you wrote, “But you can get the subjective kind.”

          Sorry, my misunderstanding. I thought based on a few of your comments that you think ethics such as prohibtions against slavery, dishonesty, slaughter, etc. apply to all.

          Lastly, if altruism is a “misfiring” of evolution, why ought I to follow it?

          But you don’t need to answer. Its sounds like you don’t want to carry on a dialog.

          I know I am concerned with words, semantics, etc.. That’s what we literature teacher are infamous for.

          Thanks for responding.

        • Which biologists think that ethics and life could develop by chance in a fairly short period of big time?

          You just told me that Dawkins does.

          No, I am convinced that evolution is as much a fact as gravity.

          If you’re simply talking about the fact of evolution, that’s pretty well established.

          I think a more accurate term would be regularity.

          I said that we are programmed to have morals. I don’t think this word change fits.

          I thought based on a few of your comments that you think ethics such as prohibtions against slavery, dishonesty, slaughter, etc. apply to all.

          They’re shared by all. (Pretty much.)

          Lastly, if altruism is a “misfiring” of evolution, why ought I to follow it?

          Your conscience tells you that you ought to help someone who fell down. Do you wonder why you ought to follow that, too?

        • Well we will have to disagree.

          #1 I don’t think evolution programmed us to have morals. We may be have read different scientists? Evolution (unless one thinks evolution is intentional) can’t program. As I just mentioned to another commenter, evolution as I understand it is an amoral action across generations of life.

          Then you wrote, “They’re shared by all. (Pretty much.)”

          I wish that were true. But it appears that it’s just the opposite. The vast majority of humans still support dishonesty, slaughter (even of civilians), theft IF it is to the advantage of their culture, their nation, their government.

          Surely, you can see this in the history of the last 100 years. I can give you countless examples from my life time of when the U.S. Government has justified slaughter, dishonesty, theft, etc.

          Then you wrote, “Your conscience tells you that you ought to help someone who fell down.”

          But my generation grew up with us being told the exact opposite. True, you ought to help another American, but as for Vietnamese, Iraqis, etc. not so much.

          I think the human conscience has value, but I don’t trust it, especially after having lived in Palestine/Israel.

          The consciences of some people aren’t reliable at all.

          Repeatedly, the Israeli army has torn down, bulldozed the orchard of Palestinians. I don’t imagine that most Israeli soldiers feel guilty in their conscience for doing that.

          A few do. There are Israeli human rights groups such as Rabbis for Human Rights.

          But over all, it seems that listening to our conscience has to be weighed in the balance of whether or not our culture, our society, our worldview are correct in their philosophical ethical views.

          For instance, consider the case of the American War Between the States (the American Civil War). There were millions of conscientious, dutiful, honorable humans on opposite sides of that conflict who followed their consciences and killed and wounded many hundreds of thousands of other humans.

          Or take the current same sexual marriage controversy. I strongly support marriage for everyone, am committed to equality for everyone. But that wasn’t always so. I grew up with a conscience which told me that homosexuality was wrong.
          It took quite some time, much research, a lot of thinking before I helped my conscience develop to a more accurate view.

          Besides, earlier, you wrote, that ethics are “subjective.”

          So we have a lot of disagreement, and may be some misunderstanding, and probably very different worldviews.
          But thanks for sharing your perspective and thanks for writing your blog.

          I enjoy reading it, and am usually made to think by what you write, or I wouldn’t bother commenting.

        • MNb

          “Evolution (unless one thinks evolution is intentional) can’t program.”
          Again I’m far from an expert, but I do think it can. An extreme example might make it clear. Let’s assume a population has come to the conclusion that newborns must be killed. It’s obvious that it will get extinct. Hence only programs that contain “you shall not kill newborns” will continue to exist.
          This way such a program is the effect of evolutionary mechanisms.

        • #1 I don’t think evolution programmed us to have morals. We may be have read different scientists? Evolution (unless one thinks evolution is intentional) can’t program.

          I don’t share your interest for word parsing. You know what we’re talking about but you object to the word choice? Then suggest a better word.

          Surely, you can see this in the history of the last 100 years.

          Overall, no. People do good stuff and bad stuff.

          Then you wrote, “Your conscience tells you that you ought to help someone who fell down.”

          But my generation grew up with us being told the exact opposite.

          Can you say, “Marshal Plan”?

          If you want to focus on just the bad stuff, yes there’s lots of bad stuff. I’m not sure what conclusion you think we should take from that.

        • I wasn’t focusing on the bad stuff to make it one-sided but to show that humans often do intentionally do actions which are harmful to others, and they do those actions because they rely on their conscience (and their culture, society, and government.)

          Yes, the Marshal Plan was a hell of a lot better way, even from a practical standpoint, than what the U.S. and Britain and France did after the Great War.

          Also, I disagree with your view that ethics are “subjective” and that they came from evolution.

          But lets get back to your article. You made excellent points about Norm Geisler.

          Case closed. 🙂

        • Humans do indeed do terrible stuff.

        • TheNuszAbides

          and they do those actions because they rely on their conscience (and their culture, society, and government.)

          good to emphasize multiple inputs. one glaring issue (or perhaps an issue that should ‘glare more’?) is the notion that religion [as one of these inputs, or a ‘sub-input’ of culture] has somewhat or entirely ‘outlived its usefulness’. is it contradictory to suggest that a focus on open and honest study of ethics [per individual] is superior, as an approach to ‘firming up’ conscience, to {religion as we know it}?

        • I think I agree with you, but, just to be sure, would you give me an example?

        • TheNuszAbides

          paranoia/disgust over homosexuality? something that has been reinforced by “tradition” and rationalized with words like “unnatural” despite tradition not being inherently correct and “unnatural” being entirely erroneous (perhaps initially from sheer ignorance but increasingly from willful ignorance). was any coherent case ever put forth that tolerating homosexuals would lead to extinction? seems to me that dropping these blinders and ‘assessing’ non-heterosexuality (either identity or ‘activity’), through lenses as objective as we can muster ethically/scientifically, eliminates spurious arguments ‘against’ and frees up our collective concentration to focus on real problems and their real causes.
          not sure if this goes more general or more specific, but the ‘special protection’ that religion has ‘grandfathered’ for itself into various secular laws could be another angle. of course it inevitably plays into the “science vs. religion” framework, which different scientists and different theologians will claim is either unnecessary, or fabricated, or crucial …

        • Okay, thanks for the example.
          (I would write more, but am being called away by the wife:-)

        • Kodie

          I think your problem with the word “programming,” no, nobody thinks evolution designed us, or programmed us to be how we have become. But I was born with the DNA of a human. I didn’t program me, my parents didn’t program me (well, somewhat, that’s nurture) to be a human. Its the DNA that prospered and succeeded down the line. Sure, it is perhaps an inaccurate word. But I exist as the result of something making me human and have generalized human animal behaviors.

          The rest of your moral thingies. It sure is complicated, because while cooperation and sociability succeeds, it seems we also have a propensity to exclude people and not consider them people also. You do this with yourself – you are primary. Then your family, you want to feed all of them, probably. If you have any left over, you will feed the nearest neighbor, or someone in your community. In competition for your personal resources, you probably still rank people in order of importance to you, people who agree with you politically, by virtue of choosing to live the same place as you do, may be particular to needy persons of your nationality over local immigrants from a different culture, etc. We share, but we each don’t have that much to share, so we are also greedy sometimes, choosing to be moral to some people, and rationalizing being immoral on the same level to other people, because to you they don’t count as much. If you wish you had enough to give the whole world, you might secretly hope (the way religious people pray) that someone else is looking out for them the way you choose to look out for yours.

          I wrote a couple of recent posts on when things are right or wrong, it’s mostly a matter of small details. With respect to the example a Christian gave of “raping kids for fun,” that seems really wrong, but why is it wrong? He seems to think that it is objectively wrong, i.e. came from god something we should not do. But why? That’s not an answer. We isolate the crime from the victim and then the motive. Change some things around a bit, and he never responded to this, but raping adults for fun is ok? Raping kids to save a burning school building is ok? Rape is a sexual assault against someone against their consent. Why it’s wrong against all victims for any motive is the victims themselves. As a culture, we decide if it is wrong to take away someone’s agency in a sexual context, while it is often right to take away someone’s agency in another context. Most victims of rape are women, some are men, etc. If a woman is raped, she is interrogated and put under the spotlight whether she had it coming or deserved it or couldn’t expect another outcome based on her own (non-assault) behavior. When a man is raped, people ridicule him because he is a man, of course he wanted sex, and can’t even be raped.

          Why do we have so many problems with this issue that it comes down to adults can’t be raped or should have known better than to get themselves raped? When it comes down to children, it’s an emotional obstacle to the question of objective morality. Children don’t dress immodestly, don’t drink too much alcohol, don’t walk around after dark in weird neighborhoods, and aren’t on the hunt for sex non-stop. Therefore, why is it wrong to rape children “for fun” (what other reasons could there even be to rape a child). It can’t be objective, we have ethical reasons why children shouldn’t be raped. We have had a very long cultural mystique that says children are liars and only adults can be trusted. A child gets raped and points the finger at her uncle, stepfather, or a priest, and that kid is making shit up. We have a long cultural tradition of letting the church deal with the “objective” moral sin of raping children by allowing it to continue, while other sinful behaviors (that there is nothing objectively wrong with) would get someone excommunicated or defrocked with immediacy and urgency.

          You can’t say rape against anyone is objectively immoral, since our culture has a hard time agreeing what’s rape and who deserves to be raped, and who doesn’t deserve to have their whole career flushed down the toilet because someone couldn’t stay quiet about being sexually assaulted, and blame the victims – all of them – regardless of the rapists’ motives.

          We can, as a species, hypothetically agree something is wrong until we have an actual case of it in front of us, then it is not really wrong if we can find some way to give the benefit of the doubt to the perpetrator and deny justice for the victim, even assault them with public opinion to further the damage. Morality is a matter of just being judgmental toward people you don’t like and being favorable to people you do like, and making up your mind based on the circumstances rather than the reality of the crime or concern for the victim. How can god say raping children for fun is wrong? Do people who say that’s “objectively” wrong think the universe cares what happens to that child? Or even god “says so,” why? Are we not humans and the child is human, isn’t that how we determine whether something might be done that harms that victim? As such, not, we often decide the victim is the guilty party, and find excuses to call the perpetrator innocent.

        • MNb

          ” if altruism is a “misfiring” of evolution, why ought I to follow it?”
          I don’t know who said this, but not evolutionary biologists. This has been debunked shortly after Darwin published his famous book.

          http://www.nature.com/scitable/blog/watching-the-detectives/peter_kropotkin_and_the_evolution

          http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/human_evolution/2012/10/evolution_of_cooperation_russian_anarchist_prince_peter_kropotkin_and_the.html

        • Richard Dawkins said that in a number of places. He also points out that he himself wouldn’t follow the methods and behaviors of evolution because many of them are wrong.

          However, later he also said that ethics are only preferences even in the case of the worst offences.

        • MNb

          “unless one allows for a nearly infinite time/chance, the amazing features of DNA couldn’t come about. ”
          Does this come straight out of your big fat thumb or do you have some solid math to back it up?

          http://www.ted.com/conversations/18885/how_likely_is_it_that_dna_was_1.html

        • It comes from the books on science by various famous scientists I’ve read in the last 50 years and probably the studies of anthropology at Cal State Long Beach.

          And recently, I read that one reason some cosmologists posit a multiverse is that would give enough time for complex life to develop solely by chance.

          I’m not a scientist or a mathematician, only going on what I’ve read from secular scientists and philosophers.

          I’ll check our your url.

        • MNb

          Without sources: shrug – especially because this

          “I read that one reason some cosmologists posit a multiverse is that would give enough time for complex life to develop solely by chance.”

          is flat out wrong.

          https://medium.com/starts-with-a-bang/what-is-the-multiverse-and-why-do-we-think-it-exists-728bc534496e

          http://www.space.com/18811-multiple-universes-5-theories.html

          This makes me suspect that you rely on fraudulous christian websites.

        • Nope.

          First, I am no longer a Christian. But even when I was a Christian, I studied under mostly atheist and agnostic professors and then spent many years reading secular scientists.

          I’ve just finished reading a bunch of stuff by Stephen Jay Gould, before that finished Richard Dawkin’s amazing book on the history of evolution, The Ancestor’s Tale (one of the 10 best science books I’ve read), etc.

          But I’ll check out these urls too. Thanks.

        • MNb

          Good to read that my suspicion is wrong.
          Have fun and take you’re time. There is no need for any haste.

        • Do I have infinite time and space;-)?

        • UPDATE

          Just finished your first url. Fascinating stuff; reminds me of two great astronomy books I read a couple of years ago, How It Ends and How It Began by Chris Impey.

          One question though, I don’t see how this website is contrary to what I wrote. Rather it seems to support my points.

        • Kodie

          You don’t have to roll the dice 1000 times to get a 1/1000 result. You are still upset about the term used, “programming” that limits your understanding of the rest of it. You’re just another person who doesn’t understand statistics thinking long odds make something too miraculous for statistical outcomes.

  • epicurus

    Like Teresa’s quote, I read one about the Dali Lama about 7 years ago and for the life of me cannot find anywhere now. If anyone knows please do tell. It was a journalist who was in Scotland to interview the visiting Dali Lama. During the interview, the DL mentioned that the suffering of the Tibetan children was their Karma from sins in past lives, and suddenly his handlers jumped up and said “no no, this is not for non Buddhists to hear, only Buddhists to hear,” or something along those lines, and suddenly The DL was whisked away and the interview abruptly halted. Anyway, I’d sure like to track that interview down and this time save it.

    • Spooky–even the Dali Lama has handlers.

      I’d never heard that story. Maybe others have.

      • I haven’t heard of this story, but there have been others, that what the DL says for the West is packaged into secular sound bites, but that what he actually says to Tibetans is more traditionally religious, even superstitious.

        I don’t have the references for this (as the DL doesn’t interest me), but no doubt the evidence is out there.

    • I have read that what the DL says for the West is packaged
      into secular sound bites, but that what he tells Tibetans is traditionally
      religious, even superstitious.

      I don’t have the references for this (as the DL doesn’t interest me),
      but no doubt the evidence is out there.

  • 90Lew90

    ‘How to feels to be an atheist in a highly religious society’ http://www.buzzfeed.com/tomchivers/how-it-feels-to-be-an-atheist-in-a-highly-religious-society#.nhOMRp4Bw
    (Hint: Not very nice.)

  • Aaron Siering

    What is interesting reading these comments is that if Christianity was really so bad or so irrational then it one would think that it would be easy to make an argument against it that wasn’t widely fallacious. The number one fallacy that being employed, of course, is the straw man.

    What people seem most interested in refuting is their own notions about what constitutes Christianity, rather than what Christianity actually asserts about itself. Along those lines I will caution that practically everybody who grew up in the U.S. sees Christianity through a puritanical filter. This includes atheists and sadly enough Catholics–and well as, of course, Protestants themselves.

    • 90Lew90

      What does Christianity assert about itself? By the way, I’m not from the US.

    • Kodie

      What straw man are you talking about? The “straw man” of the non-true Christian, i.e., the actual Christians who make and live by their terrible arguments to screw with other people’s actual lives? Please make the winning credible non-shitty argument for Christianity if you have it. Don’t keep it a secret, we’re all waiting.

      • Aaron Siering

        What you refuting in your comment is not actually what Christians assert. How much more clear must it be?

        • Kodie

          There are two Christians commenting here that assert these things. You tell them they’re absurd, not me. I know they’re absurd.

        • Aaron Siering

          That’s the problem though you are either entirely ignorant of the problems within epistemology or you foolishly just to choose to ignore them anyway. Although I suppose if you had been more truthful and said, “I already believe they’re absurd.” it would have seemed like an entirely superfluous restating of the obvious.

        • Kodie

          You have quite the high-and-mighty attitude for an illiterate fella

        • Aaron Siering

          I am sure this won’t turn out to be as interesting as I currently wish to believe it could be, but how do you figure “illiterate”?

        • Kodie

          Do you prefer ignorant?

        • Aaron Siering

          Do you even know what illiterate means? Just curious on how you go from illiterate to ignorant. Anyway, when I said that I believed you were either ignorant of or acting foolish towards the problems within epistemology I was saying something sincere based on what I believe is evidenced of your own comments. However it seems you want to just throw around insults. Still though I am curious how does it benefit your arguments even if turned out to be either illiterate or ignorant?

        • Kodie

          You said I was arguing a straw man. You obviously haven’t read comments that I was actually responding to, and you have nothing intelligent to add. You sure are a horse’s ass about it too!

        • MNb

          The simple fact that you don’t answer Lews’ comment shows that you’re a troll indeed.

        • MNb

          You have made a mistake here, Kodie. This was what Troll Aaron was waiting for. Now he can harp on the word “illiterate” and bring it up as proof that he’s right.

        • Kodie

          One can only assume from his comments that he didn’t read the comments because he can’t.

        • MNb

          No. As a lying troll it’s not that he can’t read and understand comments – he doesn’t want to.

        • Kodie

          Silly me, giving him the benefit of the doubt.

        • MNb

          If you had been truthful you would have explained since long.
          Thanks for confirming that you’re a troll.

        • Dys

          You haven’t been clear on anything. What straw man fallacies are you whining about, and do they have anything whatsoever to do with what the post is about?

        • Aaron Siering

          Yea, certainly if you are already presuming that I am only “whining”, when you admit that you aren’t even clear about what I am asserting yet, speaks clearly to the fact really have no intention or interest in engaging in rational discourse. Which is honestly what I anticipated anyway. Still its nice for you to have so readily affirmed it for me, even if you were ultimately unaware what you’ve just conceded.

        • Kodie

          Why don’t you just take responsibility for being vague at the outset. You are whining, you’re not engaging, and you admit you anticipated a foul response, which you got because you’re being an asshole.

        • Dys

          You aren’t engaging in a rational discourse. You’re whining about strawmanning, and you haven’t bothered to elaborate. Then you state that you’ve been clear, which isn’t the case at all.

          It appears you’re determined to pretend your biases have been confirmed, when the fact of the matter is that people are asking you to explain yourself.

          So once again, what strawman fallacies are you whining about?

        • Aaron Siering

          Be honest! You are not asking me to explain myself because you actually care what I meant. You just don’t realize in what why you are arguments are fallacious and wish me to say more so you can hurl more fallacious arguments in my direction, but hey if it makes you sleep better at night to believe that you really are a person committed to rationality then you got it man. Consider me convinced.

        • Kodie

          We’re asking you to explain what you meant because you stopped by. Now you’re getting all mad because you didn’t say anything yet and we are asking you to say it. Please, go to bed, you have to wake up and go to school in the morning.

        • Susan

          Be honest! You are not asking me to explain myself because you actually care what I meant.

          You’re not a mind reader. She is asking you to explain yourself. No matter what her possible motives are, it is the case that you haven’t explained yourself.

          This is the point in reasoned discussion where a person should avail themself of the opportunity to explain themself, rather than accuse a stranger of being dead set against any reasonable explanation before they have provided one.

        • MNb

          “You just don’t realize in what why you are arguments are fallacious.”
          And you refuse consistently to explain why. How did you formulate it again?

          “if those arguments really were so fallacious or so irrational then it one would think that it would be easy to show how they are fallacious.”

          “Consider me convinced.”
          I consider you a troll.
          And that again is an inductive conclusion based on your comments. You can refute it by providing one single example of a fallacious argument. According to your own logic it should be easy.
          But I won’t hold my breath.

        • Dys

          So your reply to being asked a very simple question (twice now) is “blah, blah, blah, yadda, yadda, yadda, persecution complex”.

          It doesn’t appear you have any business saying anything about rationality.

          You are not asking me to explain myself because you actually care what I meant.

          Oh, and you’re a shitty mind-reader.

        • Aaron Siering

          Thanks for proving my point.

        • Dys

          That you’re unable to answer simple questions? I thought that was self-evident at this point, as you’ve been broadcasting how everyone that’s asking you to answer a simple fucking question is somehow magically proving your point, when all it really appears that you’re doing is using that refrain as a pathetic smokescreen so you can continue to avoid answering.

          No one’s proved your point for you. You’re just avoiding having to explain yourself, because apparently being asked to answer a question to elaborate on a claim you made counts as trolling in your fantasy world.

        • MNb

          “speaks clearly to the fact really have no intention or interest in engaging in rational discourse.”
          Or it speaks clearly to the fact that you have presented exactly zero arguments thus far.
          The word “whining” refers to another fact: you say that many comments here use the fallacy of strawman. That may be correct – but you haven’t pointed out even a single one and consistently refuse to do so. And that my dear AS is another fallacy, called poisoning the well.

        • Aaron Siering

          Like almost everything you’ve said to me this is quite obviously factually wrong. It is so obviously wrong that how am I not to assume that you have no interest in acting in good faith?

        • MNb

          By withdrawing your lies.
          By pointing out even one single example of a strawman used by any atheist on this site.
          You didn’t in this comment.
          You didn’t in any other comment.
          You accused Kodie wrongly of attacking a strawman when she correctly represented what two apologists wrote. As you’re obviously not stupid the only option remaining is that you deliberately lied.
          Prediction: you won’t change your abysmal attitude in any other comment.
          That shows that you’re a lying troll.

          When a lying troll like you writes that I have no interest in acting on good faith that’s a compliment.
          Thanks.

    • Greg G.

      There are many variations on Christianity out there. What it a good refutation of one version sounds like a strawman to a different version of Christianity. Christians don’t seem to realize that most Christians disagree with them on many significant points.

    • Philmonomer

      What is interesting reading these comments is that if Christianity was really so bad or so irrational then it one would think that it would be easy to make an argument against it that wasn’t widely fallacious. The number one fallacy that being employed, of course, is the straw man.

      There are a probably a couple hundred blog posts that Bob Seidensticker has put up here. I’d recommend focusing on those. The commenters to a blog post can vary widely. (For example, I’ve seen some outstandingly bad comments on reputable Christian apologetics websites. But surely you don’t judge Christian apologetics by those comments?)

      What people seem most interested in refuting is their own notions about what constitutes Christianity, rather than what Christianity actually asserts about itself. Along those lines I will caution that practically everybody who grew up in the U.S. sees Christianity through a puritanical filter. This includes atheists and sadly enough Catholics–and well as, of course, Protestants themselves.

      I find this to be a very interesting Christian perspective for several reasons. First, it can be true. It’s simply true that Athiests can (at times) have a bad understanding of Christianity, and Christians can (sometimes) rightly say to the Athiest: “well, I don’t believe in that God either.” Second, it can become a crutch for Christians (and often is). That is, it can be an explanation for why Athiests don’t believe in God (“Athiests don’t understand what God/Christianity is, that’s why they don’t believe. If only they knew the truth…”) This line of thought simply doesn’t apply to people like Bob (or lots of athiests). But Christians pretend like it does (for example, by essentially asserting that the commenters here are “people who seem most interested in refuting their own notions of what constitutes Christianity…”) Another version of this is something like, “Dawkins doesn’t understand Theology.” That’s essentially a more refined version of the same critique.

      • Aaron Siering

        I don’t disagree with anything you said. That you felt you needed to say it, however or believe it added something to the conversation suggests that you might not entirely understand my own comment, or maybe that you are projecting your own meaning into it. So yea great extraneous points. Well done.

        • Kodie

          Do you do anything other than pat yourself on the back? I’ve yet to hear you make your amazing arguments that we’ve surely never heard before.

        • Aaron Siering

          Huh, I think you might be projecting a bit here. Anyway, why don’t you actually give me something worthwhile first?

        • Kodie

          How am I projecting? You stopped here to make some comments, so when are you going to actually make any that are worth reading?

        • Aaron Siering

          I will probably never make a comment that you would ever concede is worth reading. I am entirely convinced that you only desire is to defend your bias and will resort to any fallacy in order to do so.

        • Kodie

          Good, you have a chip on your shoulder and nothing to say. What was your complaint? You can’t get the words out, all you can do is gripe.

        • Aaron Siering

          Thank you for proving my point. This last comment could make it as part of master study in rhetorical fallacy. You assert something that is probably only true about yourself, then while refusing to engage my complaint you dodge it while pushing the ball back in my court. Good job, and I sure you win quite a few arguments with your boyfriend. However I am not him. It is too bad you didn’t have anything cogent to say. I really cherish good arguments that challenge me, but this is a waste of time.

        • Kodie

          We weren’t here to argue with you. You came here to argue with us. All you have to do is present your argument, not act like we’re fucking mindreaders and get mad because we’re not picking up anything other than your self-congratulating attitude. Go ask Jesus why you’re such a prick.

        • Aaron Siering

          I did make my point it in my very first comment, and no matter how many times you repeat that I didn’t it doesn’t change the fact that I did. It just seems remarkable to me how this could escape you… Why are you are assuming I am getting angry? Are you getting angry? You say a lot of things which are completely untrue for me, but seem like they very well could be true for yourself.

          My bottom line is that there is really nothing more for me to say unless you respond sensible to my original comment. However at this point I feel I am well justified in my belief that you really have no interest in doing that. Although, it is nice how you attempt to spin that to suggest that I am the one being the prick here, perhaps in your world this actually seems to make sense.

        • Kodie

          Your point was that I was making a straw man argument against nobody. Then you come in with some traditional beliefs that are still subjective.

          Nice straw man argument.

          Actually objective morality in Judeo-Christinity is first predicated upon God’s existential encounter with Himself (as is the idea of objective truth in Christianity), and then follows something like this:

          Your don’t rape children (or anybody for that matter) because all persons have an inherent dignity by virtue of being made in God’s image and so therefore it is wrong to objectify other persons. That is to treat them as a means to an end of some self-indulgent desire rather than to regard relating to them as another subject as the end in and of itself.

          Homosexuality is to habitually objectify another person, which is in Judeo-Christian morality always wrong even if the objectification is extremely subtle or voluntary. It is incredibly perverse in Judeo-Christianity to desire to
          objectify one’s self. Just as wrong as it is to objectify other persons.

          However I will grant you this the objectification that
          happens in homosexuality is no different than many other forms of objectification that self-professing Christians seem to be willing to accept.

          From a materialist point of view there is no way to avoid
          objectifying the other. This is why I have so much more respect for the atheists I grew up reading, then many of the people who try and defend it today. People like Sartre and Becket were honest about this problem with any ethical system based in materialism.

          You still have a deference to your imaginary authority, and what you perceive the reasons why not do this, why not do that. The problems from a supernaturalistic point of view is that there you defer to it regardless of whether it exists, and regardless of whether what you are doing or not doing has the effect you believe it will have. In essence, to please HIM, NOT THE WOULD-BE VICTIM OF YOUR OFFENSE. You also ignored the two very actual Christians and their terrible ACTUAL ARGUMENTS, NOT STRAW MAN ARGUMENTS, that I was ACTUALLY RESPONDING TO.

          Fuck you, you asshole.

        • Kodie

          My response was too harsh for you:

          I don’t think you can call this a straw man. If you have a more literate explanation for objective morality than In God’s Defense’s
          “self-evident” circular argument, or Brian Jenkin’s “god’s existence is
          mighty inconvenient to me, since without god, I would have no problems cheating on my wife,” why are you telling me and not them?

          Aaron Siering:

          Don’t be ridiculous its not a circular argument, are you just going to attempt to refute everything by claiming it some sort of fallacy? After all no belief system could possibly be that wrong where everything it asserts is actually only a mistake in reasoning–in fact what a utterly bizarre story of the intellectual history of mankind you must have concocted for yourself.

          There are so many arguments that are at least decent enough to be plausible that you could employ why do feel it necessary to go absurd ones?

        • Aaron Siering

          You are right in the sense that we don’t respect other persons for themselves, but for the sake of God in whose image they are made; and for the sake that, as a consequence of it, we believe we were made for communion, i.e. real relationship with one another, which predicates that we respect others as subjects to enter into relationship with as opposed to objectify to satisfy our own self-indulgent desires. So I don’t see where the conflict lies? Even if God doesn’t exist this is still a belief system that guarantees (to the degree that it is actually internalized) that we will respect others.

          This by the way is also a distinction in what we mean by love. In Christianity love is willful act of self-giving and not sentiment predicated upon self-desire.

          As for the larger question if the Judeo-Christian God exists then morality is objective, and if not then its only subjective, even if we are hardwired through the accidents of evolution to be predisposed to some sense of fairness in regards to each other–I say predisposed in this sense because we can rationally override whatever we may feel to be right once we become convinced that in a very well sense it is only all in our head. That is to say that such a naturalistic morality is nothing more than the accidents of the brain chemistry… and not that I am knocking that most people it seems find it very difficult to override it.

          I guess I missed that last sentence before I responded. Really why the need for such vitriol? Why the hysterics? I though you had finally decided to respond intelligently. I guess I just misread your comment.

        • Kodie

          In deference to your imaginary authority, you accept reasons which may not be acceptable to other people. Your opinions about how wrong homosexuality is are flawed, regarding objectification of others, I can only assume you objectify women similarly (assuming you are against birth control, premarital sex, and abortion) for your god’s purpose, and how you assume society ought to be comfortable for you and for your deference to your imaginary authority. It literally creates an obstacle between you and moral behavior, and pretending it doesn’t have its own rules where objectifying others is “not really objectifying” doesn’t contradict anything I’ve said about morality so far – we impose moral structure on people by excepting ourselves as part of the group and denying others membership in that group, i.e. humanity itself. You objectify their motives by imposing your own (special interpretation of “god’s”) morals on them, regardless of whether it has any bearing on reality. You are guided by a myth, and whether or not any of your moral standards agree with my own, you are getting them from somewhere outside of human interest, creating some mythical society where only your justice is just and only your morals are moral, permitting you to commit injustice and immorality, in order to fulfill some need your imaginary authority has to prefer you to me or someone else.

          Really, all you have to say for yourself is a dressed-up version of In God’s Defense. Your way of life is not objectively true or objectively moral, it is one other subjective framework that you use to pound other people over the head, because having “god” in your corner makes you worthy and them not.

        • Max Doubt

          “My bottom line is that there is really nothing more for me to say unless you respond sensible to my original comment.”

          I made a sensible reply to your opening comment, and you ignored it. And if you feel there is really nothing more for you to say, I’m sure we’d agree that your continuing to say stuff doesn’t seem very rational.

          “However at this point I feel I am well justified in my belief that you really have no interest in doing that. Although, it is nice how you attempt to spin that to suggest that I am the one being the prick here, perhaps in your world this actually seems to make sense.”

          Your replies to several people here notably contain a lot of insults and bitching and moaning, and are notably light on anything germane to the conversation. If you’re not being an asshole on purpose, you might consider modifying your approach, because by intent or by accident, it certainly appears you are the one being a prick here.

        • Aaron Siering

          Actually I agreed with you that your comment was sensible and I responded in kind. Why are you now responding to my response to others whose comments that weren’t sensible?

          Unless your sensible comment was merely a tactic, why the provocation now? Is this what you’re truly aiming at?

          My responses have been meeting bullshit comments on their own terms. I think your response here reveals your actual motivation.

        • Kodie

          What about my comment wasn’t sensible? It seems to have sent you over the edge.

        • Aaron Siering

          Again why do you believe you’ve sent me over an edge? What in my demeanor could possibly have lead you to believe that? And I did respond to you once about an hour ago when I believed you had changed tracts and were ready proceed reasonably. Unfortunately I failed to notice the last sentence of the comment which seems to suggest that I had actually only misread your intent. I left the response up anyway, however.

          In general no your comments haven’t been remotely sensible, and in fact that I feel this way shouldn’t be come as a surprise since I’ve repeated to you so often now that it is practically serving as a refrain.

        • Kodie

          See, you’re just being an asshole without saying much of anything to correspond to. You came in with a chip on your shoulder, I was reasonable, you were not. I may not have answered the way you expected, but you got up on your high horse, and threw a fit in every direction.

        • MNb

          “This last comment could make it as part of master study in rhetorical fallacy.”
          No. It’s an inductive conclusion from your comments. That conclusion might be wrong. You could show that by providing, you know, arguments. It’s what this blog is about.

        • MNb

          ” I am entirely convinced that you only desire is to defend your bias.”
          Nice bias of yours.

        • Susan

          you might not entirely understand my own comment, or maybe that you are projecting your own meaning into it.

          If that is the case (and I’m not convinced it is), then just explain what you mean by your own comment.

          Make your meaning clear.

        • Philmonomer

          So yea great extraneous points. Well done.

          This is a strange response. (And I read these last 2 sentences as bitingly sarcastic.) It’s unnecessarily, gratuitously, belligerent.

          You seem to be picking a fight–it’s almost as if you want to fight. What’s that about?

          I don’t disagree with anything you said. That you felt you needed to say it, however or believe it added something to the conversation suggests that you might not entirely understand my own comment, or maybe that you are projecting your own meaning into it.

          Well, I thought it did add something to the conversation, so I guess I didn’t understand your comment (or maybe I was projecting my own meaning on it). Could you explain your comment further? Thanks

        • Aaron Siering

          Perhaps those last lines were unnecessary, and perhaps I’d unfairly lumped you with the other hysterical responses. I am curious, however, what did you think it added to the conversation?

          I am already in a fight. Its like I am standing up to confront a group of people through discussion and instead they all swam around me and while some are distracting me with “well let me ask you this? Others are sucker punching me from the crowd behind them. If I mistake your motives in such a situation then I apologize, but to be fair I am not the one acting in bad faith here. I didn’t come to fight even if I not afraid to stand my ground in the face of the metaphorical violence.

        • Kodie

          Seriously?

        • Philmonomer

          Perhaps those last lines were unnecessary, and perhaps I’d unfairly lumped you with the other hysterical responses.

          Perhaps? Good to leave your options open. 😉

          I am curious, however, what did you think it added to the conversation?

          Let’s assume the goal of your initial comment wasn’t just to take a pot shot (without support) at the Atheists who comment here (although that, in fact, did seem to be your goal–but maybe I’m mistaken. In this regard, you’ve yet to provide a further explanation for your comment.) But let’s assume that your goal was to start a conversation.

          In this regard, I was trying to point out:

          1) You’ll have better luck at a conversation by focusing on the topic of the Blog Post (and, by extension, by focusing on Bob–who is usually quite fair), rather than making a general observation about the comments/commenters.

          2) In this regard, I was actually agreeing with you. The comments some people make can be quite inane. But that doesn’t say anything about the fallaciousness of an argument against Christianity. In fact, I’m not sure you’ve seen this point yet, as the whole thrust of your initial comment was “If believing in God was so bad/irrational, I shouldn’t see so many bad/fallacious arguments here in the comments.” [edit upon rereading: Ugh. This isn’t a great point/summary–but I don’t have time/energy to fix it. And, I’m not sure it’s worth it anyway.]

          3) (I wasn’t saying you were doing this, but you were at least close to wading into these waters): “You (Atheist) don’t really understand Christianity” is a very easy claim to make. Indeed, this blog has seen its fair share of (essentially): Protestant Evangelicals who claim Atheists don’t understand Christianity; Catholics who claim Atheists don’t understand Christianity; Mormons who claim Atheists don’t understand Christianity, etc.

          Claiming that the Atheist doesn’t understand–and is arguing against a “straw man” Christianity–allows the Christian to write the Atheist off. (Mostly as a defense mechanism, IMHO.) Christians do it way more than they should. If you are going to shout “Strawmen! That’s not the real Christianity!” you should have really good examples/instances to point to, b/c otherwise it just looks like “easy” (and common) Christian criticism–with nothing behind it.

          I am already in a fight.

          This seems disingenuous (presumably unconsciously), as you control whether you are in a fight. It takes 2.

          Its like I am standing up to confront a group of people through discussion and instead they all swam around me and while some are distracting me with “well let me ask you this? Others are sucker punching me from the crowd behind them.

          You can ignore people.

          One thought for the future: read a blog for a while before commenting. Then pick and choose who/how you want to comment.

          But, more importantly, What did you think would be the response, on an Atheist blog, to a comment that said (essentially): “If believing in God is so irrational, how come you all have such bad arguments?”

          Also, in the future, I’d recommend against such blanket statements. Instead, I’d try specific statements directed at specific people (and choose wisely whom you interact with).

          Unless of course you want a “swarm” around you.

          If I mistake your motives in such a situation then I apologize, but to be fair I am not the one acting in bad faith here.

          You aren’t the one acting in bad faith? I think that remains to be seen. Have you answered (anywhere, anyone) who has asked you what strawmen you were referring to in your initial comment? Or, have you explained what you meant by that comment, if you weren’t referring to actual comments here in this thread? (Or, have you said “I was mistaken in asserting that people here are arguing against a fallacious Christianity?”)

          If you haven’t responded in a meaningful way, it’s hard to see how your initial comment was in good faith.

          I didn’t come to fight even if I not afraid to stand my ground in the face of the metaphorical violence.

          Given your initial comment, your initial response to me, and now your subsequent response (“Perhaps”), that seems highly doubtful. (But I recognize that you may honestly believe that you “didn’t come to fight.”.)

    • Max Doubt

      “What is interesting reading these comments is that if Christianity was really so bad or so irrational then it one would think that it would be easy to make an argument against it that wasn’t widely fallacious.”

      One of the most basic elements of Christianity is the claim that a god exists which has some influence on the universe. There is no objective evidence to support any claim that any god actually exists. Christianity, on that issue, is irrational.

      “The number one fallacy that being employed, of course, is the straw man.”

      It is not a straw man to suggest that Christians believe a god or gods exist in spite of the fact that these gods’ alleged existence is not objectively distinguishable from their non-existence.

      “What people seem most interested in refuting is their own notions about what constitutes Christianity, rather than what Christianity actually asserts about itself. Along those lines I will caution that practically everybody who grew up in the U.S. sees Christianity through a puritanical filter. This includes atheists and sadly enough Catholics–and well as, of course, Protestants themselves.”

      Apparently you feel you understand Christianity more clearly than “practically everybody who grew up in the U.S.” Your implication is that you see Christianity without this supposed filter. How are you able to demonstrate that your understanding is the correct one?

      • Aaron Siering

        Science speaks only to efficient causation. It doesn’t speak to final causation, and its success in creating new technology isn’t itself an argument against final causation. So in other words you are asking the wrong questions or stated another way you are asking the question in such a way to ensure the answer you’ll get.

        The fact is to make any claim about the possible teleology of the Universe even if just to assert that the universe is dsyteleological is a philosophical statement that requires a mythological commitment to something (mythological in the sense that such worldviews must always require beliefs which are not themselves scientifically answerable, i.e. extra-scientific beliefs). Science can only speak to the mechanisms. My point then is that this should be an obvious point to you if you ever read anything even remotely critical of your beliefs.

        I myself have always made it a habit of seeking out the very best arguments against my position, and sometimes those arguments have, in fact, changed my mind. I don’t believe from what you’ve said that this is also true of yourself or of almost anyone I’ve encountered on this board.

        As for your comments about Christianity. When St. Paul said we walk by faith and not by sight. I realized after my own initial experiences with faith that he did not mean one we should privilege our mere beliefs over the facts of our senses, as that obviously would be ridiculous. Rather, faith is like a type of sense itself. That is it makes contact with supranatural world in exactly the same way our physical senses make contact with the natural world. That is one knows what they know through faith in the same way that one knows what they know through sight or hearing.

        Would you expect a rational person to ignore what they believe they’ve come to know through their such experiences?

        I believe the most honest thing you can say in reply is that, “I don’t have this faith, and I don’t really even believe it exists. To believe it exists goes against my own mythological commitments (say to strict materialism) which I believe I know through my own experience”. To pretend to be able to say more than this is to overstate your case quite a bit.

        The funny thing about experiences is that they don’t even guarantee correct beliefs. A trivial example might be mistaking a garden hose for a snake. However repeated experiences over time can have the effect of bringing our experiences into conformity with reality. If one goes back and looks again at the garden hose one may likely see that it is in fact a garden hose and not a snake.

        So at this point I would say two things, never trust that someone is actually a Christian who can’t give you the above definition of faith from their own experiences, and to echo what I’ve said above how could you expect me given my experiences and the fact that I am committed to rationality to believe differently then I do? You are certainly free to disagree, but if you do then stick to good arguments. IF you have to resort to fallacy to make your case then something is wrong with your position.

        So again you don’t have to share my beliefs to acknowledge the possibility they may be valid in the same way, just I acknowledge, at least, the possibility that they may not be–and I can do this because I don’t pretend to know more than I actually do and so consequently don’t have resort to fallacious argument to justify my own beliefs even only to myself.

        To pretend that it is slam dunk argument to establish that Christianity is obviously irrational can only be sustained through fallacious straw man arguments–note this isn’t an argument to establish that Christianity is true (I shouldn’t have to even say that, but I get the sense that I do here–or have to listen to someone with respond with something so frankly stupid as “well that doesn’t mean that Christianity is true” since this obviously not what I’ve been asserting.)–my point is generally a skeptical one, and to that end all I am saying is be more honest about what you can claim to actually know and be more modest in separating that from what you choose to believe.

        • MNb

          Good job neglecting

          “There is no objective evidence to support any claim that any god actually exists. Christianity, on that issue, is irrational.”

        • Aaron Siering

          Except that that was the first thing I responded to. If you don’t understand my answer that is not necessarily my problem. You could ask questions, and maybe learn something which would make your own arguments better in the future.

          In any case thanks for once again proving my point. There is literally no response I could offer that you’d accept in good faith. Your true purpose here it seems is to belittle, deny and bully to the best of your ability. I am guessing because your life is bullshit. Certainly you are not interested in truth or any ideas that challenge your own. You are like the worst kind of religious fanatic who wants re-make the world in such a way that guarantees the validity of their beliefs.

        • Dys

          Ah, I see the game. You engage in your own fallacies and specious attempts at mind-reading while throwing a temper tantrum about the perceived injustices everyone else has thrown your way.

          What were you saying about being interested in rational discourse again? Because it doesn’t appear that you have any interest in it whatsoever.

        • Greg G.

          Science speaks only to efficient causation. It doesn’t speak to final causation, and its success in creating new technology isn’t itself an argument against final causation. So in other words you are asking the wrong questions or stated another way you are asking the question in such a way to ensure the answer you’ll get.

          Science can speak to final causes. Science studies tools made by ancient humans, spider webs, and animal lairs. Science cannot address final causation of imaginary beings. The universe itself is quite indifferent to the existence of life. That the universe has some teleology is an assumption made by many religions and their conclusions from the assumption show no objective input.

        • Aaron Siering

          Well if you believe that science speaks to final causation you may very well be the only person who does. I am speaking of among both working scientists and philosophers of science.

        • Greg G.

          Wouldn’t a caveman shaping up a rock to grind seeds count as a final cause? Wouldn’t even a chimpanzee carrying a rock from a creek to use a nutcracker at a distant nut grove count as a final cause?

          EDIT: turned the second part into a sentence, as was intended.

        • Aaron Siering

          A lot of biologists would want to disagree with you. The question however doesn’t just concern conscious agents. If you are interested in understanding this question especially in regards to biology–remember the point here isn’t to accept what I believe but rather to be challenged with arguments you might have ignored in the past– I would highly recommend Etienne Gilson’s From Aristotle to Darwin And Back Again: A Journey in Final Causality, Species And Evolution.

          I can’t make a complete argument here because of the limitations of both space and time. Suffice it then for me to merely assert that there is wide consensus that science speaks only to efficient causality, and this in fact starts with Bacon’s Novum Organum and continues as a basic facet for the development of the scientific program from that point until today.

          My argument is that world is a big beautiful place and that “there are more things in heaven and hell, Horatio, then are dreamt of in your philosophy” and to be limited to a dogma that actually asserts that life “is a story told by a mad man full of sound and fury but signifying nothing” is poisoningly claustrophobic, but this is, I assert, the philosophical implication of reducing knowledge to only what can be quantified and consequently technologized. However this seems to be the spirit–and the central dogma–of the New Atheism which is happy to beg borrow and steal from from cogency to argue this is actually a positive development.

          What really gets me, however, when I encounter people who seem to be happy to advocate for this New Atheism, at least implicitly in the arguments they’ve internalized, is how little they actually understand about the philosophical problems not just in science and epistemology more generally but in the type of world for which they are actually advocating. Most often this expresses itself in forms like this through straw man arguments against Christianity which serve as proxy for the real question of final causality itself.

        • Philmonomer

          What really gets me, however, when I encounter people who seem to be happy to advocate for this New Atheism, at least implicitly in the arguments they’ve internalized, is how little they actually understand about the philosophical problems not just in science and epistemology more generally but in the type of world for which they are actually advocating. Most often this expresses itself in forms like this through straw man arguments against Christianity which serve as proxy for the real question of final causality itself.

          Again with the “straw man arguments against Christianity.” What are these straw man arguments that you keep speaking of?

          At any rate, in my experience, the Christian Thinking Man’s refuge is the Atheist’s failure to understand science/epistemology/philosophy/etc. (Cite to Kuhn, Plantinga, Nagel, etc.) If the Atheist really understood such things, he/she could understand the consequences of his/her worldview, and learn that the worldview is inherently contradictory/nonsense/wrong.

          Now, I don’t have a PHD in Philosophy, nor do I have any such desire to do such a thing. (I love Kiergard’s quote “What the philosophers say about Reality is often as disappointing as a sign you see in a shop window which reads: Pressing Done Here. If you brought your clothes to be pressed, you would be fooled; for only the sign is for sale.”) But I see that approximately 75 percent of professional philosophers don’t believe in God.

          Now, that’s no guarantee those 75 percent are right (they certainly, in theory, could be wrong). But it’s enough to make me pretty sure that it isn’t nonsense to think that God doesn’t exist–and the claim that “you just don’t understand the Philosophy” is garbage.

          At any rate, all of this misses the mark (IMHO). Rather than getting lost in Philosophy, I look around at the world and try to make sense of what I see. I see lots of different religions, with lots of different understandings of God (many of which are mutually exclusive). If there really is a God, why is the world this way? I can guess that 1) he has some reasons for this or 2) there isn’t a God. I also see planes that fall out of the sky, and burn little girls (Holy the Firm) Why is there suffering? I can guess that 1) he has some reason for this or 2) there isn’t a God. I also see naturalistic explanations for where people came from (we have tails in the womb!). Why is this? 1) he has some reason for this or 2) there isn’t a God. And so on.

    • If you find any straw man arguments here, point them out.

      As someone noted, I have hundreds of posts here. Read more to see if your questions are answered.

    • TheUnknownPundit

      It’s clear that you are nothing more than an internet troll based on reading your initial post and your responses to others down-thread . You’ve made no substantive point anywhere along the way. Nothing. Nada. Nil.
      Go play dodge ball somewhere else.

      • Aaron Siering

        I made a substantive original point and when someone responds to it in a way that’s not itself trolling, then I will respond in kind. Why would you expect anything different, and why would you even want to subject me to such a double standard?

        • MNb

          No. You made an unfounded accusation (namely us using strawmen) and when you were asked to found it (for instance by giving examples) you consistently refused to do so.
          Plus you lied.

        • Aaron Siering

          You are literally hysterical. This will be last response to you btw.

        • Susan

          MNb said:

          You made an unfounded accusation (namely us using strawmen) and when you were asked to found it (for instance by giving examples) you consistently refused to do so.

          Rather than provide an example or even link to a place in the discussion where you provided an example, you call him hysterical.

          How does this contribute to reasoned discussion?

        • Aaron Siering

          Look this guy is unfounded in making the accusations against me he has, which started with his initial comment and only demonstrated to me that he would have responded in kind no matter what I might have said. A suspicion he has gone on to buttress with literally every subsequent comment he’s made. Is it really your argument that I am actually the one being unfair to him?

          How is it not reasonable to suspect then that your only interest here is also ultimately to troll me when you make such a comment?

          To expand on a metaphor I made elsewhere on this thread not only is it like I am getting sucker punched from the crowd swarming around me, but when I hit back you (or just even put my hands up to protect my face) you accuse me of having stepped up in the first place only to fight.

          My choices were not to attempt to engage you, at all, in the first place realizing the high probability of this happening to begin with or just let you keep sucker punching me. Do you really do you believe that I deserve that?

          The fact is by the time he had made his first response to me that question had already been answered. If he was really was interested in knowing what it was he could have tracked down the comment himself.

        • Kodie

          The fact is I did not make a straw man argument. Go back to the beginning and address that without being an asshole.

        • Greg G.

          MNb gives anybody a hard time. He does it to me. He does it to BobS. He speaks like a grown man and he doesn’t care whether you like him or not. He knows a lot on many topics and he has been known to change his mind when presented with evidence. I don’t think you tried that last part.

        • Susan

          Is it really your argument that I am actually the one being unfair to him?

          MNb asked you to support your accusation of strawmanning. I see no where in the discussion where you’ve done so.

          I made no argument about fairness or unfairness. I asked how, when asked to support an accusation, you accusing the person asking of being “literally hysterical” contributes to discussion. You could simply provide evidence and examples.

          How is it not reasonable to suspect that you only interest here is troll when you make such a comment.

          How is it reasonable to suspect that I’m a troll when I ask you to address a fair point? That is, you have accused people of strawmanning and have provided no support for it.

          when I hit back you (or just even put my hands up to protect my face) you accuse me of having stepped up in the first place only to fight.

          Where did I do that?

          My choices were not to attempt to engage you in the first place realizing the high probability of this happening to begin with or just let you keep sucker punching me.

          I responded to your points. Show me one place where I sucker punched you.

          I don’t agree that everyone else here has trolled you but I’ll leave you to make that case with them. To keep things simple, I’m asking you to show where I, have done so.

        • Kodie

          His response to me that my argument was a straw man, he provided the “true” Christian answer why they give deference to an imaginary authority, and not “just ’cause god says so.” But that was in total ignorance of the actual Christians I was responding to. I said, it’s not a straw man.

          I don’t think you can call this a straw man. If you have a more literate explanation for objective morality than In God’s Defense’s “self-evident” circular argument, or Brian Jenkin’s “god’s existence is mighty inconvenient to me, since without god, I would have no problems cheating on my wife,” why are you telling me and not them?

          Too much of a sucker punch?

          Aaron Siering’s response:

          Don’t be ridiculous its not a circular argument, are you just going to attempt to refute everything by claiming it some sort of fallacy? After all no belief system could possibly be that wrong where everything it asserts is actually only a mistake in reasoning–in fact what a utterly bizarre story of the intellectual history of mankind you must have concocted for yourself.

          There are so many arguments that are at least decent enough to be plausible that you could employ why do feel it necessary to go absurd ones?

          That’s not being a confrontational dickhead, is it?

        • Susan

          I agree. It’s not a strawman. It’s evident.

          Aaron’s response is frustrating and evasive. He hasn’t defended his accusation.

          But he thinks we’re all trolls and assumed we couldn’t be reasoned with before he got here.

          So, anything any of us has to say won’t matter a bit to Aaron, as far as I can tell.

        • Susan

          I made a substantive original point and when someone responds to it in a way that’s not itself trolling, then I will respond in kind.

          This is an honest question. Do you think everyone here is trolling you?

        • Aaron Siering

          Yea, actually I do. Although I try to give anyone who seems to be responding in good faith the benefit of the doubt, such as yourself in your first response to me, and latter to Max Doubt–although it appears from a further response that he wrote in the interim before I was able to respond to his initial comment to me that what appeared to be a reasonable response to me was merely a pretext.

        • Susan

          Yea, actually I do.

          Can you show me, for instance, what I’ve done to troll you?

    • Ron

      Could you briefly summarize what Christianity actually asserts about itself so that we’re all on the same page?

      • Aaron Siering

        Actually I can’t. It is a very difficult thing to summarize accurately in a way that is also concise. All I can do is suggest, Introducing the Orthodox Church: Its Faith and Life by Anthony M. Coniaris who does an admiral job of briefly summarizing what Christianity asserts in his 214 pages. I could not do better in as many pages and would no doubt only give rise to further misconception and confusion if I attempted to.

        • Philmonomer

          All I can do is suggest, Introducing the Orthodox Church: Its Faith and Life by Anthony M. Coniaris who does an admiral job of briefly summarizing what Christianity asserts in his 214 pages.

          This is a great first step. It is extremely helpful to know what you consider to be Christianity.

          Now, for the next step: Which comments are discussing a Christianity that doesn’t comport to the understanding of Christianity there? (And how so?)

        • Greg G.

          who does an admiral job

          Is that your private opinion or do people in general hold the major points?

        • Kodie

          I think 214 pages is a bit long?

    • TheNuszAbides

      what Christianity actually asserts about itself.

      go on, then. where’s the clearly-drawn outline of that?

      EDIT: … ah, 214 pages by Anthony M. Coniaris. well, let’s hope that he earns a stellar reputation for clarity that we can all work from. i wonder what would be necessary for his instruction to take hold in a godless universe vs. what would be necessary in a theistic universe …

      • Aaron Siering

        I should clarify the above a little bit. Christianity has really one foundational belief (or really more to the point has a one basic foundational experience), although granted it is multifaceted and so has many aspects for example:

        Love and truth are the same thing and this one thing is predicated upon the very nature of God, revealed in his Trinity.

        That what we mean by love is an act of will and what one wills of one’s self is to offer one’s self as a self-gift to the other in an act of communion.

        Contrast this with a more worldly understanding of love that understands it as a mere–although often an intensely experienced–sentiment predicated on one’s self-indulgent desire.

        However, in saying as much I’ve only really presented an abstraction. To really understand how if fits into the practice of the belief system of Christianity more generally one must at the very least understand the equivalent of Coniaris’ book.

        To argue that what is meant by Christianity is found in self-professing Christians who practice the selfish worldly conception of love is clearly a fallacious argument when its aim is to refute Christianity, itself; as with all fallacies one ends up with incoherence because in attempting to refute Christianity where the so-called Christianity has succumbed to the attitude of the world more generally one ends up refuting what Christianity itself refutes in the name of refuting Christianity. In other words to refute Christianity by refuting what Christianity itself refutes is incoherent and so therefore must be predicated upon fallacious reasoning.

        Honest arguments either against Christianity or for a non-Christian belief system sound much different than the one’s presented here. As I’ve already suggested through naming the examples of the atheists I grew up reading such as Sartre, Beckett and Flew.

        • 90Lew90

          Love and truth, plainly, are not the same thing. That’s just bullshit.

        • Yeah, but it’s a deepity!

        • 90Lew90

          Deeply dippity.

        • Philmonomer

          Thanks for your thoughts.

  • SteveK

    >> I hope to argue that natural morality explains what we see better than GT’s Moral Law hypothesis.

    It explains our behavior our psychology and and our reactions. It doesn’t explain morality unless you are saying they are synonymous / idential – but then we are left wondering which human behavior, psychology and reaction is “the good”. We’ll never know.

    • Which is “the good” in an absolute or objective sense? The idea is meaningless. (Unless you want to give it meaning.)

      • SteveK

        We agree. The problem of evil is indeed meaningless under your view – unless you want to give it meaning.

        • No, we don’t agree. I think you understand my position, however, so there’s nothing for me to explain.

        • SteveK

          I’m agreeing with your statement that it’s meaningless to think of the “the good” as absolute or objective under your view. Did I miss something?

        • Susan

          We agree.

          You could just answer the question.

        • SteveK

          I did. I agreed with Bob that the idea of “the good” is meaningless which means it is neither absolute or objective.

        • Greg G.

          Do we need to know what absolute zero is to know what is cold or warm? How would a reptile know when to bask and when to seek shelter?

        • SteveK

          We don’t need to know it. Not sure why you are asking.

        • Greg G.

          We don’t need to know an absolute moral standard to judge what is more moral than the other or even what is moral or not, either.

        • SteveK

          I agree. Subjective morality operates this way.

        • Greg G.

          Do you agree that the existence of evil is incompatible with the existence of an omnipotent being that hates evil?

        • SteveK

          I don’t.

        • Kodie

          In your own subjective morality, you believe if something bad happens to you, you know it’s bad, because you feel it, but if it happens to someone else, that is good to you because you can rationalize that they must have deserved it. You’re the subject.

        • Greg G.

          You don’t seem to get that the Problem of Evil is not an issue unless one posits the existence of a being that is both good and omnipotent.

        • SteveK

          I agree.

        • SteveK

          But I wasn’t talking about the argument. I was talking about evil being a problem. It’s only a problem because you gave it that meaning.

        • Greg G.

          The existence of evil is incompatible with the existence of an omnipotent being who supposedly hates evil. That is your problem. Blaming humans without blaming the supposed creator is weak theology but it is all there is.

        • SteveK

          I was talking about your worldview and where it leads. That’s twice you’ve misread me.

        • Susan

          I was talking about your worldview and where it leads.

          No. You weren’t.

          That’s twice you’ve misread me.

          It’s hard to misread you. You’re a one note samba.

          You’ve done this all before, failed to make any coherent statement, utterly failed to show any interest in the subject of ethics and eventually disappeared.

          Why not respond to some of that old discussion (you’ve got a lot of catching up to do) instead of showing up, hitting the reset button and acting like that’s honest?

        • SteveK

          >> No. You weren’t.

          Lol. Try to keep up.

        • Susan

          Lol. Try to keep up.

          I think I covered everything so far. What did I miss?

        • Greg G.

          I haven’t misread you. I am talking about The Problem of Evil. If it doesn’t keep you up at night, you don’t understand it.

        • SteveK

          You’re talking about X, I’m talking about Y.

        • Susan

          What’s Y?

          This is X.

          Edit: removed blockquotes.

          Edit: Two days later to fix tag. I didn’t see Kodie’s message until now.

        • Kodie

          Fix your tag.

        • Susan

          Fix your tag.

          Thanks, Kodie. I just saw your response two days after I posted my comment.

          It’s fixed.

        • MNb

          He’s talking about the problem if good and evil are objective or not. See BobS’ comment above.

          Edited (only a day later) because of Susan’s comment underneath: I corrected a grave mistake (I had written “evil” where now is “objective”).

        • Susan

          See BobS comment above.

          I did. I’m still not clear on Y.

          It seems to me that Steve K’s lower case ‘problem of evil’ is a problem or we wouldn’t call it evil. We consider it at the very least a ‘problem’.

          Also, along with Greg G., I wanted to make sure that Steve didn’t sneak “The Problem of Evil” in through equivocation and declare it a non-problem.

        • MNb

          Sorry, I suffered from internet dyslexia once again. I just corrected my previous comment. For your convenience I repeat it:

          He’s talking about the problem if good and evil are objective or not.

        • Kodie

          I’ve given the examples of natural disasters. In our case, we accept that we live on a planet that doesn’t have any intentions to harm any of us, is simply lacking the ability to intend, and we do our best to survive. In SteveK’s case, he blames the victims for attracting the righteous wrath of his invisible best friend.

          Religious people know what is good and what is bad, they know they don’t want a tornado to rip through their town and kill a bunch of their god-fearing friends. It’s just when it happens to other people in other places, particularly in other countries or places in the US that have a “reputation” for tolerating “sin” that those are “consequences” and are considered good.

        • MR

          I lived for a time in tornado country. When a tornado came through, it was thought of as Satan attacking you because you were righteous and God-fearing; because you were Satan’s enemy he was lashing out at you. But when disaster struck elsewhere, it was because those people must have deserved it because of their godlessness or their collective sin.

          When a tornado tore a swath through St. Louis, MO and wiped Greensburg, KS off the map, none of them blamed their sins for the disasters.

          We selectively interpret these things according to our own bias.

        • Kodie

          You know, that doesn’t seem like a good way for Satan to become good friends with y’all. It’s been my impression that Satan doesn’t do overtly evil things to destroy people. He’s trying to win a war with Jesus over your soul, and of course you’re never going to make an error and choose Satan if he destroys your hometown.

          It just seems like you take the act (which insurance companies call “act of god”) personally either way, and it can’t be god because he loves you, you know this! I think some people believe it is god, but wonder why he has aimed at them, and this they believe is the reason for fighting for their right to overtake the 1st amendment – to them, god is real, and if we don’t change policies to their god’s whim in this country, we’ll all be doomed, they will be taken along with the rest of us. I have seen vandalism stickers to that effect about abortion. Apparently, you can buy a roll of stickers to vandalize, and I read one about how god will abandon his preference for the US if we continue legalized abortion. They are personally threatened by god’s wrath by association. Why is his aim so terrible? Why would god need to bash in a whole area to send some kind of warning? Why are good people punished? Why do terrible people go free?

          Rationalizing that is just really weird. It seems obviously random and not intentional toward any people for any reason at all, except people living in flood plains, hurricane paths, fault lines, tornado alley, etc. Why are natural disasters so specific to the area anyway? That doesn’t seem random at all, but a feature of the surface of the planet on which we live.

        • MR

          Rationalizing that is just really weird. It seems obviously random and not intentional toward any people for any reason at all, except people living in flood plains, hurricane paths, fault lines, tornado alley, etc. Why are natural disasters so specific to the area anyway? That doesn’t seem random at all, but a feature of the surface of the planet on which we live.

          Yeah, the fundamentalist loonies will be howling to the high heavens the next time an earthquake strikes California about how it happened because the Ghey or whatever their boeuf du jour with society is; meanwhile, scientists will, be saying, “Uh…, we’ve been telling you this all along. It’s what happens when you sit on a major fault line.”

          It’s like all this drama over the upcoming lunar eclipse. (btw, Bob, you got another plug on CNN yesterday. They didn’t mention your name this time, but they had a link to one of your eclipse articles.) The fundies are all howling about signs and the end of the world—one of the waiters at a place I frequent was talking about that last night—but eclipses aren’t events that happen “randomly” as a warning because people are going against God’s will. That kind of thinking’s a carry over from primitive times when people did believe those kinds of things. Now we understand how this shit works and you can figure it out by doing the math. But the whack-a-loons are still so egocentric they want the universe to be all about us.

        • Thanks for the tip about CNN. I missed that.

    • 90Lew90

      Can I ask, do you reject the naturalistic position that morality is an evolved trait?

      • SteveK

        I don’t reject it. What I do reject is that this morality entails that humans ought to do anything to change how they live.

        • 90Lew90

          So you accept that morality is an evolved trait. Can you elaborate on what you mean by this morality entailing that humans ought to do things to change how they live? I’m not following you there.

        • SteveK

          It can be a evolved trait, yes. It’s not the same morality that I believe in, it’s different.

          What I mean is that whatever naturalistic morality is, it comes without a teleological component. There is no natural goal or purpose for human lives, only derived individual human goals for human lives. Which derived human goal is “the good”. It depends on who you ask.

        • 90Lew90

          So you’re pulling back from accepting that morality is an evolved trait to say that it “can be” an evolved trait. That must mean that you hold there are instances when it is not an evolved trait, and that makes no sense. It either is evolved or it isn’t.

          You also appear to hold that there are different kinds of morality; the kind that “can be” evolved, and the kind you believe in, which is “different”. How is it different?

          I think it can be strongly disputed that morality viewed as an evolved trait can’t have a distinct teleological element. Reproduction would be the most obvious.

          You’ve yet to clarify what you mean by this morality not entailing that humans ought to change how they live. I’m still in the dark on that.

        • SteveK

          I’m not pulling back at all. Let me say it this way, naturalistic morality exists but is not the same as Christian morality because Christian morality entails, by necessity, the existence of God and his purposes for creation.

          >> I think it can be strongly disputed that morality
          viewed as an evolved trait doesn’t have a distinct teleological element.

          What I’m saying is hardly controversial. Natural functions are not tied to intentions, essences or purposes. Whatever natural morality is, it lacks this intended feature.

          >> You’ve yet to clarify what you mean by this
          morality not entailing that humans ought to change how they live.

          There is no transcendent obligation to live according to human nature, however you wish to define human
          nature.

        • Christian morality entails, by necessity, the existence of God and his purposes for creation.

          Does Christian morality exist anywhere besides in Christians’ minds? Give us evidence.

        • SteveK

          You’ve likely heard what I will say, so to save time tell me what would count as evidence. If the answer is nothing then so be it.

        • Susan

          tell me what would count as evidence. If the answer is nothing then so be it.

          So, you have no evidence?

          Just like before?

        • Greg G.

          We can’t anticipate what evidence there might be. Nobody could anticipate what evidence there would be for evolution by natural selection until Darwin found some.

          If you had evidence, you would show it.Admit it and stop playing games.

          An omnipotent being could destroy evil if he hated it. If he has a reason for not destroying it, he doesn’t really hate it. Either you are confused about whether your god hates evil, whether it is omnipotent, or whether it exists.

        • SteveK

          You know what your criteria is for judging the evidence that I might present. What is that criteria?

        • Greg G.

          If you have empirical evidence, we would examine it as empirical evidence, just like other forms of empirical evidence. If you have a logical argument, we would treat it as a logical argument. If all you have is hypothetical evidence, we will treat it as hypothetical evidence.

          We have many ways to solve puzzles. I can’t give you the specific strategies I would employ to solve a Sudoku puzzle until I see what strategies are needed.

          But if you presented irrefutable evidence for a God that would torture me horrendously for not doing X but reward me magnificently for doing X, why would I reject it? That would make no sense. On the other hand, why would you believe a story like that without irrefutable evidence, especially when others say you must do Y and doing X only makes the horrendous torture worse? That makes no sense.

        • Show us that morality is objective (just one answer to a particular moral problem, like abortion) and reliably accessible. If it’s not both of these, then what good is it?

        • SteveK

          It’s objectively immoral to torture and kill Bob Seidensticker for fun. True or False?

        • MR

          False. If an animal were to kill another animal “for fun” would we consider that a moral or immoral act? Of course not. We would assume something is wrong with the animal. The same thing for humans. We only call it moral or immoral because we also are humans. Our morality is subjective to ourselves, humans. No objective morality required. The universe doesn’t care if we kill ourselves. [edit to add:] or how, or why.

        • SteveK

          On your view, I agree with what you’ve said here. It’s not objectively evil that someone kills Bob for fun. If someone did that you wouldn’t say that person behaved in a way that can be described as evil – because behavior is only behavior and nothing more than that.

        • MR

          If someone did that you wouldn’t say that person behaved in a way that can be described as [objectively] evil – because behavior is only behavior and nothing more than that.

          Correct. And then our subjective morals kick in and we judge if the kind of person who kills people for fun is someone who is beneficial to society or someone who is a detriment. We use the (subjective) human morality which we have evolved, as a social species, and act accordingly by banning, punishing, incarcerating or executing the offender according to our subjective moral judgement.

        • SteveK

          Agreed.

          It follows that the morality of thinking rationally is also a subjective judgement. We subjectively judge if rationality is beneficial to society (whatever that means) and treat the person (ourselves) accordingly. There’s no objective argument that could prove irrationality is detrimental to any person or to any society. A subjective “proof” based on what is beneficial is all we have.

          Slavery was subjectively moral a long time ago, now it is subjectively immoral. The subjective “proofs” that argued for the immorality of slavery weren’t objective arguments about slavery itself because slavery is just a behavior like any other.

        • MR

          So you agree, then, that you haven’t provided evidence that morality is objective.

        • SteveK

          I could attempt to do that but it would fall flat because the evidence entails that teleology (intention, purpose) is an objective feature of reality, and you reject that.

        • MR

          That’s quite a mangled sentence! And wrong to boot. Let me fix it for you:

          I could attempt to do that but it would fall flat because I don’t have convincing evidence to show that teleology (intention, purpose) is an objective feature of reality.

          As for me, I don’t reject it, I simply don’t have any reason to believe such a thing is true. I used to believe it, and I understand why I used to believe it, but the so-called evidence I used to believe in is what falls flat.

        • SteveK

          Likewise the so-called evidence for your position isn’t convincing either.

        • MR

          That morality is subjective? I see proof of it every day, this blog is rife with countless examples, and you agreed it is yourself above.

        • SteveK

          If first-person subjective proofs did the work you are suggesting it does for subjective morality we’d also have convincing evidence for God.

        • MR

          Show us.

        • SteveK

          I can show you the reality of teleology in the same way you can show me the reality of subjectivity and other minds.

        • MR

          You haven’t yet.

        • SteveK

          You either. I guess we’re in the same boat.

        • MR

          Not really. Subjective morality has been demonstrated and you have agreed to it, so we know it is true. Take any two people with different moral beliefs and you’ve demonstrated subjective morality. The larger, more interesting question, is there an objective morality beyond that, out there somewhere, has yet to be demonstrated.

        • SteveK

          I don’t agree that it’s been demonstrated. I remain unconvinced. I agree only that you think it’s subjective. I don’t think it is subjective at all.

          If different views about reality mean subjectivity has been demonstrated then literally every view about reality is a subjective view.

        • MR

          Morality, bud, morality.

          Are your moral beliefs exactly like everyone else’s? If not, then they are subjective. You have your set of moral beliefs, Larry Flynt has his set. Subjective.

        • Kodie

          And that’s scares you because you think you’ll be murdered?

        • Kodie

          Oh, I love to talk about morality some more! When we talk about this “objective morality,” I get the sense that, for most people, religious and atheists, morality is a distinct subject, and here I would say, for someone like SteveK and other religious people who like this objective morality argument, and especially like IGD’s favorite example, there are large rightness and wrongness subjects that they think can be so easily filed into one bin or the other that makes them objective. They don’t need every example to fit into a bin, just a couple. Just one.

          To me, on the other hand, morality is everyday interactions, where right and wrong are simply customs and behaviors. Have you ever visited a children’s ward in the hospital? It seems like you have to play a superhero in the movies, or at least bring a guitar, to make that work, but maybe they just want someone to talk to and maybe color in their coloring book with. It seems like a weird thing for an adult to do – spend time with children. We’ve sort of, as a society, stigmatized “hanging out with children” if you have no business being there as a thing predators like to do. But if you bring a guitar, it seems different.

          I use that as an example, because there really are so few public examples of what it means to be “good” as the opposite of a murderer. Most of the bad and good I see is, like, whether someone lets someone make a left turn out of a side street or whether that person decides to block traffic until they can butt their way in. Pedestrians always have the right-of-way, but there are times when the pedestrians just never stop coming. The light is green, it’s my turn, wait your fucking turn. And to them, cars never stop coming and they just want to cross the street. My favorite is people who actually look both ways before crossing. I have had some near misses before I learned really really really, to stop before the crosswalk – and some pedestrians realize the bad habits of drivers, so I try to be a really kind driver, having been a pedestrian myself. My least favorite is people who stop in the middle of the crosswalk because that’s when they’re not sure if I’m going to let them cross or not (for some reason), especially if the nanosecond they look up from their phone to notice a car is there doesn’t even faze them. Everyone is going to cross the street either way, but sometimes I feel “good” about myself because I internally am rewarding people who stop and look first by having a policy to always let them cross, even if I can’t run over the people who just cross anyway.

          Well, technically, I can, but vehicular homicide is a really harsh punishment for being a rude or careless pedestrian.

          What I’m trying to point out is, even SteveK can agree that some if not most of morality is subjective custom, that it is just whatever people in an area agree to cooperate within the basic framework of some kind of rule, that even if you don’t follow it, nothing bad happens, and it’s not that big a deal. This “objective morality” is another subject entirely, the genocides and slaveries and rapes. In other posts, I have gone at length to explain how those things are really just customs too, especially when we think about slavery as one ugly thing, especially when we think about slavery in the bible as something not so terrible and even really fair and kind! Slavery, taking a person hostage to force them to serve you for as long as they live, yes, horrible. Making a bargain where someone sort of sells themself to you in exchange for some demonstration of largesse on your part to get them out of a bind, that’s not evil, that’s business. When Bobby saved Peter’s life on The Brady Bunch, in a couple minutes, you see a neat little play about how offering to be Bobby’s slave for life (over something that probably wouldn’t have even put him in the hospital), Peter is quickly taken advantage of and abused.

        • Is your view that objective morality exists, but we can’t access it? In that case, neither you nor I are using it, so the topic is irrelevant.

          Is your view that it exists and we can access it? Then I need a demonstration.

        • SteveK

          If you are able to know that certain things are good / evil you’ve got access to it. If you aren’t able to do that then you don’t have access to it.

          There’s your demonstration.

        • Not much of a demonstration, though, is it? You haven’t shown that that morality is objectively true. And since people’s attempts to access morality yields different results, clearly they’re not accessing objective morality.

          The lack of unity proves that it’s not objective unity, and any unity can be neatly explained by morality being shared, not objective.

          You’re still at square 1 with this challenge.

        • SteveK

          What did your demonstration reveal? You either know what morality is or you don’t. If you know it, but say it doesn’t exist then what are claiming to know?

          It’s not that difficult. Baby steps, Bob.

        • “I know that X is morally correct” shows you accessing subjective morality.

        • Ron

          What’s been demonstrated is that there is no widespread agreement as to what constitutes an objective moral standard. For instance: certain cultures honor their dead by eating the corpse. Other cultures consider this an act of desecration. What authoritative source establishes whether or not this practice is morally permissible?

        • Kodie

          If Steve has been culturally conditioned to want to throw up at the notion of eating a dead human, then it’s “objectively wrong.” If another culture wants to throw up, or let’s say terrorize us, for something we do, then SteveK thinks they are silly and need to get over it. There’s nothing disgusting going on in US culture. Unless we get into Ted Sieber territory, where we are inviting terrorist attacks if we allow gay marriage equality, because the right thing to do and the right reason to suppress cultural changes is because other cultures will attack us. He made it sound like, well, we’d love to tolerate everyone but it’s not worth the danger, among other paranoid reasons he had.

        • SteveK

          There’s widespread agreement that certain human behaviors fall into moral categories but not when it comes to fish behavior. That means there’s widespread agreement that people know something about morality – even if only a little bit.

          It comes as no surprise to me that there’s widespread disagreement about the parts we don’t understand very well. We do understand human behavior and we do know that moral categories apply to it and not to fish.

          This is what the demonstration shows.

        • Kodie

          Human moral categories don’t apply to fish. That doesn’t mean fish don’t have their own moral categories.

        • SteveK

          Yet another thing we know about morality. Thanks.

        • Kodie

          That was brilliant, SteveK. Just keep all your essential and informative input coming. It is so helpful to the discussion.

        • MR

          It just means that humans subjectively define their behaviors. No humans, no need to define their morals.

        • Ron

          What does fish behavior have to do with codes of conduct concerning human behavior?

        • SteveK

          Nothing.

        • MNb

          “That means there’s widespread agreement that people know something about morality.”
          People don’t know anything about morality. They have opinions. You use knowledge in two different meanings.
          People know that Newtons Theory of Gravity is largely correct, because all kind of tests confirm its predictions.
          Regarding morality and any other opinions it isn’t possible test them.

        • Kodie

          You are actively stubbornly ignorant.

        • SteveK

          Let me also ask, is it possible for someone to be factually incorrect in their assessment of what benefits society?

        • MR

          Are you making an assumption that there is an objectively perfect assessment to be made? From a probabilistic standpoint, it is likely best not to have a person who likes to kill people for fun running around town. But, what if that person only killed bad people? That might benefit society in the long term. Judging from the popularity of Dexter, some might view such a thing with moral ambivalence. And who is deciding what kind of society they want to live in? Once again we’ve fractured into subjective.

          It all circles back to morality being subjective to human terms. The universe doesn’t care what benefits human society and what doesn’t. Only humans do. Subjective.

          So, to get back to Bob’s question, show us otherwise: Show that morality is, in fact, objective.

        • SteveK

          I answered your last question in another comment.

          >> Once again we’ve fractured into subjective.

          All assessments are equal because there are no objective facts that can determine which assessment is logical based on facts.

        • MR

          I answered your last question in another comment.

          No you didn’t. You made an excuse for why you wouldn’t answer and tried to shift the burden on me. You’re starting to show your deceptive side again.

          All assessments are equal because there are no objective facts that can determine which assessment is logical based on facts.

          False equivalency. They are not equal, rather probabilistic. Still not objective—as you point out.

          We make our judgments on what will likely (probabilistically) benefit us or society. But, yes, there are no guarantees because none of us can perfectly predict the future. What might seem fair could prove disastrous, and a disastrous appearing assessment could turn out perfectly fine. That doesn’t mean that we can’t use past experience to inform us on what would most likely be the best course of action.

          But it’s true, life isn’t always fair. You might have noticed that. That’s not going to stop us from attempting to make the best assessment we can with the knowledge we have at the moment.

        • SteveK

          Is deception or unfairness objectively immoral? If no, then I don’t care because I’m only interested in objective reality.

        • MR

          Then you just paradoxed yourself, which shows once again that your objective morality is an illusion.

        • SteveK

          Paradoxes are not contradictions.

        • MR

          Still shrug. You’re demonstrating subjective morality while professing objective morality. You don’t even buy into your own argument enough to live up to it.

        • SteveK

          It seems you are saying a subjective fact can be objectively demonstrated? Show me a demonstration of this subjective morality. Not words that claim it exists, but of the thing itself. I’m not convinced it actually exists yet you are.

        • MR

          Wrong again. You’re projecting your own belief in objectivity onto the issue. Morality isn’t a thing itself, it’s not an entity, somewhere out there, that happens to us or is. Morality is simply an evolved trait, and an imperfect trait at that. The trolley example and other tests show our sense of morality is imperfect—sometimes there are no right moral answers. (Recommend Haidt and Pinker) Morals can be artificially disrupted or damaged by physical causes (drugs, alcohol, brain damage). This isn’t the work of an objective thing outside of us.

          If morality were an objective thing, you should be able to demonstrate it. You still haven’t made an attempt.

        • 90Lew90

          That and he doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

        • SteveK

          YOU said this reality was being demonstrated. I’m not projecting anything.

          MR: “You’re demonstrating subjective morality”

          If I’m wrong, I’m wrong to think subjective things can’t be demonstrated – but then I’ll ask what’s the difference between a subjective and objective reality?

          MR: “If morality were an objective thing, you should be able to demonstrate it. “

        • MR

          Morality, bud, you’re demonstrating subjective morality: You choose to be deceptive while professing a belief in an objective morality that you steadfastly refuse to demonstrate. Your claims of objective morality ring hollow. Shrug.

          Do your moral beliefs line up perfectly with Kodie’s? The Pope’s? ISIS? If not, then your moral beliefs are subjective. We can see that morals differ, that morals are subjective. Even you agree.

          You seem to be claiming an objective morality that exists out there. Show us.

          [This is where you once again show your dishonesty by evading the question, and strawmanning the argument.]

        • SteveK

          I got it right the first and second time. Subjective realities such as morality can be demonstrated for everyone to see – so you claim.

          What’s the difference between subjective and objective realities considering both can be demonstrated for all to see? Answer that one please.

          Blah, blah evade. Blah, blah dishonest. Blah, blah strawman.

        • MR

          Ah, so you switched horses midstream on purpose. That’s precisely what I was talking about: dishonest and strawmanning…, let’s see…, ah, yes, didn’t answer my questions and avoiding demonstrating objective morality with pretty much everyone you’ve dealt with on here…, yup, evading, too! You’re three for three! All in one short post!

          We’re talking about morality here. [edit: Objective reality] is a whole other thing. Repito:

          a) Do your moral beliefs line up perfectly with Kodie’s? The Pope’s? ISIS? Are your moral beliefs exactly like everyone else’s?

          b) Demonstrate for us this objective morality you keep talking about.

        • SteveK

          Yes we’re talking about morality. That subjective thingy/concept/whatever that you said can be demonstrated. I’d like to see your demonstration. Can you take a video?

          What’s the difference between a subjective thingy/concept/whatever and an objective thingy/concept/whatever considering both can be demonstrated for all to see?

          a) No. No. No. No.
          b) It can’t be demonstrated because what grounds good/evil is not something physical that you can see with your eyes. It’s logically explained through a branch of philosophy and explains how rape, murder, etc can actually be objectively evil.

        • MR

          Yeah, you’re still projecting your objectiveness on the term “subjective morality.” But, here, I’ll simplify it for you since you pretend to have trouble understanding the difference.

          Morality, as a thing, whether objective or subjective, doesn’t exist. Christians (and others) believe in a morality that comes from God or from outside, but that simply doesn’t exist. When we use the term “subjective morality” it’s simply shorthand to refer to a set of individual daily interactions that happen between people and is used to distinguish the idea from the “morality as a thing” that Christians claim (but can never show exists). For that imaginary “thing” [that Christians believe in] we use the shorthand “objective morality.” It doesn’t exist either. Simply put, morality, as a thing, doesn’t exist.

          Kodie has talked about this at length, about the daily interactions, the cutting in line, the allowing people to cross, the rudeness of not bothering to look up from your cellphone, and about the rarer, bigger issues of murder, etc. These are actions, behaviors, that impact ourselves or others in a positive or negative way for which we use a term to define them: morality. But, it doesn’t exist in and of itself, it’s simply a category.

          Like the way the category “cat” doesn’t exist in real life and is just a way to collectively refer to all the individual animals who have evolved a certain set of DNA from common ancestors which make them similar enough to be referred to with a single word, “cat,” but that category doesn’t actually exist in and of itself. MNb had a great point, too. The English language didn’t “exist” without someone to speak it, neither does morality “exist” without humans. That’s what makes it subjective. It’s not a thing, it’s a descriptor of human behavior that means nothing without humans.

          If it were an objective thing, you’d be pissing your pants to provide us with evidence.

          The fact that your moral beliefs don’t line up with everyone else’s shows that your moral beliefs are subjective.

          Subjective: taking place within the mind and modified by individual bias

          [Morality is] not a thing. If it were it would be objective. It’s not, and you’re right, it can’t be demonstrated, not because of some philosophical woo, but because it simply doesn’t exist.

        • SteveK

          >> If it were it would be objective. It’s not, and you’re right, it can’t be demonstrated, not because of some philosophical woo, but because it simply doesn’t exist.

          You’re contradicting yourself all over the place so I’m going to attempt to clear things up. To say something doesn’t exist means, literally, it has no form of existence, not even in the mind as an abstraction. Abstractions DO exist otherwise you could not think.

          So morality does exist – as an abstraction in the mind. But an abstraction of what? Nothing or something? Let’s look at the example of cats that you gave.

          Cats are an abstraction of the mind. But what are “cats” an abstraction of? That furry thing sitting on your couch. The abstraction refers to, or points to, something outside our mind – the furry thing.

          If the abstraction “cat” were only in your mind, divorced from things outside your mind, you’d have no reason to think “cat” refers to the furry thing on your couch. If you thought it referred to the couch and the cat, or the kitchen table with a cup, or the dog – there would be no way to know if you were wrong because your mental concepts are divorced from the outside world.

          Are couches “cats”? No. Objectively, “no”? Yes, objectively speaking a couch is not a cat. Do humans have to exist for this to be true. No.

        • MR

          Ah, so by defining something you can bring the definition itself into existence? How convenient! Show me, then. Where does the definition of “cat” in and of itself exist? In your mind, you say? Great! I’m going to define something new then. All words that have an a for the second letter and end in g I’m going to label as cablargs. Hooray! I just defined a cablarg, in and of itself—separate from the words that have and a in the second position and end in g—into existence! Cool! Now show me, where does this cablarg exist in and of itself? Now I’m going to define snow crimphs into existence! Poof! That crusty gathering of glaze that gathers around the corners of your mouth when you eat a doughnut is now a mopple. Boom! Mopple is now a “thing in and of itself.” Please show me now that the category mopple, in and of itself, exists. Please show me. And while you’re at it, show me, where morality exists. Please, do, show me.

        • SteveK

          I don’t think it exists “in and of itself”. It exists nonetheless and the abstraction points to something beyond our mind. You said this yourself. I can show you the thing it points to as an instance of the universal.

        • MR

          It points to human actions and behaviors we have arbitrarily given a label. Your labeling of these actions and behaviors is different than Kodie’s, the Pope’s, etc., which goes to show that there is no universal.

        • SteveK

          Speaking for myself, the labels are not arbitrary and there are universals. Maybe the way your mind works you label things arbitrarily without reason and you see only particulars.

          Is a cat still a cat after you shave it’s fur off, paint it brown and dress it up like Bullwinkle the Moose, or is it now something else? I say it’s a cat. Not sure what your arbitrary labeling calls it now.

        • Kodie

          Are you still a good person if you do that to a cat?

        • MR

          The individual animal is still the individual animal. The label you apply to it is arbitrary. You haven’t provided any evidence for universals. You’ve only always shown subjective moral belief. Repeatedly. You support my claim time and time again. No objective morality. At all. Your objective morality appears to be a pipe dream. Or would you like to answer Bob and Susan’s questions that you so stubbornly keep fleeing from?

        • SteveK

          >> You haven’t provided any evidence for universals.

          You just did that here: “The individual animal is still the individual animal.”

          Even though the cat changed considerably you knew those changes were not essential to cat-ness.

        • Kodie

          What does superficially messing up a cat’s appearance have to do with morality? You really seem to think you have something here, but it might help move things along if you just spit it out what you’re trying to illustrate – because I don’t think you got it.

        • MR

          Not catness. The individual animal.

          Millions of years ago, the animal that cat descended from was not a cat. Millions of years from now an animal that evolves from that particular cat will no longer be a cat. Here in this particular time frame, we’ve arbitrarily labeled this branch of ever-changing animals, cats. Tell me, at what point along the spectrum of “not cat” to “cat” did “catness” pop into existence and become a thing? Which gene will turn today’s cat into “not-cat” in the future? There is no catness. It’s just arbitrary labeling. Like trying to name the water in a section of a river.

          —No man can cross the same river twice. Neither the man nor the river are the same, Heraclitus

          Edit: And, yes, please let’s get back to this thing called objective morality. Please answer Bob and Susan’s questions.

        • SteveK

          Getting back to morality…if moral language describes some unique human behavior, does that same language apply to the behavior regardless of opinion? If the answer is no, then what is being described?

        • MR

          You’ll have to be more explicit. Define your terms. Give an example of what you’re asking.

        • SteveK

          Let me restate it this way. Is it possible to accurately describe some unique human behavior using a moral label such that a person who disagreed would be wrong. If the answer is no, then what is the moral label accurately describing?

        • MR

          Does this get us to objective morality? If so, how?

        • SteveK

          I don’t know. It depends on how you will answer.

        • MR

          Give an example.

        • SteveK

          Just wondering if it’s even possible given what you’ve said so far. I think the answer is no, which leads to my second question about what the label is accurately describing. I’m trying to understand the connection between the label and what it is describing.

        • MR

          Who’s deciding what is wrong?

        • SteveK

          I think you’d say individual humans do. I also think you’d say the label accurately describes an individual’s opinion of the behavior, but the label cannot possibly describe the behavior itself. Accurate?

        • MR

          Is it possible to accurately, describe some unique human behavior using a moral label such that a person who disagreed would be wrong.

          If individual humans are deciding, then the answer is yes. Person A would be considered wrong by Person B, and Person B would be wrong according to Person A. More subjectivity.

          How does this get us to Objective Morality?

          If you have nothing, then say so.

        • SteveK

          The label isn’t describing the behavior, it’s describing the person’s opinion of the behavior. This is the premise I’m working with.

          What you said is true if Person A is saying Person Bs label is incorrect, but I don’t think that’s what’s people are saying. I’ll speak for myself, it’s not what I’m saying when I use moral labels. I’m referring to the behavior, not my opinion of the behavior.

          Under the subjective system moral labels don’t refer to the behavior itself, yet we say the behavior is why people go to jail.

        • MR

          Who says the behavior is why people go to jail? Give an example.

        • SteveK

          CA penal code 112-117

          113. Any person who manufactures, distributes or sells false documents to conceal the true citizenship or resident alien status of another person is guilty of a felony, and shall be punished by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 for five years or by a fine of seventy-five thousand dollars ($75,000).

        • MR

          And what is the behavior you are referring to?

        • SteveK

          Manufacturing, distributing or selling false documents

        • MR

          And where does the opinion of the behavior fit in here?

        • SteveK

          Behavior is the only thing referenced. Behavior gets you jail time yet no moral label describes behavior.

        • MR

          And where does the opinion of the behavior fit in here?

        • SteveK

          The opinion is the behavior is worthy of jail time.

        • MR

          This is a little vague. Are you saying, the opinion is that the behavior is worthy or is not worthy of jail time, and that your heartburn is that “opinion” shouldn’t factor in, that the behavior should be judged on the behavior alone? That is what I think you are saying, so correct me if I am wrong.

          If that is what you mean, then explain to me exactly what the behavior is that you are referring to, is it the act of doing this thing, so that, if you commit this act, you are morally culpable?

        • SteveK

          The opinion is that the behavior is worthy of jail time.

          Here’s my overall point. My “heartburn” is that ANY fact, subjective or objective, can be used by an individual as the basis of subjective morality. The fact of feeling bad for the family can be used. The fact of the behavior can be used. The fact of the temperature in the room can be used. There’s no immoral way to consider the various facts.

          You might say it’s morally evil for someone to ignore the behavior. How so? My subjectivity determines morality and I subjectively say it’s morally good to ignore the behavior and send a guy to jail because I don’t like his shirt.

        • MR

          You didn’t answer my question:

          What exactly is the behavior you are referring to, is it the act of doing this thing, so that, if you commit this act, you should be always morally culpable? If not, please explain this in relation to this behavior you are referring to, because I’m not sure what you mean. What exactly is the behavior, and how does it relate moral culpability. Are you proposing, if you commit x, then you should always be morally culpable?

          There’s no immoral way to consider the various facts.

          What does this mean?

        • SteveK

          It’s the behavior of manufacturing, distributing or selling false documents to conceal the true citizenship or resident alien status of another person. If you behave this way, you will always be morally culpable to some degree.

          >What does this mean?

          It means exactly what you’ve been telling me – that opinions determine morality. An opinion that says what the defendant did to his girlfriend is irrelevant to the moral issue such that that person doesn’t want to be bothered with those details – that moral opinion is valid. The relevant and weighty moral issue *for them* is the kind of shirt he’s wearing.

          Hardly anyone thinks this way, but if someone did it would be a perfectly valid way of coming to a subjective opinion about morality.

        • MR

          Behavior is an awfully vague term. What does the behavior consist of? Do you mean committing the act itself, such that if you commit the act you are morally culpable?

          It means exactly what you’ve been telling me

          Er…, I certainly haven’t been saying anything like that. I still don’t even know what it means.

          Define what you mean by “behavior” because I still don’t see the connection between a vague term like “behavior” and moral culpability. If someone commits the act of manufacturing, distributing or selling false documents, then they are automatically morally culpable? Is that what you are saying?

        • SteveK

          Behaviors are acts over time but you may disagree. Feel free to use whichever term you like, or a different one, as it doesn’t affect my overall point which is this: laws focus on a narrow range of objective facts *as-if* these facts determine moral culpability and nothing else. People regurgitate this falsehood in public, the courtroom and elsewhere, asking us to pour into the details *as-if* the correct moral answer can be found in those facts – or any facts for that matter.

          Under subjective morality, facts are optional, opinions rule. The legal system is contrary to that dictum.

        • MR

          So, if someone commits the act of manufacturing, distributing or selling false documents, then they are automatically morally culpable?

        • SteveK

          I clarified this already – the manufacturing, distributing or selling false documents to conceal the true citizenship or resident alien status of another person results in culpability.

          Read the law if you’re unsure.

        • MR

          If you had clarified it, I wouldn’t have had to ask. To me it looks like you’re side-stepping a direct answer to my question, and you still haven’t answered my question.

          If someone commits the act of manufacturing, distributing or selling false documents, then are they automatically morally culpable?

          Yes or no?

          Also, you’re complaining that the law focuses too narrowly on a range of objective facts to determine culpability. How do you determine culpability?

        • SteveK

          The law has moral culpability baked into it via the term ‘justice system’. Laws are said to be just.

          >> How do you determine culpability?

          It’s subjectively determined, according to you.

        • MR

          I am asking what you believe:

          If someone commits the act of manufacturing, distributing or selling false documents, then are they automatically morally culpable?

          How do you determine culpability?

        • SteveK

          How I arrived at my opinion doesn’t matter because at the end of the day there are no false moral opinions. All that matters is my opinion.

        • MR

          It’s interesting to me that you always fall back on your opponents argument when you have no way to defend your own, as if that somehow is a defense.

          I think what you’re seeing is that for all your desire that there be an objective morality, you have zero access to it yourself. We say it doesn’t exist, you say it does, yet can’t demonstrate it. What good is it, then? We have to make do with what we have. That I can see, you got nothin’ and just want to whine that you don’t like it.

          I tried.

        • SteveK

          Your complaint is that I cannot demonstrate non-empirical reality. *Shrug* is my only response to that complaint. When you can see purpose (or the complete lack of it) in nature let me know and I’ll alert the media so we can get a demonstration.

          [edited to add] At the end of the day, using your argument, there’s nothing objectively immoral about the fact that I do what I do.

          Facts are optional, opinions rule. This is the dictum of your worldview.

        • MR

          Strawmen, strawmen everywhere and no objectivity in sight.

        • MNb

          “Facts are optional, opinions rule. This is the dictum of your worldview.”
          Nice strawman.

        • SteveK

          Morality is subjective.

        • Susan

          Morality is subjective.

          We agree!

          That it’s subjective doesn’t mean it’s willy-nilly.

          Your strawman is developing mold.

        • MR

          For Steve, if morality isn’t objective, he wants to play the, “then it’s a free for all” card. [That’s how he wants to portray ‘subjective’.] None of us believe that, but it’s a convenient strawman for him to believe.

        • SteveK

          I’m told that subjective morality doesn’t mean arbitrary. True enough, I know this. It means the individual determines the morality according to their opinions. The justification of the judgement is this: their opinions. It’s not arbitrary at all, but at the end of the day their moral opinion cannot possibly be wrong about their moral opinion.

        • MR

          You ignore, as you have repeatedly ignored, the innate aspect of our moral behavior, the subconscious aspect, and the social aspect (both conscious and subconscious) of our moral behavior.

          It does not boil down to simply opinion, rarely are moral behaviors even conscious decisions—even when we think they are.

          Perhaps you don’t believe in evolution, which is why you ignore those aspects completely and stick to your “opinions” strawman.

        • SteveK

          I’m NOT ignoring anything. We do not think about or control our subconscious actions. Our opinions reflect both conscious and subconscious aspects and both are influenced by the social aspect. None of this is denied.

          At the end of the day we have a moral opinion that cannot possibly be wrong in any objective sense. If it could be wrong in an objective sense, morality would be objective.

        • MR

          Correct. The universe doesn’t care.

          However, as social creatures, we care, not just about our own individual opinion, but about the opinions of others. Nothing outside of human beings is going to judge our actions, but we judge others and are judged by others, and that is part and parcel about belonging to a social group. It is the social contract we implicitly agree to if we want the benefits of living in a society.

        • Kodie

          Even SteveK has a social group that determines his morality by judging him based on their opinions, whether they think he is a good guy by them or a bad guy, and he values their opinion to develop his sense of right and wrong.

        • SteveK

          True. My group has equally valid moral opinions because every moral opinion is formed by the same evolutionary process.

        • Kodie

          Yes, sometimes people have different goals and values. There’s also the massive suppression of rationality, and the positive suggestibility of humans to make decisions out of fear that has nothing to do with reality. I do think it’s morally superior to regard reality. I also know that someday the heat death of the sun will make this discussion moot.

        • SteveK

          You must be speaking poetically, because to think that facts can in any way help us rationally determine which moral opinion (values, goals) is the true opinion means that morality would have to be objective and fact-based.

        • Kodie

          There is no such thing as a true opinion. There is better or worse to meet my goals and hold my values. You have already expressed you don’t have the same goals or values. Facts can have an influence on whether this way or that way is better or worse to meet one’s goals or hold one’s values, but so can lies if you believe them. If you believe the global warming is a hoax, you’ve been lied to and used those lies to inform you. Or maybe you believe facts and don’t care because your goals and values are, say, to diminish the human population greatly and finally get some fucking peace and quiet up in here!

        • MR

          There is no such thing as a true opinion. There is better or worse….

          The sliding scale. That’s really what it’s about. Sometimes scales are in conflict with one another. Perfection is a pipe dream.

        • adam

          Moral opinion?

          It is really under biblical ‘morality’ ANYTHING goes except for blasphemy of the holy ghost.

          Yes, you can genocide and be forgiven.
          Yes, you can murder, rape and be forgiven.

          You can genocide every single individual in any group except lets say a baby and its mother, you can beat that baby to death, rape its lifeless body, then carve that baby up and eat it, cut off that mothers head and
          shit that baby down her throat…..

          And STILL be forgiven.

          So the biblical morality is the REAL case where anything goes…
          .
          .
          .
          Again except for blasphemy of the holey ghost,

          THAT is so horrible, that it is UNFORGIVABLE.

        • SteveK

          Agreed.

          We all have opinions but none of them is the one, true correct moral opinion because then opinions could be objectively false.

          If some group opts out of the current social contract to form a new contract it doesn’t make the new moral opinion any less valid and true. It’s just a new opinion formed by the same evolutionary mechanism.

          I’m not saying anything new that I haven’t said before. Opinions rule the day.

        • MR

          Opinions rule the day.

          Yes, that makes for a convenient strawman sound bite for you, I understand. You do love your strawmen.

          Emotions and instinct rule far more than opinions. Our opinions are usually manufactured after the fact, anyway. Recommend Haidt, The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion

        • SteveK

          You may not like my pithy slogans but they are slogans that I think are true as they were intended, but in need of clarification when people question them. I agree with everything you’ve said and I also stand by my slogans because I don’t think they conflict.

          We verbalize and write down our opinions so in one sense this is the basis for our morality (opinions rule).

          Our opinions are shaped by our emotions and instinct so in another sense facts are not being rationally considered (facts are optional).

          Both aspects seem to be in play.

        • MR

          I find your slogan is highly misleading. But I think you like that. You strike me as someone who likes to intentionally mislead when it serves your purpose.

          As far as “facts,” I would qualify your statement with “facts are not always being rationally considered.” I agree, but that doesn’t mean they never do. That is why science is so useful, and also why people rarely become religious because of “facts.” Pesky things can be so inconvenient.

        • SteveK

          >> I would qualify your statement with “facts are not always being rationally considered.

          That’s what I mean by “optional”.

          Slogans serve a rhetorical purpose. Saying that pesky facts are inconvenient to religion is an example of rhetoric in action. It serves a purpose that I can see through easily. It doesn’t bother me that you do this because I can see it for what it is.

        • Kodie

          What is it?

        • SteveK

          To make religious people look they don’t consider facts. Some don’t, but since I’m not one of them I can sort of chuckle along.

        • Kodie

          What facts do you consider?

        • SteveK

          That morality is subjective under naturalism.

        • Kodie

          Morality is just subjective. Your morality is subjective. Your religious beliefs and the morality you base off of it are subjective. Are those facts you ever consider? If not, then take some time to tell us all about objective morality. You haven’t done that so we can consider your facts.

        • SteveK

          I consider your theory about moral facts to be philosophically weak. Since you cannot (here we go again) demonstrate subjective things like subjective morality, otherwise it would be objective, I’m confident you’re relying on weak philosophy for your conclusion.

        • MR

          Thankfully we’ve had you time and time again demonstrate that morality is subjective. That’s all you’ve done.

        • SteveK

          I’ve demonstrated that I have an opinion about morality. That’s all. Morality could be objective or subjective. More weak philosophy on your part.

        • MR

          Not just your own opinion. All the other examples you’ve given have demonstrated subjective morality. To boot, not once have you demonstrated objective morality. We’re still waiting.

        • SteveK

          I don’t plan on demonstrating anything. It’s not possible. We’ve been down this road. Your emotions are getting the best of you.

        • MR

          Yes, we know your schoolyard tactic of “you can’t make me.”

        • adam

          Moral facts?

          It is really under biblical ‘morality’ ANYTHING goes except for blasphemy of the holy ghost.

          Yes, you can genocide and be forgiven.
          Yes, you can murder, rape and be forgiven.

          You can genocide every single individual in any group except lets say a baby and its mother, you can beat that baby to death, rape its lifeless body, then carve that baby up and eat it, cut off that mothers head and shit that baby down her throat…..

          And STILL be forgiven.

          So the biblical morality is the REAL case where anything goes…
          .
          .
          .
          Again except for blasphemy of the holey ghost,

          THAT is so horrible, that it is UNFORGIVABLE.

        • MR

          I’m not trying to be deceptive when I point out that religious people don’t tend to use facts. Emotion and early indoctrination are principal motivators for people coming to religion.

          Where is your optional in “opinions rule the day?” It doesn’t say what you’re claiming it means. Highly deceptive.

        • SteveK

          >> It doesn’t say what you’re claiming it means.

          I’m saying what it means and that’s all you need to know. It means “not necessary”. The irony is you cite religion as an example of not needing facts to arrive at a conclusion about morality.

        • MR

          You’re saying what you want it to say and “fuck you” if you don’t agree. I get it. I’m just here to point out your deception.

          Just like you twisted what I said to say what you want it to say.

          Deceptive.

          From the beginning.

        • SteveK

          Nothing more satisfying to see than subjective moral outrage. Lol

          I will admit to a slight mistake here. The term ‘optional’ never was meant to go with the slogan “opinions rule the day” as you said. I missed that and was thinking of the slogan “facts are optional”. You probably could have concluded that given my reply.

        • MR

          Nothing more satisfying to see than subjective moral outrage. Lol

          Which goes to show just how much you don’t understand it.

        • SteveK

          I understand that we both hold views shaped by evolution. I understand your path is different than mine. I understand we see things differently. That’s all I need to understand.

        • MR

          Are you saying you do believe in evolution, because I haven’t heard you say that. I suspected that, but wasn’t sure. Because if that is so, then I’d guess that you do believe that morality is subjective, but that you distinguish between human morality (subjective) and godly morality (objective). Is that correct?

        • SteveK

          Change over time? Yes, or course. Who could possibly deny that? The blind watchmaker thesis, nope.

          I don’t believe morality is subjective at all. I believe nature has been directed by the force of intended purpose, and the evidence of that ordering force is found in the natural order itself. Randomness cannot create a sustained orderly cause/effect system.

          And no, I’m not going to demonstrate the sustained orderly cause/effect system.

        • MR

          Who could possibly deny that?

          Plenty of people.

          I don’t believe morality is subjective at all.

          And yet you’ve stated as much, you’ve demonstrated as much. And you’ve completely failed to show otherwise.

          I’m not going to demonstrate the sustained orderly cause/effect system.

          No. No, of course you’re not.

        • SteveK

          >> No. No, of course you’re not.

          Science does it for me, thank you. 🙂

        • MR

          Are you an ID guy, too?!

        • SteveK

          Not in the way ID is commonly argued, but yes. The force of intended purpose means to design.

        • MR

          Ah, ’cause I knew you couldn’t mean real science.

        • SteveK

          I didn’t say science demonstrated design. I said science demonstrates a sustained orderly cause/effect system. The fact that science functions is the demonstration.

        • MR

          Oh, boy. Something else for you to refuse to support.

        • SteveK

          I think science shows quite well that when you perform the same experiment you get the same results

        • Susan

          I don’t believe morality is subjective at all.

          So, when you’ve repeatedly said it is today, you were just being ignorant and smarmy? I’m shocked.

          the evidence of that ordering force is found in the natural order itself.

          Define natural order.

          Randomness cannot create a sustained orderly cause/effect system.

          What do you mean by randomness? How do you know what can or cannot create a cause/effect system?

          And no, I’m not going to demonstrate the sustained orderly cause/effect system.

          No one asked you to. Perhaps, you could explain exactly what you mean by the phrase though.

        • MNb

          “What do you mean by randomness?”
          My guess, based on my experience with creationists, with which SteveK has a few things in common (the force of intended purpose), is everything that is not causal.

          “explain exactly what you mean by the phrase (cause/effect system) though.”
          Any limited system that can be described in terms of cause and effect. An example is the trajectory the object takes when shot putting.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shot_put

          The system consists of the shot and the Earth, eventually the air. It’s limited as any other influence is neglected, but above all because the velocity is not too high (so we can neglect relativity) and the scale is pretty large (so we can neglect quantum effects).

          What SteveK does is applying an analogy very common to apologists. The shot putter has an intended purpose, hence every single cause/effect system must have one. That includes the Universe and “the Director of the force of intended purpose” is called God.
          It’s a hasty generalization very much like Paley’s Watchmaker plus it’s based on a false assumption – the entire Universe is not a cause/effect system. It’s also outdated Aristotelean thinking.

        • Susan

          It’s also outdated Aristotelean thinking.

          RCC.

        • adam

          You mean rampant hypocrisy?

        • MNb

          “Randomness cannot create a sustained orderly cause/effect system.”
          BWAHAHAHAHA!

          Few things show ignorance better than this.

          1. Evolution is not random.

          http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-misconceptions.html

          Nr. 4.

          2. The correct term is not randomness but probability. Probability has a range from 0 to 1. A probability of 0 or 1 is called causality and a probability of exactly 0,5 is called randomness.

          Probability can create orderly cause/effect systems very nicely. The content of a gas cylinder is an example you might be familiar with. It’s poor terminology though and thus confirms your ignorance. A correct formulation is that the probabilistic movements of the gas molecules result in the cause/effect system called gas. Nothing is created.
          It’s a well understood process. The total randomness of throwing dice due to the Law of Large Numbers results in a nice cause/effect system. Typically probabilistic events on a small scale result in a cause/effect system on a large scale. In case of evolution probabilistic mutations result in the cause/effect system called natural selection.

          Make my day, contradict this and tell me that you’re a science denier.
          Make BobS’ day, affirm this and admit that morality perfectly can be the effect of evolution.

          3. “I believe nature has been directed by the force of intended purpose.”
          The key word is believe. There is no evidence for any intended purpose in the natural order, whatever that means. If you disagree you’re invited to present a test – outcome A is only possible on intended purpose, outcome B is only possible if nature lacks any purpose. All you apologists have are post hoc explanations, so I won’t hold my breath.

        • SteveK

          1) I’m not talking about evolution I’m talking about causal forces
          2) Statistics have no causal ability. By ‘random’ I mean without order. Unordered forces don’t produce sustained orderly effects.

        • Susan

          I’m talking about causal forces.

          What do you mean by ‘causal forces’?

          Statistics have no causal ability.

          What does that mean?

          By ‘random’ I mean without order.

          Please explain what you mean by ‘order’.

          Unordered forces don’t produce sustained orderly effects.

          Please elaborate.

          I’m not asking these questions to be difficult, Steve. It’s just that so far, you’re not saying anything.

          These terms are unclear and meaningless until you clarify them and show us what you mean.

        • MNb

          1) Then you don’t know anymore what you’re talking about – you wrote “The blind watchmaker thesis, nope.” which has everything to do with evolution.
          2) You lack comprehensive reading skills. I didn’t write “statistics have causal ability”. I explained how probability (described by statistics) on a small scale can result in causality.

          “By ‘random’ I mean without order.”
          As long as you don’t specify order you mean nothing at all as what you write is meaningless.

          “Unordered forces don’t produce sustained orderly effects.”
          The Blind Watchmaker – which you rejected above – is not an unordered force. It’s a metaphor for evolution by means of natural selection, which, as I already showed to you, is anything but unordered in any meaningful way.
          So you’re incoherent as well.

        • SteveK

          My reference to blind watchmaker was in the first paragraph which was about evolution. Your comment and my reply was about the second paragraph which was not about evolution.

          What form does probability have and what is it made of? Does it have mass, geometry, spin, energy, wavelength, etc?

        • MNb

          BWAHAHAHAHA!
          So you know better what my comment was about than I myself.
          But I’m all for second chances. Do you subscribe the idea that human morals are the effect of evolution, ie natural selection, yes or no?

          “What form does probability have and what is it made of? Does it have mass, geometry, spin, energy, wavelength, etc?”
          BWAHAHAHAHA!
          What form does causality have and what is it made of? Does it have mass, geometry, spin, energy, wavelength, etc?

        • MR

          Maybe we should have a runoff between probability and objective morality to see which can be demonstrated.

        • SteveK

          Are you 12?

          You commented on the term ‘randomness’ in the context of evolution AS IF that is how I was using it. I wasn’t.

          Yes, human morals are the product of evolution, etc but I don’t subscribe to the idea that human morals are identical to human morality.

          Given what you said about ‘probability’ you might understand why I asked those questions. You said “Probability can create orderly cause/effect systems very nicely.”

          Probability has the power to create orderly systems. Hmmm… It’s only reasonable to ask WHAT this thing is. Until you can, I’m laughing with you – and at you.

        • adam

          ” but I don’t subscribe to the idea that human morals are identical to human morality.”

          Well lets be honest about the kind of morality you support:

          Morality?

          It is really under biblical ‘morality’ ANYTHING goes except for blasphemy of the holy ghost.

          Yes, you can genocide and be forgiven.
          Yes, you can murder, rape and be forgiven.

          You can genocide every single individual in any group except lets say a baby and its mother, you can beat that baby to death, rape its lifeless body, then carve that baby up and eat it, cut off that mothers head and shit that baby down her throat…..

          And STILL be forgiven.

          So the biblical morality is the REAL case where anything goes…
          .
          .
          .
          Again except for blasphemy of the holey ghost,

          THAT is so horrible, that it is UNFORGIVABLE.

        • Susan

          human morals are the product of evolution, etc but I don’t subscribe to the idea that human morals are identical to human morality.

          It’s not likely that you’ll respond. You do love to type things without clarifying or supporting them but it’s important to ask. What do you mean?

          Probability has the power to create orderly systems. Hmmm… It’s only reasonable to ask WHAT this thing is

          MNb described probability and gave examples.

          So, what are you asking when you ask “WHAT this thing is”?

        • MR

          That doesn’t change the fact that saying, “Opinions rule the day” is misleading, as if subjective morality means all judgments are made because of the color of someone’s shirt. You want to deceptively pretend the whole system is based on willy-nilly individual judgments. You purposely bury the complexity of human behavior to suit your strawman.

        • SteveK

          Dress it up any way you want but the conclusion is the same. You’re arguing over details that don’t change anything. Morality is subjective.

        • MR

          I’m not dressing it up, you’re the deceitful one. The details change the conclusion enormously. You want to trivialize subjective morality so you can mock it; you’re mocking your own humanity.

        • SteveK

          How does changing the details result in anything other than the conclusion: morality is not objective, it’s subjective?

          Go ahead, please.

        • MR

          Weaselly Steve. The ol’ bait and switch. I bet Jesus loves when you fuck around like that. It kind of undermines your own argument. I’m supposed to believe you believe in objective morality when you don’t even try to live up to it yourself.

        • SteveK

          How does it change the conclusion? Spell it out.

        • MR

          Do you ask Jesus forgiveness every night when you play these deceitful games? Why do you put your soul in jeopardy like this? Maybe you don’t believe what you say anymore than we do. It appears that weasel traps are all you’ve got. I’m not going to bite. Too bad. I liked you when you were honestly engaged…. Well, until you revealed your racism.

        • SteveK

          Cue the dramatic music….

        • MR

          Honest sentiment, nonetheless.

        • Susan

          I liked you when you were honestly engaged..

          I must have missed that. Against, that’s not rhetoric. I don’t remember a single exchange with Steve when he was interested in engaging honestly.

          He’s playing gotcha games and that’s all he’s ever done. He’s evasive, thick, dishonest, smug and weaselly.

          From Steve:

          How does it change the conclusion? Spell it out.

          It depends on what he means by ‘subjective’. He can’t develop the discussion much past “it’s not objective. It’s subjective.” He’s not interested in morality in the least.

          It’s OK, though. He’s ‘dead in his trespasses and alive in Christ’ so he can be an ignorant asshole all he wants. He doesn’t have to do any thinking about it.

          Not all christians are like that but Steve is one of many I’ve encountered.

          There are beings who are capable of suffering and/or thriving who are impacted by our moral models.

          That is, there are REAL effects in the REAL world of the models of morality we act from. Our moral opinions matter in a REAL way.

          Catholicyahwehjesus is an imaginary deity manufactured by superstitious humans. Catholicyahwehjesus illuminates none of it. If it did, Steve would have made a case rather than evading every relevant question.

          This is what alive in Christ looks like when you’re Steve.

          Ick.

        • MR

          Oh, I think he and I had a run there were he was engaged. It was the closest I’d seen him come to actually presenting his own beliefs. I think he was being somewhat honest, anyway, when he let his guard down and gave that bigoted, law example, #thingsconservativesworryabout. His example really illustrated for me in a way I had never considered before just how baked subjectivity is into the courtrooms. The law is there to do its best to mitigate outcomes toward the greater good for society, but obviously it can’t tap into some existential greatest good.

          The jury system shows clearly how ultimately the whole thing hinges on exactly what Steve fears: opinion. The opinion of 12 members of society. Even more narrowly, therefore more subjectively: 12 peers. This is what we’ve been saying all along. The law is set up so that we’re judged by members of our tribe. And for all the work that the law does to guide them, ultimately they have the final say, and “fuck the law” if they want. No one holds them accountable.

          I was on one jury where we took an initial vote: 9-3 guilty. We all agreed that the guy shouldn’t have done what he did, but three of us didn’t believe he had broken the law. Over the next two days, we wrestled the nine members who had voted guilty to a non-guilty vote. The last guy was a staunch hold out and it came down to two conflicting moral principals. That guy, much like Steve, I think, believed that what the guy had done was wrong and that he should be punished for it, period. It didn’t matter how, he needed to be punished. My stance was that you can’t punish someone for a crime they didn’t commit. Yeah, it’s a shame there was no law on the books for this particular case, but to punish someone on a trumped up charge just to “get him” to me was the greater sin. The other juror was focused on the punishment of one man, and I was concerned about the injustice to the system. Wasn’t this the kind of thing, after all, that our founding fathers had fought against? Now, I have my thresholds, too. If someone had been harmed by what this guy did, I likely would have reconsidered letting him get off. At the same time, if someone had been harmed, other laws likely would have kicked in. Anyway, we had two conflicting moral beliefs. Twelve people. Eight of them were swayed by the opinion of one man, with one person [the last hold out] caving because of peer pressure. Objectivity takes yet another hit.

          You know, Steve is so worried someone will get off scot free or something because of the color of their shirt. The reality is, someone is more likely to be unjustly accused because of the color of their skin, and I’m not sure he’d have an issue with that.

          Anyway, at the end of the day, Steve has failed to make a case for objectivity and has only supported subjectivity in his examples. He thinks he’s clever by strawmanning the subjective argument, but the rest of us are just kind of scratching our heads at this transparent tactic. Like we don’t see it every day here.

          He’s playing gotcha games and that’s all he’s ever done. He’s evasive, thick, dishonest, smug and weaselly.

          Kind of undermines one’s position for objective morality, doesn’t it. 😉

          At least I got the ID admission out of him. That explains so much. ID to me is just that last ditch effort to cling to religion in the face of science. I like, though, that he’s “not like” the other ID-ers. Because God, in his infinite wisdom, has bypassed millenia of traditional religion to reveal the one, true, objective morality-based, mother of all religions to some anonymous, internet asshole.

          Oh, we muggles and our egos.

        • adam

          “Nothing more satisfying to see than subjective moral outrage”

          Wow, wait until you see biblical ‘morals’ no outrage unless you blaspheme the holey ghost

          Morality?

          It is really under biblical ‘morality’ ANYTHING goes except for blasphemy of the holy ghost.

          Yes, you can genocide and be forgiven.
          Yes, you can murder, rape and be forgiven.

          You can genocide every single individual in any group except lets say a baby and its mother, you can beat that baby to death, rape its lifeless body, then carve that baby up and eat it, cut off that mothers head and shit that baby down her throat…..

          And STILL be forgiven.

          So the biblical morality is the REAL case where anything goes…
          .
          .
          .
          Again except for blasphemy of the holey ghost,

          THAT is so horrible, that it is UNFORGIVABLE.

        • Kodie

          What you don’t seem to realize is that your religion is subjective. The morals you get from your religion are arbitrary opinions. When you consider who your actions might harm, you think of your imaginary friend, and that’s arbitrary as thinking of other people is, but what’s morally superior to behaving with a superstition when you use it to justify being an asshole to actual people?

        • MR

          What you don’t seem to realize is that your religion is subjective.

          Holy crap, can we talk? Where is the cohesiveness, the objectivity in religion? The moment you point to discrepancies they are jumping through hoops to explain it all way contradicting themselves and each other along the way! Is this the objective work of an all-knowing, all-powerful, all-loving God. Seems kind of muddled to me.

        • Kodie

          I keep saying that religion and god is the power of suggestion. They make tight social groups with rules of order for themselves, and what they care about, you have to care about. You actually come to care about it. You don’t know where it started, you think it must have come from god. This is actually referencing your post from a few days ago that I tried to respond to but got all over the place (even more than usual). I don’t think morals come from inside, really. There’s the part animal human that weighs the group’s opinions and incorporates them into their own beliefs. Religious people seem to think without objective morality, anyone could just choose to do anything, but we are all constrained by a group. In other posts, I am talking about how we treat animals, for example. Most people have no regard for it. Meat is yummy, and it overrides the disgustingness of eating something that used to be alive but was slaughtered and butchered and packaged for your convenience. It’s not survival situation, it’s habit.

          I eat meat, but I have moral feelings about that. I am using it to compare how little we think what an animal may want and justify killing it because we’re not simply hungry, but spoiled about how easy it is. When we’re just talking about people, SteveK justifies murder a lot, if it’s what god ordered, obedience is morally justified. It doesn’t matter if it was your neighbor you were commanded to love, or your father or mother you were commanded to honor (even justified killing your mother by not letting her abort you when your birth might kill her). If god commands you, you have to go against the commandments. If god says those people in that nation are born wicked, it’s righteous to treat them the same way you would exterminate a family of insects. Since we don’t consider they are just hungry like you are, like to live in a comfortable home like you do, etc., and have no moral issue against you personally, we take it personally and exterminate them with vengeance and extreme prejudice. SteveK is saying it’s ok to treat people just like that if god gives you the order or permission, but we never get that from god (just like we never get anything else directly from god), only his self-appointed spokesman, the one who really wanted to do whatever in the first place.

          Just like Hitler!

          Seriously, reading the bible and imagining god actually condoned some heinous act while Hitler was acting on his own totally, is some serious fucked up shit.

        • adam

          Morality?

          It is really under biblical ‘morality’ ANYTHING goes except for blasphemy of the holy ghost.

          Yes, you can genocide and be forgiven.
          Yes, you can murder, rape and be forgiven.

          You can genocide every single individual in any group except lets say a baby and its mother, you can beat that baby to death, rape its lifeless body, then carve that baby up and eat it, cut off that mothers head and
          shit that baby down her throat…..

          And STILL be forgiven.

          So the biblical morality is the REAL case where anything goes…
          .
          .
          .
          Again except for blasphemy of the holey ghost,

          THAT is so horrible, that it is UNFORGIVABLE.

        • adam

          Morality?

          It is really under biblical ‘morality’ ANYTHING goes except for blasphemy of the holy ghost.

          Yes, you can genocide and be forgiven.
          Yes, you can murder, rape and be forgiven.

          You can genocide every single individual in any group except lets say a baby and its mother, you can beat that baby to death, rape its lifeless body, then carve that baby up and eat it, cut off that mothers head and
          shit that baby down her throat…..

          And STILL be forgiven.

          So the biblical morality is the REAL case where anything goes…
          .
          .
          .
          Again except for blasphemy of the holey ghost,

          THAT is so horrible, that it is UNFORGIVABLE.

        • SteveK

          >> It’s interesting to me that you always fall back on your opponents argument when you have no way to defend your own, as if that somehow is a defense.

          We’re talking about your argument so it’s fitting that I reply accordingly. If you don’t like my answer, rethink your argument.

        • MR

          We’ve been talking about your non-argument for a day now. You’ve demonstrated that your non-argument is useless.

        • Susan

          The law has moral culpability baked into it via the term ‘justice system’.

          That’s a bit of a stretch. It can determine legal culpability.

          Ask a judge who had to send someone away for life due to the “three strike” system. Or someone who was burned at the stake for heresy and/or witchcraft.

          It’s subjectively determined, according to you.

          Try to answer a question, Steve. How do YOU determine moral culpability?

        • MR

          Steve seems to want it to be black and white. You did x, you’re guilty! If he can’t have it that way, he’s just going to piss and moan.

          What if someone didn’t know the documents were false, are they nonetheless to be judged morally culpable? What behavior determines their culpability? What about if they know the documents were false, but were coerced into doing any of these things? What if they are threatened with harm or death? What about a mentally handicapped person who knows they are false, but doesn’t understand that it is wrong, or knows that it is wrong, but is under the influence of people who are encouraging him to do it and he isn’t capable of understanding the implications? Or a child?

          If doing these things were to lead to a huge benefit to the state or country, say aiding a person who would turn the economy around? [edit: and ultimately no one cared how he got in the country because so much good was done.] What if it had meant aiding the Jews to escape Hitler’s Germany? What if not doing so would mean the downfall of the country or that people would die?

          Is behavior, is committing that act, still the objective factor in all these scenarios? If not, then how do we go about determining culpability? What do I consult to make that determination? Where is this magical objectivity?

          Some states have different laws. If manufacturing a [false] document in another state isn’t illegal, which state is objectively correct? Which state has the objectively moral law? Before there were documents, where did this objectivity lie? Has it always been wrong to manufacture, distribute and sell false documents in the millenia before documents ever existed?

          A cuckoo “manufactures and distributes” a false egg when it replaces another bird’s egg with its own. Is the cuckoo morally culpable? Is behavior itself the objective moral factor here as well?

          Doesn’t a victim of the crime have the right to decide if they will prosecute? What if they don’t care? Doesn’t the prosecutor have the right to decide if he will prosecute? Doesn’t the judge, at least in some instances, have the right to throw a case out of court? More importantly, doesn’t the jury have the right to decide whether the person is morally culpable? I mean, it seems to me that what he is calling “opinion” and what I call subjectivity is built right into our judicial system, into the checks and balances of our government. How could it be otherwise?

          When a law changes, which is the objectively correct law? The old law or the new law? If United States law differs from Canadian law, which is objectively correct? How do we determine that? If we determined that Canada was an objectively correct law, should that then overrule American law?

          Does he suggest we dump our current system? Perhaps. And replace it with what?

          I’m only rhetorically posing all these questions here because I know he won’t answer. [edit: to be fair, I shouldn’t expect him to answer every question, but I also don’t think he would bother to answer the dilemma these questions pose to his objective morality stance.] He’ll just go all grey and sullen and start pouting. He wants to wallow in his strawman argument that someone, somewhere, might get away with something. All because of the color of their shirt or something. Is this what conservatives worry about in their spare time? Christ.

          We do the best we can. The system is so obviously subjective and he just wants to complain about it and blame the people who call it what it is. The system’s not perfect; we do what we can to mitigate the shortcomings, but until this magical well of objective morality can be tapped, it’s all we got.

        • Susan

          You did x, you’re guilty! If he can’t have it that way, he’s just going to piss and moan.

          It’s painful watching Steve take no responsibility for moral claims and equate non-objective morality with moral relativism.

          That his imaginary deity gets to make it up as it goes along and has no moral obligation to real life agents that can suffer and/or thrive is about as willy-nilly as it gets.

          All he has to do is demonstrate objective morality. Then, he’d have to show how it has anything to do with a deity, specifically HIS deity.

          Of course, SteveK has made no effort to participate in any discussion, beginning with his pokes at Bob Seidensticker for his Liar, Lunatic or Lord argument.

          He has a peashooter and he’s not afraid to stay safely outside the arena and randomly aim it.

          That morality is not objective automatically means that it’s meaningless and we don’t care what position anyone takes. They are all equal.

          No. Beings who can suffer and who have some amount of empathy and reason run into endless problems as we try to calibrate our limited knowledge on a very old planet loaded with beings who suffer/hope/thrive/die.

          All those hundreds of millions of years of suffering are irrelevant. It’s all about Steve and his centrality vs. the strawmen he loves to erect and ignite.

          I’ve said it before. It’s the moral arguments that make me the most angry, that make me think carefully before I type because “Fuck you, you self-absorbed, cold-blooded, oblivious, son-of-a-bitch.” is not exactly a reasoned argument.

          That they poke at our compassion and rational extensions of compassion with thought experiments like “Is it moral to torture a baby for fun?” or “Wasn’t slavery always objectively wrong?” and act like without a deity, we would be adrift in a sea of meaningless relativism is frankly, more than I can stand.

          That that deity can create vulnerable biological beings for hundreds of millions of years who suffer unfathomably, or can order an eye blink of a tribe in an eye blink of a species to slaughter babies, children, parents and livestock and to say it ‘grounds morality’ is an affront.

          Welcome to catholic apologetics. (Not that I think you’re unfamiliar with it.)

        • Kodie

          because “Fuck you, you self-absorbed, cold-blooded, oblivious, son-of-a-bitch.” is not exactly a reasoned argument.

          That’s their basic assumption about subjective morality. You could decide it’s ok to kill someone and there you go free with no ultimate consequences (in jail for the rest of your life).

          If I am to understand SteveK’s latest journey through the legal system, he’s pretty much of the belief that we have these laws on the books because they’re objective. I don’t really understand using immigration documentation forgery as an example instead, unless he’s trying to say god doesn’t like immigrants so neither should we.

        • Susan

          If I am to understand SteveK’s latest journey through the legal system, he’s pretty much of the belief that we have these laws on the books because they’re objective.

          Of course, they’re objective because he feels strongly that they’re the right laws and are truly moral. We’re both only guessing as Steve is never clear.

          Laws protecting doctors from murder charges when they perform medical abortions would have been a more useful example.

          He still hasn’t addressed the state laws in Mississippi that kept blacks from voting in representative numbers,or laws on books about burning heretics/witches at the stake or the execution of political enemies by crucifixion in the Roman Empire.

        • Kodie

          Laws do not prohibit abortion now, so does he think those laws reflect human absorption of the god-grounded morality, or that laws on the books come from humans who agree to them? He has suggested that humans do not have access to objective morality, so they are still apt to be wrong about some things, which really just covers his bets either way. I found his latest line of trapping questions to be really incoherent. He is obviously trying to get us to go to some place with him, but the first mistake he makes is thinking we are as dumb as he is. We know he is trying to prove objective morality exists by tripping up someone on these questions.

          Hey SteveK, that’s not how you prove objective morality exists. All you are doing is attempting to wait until someone makes a mistake in their reasoning that would make your reasoning correct, but that’s not how it works. Trapping someone to agree with you does not mean they do agree with you. It does not mean objective morality exists and your reasoning is coherent or valid. Question for the ages – does religion make people too dumb or does religion succeed because it can always find dumb marks?

        • Susan

          Hey SteveK, that’s not how you prove objective morality exists.

          Steve doesn’t have to prove it. He simply has to pretend that morality is meaningless if it’s not ultimately meaningful (i.e. grounded by an agent that has no moral culpability to anything on the receiving end of morality) and then pretend that it’s either that or we have no business struggling with real-life moral issues.

          All you are doing is attempting to wait until someone makes a mistake in their reasoning that would make your reasoning correct

          That is, if we can’t make a perfect moral argument, accounting for every moral position, then he must be right. Catholicyahwehjesus is the only explanation.

          Ask him how catholicyahwehjesus explains morality and the answer is it just does ’cause it’s the thing that does.

          Question for the ages- does religion make people too dumb or does religion succeed because it can always find dumb marks?

          I think religion takes advantage of our errors in reasoning.

          I can think of a long list of people who took/take these claims seriously who are smarter than I am on a whole lot of subjects but on this subject didn’t/don’t show their best work.

          Newton, for instance. A very good nun I knew, too.

          Bad ideas can travel the world twice before a good idea has gotten its shoelaces tied. (Mauled paraphrase.)

          I think we make progress by examining ideas, making sure they’re coherent, insisting that we be consistent and that we support our positions every step.

          I’m not sure what else progress could look like when it comes to ideas.

        • MNb

          “All you are doing is attempting to wait until someone makes a mistake in their reasoning that would make your reasoning correct.”
          That’s binary thinking for you. Evolution Theory is wrong here, here and here, hence my creacrap is True.

        • MR

          I so wanted to point out that little piece of bigotry.

        • Susan

          I so wanted to point out that little piece of bigotry.

          It’s not bigotry. It’s divinely inspired by an incoherent, unevidenced agent that grounds ALL morality.

          See how simple it is?

        • Kodie

          Or, the real reason ImmigrantAmos stayed home was because we’ve met our quota of Irish, and he should have come here a century earlier when it was so much simpler. He’s actually fulfilled the law by finding the bureaucracy was stronger than his marriage – that’s the test. Every form he filled out went directly to a filing warehouse, generally referred to as a landfill. A real American would have put up with it.

          SteveK seems to think every law on the books was “allowed” there by god, even old laws that have been abolished. God’s morality never changes, but that doesn’t mean ours doesn’t. It’s grounded in whatever god sees fit for those people at that time. That means slavery was moral until it wasn’t anymore. Anyone who tries to pass a law god doesn’t like will be smited. Anyone who disobeys federal or state laws can’t get into heaven even if we never caught them defrauding INS documents. Basically, he’s living in a world where god sends people to hell because SteveK thinks they’re bad. Subjective! End of discussion.

        • MR

          Too bad those objective laws of his threw his ID nonsense out of court. Aw-kward!

        • MNb

          It seems to me that objective morality comes from the same erroneous source as for instance creationism and marxism: the human desire to establish The Truth once and forever. And everything that is not The Truth is a lie. It’s a form of binary thinking. We wear White Hats, they war Black ones.

        • Ron

          Is there moral culpability baked into “No Right on Red” or “One Way” or “Stop” or “Yield” or “No Parking”?

        • SteveK

          Yes. Laws are said to be justified.

        • Ron

          So in your opinion, making a right turn on a red light at a deserted intersection at 4 am would be morally wrong? Is that correct?

        • Susan

          Laws are said to be justified.

          Like burning heretics at the stake or crucifying politcal enemies.

          Who justifies them?

        • Kodie

          Well, we make decisions on outcomes and values. For example, it’s not morally wrong for you to drink, but if you value being understood, It’s probably a good idea to lay off the sauce.

        • Susan

          CA penal code 112-117

          Is this an example of objective morality? California law?

          Politicians, lobbyists, lawyers and the voters who support them put a law in the books.

          Are laws in books examples of objective morality?

          How about the laws in Mississippi that kept black people from voting according to their numbers? Were they moral?

          That there are external referents in the case of moral claims does not give you ‘objective morality’.

          Humans begin with moral assumptions and make moral claims based on those assumptions.

          Morality is meaningless without one of each of these:

          -a moral agent
          -a being with the capacity to suffer and/or thrive whose circumstances lie on the receiving end of that moral agent’s choices.

          That’s all. That doesn’t make it simple. It’s very complicated.

          Also, it’s not mostly benign like my choice of ice cream or whether or not I like ice cream at all. (The fate of cattle in the dairy industry is a different case).

          I wish it was objective like gravity. I wish there were clear answers and that I had access to them.

          I wish everyone agreed with my enlightened principles of morality because then, the world would be perfect.

          Sadly, I can’t claim moral facts. I can only make claims about facts in view of moral assumptions. 🙁

          It’s not objective.

        • If you have no evidence of objective morality, just say so.

        • MR

          What he’s trying to do is to get us to come up with evidence for objective morality because he can’t. 😉

        • And I’d honestly provide it if I had it. It just doesn’t exist as far as I can tell.

        • MR

          I agree. I can’t provide an example that doesn’t exist.

        • Susan

          For example?

        • MR

          And in all fairness to me answering your questions, answer ours. Please provide evidence of this objective morality of which you speak.

        • Susan

          ..if moral language describes some unique human behavior, does that same language apply to the behavior regardless of opinion?

          For example?

          Note to MR: He didn’t answer anyone’s questions.

        • MR

          Sigh…, I know. He’s repeatedly agreed that morals are subjective, claims that objective morality nonetheless exists, yet steadfastly provides no evidence. A bluff is a bluff is a bluff.

        • Susan

          Even though the cat changed considerably you knew those changes were not essential to cat-ness.

          At what point did any cat’s common ancestor begin to possess ‘catness’? When did ‘catness’ emerge? Was it always there just waiting around to exist? This doesn’t mean that what we call ‘cats’ don’t exist.

          I’m wearing a fake moustache as I type this to see if it will affect my Susanness. 🙂

          ‘Morality’ and ‘cat’ are about as reasonable a comparison as ‘justice’ and ‘cat’.

          All they have in common is that we mean to mean something when we say them.

          What does this have to do with ‘the good’?

        • MR

          And if we trace that lineage back to the common ancestor that we have in common with cats, is that ancestor of ours and the cats also a cat? And does that then make us cats, too? So complicated!

          I wrote the following earlier and this seems an appropriate place to put it, I hope you don’t mind, Susan:

          I think where Plato got it wrong was that he was trying to make sense out of why things had commonalities from the perspective of the end results, he was taking a cross section of time, his time, and asking, “Why are leaves mostly green and oval-shaped? Why do all humans love and fear? Why do we call houses, houses. All these commonalities and connections in all these things flung far and wide, what is the connection? There must be some thing they mirror. Some objective form that ties them together, otherwise how can so many things be so similar?”

          What he failed to do was look back, below the surface, beyond his narrow cross section of time into the past. How could he know? Those connections aren’t here, today. We’re just the tips of the branches. The connections are in our past and lie at the cruxes of evolution. We…, humans, life, things, even ideas, are tied to a past, a point in time where something began. We didn’t spring fully-formed from the head of Zeus mirroring some Platonic form or ideal, we’re a result of evolution, of our DNA, and all those things we have in common can be traced back, back to a point in time when they developed in our ancestral history, and back further to a time when they didn’t even exist.

          There is no “nose” form that all noses mirror, trace it back in time to the first ancestral creature with a nose, an ancestor that we and cats and birds and fish and every creature that has a nose shares. There is your nose form, in that first creature with a nose. And then trace it back further to a proto-nose, and even further to no nose. Plato…, we look around and say wow, all these creatures have noses, how did that happen?! How do living things know to have noses? Just look in our DNA, look in our past and you have your answer.

          Aristotle was on the right path when he suggested that the “form” wasn’t out there in some Platonic ideal, rather, the form was in the thing itself. He couldn’t know about DNA, but he understood that what makes a dog a dog, was in the dog itself. Dogs beget dogs. And before that, proto-dogs begat proto-dogs, and keep going back until dog-form didn’t exist…, and where does that distinction between dog and not dog lie? What grain of sand makes a pile? What gene change makes a dog? And as dogs evolve into something else, what gene change will make them no longer a dog? The term “dog” is just an arbitrary term applied to an animal form at a period of time somewhere along a continuous spectrum. It’s simply an arbitrary label for something that is everchanging, a label we use for our convenience in our time now. Nothing more. Taken in the grand scheme of things the label is meaningless.

          The same for other things: Houses, houses, everywhere! There must be some connection some “form” they mirror! But we can trace, trace, trace it back to the first person who stacked two bricks on top of each other, or the first person who piled branches into a lean to or found a cave and called it home. That idea, that meme, was passed on to others and worked its way up, up, up through time and civilization and exploded into a million examples of homes and we look around today and we’re tempted to believe that the concept of house or home is somehow a concept in and of itself. But it’s really just a copy of a copy of a copy of that very first structure. The genesis of “house” of “home.” No objective houseness. It’s really nothing special.

          The same for morality. Morality isn’t an objective thing. It can be traced back, back, back to the first beginnings of moral behaviors in our ancestors. From there it passed forward from one generation to another in our collective DNA. We look around in our cross section of time, we just see the surface, and say, “Oh my God, even the Chinese have morals! There must be some objective morality from whose teat we all suckle.”

          But our connection isn’t with some objective morality that exists in the here and now, in this cross section of time that we live in. We’re just the very tips of all the branches of humans and proto-humans, going back, back, back in time to the first moral beliefs based on the first beneficial or detrimental behaviors that were then passed on from individual to individual in ever-splitting branches of humanity, but all tied back in time to that very first moment and that very first split.

        • Susan

          I hope you don’t mind, Susan:

          Of course not. It’s an open discussion. Anyway, I’m very glad you did. It’s a lovely piece of writing. One of your best and that means top notch.

          I agree about Aristotle’s progress on that subject. Not that I’m an expert but well described.

        • Golly–I see your point. It is good to have you around, asking clarifying questions.

          Or perhaps we’re just seeing a rearguard action.

        • Clearly stated, thanks.

        • MR

          I blame Plato for this stupid categories/forms shit. Even Aristotle, his own pupil, didn’t buy into it.

        • Kodie

          Here’s how I would break it down. Let’s just talk about murder.

          It’s wrong to kill someone who didn’t do anything to you.
          It’s right to kill someone if they’re actively attacking you, or you think they might.
          It’s wrong to kill someone if you hate them.
          It’s right to kill someone if your government hates their government.
          It’s wrong to kill someone by a careless error or a negligent behavior, but we forgive some of these, while not forgiving others. I.e., don’t drink and drive, but if you are just sleepy, it’s hard to blame you even if someone dies, unless you hit-and-run, thinking you just hit a bump or ran into a deer.

          It’s right to kill almost every animal in an inhumane manner, because fuck animals, but wrong to treat any of them inhumanely if they are being used for research.

          It’s right to kill an animal who killed a person even if they have calmed down now and being properly handled so as not to harm anyone else.
          It’s right to kill an animal who reacted naturally to abuse or taunting by a handler or any other person, including entertainment personalities such as bullfighters or circus people.

          It’s right to imprison animals and handle them restrictively so they are safely observed by humans.

          It’s right to accidentally kill your pet fish as though it were a plant you forgot to water.

          It’s wrong to kill someone who is brain-dead or in a coma for a very long time, or has even made a living will where they propose actions others are to take if they are in that situation.

          It’s right to let someone die if they wish no extreme measures be taken to revive them, so long as whatever happened to them will certainly cause their death.

          It’s wrong to let someone make their own decision to die on purpose if the process will take under an hour, even if their death is imminent.

          It’s wrong to impose laws on people that may prevent them from taking their own life through the long-term course of destructive behavior.

          It’s possibly wrong to impose warnings on people that the things they legally consume have destructive health effects.

          It’s ok to euthanize an animal.

          It’s perfectly ok to sterilize any animal which you don’t want to procreate from having sex with other animals.

          Taking any action to prevent the creation and gestation of human life is wrong.

          Raping someone (anyone) seems to be mostly ok, unless it’s an animal.

          It’s right to consider gay men predatory and looking to hook up or even rape boys in scout meetings, but not religious settings, and men in gyms, sports teams, and the military, and be threatened.
          Girls on girls are right unless one or both look or dress like a man.

          It’s right to consider women available for sex in almost any outfit, any time of day, especially if you know her or are related to her by marriage or by blood.

          But incest is wrong.

          Sodomy is wrong except if the recipient is actually a female, but not an animal of either sex.
          It’s not child pornography to calculate how long until an attractive female turns 18.

          It’s not child pornography to tell a prepubescent girl that she better cover her belly and upper thighs.

          Sorry I wandered off murder, but there are so many things I know are right and wrong because of religious dogma.

        • Susan

          It’s logically explained through a branch of philosophy and explains how rape, murder, etc can actually be objectively evil.

          Every single time you were asked to provide this logical explanation, you provided nothing.

          I’m all ears. What is the logical explanation?

        • Whoa–hold on. Didn’t Steve tell you to not be mean to him by asking questions? Have you no courtesy?

        • Susan

          I can’t help myself, insolent child that I am.

        • Kodie

          There’s really no talking to you if you won’t even try to understand when people say subjective they don’t mean it doesn’t matter.

        • MR

          But that’s his strawman. His argument falls apart if we all care simply because we have a collective vested interest because we’re all human. We’re in this together; that’s why we care. He desperately wants it to come from the outside, and we’re, like, “Are you human? That’s reason enough.”

          That’s why it’s so bizarre-ass to us to think you need some spy in the sky to constantly tell you you shouldn’t murder, rape or cheat on your wife. Really? Are you that broken? It goes back to Dumbo’s feather. Those feelings you call morals…, that’s all you!

        • Susan

          Kodie said:

          you won’t even try to understand when people say subjective they don’t mean it doesn’t matter

          MR said:

          that’s his strawman

          In a nutshell.

        • And we still don’t have your demonstration of objective morality. My suggestion: just admit that you don’t have one so we stop hassling you about it.

        • Kodie

          From his subjective opinion, everyone else’s morality is objectively wrong! We’re all doing it wrong! SteveK is the judge.

        • TheNuszAbides

          Morals can be artificially disrupted or damaged by physical causes (drugs, alcohol, brain damage). This isn’t the work of an objective thing outside of us.

          i know this particular angle will fall on deaf ears when core presuppositions include that Sin(TM) damages the moral compass and that Evil(TM) refers [in overly-vaunted medieval fashion] to both [im]moral motive and physical deficiency (illness, damage). cue Catholic tripe.

        • MR

          Hence we get beliefs like the one that amputees deserve not to have their limbs grow back.

          The idea that a pharmaceutical drug–chemicals–or that a tumor, or a knock on the head can screw up someone’s supposed moral compass tells me that morality is tied to our physical brain, not some objective well we tap into.

          This is also why we treat the mentally-handicapped differently when it comes to crime. Sadly, many church leaders in trying to find someone, anyone to blame, look back at the parents or ancestors to blame. Think about the Zika babies. A virus from a mosquito bite becomes a reason to blame parents or grandparents to the seventh generation for some imagined sin.

        • You make the claim of objective reality but now it’s everyone else who’s obliged to defend their position? I think you have your burden of proof confused.

        • SteveK

          I haven’t made that claim here. Elsewhere yes, but I don’t make it a point to discuss claims I made elsewhere. Takes too much time away from discussing the claims you’ve made here.

        • Kodie

          Then you’re not arguing in good faith. We already know that.

        • Kodie

          You’re only interested in fantasy.

        • Kodie

          But it’s true, life isn’t always fair. You might have noticed that. That’s not going to stop us from attempting to make the best assessment we can with the knowledge we have at the moment.

          Life is hardly ever fair. I think that’s how religion works – these people take “the fall” to be perfectly fair. It’s god’s prerogative, and we should all feel blessed that he lets us live at all, even if we’re miserable, because he has the power to smite willfully. Morality based on this god has only one thing going, and that’s if you thank god you’re alive, then you’re ok, and if you willfully take it for granted by rejecting god, you’re not ok. This is a story they invented because bad things happen to good people, and bad people get away with doing stuff they shouldn’t. God’s justice will take care of it in the end, they believe, but in the meantime, they do everything they can to do god’s job for him and damn people to hell themselves, or worse, treat them to a little violence, exclusion, and personal judgment.

          As to why people are religious, it is not just these stellar arguments that appeal to their needs and insecurities, but that they are mentally overpowered by another person’s tendency to judge them, and wanting to belong to a group. “God” sure comes in handy when you want people to align. They don’t even notice the power of suggestion coming from people, they don’t notice the power of moralizing and judging them that comes from a group of people who say they are only repeating what god says.

          In reality, life is hardly ever (even maybe never) fair. Even Christians sometimes believe in karma, without really knowing what karma is. They believe if they have a bad day, a good day is coming. They believe the days average out, you get what you give, you take what’s coming to you and know that what you have you deserve. They even say (god says) we can’t appreciate goodness without some evil, some unpleasantness. That’s fucking horseshit, it’s animal psychology. I don’t know what you would call it. It’s manipulation. It’s one way of approaching the problem called life, that we each can only control so much and bad things can and do happen. But it’s two different things to have an attitude that things will not always go the way you wish they had, and that’s the way things are, and that’s the way god made it just so we could really appreciate the good times. Of course, the reward is 100% good times and the punishment is 100% bad times, so nobody can appreciate anything when they’re dead.

          I’ve understood karma to not be in any kind of instant effect, but rather, another fictional idea that your whole life is accounted and you’re given another life based on how good your scores in this life were.

          But what I really wanted to say is, in reality, life isn’t fair. People can try to overcome nature just like we do when we build houses on stilts or wear a down jacket, or drive somewhere in a car, people can share with others who don’t have as much, realizing we can’t all have the same job and not all jobs are valued as much in society, and even say some jobs should be valued more, like teaching, a popular example, or that motherhood should be an actual paying job. We give a lot of empty morale boosters to mothers, because traditionally, we consider them hired by their husbands to take care of the housework and all that other nasty bullshit. If a mother does have a paying job, she pays someone else to do those things, right? The religious seem to think people are naturally selfish and wouldn’t share unless god told them to share. That may be because people can be pretty selfish and looking out for their own survival. Each person needs a few people they consider a family or a tribe, but they don’t help each other that much. Most people work for themselves, and pay someone to do work for them, pay stores to sell them what they need, it’s a little detached that way – your hunt isn’t feeding me, I worked and with my paycheck, I bought my own dinner. Because it’s that way, people feel that it ought to be that way. If you can’t get your own dinner, what am I supposed to do about that? Unless it’s Christmas, I don’t get the feels for your neediness. When you are paid to do stuff, it’s hard to want to do stuff you don’t get paid to do.

          TL;DR – Morality is just how we figure out how much we have to give in order to stay alive. It might not ought to be that way, it seems like people are arguing that people are way more moral than I think they are, just because we’re not cutting each other’s throats for a parking space (usually). To the religious, without god, cutting each other’s throats is exactly how we would handle looking for a parking spot, and there’d be nothing wrong with it.

        • Susan

          You are starting to show your deceptive side again.

          Starting? Could you link me to a single honest response from Steve K?

          A single example would suffice

        • MR

          I…, I got nothing’. 🙁

        • Susan

          I got nothing.

          You know I’m serious, right?

          It’s not rhetorical.

          _____

          (Edit:) Of course you do.

        • Kodie

          I would categorize SteveK’s responses in several categories, I suppose all of them dishonest:

          – straw man category
          – I already explained that to you category
          – nothing I can say will satisfy you category

          Honest categories:

          – you’re really annoying me category.

        • MR

          No, I do. That’s why I find it so fascinating that someone can talk about objective morality while so blatantly flaunting the opposite. He digs his own holes. He makes our points for us. These are the people who showed me my religion was a farce. And I thank you for providing him the rope.

        • Susan

          I thank you for providng him the rope.

          I can’t take credit for the rope He brought his own.

        • False. It’s just plain immoral.

          That bout with the dictionary didn’t help you figure out the grounding for these moral concepts, I guess?

        • SteveK

          I agree that it’s false. Just testing the waters.

        • TheNuszAbides

          i’m having trouble imagining “human nature” being coherently defined while excluding any feasible behavior or attitude; humans are cowardly and brave, clever and stupid, generous and selfish, trusting and suspicious, honest and deceitful, cruel and merciful, homicidal and suicidal and pacifistic, social and antisocial; what behavior ever displayed by humans can be disqualified from ‘accord with human nature’? it seems much like an ought/is trap.

        • SteveK

          I didn’t imply that human nature excluded these things.

        • TheNuszAbides

          but what could it exclude that would be an option for any human ‘outside of’ or ‘alternative to’ “according”?

        • SteveK

          I’m not following you. Can you rephrase the question?

        • TheNuszAbides

          maybe you could unpack what would not be “according to human nature” by a sample definition of human nature, then. or pick a more exacting phrase than “human nature”. i know i’m not alone in considering the concept of “human nature” synonymous with “human behavior” – which is limited only by the entire breadth of instances of human activity. i.e. it’s ‘human nature’ to be cowardly, brave, clever, stupid, peaceful, violent, cruel, merciful, vindictive, forgiving, everything in between, etc. – all with a limitless dose of ‘and/or’.

          i don’t see any reason to assume or presume that {any behavior} by {any human} can or should be categorized as “outside of” human nature, or “contrary to” human nature, or in any other way excluded from the set-up i infer from your statement about ‘no obligation’, which frankly appears to be a false choice: i.e. if there is no ‘obligation’ to live ‘according’ to ‘human nature’–implying that there might be something else to ‘accord’ with–what exactly would be an [human] alternative?

          or (thought experiment time) if there were an obligation to live according to human nature, suggest a ‘defiant’ alternative by which one might live and justify that alternative being categorized as ‘nonhuman’ or ‘unnatural’ or otherwise Other.

          if you’re actually referring to something like human society and shunning, punishment, et al., then “human nature” was a misleading choice of phrasing.

        • SteveK

          >> i know i’m not alone in considering the concept of “human nature” synonymous with “human behavior” – which is limited only by the entire breadth of instances of human activity.

          To know human behavior requires first that you know what a human is, and what is not human. You have to grasp the term ‘human nature’ before you can sort out the particular behaviors. Otherwise you’d assign human behaviors to non-humans. That term refers to what a human being is. I’m letting the naturalist define it according to that worldview

        • 90Lew90

          You’ve neglected to define what ‘human nature’ even is. And you’ve done nothing whatsoever to establish that there is anything objective or absolute about morality or its source.

        • SteveK

          I’m not attempting to establish what you’re saying. I’m attempting to discuss what is factually true about your worldview.

        • 90Lew90

          A good starting point would be to understand and agree on what we mean by certain terms. In fact, if we can’t do that there’s no point.

        • I’m attempting to discuss what is factually true about your worldview.

          And your worldview? Is that off limits or can we discuss that as well?

        • SteveK

          It’s off limits here.

        • Interesting. You’re free to attack other views, but when it comes to yours, that’s off limits? That surprises me. I would’ve thought that you’d be almost pushy in wanting to advance your position. You know, for the Kingdom.

        • Greg G.

          Watch your step, Mister. SteveK is moderating here. His claims are not to be questioned.

        • SteveK

          I discuss my views elsewhere. I come here for multiple reasons but not for that. I don’t really care if anybody responds to the comments I write. I don’t need to have dialogue, but will engage where I think it is interesting or if it will help me to learn how others think.

          I don’t get off on the typical “you made a claim now prove it to me” conversations that seem to be the norm around here.

          I’d rather correct falsehoods where I can and talk about how/why a person thinks what they do rather than stomp my feet and shout “prove it!” at every turn.

        • Then I misunderstood, because it looks like you do indeed demand “prove it!” of other people; you just don’t like backing up claims yourself.

        • Kodie

          He doesn’t like it because he can’t. He says that’s not why he’s here, and of course, not why he likes to enter such discussions. I would put him in the category with colloseum is full – someone who knows their arguments are worth shit so they don’t even bother to propose them. On the other hand, they disagree with us and come here to loudly do so without learning anything or listening or having any input of value to the discussion. Troll.

        • MNb

          But infallible SteveK of course doesn’t produce any falsehoods that need to be corrected. So much for christian modesty.

        • Kodie

          SteveK, you’re not trying to understand anything, and if you disagree, your obligation is to supply an alternative, with supporting arguments. There is nothing you can simply claim is true without backing it up. You are free to disagree with anyone, but if you start up, your shallow unsupported opinion is meaningless. If you lack the capacity to explain your position to us, just cut out. Don’t complain when people ask you questions you’re not prepared to answer, it’s nobody’s fault but yours for bringing up unsupportable horseshit.

        • SteveK

          Thank you for the diagnosis Dr. Freud.

          It’s times like these that I do find value in the “prove it” argument – only because you insist on it. You made several claims here that need to be supported. I’m not convinced that I’m obligated to do anything. Don’t bring up unsupportable horseshit, Kodie.

        • Kodie

          Why didn’t you address these items if you have a problem with them, and I’ll try to clear it up for you. Like a plumbah!

        • Susan

          It’s times like these that I do find value in the “prove it” argument –

          Yes. We know. It only goes one way with you.

          You made several claims here that need to be supported.

          Let’s see. She said:

          your obligation is to supply an alternative, with supporting arguments. There is nothing you can simply claim is true without backing it up.

          It’s true for everyone and is well supported. You don’t get a special exemption.

          your shallow unsupported opinion is meaningless.

          Anyone’s shallow, unsupported opinion is meaningless. Again, that’s basic.

          I’m not convinced that I’m obligated to do anything.

          Of course not. We’re all volunteers. But you don’t get to shirk your burden and expect to be taken seriously. Nobody does.

          Don’t bring up unsupportable horseshit, Kodie.

          I direct the jury’s attention to Steve K’s commenting history.

        • Susan

          I’d rather correct falsehoods where I can

          Where have you done that?

          I don’t get off on the typical “you made a claim now prove it to me” conversations that seem to be the norm around here

          And are standard in philosophical and scientific discussions.

          That is, you made a claim. Now, support it.. It’s not a fetish. It’s basic.

          rather than stomp my feet and shout “prove it!” at every turn

          No one’s stomping their feet. No one’s shouting. They are asking you to support your claims.

        • TheNuszAbides

          how many [coherent] definitions of ‘human nature’ do you think are possible?

        • SteveK

          I figure there can only be one true definition since there is only one reality. That one definition could be that human nature doesn’t exist.

        • 90Lew90

          We might say then that “Christian morality” is a cultural ethical system built upon hard-wired moral sensibilities which are present and observable in humans — including infants — and animals. Nothing “transcendent” about it. It is a set of ideas among many others, some similar, some sharply divergent. As a Christian, presumably you think the Christian system is the best and wisest, but that’s open to strong dispute. Most of it isn’t original to Christianity, so it can’t necessarily entail the existence of the Christian god, because it predates Jesus and was borrowed and tacked onto Christianity much later by thinkers.

          I too have a problem understanding what you mean by “human nature”. As is pointed out by TheNusz below, that has a strong whiff of the naturalistic fallacy about it.

        • SteveK

          >> We might say then that “Christian morality” is a cultural ethical system built upon hard-wired moral sensibilities which are present and observable in humans — including infants — and animals. Nothing “transcendent” about it.

          You’re projecting. This is not true about Christian morality.

          >> As a Christian, presumably you think the Christian system is the best and wisest, but that’s open to strong dispute.

          So? Everyone thinks the same way. If your system isn’t factually correct/true/applicable *for me and others* because it’s not an objective feature of reality then why do you try to impose your opinions on us?

          >> Most of it isn’t original to Christianity, so it can’t necessarily entail the existence of the Christian god, because it predates Jesus and was borrowed and tacked onto Christianity much later by thinkers.

          This just makes it all the more clear that you have no idea what Christian’s are saying about morality.

          >> I too have a problem understanding what you mean by “human nature”.

          I’m leaving it undefined for now.

        • 90Lew90

          I’m not projecting, and you’ve neglected to say what is true of Christian morality.

          What “opinions” am I imposing on you? I’ve asked you a series of questions and extrapolated as well as possible from your answers to try to discern what your position actually is, which is difficult because you’re as vague as mud and pretty evasive. Everyone doesn’t think the same way. I’d have thought that was fairly clear from this exchange alone.

          If I’ve got it so wrong about what Christians say about morality, perhaps you could show me where I’m going wrong. That’s the way these things usually work.

          If you’re going to avoid defining a term — in this case ‘human nature’ — then I’d suggest you stop using it.

        • SteveK

          >> I’m not projecting, and you’ve neglected to say what is true of Christian morality.

          I told you. Christian morality entails, by necessity, the existence of God and his purposes for creation. That’s all I’m going to say on the subject.

          >> What “opinions” am I imposing on you?

          Your majority opinion about behavior help determine what laws govern my life.

          >> I’ve asked you a series of questions and extrapolated as well as possible from your answers to try to discern what your position actually is, which is difficult because you’re as vague as mud and pretty evasive.

          That’s because I’m talking about your position, not mine.

          >> If you’re going to avoid defining a term — in this case ‘human nature’ — then I suggest you stop using it.

          I used the term within the context of describing your position. If you don’t like it, pick another term. I was attempting to refer to the essence of what it means to be a human being. We are talking about them so I figured there must be a term.

        • 90Lew90

          I told you. Christian morality entails, by necessity, the existence of God and his purposes for creation. That’s all I’m going to say on the subject.

          So as far as you’re prepared to go in defining “Christian morality” is to say that it involves your god. Well forgive me, but that’s not very helpful at all.

          I asked you what opinion I was imposing on you. You said: Your majority opinion about behavior help determine what laws govern my life.

          You’ve lost me. Completely. It would help if the sentences you submit made sense.

          You’ve said that you want to discuss my opinion, not yours. The way these things proceed is that we get on the same page first, and understand our terms. I’m perfectly happy to give an account of where I stand on this — which is with the scientific consensus — but in order to have any kind of discussion at all, we need to agree on where we both stand at the outset. To that end, you’re doing nothing to draw me out, and when I try to draw you out to that end, you get all coy. This behaviour is not making me want to continue very much, because I’ve seen it all before.

          You say you used the term ‘human nature’ in the context of describing my position. I can describe my position by myself thanks, and how could you know what my position is when I haven’t given it to you. Further, I never used the term ‘human nature’. That was you. I wasn’t aware that you were referring to “the essence of what is means to be a human being”. I thought we were talking about naturalistic morality as an evolved trait versus “Christian morality” which may or may not be an evolved trait, according to you. By your account, Christian morality is the same but different.

          I’m sorry but it strikes me as though you’re pretty incompetent at this. Until today’s exchange I was almost about to do some work to argue seriously with you, thinking you might be up to it. I’m sitting here with a pile of books beside me. Alas, I think I’d be pissing in the wind. Back to the shelves with them.

        • SteveK

          >> Well forgive me, but that’s not very helpful at all.

          I wan’t helping you understand the facts, I was stating facts.

          >> I can describe my position by myself thanks

          Please do.

          >> I’m sorry but it strikes me as though you’re pretty incompetent at this.

          You could be right.

        • 90Lew90

          I think I probably am right as it happens. For you to say something along the lines of, ‘Christian morality involves [your] god’ is useless to the conversation. And I’m willing to bet you haven’t the first clue about the naturalistic explanation for the origin of morality, so we’re on a hiding to nothing here, aren’t we. Why bother with you?

        • SteveK

          Okay.

        • Susan

          I told you. Christian morality entails, by necessity, the existence of God and his purposes for creation.

          That says nothing about its morality. It certainly doesn’t provide objective morality or any evidence for it.

        • Kodie

          He’s saying if there’s a god, then anything that serves his purpose is moral. If he tells you not to murder anyone, then you better not murder anyone. If he gives you permission to murder someone, then it’s ok. God has reasons we can’t know and shouldn’t question. We only hear what he wants from some person, but we don’t ever question their ulterior motive if they should recruit us to murder for god. Murder, murder, murder. Aside from sex and money, it’s one of those Christian things where they can’t think of anything else. They are waiting their whole lives for someone to give them permission to murder shit. Without god, we’d be murdering all the time, but we have to wait until he gives the green light.

        • adam

          “Let me say it this way, naturalistic morality exists but is not the same
          as Christian morality because Christian morality entails, by necessity,
          the existence of God and his purposes for creation.”

          Christian Morality?

          It is really under biblical ‘morality’ ANYTHING goes except for blasphemy of the holy ghost.

          Yes, you can genocide and be forgiven.
          Yes, you can murder, rape and be forgiven.

          You can genocide every single individual in any group except lets say a baby and its mother, you can beat that baby to death, rape its lifeless body, then carve that baby up and eat it, cut off that mothers head and shit that baby down her throat…..

          And STILL be forgiven.

          So the biblical morality is the REAL case where anything goes…
          .
          .
          .
          Again except for blasphemy of the holey ghost,

          THAT is so horrible, that it is UNFORGIVABLE.

    • Susan

      then we are left wondering which human behavior, psychology and reaction is “the good”. We’ll never know.

      We know that “the good” in ethical terms is connected somehow to the consequences to beings that can suffer and/or thrive. Deities aren’t necessary, nor are they convincing on the subject. Deities don’t fix a thing.

      Morality based on deities is inevitably and immediately gored on one of Euthyphro’s horns.

      Don’t revert to the “catholicyahwehjesus grounds morality”. That’s just a sign that you don’t understand the question. People here asked you a lot of questions about how that worked, you got blustery and defensive and never answered a single one.

      Ask for evidence and you attack the person who asked. Everyone notices that if you had evidence, you would have provided it. It’s hard to believe that you don’t notice it yourself.

      What is “the good”? See my first paragraph. Unless you have examples that don’t fall under that category.

      • steele

        Your new to this aren’t you? Euthyphro’s dilemma is hardly insurmountable for a theist to rebut

        http://www.str.org/articles/euthyphro-s-dilemma#.VgcW5JctrfY

        You keep trying Susan you will get there one day 😉

        • Susan

          Your new to this aren’t you?

          It depends what you mean by new.

          I read your link. How is this a refutation strong rebuttal?

          You keep trying Susan you will get there one day 😉

          Thanks, coach.

          _____

          Edit: to strike and replace.

        • It’s a little harder to surmount accurately.

          This trick simply changes the dilemma to: Is something good because God’s nature says so, or does God’s nature say so because it’s good? Is “God’s nature” changeable (morality could be something else) or not? If not, what does God’s character conform to? And we’re back to the original problem, with arbitrary vs. external.

        • Susan

          And we’re back to the original problem, with arbitrary vs. external.

          Yep. A true dilemma. It’s inescapable.