Colorado students could teach their school board a thing or two about history

Colorado students could teach their school board a thing or two about history September 25, 2014

Students from seven suburban Denver high schools walked out yesterday to protest changes to history curriculum proposed by the majority conservative Jefferson County school board. We aren’t just seeing known culture warriors like the Texas Board of Education attempting to promote American Exceptionalism at the expense of accurate history.

How about that engaged students, who get the point?
How about that engaged students, who get the point?

So, the comments to the effect of, “Meh, why doesn’t Texas just secede?” These comments are missing the point on several levels.

What is so refreshing about this demonstration is that these students have been taught the history of civil disobedience so well that they are standing up to bigoted authorities.  Their teachers also staged a sick out that shut down two schools.  The problem isn’t that they don’t understand politics as usual. They don’t shrug their shoulders in response to injustice; they do something about it.

Why don't the authorities get this?
Why don’t the authorities get this?

Here are some of the social media parodying some of what the adults in authority would like students to learn about the good ole U.S.A.

Jen Caltrider@caltrider  "This woman is really, really happy. " #VacuumingInHeelsRocks #JeffCoSchoolBoardHistory #copolitics
Jen Caltrider@caltrider
“This woman is really, really happy. ” #VacuumingInHeelsRocks #JeffCoSchoolBoardHistory #copolitics

If you know history, the protesters of the Civil Rights era would have said, “Right on!” Only this school board doesn’t want you to read about that, because it would destroy the American Exceptionalism myth they want to sell to kids.

If only Rosa Parks followed orders & sat where she was supposed to, Bengazi never would have happened#JeffCoSchoolBoardHistory#copolitics

 

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  • Jeff Ryan

    A correction is in order: Denver is not in Jefferson County. It is in Denver County. Hence, these are not “Denver high schools”.

    Thought that should be said.

    • I will edit it to reflect “suburban” Denver students which is the original intent of the source.

  • Onamission5

    I saw this on Daily Kos yesterday, and it warmed my cynical little heart. People like to bash on both teenagers and the US educational system, but here we’ve got representative examples of that pairing acting up in their own best interests– these students want to learn, and are willing to take to the streets to protect their rights to accurate, factual information, however difficult it is to hear.

    Good work, students and teachers, and keep it up!

  • my2cents

    I read this article the other day and it made me very happy to see students standing up for something and exercising civil disobedience. Lately the only student protesting I’ve read about seems to be about dress code this has a bit more substance to it.

  • Not only the Kids, Teachers staged their own protest last week, calling in sick and thereby shutting down two area high schools in protest of changes proposed for the history curriculum.

    • machintelligence

      Please try not to conflate the two protests. The teachers are upset with the flawed grading system that the board is going to use to set salary levels. The students (and their parents) are upset with the proposed changes in the AP History curriculum. The school board is branding the students as pawns of the teachers’ union. This is not the case and it looks like the parents and students will get some say in the review process. We will have to see how it works out, since nobody trusts the board.

  • L.Long

    And people wonder why teenagers think they are smarter than the adults around them.

  • Cornell

    These cosmic accidents are doing a good job for the purposeless universe.

    Pretending that we have an objective moral obligation that preserves rights for conglomerations of matter in motion is a good way to propagate our DNA for our kin.

    • EnlightenmentLiberal

      PS: We’re not social Darwinists.

      People get struck by lightning sometimes. It’s a fact. The first step to stopping needless deaths by people getting struck by lightning is to recognize that sometimes people get struck by lightning. Recognizing this is a fact of our shared reality is the first step to changing our reality to something better. Oftentimes, morality is about acting contrary to nature.

      Similarly, evolution is a fact, but that doesn’t mean we should help it along. Oftentimes, morality is acting contrary to evolution. That’s why we liberals and nonbelievers in the US more often support free government health care than the Christian Republicans. We liberals and nonbelievers care about our neighbors. We are acting against evolution by supporting free government health care because we recognize that survival of the fittest is a bad state of affairs.

      • Cornell

        Hey Enlightenment

        Liberals and nonbelievers are basically only moreso out for liberals and nonbelievers, just like Christian republicans are moreso out for Christian republicans, so stop trying make yourselves look like you really give two poops about the lives of Christian republicans BEFORE your own.

        Secondly how in the world do you act against evolution? That sounds just as silly as saying that one can act against the laws of gravity.

        Evolution and Gravity are explanations for how things are, so how do you act against it?

        • EnlightenmentLiberal

          How do you act against the scientific theory that clogged veins cause heart attacks?

          Liberals and nonbelievers are basically only moreso out for liberals and nonbelievers, just like Christian republicans are moreso out for Christian republicans, so stop trying make yourselves look like you really give two poops about the lives of Christian republicans BEFORE your own.

          Simple projection. In your own words, I actually give two shits about other people, no matter their beliefs. Sorry it’s so hard to understand. This is what most people normally call “being a good person”. You might want to try it sometime.

          • Cornell

            First off clogged viens don’t possess personhood, so.that’s a bad analogy

            Anyways so you say that you give two poops enlightenment?

            Riiiight, well talk is cheap so…

            But if you are telling truth, then how do I know whether or not you just weren’t genetically determined to ‘care’ about others, because of a godless evolutionary process?

    • You are projecting. Evolution doesn’t dictate morality as Christianity fails to for so many reasons. Like you are doing now trying to shame us for doing good because of your twisted belief system.

      Doing good is its own reward. People don’t have to be forced to by religions.

      • Cornell

        Why is doing good its own reward?

        That is nothing more than an empty tautology

        Perhaps you first can explain to me what ‘good’ is, considering that a godless universe entails humans as being nothing more than purposeless cosmic accidents

        • EnlightenmentLiberal

          @Cornell

          First off clogged viens don’t possess personhood, so.that’s a bad analogy

          What? I don’t understand your point at all. I think you didn’t understand mine. Physics says that barring outside intervention, sometimes people die from clogged veins causing heart attacks. Physics says that barring outside intervention, the more-fit more often survive than the less fit. In both cases, we can intervene, and change the course of nature into being something more desirable. We can change the course of nature and stop some heart attacks. We can change the course of nature and ensure that the less-fit humans also survive, such as by providing free universal government health care.

          I fail to understand what you meant at all. Again, I think it’s because you fail to understand what I meant. I mean that we can observe the world around us, and it is often capricious and cruel. This includes heart attacks, aging, evolution, hunger and starvation, predation in general, etc. We make the world a better place often by acting against the course of nature. It is not immoral to recognize that tigers sometimes eat people, and nor is it immoral to recognize that evolution is also a fact. It is immoral to help tigers eat people, and it is immoral to blindly help along evolution by helping those you deem more fit.

          Perhaps you first can explain to me what ‘good’ is, considering that a godless universe entails humans as being nothing more than purposeless cosmic accidents

          In your world view and mine, we both need to start with a moral presupposition.

          My moral presupposition is that we should work towards making the world a better place – we should improve the happiness, safety, freedom, material wealth, self determination, etc., of people, and other conscious creatures. This view is generally referred to as humanism.

          I guess that your moral presupposition is something like divine command theory, that morality exists only as the dictates of a god. You commit an equivocation. You are using the word “good” to mean “that which we should do” and also to mean “that which a god commands”. You cannot have both as definitions, for that is equivocation.

          Remember that words are arbitrary (but the backing concepts are not). We could just as easily change the consensus to have the word “foo” embody the concept currently embodied by the word “good”. The word “good” is a human invention. Thousands of years ago, no one had the word “good”. Today, billions of people don’t have the word “good” (but they still have the same backing concept).

          Either 1- you define “good” as “that which your god commands”, and then you would have to argue that I should give a damn about what your god commands because I could as easily define “good” as “that which I command”, or 2- you define “good” as “that which one should do”, and then you again have to argue that I should give a damn about what your god commands because it’s non-obvious that your god’s commands are good.

          Go ahead and try to defend your assertion that one should do what your god says without resorting to a moral presupposition or a circular argument – even if that moral presupposition is as simple as “one should take action to achieve a better personal outcome”.

          You see, if Stargate SG-1 has taught me anything, it is that the proper response to meeting an evil god is not to bow down and worship, but to blow it up. Nuke god!

          “I die free.”

          “Give me liberty, or give me death!”

          “Live free or die!”

          “I am Spartacus.”

          “It is better to die a free man than to live as a slave.”

          Your mentality is that you are a slave to your god. That is your morality. I reject that. I am no one’s slave. Maybe your god exists and can smite me for my insolence, but I won’t go down without a fight. Someone once said that if god did not exist, it would be necessary to invent one. To the contrary! For the happiness and well-being of everyone, if your god existed, it would be necessary to destroy it.

          • EnlightenmentLiberal

            PS:

            Go ahead and try to defend your assertion that one should do what your god says without resorting to a moral presupposition or a circular argument – even if that moral presupposition is as simple as “one should take action to achieve a better personal outcome”.

            That is impossible by the way. Either you commit the “appeal to nature” fallacy (bad), have an endless regress of justifications (bad), or you have a circular justification (bad). See:

            Münchhausen trilemma

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M%C3%BCnchhausen_trilemma

            The only rational way to have a morality is by having at least one presupposition. The people who start with the moral presupposition of humanism – we generally call those people “good”. Otherwise known as being a decent human being.

            PPS: Equivalently, how did you determine that your god is the good one, and Satan is the evil one?

          • Cornell

            You can’t just define what you think is my position and then assert it like I actually follow it, because that’s a strawman.

            Anyways, physics is a human construction that came from the evolutionary process so I don’t understand how your analogy with blood clotting makes any sense. Physics wouldn’t exist if there was no.evolutionary process, right?

            So what are you changing exactly?

  • Cornell

    How about option 3

    Good is an illusion put forth by the evolutionary process, this illusion helps us propagate DNA and humanism is just some silly pragmatic human construct, that doesn’t have any objective truth to it, only because it’s useful and it works for some people?

    In other words you just commited to a false dichotomy. Enlighten if I were you I’d spend more time making sense of your position and less time worrying about what some Theists think…..juat saying

    • EnlightenmentLiberal

      @Cornell

      I jumped to what was your likely argument to save time rather than a protracted back-and-forth. If you want, we can do it the long way.

      What do you believe? And why do you believe that? What is “good”? Do you start with any moral presuppositions? What moral presuppositions do you start with? Do you accept that the Münchhausen trilemma applies and that your only options are 1- circular justifications, 2- endless regresses, 3- presuppositions aka axioms?

      Physics wouldn’t exist if there was no.evolutionary process, right?

      I don’t know what this means. With or without humans, rocks still fall down. With or without creatures from evolution to hear it, falling rocks still make a sound when they hit the ground.

      Good is an illusion put forth by the evolutionary process, this illusion helps us propagate DNA and humanism is just some silly pragmatic human construct, that doesn’t have any objective truth to it, only because it’s useful and it works for some people?

      In other words you just commited to a false dichotomy. Enlighten if I were you I’d spend more time making sense of your position and less time worrying about what some Theists think…..juat saying

      Are you insinuating that the first paragraph is what I said? I didn’t say that. You’re not being sufficiently clear. When you post again, please try to be more clear. If you have a point to make, please make it. If you think I have something mistaken, please point that out. For example, you accused me of a false dichotomy. Could you please explain more detail what dichotomy you think I claimed, and also why it’s false?

      PS: I realize now that I might be getting trolled. I feel stupid for taking so long to realize that.

  • Cornell

    First off why does what I believe have any bearing on which ethical theory is actually true? You are the one making claims that good people exist, but yet you haven’t explained to me what good is, so I can only come to the conclusion that views your view of ‘good’ as something that is arbitrary. My view of the good is similar to a Platonic form, so stop projecting and pretending to know things that you don’t know. Just because I’m skeptical about your ethics, it doesn’t mean that I hold to what your linear view of Theistic ethics is. Even if I was wrong, that doesn’t validate your position either.

    Second as far as the trilemma goes, what about foundational beliefs that are self-evident? Would that fall under 3, if so then what exactly does presupposition mean.

    Last, you assume that good exists, but what if it’s just an illusion put forth by a godless evolutionary process for a psychological advantage that helps fitness and aids us in passing off our genes better?

    So there are 3 option

    Good reflects a personal nature

    Good reflects an impersonal nature

    Good is an illusion altogether

    Do you follow?

    And stop with that pathetic troll card will ya, if you can’t defend your arbitrary view of ethics then that’s your problem.

  • Cornell

    Oh and your trilemma gets eaten alive by postmodernists

    One could take a pragmatic approach and believe something, just because ‘it works’

  • EnlightenmentLiberal

    @Cornell

    Fine. Let me cut to the chase.

    Generally, the following terms are equivalent: self-evident, foundational, axiomatic, presuppositional, fiat. They are unsupported and unjustified assertions which often form as the base of a person’s system of knowledge.

    You said I didn’t define what I meant by “good”. I suggest you avoid merely skimming, and instead read for comprehension. I did so right here:

    My moral presupposition is that we should work towards making the world a better place – we should improve the happiness, safety, freedom, material wealth, self determination, etc., of people, and other conscious creatures. This view is generally referred to as humanism.

    In my epistemology, my way of knowledge, I recognize a strict division between assertions of fact and imperatives, between “is-s” and “oughts”. See Hume’s is-ought distinction. There are universal material facts about the universe, and no sum of those on their own can get you to any imperative.

    I am not a moral platonicist nor moral realist. I do not believe that imperatives (e.g. “good”) exist in the same sense that mass and length exist. Using your own words, I believe that we are just “matter in motion”. In the sense that I think you use the terms, I believe the universe is purposeless.

    There are some objective, universal material truths about our shared reality. For example, if I release a hammer at a height in normal household conditions, it will fall. It is perverse to deny this. (Epistemic) Postmodernists deny that this is an objective, universal truth. If we were to take them at their word, they are batshit insane. There is no reason to take postmodernism seriously.

    What do you do to a person who actually denies that hammers fall when released, despite repeated demonstrations to the contrary? What do you do to a person who denies the use of science and evidence?

    Of course, in a proper epistemology, this objective, universal truth is known only tentatively, probabilistically, and can be overturned with sufficient evidence. The foundational belief is that we should use “what works”, e.g. the scientific method, to inform our beliefs.

    There are also some undeniable universal truths about morality. Imagine a universe with conscious creatures where every conscious creature suffers as miserably as possible, for as long as possible. The universe of the worst possible suffering. That’s bad. If you do not agree, then you are batshit insane, in a very similar way to the postmodernists who deny that hammers fall when released. It is a simple foundational belief that the worst possible suffering is bad, and we have an imperative to avoid it. Further note that basically every person on the planet has this belief.

    This imperative does not exist out there in our shared reality in a manner like mass and length. There is no measuring device you can construct to go out there and find it.

    In this sense, “good” is a word which people generally apply to desirable states of the world and actions which get us there, with the implicit consensus that we have an imperative to make the world into a better place.

    Altogether though, I find it rather odd, and I am confused. You opened this discussion with an attack on moral realism and moral platonicism by implying that we are just matter in motion and the universe is purposeless, and by stating that you are skeptical of moral realism and moral platonicism. However, later you state that you are a moral platonicist. I think you are confused. You should do some more reading and thinking on this subject. Most of this post is taken straight from Sam Harris and his book The Moral Landscape. I suggest you start there.

    Finally, let me respond to theses specific points.

    Last, you assume that good exists, but what if it’s just an illusion put forth by a godless evolutionary process for a psychological advantage that helps fitness and aids us in passing off our genes better?

    So there are 3 option

    Good reflects a personal nature

    Good reflects an impersonal nature

    Good is an illusion altogether

    Do you follow?

    I have no idea what you mean by “reflects a personal nature” and “reflects an impersonal nature”.

    Moral realism and moral platonicism and illusions. I agree.

    The proper option is that “good” is just a word, and many people understand “good” to 1- mean the objective undeniable imperative that we should make the world a better place, 2- to describe actions that make the world a better place, and 3- to describe a better world. In that sense, “good” does not describe moral realism / moral platonicism. “Good” is just a word that we have by consensus and fiat to describe a concept which does not exist “out there”, but which we impose on the world, just like “beauty”, “pleasant”, and “healthy”. There are material states that underly what is healthy vs what is not healthy, but how we decided to partition those states between healthy and not-healthy are by consensus and are not objective facts of the world around us. Rather, we value certain material states of our body, and we chose the label “healthy” to describe those states.

    Oh and your trilemma gets eaten alive by postmodernists

    One could take a pragmatic approach and believe something, just because ‘it works’

    I have dealt with postmodernists already. About the second point. Doing something because “it works” is a presupposition. That is a value, and ordinarily values demand justification. In this case, I have a waiver on requiring justification for that belief and value, because I say so. I have no need to justify my position that I will use the scientific method, e.g. Bayesian inference on evidence, e.g. inductive reasoning on external stimuli, etc., to inform my beliefs and inform my actions. However, it is a presupposition. Compare and contrast it to the purported presupposition of my Christians that the Christian bible is the word of god.

    Doing “what works” does not avoid the trilemma at all. Being a pragmatist is a presupposition.

  • Cornell

    In the beginning of the thread I was arguing against a position in a reductio ad absurdum type of format, so I am a moral realist, however how can you say that you are not a moral realist, but yet admit that there are undeniable universal moral truths?

    Sam Harris IS a moral realist that looks at human flourishing as something identical to natural kinds, so he obviously believes in moral truths with respect to flourishing and languishing as well.

    Last, I wish it was that easy to take down a postmodernist, however they will just state that all you are doing is assuming your position to be true,and then argue as if ‘presuppositions’ don’t amount to human constructs that just ‘work’ but really say nothing about how reality really is.

    Even though I find what they say to be self-refuting, they can still say that we have no justification for anything outside our perceptions being what they seem to be, so everything just boils down to ‘what’s true for you, is just that, it’s true from your perspective’

    Though of course once we get into ontology their claims get reduced double talk.

    As far as self-evident claims being unjustifiable, I disagree

    For instance some self-evident justification is imperative for intelligible communication while sone is not,

    ‘I exist’ is a self evident justification that helps you and I have an intelligible dialogue, however if I say ‘it’s self evident that I’m just a slime imaging this all up in a different dimension’ obviousy this doesn’t make our dialogue intelligible, with that being said, I don’t see how self-evident justification is always unjustified. Sometimes we have no choice

  • EnlightenmentLiberal

    I am not a moral realist because I do not understand what moral realism is. It’s incoherent. I am a positivist. Specifically, I mean that if you want to purport some truth about our shared reality, some property or substance of our shared reality which is true independent of minds, then you need to be able to describe a way to test it. If there is no way to test whether you are right or wrong, including even all hypothetical human-like observers, then what you say is not right, and it’s not even wrong.

    http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Not_even_wrong

    Sam Harris is interesting. I’ve had a short email conversation with him once about a similar topic. I want to say I’m speaking for him, but I know he would want to adopt a different way of talking about this.

    In many of his talks, Sam Harris openly admits that he has one moral assumption, that you need to grant him only one moral assumption, and that is the universe of worst possible suffering is bad, e.g. we should avoid that universe. That is a moral axiom, e.g. presupposition. I do not understand Sam to say that morality is a substance or property of our shared reality, which is moral realism as I understand the term.

    I am not a moral realist. I do not claim that morality is a substance or property of our shared universe. I do not claim that you can find morality in a test tube. Rather, I have an axiom, a presupposition, very much like Sam. My own axiom is something like “we should promote human well-being”. When I say we should promote human well-being, I am not making a claim about properties or substances of our shared reality. Rather, I am imposing this fiction on the shared reality, just like beauty. Beauty is not a property or substance of our shared reality. Beauty exists only in the mind. The underlying material states of beauty are real, but we partition the sets of material states between “beautiful” and “not beautiful”, and that distinction is not a property or substance of our shared reality. It’s something that we impose on reality. (Just like cause and effect, according to Hume.)

    As I tried to emphasize, all knowledge is axiomatic. At the end of the day, all knowledge is unjustifiable. The postmodern is correct in that. I have no way to justify logic, math, the scientific method, or morality. I also don’t care. The alternative effectively is nihilism. Rationality is having certain axioms and following those axioms. That list of axioms including: having logically consistent beliefs, using the scientific method to inform your beliefs about the outside shared reality. Then, to be a good and decent human being, you have to add one more axiom: we should promote human well-being.

    I say that “we should promote human well-being” is undeniable in the same sense that “we should use science to inform our beliefs” is undeniable. Yet you can find postmodernists who deny that hammers fall when released in household conditions, and you can find people who deny that we should promote human well-being. I have no justification for either, and I have no interest in providing one, and providing one is impossible. It’s simply one of the requirements to have a discussion to accept these premises, and if someone does not accept these premises, then there is no discussion to be had. Either they are batshit insane and should be locked up because they are a threat to themselves and others, or they are openly evil and will pursue the destruction of myself and others and so I should (metaphorically or literally) prepare for battle for the defense of myself and others.

  • Cornell

    Enlightened

    Part 1

    “I am not a moral realist because I do not understand what moral realism is. It’s incoherent. ”

    This doesn’t follow though, how can you call something incoherent and then say that you don’t understand what it is in the same breath?

    Moral Realism is described as follows, from ethical philosopher Russ Shafer Landau

    “ Moral realism is the theory that moral judgments enjoy a special sort of objectivity; such as judgments, where true, are so independently of what any human being, anywhere, in any circumstance whatever, thinks of them

    – Russ Shafer-Landau’

    I’m a moral realist for two reasons,

    1) The alternatives do a poor job with explanatory power, simplicity and plausibility

    2) The world acts as if there are objective moral truths

    “I am a positivist. Specifically, I mean that if you want to purport some truth about our shared reality, some property or substance of our shared reality which is true independent of minds, then you need to be able to describe a way to test it. If there is no way to test whether you are right or wrong, including even all hypothetical human-like observers, then what you say is not right, and it’s not even wrong.”

    But how do you test this statement?

    Positivism is self-refuting, Positivism says something only has meaning if it can be empirically validated. Well, the truth proposition, “All propositions must be empirically verified in order to have meaning”, cannot be empirically verified itself, so by its own criteria, it has no meaning.

    We can’t test positivism itself, so by it fails by its own standards.

    “Sam Harris is interesting. I’ve had a short email conversation with him once about a similar topic. I want to say I’m speaking for him, but I know he would want to adopt a different way of talking about this.

    In many of his talks, Sam Harris openly admits that he has one moral assumption, that you need to grant him only one moral assumption, and that is the universe of worst possible suffering is bad, e.g. we should avoid that universe. That is a moral axiom, e.g. presupposition. I do not understand Sam to say that morality is a substance or property of our shared reality, which is moral realism as I understand the term. ”

    He is right, and I agree with him, though what he is saying is incomplete, because he still cannot tell us exactly what this universe he is speaking of would look like, nor does he tell us ‘why’ we should avoid this, and this is his biggest problem. He doesn’t give us any reasons for why we are morally obligation to do such and such, all he does is tell us that we should avoid it,. He also seems to be working off of an empty tautology and falls victim to the same euthyphro dilemma that is used on Theists.

    Pace Matthew Flaanagan

    . The Euthyphro argument is commonly appropriated in the form of a dilemma: “is an action right because it promotes human flourishing or does it promote human flourishing because it is right?

    If Harris takes the second horn of this dilemma and claim that something promotes human flourishing because it is right then things are right prior to, and hence independently of, whether they promote human welfare; so Harris’ position here is false.

    If the Harris takes the former horn then morality is arbitrary. If rape or murder or cruelty for fun had the natural property of promoting happiness then rape and murder and cruelty for fun would be morally required but it is impossible for these things to be morally required; so Harris’ view on morality is clearly absurd.

  • Cornell

    Enlightened

    “I am not a moral realist. I do not claim that morality is a substance or property of our shared universe. I do not claim that you can find morality in a test tube. Rather, I have an axiom, a presupposition, very much like Sam. My own axiom is something like “we should promote human well-being”. When I say we should promote human well-being, I am not making a claim about properties or substances of our shared reality. Rather, I am imposing this fiction on the shared reality, just like beauty. Beauty is not a property or substance of our shared reality. Beauty exists only in the mind. The underlying material states of beauty are real, but we partition the sets of material states between “beautiful” and “not beautiful”, and that distinction is not a property or substance of our shared reality. It’s something that we impose on reality. (Just like cause and effect, according to Hume.) ”

    The problem with this is the fact that you instantiate beauty once you speak about it, the same goes for morality.

    a realist about beauty would hold that there really is such a thing as beauty over and above individual beautiful things, which the individual beautiful things all instantiate; and so forth. So it doesn’t matter if ‘beauty’ just exists in the mind, because as a moderate realist with respect to universals I am aware that minds are capable of abstracting forms, but forms have no existence outside of the things that instantiate them or the minds that contemplate them. In other words, no beauty and no minds thinking about beauty, and beauty ceases to exist. Therefore, forms of beauty are both mind-independent, that is to say, they are a real part of the world and hold to being mind-dependent, in that they can only be considered apart from their instantiations by minds. This is where metaphysics overlaps with metaethics. As a Platonist (in the moderate sense) I have no problem stating that concepts such as ‘beauty’ exist only in minds, but when we instantiate ‘beauty’ is meant in an objective sense. We might not know exactly what the perfect ‘beauty’ entails, but we know that beauty exists. So I have to disagree and argue that morality is a substance of the universe just like beauty as they resemble Plato’s theory of forms in a sense.

    “As I tried to emphasize, all knowledge is axiomatic. ”

    If that is the case, then is THIS STATEMENT axiomatic as well? Because it is making a knowledge claim in itself.

    “At the end of the day, all knowledge is unjustifiable. The postmodern is correct in that. I have no way to justify logic, math, the scientific method, or morality. I also don’t care. The alternative effectively is nihilism. Rationality is having certain axioms and following those axioms. That list of axioms including: having logically consistent beliefs, using the scientific method to inform your beliefs about the outside shared reality. Then, to be a good and decent human being, you have to add one more axiom: we should promote human well-being. ”

    I disagree, because if we can’t justify things, then if we are to be consistent we can’t justify things being unjustifiable as well. So the claim just ends up refuting itself. The sword cuts both ways here, one cannot have their cake and eat it too.

    “I say that “we should promote human well-being” is undeniable in the same sense that “we should use science to inform our beliefs” is undeniable.”

    But what justifies these ‘oughts’? Why should we even do anything, especially if humans are nothing more than cosmic accidents?

    “Yet you can find postmodernists who deny that hammers fall when released in household conditions, and you can find people who deny that we should promote human well-being. I have no justification for either, and I have no interest in providing one, and providing one is impossible. It’s simply one of the requirements to have a discussion to accept these premises, and if someone does not accept these premises, then there is no discussion to be had. Either they are batshit insane and should be locked up because they are a threat to themselves and others, or they are openly evil and will pursue the destruction of myself and others and so I should (metaphorically or literally) prepare for battle for the defense of myself and others.”

    That’s kind of like throwing up the white flag and conceding to mediocrity, though this just goes back to my original objection that stated the option of everything about reality is nothing more than an illusion to aid in our survival of gene’s, especially when it comes to helping out our kin.

    “The position of the modern evolutionist is that humans have an awareness of morality because such an awareness of biological worth. Morality is a biological adaptation no less than are hands and feet and teeth. Considered as a rationally justifiable set of claims about an objective something, ethics is illusory. I appreciate when someone says, ‘Love thy neighbor as thyself,’ they think they are referring above and beyond themselves. Nevertheless, such reference is truly without foundation. Morality is just an aid to survival and reproduction, . . . and any deeper meaning is illusory.”

    – Michael Ruse, “Evolutionary Theory and Christian Ethics,” in The Darwinian Paradigm

    So I think that talks of human flourishing fall victim to an empty tautology, the euthyphro objection, can’t provide us with an objective moral obligation and it has problems against alternative views such as Nihilism, therefore I don’t see any good reasons to talk about it as an ethical theory that accurately reflects how reality really is.

  • EnlightenmentLiberal

    I see no reason to repl to any other points until we agree to basic logic and math.

    Do you assert that all beliefs and values must be justified by other beliefs and values?

    Do you agree that circular justifications are fallacious?

    Do you agree that endless regresses of justifications are fallacious?

    Do you agree to have logically consistent beliefs?

    Then you lose. I can demonstrate a contradiction. It’s called the Münchhausen trilemma.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M%C3%BCnchhausen_trilemma

    All I need is simple natural number math, and you lose.

    Consider any belief you want. Let’s call that belief A. That belief requires a justification in terms of other beliefs and values, {B1, B2, B3, …, Bn}. Pick one, and let’s call it B. Now, B also requires some justifications in terms of other beliefs and values, {C1, C2, C3, …, Cn}. Pick one, and let’s call it C.

    Let’s consider this process of continuing to justify our beliefs, like a child repeatedly asking “why?”. Perhaps this process will continue without end, but you just agreed that endless regresses of justifications are fallacious, so that cannot be. Thus the process must stop at some point.

    So, let’s consider this finite chain {A, B, …, Z}. Let’s ask if it contains any duplicates. If it contains a duplicate, then that is the definition of circular reasoning. We just agreed that circular reasoning is fallacious, and so that cannot be.

    That means that {A, B, C, …, Z} is a finite chain without repeats. Well, that just means that Z is unjustified. You lose.

    • EnlightenmentLiberal

      @Cornell

      No response?

      • Cornell

        Sorry I’m a new father of a 4 month old, with two jobs and I’m living in NY where virtually everything is overpriced and the cost of living is kinda nuts

        I see no reason to repl to any other points until we agree to basic logic and math.

        “Do you assert that all beliefs and values must be justified by other beliefs and values?”

        Not all of them, as I think some beliefs have to be foundational as they are just self-evidently true

        Some examples are:

        That reality is intelligible to begin with

        The external world is real

        Other minds exist besides my own

        The reliability of senses

        The past wasn’t created 3 seconds ago with an appearance of age.

        “Do you agree that circular justifications are fallacious?”

        For the most part yes, but I guess it depends if one is using rule circularity or act circularity. There might be cases where we don’t have any choice.

        “Do you agree that endless regresses of justifications are fallacious?”

        yes, I feel like nothing ever gets answered if it doesn’t ever end up in a foundation. This is why I reject nominalism and take a realist stance towards universals.

        “Do you agree to have logically consistent beliefs? “

        Yes I feel as if this is the most important factor to my epistemology.

  • EnlightenmentLiberal

    Please see this which was written earlier:

    EL: At the end of the day, all knowledge is unjustifiable. The postmodern is correct in that. I have no way to justify logic, math, the scientific method, or morality. I also don’t care. The alternative effectively is nihilism. Rationality is having certain axioms and following those axioms. That list of axioms including: having logically consistent beliefs, using the scientific method to inform your beliefs about the outside shared reality. Then, to be a good and decent human being, you have to add one more axiom: we should promote human well-being.

    I disagree, because if we can’t justify things, then if we are to be consistent we can’t justify things being unjustifiable as well. So the claim just ends up refuting itself. The sword cuts both ways here, one cannot have their cake and eat it too.

    So, perhaps it was just a problem over terms. Do you now agree that all knowledge is based on unjustifiable starting principles, aka axioms, aka presuppositions? Because in the above quote, it seemed that you disagreed.

    Second. Do you have a moral starting principle, aka axiom, aka presupposition? What is it? Otherwise, please take some moral proposition, like “I should do X” or “it is bad to do X”, and please justify it. Then pretend you are speaking with a child who will continue to ask “why?’ for every answer. We just agreed all knowledge is axiomatic, and I want to see what axioms you use to justify some moral statement.

    Specifically, I want to see if you acknowledge the difference of kind of is-statements (“I am sitting on a chair”) and ought-statements (“I should sit on the chair”), and I specifically want to see if you try to bridge the two and thereby violate the is-ought distinction (see Hume). I hold that you cannot derive an ought-statement from a mere collection of is-statements, and that you need a starting moral presupposition to help bridge the gap, such as I should change the world to be a better place, as understood in the values of humanism.