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FYI-FTR: CF vs Moral Self-Evident Truth No. 1


CF’s objection to “we are inescapably under the government of ought . . . ” in WJM’s subjectivism privilege thread is revealing and worth headlining, as is the onward exchange, as it shows what we are dealing with. Remember, this is a live example of a now common mindset:

CF, 251: >>KairosFocus: “Here is what you have yet to cogently engage — and this is not personal disagreement it is a matter of warrant:

1] The first self evident moral truth is that we are inescapably under the government of ought.

(This is manifest in even an objector’s implication in the questions, challenges and arguments that s/he would advance, that we are in the wrong and there is something to be avoided about that. That is, even the objector inadvertently implies that we OUGHT to do, think, aim for and say the right. Not even the hyperskeptical objector can escape this truth. Patent absurdity on attempted denial.)”

[CF:] Yup, that last sentence gives me confidence that any response I provide will be addressed seriously. And that was only the first “self evident truth”.

By the way. I addressed your first self evident truth that would be patently absurd to deny. And you have never addressed my response except to say that I refuse to address your self evident truths. Given this, why should I take anything you say seriously? Why should anybody?>>

This already shows the somewhat evasive answers that are a clear rhetorical pattern. In 253, I took up the encouraging elements, “Kindly try to object to no 1 without falling afoul of the absurdity described . . . . break the chain of reasoning, by objecting without assuming or implying what is indicated.”  This led to CF at 255:

>>KairosFocus: “Kindly try to object to no 1 without falling afoul of the absurdity described.

[CF:] When you have pre-determined that any objection would be absurd, please explain to me how this would be possible? But, regardless, one of us has to act like a mature adult. Please read one of the responses that I have already made with respect to this “self evident moral truth” and explain to me how it does not address your claim. Failure to do so will be interpreted as your concession to the valididity of my previously made argument, or your lack of making any effort to understand my previously made argument.>>

I then responded at 265:

>> . . . did you not see that in both your last objections your essential objections were based on a perceived unfairness in the first principle.

That is, on the evidence you accept the principle and are in fact unable to object to it as stated without appealing to it, i.e. the implicit but telling fact of moral obligation?

Never ever give up . . .
Never ever give up . . .

(Did you ever wonder why it is that when we quarrel, we so persistently try to show others in the wrong, by way of error or unfairness or the like, and why it is that as a rule there is not a reaction: shut up you little frog, you is my lunch and you must just slide down de throat nicely. [There used to be a popular drawing of a heron of some type swallowing a frog, but it was trying to throttle the bird.])

Your objection to and distaste for the term absurdity is of course irrelevant: the point of the term is that when something is self evident, it has an inescapable quality to it such that in trying to deny it, one ends up in depending on it, confirming it, contradicting oneself logically [as in reductio ad absurdum], or by playing both sides of the field or the like.

That is just what happened to you, and it will predictably happen to others also.

Not because we are unfair [!] or are tilting the field [!] or are playing rhetorical tricks [!] or are showing disrespect [!] etc, but because of the inherent nature of the claim.

Notice, again, the structure of the first manifestly evident core principle of the natural moral law:

TRUTH CLAIM: 1] The first self evident moral truth is that we are inescapably under the government of ought.

PROBLEM WITH OBJECTION: This is manifest in even an objector’s implication in the questions, challenges and arguments that s/he would advance, that we are in the wrong and there is something to be avoided about that.

MEANING OF THIS PROBLEM: That is, even the objector inadvertently implies that we OUGHT to do, think, aim for and say the right.

UNIVERSALITY: Not even the hyperskeptical objector can escape this truth.

THE ABSURDITY: Patent absurdity on attempted denial.

That is, self evidence.

Which I know, I know, is not usually discussed in College classes much less high school ones these days.

Not to mention, concepts such as moral certainty.

And objective truth is typically mentioned only to be sneered at — indeed it is likely that we will instead hear about “absolute truth” (or even more likely those testosterone addled fundy, right wing would be theocratic inquisitors and absolutist throwbacks to the dark ages: ignorant, stupid, insane or wicked to a man . . . ), typically to set it up as a strawman and knock it over. Too often, by way of caricatures of “absolutists” and long litanies of the sins of the absolutists — as a rule, of the sins of Christendom. (And don’t expect to hear lists of the blessings of Christendom — victory always has a hundred claimed fathers but defeat is an orphan. In this case, the appropriation and well poisoning are leading to undermining the stabilising supports of our civilisation by way of march of folly.)

A few pointers:

Basic concept 1: truth says of what is, that it is; and of what is not, that it is not. (That is, accurate reference to reality, the state of affairs in the world.) Aristotle, Metaphysics, 1011b.

BC 2: Objective truth is that truth which is independent of the perceptions of a given individual or group etc, i.e. it is capable of some degree of warrant or grounding that establishes the claims as credible and reliable and open to [highly likely, successful] onward test. It does not actually imply certainty beyond possibility of correction, but entails that the claims are well founded and sufficiently reliable to be worked with with high confidence.

BC 3: Absolute truth is the ideal — the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. That is, the full material truth on a matter, undiluted, untainted, without extras. The description matches the reality in all relevant aspects for decision and action. In practical matters we deal with objective truth and seek to approach absolute truth but face the challenge of bounded rationality, trade-off of alternatives and their risks, and especially the cost of undue delay tantamount to bad decisions that may be ruinous or at least painful. (Cf here Boyd’s OODA loop, in the full, multiple feedback form.)

BC 4: Knowledge is warranted, credibly true (and so also, reliable) belief. Again, not an absolute claim, this corresponds to objective truth and in effect is a certificate of successful testing and objective foundation for truth claims. (No wonder so many ideologues are tempted to usurp the label knowledge.)

BC 5: Moral certainty is a degree of confidence in a truth claim or the like, that holds that the degree of warrant is such that one would be irresponsible to dismiss or fail to act on a truth claim or knowledge claim or the like, given the state of the art and circumstances.

BC 6: Evidence is what tends to (or at outset of investigation is admissible as potentially able to) credibly support a claim. For instance, the ancient documents rule of jurisprudence holds that record that is fair on the face [bears no clear marks of fraud] and comes from good chain of custody or repository is good evidence . . . which holds even if there are difficulties.

BC 7: Proof is in the strict sense a successful test for fact and logic sufficient to establish objective truth to a degree of certainty that its being overthrown is deemed abstractly possible but utterly unlikely. (E.g. post Godel, Mathematics of sufficient complexity to enfold “arithmetic” is such that it is necessarily incomplete on pain of incoherence and there is no constructive procedure that guarantees coherence.)

BC 8: A fact is something that is known to be true or to have occurred, especially as being observed and reported or recorded by reliable means or witnesses. This is the basis of statistics and of sound information systems. Notice, this is not a matter of “inter-subjective agreement” among the guild of scholars or conventional wisdom of an institution or society etc after whatever political dust-up has occurred, it is a question of credible truth worthy of trust even if unpopular with the powers that be.

BC 9: an empirical fact is a fact of observation of the world of experience.

BC 10: a self evident truth is something that is true, and on actually understanding what is being claimed is seen as necessarily so on pain of patent absurdity. That is, the rejection or dismissal of a SET comes at a price of surrendering rational discussion on a matter. SETs are not proved, they are examined, explained and understood . . . made sense of . . . as the start-points of proof or investigation. Sometimes, they are termed first principles.

red_ballBC 11: Distinct identity is the start point of reasoning, i.e. we mark some A (say a bright red ball on a table) as distinct from the rest of the world that is not A, ~A; W = { A | ~ A }. Instantly, A is A (as opposed to not A), any x in W cannot be A AND ~A in the same sense and circumstances, and any y in W is A or ~A but not both or neither . . . and yes I am using the full exclusive or. These are the three classic laws of thought: identity, non-contradiction, excluded middle. (These three are self evident, indeed we cannot prove them as to try to prove them we implicitly must already rely on them — even, to just talk about them we must use distinct thoughts, symbols, glyphs, sounds etc. Instead we come to recognise and understand them, and to see their significance and utter trustworthiness beyond any reasonable, responsible doubt. Similar things obtain for how a conscious being is undeniably and incorrigibly aware of its consciousness, and for something like error exists.)

BC 12: In this context, moral SETs hold as first core principles of moral governance of responsibly and rationally free individuals that are so, are seen to be so on insightful reflection i/l/o our existing base of experience of our world, and are seen to be necessarily or undeniably so on pain of absurdity. The attempted denial undermines itself in some significant way that shows that this is an utterly reliable start point for moral reflection on the world of OUGHT. In the case above, attempted denial will invariably reflect reliance on the premise that we OUGHT to seek the truth, the right, the fair etc.

A point of beginnings . . . >>

A remark to Vivid at 266 is also relevant:

>> . . . since Eratosthenes and Aristotle the educated in our civilisation have understood the earth to be round and have had a reasonably accurate value for the circumference. The debate with Columbus was about his considerable under-estimate and his objectors were right; just he did have a means to sail out and back (the trade winds system) and evidence of something out there in sailing reach.

But you are quite right to highlight the irrelevance of the objection CF made.

He has yet to recognise that it was the invention of printing, publishing the Bible in the vernacular, emergence of widespread literacy, cheap enough books, pamphlets, broadsides, bills and newspapers that opened the door for moving from oligarchy to stabilised, gradual democratisation, which thus enabled reforms from oligarchic domination. And the ideas had to be drawn forth from natural law, from history, from phil, from Scripture and theology and hammered out into a feasible form. Generations of scholarship and building of deep public understanding — what we now so lightly disregard and sneer at then toss away.

U/d b for clarity, nb Nil
U/d b for clarity, nb Nil

The implicit timeline there points to 1400 – 1700 as the baseline.

So c 1700 was the first time in history that the sort of project of reformed government as discussed in the US DoI of 1776 was feasible and sufficiently credible to be tried. Notice, the British/American revolution is 1775 and the French one, 1789, a sign that a threshold was crossed c. 1750 – 70. With of course the earlier stages in the late 1500’s and 1600s. The Dutch DoI 1581 is particularly relevant.

Let me excerpt this little-known but pivotal state document:

. . . a prince is constituted by God to be ruler of a people, to defend them from oppression and violence as the shepherd his sheep; and whereas God did not create the people slaves to their prince, to obey his commands, whether right or wrong, but rather the prince for the sake of the subjects (without which he could be no prince), to govern them according to equity, to love and support them as a father his children or a shepherd his flock, and even at the hazard of life to defend and preserve them. And when he does not behave thus, but, on the contrary, oppresses them, seeking opportunities to infringe their ancient customs and privileges . . . then he is no longer a prince, but a tyrant, and the subjects are to consider him in no other view . . . This is the only method left for subjects whose humble petitions and remonstrances could never soften their prince or dissuade him from his tyrannical proceedings; and this is what the law of nature dictates for the defense of liberty, which we ought to transmit to posterity, even at the hazard of our lives. . . . . So, having no hope of reconciliation, and finding no other remedy, we have, agreeable to the law of nature in our own defense, and for maintaining the rights, privileges, and liberties of our countrymen, wives, and children, and latest posterity from being enslaved by the Spaniards, been constrained to renounce allegiance to the King of Spain, and pursue such methods as appear to us most likely to secure our ancient liberties and privileges.

All onward major political developments trace to the revolutions of the 1770’s and 80’s.

Notice how the last great calvinist statesman, Abraham Kuyper of the Netherlands, counselled the USA in the 1898 L P Stone Lectures:

The three great revolutions in the Calvinistic world left untouched the glory of God, nay, they even proceeded from the acknowledgement of His majesty. Every one will admit this of our [Dutch] rebellion against Spain, under William the Silent. Nor has it even been doubted of the “glorious Revolution,” which was crowned by the arrival of William III of Orange and the overthrow of the Stuarts. But it is equally true of your own Revolution. It is expressed in so many words in the Declaration of Independence, by John Hancock, that the Americans asserted themselves by virtue –“of the law of nature and of nature’s God”; that they acted –“as endowed by the Creator with certain unalienable rights”; that they appealed to “the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of their intention”;3 and that they sent forth their “declaration of Independence” –“With a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence.”4 in the “Articles of Confederation” it is confessed in the preamble, –“that it hath pleased the great Governor of the world to incline the hearts of the legislators.”5 It is also declared in the preamble of the Constitution of many of the States: –“Grateful to Almighty God for the civil, political and religious liberty, which He has so long permitted us to enjoy and looking unto Him, for a blessing upon our endeavors.”6 God is there honored as “the Sovereign Ruler,”7 and the “Legislator of the Universe”8 and it is there specifically admitted, that from God alone the people received “the right to choose their own form of government.”9 In one of the meetings of the Convention, Franklin proposed, in a moment of supreme anxiety, that they should ask wisdom from God in prayer. And if any one should still doubt whether or not the American revolution was homogeneous with that of Paris, this doubt is fully set at rest by the bitter fight in 1793 between Jefferson and Hamilton. Therefore it remains as the German historian Von Holtz stated it: “Es ware Thorheit zu sagen dass die Rousseauschen Schriften einen Einfluss auf die Entwicklung in America ausgeubt haben.”10 (“Mere madness would it be to say that the American revolution borrowed its impelling energy from Rousseau and his writings.”) Or as Hamilton himself expressed it, that he considered “the French Revolution to be no more akin to the American Revolution than the faithless wife in a French novel is like the Puritan matron in New England.”11

The French Revolution is in principle distinct from all these national revolutions, which were undertaken with praying lips and with trust in the help of God. The French Revolution ignores God. It opposes God. It refuses to recognize a deeper ground of political life than that which is found in nature, that is, in this instance, in man himself. Here the first article of the confession of the most absolute infidelity is “ni Dieu ni maitre.” The sovereign God is dethroned and man with his free will is placed on the vacant seat. It is the will of man which determines all things. All power, all authority proceeds from man. Thus one comes from the individual man to the many men; and in those many men conceived as the people, there is thus hidden the deepest fountain of all sovereignty . . . It is a sovereignty of the people therefore, which is perfectly identical with atheism. And herein lies its self-abasement. In the sphere of Calvinism, as also in your Declaration, the knee is bowed to God, while over against man the head is proudly lifted up. But here, from the standpoint of the sovereignty of the people, the fist is defiantly clenched against God, while man grovels before his fellowmen, tinseling over this self-abasement by the ludicrous fiction that, thousands of years ago, men, of whom no one has any remembrance, concluded a political contract, or, as they called it, “Contrat Social.” Now, do you ask for the result? Then, let History tell you how the rebellion of the Netherlands, the “glorious Revolution” of England and your own rebellion against the British Crown have brought liberty to honor; and answer for yourself the question: Has the French Revolution resulted in anything else but the shackling of liberty in the irons of State-omnipotence? Indeed, no country in our 19th century has had a sadder State history than France.

In the next 100 years we see emergence of the first generally successful large scale modern constitutional democracy, the rise of civil rights reform movements riding on the wings of the Wesley-Whitefield led revival and the first serious parliamentary spokesman for reform, Wilberforce.

Go on a further 100 years and we see the mounting up of a great wave of reforms based on cumulative transformation, then the rise of modern evolutionary materialist scientism, with as a parallel development (actually dating to c 1789) radical intensely anticlerical revolutionism and skepticism.

History across C20 and into C21, has not been kind to the radical secularists, but they have such dominance of organs of influence that such inconvenient facts as the 100 – 200 million victims of radical atheistical and/or skeptical-neopagan regimes is not a key datum of reference. Nor the utterly appalling ongoing abortion holocaust.

It also seems to be the case that we have largely forgotten or dismissed key, hard bought lessons of history and seem literally hell bent on a march of folly with our civilisation.

Somehow, it does not seem to register as evident truth rooted in history that for all its benefits democracy is inherently unstable and prone to self destruct. So, it must be stabilised and carefully guarded. But those protections (unsurprisingly on the history) are rooted in the blessings of Christendom, the much derided and despised Christendom that radical secularists are so wont to dismiss.

As one of these, the relevance of the natural moral law and its credible root in the inherently good creator God, a necessary and maximally great being worthy of loyalty and the reasonable service of doing the good in accord with our evident nature, is too often derided and dismissed. Without serious consideration. As to the complementary role of scripture that is anchored in the salvific passion, death and resurrection of the Christ with 500 witnesses, that is regarded as utterly beyond the pale.

Isiah, prince of the prophets, had us dialled in 2800 years ago:

Isa 5: 11
Woe to those who rise early in the morning,
that they may run after strong drink,
who tarry late into the evening
as wine inflames them!
They have lyre and harp,
tambourine and flute and wine at their feasts,
but they do not regard the deeds of the Lord,
or see the work of his hands.

Therefore my people go into exile
for lack of knowledge . . . .

Woe to those who draw iniquity with cords of falsehood,
who draw sin as with cart ropes,
who say: “Let him be quick,
let him speed his work
that we may see it;
let the counsel of the Holy One of Israel draw near,
and let it come, that we may know it!”
Woe to those who call evil good
and good evil,
who put darkness for light
and light for darkness,
who put bitter for sweet
and sweet for bitter!
Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes,
and shrewd in their own sight!
Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine,
and valiant men in mixing strong drink,
who acquit the guilty for a bribe,
and deprive the innocent of his right!

Therefore, as the tongue of fire devours the stubble,
and as dry grass sinks down in the flame,
so their root will be as rottenness,
and their blossom go up like dust;
for they have rejected the law of the Lord of hosts,
and have despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.
Therefore the anger of the Lord was kindled against his people,
and he stretched out his hand against them and struck them,
and the mountains quaked;
and their corpses were as refuse
in the midst of the streets.
For all this his anger has not turned away,
and his hand is stretched out still.

He will raise a signal for nations far away,
and whistle for them from the ends of the earth;
and behold, quickly, speedily they come!
None is weary, none stumbles,
none slumbers or sleeps,
not a waistband is loose,
not a sandal strap broken;
their arrows are sharp,
all their bows bent,
their horses’ hoofs seem like flint,
and their wheels like the whirlwind.
Their roaring is like a lion,
like young lions they roar;
they growl and seize their prey;
they carry it off, and none can rescue. [ESV]

Yes, an utterly corrupt civilisation will become geostrategically incompetent and will go down to defeat.

If we keep on the current march of folly, posterity, for cause, will rise up and call us an accursed generation.>>

WJM then brought to bear a string of posts from 267:


CF said

For example, if morals are objective, presumably from day one, why did it take until part way through the last century for women to be considered the equal of men?

If the physical world objectively exists, why has it taken us so long to figure out what we are still today figuring out? Once again, the hypocritical double-standard is applied.

For a self-evident objective moral truth, it sure took long enough for this truth to be recognized.

Who said it was a self-evident moral truth? You seem to think that all moral truths are self-evident; nobody has said they are. Do you understand the difference between a self-evident truth, and an objective moral truth? There are lots of objective facts about the physical world that are not self-evident and which we still do not understand and about which there is still widespread disagreement. Do you understand how you are applying a double-standard here?

The question really has to to be asked, why did God take this long to extent these self-evident, objective values (rights) to half of the world’s population?

That is a theological question that has nothing whatsoever to do with whether or not morality should be accepted as an objective commodity. That question only “has to be asked” if one is attempting to find an excuse to dismiss the idea of objective morality on emotional or theological grounds.

How does he explain this lapse in equality? And, more importantly, how does he explain this inequality to the billions of women who lived and died before this was “addressed”? It seems like cruelty to me.

CF is reduced to emotional pleading based upon the old “If I were god, I’d make everything candy and unicorns” caricature of theological philosophy in an attempt to gain favorable sentiment for his moral subjectivist worldview.

IOW, having been shown how logically empty and problematic moral subjectivism is, CF points at his rather childish concept of theology-based morality and says “but god didn’t make everyone perfectly understand moral laws so he’s cruel!!”

Which, I think, gets to the essence of why moral subjectivists are willing accept an absurd, logically indefensible position (moral subjectivism)rather than accept moral objectivism: they know it logically leads to theism, and they are emotionally committed against theism no matter the cost.

CF: there are far more sophisticated and diverse concepts of god that are imagined in your sentimental, ill-informed perspective. A theological world-view requires much more understanding and difficult, abstract thinking than “If I were god, I would ….(fill in blank) so nyahh, nyahh, there can’t be a god and if there were, since he doesn’t act like I would, it’s not worth considering!!!”

[268] vividbleau @263:

It’s bizarre how these subjectivists seem to be immune to understanding certain points repeatedly raised. They keep insisting that morality cannot be objective if people in different cultures and times disagree, even though the same thing can be said of what the subjectivists consider to be objective physical facts. That seems to be their main objection to the idea of objective morality and it’s easily demonstrated to be an empty, inane objection.

I think the problem here is that on this point they are emotionally committed against the idea that morality is objective in nature essentially because it is “unfair” that everyone doesn’t have a perfect understanding of what is moral and what is not. Hence, they keep coming back to the same empty objection even though it’s already been thoroughly rebutted time and again.

IOW, it is their unspoken premise that morality should be an entirely fair system (fair as they see it) for all people at all times that leads them to have a different standard for determining that morality is objective in nature. They just don’t really understand why they are objecting to it, but it is revealed in comments like CF’s above about god.

Thus, based on their (IMO unsophisticated) sentiment about how god should have installed morality in the world and humans, they cannot accept morality as objective unless it is perfectly apparent to all humans at all times what the correct moral choice is. Then they flounder around to find some reasonable objection and keep returning to the “but different cultures in different times ….” mantra.

As they operate from this unspoken sentimental rejection of objective morality, it leads them into defending the absurd and apparently simply not seeing certain points because it would cause too much cognitive dissonance. Mr. Arrington, I believe, has rightly called it an anti-theistic derangement syndrome.

[269] Pointing out that morality is not perfectly understood at all times by all people, or that at different times and in different cultures there are wildly different moral views is not a valid objection to the view that morality refers to an objective commodity, because the same objection can be raised about commodities which subjectivist rightly consider to be objective in nature.

That objection is not valid. What other rational objection is there to the view that conscience is a sensory faculty that is receiving moral information from a moral landscape?

[270]Thinking about conscience, it’s very easy to see how it mirrors other sensory capacities and not subjective preferences or emotions. There are situations where conscience forces us to act, even though we may not otherwise want to, and even though it may not otherwise be in what we think is our personal best interest. Not doing what our sense of conscience indicates can leave us feeling harmed or scarred for the rest of our life, enduring consuming regret and guilt. This is very similar to doing something stupid and which one knows better and ending up enduring physical pain and scars for it the rest of one’s life.

In many cases, our conscience competes against our emotions – against sentiment and empathy because the right thing to do can be a sentimental and emotional nightmare – even though there is no guarantee about the outcome, and even if the outcome appears to be dire, there are moral situations that dictate we proceed even still.

We will put our lives on the line and imperil our friends and family for the sake of a strong enough moral truth because we know somehow that something of the utmost importance is being harmed if we do not obey that clarion call of conscience. We sense that there is simply no coming back from some choices and we must make them even if it means our own death.

These are not the hallmarks of subjective emotions and personal preference (unless one is insane); these are the hallmarks of responding to objectively valid information we know to be true on some level that necessitates proper choices, as surely as driving up to the brink of a cliff necessitates a turn back, or saving a child in a fire necessitates putting one’s own life at risk by going in and attempting the rescue.

Anyone that thinks conscience is in the same categorical ballpark as subjective empathy, emotion and personal preference is simply, IMO, not being honest with themselves.>>

CF’s response to Vivid at 271:

>>Vividbleu:”Maybe for you but today’s standards have nothing to do with the fact that they were bad in the past and will be so in the future.”

[CF:] Does this mean that our current standards (moral values) are the correct ones? My question is, how do we know? And how arrogant do we have to be to actually believe this?>>

CF to Andre at 272:

>>Andre: “So if you suffer an injustice you won’t require justice?”

[CF:] Nobody requires justice. They expect justice.

And, yes, I would expect justice for violation of any of my society established rights.>>

I responded at 273:


They expect justice

Do you see the lesson in that?>>

CF, 274:

>>KairosFocus: “Do you see the lesson in that?”

[CF:] Yes. People expect justice for violations of the rights that society grants them. When someone is stalking you, don’t you expect justice? When someone trespasses on your property, don’t you expect justice? When someone slanders you, don’t you expect justice? All of these acts violate man-made, subjective laws.>>

I responded, 275:

>>CF, you don’t know history. People will fight and die for justice in respect of rights that society’s power brokers will not recognise. Others, will champion genuine reforms at high personal cost up to and including peaceful martyrdom; a point literally written into my name. And of course on relativism, the reformer or resister is by definition immoral . . . yet another absurdity that shows the pivotal importance of manifestly evident core principles of the natural moral law as a system above and beyond what may be in civil codes etc; higher, more inherently just law that we did not enact and cannot repeal . . . indeed this is the pivot of both the Dutch DoI of 1581 and the US DoI of 1776. KF>>

SB, 276:

>>Clown Fish

For example, if morals are objective, presumably from day one, why did it take until part way through the last century for women to be considered the equal of men? For a self-evident objective moral truth, it sure took long enough for this truth to be recognized.

Since you will not address my refutations of your position, I will move on to other subjects. (Clown Fish is quick to scrutinize but unwilling to be scrutinized).

So, we move on.

For example, if morals are objective, presumably from day one, why did it take until part way through the last century for women to be considered the equal of men?

The natural moral law must be learned through the application of reason. Only it’s most primitive elements, which are very few, are self evident. The fact that it exists, is, indeed, self-evident, but the practical truths that are derived from it are not self-evident. There is no such thing as a self evident conclusion.

Just because self-evident truths are understood doesn’t mean that they will be acknowledged. Everyone knows that murder, adultery, theft, dishonesty etc. are wrong–and they have always known it. However, murderers, adulterers, theives, and liars do not typically admit that they know they are doing wrong.

Accordingly, everyone, including you, knows that objective morality exists. It is impossible not to know it. Its just that you would prefer not to admit it. It’s really very simple.

The natural moral law exists and everyone (except those who have been seriously harmed or who have harmed themselves) knows it.

Humans become selfish and violate the moral law that they know to be true.

Through repeated immoral acts, humans develop bad habits, become enslaved to their unruly appetites and passions, and lose control of themselves.

Having lost control of themselves, humans then proceed to rationalize their bad behavior and disavow the same law they know to be true.

In other words, all moral subjectivists are lying (either to others or to themselves) in order to salve their conscience. Its much easier than reforming their behavior and returning to sanity. A man will either conform his behavior to the objective moral code, or else he will find a subjective moral code that conforms to his behavior.>>

CF picks up, 278:

>>Kairosfocus: “CF, you don’t know history. People will fight and die for justice in respect of rights that society’s power brokers will not recognise.”

They will fight and die for what they perceive to be justice. How does this prove that there are objective morals? People will fight and die for many things. Some that we would consider admirable by today’s standards (e.g., fight to end slavery, protecting Jews during the war), and some will seem stupid (e.g., Crusades, French religious wars, etc.). How is this proof that objective morals exist? People fighting and dying for moral values seems very subjective to me.>>

Vivid, 279:


“Does this mean that our current standards (moral values) are the correct ones?

[V:] Whose current standards? Certainly the community of ISIS has standards that are different to the community of the US and the West in general.

[C:] “My question is, how do we know? ”

[V:] How do you know that the holocaust was an atrocity and immoral?

[C:] “And how arrogant do we have to be to actually believe this?”

[V:] Where is the arrogance in believing that all people are endowed with certain inalienable rights? Where is the arrogance in believing that the holocaust is immoral irrespective of law or societies implicit and complicit imprimatur ?>>

I responded at 282:

>>CF, do you understand what happens if you reduce so large a part of our senses and rationality to perceptions, shadow shows and delusions? There are no firewalls, grand delusion is let loose and the life of the mind falls under absurdity. This too is a case of the absurdities spoken of above. And BTW, the linked account on the 1831 uprising in Jamaica is replete with matters of patent justice, just in the first chapter. Is it perceived or real oppression that a man would lash a slave woman for the crime of walking on a path next to a cane field with a piece of cane in her hand on presumption that the cane was “stolen”? That, on dragging her home, her husband then (on his refusal) her brother or another close relative would be demanded to strip her and lash her with a whip? That an enslaved blacksmith, taken by insurrectionists with his hands bound and forced under compulsion of being shot to repair a gun lock would then be tried as an insurrectionist with the mock trial carefully concealing the circumstances of the kidnapping and compulsion so that he would be hanged? And more? Do, let us know if this is empty perception of injustice or actually accurately perceived injustice. Do.>>

There is of course more onwards (and to participate, simply go to the linked thread).

But the underlying incoherence, absurdity and polarising projections of subjectivism (arrogance etc — as in you ought not to be arrogant . . . ), relativism and nominalism are clearly demonstrated.

At no point did CF seem to realise that he implicitly relied on the objectivity of and inescapability of our being under moral government of binding ought, to try to object to it. The resulting incoherence and absurdities are clear.

Self Evident moral truth no 1 stands, and there are eleven others in its train. END

PS: It is worth adding this comment by WJM at 338 in the thread:

>>CF admits:

I have stated that even subjectivists act as if our morals are objectively provided. But acting as if something is A does not make that something A.

.. then claims that it is a:

… fact that all of human history has rolled out as if morals are subjective, not objective.

That’s an interesting juxtaposition of ideas. First, that all people act as if morality is objective in nature, and second, in apparent contradiction, that human history has played out as if morality is subjective in nature.

Hmm. If human interaction is governed by behavior necessarily corresponding to the premise that morality is objective in nature (we all act as if morality is objective), how could the history of human interaction factually correspond to the premise that morality is subjective in nature?

CF seems to think that there is some historical support for the idea that morality is subjective in nature. We’ve already established that just because different cultures or individuals disagree on a thing doesn’t mean that thing is subjective in nature because individuals and cultures disagree and have disagreed on things we all agree are objective in nature.

CF claims it is a fact that the history of human interaction has unfolded as if morality is subjective even though he agrees that humans interact as if morality is objective. I’d like to see him make that case.>>

Also, this comment he made at 3 in a follow-up thread:

>>Of course I have my view on why they will not believe that morality is objective in nature based on my own life as a atheistic moral subjectivist, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the same as their reason. I think vividbleau is correct and I’ve said as much in other threads; it’s what the idea of objective morality leads to.

However, here’s the thing: one doesn’t have to agree to what that premise leads to; one can simply agree that morality is objective in nature and that conscience is best described as some kind of sensory capacity, and leave it at that. If challenged on how morality could be an objective commodity, one can simply reply with a healthy “I don’t know.”

When Newton formulated his theory of gravity, he left it open (at least formally) as to what the cause was of such mathematical behaviors (even though he, of course, believed it to be god). One need not have an answer as to how it is that matter and energy behave in such lawful, predictable patterns; one can only point at what has been shown & made clear and agree that they do behave that way, that such “laws” are apparently objective in nature and universally binding.

Do they need to refer to a god to explain the existence of such “laws”? No. They can simply say “I don’t know how or why such lawful behaviors came to be.” Denying the objective nature of morality and conscience is like denying the objective nature of physical “laws”; it’s an absurdity to insist such things. You cannot act in defiance of physical law; you cannot act as if morality is subjective. You cannot argue as if logic is not a binding arbiter of true statements. As I have said before:

If you do not assume the law of non-contradiction, you have nothing to argue about. If you do not assume the principles of sound reason, you have nothing to argue with. If logic is not assumed to be a causally independent, authoritative arbiter of true statements, there’s no reason to apply it. If you do not assume libertarian free will, you have no one to argue against. If you do not assume morality to be an objective commodity, you have no reason to argue in the first place. If you do not assume mind is primary, there is no “you” to make any argument at all.

To quote Robert Duvall in Secondhand Lions:

Sometimes the things that may or may not be true are the things that a man needs to believe in the most: that people are basically good; that honor, courage, and virtue mean everything; that power and money, money and power mean nothing; that good always triumphs over evil; and I want you to remember this, that love, true love, never dies… No matter if they’re true or not, a man should believe in those things because those are the things worth believing in.

The main reason I had become an atheist was because I had a painfully keen sense of injustice in the world and a very strong empathy towards others which resulted in my rightfully abandoning my childhood conceptualization of god and existence. Certainly, that god was not a god worth believing in, but that god was just my own childish perspective.

However, many worldview emotional commitments are laid into the foundation of one’s perspective when we are children and are difficult to even recognize as such, much less excise later on. I realized much later that my emotional commitment against theism had led me into an intellectual and conceptual dead end. Commitment to materialism/physicalism cuts out many conceptual options that are essential to being a good person with sound reasoning and are necessary to building and maintaining a rational, just society.

One cannot be a good person and maintain that “goodness” is an entirely subjective commodity because that premise renders the idea of “goodness” a matter of personal, subjective self-identification. It’s like a physical male claiming that he’s really a woman inside while insisting that the terms “man” and “woman” are actually entirely subjective commodities and have no definite, objective value. Why then is that person claiming to be a woman if the term “woman” has no objective meaning? One might as well claim to have the gender “flibsumnarb”; it doesn’t mean anything except what you have made up.

It’s a self-contradictory absurdity to claim to be a good person, or to claim that something is a good act, and hold that “goodness” has no objective meaning.

Why cling to premises that turn your arguments into hypocritical, self-contradictory absurdities? The only answer I can come up with is that such premises are irrationally clung to out of long-standing, a priori emotional commitments. But, I could be wrong, which is why I ask the question here.>>

Further food for thought.