Atheism Intelligent Design Naturalism

10 Reasons Why Atheists Are Delusional

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Atheists/materialists/physicalist/naturalists are delusional. Here are 10 reasons why:

1. They dismiss morality as nothing more than strongly felt subjective preference, but admit they act as if morality is objective in nature.

2. They speak, act and hold others responsible for their behaviors as if we all have some metaphysical capacity to transcend and override the deterministic effects of our body’s physical state and causative processing, yet they deny any such metaphysical capacity (like free will) exists.

3. They deny truth can be determined subjectively while necessarily implying that their arguments and evidences are true and expecting others to subjectively determine that their arguments are true.

4. They deny that what is intelligently designed can be reliably identified when virtually every moment of their waking existence requires precisely that capacity.

5. They deny that some abstract concepts are necessarily true and objectively binding on our existence (such as the fundamental principles of math, logic and morality) yet reference them (directly or indirectly) as if they are exactly that.

6. They deny humans are anything other than entirely creatures of nature, yet insist that what humans do is somehow a threat to nature or some supposed natural balance.

7. They insist humans are categorically the same as any other animals, but then decry it when humans treat other humans the same way other animals treat their own kind (alpha male brutality, violence, etc), as if humans have some sort of obligation to “transcend” their “animal” nature.

8. They insist that physical facts are the only meaningful truths that exist, but then want to use force of law to protect subjective concepts that contradict physical facts, like “transgenderism”.

9. They insist spiritual laws that transcend the physical do not exist, but then insist that all humans are equal, when they factually, obviously are not equals at all – either physically or intellectually.

10. They pursue social systems that attempt to force the concept of equality on everyone as if they expect that through ignoring the physical realty of human inequality they can build a sound social system, which would be comparable to ignoring the inequality of building materials and insisting that they all be treated as equal when building a skyscraper.

202 Replies to “10 Reasons Why Atheists Are Delusional

  1. 1
    kairosfocus says:

    Points to ponder.

  2. 2
    vjtorley says:

    Hi William J. Murray,

    What a brilliant post! It perfectly nails the delusion of atheism. Thanks for putting it up.

  3. 3
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM, I hear you. Did you crank up the coffee for the morning? KF

  4. 4
    StephenB says:

    WJM – Excellent! Your argument goes both deep and wide. Even one of these observations constitutes a checkmate to atheism, but taken together they dramatize the mindless nature of the materialist’s world view.

  5. 5
    daveS says:

    Atheist here. Just pointing that not all of these apply to all atheists (at least #2, #4, #8, in my case, for example). Not that the OP implies such, of course.

  6. 6
    Polanyi says:

    Brilliant post, thanks for sharing guys. I am amazed that atheists are so obsessed with social issues (witness the recent SJW fest aka “reason rally”), they are without doubt the Puritans of our age, and what an irony.

  7. 7
    Andre says:

    Can I add?

    12. They use reason to deny that reason exist.

    13. They believe that mud not not only made itself but magically became alive.

  8. 8
    DonaldM says:

    Excellent post and spot on. Of course, most atheists would claim that all 10 of these observations have been utterly refuted, eviscerated, destroyed, demolished (pick your verb)many, many times over. But try finding all that demolition!!

    It always amuses me when atheists get morally indignant over some perceived wrong committed against them as if there is some actual, objective moral obligation that’s been violated. Witness the recent brouhaha over Larry Taunton’s recent book The Faith of Christopher Hitchens. Atheists have come unglued over the mere suggestion that Hitch may have entertained questions about his atheism as he faced his demise. Taunton has been subjected to every kind of vitriol imaginable in tweets, posts and blogs. See this post from Jerry Coyne’s blog. (and check out Krauss’s article linked there…an editorial in the NYT). Or check out the video in this post on Coyne’s site as well.

    These atheists are all so morally indignant over Taunton as if he violated some objective, higher moral principle! I think Eric Metaxas got it exactly right in asking Are Atheists Afraid of God?

  9. 9

    Well done! Also, good additions Andre@7.

  10. 10
    K-S says:

    1. When people live in proximity to one another and share resources, moral codes naturally develop. There is no need to appeal to a supernatural entity to understand why we shouldn’t steal from our neighbor, or why we should be faithful to our spouse. And why couldn’t a supernatural deity just as easily command us to steal and to cheat and pronounce those actions as being moral? There’s nothing delusional about being skeptical of some sort of objective, cosmic morality.

    2. The notion of free will is an ongoing philosophical conversation that some have, both theistic and atheistic. This is not part and parcel with atheism. But if it is a conversation you think represents a true problem, I fail to see how ‘God gave us free will,’ would be a meaningful response. How would you ever know? You’re just simply asserting it to be true.

    3. This is again a philosophical conversation which both theists and atheists can have. It is not a part of merely being an atheist. Merely deferring to a supernatural entity does not get you out from under the philosophical conundrum which might arise if one is truly concerned about how anything can be objectively known. You’re just simply asserting that it is so. Atheists, in general, seem to be more open to having these sorts of philosophical exercises, and doing so should be encouraged, not lazily labeled as delusional.

    4. ‘Intelligent design’ refers to the beliefs of a very specific subset of theists. Evolution vs. intelligent design is not an atheism/theism issue. It is dishonest to pretend that it is.

    5. Most atheists that I know of would say that logic and math are indeed fundamentally true. I wonder which atheists you’re referencing? It seems to be theists who believe that ‘logic’ is a thing which was merely created by a supernatural being a long time ago, which seems to me to make it much more subjective in nature.

    6. Yes, humans with our intelligence and technology have the capacity to throw off the natural balance of things, like fragile ecosystems. Not sure how you think that relates to atheism in any way.

    7. Atheists do not believe that we are the same as every other animal. On the contrary, we are the most advanced animal in existence, the very top of the evolutionary tree. We have the ability to think about the future in ways that other animals can not. Guess what? Many theists believe this, too. You once again seem to be conflating atheism with a belief in evolution, when the truth is that most theists in the world also accept evolution.

    8. ‘Transgenderism’ is not an atheist issue. Many proponents of transgender issues are theists of all different religions, and I’m sure if you took a poll of atheists in the world, you would find a great number of differing opinions on the issue. I’ve never heard an atheist say that ‘physical facts are the only meaningful truth that exists,’ and I suspect you just made this up.

    9. Really? All atheists insist that all people are equal? The idea is that in a society, we are all better off by treating each other equally. Guess what? Many theists throughout history have also insisted that all people are NOT equal. Again, this is not an atheist issue. I want to live in a world in which all people are treated fairly, this is an ideal towards which to strive. It has nothing to do with any so-called spiritual laws. Which spiritual laws are you even referring to?

    10. So you’re saying we should not be treating people equally? How so? And what’s the physical reality of human inequality? Doesn’t sound like a world I would want to live in. If you’re referring to something like allowing women to play with men on professional football teams, please show me the atheists who are in support of that and maybe I’ll listen to you, but would then quickly point out that people who believe in a supernatural being could just as easily be in support of that as well.

  11. 11
    Barry Arrington says:

    Great post WJM.

    Sometimes I wish I could make myself be a materialist. Life would be so much easier if I knew for certain that when I use the word “moral,” I mean nothing more than “that which I prefer.” I could do anything I wanted if I were willing to suppress my empathy. And why not suppress my empathy? It does no good to say I shouldn’t suppress my empathy because that would not be very empathetic. It would be a simple matter of “who’s the boss,” my unfettered will to power or the chemicals in my brain that I know are trying to trick me into believing that such a thing as “right” or “wrong” exists in order to force me to behave in a certain way.

    Yup, being a materialist would be nice. But as Phil Johnson famously said, I just can’t handle the magnitude of the necessary faith commitments, not to mention the massive cognitive dissonance that would ensue if I tried to keep all of those mutually exclusive ideas juxtaposed in my head at the same time.

    WJM, of course atheists are delusional. Deluding oneself is the only way a sane person could pull it off.

  12. 12
    Barry Arrington says:

    K-S @ 10:

    1. Here’s a clue (you should write this down). Facile assertions and question begging do not add up to an argument.

    2. That materialist atheism entails no free will has been widely demonstrated countless times. Your mere assertion that atheism is compatible with free will does not establish the matter. Here’s another clue (you should write this down too): Mere denial is not an argument. If you think atheism and libertarian free will are compatible, you should demonstrate why you think that. As an added bonus, if you succeed you will instantly become the most famous philosopher in the world for having resolved a millennia-old philosophical conundrum.

    3. Mere denial is not an argument.

    4. You fail to even address WJM’s assertion. Here’s another clue (write this down): Changing the subject is not an argument.

    5. “I wonder which atheists you’re referencing?” You are new to this site, so I will give you a break. But atheists on these pages commonly argue just as WJM says. Another clue: Your ignorance is not an argument.

    6. Another clue: Your failure to understand WJM’s argument and respond to it in any meaningful way is not an argument.

    7. “Atheists do not believe that we are the same as every other animal.” WJM asserts that atheists do not believe humans are different in “essence” from animals. You respond by asserting that atheists most certainly do believe that humans are different in “degree” from other animals. I will leave it to you to figure out why your rebuttal obviously fails.

    8. “I’ve never heard an atheist say that ‘physical facts are the only meaningful truth that exists” You have got to be kidding me. You must not get out much. Again, your personal ignorance is not an argument.

    9. The formal logically fallacy that you have committed here is called “tu quoque.” Look it up.

    10. “So you’re saying we should not be treating people equally?” Nope, WJM never said that. I have no idea why you would suggest he did. WJM is saying that various atheist utopian social movements (e.g. Marxisim, Progressivism), are doomed to fail because they are based on the flawed premise that humans should be equal materially as opposed to morally. The premise is flawed, because human inequality in matters of ability, intelligence, and even good fortune (i.e., some people get lucky) is obvious, and results in unequal outcomes. Any attempt to address the unequal outcomes that result from unequal ability, necessarily devolves into authoritarianism to one degree of another. That is why when you scratch a progressive you will see a fascist underneath. WJM is merely pointing to the tension between “equality of outcome” and “liberty” (which tension atheist social movements ignore). If you are unfamiliar with the concept you should study it.

    K-S, I give your attempted rebuttal a D-. Mostly you remind me of my three year-old granddaughter arguing with my five year-old grandson. “Is not; is too; is not; is too; is not; is too.” If I were you and I failed so miserably in an attempted defense of my worldview, I would reexamine that worldview. I doubt that you will.

  13. 13
    HeKS says:

    Are we sure K-S is not simply keith s?

  14. 14
    Barry Arrington says:

    HeKS @ 13. I did not think so. K-S’s writing style reminded me of a teenager playing at village atheist. I am not kidding when I said my grandchildren’s “is not; is too” came to mind when reading his post. But you may be right.

  15. 15
    bornagain77 says:

    WJM as to “Why Atheists Are Delusional”: Although your post is excellent as usual for pointing out the sheer insanity of the atheistic mindset, it is interesting to point out that this ‘delusional’ aspect of the atheistic mindset happens at a more foundational, shall we say, a more ‘scientific’ level:

    Delusional [dih-loo-zhuh-nl]
    adjective
    1.
    having false or unrealistic beliefs or opinions:

    Although reliable ‘observation’ of reality is a necessary cornerstone of the scientific method itself,,,

    Steps of the Scientific Method
    Observation/Research
    Hypothesis
    Prediction
    Experimentation
    Conclusion
    http://www.sciencemadesimple.c.....ethod.html

    ,,, Although reliable ‘observation’ of reality is a necessary cornerstone of the scientific method, materialism undermines this cornerstone. Given materialistic/atheistic premises, not only are our interpretations of reality held to be somewhat flawed, but even our perceptions/observations of reality itself held to be untrustworthy and thus ‘illusory’ given the materialistic premises of atheism.

    Donald Hoffman: Do we see reality as it is? – Video – 9:59 minute mark
    Quote: “fitness does depend on reality as it is, yes.,,, Fitness is not the same thing as reality as it is, and it is fitness, and not reality as it is, that figures centrally in the equations of evolution. So, in my lab, we have run hundreds of thousands of evolutionary game simulations with lots of different randomly chosen worlds and organisms that compete for resources in those worlds. Some of the organisms see all of the reality. Others see just part of the reality. And some see none of the reality. Only fitness. Who wins? Well I hate to break it to you but perception of reality goes extinct. In almost every simulation, organisms that see none of reality, but are just tuned to fitness, drive to extinction that perceive reality as it is. So the bottom line is, evolution does not favor veridical, or accurate perceptions. Those (accurate) perceptions of reality go extinct. Now this is a bit stunning. How can it be that not seeing the world accurately gives us a survival advantage?”
    https://youtu.be/oYp5XuGYqqY?t=601

    and

    Why Atheism is Nonsense Pt.5 – “Naturalism is a Self-defeating Idea”video
    Excerpt: “Since we are creatures of natural selection, we cannot totally trust our senses. Evolution only passes on traits that help a species survive, and not concerned with preserving traits that tell a species what is actually true about life.”
    Richard Dawkins – quoted from “The God Delusion”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ff-5rsrDRGM

    Thus, given atheistic premises, the belief that our observations of reality are fairly reliable, which is a necessary cornerstone of the science method itself, is itself a delusion. Needless to say, it would be hard to find a more unscientific worldview than one that undermines the scientific method itself!

    Interestingly, completely contrary to that materialistic premise, conscious observation of reality, far from being illusory, is experimentally found to be far more integral to reality, i.e. far more reliable, than materialism/atheism would have ever predicted.

    New Mind-blowing Experiment Confirms That Reality Doesn’t Exist If You Are Not Looking at It – June 3, 2015
    Excerpt: The results of the Australian scientists’ experiment, which were published in the journal Nature Physics, show that this choice is determined by the way the object is measured, which is in accordance with what quantum theory predicts.
    “It proves that measurement is everything. At the quantum level, reality does not exist if you are not looking at it,” said lead researcher Dr. Andrew Truscott in a press release.,,,
    “The atoms did not travel from A to B. It was only when they were measured at the end of the journey that their wave-like or particle-like behavior was brought into existence,” he said.
    Thus, this experiment adds to the validity of the quantum theory and provides new evidence to the idea that reality doesn’t exist without an observer.
    http://themindunleashed.org/20.....at-it.html

    Apparently science itself could care less if atheists think that their observations of reality are illusory.

    Moreover, given the materialistic/atheistic premises of Darwinian evolution, not only are our observations of reality itself held to be illusory, but even our sense of self, i.e. the belief that we really exist as real persons, which is the most sure thing we can know about reality, becomes illusory too.

    In what I consider to be a shining example of poetic justice, in their claim that God is not really a real person but is merely an illusion, the naturalist also ends up claiming that he himself is not really a real person but is merely an illusion.,,,

    “that “You”, your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behaviour of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules. As Lewis Carroll’s Alice might have phrased: “You’re nothing but a pack of neurons.” This hypothesis is so alien to the ideas of most people today that it can truly be called astonishing.”
    Francis Crick – “The Astonishing Hypothesis” 1994

    “We have so much confidence in our materialist assumptions (which are assumptions, not facts) that something like free will is denied in principle. Maybe it doesn’t exist, but I don’t really know that. Either way, it doesn’t matter because if free will and consciousness are just an illusion, they are the most seamless illusions ever created. Film maker James Cameron wishes he had special effects that good.”
    Matthew D. Lieberman – neuroscientist – materialist – UCLA professor

    The Confidence of Jerry Coyne – Ross Douthat – January 6, 2014
    Excerpt: But then halfway through this peroration, we have as an aside the confession (by Coyne) that yes, okay, it’s quite possible given materialist premises that “our sense of self is a neuronal illusion.” At which point the entire edifice suddenly looks terribly wobbly — because who, exactly, is doing all of this forging and shaping and purpose-creating if Jerry Coyne, as I understand him (and I assume he understands himself) quite possibly does not actually exist at all? The theme of his argument is the crucial importance of human agency under eliminative materialism, but if under materialist premises the actual agent is quite possibly a fiction, then who exactly is this I who “reads” and “learns” and “teaches,” and why in the universe’s name should my illusory self believe Coyne’s bold proclamation that his illusory self’s purposes are somehow “real” and worthy of devotion and pursuit? (Let alone that they’re morally significant: But more on that below.) Prometheus cannot be at once unbound and unreal; the human will cannot be simultaneously triumphant and imaginary.
    Per NY Times

    Atheistic Materialism – Does Richard Dawkins Exist? – video 37:51 minute mark
    Quote: “You can spout a philosophy that says scientific materialism, but there aren’t any scientific materialists to pronounce it.,,, That’s why I think they find it kind of embarrassing to talk that way. Nobody wants to stand up there and say, “You know, I’m not really here”.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVCnzq2yTCg&t=37m51s

    At the 23:33 minute mark of the following video, Richard Dawkins agrees with materialistic philosophers who say that:
    “consciousness is an illusion”
    A few minutes later Rowan Williams asks Dawkins
    ”If consciousness is an illusion… what isn’t?”.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HWN4cfh1Fac&t=22m57s

    Thus, given materialistic premises, people become illusions whose observations of reality are illusory.

    And why in blue blazes should anyone believe what illusions having illusions say about reality?

    Thus, basically, without God, everything within the atheistic/naturalistic worldview, (i.e. sense of self. observation of reality, even reality itself i.e. Boltzmann Brains), collapses into self refuting, unrestrained, flights of fantasies and imagination. i.e. becomes delusional

    Verse, Video and Music:

    2 Corinthians 10:5
    Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

  16. 16
    Andre says:

    And K-S telling us exactly how he feels as if any of it even matters in a materialist world. He showed you WJM.

  17. 17
    JDH says:

    Great response K-S@10 You provide great support for WJM’s thesis. Thanks for providing the proof from the field.

  18. 18
    Andre says:

    I will tell you what’s my favorite thing in the world…. Atheists trying to demonstrate that morality evolved from non morality… Non morality of course is not reducible to atoms or any type of material, not that it “matters” to them, (excuse the pun). They deny that there is anything more than atoms and yet…..

    Morality evolved from non morality….

    How confused must such a mind be?

  19. 19
    HeKS says:

    Barry @14

    HeKS @ 13. I did not think so. K-S’s writing style reminded me of a teenager playing at village atheist.

    That’s precisely what made me think it might be Keith S 🙂 I thought it might be him before I looked up and saw the ‘K-S’ name.

  20. 20
    zeroseven says:

    It’s amazing how all those hundreds of millions of cognitively deficient, delusional atheists around the world seem to be able to live such successful and fulfilled lives. I guess they are the type of delusions and cognitive dissonances that don’t have any effect on the ability to live successful lives.

  21. 21
    HeKS says:

    zeroseven

    I guess they are the type of delusions and cognitive dissonances that don’t have any effect on the ability to live successful lives

    Basically, yeah. Why? Because they don’t actually live like their delusions are true. They give lip service to the delusions and defend them with generally poor arguments. They claim that it is everyone else who is delusional for thinking differently. They often claim themselves to be the intellectual elite for holding to these delusions. But when their shift is over they go home and live their lives in a way that suggests they know just as well as everyone else these delusions are absurd.

  22. 22
    zeroseven says:

    HeKS

    What you are describing is a profound mental disorder. At the very least a serious personality disorder. I am quite familiar with the mental health profession and community. I know people who suffer from the kind of delusions you describe (for example gay people who have not come out of the closet). Generally there are further mental health consequences to living a life like that. I look around the country I live in where religion has retreated to the very fringes of public life and I don’t see a society suffering from the problems I would expect to see if what you say is true. Quite the opposite.

  23. 23
    StephenB says:

    zeroseven

    It’s amazing how all those hundreds of millions of cognitively deficient, delusional atheists around the world seem to be able to live such successful and fulfilled lives. I guess they are the type of delusions and cognitive dissonances that don’t have any effect on the ability to live successful lives.

    It isn’t amazing at all. Quite often, it’s the success the breeds the atheism rather than the other way around. The more self-sufficient the proud man perceives himself to be, the greater is his distance from God.

    “Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”—-Jesus Christ

  24. 24
    zeroseven says:

    StephenB, I often wonder how that proverb is interpreted in the US, where material wealth seems to be more important than anything else (a la Donald Trump)

  25. 25
    clown fish says:

    Zeroseven, but you drive on the left side of the road. Isn’t that evidence enough of mental delusion? 🙂

    But, it is very telling (speaks volumes, is self referrentially incoherent, will lead us over the cliff to a broken back) that theists feel it necessary to fabricate a list to discredit atheists rather than create a list to support theism. It is somewhat reminiscent of how ID supports their view by picking on evolution rather than pointing out the strengths of ID.

  26. 26
    HeKS says:

    zeroseven @22

    I don’t know why you would expect public life to fall apart as a result of atheists continuing to live life like objective moral values and duties really exist even though they will happily spend hours arguing that they don’t, or like people have subjective experiences of life and think about things and have free will when even atheists who actually bother to think about these issues admit that atheism must necessarily deny the existence of these things. Society doesn’t fall apart when people behave like the logically necessary implications of atheism are false. It falls apart when they start to act like these things are true.

  27. 27
    StephenB says:

    zeroseven

    Generally there are further mental health consequences to living a life like that. I look around the country I live in where religion has retreated to the very fringes of public life and I don’t see a society suffering from the problems I would expect to see if what you say is true. Quite the opposite.

    What you are experiencing is the phenomenon of lag time. It takes many decades for the chickens to come home to roost. Its the same with an individual. When things are going well, a person (or a country) can form bad habits, the consequences of which will not be known for a long time. By contrast, when a person of country has become degraded, it takes a long time for the good habits to produce fruit.

    Further, whoever does well in society depends on the nature of that society. A good society is one in which it is easy to be good and hard to be bad. A bad society is one in which is it easy to be bad and hard to be good. In a good society, it is easy for a good man and hard for a bad man to be successful. In a bad society, it is easy for a bad man and hard for a good man to become successful.

  28. 28
    Barry Arrington says:

    CF @ 25:

    But, it is very telling (speaks volumes, is self referrentially incoherent, will lead us over the cliff to a broken back) that theists feel it necessary to fabricate a list to discredit atheists rather than create a list to support theism.

    CF, you are a liar:
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....rry-moran/

    (one of many examples)

    It never ceases to amaze me that people like CF feel like they can say any damn thing they want, and when they get caught lying they just move on to the next damn thing as if they were not caught. I guess that’s what it means be to a subjectivist. The whole “thou shalt not bear false witness” thing becomes entirely optional.

  29. 29
    Phinehas says:

    #3 should be “insist” instead of “deny?” Or am I getting mixed up?

  30. 30
    clown fish says:

    Is this the same V. J. Torley who thinks that there is strong evidence for a flying priest?

    I guess I have a higher standard of proof than you do.

    UDEditors: This is where Barry’s comment @ 28 is confirmed. CF got caught red handed lying his ass off. No acknowledgement; no apology; no mea culpa. Just move on to the next thing.

  31. 31
    StephenB says:

    zeroseven

    StephenB, I often wonder how that proverb is interpreted in the US, where material wealth seems to be more important than anything else (a la Donald Trump)

    As a general rule, those who worship money will do anything to get it (and keep it.) Too many Americans, I think, have fallen into that trap.

    In my judgment, Trump, though rich, is actually fighting against rich elitists who would enslave or eliminate the middle class. I think he realizes that a countries GNP does not translate into success if 1% or less of the people have almost all the wealth.

    From what I have gathered, most truly rich people want to separate themselves from, and lord it over, plain ordinary working-class people. Though far from a perfect man, I don’t think Donald Trump has that mind set.

  32. 32

    zeroseven offers up his rationale for why he is not delusional: because what he experiences is not what he’d expect if he were delusional. News flash, zeroseven: delusional people do not think what they are experiencing is what delusion would look like.

    I hate to contradict zeroseven’s delusion about what a delusional disorders would look like, but from Wiki:

    Delusional disorder is a psychiatric illness in which the patients present with delusions, but with no accompanying prominent hallucinations, thought disorder, mood disorder, or significant flattening of affect.[1][2] Delusions are a specific symptom of psychosis. Delusions can be bizarre or non-bizarre in content.[2]Non-bizarre delusions are fixed false beliefs that involve situations that could potentially occur in real life; examples include being followed or poisoned.[3] Apart from their delusions, people with delusional disorder may continue to socialize and function in a normal manner and their behavior does not generally seem odd or bizarre.[4]

    Some symptoms of a deulusional disorder:

    Despite his/her profound conviction, there is often a quality of secretiveness or suspicion when the patient is questioned about it.

    The belief is, at the least, unlikely, and out of keeping with the patient’s social, cultural and religious background.

    The delusion, if acted out, often leads to behaviors which are abnormal and/or out of character, although perhaps understandable in the light of the delusional beliefs.

    It’s a good thing then that atheists do not actually act out in accordance with their delusional beliefs; otherwise, they would not be able to live normal, successful, fulfilled lives.

  33. 33
    zeroseven says:

    WJM, so a delusional disorder is actually a “psychiatric illness” according to Wiki. Well you have just diagnosed the vast majority of my fellow citizens as suffering from a psychiatric illness. I still find it amazing that a whole country could be infected with a psychiatric illness and yet still be so highly regarded in the world community. (And one of our most severely ill and deluded individuals may soon be the first female secretary general of the UN. Pretty good for someone suffering from an undiagnosed (well apart from your diagnosis) psychiatric illness).

  34. 34
    zeroseven says:

    These kinds of threads actually make me feel sorry for you guys. You seem so out of touch with the modern world. You remind me of Amish people.

  35. 35
    clown fish says:

    [Stop trolling my thread, CF. -WJM]

  36. 36
    StephenB says:

    zeroseven

    These kinds of threads actually make me feel sorry for you guys. You seem so out of touch with the modern world. You remind me of Amish people.

    Your sentiments are misplaced. Any sociologist or social psychologist will tell you that Christians are much happier than atheists, and also have a much greater sense of well being that their non-believing bretheren It isn’t even close. Odds are that the people you are sneering at on this thread are much happier than you are.

  37. 37
    clown fish says:

    [Stop trolling my thread, CF.- WJM]

  38. 38
    zeroseven says:

    Sorry, that was a bit sneery. But I do get tired of being constantly told how delusional I am. Still, usually I manage to turn the other cheek. Take the Nelson Mandela approach.

  39. 39

    zeroseven said:

    Well you have just diagnosed the vast majority of my fellow citizens as suffering from a psychiatric illness. I still find it amazing that a whole country could be infected with a psychiatric illness and yet still be so highly regarded in the world community.

    Hmmm. Taking into account what zeroseven later says about a potential first woman head of the UN, I’m tentatively concluding that zeroseven is talking about New Zealand (Helen Clark being the UN chief candidate). Correct me if I’m wrong, zeroseven, and let me know if you’re talking about some other country.

    Zeroseven claims that the “vast majority” of his fellow citizens are atheists (since atheists are the subject of my argument). Are they?

    Wikipedia says:

    The International Social Survey Programme was conducted in New Zealand by Massey University in 2008. It received mail-responses from around one thousand New Zealanders above the age of 18, surveying issues of religious belief and practice. The results of this survey indicated that 72% of the population believe in God or a higher power, 15% are agnostic, and 13% are atheist (with a 3% margin of error).[11]

    I couldn’t find any more recent statistics that explicitly quantified the atheistic population. Perhaps zeroseven can supply some evidence for his claims?

    Otherwise, it appears zeroseven is delusional wrt the beliefs his fellow citizens (if he is indeed from New Zealand).

    (And one of our most severely ill and deluded individuals may soon be the first female secretary general of the UN. Pretty good for someone suffering from an undiagnosed (well apart from your diagnosis) psychiatric illness).

    If he is talking about Helen Clark, I couldn’t find where she said she was an atheist. Perhaps zeroseven can direct us where such evidence exists.

    In any event, zeroseven seems to be making the claim that mental disorders are historically rare for heads of state. I wonder how zeroseven would evidence such a claim?

  40. 40

    Zeroseven said:

    Sorry, that was a bit sneery. But I do get tired of being constantly told how delusional I am. Still, usually I manage to turn the other cheek. Take the Nelson Mandela approach.

    If you’re constantly being told you are delusional, you might want to seriously consider the possibility.

  41. 41
    J-Mac says:

    “10 Reasons Why Atheists Are Delusional

    I have to strongly disagree. Most of atheists I know, especially the outspoken ones, are pretty well educated and informed…

    I don’t think they are delusional at all. There is just no way.

    Most of them just can’t stand an idea of a transcendent/ superior being for the reasons of their own…

    And many of them might have some reasons…valid or not…to explain their stand.

  42. 42
    clown fish says:

    [Stop trolling my thread, CF. – WJM]

  43. 43
    zeroseven says:

    WJM, the only place I get told I am delusional is here, so I don’t take it to heart.

    Yes, I am from New Zealand. I know Helen Clark is an atheist as I know her personally. Sorry, I know that’s not actually good evidence from your perspective seeing as I’m delusional.

    Regarding the rest of the population I am just speaking anecdotally and from my own experience. Religion is never mentioned in political discourse. We don’t have anyone trying to teach religious notions in public schools. We have no movements trying to prevent the teaching of evolution in public schools. SSM was voted in by a conservative argument here. We were the first country to have a trans-gender member of parliament who was a hugely popular candidate in a very conservative rural electorate. If someone running for high office announced they rejected evolution and believed in creation, they would not get elected. That kind of thing. I don’t know why 72% of that sample said they believed in a god or higher power in 2008. But that is a very vague question that would include, for example, people on the AA programme. And people will say “yes” to that question without really believing it. People are often delusional about that…

  44. 44
    StephenB says:

    zerosevern

    But I do get tired of being constantly told how delusional I am.

    WJM is not simply calling atheists delusional, he is explaining why they are delusional, and has not singled out any individual. There is really not that much to debate about. When reason confronts atheism, atheism will lose.

  45. 45
    Eugen says:

    07

    “…electorate. If someone running for high office announced they rejected evolution and believed in creation, they would not get elected…”

    Wow! You atheists are very compassionate and open minded, mate. Except when you are not.

  46. 46

    Response to K-S @10:

    1. I didn’t make any argument that morality was objective or that a supernatural entity was involved. Atheists often claim morality is subjective, and several here and many more elsewhere agree that they act as if morality is objective. Insisting that X is not true while agreeing that all sane people act as if X is true is both hypocritical and delusional.

    If one agrees that there is no way to know if X (moral objectivism) is true, and if one agrees that all sane people must and do act as if X is true, it is delusional to insist that X is not true.

    2. Again, my statement had nothing to do with god; it had to do with the propensity of many atheists to insist that free will is an illusion (doesn’t exist) while talking and acting as if it does. (See #1).

    3. You seem to have a problem focusing on the actual statements I make. It seems you are reacting to them from some psychological template you are imposing over my actual post. Many atheists argue that there is no such thing as absolute certainty, or even credible certainty; that “provisional scientific fact” is as close as we can come to truth, and that logic, math, and morality are subjective commodities that cannot be said to be objective arbiters of true statements and inferences.

    WRT those atheists, I’m pointing out the self-refuting nature of such a perspective when they argue as if there is some means of measuring or determining the truth-value of their argument under that proposed worldview.

    4. I didn’t say it was an atheism/theism issue. I’m pointing out the absurd perspective of many atheists we have encountered here over the years. I’m certainly not making a claim about ALL atheists. I’m pointing out the delusional characteristics of many of them.

    5. I’m reference atheists here and elsewhere who have denied the objective, binding nature of logic. Just because you are not familiar with them is not my problem. We had several atheists get banned from this site some time back because they would not commit to the objective, binding nature of the principle of non-contradiction, thereby logically reducing anything they might say to nonsense.

    6. What balance is there other than “natural” balance for any system in the world to be in? Is there a “non-natural” balance? How would one ascertain whether or not nature was “in balance”? Where does a “non-natural” balance come from?

    7. What does it mean to be the “top” of the evolutionary tree? How does one objectively define what the “top” means?

    8. Tell me then what meaningful truths exist other than physical facts, and how you came to understand them as truths.

    9. I didn’t say all atheists. It would be rather foolish to try and make a claim about all atheists, don’t you think?

    How are we all better off if we treat each other equally? Should I treat a child like I treat an adult? Should I treat Joe as an equal to Linda if Linda is qualified for the job and Joe is not? Should I treat Dahmer as the equal of Gandhi?

    I doubt that is what you mean, so perhaps you could enlighten me about what you mean by “treating people equally”, and then explain why you think that would make me better off.

    10. Human inequality is the world you actually live in, physically speaking. Humans do not have equal size, strength, land speed, intellect, physical capabilities, agility, emotions, capacity for abstract thought, etc. They are not born into equal circumstances nor have access to equal resources.

    You see, theism provides the foundation for the belief that there is a spiritual commodity by which all humans are equal in their intrinsic value – their spiritual worth, so to speak, as moral agents in the world imbued with divine purpose. In that sense, many theists consider all humans equals and imbued with unalienable, equal rights from their creator.

    However, atheism/materialism/physicalism/naturalism has no foundation for such a sense of spiritual equality of intrinsic worth; all they have are the physical facts of the world. If all we are assessing are they physical facts of the world, no two humans are essentially equal because they have no essence other than that which objectively varies from human to human.

  47. 47
    bornagain77 says:

    Of note, sometimes atheists honestly admit that they cannot live consistently within their worldview:

    Darwin’s Robots: When Evolutionary Materialists Admit that Their Own Worldview Fails – Nancy Pearcey – April 23, 2015
    Excerpt: Even materialists often admit that, in practice, it is impossible for humans to live any other way. One philosopher jokes that if people deny free will, then when ordering at a restaurant they should say, “Just bring me whatever the laws of nature have determined I will get.”
    An especially clear example is Galen Strawson, a philosopher who states with great bravado, “The impossibility of free will … can be proved with complete certainty.” Yet in an interview, Strawson admits that, in practice, no one accepts his deterministic view. “To be honest, I can’t really accept it myself,” he says. “I can’t really live with this fact from day to day. Can you, really?”,,,
    In What Science Offers the Humanities, Edward Slingerland, identifies himself as an unabashed materialist and reductionist. Slingerland argues that Darwinian materialism leads logically to the conclusion that humans are robots — that our sense of having a will or self or consciousness is an illusion. Yet, he admits, it is an illusion we find impossible to shake. No one “can help acting like and at some level really feeling that he or she is free.” We are “constitutionally incapable of experiencing ourselves and other conspecifics [humans] as robots.”
    One section in his book is even titled “We Are Robots Designed Not to Believe That We Are Robots.”,,,
    When I teach these concepts in the classroom, an example my students find especially poignant is Flesh and Machines by Rodney Brooks, professor emeritus at MIT. Brooks writes that a human being is nothing but a machine — a “big bag of skin full of biomolecules” interacting by the laws of physics and chemistry. In ordinary life, of course, it is difficult to actually see people that way. But, he says, “When I look at my children, I can, when I force myself, … see that they are machines.”
    Is that how he treats them, though? Of course not: “That is not how I treat them…. I interact with them on an entirely different level. They have my unconditional love, the furthest one might be able to get from rational analysis.” Certainly if what counts as “rational” is a materialist worldview in which humans are machines, then loving your children is irrational. It has no basis
    within Brooks’s worldview. It sticks out of his box.
    How does he reconcile such a heart-wrenching cognitive dissonance? He doesn’t. Brooks ends by saying, “I maintain two sets of inconsistent beliefs.” He has given up on any attempt to reconcile his theory with his experience. He has abandoned all hope for a unified, logically consistent worldview.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....95451.html

    And in the following article, Dawkins himself admits that it would be ‘intolerable’ for him to live as if his atheistic worldview were actually true

    Who wrote Richard Dawkins’s new book? – October 28, 2006
    Excerpt: Dawkins: What I do know is that what it feels like to me, and I think to all of us, we don’t feel determined. We feel like blaming people for what they do or giving people the credit for what they do. We feel like admiring people for what they do.,,,
    Manzari: But do you personally see that as an inconsistency in your views?
    Dawkins: I sort of do. Yes. But it is an inconsistency that we sort of have to live with otherwise life would be intolerable.,,,
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....02783.html

    Faith and Science – Dr. Raymond Bohlin – video – (2015) (48:46 minute mark)
    https://youtu.be/vTIp1kgSqzU?t=2552

    And if you can’t live consistently within your worldview, then your worldview does not reflect reality and your worldview is therefore a delusion

    Existential Argument against Atheism – November 1, 2013 by Jason Petersen
    1. If a worldview is true then you should be able to live consistently with that worldview.
    2. Atheists are unable to live consistently with their worldview.
    3. If you can’t live consistently with an atheist worldview then the worldview does not reflect reality.
    4. If a worldview does not reflect reality then that worldview is a delusion.
    5. If atheism is a delusion then atheism cannot be true.
    Conclusion: Atheism is false.
    http://answersforhope.com/exis.....t-atheism/

    Of humorous note:

    It is funny for an atheist to complain about people pointing out that atheists have lost their minds when atheists themselves claim they have no mind.

    “What you’re doing is simply instantiating a self: the program run by your neurons which you feel is “you.””
    Jerry Coyne – militant atheist

    Photo – an atheist contemplating his ‘mind’
    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-H-kj.....0/rob4.jpg

  48. 48
    zeroseven says:

    Eugen, the thing is, we (us atheists) regard you guys as delusional. Unlike WJM here I just don’t go around telling you all the time.

  49. 49
    StephenB says:

    zerosever

    WJM, the only place I get told I am delusional is here, so I don’t take it to heart.

    I am afraid that you are getting pretty far afield. WJM didn’t say that many or most atheists are delusional in every conceivable way. He said that many or most atheists are delusional in 10 specific areas.

    So far, you have argued that atheists are not delusional in other ways. I don’t doubt that at all. I am sure that most atheists are not delusional about how to make money or pursue political power. That hardly matters.

    What we are discussing are the 10 ways in which most atheists are delusional. That you have not addressed even one of them indicates that you don’t have an answer.

    If you were to tell me that I am delusional as a Theist, especially if you were as specific as WJM on the other side, I can assure you that I would have no problem countering each and every item.

  50. 50
    zeroseven says:

    HeKS, just trying to parse your comment at 26. If one doesn’t live like a delusion is true, or only pays lip service to it, then how are they delusional? If I suffer under the delusion that I will die if I get wet, but nevertheless enjoy having baths and running around in the rain, how is that in any practical sense a delusion? I think I would call that being deluded as to being deluded. In other words, not deluded.

  51. 51
    StephenB says:

    zeroseven

    Eugen, the thing is, we (us atheists) regard you guys as delusional.

    Perhaps, but you cannot defend that claim. That is the difference.

  52. 52
    daveS says:

    zeroseven,

    Eugen, the thing is, we (us atheists) regard you guys as delusional. Unlike WJM here I just don’t go around telling you all the time.

    Speaking only for myself, I don’t regard anyone here as truly delusional. I can usually understand the positions of even those I disagree with well enough to see the logic behind them. And those who do agree with me are obviously not delusional. 🙂

  53. 53

    zeroseven said:

    Yes, I am from New Zealand. I know Helen Clark is an atheist as I know her personally. Sorry, I know that’s not actually good evidence from your perspective seeing as I’m delusional.

    Okay, so since she’s publicly stated that she is an agnostic and has avoided directly answering the question about her religious beliefs, we can conclude she is a liar. Not exactly a profound revelation wrt a politician, so …

    Regarding the rest of the population I am just speaking anecdotally and from my own experience.

    On the one hand I applaud you being able to admit this; on the other, you don’t seem to see the problem in a debate when you represent something as the factual state of affairs when you have absolutely no knowledge of the facts.

    Do you not understand that believing what you expressed about New Zealanders, stating it with authoritative conviction in a debate where such information can easily be accessed, points towards a cavalier disregard on your part for any factual or logical basis whatsoever for your views? IOW, zeroseven, you just made a claim up you had no actual knowledge about whatsoever because what you claimed coincided with your personal experience and views and what you wanted to think about your country.

    Religion is never mentioned in political discourse. We don’t have anyone trying to teach religious notions in public schools. We have no movements trying to prevent the teaching of evolution in public schools. SSM was voted in by a conservative argument here. We were the first country to have a trans-gender member of parliament who was a hugely popular candidate in a very conservative rural electorate. If someone running for high office announced they rejected evolution and believed in creation, they would not get elected. That kind of thing. I don’t know why 72% of that sample said they believed in a god or higher power in 2008. But that is a very vague question that would include, for example, people on the AA programme. And people will say “yes” to that question without really believing it. People are often delusional about that…

    Why should anyone think you are doing anything other than just making up claims about New Zealand based on your anecdotal experience and personal views that you have no factual basis for?

    If all you say above is true, one then wonders why Helen Clark feels the need to lie about her atheism and refer to herself as an “agnostic”. See the logical problem there wrt the narrative you have painted about your country’s general atheism? Wouldn’t she be more likely to be elected if she just admitted she was an atheist and proclaimed it loudly and proudly?

    One might wonder, how can zeroseven have such an obviously distorted view of the population of New Zealand – so distorted that he will offer up in public an easily disprovable assertions about it?

    One answer would be: zeroseven is delusional wrt his fellow New Zealander’s spiritual views.

  54. 54
    zeroseven says:

    StephenB:

    that I have not addressed the 10 points doesn’t mean I don’t have an answer. Its just that they are not very interesting points, many are quite confused, and some of them based on false premises. Take number 6 for example. It’s a false dichotomy. Why can’t humans be a part of nature and also a threat to nature?

  55. 55
    zeroseven says:

    WJM:

    CF will back me up. He’s been here..

    Really, you wonder why Helen Clark would not be fulsome in public about her atheism? I doubt if you are that naive.

  56. 56
    vividbleau says:

    Zero
    “Really, you wonder why Helen Clark would not be fulsome in public about her atheism? I doubt if you are that naive.”

    You just confirmed WJMs point.

    Vivid

  57. 57

    Further evidence of zeroseven’s delusions:

    In 20, Z7 said:

    It’s amazing how all those hundreds of millions of cognitively deficient, delusional atheists around the world seem to be able to live such successful and fulfilled lives. I guess they are the type of delusions and cognitive dissonances that don’t have any effect on the ability to live successful lives.

    And in 33 said:

    Well you have just diagnosed the vast majority of my fellow citizens as suffering from a psychiatric illness. I still find it amazing that a whole country could be infected with a psychiatric illness and yet still be so highly regarded in the world community. (And one of our most severely ill and deluded individuals may soon be the first female secretary general of the UN. Pretty good for someone suffering from an undiagnosed (well apart from your diagnosis) psychiatric illness).

    Then turns around and says:

    Eugen, the thing is, we (us atheists) regard you guys as delusional. Unlike WJM here I just don’t go around telling you all the time.

    Z7 hold theisms to be a delusion, yet feigns “amazement” that “a whole country” and heads of state could be suffering from a delusion, when that is exactly what he thinks of whole populations and heads of state that are theistic believers.

    At 21, HeKS said:

    Basically, yeah. Why? Because they don’t actually live like their delusions are true. They give lip service to the delusions and defend them with generally poor arguments. They claim that it is everyone else who is delusional for thinking differently. They often claim themselves to be the intellectual elite for holding to these delusions. But when their shift is over they go home and live their lives in a way that suggests they know just as well as everyone else these delusions are absurd.

    At 22, Z7 responds:

    What you are describing is a profound mental disorder. At the very least a serious personality disorder. I am quite familiar with the mental health profession and community. I know people who suffer from the kind of delusions you describe (for example gay people who have not come out of the closet). Generally there are further mental health consequences to living a life like that. I look around the country I live in where religion has retreated to the very fringes of public life and I don’t see a society suffering from the problems I would expect to see if what you say is true. Quite the opposite.

    But then later changes his mind, at 50:

    HeKS, just trying to parse your comment at 26. If one doesn’t live like a delusion is true, or only pays lip service to it, then how are they delusional? If I suffer under the delusion that I will die if I get wet, but nevertheless enjoy having baths and running around in the rain, how is that in any practical sense a delusion? I think I would call that being deluded as to being deluded. In other words, not deluded.

    So, first Z7 calls the lip-service only life of not living as if what you believe is true a “profound” mental disorder and claims he “knows people that suffer from the kinds of delusions” (lip-service hypocrisy) HeKS describes. Then he turns around and asks “If one doesn’t live like a delusion is true, or only pays lip service to it, then how are they delusional??”

    You’re contradicting yourself and destroying your own position, claims and arguments in a matter of minutes, Z7. You may be delusional.

  58. 58
    zeroseven says:

    Vivid, yes, if his point was that politicians generally feel a need to present the version of themselves to the public that is most likely to get them voted in. Is that what being delusional means?

  59. 59

    Z7:

    Really, you wonder why Helen Clark would not be fulsome in public about her atheism? I doubt if you are that naive.

    You do realize you painted the population of NZ as having a “vast majority” of atheists, right? You do realize you called into doubt the Wiki statistics that contradicted that claim, right? You do realize that if what you claimed was true about NZ, then Helen Clark would certainly not have a problem stating she was an atheist to win an election there, right? You do realize that by asking me if I was “that naive”, you are implicitly admitting that the population of NZ would likely never elect a self-admitted atheist, which directly contradicts your claims about NZ, showing that you must know your earlier claim about the atheism of NZ to be false.

    You’re either a troll or you are delusional. Your country is not remotely “mostly atheist” or else Clark’s atheism would be an advantage in the election, and you know this.

  60. 60

    Z7 said:

    Vivid, yes, if his point was that politicians generally feel a need to present the version of themselves to the public that is most likely to get them voted in. Is that what being delusional means?

    No, vivid. It means that if Clark had to cover up her atheism to get elected, and you characterize it as being “naive” to think she could get elected otherwise, then you must also know that NZ does not have, as you said, a “vast majority” of atheists, or else proclaiming her atheism would have been to her political advantage.

    You’re the one being delusional claiming on one hand that your country is “by a vast majority” atheist while concurrently recognizing that only someone politically naive would think Clark’s atheism was a political advantage.

  61. 61
    zeroseven says:

    WJM, maybe those positions are contradictory. Maybe I thought further about what HeKS said. Maybe I changed my mind. Maybe I saw something from a different perspective. Your problem is you don’t like the messiness of being a human being.

    Also my point was about a highly functioning and well-regarded country being delusional, not just any country. Clearly countries affected by religious fundamentalism (Iran, Saudi Arabia) are delusional, but they do not enjoy the high regard of the rest of the world.

  62. 62
    vividbleau says:

    Zero

    For a lawyer you have a hard time following an argument.

    WJM writes

    “If all you say above is true, one then wonders why Helen Clark feels the need to lie about her atheism and refer to herself as an “agnostic”. See the logical problem there wrt the narrative you have painted about your country’s general atheism? Wouldn’t she be more likely to be elected if she just admitted she was an atheist and proclaimed it loudly and proudly?”

    Then you confirm it as if you are refuting it. I really think that atheists think they are so much smarter than theists that they just throw crap around as if they are saying something profound.

    Vivid

  63. 63
    zeroseven says:

    WJM at 59:

    I was talking about Helen Clark in her campaign to become the UN SG. She is not appealing to NZ voters there. If your agnosticism comment was when she was PM of NZ then I don’t know why she would have said that. Certainly she wouldn’t if she wouldn’t feel a need to if she was campaigning to be elected in NZ today.

  64. 64
    zeroseven says:

    Vivid:

    See above. There wouldn’t be a need to lie about it in NZ. If she did, I don’t know why. Once she put her signature on a painting and lied that she had painted it. I don’t know why she did that either.

    And really, is there a big diff between Agnostic and atheist?

  65. 65
    Andre says:

    I have a theory….

    God is an All black supporter. With the most beautiful anthem that glorifies Him how can He not be?

    God of Nations! at Thy feet,
    In the bonds of love we meet,
    Hear our voices we entreat,
    God defend our free land.
    Guard Pacific’s triple star
    From the shafts of strife and war,
    Make her praises heard afar,
    God defend New Zealand.
    Men of every creed and race,
    Gather here before Thy face,
    Asking Thee to bless this place,
    God defend our free land
    From dissension, envy, hate,
    And corruption guard our State.
    Make our country good and great,
    God defend New Zealand.

    Peace, not war, shall be our boast,
    But, should foes assail our coast,
    Make us then a mighty host,
    God defend our free land
    Lord of battles, in Thy might,
    Put our enemies to flight,
    Let our cause be just and right,
    God defend New Zealand.

    Let our love for thee increase,
    May thy blessings never cease,
    Give us plenty, give us peace,
    God defend our free land.
    From dishonour and from shame,
    Guard our country’s spotless name,
    Crown her with immortal fame,
    God defend New Zealand.

    May our mountains ever be
    Freedom’s ramparts on the sea,
    Make us faithful unto Thee,
    God defend our free land.
    Guide her in the nations’ van,
    Preaching love and truth to man,
    Working out Thy glorious plan,
    God defend New Zealand.

    Their success as a nation and a rugby team is very impressive. Supports my theory….

  66. 66
    Seversky says:

    William J Murray

    I should like to thank WJM for having marshaled such a fine body of strawmen for me to dispatch. It’s uncommonly decent of him.

    I will begin by pointing out that atheists while sharing a lack of belief in any God or gods, are, like any other population, as diverse in their beliefs on many issues as any other large – and growing – group of people. Arguing that all, or even any, atheists hold such delusional beliefs is a form of stereotyping equivalent to my alleging that all Christians here subscribe to the same interpretation of the faith as the Westboro Baptist Church

    Atheists/materialists/physicalist/naturalists are delusional. Here are 10 reasons why:

    1. They dismiss morality as nothing more than strongly felt subjective preference, but admit they act as if morality is objective in nature.

    I believe that moral judgments are subjective preferences. I believe that if, as human beings, we find that we have a number of subjective preferences in common, such as preferring to live rather than die, then we have a basis for morality that needs no other warrant than the assent of those who are to be governed by it.

    Some atheists may take the position that they act as if morality is objective but I don’t. In my view, we choose to observe a moral code out of respect for our own interests and those of others. It is similar, in principle, to the way players of a particular sport will abide by its rules during a game. You could argue that they are acting as if the rules are objective but it’s really only because they want a good game. If everybody ignored the rules and did their own thing, there wouldn’t be a game, just a free-for-all.

    2. They speak, act and hold others responsible for their behaviors as if we all have some metaphysical capacity to transcend and override the deterministic effects of our body’s physical state and causative processing (free will), yet they deny any such metaphysical capacity exists.

    We all have the appearance of having free will to some extent but how do we know if that appearance or sensation is not predetermined? There is also the problem of an omniscient God with demonstrable foreknowledge of the future rendering this appearance of free will an illusion. In practice all we can do is act as if we have free will and see where it gets us. And since when does free will have to be a metaphysical capacity?

    3. They deny truth can be determined subjectively while necessarily implying that their arguments and evidences are true and expecting others to subjectively determine that their arguments are true.

    I don’t know that atheism necessarily entails any particular version of truth. I have always used the correspondence theory of truth in which the truth of any claim must be accessible to all.

    4. They deny that what is intelligently designed can be reliably identified when virtually every moment of their waking existence requires precisely that capacity.

    We have never denied that human intelligent design can be identified reliably. Since we have no alien artefacts to work with, however, there is no way to determine at this time whether intelligent design in general can be reliably identified.

    5. They deny that some abstract concepts are necessarily true and objectively binding on our existence (such as the fundamental principles of math, logic and morality) yet reference them (directly or indirectly) as if they are exactly that.

    The predictions of mathematics and logic can be verified against the reality they model like any other claims about what “is”. Implying that moral claims are in the same class is a category error.

    6. They deny humans are anything other than entirely creatures of nature, yet insist that what humans do is somehow a threat to nature or some supposed natural balance.

    How does the fact that we are natural creatures conflict in any way with the observations that human activities have had – and are continuing to have – a substantial impact on the environment?

    7. They insist humans are categorically the same as any other animals, but then decry it when humans treat other humans the same way other animals treat their own kind (alpha male brutality, violence, etc), as if humans have some sort of obligation to “transcend” their “animal” nature.

    Well, yes. That is what we’ve been discussing at some length. You can’t derive “ought” from “is”. The fact that other animal species may behave in certain ways does not mean that we should do the same. So, yes, we decry the behavior of some which harms the interests and well-being of their fellows without good cause.

    8. They insist that physical facts are the only meaningful truths that exist, but then want to use force of law to protect subjective concepts that contradict physical facts, like “transgenderism”.

    In my view, truth resides in the extent to which a claim or assertion or proposition or explanation of the observable world is observed to correspond to that which it purports to describe and explain. Moral prescriptions are a different class of claim.

    9. They insist spiritual laws that transcend the physical do not exist, but then insist that all humans are equal, when they factually, obviously are not equals at all – either physically or intellectually.

    There is no evidence of “spiritual laws that transcend the physical” and hence no reason to believe in such.

    And no one is insisting that human beings are all equal in all respects. We are insisting that all human beings be granted the same human rights and civil liberties, the same access to justice and equal treatment before the law. I presume you’re doing the same.

    10. They pursue social systems that attempt to force the concept of equality on everyone as if they expect that through ignoring the physical realty of human inequality they can build a sound social system, which would be comparable to ignoring the inequality of building materials and insisting that they all be treated as equal when building a skyscraper.

    So you don’t believe all people should be treated equally regardless of their individual strengths and weaknesses, “the physical realty of human inequality”? Just what kind of society did you have in mind and how would it be just at all?

  67. 67
    zeroseven says:

    Hi Andre,

    Given the Sprinbok’s recent record against the All Blacks I can understand why you would think that.

  68. 68
    Andre says:

    Zero

    Nope. I have thought that for a very long time the New Zealand anthem is one of the most beautiful anthems that glorify our Creator.

    That should.make you take a pause and understand that your country’s foundations are imbedded in God.

  69. 69
    HeKS says:

    WJM @57

    So, first Z7 calls the lip-service only life of not living as if what you believe is true a “profound” mental disorder and claims he “knows people that suffer from the kinds of delusions” (lip-service hypocrisy) HeKS describes. Then he turns around and asks “If one doesn’t live like a delusion is true, or only pays lip service to it, then how are they delusional??”

    Contradict yourself much, Z7?

    Yes, quite true. I was wondering which claim I was supposed to respond to. Maybe they just cancel each other out.

    BTW, if Clark is vying for a role with the UN rather than just a position in NZ, that could explain why she isn’t open about her atheism, even if zeroseven were correct about the widespread atheism of NZ. That said, I visited NZ in 2006 and didn’t happen to notice that it was an unusually secular place based on my interactions with people, but I’m not sure how clearly something like that would really stand out. NZ is an absolutely beautiful country though. I definitely want to go back at some point.

    zeroseven,

    I would say the answer to your question in #50 is cognitive dissonance. For those types of atheists that WJM’s OP is referring to (and it has been stated multiple times that it is not intended to apply to all atheists), they tell themselves intellectually that certain propositions about the world, the universe, their minds, etc. are true, but they largely live their lives as though they are not true.

    An atheist may claim that there’s no such thing as objective morality, that nothing is truly good or bad, right or wrong, but when somebody robs them, or hits someone with their car and drives off, they get mad at the person for their actions and say they ought to be brought to justice.

    Or an atheist may say that people have no free will and that they don’t really have thoughts that are about things, because that’s impossible, but then they deride people for having different opinions than themselves, claim their own views are true, and criticize people for not accepting (their interpretation of) the evidence, almost as though they think people have thoughts that are about things, and the free will to change those thoughts through a process of rational deliberation, and some kind of moral responsibility to do so.

    Or an atheist may accuse a religious person of being irrational, claim to possess a superior intellect, and claim to simply care about evidence, logic and rationality and boast of a willingness to follow these wherever they lead, but when the logic starts to point in a direction that makes them uncomfortable they happily disavow logic itself, saying that there’s no reason why reality should be a slave to logic.

    I’ve only been participating here for about a year and a half, but in that short time I’ve seen pretty much every one of the things WJM mentions happen here multiple times. I’ve had some discussions here that were so mind-bogglingly stupid that I can hardly believe they really happened, particularly relating to the third example I just mentioned above, where the atheists in the discussion started abandoning basic logic like they were trying to lighten the load on a sinking ship and logic was the heaviest item that wasn’t nailed down.

    All this having been said, let’s be clear here. There are very few atheists who seem to really believe the logically necessary implications of atheism. Those atheists who think about this issue seriously enough to clearly recognize the necessary implications and subsequently embrace those implications as ‘true believers’ are pretty few and far between, and even these ones typically admit that they can’t actually live a life in harmony with these implications because it would be unbearable.

    Somewhat larger is the group of atheists who essentially pay lip-service to some of the implications that they find more palatable and/or which seem to play better in debates. Which of the implications fall into this category for any given person is, of course, subjective … as is, apparently, absolutely everything else in existence.

    However, the vast majority of self-identified atheists are atheists for one or more of the following reasons:

    1) They are told that smart people are atheists and they want to be smart too

    2) They are told that science proves atheism

    3) They are told that they should question everything except whatever “Science says”, especially when it’s saying that atheism is true

    4) They are told by people who call themselves smart that people who believe in God are delusional, and they don’t want to be delusional

    5) They are told that they shouldn’t believe anything unless there is good evidence for it, and then they are told that there is no evidence for God’s existence and everyone who believes in God does so on the basis of blind faith

    6) They are told that atheism is merely a “lack of belief in God” and so carries no burden of proof, which means they have no requirement to positively argue for atheism or rationally defend it by any means other than to assert that the theist has the entire burden of proof but no evidence. Having no understanding of how a burden of proof works, they proceed to ridicule a belief in God, say it is obviously stupid to believe in some old flying Sky Daddy, call theists delusional, accuse them of stupidly believing in “bronze age myths”, but as soon as they are challenged to support their assertions they say, “No silly, I just lack a belief in the existence of God, I don’t believe God doesn’t exist, so I don’t have to prove anything.” (I wonder, do you see the problem with this?)

    7) Bad stuff has happened to them or they’ve seen it happen to other people and they’ve come to the emotional conclusion that God doesn’t exist.

    Of course, this list is not necessarily exhaustive, but it covers a lot of the ground.

    Most of these self-identified atheists, in my own experience talking to them elsewhere, both online and offline, do not have the first clue about the logical implications of an atheistic worldview. They have never thought seriously about the issue at all, with their atheism usually attributable to #1 and 5, or #7. Generally, they’ve heard soundbites and buzzwords about atheism being the choice of intellectuals and religion being the choice of gullible idiots and they’ve blindly jumped on the bandwagon, or else they’ve gone through bad times and decided God doesn’t exist because of it.

  70. 70
    Barry Arrington says:

    We see a theme here. At 28 I caught Clown Fish in a bold faced lie and I wrote:

    It never ceases to amaze me that people like CF feel like they can say any damn thing they want, and when they get caught lying they just move on to the next damn thing as if they were not caught. I guess that’s what it means be to a subjectivist. The whole “thou shalt not bear false witness” thing becomes entirely optional.

    Anyone who reads the exchanges between zeroseven and WJM will see the same thing going on. Zeroseven states something as an objective fact that is outrageously false. WJM catches him and exposes his lie. Then, as I said of CF at 30, “No acknowledgement; no apology; no mea culpa. Just move on to the next thing.”

    Rarely have the materialists shown their complete and utter disregard for the truth in such a blatant and shameless way as they have in this thread.

  71. 71
    HeKS says:

    WJM: 5. They deny that some abstract concepts are necessarily true and objectively binding on our existence (such as the fundamental principles of math, logic and morality) yet reference them (directly or indirectly) as if they are exactly that.

    Seversky: The predictions of mathematics and logic can be verified against the reality they model like any other claims about what “is”. Implying that moral claims are in the same class is a category error.

    LOL. Priceless.

  72. 72
    zeroseven says:

    HeKS:

    Thanks for your kind words about NZ. I am indeed lucky to live in such a beautiful country.

    I am sorry that I don’t have time to respond to you in depth as trying to wrap up the working day before the beginning of the working night…(aka kids).

    Just a couple of quick things that stood out. I don’t see any conflict between not believing in objective morals, and believing people should abide by the law.

    I’m not an atheist for any of those reasons, and I don’t think theists have inferior intellects (about from fundamentalist crackpots like Ken Ham). I just never had religion in my life, never had a need for it, never really came across it as I was growing up. And the more I have read and thought it about it as an adult, the more convinced I have become that it is nonsense.

  73. 73
    vividbleau says:

    Heks

    “LOL. Priceless.”

    Yes it is.

    Vivid

  74. 74
    HeKS says:

    Zeroseven,

    There’s no rush required on any response, so if you decide you want to respond more fully later you are welcome to do so.

    As for my list, as I said, it was not exhaustive, but it covers a lot of the reasons I’ve seen for people deciding to describe themselves as atheists.

    As for yourself, you say you say that religion was just never part of your life and you never saw a need for it. I don’t doubt you, but part of the reason you don’t see any need for it is because, whether you recognize it or not, you live in a culture (Aus. and NZ are still considered part of “The West”) that, in its modern form, has been so utterly suffused with religious (and specifically Christian) concepts of morality and ideas about human worth that they have simply become part of the fabric of your society, even after the logical and metaphysical foundation for those concepts have been abandoned. And this is true of all the other countries in the western world as well. Sure, societies may change around or adopt new views on specific social issues, but even then they are justified by appeal to moral ideals that were originally derived from Christianity and which have no ultimate foundation in its absence. In other words, what I’m saying here is that you should consider the possibly that the reason you’ve never felt a need for religion in your life is because it has already necessarily been so thoroughly influenced by religion at a foundational level. If it had not been, and if you were living in a culture that had not been so utterly molded by specifically Christian ideals (it’s not hard to think of a few of these), you might find yourself a little less blasé about religion.

    Take care,
    HeKS

  75. 75
    Andre says:

    ZeroSeven

    If everything is subective what exactly is the point of there being laws?

  76. 76
    ellazimm says:

    WJM

    5. They deny that some abstract concepts are necessarily true and objectively binding on our existence (such as the fundamental principles of math, logic and morality) yet reference them (directly or indirectly) as if they are exactly that.

    I think that is a misrepresentation of mathematics and how it is applied. I’m not trolling or trying to derail the rest of your post. I’m just disagreeing with one small part, a part I know about.

  77. 77
    HeKS says:

    Ellazimm,

    If that is the case, it might be helpful to state in what way you think it is a misrepresentation. As things stand, there is not really any way for WJM to respond to your comment other than to say that he thinks he disagrees with you.

  78. 78
    ellazimm says:

    HeKS

    If that is the case, it might be helpful to state in what way you think it is a misrepresentation. As things stand, there is not really any way for WJM to respond to your comment other than to say that he thinks he disagrees with you.

    I am being cautious. He banned me from another thread where a similar topic was discussed. I was trying to explain my disagreement and he decided I was trolling.

    I don’t think mathematics is ‘true’ or objectively binding in the real world. I don’t know any mathematician who does think that. Some aspects and areas of mathematics can be used to model some physical situations but a lot of mathematics has no real-world use whatsoever. And most of the mathematical models are only approximately correct.

    Why did you disparage Seversky’s comment?

  79. 79
    Marfin says:

    So Zeroseven does anyone have free will

  80. 80
    Bob O'H says:

    I have a theory….

    God is an All black supporter. With the most beautiful anthem that glorifies Him how can He not be?

    Why would a Yorkshireman support the All Blacks?

  81. 81
    bornagain77 says:

    New Zealand? A few of my favorite inspirational Christian songs are from a award winning singer from New Zealand. Those atheists down there must really love Christian music in order to have made her so popular in New Zealand and the world. 🙂

    Brooke Fraser – Hillsong: “Lord Of Lords” Worship and Praise Song (HQ)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tlqDIfS4O3s

    Brooke Fraser – C. S. Lewis Song
    https://www.facebook.com/philip.cunningham.73/videos/vb.100000088262100/1206707769342154/?type=2&theater

    Of related note to the C. S. Lewis song:

    Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for these desires exists. A baby feels hunger; well, there is such a thing as food. A duckling wants to swim; well, there is such a thing as water. Men feel sexual desire; well, there is such a thing as sex. If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.
    C.S. Lewis (Mere Christianity, Bk. III, chap. 10, “Hope”)

    The Argument From Desire
    Premise 1: Every natural, innate desire in us corresponds to some real object that can satisfy that desire.
    Premise 2: But there exists in us a desire which nothing in time, nothing on earth, no creature can satisfy.
    Conclusion: Therefore there must exist something more than time, earth and creatures, which can satisfy this desire.

    This something is what people call “God” and “life with God forever.”
    http://www.peterkreeft.com/topics/desire.htm

    Peter Kreeft debates Richard Norman regarding the Argument for Desire on the excellent podcast episode of Unbelievable with Justin Brierley
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AZ_yLsjxgyU

    Also of related note to the ‘argument from desire’, the Christian Theist has far more scientific evidence for his belief in a heavenly paradise than the atheist has evidence for his belief in the multiverse. A completely unsubstantiated, and self refuting, multiverse that was basically invented in their collective imagination to try to ‘explain away’ the fine-tuning of the laws of the universe

    Special and General Relativity compared to Heavenly and Hellish Near Death Experiences – video (reworked May 2016 – with following two videos referenced in it)
    https://www.facebook.com/philip.cunningham.73/videos/1193118270701104/

    (Entropic Concerns) The Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the Dead is the correct solution for the “Theory of Everything” – video
    https://www.facebook.com/philip.cunningham.73/videos/1121720701174195/?pnref=story

    Albert Einstein vs. “The Now” of Philosophers and of Quantum Mechanics – video
    https://www.facebook.com/philip.cunningham.73/videos/vb.100000088262100/1129789497033982/?type=2&theater

  82. 82

    ellazimm said:

    I was trying to explain my disagreement and he decided I was trolling.

    You are demonstrably lying EZ. In the other thread, you opened your comments by saying:

    I’ve got this feeling you haven’t seen many mathematical proofs. But if I’m wrong I’d love to hear about your experience.

    Note: you did not attempt to explain any disagreement with anything I said in that OP.

    I responded by reflecting your vague dismissal back at you, challenging you to explain your disagreement:

    I’ve got this feeling you don’t have anything of substance to add to this thread. But if I’m wrong I’d love to hear your salient rebuttal to any point in the O.P.

    Challenged to respond to any specific point of disagreement in detail, you responded:

    I just want to know how much experience you’ve had with mathematical proofs. Why is that so hard to address?

    That’s two chances you had to explain your disagreement.

    I responded and warned:

    How much experience I’ve had is irrelevant. Let’s assume I have none. What is germane to the argument is whether or not what I have argued is valid, not whether I have any experience in what it is I am arguing about. A valid argument made by a fool is still a valid argument nonetheless.

    Now, if you have a rebuttal or counter-argument to make about anything I’ve actually said or argued in this thread, feel free to present it and demonstrate my ignorant foolishness. Otherwise, stop trolling my thread.

    Did Ellazimm respond by explaining her disagreement with any particular point in my OP? No:

    I think your argument shows your inexperience, a lack of understanding. I think you don’t really grasp the systems you are discussing. You don’t build on work that has already been done. So I don’t take you seriously. It would be like me making a theological argument; I would quickly show my lack of ability.

    That’s the third time EZ avoided “explaining her disagreement”. She continues this avoidance of explanation a fourth time:

    Like I said, your lack of understanding shows. The questions you ask prove it.

    I challenged her once again to explain her disagreement, and she replied with more of the same, which I removed from the thread.

    I never “banned” EZ from the thread; as far as I know he/she is free to explain her disagreement there. What nobody is free to do in my threads is troll.

    EZ says:

    I don’t think mathematics is ‘true’ or objectively binding in the real world. I don’t know any mathematician who does think that.

    When EZ balances her checkbook against bank records, then, and discovers that when the bank subtracted a check for $20 the balance, according to their records, went from $5000 to $3000, she won’t call the bank to inform them of their mathematical error because, as EZ says, he/she doesn’t think mathematics is “true’ or objectively binding in the real world.

    When other mathematicians get some gas at the local gas station, and after putting 4 gallons in at $5 a gallon the clerk charges them $100 at the counter, they won’t balk at the price because, as EZ claims, they don’t consider mathematics “true” or “objectively binding” in the real world.

    Right?

    Nobody can get through the day, EZ, without assuming that at least some principles and equations of mathematics are objective true and universally binding arbiters of true statements about the world.

    To claim otherwise is to put one at odds with how they must behave in the world and is a form of delusional thinking.

    You’re right to be careful, EZ. You’ve been demonstrated to be a liar and to avoid explanations in favor of trolling. Claiming that you are not trolling doesn’t mean you are not trolling. You never “tried to explain your disagreement” despite having ample opportunity and being challenged to do that very thing.

  83. 83
    bornagain77 says:

    Here is a good link for the C S Lewis song which was recorded in New Zealand:

    Brooke Fraser- “C S Lewis Song”
    http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=DL6LPLNX

  84. 84

    Zeroseven said:

    See above. There wouldn’t be a need to lie about it in NZ. If she did, I don’t know why.

    She made the comment in 2003 after National leader Don Brash said she was an atheist.

    Once she put her signature on a painting and lied that she had painted it. I don’t know why she did that either.

    Probably to get undeserved credit for painting the picture, wouldn’t you think?

    And really, is there a big diff between Agnostic and atheist?

    If there is no “big diff”, why would she specifically say:

    I am not going to have Dr Brash describe my personal beliefs. I’m not aware I have ever described myself as an atheist.

    I describe myself as an agnostic.

    Your problem is you don’t like the messiness of being a human being.

    No, my problem is when self-deluded atheists/materialists/physicalists/naturalists make claims of fact they cannot support, lie, dissemble and then attempt to make excuses for by claiming their inane, deceitful, self-contradictory BS is just part of being a normal “messy” human being when they are caught and exposed.

  85. 85
    ellazimm says:

    WJM

    When EZ balances her checkbook against bank records, then, and discovers that when the bank subtracted a check for $20 the balance, according to their records, went from $5000 to $3000, she won’t call the bank to inform them of their mathematical error because, as EZ says, he/she doesn’t think mathematics is “true’ or objectively binding in the real world.

    I was thinking of stuff like topology, number theory, set theory, measure theory, complex analysis, graph theory, combinatorics and other topics. Some of them or parts of them are used to model real world situations, some are not. Arithmetic is, as you point out, one of the topics that is used all the time. But the fundamental theorem of arithmetic is something I’m sure most people are not familiar with.

    From Wikipedia: In number theory, the fundamental theorem of arithmetic, also called the unique factorization theorem or the unique-prime-factorization theorem, states that every integer greater than 1 either is prime itself or is the product of prime numbers, and that this product is unique, up to the order of the factors.

    I will do better to be clear in the future. I admit to being a bit rude on the other thread. I apologise.

  86. 86

    ellazimm,

    In your day to day life – making purchases, balancing checkbooks, following recipes or instructions, planning your day in concert with others, etc., do you or do you not act as if, and expect others (like your bank teller, those you make plans with, the banker, the cashier, etc.) to behave as if the basic mathematics and logic involved are objectively true and binding in nature?

    Or do you act as if logic and mathematics are subjective in nature – a matter of personal preference, subjective values and not held as binding on others or upon the world in general?

  87. 87
    kairosfocus says:

    Marfin,

    perhaps your question can be posed as: are we significantly, responsibly, rationally free? Sufficiently so that we can reason, warrant and know, as well as be subject to duty (without which there can be no genuine rights)?

    If so, atheists and agnostics need to answer, how can this be founded on evolutionary materialistic premises of matter and energy interacting by cumulative blind chance and necessity?

    If they can not, how then can we have a rational discussion — or, does this all burn down to might and manipulation towards will to power and survival of the alleged fittest?

    On which it seems that the challenge that evolutionary materialistic scientism-based atheistical views are deeply self refuting by way of letting grand delusion loose on the life of the mind, like a bull in a china shop.

    KF

  88. 88
    kairosfocus says:

    EZ, I suspect anyone who has done primary school mathematics is familiar with factorisation down to prime number factors. They may not have learned the theorem you cite but they know the concept that numbers will be prime or reducible to primes. More than this, WJM’s point is that there are objective and even self evident facts and principles of mathematics that start with our experience of arithmetic. He gave examples of the order 2 + 2 = 4. That is all that is needed to establish a hard objective truth based core. The point being, there are objective and even self evident first truths of logic, of the logic of structure and quantity (= maths), and so also in our world. Where that is a case where we have objective, self evident truths about inherently abstract matters. In that context he has argued that there are also objective and even self evident moral truths, as I have also. KF

  89. 89
    bornagain77 says:

    The fact that there are an infinite number of mathematical theorems that do not describe the real world, compared to the few that do describe the real world, is actually a proof against the atheistic contention that they will someday find a purely mathematical ‘theory of everything’ without ever having to reference God:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-608603

    Steven Weinberg, an atheist who had a hand in formulating the ‘standard model’ in the 1960’s, puts ‘the fix’ that atheists are in with mathematics like this:

    “I don’t think one should underestimate the fix we are in. That in the end we will not be able to explain the world. That we will have some set of laws of nature (that) we will not be able to derive them on the grounds simply of mathematical consistency. Because we can already think of mathematically consistent laws that don’t describe the world as we know it. And we will always be left with a question ‘why are the laws nature what they are rather than some other laws?’. And I don’t see any way out of that.
    The fact that the constants of nature are suitable for life, which is clearly true, we observe,,,”
    (Weinberg then comments on the multiverse conjecture of atheists)
    “No one has constructed a theory in which that is true. I mean,, the (multiverse) theory would be speculative, but we don’t even have a theory in which that speculation is mathematically realized. But it is a possibility.”
    Steven Weinberg – as stated to Richard Dawkins at the 8:15 minute mark of the following video
    Leonard Susskind – Richard Dawkins and Steven Weinberg – 1 in 10^120 Cosmological Constant points to intelligent design – video
    https://youtu.be/z4E_bT4ecgk?t=495

    Of related note:

    Mathematics and Physics – A Happy Coincidence? – William Lane Craig – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BF25AA4dgGg

    1. If God did not exist the applicability of mathematics would be a happy coincidence.
    2. The applicability of mathematics is not a happy coincidence.
    3. Therefore, God exists.

  90. 90

    I’m going to break down my response to Seversky’s #66 into individual components to allow for more focus on specifics.

    WJM said:

    1. They dismiss morality as nothing more than strongly felt subjective preference, but admit they act as if morality is objective in nature.

    Seversky responds:

    Some atheists may take the position that they act as if morality is objective but I don’t. In my view, we choose to observe a moral code out of respect for our own interests and those of others. It is similar, in principle, to the way players of a particular sport will abide by its rules during a game. You could argue that they are acting as if the rules are objective but it’s really only because they want a good game. If everybody ignored the rules and did their own thing, there wouldn’t be a game, just a free-for-all.

    Seversky is apparently contradicting himself by first claiming that he doesn’t hold the view that atheists act as if morality is objective, then claiming that the players only act as if the rules are objective because they want a good game. Acting as if the rules are objective because one wants a good game is acting as if the rules are objective all the same.

    And yes, the players do indeed act as if the rules they are playing are objective. (Actually, the rules are objective; they’re just not considered metaphysically absolute. There are referees at games whose job it is to enforce those objectively detailed rules and penalize anyone who doesn’t obey them.)

    Seversky here admits that if people actually acted as if the rules were subjective, you’d have a free-for-all, and counters that they act as if morality is objective (1) in order to best pursue their own interests and (2) out of respect for other people pursuing their interests ((2) actually being a subset of (1) – seversky implies it’s in your own best interest to respect others’ pursuit of their own interests).

    IOW, Seversky is making the case that it is not delusional to act as if morality is objective in nature while believing it is not when you are acting that way in pursuit of your own interests. IOW, seversky is using a deceitful facade of acting as if morality is objective in order to pursue his self-interests.

    Extending that logic, Seversky will act as if morality is subjective when and where he thinks it is in his personal self-interest to do so.

    I agree with Seversky here. If an atheist is simply acting as if morality is objective (like players in sports do wrt game rules) in order to pursue their own self interests, this act doesn’t represent delusion. It does, however, reveal a stunning capacity for deceit and an appalling devotion to self-interest above everything else.

    However, I don’t believe any of it. Seversky, like the rest of us, deeply understands there is a right way and a wrong way to play the game of life regardless of what arbitrary rules and laws may say, and I’m sure he doesn’t act for a second in his life as if morality was an arbitrary set of rules he can simply ignore for his own selfish self-interests. In fact, I’d wager Seversky is quite willing to ignore his own self-interests to obey certain moral principles even when there appears to be only potential negative ramifications in store for him for obeying moral obligations which conflict with the majority.

    Or, perhaps if a certain Muslim culture took over in the USA an passed corresponding laws, Seversky would be all too willing to treat women like property and sexually abuse children in order to “play the game” the masses have consented to. I sorta doubt it, though. I sorta think that, like me, Seversky would disregard and oppose those “arbitrary rules” to the death.

  91. 91
    ellazimm says:

    WJM

    In your day to day life – making purchases, balancing checkbooks, following recipes or instructions, planning your day in concert with others, etc., do you or do you not act as if, and expect others (like your bank teller, those you make plans with, the banker, the cashier, etc.) to behave as if the basic mathematics and logic involved are objectively true and binding in nature?

    Or do you act as if logic and mathematics are subjective in nature – a matter of personal preference, subjective values and not held as binding on others or upon the world in general?

    It’s an interesting question. I certainly think that some alien beings would have much the same basic kinds of mathematics: arithmetic, algebra probably, maybe even calculus. I’m not sure about number theory, combinatorics, complex analysis . . . there are people who think about stuff like that. Of course there’s no answer since we haven’t met any alien beings . . . yet.

    Of course I expect people I deal with on a daily basis to use arithmetic as everyone else does. Is it binding on nature? In nature 1 man + 1 woman can equal 1 baby, sometimes 2 babies, sometimes 5 babies. In physics and chemistry stuff can get pretty weird. And quantum mechanics . . . relativity. There are mathematical models for those but I don’t think anyone would say that nature is bound by the math.

    KF

    More than this, WJM’s point is that there are objective and even self evident facts and principles of mathematics that start with our experience of arithmetic. He gave examples of the order 2 + 2 = 4. That is all that is needed to establish a hard objective truth based core. The point being, there are objective and even self evident first truths of logic, of the logic of structure and quantity (= maths), and so also in our world. Where that is a case where we have objective, self evident truths about inherently abstract matters. In that context he has argued that there are also objective and even self evident moral truths, as I have also

    Like I said: I was thinking about much more complicated stuff than arithmetic. Stuff like the Goldbach conjecture. Is it true or not? No one knows. We didn’t know Fermat’s Last Theorem was true ’til about 20 years ago. Didn’t make a plumb bit of difference to normal folks. And it didn’t tell us anything about the real world. Not yet anyway. I’ll leave the moral discussions to y’all.

  92. 92
    Barry Arrington says:

    ellazimm @91

    In nature 1 man + 1 woman can equal 1 baby, sometimes 2 babies, sometimes 5 babies.

    We have seen this many times before, and it is all too drearily predicable and tiresome. The materialist demonstrates how terribly urbane and sophisticated they are, because unlike us ID rubes who believe that one plus one must always equal two, they can demonstrate that one plus one does not necessarily equal two.

    Meh. ellazimm, assume a set with a cardinality of one. Assume a separate and distinct set with a cardinality of one. Now assume the first set is combined with the second set. True or false: The combined set will always without exception objectively and absolutely have a cardinality of two?

  93. 93
    daveS says:

    KF,

    Is it fair to say that the statement 2 + 2 = 4 is more obviously objectively true than some or all objectively true moral propositions?

  94. 94
    Barry Arrington says:

    daveS @ 93.

    Ask your fellow atheist ellazimm. He is busy trying to cast doubt on propositions like 2 + 2 = 4.

  95. 95

    EZ said:

    It’s an interesting question.

    It’s also a simple one which you apparently will go to any lengths not to answer.

    I certainly think that some alien beings would have much the same basic kinds of mathematics: arithmetic, algebra probably, maybe even calculus. I’m not sure about number theory, combinatorics, complex analysis . . . there are people who think about stuff like that. Of course there’s no answer since we haven’t met any alien beings . . . yet.

    My jaw literally dropped in disbelief when I read this. I have absolutely no idea how you think the above response has any remote bearing on what I asked you. What I asked you was a simple question that had nothing to do with anything other than your personal behavior.

    Of course I expect people I deal with on a daily basis to use arithmetic as everyone else does.

    This appears to be a “yes” to the question of whether or not you in daily life use mathematics in a way that suggest you hold it to provide objectively true and binding answers to certain problems and questions. Of course you do – everyone does. If there is a disagreement about how much a 20% tip is, you do the math or pull out a calculator – you don’t ask for everyone’s subjective opinion and then vote on it.

    Is it binding on nature?

    I didn’t ask this question. I asked about how you act in day to day life, as if mathematics is binding in nature (not “on” nature), or do you act as if it is not objective and not binding in nature (in it’s nature, not in the natural world’s “nature”)

    In nature 1 man + 1 woman can equal 1 baby, sometimes 2 babies, sometimes 5 babies.

    ROFL! Sure, if by the plus sign you mean “one man having sex wth 1 woman” and by “equals” you mean “can possibly result in”. But then, that’s not mathematics, EZ, and that’s not what those symbols mean in mathematics.

    In physics and chemistry stuff can get pretty weird. And quantum mechanics . . . relativity. There are mathematical models for those but I don’t think anyone would say that nature is bound by the math.

    Apparently your inability to comprehend complex abstract arguments via categorical framings about the premised nature of the subject of a proposition (the nature of math as either being subjective or objective, binding or non-binding) and the logically consistent ramifications thereof wrt behavior (if we behave as if math is objective and binding or subjective and non-binding in it’s nature) is causing you to respond in ways that have nothing whatsoever to do with the actual argument I’ve presented here or in the other thread.

    As I said there, you don’t even understand the argument if you think most of the above is responsive to it.

    All sane people act as if at least some basic principles of logic and mathematics are objectively valid and universally binding. They couldn’t function otherwise. To insist or that such principles are not in fact objective in their nature and are not universally binding is to hold beliefs in direct conflict with how all sane people act.

    Which is an indication of a delusion.

  96. 96
    ellazimm says:

    Barry

    We have seen this many times before, and it is all too drearily predicable and tiresome. The materialist demonstrates how terribly urbane and sophisticated they are, because unlike us ID rubes who believe that one plus one must always equal two, they can demonstrate that one plus one does not necessarily equal two.

    I’m just saying: in nature stuff isn’t necessarily modelled with simple arithmetic. And I’m saying that there’s a whole lot of mathematics beyond arithmetic. Some of it can be applied to the real world, some can’t.

    Meh. ellazimm, assume a set with a cardinality of one. Assume a separate and distinct set with a cardinality of one. Now assume the first set is combined with the second set. True or false: The combined set will always without exception objectively and absolutely have a cardinality of two.

    Indisputably.

    But . . . if you do arithmetic mod 4 then 2 + 2 = 0.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modular_arithmetic

    Our system of measuring time of day is an example of modular arithmetic.

    10 (o’clock) + 4 (hours) = 2 (o’clock) unless you’re using a 24-hour clock.

  97. 97

    daveS said:

    Is it fair to say that the statement 2 + 2 = 4 is more obviously objectively true than some or all objectively true moral propositions?

    “Cruelty is immoral” is as obviously, objectively true as “2 + 2 = 4”. Both are self-evidently true because (1) once one understands the concepts, they are immediately recognized as true by all sane people, and (2) the truth of those statement is necessary to prevent either subject from descending into absurdity.

  98. 98
    Rennie says:

    Aheists claim their belief or sense of knowing that there is no God, is derived from practicing intellectualism. If they are to apply critical reasoning to their beliefs, then the following questions should be answered without hypothesizing, speculating or assumption:

    1. Which came first; DNA or the polymerase?
    2. Cell function or ATP Synthase to power cell function?

    We have not even established how specified information (noted in the DNA) could have arose from an unguided natural process when science suggest that specified information has only ever been observed to originate from an intelligent source.

    If the atheist is unable to answer the above questions without having to resort to hypothesizing, speculating or assumption, it would then be reasonable to suggest that he/she does not possess perfect knowledge.

    Therefore, an atheist cannot rationally justify their belief that there is no God, without this justification containing some form of faith.

    Wasn’t it Richard Dawkins who stated that “Faith is the great cop-out”? The irony appears to be lost on Mr Dawkins.

  99. 99
    ellazimm says:

    WJM

    Apparently your inability to comprehend complex abstract arguments via categorical framings about the premised nature of the subject of a proposition (the nature of math as either being subjective or objective, binding or non-binding) and the logically consistent ramifications thereof wrt behavior (if we behave as if math is objective and binding or subjective and non-binding in it’s nature) is causing you to respond in ways that have nothing whatsoever to do with the actual argument I’ve presented here or in the other thread.

    Like I said: I’m just talking about the mathematics. Mostly stuff beyond arithmetic. I’m leaving the rest to you.

    And 2 + 2 = 0 mod 4.

    All sane people act as if at least some basic principles of logic and mathematics are objectively valid and universally binding. They couldn’t function otherwise. To insist or that such principles are not in fact objective in their nature and are not universally binding is to hold beliefs in direct conflict with how all sane people act.

    Sure, but that’s not the way mathematics is looked at by mathematicians. They’re always tweaking and bending stuff around.

    Anyway, like I said, I’m not disagreeing with the main, central thrust of your argument so perhaps it’s best to just let it go.

  100. 100
    Barry Arrington says:

    Barry:

    assume a set with a cardinality of one. Assume a separate and distinct set with a cardinality of one. Now assume the first set is combined with the second set. True or false: The combined set will always without exception objectively and absolutely have a cardinality of two.

    ellazimm:

    Indisputably. But . . . if you do arithmetic mod 4 then 2 + 2 = 0.

    I would have bet a million dollars that your response was going to be some variation of that. As I said above, all too drearily predicable and tiresome.

    I really don’t understand what you people think you are accomplishing when you say stuff like that. You puff out your intellectual chest and strut around like you’ve said something deeply profound, when all you’ve said is that if one arbitrarily changes the meaning of the terms used in a sentence, the meaning of the sentence will change. So what ellazimm?

    Years ago I attended a deposition in a mining dispute. The witness was a salty 80- something miner with more sense than the young lawyer taking the deposition. In response to an inane question that invited the miner to respond to a wildly improbable counterfactual, he averred: “Well, yes, and if a squirrel’s ass was square, he would shit bricks.”

    You could learn something from that old miner ellazimm.

  101. 101
    daveS says:

    WJM,

    “Cruelty is immoral” is as obviously, objectively true as “2 + 2 = 4”. Both are self-evidently true because (1) once one understands the concepts, they are immediately recognized as true by all sane people, and (2) the truth of those statement is necessary to prevent either subject from descending into absurdity.

    Is that because cruelty is by definition immoral, so “cruelty is immoral” is an analytic proposition?

  102. 102
    kairosfocus says:

    EZ, shifting context. Modulo 4 addition is not standard. KF

  103. 103
    ellazimm says:

    Barry

    I really don’t understand what you people think you are accomplishing when you say stuff like that. You puff out your intellectual chest and strut around like you’ve said something deeply profound, when all you’ve said is that if one arbitrarily changes the meaning of the terms used in a sentence, the meaning of the sentence will change. So what ellazimm?

    Look, I’m just saying there are different kinds of arithmetic. You can look it up. And they’re used in various situations.

    I didn’t arbitrary change any meanings. That’s part of the point. Meanings shift depending on context and the system being used.

    You don’t have to respond to me.

    KF

    EZ, shifting context. Modulo 4 addition is not standard.

    Not for most folks. But modulo arithmetic is used and there’s even a function in Excel for it which makes it pretty ‘normal’.

  104. 104

    DaveS @101: Cruelty is self-evidently immoral. Do you understand what a “self-evident” truth is?

  105. 105
    Barry Arrington says:

    ellazimm, you still have not learned anything from the salty old miner. I didn’t think you would.

  106. 106

    EZ said:

    And 2 + 2 = 0 mod 4.

    If I subjectively believe that 2+2=2 in mod 4, is that valid? Or, is the way one processes equations in mod 4 accepted as objectively valid and universally binding?

  107. 107
    daveS says:

    WJM,

    DaveS @101: Cruelty is self-evidently immoral. Do you understand what a “self-evident” truth is?

    Yes. I’m asking whether it’s also an analytic proposition.

  108. 108
    kairosfocus says:

    EZ, the same. KF

  109. 109
    kairosfocus says:

    Folks, broken window theory. KF

  110. 110
    ellazimm says:

    WJM

    If I subjectively believe that 2+2=2 in mod 4, is that valid? Or, is the way one processes equations in mod 4 accepted as objectively valid and universally binding?

    2 + 2 = 2 mod 4 is an incorrect mathematical statement based on consensus of what the symbols mean. Stuff changes sometimes.

    Used to be, a long time ago, that people would have said that -2 was less than -5 but now we think it’s the other way around.

    Also, when new notation is introduced it can take awhile to get accepted and common, IF it gets accepted and common.

    There’s a lot to learn:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_mathematical_symbols

    Here’s an example:

    [2.346] = 2. [ ] denotes the greatest integer function. The idea of that came about before the notation was agreed upon. I ASSUME that notation is now standard as I haven’t seen anything different.

    Some symbols change their meaning depending on context.

    2 x 3 = 6 (mod 10 of course). But if a and b are vectors then a x b means the cross-product of a and b.

    Then there are sometimes different symbols for the same thing:the operation of multiplication can be represented in several ways depending on the context.

    It can be a bit overwhelming until you get used to it. It is like a written language but not exactly.

  111. 111
    GCS says:

    Free Will

    That is the only question. All the people who write tomes about there being NO FREE WILL are either enslaved by some force higher than themselves or are using their own free will.

    I know that there is free will.

    I can always make a choice

    My choice is to enter this stream of comments

    God Bless

  112. 112
    bornagain77 says:

    It is the height of hypocrisy for a Darwinist to try to lecture anybody on the proper use of mathematics when they constantly ignore the math that is against Darwinian evolution:

    “For many years I thought that it is a mathematical scandal that we do not have a proof that Darwinian evolution works.”
    Gregory Chaitin – Proving Darwin 2012 – Highly Respected Mathematician

    Active Information in Metabiology – Winston Ewert, William A. Dembski, Robert J. Marks II – 2013
    Except page 9: Chaitin states [3], “For many years I have thought that it is a mathematical scandal that we do not have proof that Darwinian evolution works.” In fact, mathematics has consistently demonstrated that undirected Darwinian evolution does not work.
    http://bio-complexity.org/ojs/.....O-C.2013.4

    50 Years of Scientific Challenges to Evolution: Remembering The Wistar Symposium – Paul Nelson – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQy12X_Sm2k

    “It is our contention that if ‘random’ is given a serious and crucial interpretation from a probabilistic point of view, the randomness postulate is highly implausible and that an adequate scientific theory of evolution must await the discovery and elucidation of new natural laws—physical, physico-chemical, and biological.”
    Murray Eden, “Inadequacies of Neo-Darwinian Evolution as a Scientific Theory,” Mathematical Challenges to the Neo-Darwinian Interpretation of Evolution, editors Paul S. Moorhead and Martin M. Kaplan, June 1967, p. 109.

    The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences – Eugene Wigner – 1960
    Excerpt: ,,certainly it is hard to believe that our reasoning power was brought, by Darwin’s process of natural selection, to the perfection which it seems to possess.,,,
    http://www.dartmouth.edu/~matc.....igner.html

    Whale Evolution vs. Population Genetics – Richard Sternberg and Paul Nelson – (excellent excerpt from ‘Living Waters’ video) (2015)
    https://www.facebook.com/philip.cunningham.73/videos/vb.100000088262100/1161131450566453/?type=2&theater

    Darwinian Evolution is a Unfalsifiable Pseudo-Science – Mathematics – video
    https://www.facebook.com/philip.cunningham.73/videos/vb.100000088262100/1132659110080354/?type=2&theater

  113. 113

    daveS asks:

    Yes. I’m asking whether it’s also an analytic proposition.

    WRT to the subject of morality, no.

  114. 114

    EZ said:

    2 + 2 = 2 mod 4 is an incorrect mathematical statement based on consensus of what the symbols mean. Stuff changes sometimes.

    When you assert my subjective result “is incorrect”, you are behaving as if the rules of equation under mod 4 are objective and are universally binding wrt arbiting the results. Otherwise, you’d say “well, it’s a matter of personal preference or opinion. It may be the correct answer for you.”

    The rest of your post is nothing but hand-waving, an attempt to distract for the fact that mathematicians do indeed treat mathematical principles as if they are, by their nature, objective and universally binding.

    I didn’t say that the symbols used to express equations and modes of mathematics were objective; nor did I say that any particular mode or model of mathematics was objectively valid when it came to describing the natural world.

    The point is that in mathematics, once you understand the mathematical concept and how it is being expressed symbolically, is not a matter of subjective interpretation or personal preference or else teachers could not grade tests and engineers could not “double-check” calculations and theoreticians could not test theories because there would be no assumed objective methodology for arbiting or measuring results, much less independently verifying the results.

    The same is true of logical principles.

  115. 115
    Andre says:

    This thread is awesome…. we are seeing atheists user their free will (as if it is real), objective morality (as if it is real), they are grounding their logic (God knows in what ..) they are using reason (as if there is a reason ), and they are appealing to more than just atoms…….

    That is exactly what we have been saying all along!

    Thanks guys you rock!

  116. 116
    ellazimm says:

    BA77

    It is the height of hypocrisy for a Darwinist to try to lecture anybody on the proper use of mathematics when they constantly ignore the math that is against Darwinian evolution:

    Is it though? One of the people you referenced, Gregory Chaitin, is quite interesting. In fact, he wrote a book called Proving Darwin: Making Biology Mathematical.

    From the Amazon summary:

    For years it has been received wisdom among most scientists that, just as Darwin claimed, all of the Earth’s life-forms evolved by blind chance. But does Darwin’s theory function on a purely mathematical level? Has there been enough time for evolution to produce the remarkable biological diversity we see around us? It’s a question no one has yet answered—in fact, no one has attempted to answer it until now. In this illuminating and provocative book, Gregory Chaitin elucidates the mathematical scheme he’s developed that can explain life itself, and examines the works of mathematical pioneers John von Neumann and Alan Turing through the lens of biology. Fascinating and thought-provoking, Proving Darwin makes clear how biology may have found its greatest ally in mathematics.

    WJM

    When you assert my subjective result “is incorrect”, you are behaving as if the rules of equation under mod 4 are objective and are universally binding wrt arbiting the results. Otherwise, you’d say “well, it’s a matter of personal preference or opinion. It may be the correct answer for you.”

    Modular arithmetic is clearly defined and is what it is. You have placed weight on particular terms, ‘objective’ and ‘binding’, which are not used by mathematicians. I’ll leave it up to you to decide if they are applicable. I would say the rules are agreed upon.

    The rest of your post is nothing but hand-waving, an attempt to distract for the fact that mathematicians do indeed treat mathematical principles as if they are, by their nature, objective and universally binding.

    Again, mathematicians don’t discuss things in those terms. I was just trying to show that, from a mathematics point of view, things can get complicated.

    The point is that in mathematics, once you understand the mathematical concept and how it is being expressed symbolically, is not a matter of subjective interpretation or personal preference or else teachers could not grade tests and engineers could not “double-check” calculations and theoreticians could not test theories because there would be no assumed objective methodology for arbiting or measuring results, much less independently verifying the results.

    The same is true of logical principles.

    I guess. It is certainly true that, for example, Cantor has proved that there are different sizes of infinity. Within the axiomatic system of mathematics that we have.

    What I find confusing is how you use terms and definitions regarding mathematics that are not part of the mathematical canon. Like ‘objective’ and ‘subjective’. This never comes up in mathematics. Either something has been proved or it hasn’t. BUT, something that is ‘true’ in one system, say Euclidean geometry, might not be ‘true’ in another system, say non-Euclidean geometry. Or 2 + 2 = 4 in mod 10 but not in mod 3.

    I see that you’re trying to make a big argument that there are certain base truths that are always true. And I don’t think, in the overall field of mathematics, that that is correct. Or that there are many things you can throw into the ‘always true’ bucket.

    I think that it’s a bad idea to use mathematics in your moral and ethical argument. It’s kind of similar to saying electricity is like water: water pressure is like voltage, volume is like amperage, etc. The analogy always breaks down because the things in comparison are not completely the same.

    And, as I’ve continually pointed out, I am only talking about the math NOT your overall argument. Regarding that I have no comment not being competent to make a comment. I know my limitations.

  117. 117
    bornagain77 says:

    Yes it is the height of hypocrisy!

    After Chaitin’s book was written, Chaitin honestly admitted to Robert Marks, after Marks explained to him where he was smuggling information into his scheme, that his mathematical model failed to deliver the goods. i.e. Failed to provide the much sought after mathematical proof for Darwinian evolution that he was looking for for years.

    Chaitin is quoted, by Marks, at 10:00 minute mark of following video in regards to Darwinism lack of a mathematical proof – Dr. Marks also comments on the honesty of Chaitin in personally admitting that his long sought after mathematical proof for Darwinian evolution failed to deliver the goods that he thought it had.

    On Algorithmic Specified Complexity by Robert J. Marks II – 2014 – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=No3LZmPcwyg&feature=player_detailpage#t=600

    Here is the paper that Marks confronted Chaitin with:

    Active Information in Metabiology – Winston Ewert, William A. Dembski, Robert J. Marks II – 2013
    Excerpt: Introduction: Chaitin’s description of metabiology [3] is casual, clear, compelling, and mind-bending. Yet in the end, although the mathematics is beautiful, our analysis shows that the metabiology model parallels other attempts to illustrate undirected Darwinian evolution using computer models [10–13]. All of these models depend on the principle of conservation of information [14–21], and all have been shown to incorporate knowledge about the search derived from their designers; this knowledge is measurable as active information [14,22–25].
    Except page 9: Chaitin states [3], “For many years I have thought that it is a mathematical scandal that we do not have proof that Darwinian evolution works.” In fact, mathematics has consistently demonstrated that undirected Darwinian evolution does not work.
    http://bio-complexity.org/ojs/.....O-C.2013.4

    podcast: “Dr. Robert Marks: Active Information in Metabiology” – May 2014
    http://intelligentdesign.podom.....6_40-07_00

    Dr. Robert Marks: Active Information in Metabiology – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJSJg0IZtfI

    Here is what Gregory Chaitin said, in 2011, about the limits of the computer program he was trying to develop to prove that Darwinian evolution was mathematically feasible:

    At last, a Darwinist mathematician tells the truth about evolution – VJT – November 2011
    Excerpt: In Chaitin’s own words, “You’re allowed to ask God or someone to give you the answer to some question where you can’t compute the answer, and the oracle will immediately give you the answer, and you go on ahead.”
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....evolution/

    Here is the video where, at the 30:00 minute mark, you can hear the preceding quote from Chaitin’s own mouth in full context:

    Life as Evolving Software, Greg Chaitin at PPGC UFRGS
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RlYS_GiAnK8

    Moreover, at the 40:00 minute mark of the video Chaitin readily admits that Intelligent Design is the best possible way to get evolution to take place, and at the 43:30 minute mark Chaitin even tells of one of his friends pointing out to him that his idea Evolutionary computer model, that Chaitin had devised, did not have enough time to work. And Chaitin even agreed that his friend had a point, although Chaitin still ends up just ‘wanting’, and not ever proving that his mathematical model was true!

    Moreover, unlike Darwinian evolution, Intelligent Design does have a mathematical basis in science. i.e. Law of Conservation of Information’:

    Conservation of information, evolution, etc – Sept. 30, 2014
    Excerpt: Kurt Gödel’s logical objection to Darwinian evolution:
    “The formation in geological time of the human body by the laws of physics (or any other laws of similar nature), starting from a random distribution of elementary particles and the field is as unlikely as the separation of the atmosphere into its components. The complexity of the living things has to be present within the material [from which they are derived] or in the laws [governing their formation].”
    Gödel – As quoted in H. Wang. “On `computabilism’ and physicalism: Some Problems.” in Nature’s Imagination, J. Cornwall, Ed, pp.161-189, Oxford University Press (1995).
    Gödel’s argument is that if evolution is unfolding from an initial state by mathematical laws of physics, it cannot generate any information not inherent from the start – and in his view, neither the primaeval environment nor the laws are information-rich enough.,,,
    More recently this led him (Dembski) to postulate a Law of Conservation of Information, or actually to consolidate the idea, first put forward by Nobel-prizewinner Peter Medawar in the 1980s. Medawar had shown, as others before him, that in mathematical and computational operations, no new information can be created, but new findings are always implicit in the original starting points – laws and axioms.,,,
    http://potiphar.jongarvey.co.u.....ution-etc/

    Evolutionary Computing: The Invisible Hand of Intelligence – June 17, 2015
    Excerpt: William Dembski and Robert Marks have shown that no evolutionary algorithm is superior to blind search — unless information is added from an intelligent cause, which means it is not, in the Darwinian sense, an evolutionary algorithm after all. This mathematically proven law, based on the accepted No Free Lunch Theorems, seems to be lost on the champions of evolutionary computing. Researchers keep confusing an evolutionary algorithm (a form of artificial selection) with “natural evolution.” ,,,
    Marks and Dembski account for the invisible hand required in evolutionary computing. The Lab’s website states, “The principal theme of the lab’s research is teasing apart the respective roles of internally generated and externally applied information in the performance of evolutionary systems.” So yes, systems can evolve, but when they appear to solve a problem (such as generating complex specified information or reaching a sufficiently narrow predefined target), intelligence can be shown to be active. Any internally generated information is conserved or degraded by the law of Conservation of Information.,,,
    What Marks and Dembski (mathematically) prove is as scientifically valid and relevant as Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem in mathematics. You can’t prove a system of mathematics from within the system, and you can’t derive an information-rich pattern from within the pattern.,,,
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....96931.html

  118. 118
    daveS says:

    WJM,

    WRT to the subject of morality, no.

    That’s why I tend to think that mathematical statements such as 2 + 2 = 4 (which many regard as analytic) are more obviously objectively true than moral propositions.

    I don’t have to know anything about the world to understand that 2 + 2 = 4 is true, but that’s not the case with “cruelty is immoral”.

  119. 119
    zeroseven says:

    BA77 @81

    My firm used to represent Brooke. I have met her and seen her perform several times. Lovely woman.

  120. 120
    zeroseven says:

    HeKS, going back to your comment @74, yes, NZ is definitely part of the west. Although we are also very much a South Pacific country and imbued with Maori and Polynesian culture. And Auckland is 25% Asian now. Politically we were formed as a union between the Crown and Maori and our founding document is the treaty that was signed between the two. So the Maori way of doing things (“tikanga”) is as important an influence as the religious traditions of the European settlers. I think we are unique in the colonisation tradition for structuring our community on an equal partnership between the colonists and the indigenous people.

    In the European culture that I grew up with, yes I am sure many of those values came from Christian traditions. But its complex. And when it comes to things like homosexual law reform (which occurred in the 1980s from memory), the opposition came almost entirely from religious quarters.

    So I’m not totally convinced of your thesis. All I know is that my experience of growing up here was of a religion free environment and that’s the way it still is. Of course we have religious people here, but by and large they practice their religion in private and it is not a subject that crops up much in the public discourse.

  121. 121
    ellazimm says:

    BA77

    Moreover, at the 40:00 minute mark of the video Chaitin readily admits that Intelligent Design is the best possible way to get evolution to take place, and at the 43:30 minute mark Chaitin even tells of one of his friends pointing out to him that his idea Evolutionary computer model, that Chaitin had devised, did not have enough time to work. And Chaitin even agreed that his friend had a point, although Chaitin still ends up just ‘wanting’, and not ever proving that his mathematical model was true!

    Your interpretation of Dr Chaitin’s address is very narrow. He is talking about the issue of modelling evolution in a very general sense. The video comes from before his book was published. And you quote mine it for snippets that seem to support your view. But if you watch the whole video you get a very different conclusion. Dr Chaitin is NOT a supporter of intelligent design. It’s only when you take parts out of context that you get that conclusion.

  122. 122
    bornagain77 says:

    ellazimm, your comment reflects the completely disingenuous nature of Darwinian debating tactics. I could care less if Chaitin believes Darwinian evolution or not. Science is not about who believes what, it is about what is true from a evidential and mathematical perspective. His own work in mathematics failed to deliver the ‘scandolous’ mathematical proof that he was looking for for years. Without such a mathematical proof, Darwinian evolution does not even qualify as a real science but is more properly classified as a un-falsifiable pseudo-science.

    Darwinian Evolution is a Unfalsifiable Pseudo-Science – Mathematics – video
    https://www.facebook.com/philip.cunningham.73/videos/vb.100000088262100/1132659110080354/?type=2&theater

    In fact, Chaitin’s refusal to accept Intelligent Design after his own personal failure to find a mathematical basis for Darwinian evolution directly highlights my point that it is the height of hypocrisy for Darwinists to lecture anybody on mathematics, since they, as in this case, refuse to accept even their own results from mathematics showing the complete inadequacy of Darwinian evolution as a scientific theory.

    The same overall scenario of Darwinists refusing to accept what their own math was telling them played out with neutral theory. The neutral theory of evolution was not the result of any empirical finding in science, but neutral theory was instead born out of the theoretical failure of Natural Selection in regards to the mathematics of population genetics.

    Haldane’s Dilemma
    Excerpt: Haldane was the first to recognize there was a cost to selection which limited what it realistically could be expected to do. He did not fully realize that his thinking would create major problems for evolutionary theory. He calculated that in man it would take 6 million years to fix just 1,000 mutations (assuming 20 years per generation).,,, Man and chimp differ by at least 150 million nucleotides representing at least 40 million hypothetical mutations (Britten, 2002). So if man evolved from a chimp-like creature, then during that process there were at least 20 million mutations fixed within the human lineage (40 million divided by 2), yet natural selection could only have selected for 1,000 of those. All the rest would have had to been fixed by random drift – creating millions of nearly-neutral deleterious mutations. This would not just have made us inferior to our chimp-like ancestors – it surely would have killed us. Since Haldane’s dilemma there have been a number of efforts to sweep the problem under the rug, but the problem is still exactly the same. ReMine (1993, 2005) has extensively reviewed the problem, and has analyzed it using an entirely different mathematical formulation – but has obtained identical results.
    John Sanford PhD. – “Genetic Entropy and The Mystery of the Genome” – pg. 159-160

    Kimura’s Quandary
    Excerpt: Kimura realized that Haldane was correct,,, He developed his neutral theory in response to this overwhelming evolutionary problem. Paradoxically, his theory led him to believe that most mutations are unselectable, and therefore,,, most ‘evolution’ must be independent of selection! Because he was totally committed to the primary axiom (neo-Darwinism), Kimura apparently never considered his cost arguments could most rationally be used to argue against the Axiom’s (neo-Darwinism’s) very validity.
    John Sanford PhD. – “Genetic Entropy and The Mystery of the Genome” – pg. 161 – 162

    Thus, evolution by Natural Selection, as Darwin originally envisioned it, was effectively falsified decades ago, but the vast majority of Darwinists today ignore what their own math is telling them and continue to pretend as if Natural Selection has some god-like power to create all life on earth.

    WJM, Berlinski and Hunter’s remarks on neutral theory:

    “One wonders what would have become of evolution had Darwin originally claimed that it was simply the accumulation of random, neutral variations that generated all of the deeply complex, organized, interdependent structures we find in biology? Would we even know his name today?
    What exactly is Darwin really famous for now? Advancing a really popular, disproven idea (of Natural Selection), along the lines of Luminiferous Aether?
    Without the erroneous but powerful meme of “survival of the fittest” to act as an opiate for the Victorian intelligentsia and as a rationale for 20th century fascism, how might history have proceeded under the influence of the less vitriolic maxim, “Survival of the Happenstance”?”
    – William J Murray

    Majestic Ascent: Berlinski on Darwin on Trial – David Berlinski – November 2011
    Excerpt: The publication in 1983 of Motoo Kimura’s The Neutral Theory of Molecular Evolution consolidated ideas that Kimura had introduced in the late 1960s. On the molecular level, evolution is entirely stochastic, and if it proceeds at all, it proceeds by drift along a leaves-and-current model. Kimura’s theories left the emergence of complex biological structures an enigma, but they played an important role in the local economy of belief. They allowed biologists to affirm that they welcomed responsible criticism. “A critique of neo-Darwinism,” the Dutch biologist Gert Korthof boasted, “can be incorporated into neo-Darwinism if there is evidence and a good theory, which contributes to the progress of science.”
    By this standard, if the Archangel Gabriel were to accept personal responsibility for the Cambrian explosion, his views would be widely described as neo-Darwinian.”

    Here is a Completely Different Way of Doing Science – Cornelius Hunter PhD. – April 2012
    Excerpt: But how then could evolution proceed if mutations were just neutral? The idea was that neutral mutations would accrue until finally an earthquake, comet, volcano or some such would cause a major environmental shift which suddenly could make use of all those neutral mutations. Suddenly, those old mutations went from goat-to-hero, providing just the designs that were needed to cope with the new environmental challenge. It was another example of the incredible serendipity that evolutionists call upon.
    Too good to be true? Not for evolutionists. The neutral theory became quite popular in the literature. The idea that mutations were not brimming with cool innovations but were mostly bad or at best neutral, for some, went from an anathema to orthodoxy. And the idea that those neutral mutations would later magically provide the needed innovations became another evolutionary just-so story, told with conviction as though it was a scientific finding.
    Another problem with the theory of neutral molecular evolution is that it made even more obvious the awkward question of where these genes came from in the first place.”

    Of supplemental note:

    Evolution is Missing a Mathematical Formula
    Excerpt: Virtually all scientists acknowledge that mathematics is the real language of science. Every theory uses words to describe and postulate the theory, but the true test of a theory is numbers and mathematics. It is numbers and mathematical formulae that distinguish true science from hocus-pocus.,,,
    Every scientific theory that has been promoted to the status of being a scientific law has been quantified and/or embodied into one or more mathematical formulae that make accurate predictions.
    But no scientist has been able to derive any working formula from the Theory of Evolution and no one has been able to quantify its dictums. Millions of scientists have tried to quantify the Theory of Evolution and they have all failed to do so.
    http://darwinconspiracy.com/article_1_rev2.php

    The primary reason why no scientist has been able ‘quantify its dictums’ is because there are no known laws of nature for Darwinists to appeal to to base their math on. In other words, there is no known ‘law of evolution’ in the physical universe:
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-609503
    And whereas Darwinian evolution has no law of nature to appeal to so as to establish itself as a proper science, Intelligent Design does not suffer from such a disconnect from physical reality. In other words, Intelligent Design can appeal directly to ‘the laws of conservation of information’ in order to establish itself as a proper, testable, and rigorous science.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-609504

    Also of interest is Sanford’s peer-reviewed work in population genetics falsifying Darwinian evolution from numerous different angles:

    Genetic Entropy – peer reviewed references
    http://www.geneticentropy.org/#!properties/ctzx

    Verse and Music:

    John 1
    “In the beginning was the Logos, and the Logos was with God, and the Logos was God”

    The Logos, is translated to “The Word’. Logos is the root word from which we get our modern word “logic”

    Brooke Fraser- “C S Lewis Song”
    http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=DL6LPLNX

  123. 123
    john_a_designer says:

    daveS @ 118 responded to WMJ (see comments 97, 101, 104, 113):
    That’s why I tend to think that mathematical statements such as 2 + 2 = 4 (which many regard as analytic) are more obviously objectively true than moral propositions.

    I don’t have to know anything about the world to understand that 2 + 2 = 4 is true, but that’s not the case with “cruelty is immoral”.
    Even if mathematical statements like 2 + 2 = 4 “are more obviously objectively true than moral propositions,” it doesn’t follow that moral propositions are not objectively true.

    However, if you are going use that line of reasoning then please notice that the moral subjectivist cannot “analytically” make the truth claim that all morals are subjective.
    By the way, as a moral objectivist I do not make the claim that all moral claims are objective. That is because some of the moral claims that people make are false. Therefore, I am really only arguing that some moral claims are objective, but that is all that is needed to refute the subjectivist claim, which is all we really are trying to do here.

    In other words, his subjective beliefs about morals does not establish that morals are subjective. Indeed, it is self-refuting if you follow the logic out.

  124. 124
    john_a_designer says:

    For some reason I did not get the edit feature. The following should have been block quoted:

    That’s why I tend to think that mathematical statements such as 2 + 2 = 4 (which many regard as analytic) are more obviously objectively true than moral propositions.

    I don’t have to know anything about the world to understand that 2 + 2 = 4 is true, but that’s not the case with “cruelty is immoral”.

    That was daveS’ quote. What follows is mine

    Even if mathematical statements like 2 + 2 = 4 “are more obviously objectively true than moral propositions,” it doesn’t follow that moral propositions are not objectively true…

  125. 125
    kairosfocus says:

    JAD & DS:

    First, analytic vs synthetic and a priori vs a posteriori are categories that while useful are not exhaustive of possibilities.

    There are also truths of foundational understanding, that per our experience of the world are seen as self evident. That is, they are true and on pain of absurdity are seen as necessarily true. We can start with, inescapably, we are under the governance of ought.

    The very fact that we have debates and feel an urgency to the truth and the right speaks to this. This is as undeniably true as 2 + 3 = 5, but on different grounds.

    And, such a truth as 2 + 3 = 5 is not merely analytic. In effect true by arbitrary definition that imposes the rules of a game we agree to play by way of so-called inter-subjective agreement. (Where, it is relevant to ask: how does one escape the prison of one’s skull to know that there is a world including other subjects?)

    We come to the table with a class of experiences of the world that imposes concepts of quantity and operations on quantities, equivalence and more. Also, of symbolic representation and reasoning that are sound, not merely internal phenomena, they bridge the Kantian ugly gulch to the world of things in themselves, on pain of instant incoherence and so patent absurdity.

    F H Bradley was right to point out long ago, that he who imagines such an ugly gulch and then derives the notion that one cannot span it, has already asserted to know something about the external world, and so is in incoherence.

    So, no, the attempt to lock us up in Kantian concepts fails. There is a third way that is not merely synthetic a priori. There are truths of foundational insight rooted in our general experience of the world, that are seen to be so, and to be necessarily so on pain of patent absurdity. They are not “proved” but are the basis on which proofs are obtained. Things like the simultaneous operations of the first principles of right reason pivoting on our experience of distinct identity, and things like manifestly evident core principles of the natural moral law, a law we did not inter-subjectively legislate into being as a game we agree to play, and which we can neither amend nor abolish by some trick of some human legislature or judge’s bench.

    Those who fail to see and acknowledge such have cognitive disabilities, or else are willfully clinging to patent absurdities.

    Such as, disputing about morals and oughts in particular, while implicitly being based on the oughtness of seeking the truth and the right. Even, if only intending to cynically manipulate that governing oughtness.

    Going back to the OP’s focal point, to cling to a scheme of thought and major worldview component that so strongly tends to undermine rationality and right conduct, is not a sign of inner soundness. Yes, many atheists are material successes, may advance intellectually, and may be generally upright people but one keeps on seeing in these things a struggle between the tendencies of the atheistical worldviews and the cultural memory of the Christendom that is so patently despised.`

    And, with the issue of self-evident truth regarding right reason and the governance of ought on the table there is a distinct sense of how hard it is to kick against the pricks.

    KF

  126. 126
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: As a reminder, I again clip regarding moral SETs, starting from a cluster of classical cites:

    normally responsive people will at least grudgingly respect the following summary of core, conscience attested morality from the pen of Paul:

    Rom 2:14 For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them . . . .

    Rom 13:8 Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong [NIV, “harm”] to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. [ESV]

    Where, John Locke, in grounding modern liberty and what would become democratic self-government of a free people premised on upholding the civil peace of justice, in Ch 2 Sec. 5 of his second treatise on civil Government [c. 1690] cites “the judicious [Anglican canon, Richard] Hooker” from his classic Ecclesiastical Polity of 1594 on, as he explains how the principles of neighbour-love are inscribed in our hearts, becoming evident to the eye of common good sense and reasonableness:

    . . . if I cannot but wish to receive good, even as much at every man’s hands, as any man can wish unto his own soul, how should I look to have any part of my desire herein satisfied, unless myself be careful to satisfy the like desire which is undoubtedly in other men . . . my desire, therefore, to be loved of my equals in Nature, as much as possible may be, imposeth upon me a natural duty of bearing to themward fully the like affection. From which relation of equality between ourselves and them that are as ourselves, what several rules and canons natural reason hath drawn for direction of life no man is ignorant . . . [Hooker then continues, citing Aristotle in The Nicomachean Ethics, Bk 8 and alluding to Justinian’s synthesis of Roman Law in Corpus Juris Civilis that also brings these same thoughts to bear:] as namely, That because we would take no harm, we must therefore do none; That since we would not be in any thing extremely dealt with, we must ourselves avoid all extremity in our dealings; That from all violence and wrong we are utterly to abstain, with such-like . . . ] [Eccl. Polity,preface, Bk I, “ch.” 8, p.80, cf. here. Emphasis added.]

    We may elaborate on Paul, Locke, Hooker and Aristotle, laying out several manifestly evident and historically widely acknowledged core moral principles for which the attempted denial is instantly and patently absurd for most people — that is, they are arguably self-evident (thus, warranted and objective) moral truths; not just optional opinions.

    So also, it is not only possible to

    (a) be in demonstrable moral error, but also

    (b) there is hope that such moral errors can be corrected by appealing to manifestly sound core principles of the natural moral law.

    For instance:

    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.)

    2] Second self evident truth, we discern that some things are right and others are wrong by a compass-sense we term conscience which guides our thought. (Again, objectors depend on a sense of guilt/ urgency to be right not wrong on our part to give their points persuasive force. See what would be undermined should conscience be deadened or dismissed universally? Sawing off the branch on which we all must sit.)

    3] Third, were this sense of conscience and linked sense that we can make responsibly free, rational decisions to be a delusion, we would at once descend into a status of grand delusion in which there is no good ground for confidence in our self-understanding. That is, we look at an infinite regress of Plato’s cave worlds: once such a principle of grand global delusion is injected, there is no firewall so the perception of level one delusion is subject to the same issue, and this level two perception too, ad infinitum; landing in patent absurdity.

    4] Fourth, we are objectively under obligation of OUGHT. That is, despite any particular person’s (or group’s or august council’s or majority’s) wishes or claims to the contrary, such obligation credibly holds to moral certainty. That is, it would be irresponsible, foolish and unwise for us to act and try to live otherwise.

    5] Fifth, this cumulative framework of moral government under OUGHT is the basis for the manifest core principles of the natural moral law under which we find ourselves obligated to the right the good, the true etc. Where also, patently, we struggle to live up to what we acknowledge or imply we ought to do.

    6] Sixth, this means we live in a world in which being under core, generally understood principles of natural moral law is coherent and factually adequate, thus calling for a world-understanding in which OUGHT is properly grounded at root level. (Thus worldviews that can soundly meet this test are the only truly viable ones. if a worldview does not have in it a world-root level IS that can simultaneously ground OUGHT, it fails decisively.*)

    7] Seventh, in light of the above, even the weakest and most voiceless of us thus has a natural right to life, liberty, the pursuit of fulfillment of one’s sense of what s/he ought to be (“happiness”). This includes the young child, the unborn and more. (We see here the concept that rights are binding moral expectations of others to provide respect in regards to us because of our inherent status as human beings, members of the community of valuable neighbours. Where also who is my neighbour was forever answered by the parable of the Good Samaritan. Likewise, there can be no right to demand of or compel my neighbour that s/he upholds me and enables me in the wrong — including under false colour of law through lawfare. To justly claim a right, one must first be in the right.)

    8] Eighth, like unto the seventh, such may only be circumscribed or limited for good cause. Such as, reciprocal obligation to cherish and not harm neighbour of equal, equally valuable nature in community and in the wider world of the common brotherhood of humanity.

    9] Ninth, this is the context in which it becomes self evidently wrong, wicked and evil to kidnap, sexually torture and murder a young child or the like as concrete cases in point that show that might and/or manipulation do not make ‘right,’ ‘truth,’ ‘worth,’ ‘justice,’ ‘fairness,’ ‘law’ etc. That is, anything that expresses or implies the nihilist’s credo is morally absurd.

    10] Tenth, this entails that in civil society with government, justice is a principal task of legitimate government. In short, nihilistic will to power untempered by the primacy of justice is its own refutation in any type of state. Thus also,

    11] Eleventh, that government is and ought to be subject to audit, reformation and if necessary replacement should it fail sufficiently badly and incorrigibly.

    (NB: This is a requisite of accountability for justice, and the suggestion or implication of some views across time, that government can reasonably be unaccountable to the governed, is its own refutation, reflecting — again — nihilistic will to power; which is automatically absurd. This truth involves the issue that finite, fallible, morally struggling men acting as civil authorities in the face of changing times and situations as well as in the face of the tendency of power to corrupt, need to be open to remonstrance and reformation — or if they become resistant to reasonable appeal, there must be effective means of replacement. Hence, the principle that the general election is an insitutionalised regular solemn assembly of the people for audit and reform or if needs be replacement of government gone bad. But this is by no means an endorsement of the notion that a manipulated mob bent on a march of folly has a right to do as it pleases.)

    12] Twelfth, the attempt to deny or dismiss such a general framework of moral governance invariably lands in shipwreck of incoherence and absurdity. As, has been seen in outline. But that does not mean that the attempt is not going to be made, so there is a mutual obligation of frank and fair correction and restraint of evil.
    _________________

    * F/N: After centuries of debates and assessment of alternatives per comparative difficulties, there is in fact just one serious candidate to be such a grounding IS: the inherently good creator God, a necessary and maximally great being worthy of ultimate loyalty and the reasonable responsible service of doing the good in accord with our manifestly evident nature. (And instantly, such generic ethical theism answers also to the accusation oh this is “religion”; that term being used as a dirty word — no, this is philosophy. If you doubt this, simply put forth a different candidate that meets the required criteria and passes the comparative difficulties test: _________ . Likewise, an inherently good, maximally great being will not be arbitrary or deceitful etc, that is why such is fully worthy of ultimate loyalty and the reasonable, responsible service of doing the good in accord with our manifestly evident nature. As a serious candidate necessary being, such would be eternal and embedded in the frame for a world to exist at all. Thus such a candidate is either impossible as a square circle is impossible due to mutual ruin of core characteristics, or else it is actual. For simple instance no world is possible without two-ness in it, a necessary basis for distinct identity inter alia.

    I find that, on the whole, kicking against the pricks regarding this or a similar list, is symptomatic. Especially when the issue of the root of oughtness is on the table and the challenge to posit a coherent alternative foundational IS capable of carrying the weight of OUGHT goes a-begging for weeks at a time.

  127. 127
    john_a_designer says:

    ”the attempt to lock us up in Kantian concepts fails…”

    Indeed, not even Kant tried to base his moral theory on his concept of the analytic. While I disagree with Kant’s moral theory at a number of points, I don’t think I would describe his categorical imperative as being “subjectivist.”

  128. 128
    daveS says:

    john_a_designer,

    Yes, I certainly agree with you that nothing I’ve said shows that objective moral truths don’t exist.

  129. 129
    daveS says:

    KF,

    And, such a truth as 2 + 3 = 5 is not merely analytic. In effect true by arbitrary definition that imposes the rules of a game we agree to play by way of so-called inter-subjective agreement.

    That’s how I interpret the truth of 2 + 3 = 5 as well.

    So, no, the attempt to lock us up in Kantian concepts fails.

    Please note that I’m not attempting to lock anyone up. I’m just explaining why I’m willing to affirm the objective truth of statements such as 2 + 3 = 5 (“true by definition”), but am more reluctant to claim knowledge of objective moral truths.

  130. 130
    kairosfocus says:

    JAD,the CI is clearly a call to moral coherence in the world. That which would turn the equally quasi infinitely valuable other into a tool or toy to my ends or equivalently would parasite off the fact that a community as a whole cannot sustainably act as a rule on the maxim at work [e.g lying, bad checks etc], is incoherent and absurd. KF

  131. 131
    kairosfocus says:

    DS,

    I am not sure what you are saying about 2 + 3 = 5, but presume you accept that it is self-evident as can be seen from || + ||| –> ||||| and the symbolic conventions we use.

    That is, I think you acknowledge not merely objectivity but self evidence of key truths.

    I can accept that in a world influenced by centuries of advancing relativism, subjectivism/ sentimentalism etc, it is hard to see that some moral truths are as self evident in their own way as such.

    I point to the first cluster of MSETs just cited:

    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.)

    2] Second self evident truth, we discern that some things are right and others are wrong by a compass-sense we term conscience which guides our thought. (Again, objectors depend on a sense of guilt/ urgency to be right not wrong on our part to give their points persuasive force. See what would be undermined should conscience be deadened or dismissed universally? Sawing off the branch on which we all must sit.)

    3] Third, were this sense of conscience and linked sense that we can make responsibly free, rational decisions to be a delusion, we would at once descend into a status of grand delusion in which there is no good ground for confidence in our self-understanding. That is, we look at an infinite regress of Plato’s cave worlds: once such a principle of grand global delusion is injected, there is no firewall so the perception of level one delusion is subject to the same issue, and this level two perception too, ad infinitum; landing in patent absurdity.

    4] Fourth, we are objectively under obligation of OUGHT. That is, despite any particular person’s (or group’s or august council’s or majority’s) wishes or claims to the contrary, such obligation credibly holds to moral certainty. That is, it would be irresponsible, foolish and unwise for us to act and try to live otherwise.

    5] Fifth, this cumulative framework of moral government under OUGHT is the basis for the manifest core principles of the natural moral law under which we find ourselves obligated to the right the good, the true etc. Where also, patently, we struggle to live up to what we acknowledge or imply we ought to do.

    Further, I point to no 9:

    9] Ninth, this is the context in which it becomes self evidently wrong, wicked and evil to kidnap, sexually torture and murder a young child or the like as concrete cases in point that show that might and/or manipulation do not make ‘right,’ ‘truth,’ ‘worth,’ ‘justice,’ ‘fairness,’ ‘law’ etc. That is, anything that expresses or implies the nihilist’s credo is morally absurd.

    I find this surfaces the core issue as the child has not eloquence or strength to fight, and yet undeniably has a right not to be seized, violated and murdered. (The crime is unsolved 30+ years later, there is a monster on the loose somewhere.)

    KF

  132. 132
    daveS says:

    KF,

    DS,

    I am not sure what you are saying about 2 + 3 = 5, but presume you accept that it is self-evident as can be seen from || + ||| –> ||||| and the symbolic conventions we use.

    I agree with you that it’s objectively true. Here’s what Hempel says, with which I concur:

    The analytic character of mathematical propositions. The statement that 3 + 2 = 5, then, is true for similar reasons as, say, the assertion that no sexagenarian is 45 years of age. Both are true simply by virtue of definitions or of similar stipulations which determine the meaning of the key terms involved.

    KF:

    That is, I think you acknowledge not merely objectivity but self evidence of key truths.

    Yes, in fact I believe 2 + 3 = 5 is self-evidently true.

    I can accept that in a world influenced by centuries of advancing relativism, subjectivism/ sentimentalism etc, it is hard to see that some moral truths are as self evident in their own way as such.

    I don’t know that relativism &etc. is involved here. Really, I’m willing to affirm the objective truth of any proposition which is true by definition, sight unseen. Propositions which are not simply true by definition? As I said, I’m more hesitant to claim knowledge of their objective truth.

  133. 133
    kairosfocus says:

    DS,

    The truth lieth not in empty definitions we agree to play a game with and call it Math, but in substantial agreement with reality, including the abstract reality of numbers.

    This is not a sight unseen matter.

    Second, we have in fact gone through centuries of influence along lines as outlined, and such will have the tendency you pointed to.

    Wiki is convenient as capturing secularised conventional wisdom:

    Relativism is the concept that points of view have no absolute truth or validity within themselves, but rather only relative, subjective value according to differences in perception and consideration.[1] As moral relativism, the term is often used in the context of moral principles, where principles and ethics are regarded as applicable in only limited context. There are many forms of relativism which vary in their degree of controversy.[2] The term often refers to truth relativism, which is the doctrine that there are no absolute truths, i.e., that truth is always relative to some particular frame of reference, such as a language or a culture (cultural relativism).[3]

    Matt Slick at CARM:

    Relativism is the philosophical position that all points of view are equally valid, and that all truth is relative to the individual. This means that all moral positions, all religious systems, all art forms, all political movements, etc., are truths that are relative to the individual. Under the umbrella of relativism, whole groups of perspectives are categorized. In obvious terms, some are:

    cognitive relativism (truth) – Cognitive relativism affirms that all truth is relative. This would mean that no system of truth is more valid than another one, and that there is no objective standard of truth. It would, naturally, deny that there is a God of absolute truth.
    moral/ethical relativism – All morals are relative to the social group within which they are constructed.
    situational relativism – Ethics (right and wrong) are dependent upon the situation.

    Unfortunately, the philosophy of relativism is pervasive in our culture today. With the rejection of God, and Christianity in particular, absolute truth is being abandoned. Our pluralistic society wants to avoid the idea that there really is a right and wrong. This is evidenced in our deteriorating judicial system that has more and more trouble punishing criminals, in our entertainment media which continues to push the envelope of immorality and indecency, in our schools which teach evolution and “social tolerance,” etc. In addition, the plague of moral relativism is encouraging everyone to accept homosexuality, pornography, fornication, and a host of other “sins” that were once considered wrong but are now being accepted and even promoted in society. It is becoming so pervasive that if you speak out against moral relativism and its “anything goes” philosophy, you’re labeled as an intolerant bigot. Of course, this is incredibly hypocritical of those who profess that all points of view are true, yet reject those who profess absolutes in morality. It seems that what is really meant by the moral relativists is that all points of view are true except for the views that teach moral absolutes, an absolute God, or absolute right and wrong.

    Some typical expressions that reveal an underlying presupposition of relativism are comments such as: “That is your truth, not mine;” “It is true for you, but not for me;” and “There are no absolute truths.” Of course, these statements are illogical, which I demonstrate in the paper “Refuting relativism.” Relativism is invading our society, our economy, our schools, and our homes. Society cannot flourish nor survive in an environment where everyone does what is right in his own eyes, where the situation determines moral truth, and that lying and cheating are okay as long as you don’t get caught. Without a common foundation of truth and absolutes, our culture will become weak and fragmented . . .

    His paper: https://carm.org/refuting-relativism

    This seems to be a clear facet of the issue of delusions WJM pointed to in the OP.

    KF

  134. 134
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Adler on Little errors in the beginning:

    http://wayback.archive.org/web.....errors.htm

    >>The little error in the beginning, made by Locke and Leibniz, perpetuated by Kant, and leading to the repudiation of any non-verbal or non-tautological truth having incorrigible certitude, consists in starting with a dichotomy instead of a trichotomy — a twofold instead of a threefold distinction of types of truth. In addition to merely verbal statements which, as tautologies, are uninstructive and need no support beyond the rules of language, and in addition to instructive statements which need support and certification, either from experience or by reasoning, there is a third class of statements which are non-tautological or instructive, on the one hand, and are also indemonstrable or self-evidently true, on the other. These are the statements that Euclid called “common notions,” that Aristotle called “axioms” or “first principles,” and that mediaeval thinkers called “propositions per se nota.”

    One example will suffice to make this clear — the axiom or selfevident truth that a finite whole is greater than any of its parts. This proposition states our understanding of the relation between a finite whole and its parts. It is not a statement about the word “whole” or the word “part” but rather about our understanding of wholes and parts and their relation. All of the operative terms in the proposition are indefinable. We cannot express our understanding of a whole without reference to our understanding of its parts and our understanding that it is greater than any of its parts. We cannot express our understanding of parts without reference to our understanding of wholes and our understanding that a part is less than the whole of which it is a part.

    When our understanding of an object that is indefinable (e.g., a whole) involves our understanding of another object that is indefinable (e.g., a part), and of the relation between them, that understanding is expressed in a self-evident proposition which is not trifling, uninstructive, or analytic, in Locke’s sense or Kant’s, for no definitions are involved. Nor is it a synthetic a priori judgment in Kant’s sense, even though it has incorrigible certitude; and it is certainly not synthetic a posteriori since, being intrinsically indemonstrable, it cannot be supported by statements offering empirical evidence or reasons.

    The contemporary denial that there are any indisputable statements which are not merely verbal or tautological, together with the contemporary assertion that all non-tautological statements require extrinsic support or certification and that none has incorrigible certitude, is therefore falsified by the existence of a third type of statement, exemplified by the axiom or self-evident truth that a finite whole is greater than any of its parts, or that a part is less than the finite whole to which it belongs. It could as readily be exemplified by the self-evident truth that the good is the desirable, or that the desirable is the good — a statement that is known to be true entirely from an understanding of its terms, both of which are indefinables. One cannot say what the good is except by reference to desire, or what desire is except by reference to the good. The understanding of either involves the understanding of the other, and the understanding of both, each in relation to the other, is expressed in a proposition per se nota, i.e., self-evident or known to be true as soon as its terms are understood.

    Such propositions are neither analytic nor synthetic in the modern sense of that dichotomy; for the predicate is neither contained in the definition of the subject, nor does it lie entirely outside the meaning of the subject. Axioms or self-evident truths are, furthermore, truths about objects understood, objects that can have instantiation in reality, and so they are not merely verbal. They are not a priori because they are based on experience, as all our knowledge and understanding is; yet they are not empirical or a posteriori in the sense that they can be falsified by experience or require empirical investigation for their confirmation. The little error in the beginning, which consists in a non-exhaustive dichotomy mistakenly regarded as exhaustive, is corrected when we substitute for it a trichotomy that distinguishes (i) merely verbal tautologies, (ii) statements of fact that require empirical support and can be empirically falsified, (iii) axiomatic statements, expressing indemonstrable truths of understanding which, while based upon experience, do not require empirical support and cannot be empirically falsified.>>

    That’s quite a discussion.

    SETs are so, and are seen to be so once properly understood on our sufficiently mature experience of the world. They are also necessarily so on pain of patent absurdity on attempted denial, where that absurdity takes some relevant form.

    One can fail to understand as a blind man may fail to understand colour and colourlessness.

    One may reject, even being of sufficient maturity. But in so doing, one is forced to cling to and attempt to justify or suppress some absurdity. Which may then be imposed by might and manipulation.

    But soon enough it will be clear that the Emperor is leading the parade in his birthday suit.

    Never mind that history teaches us how often such has happened.

    Think about error exists or how distinct identity leads to the LOI, LNC and LEM which cannot be proved as the attempt must rely on said principles.

    KF

  135. 135

    DS:

    You’ve stated that you are less sure of the objective nature of any moral rule than you are of objective truths arrived at by definition. You’ve stated that you are more hesitant to claim knowledge of the former than you are of the latter.

    If you observed a person cruelly harming a child (say, deliberately burning their skin with a cigarette), would you be less immediately certain of the moral wrongness of that act than of the wrongness of the equation 1+1=3?

  136. 136
    daveS says:

    KF,

    Note that I haven’t said anything (pro or con) about relativism. 2 + 3 = 5 is true by definition (we agree), but I don’t think anyone has stated that “cruelty is immoral” is true by definition. That is the distinction I am raising.

  137. 137
    daveS says:

    WJM,

    DS:

    You’ve stated that you are less sure of the objective nature of any moral rule than you are of objective truths arrived at by definition. You’ve stated that you are more hesitant to claim knowledge of the former than you are of the latter.

    If you observed a person cruelly harming a child (say, deliberately burning their skin with a cigarette), would you be less immediately certain of the moral wrongness of that act than of the wrongness of the equation 1+1=3?

    In the moment, they would both seem absolutely wrong.

    But how can I tell (or convince someone else) that harming the child is in fact objectively morally wrong, and not just my personal preference?

  138. 138
    mike1962 says:

    daveS: Yes, in fact I believe 2 + 3 = 5 is self-evidently true.

    Is 2 + 3 = 5 self-evidently true to a fish? Or to a dog? Or to a rock?

    How do you know this is “self-evidently true” ? What makes you so special?

  139. 139
    daveS says:

    mike1962,

    I doubt that fish or dogs (and obviously rocks) have sufficient capacity for abstract thought to understand that 2 + 3 = 5 is self-evidently true. Humans do, however.

  140. 140
    mike1962 says:

    daveS,

    “How does the sun shine?”

    “Because it does”

    I was hoping for a bit more depth in your answer.

    So, I’ll try to coax you a little more:

    Do you believe that this “self-evident” property of “2+3=5” is something that you perceive to be true, or something that merely a function of your intuition, i.e, because your brain happens to be programmed to have confidence that it is true?

  141. 141
    daveS says:

    mike1962,

    Do you believe that this “self-evident” property of “2+3=5” is something that you perceive to be true, or something that merely a function of your intuition, i.e, because your brain happens to be programmed to have confidence that it is true?

    I do perceive it to be true.

    It’s not merely a function of my intuition. I believe it would be true even if there were no sentient beings to think about it.

  142. 142

    Dave @137:

    You cannot convince people of self-evident truths – or even of definitional truths. People can deny (and have denied) that A=A. You cannot convince anyone out of active denial even when what they deny is fundamentally necessary to their statement of denial.

    What is of more interest to me is why you characterized your moral knowledge as less certain and more hesitant when, given the moral scenario I outlined, you appear immediately and absolutely certain of the objectively immoral nature of the act.

  143. 143
    Barry Arrington says:

    WJM @ 142. Yes, we have a name for that on this blog. “Insane Denial,” and our opponents engage in it all the time. They seem to be proud of their insanity.

    See http://www.uncommondescent.com.....mple-2793/

  144. 144
    daveS says:

    WJM,

    What is of more interest to me is why you characterized your moral knowledge as less certain and more hesitant when, given the moral scenario I outlined, you appear immediately and absolutely certain of the objectively immoral nature of the act.

    That 2 + 3 = 5 is true by definition can be verified in a purely mechanical, absolutely certain way. I don’t know of any way to likewise verify that “cruelty is immoral”.

  145. 145
    john_a_designer says:

    daveS,

    That 2 + 3 = 5 is true by definition can be verified in a purely mechanical, absolutely certain way. I don’t know of any way to likewise verify that “cruelty is immoral”.

    So, you don’t have a moral conscience?

  146. 146
    Barry Arrington says:

    daveS:

    “That 2 + 3 = 5 is true by definition can be verified in a purely mechanical, absolutely certain way.”

    This may be counter intuitive to you dave, but your statement is false. There is no way to verify that statement. It is either accepted as self-evidently true, or not. Think about it. What more basic steps of reasoning would you employ to verify the equation? That’s right; there are none. You can say the same thing in different ways such as || + ||| = ||||| or “a set with a cardinality of two added to a set with cardinality of three results in a set with a cardinality of five.” But they all amount to the same statement.

    That is another feature of a self-evident truth. It does not depend upon (indeed cannot be) “verified” (as you say) by a process of “precept upon precept” reasoning. As WJM has been trying to tell you, a self-evident truth is, by definition, a truth that is accepted because rejection would be upon pain of patent absurdity.

    2+3=5 cannot be verified. It is accepted as self-evidently true because any denial would come at the price of affirming an absurdity.

    “Gratuitous torture of a child for pleasure is evil” is accepted as self-evidently true because any denial would come at the price of affirming an absurdity in the exact same way.

  147. 147
    daveS says:

    JAD,

    I do have a moral conscience, but I don’t know how to verify that it guides me to act in an objectively moral fashion.

    If someone told me that I simply act according to my own preferences, I don’t think I could refute that.

  148. 148
    Barry Arrington says:

    daveS

    “If someone told me that I simply act according to my own preferences, I don’t think I could refute that.”

    Then you have not been paying attention.

  149. 149
    Mung says:

    It’s rather sad really, to see the clown fish meltdown.

    If only there were something that is objectively morally wrong. Anything.

  150. 150
    daveS says:

    Barry,

    2+3=5 cannot be verified. It is accepted as self-evidently true because any denial would come at the price of affirming an absurdity.

    If it _were_ possible to work in a system where every true equation of the form a + b = c could be verified using some minimal set of assumptions and definitions, would that not be preferable?

    That’s what Hempel (whom I quoted above) demonstrates on pages 546–547 of this article. In fact he verifies that 3 + 2 = 5 is true by definition in this manner.

  151. 151
    zeroseven says:

    Barry @146

    I think the SET that wJM proposed was “cruelty is immoral” rather than “gratuitous torture of a child for pleasure is evil”.

    So taking WJM’s example, and leaving aside the problems of verification Dave S has raised, I can refute it without patent absurdity. Ever hear of the phrase “cruel to be kind”? What about waterboarding. Clearly that is cruel. But I imagine there a many people reading this who believe it is justified in certain circumstances. It’s easy to think of examples where cruelty is not immoral. Torturing someone for information that will save a million lives, when the only way to get the information is to torture the person. For example.

  152. 152
    kairosfocus says:

    DS, 2 + 3 = 5 is historically, factually, self-evidently and so also logically prior to any set of axioms and definitions beyond identifying what small whole numbers, addition and equality are; think in terms of bringing home the sheep and putting away in the sheep fold or picking fruit from a tree’s branches. Axiomatic systems come along MUCH later and in fact are partly accepted because they accord with what we know beyond doubt. Hempel puts the cart of axiomatic theory before the horse of basic mathematical fact. There is a place for that but it is not a sound answer to the point being made here. And no the expression is not MERELY a way of saying the same thing twice, the LHS contains an OPERATION, not just a number. The result of that operation yields a quantity which is the same as what we have on the RHS and is stated when the operation is correctly deployed, but a number is not to be equated to an operation. KF

    PS: Hempel’s words:

    it merely states that any set consisting of 3 + 2 objects may also be said to consist of 5 objects. And this is so because the symbols “3 + 2” and “5” denote the same number

  153. 153
    kairosfocus says:

    07:

    Cruelty is evil and torture-murder of a young child is evil are both on the table.

    I suspect that you will find that the lesser of evils is . . . an evil; though it may well be the least of bad possibilities in a situation.

    That has not converted the evil into a good.

    To suggest that (and the points you put up seem to pivot on this suggestion . . . ) would indeed be absurd.

    KF

    PS: The posing of dilemmas forcing choices among evils has too often been used to taint people’s consciences under false colour of moral education and values “clarification.” In fact these are subversive exercises used to undermine values. There is an anecdotal case on I think the lifeboat who gets tossed overboard loaded case study on which the kids involved set out to work out a way to save all involved instead of playing God. They came up with a plausible solution, only to have the tutor most displeased. The Birkinhead drill is a similar solution: women and children with boat crews first. Where, reportedly some men on the Titanic made a similar choice despite social status putting them in a position to save themselves.

  154. 154
    daveS says:

    KF,

    DS, 2 + 3 = 5 is historically, factually, self-evidently and so also logically prior to any set of axioms and definitions beyond identifying what small whole numbers, addition and equality are; think in terms of bringing home the sheep and putting away in the sheep fold or picking fruit from a tree’s branches. Axiomatic systems come along MUCH later and in fact are partly accepted because they accord with what we know beyond doubt.

    Yes, of course. However, can I not accurately say that “2 + 3 = 5 is true by definition”? I thought you were in agreement with this when you stated above that 2 + 3 = 5 is an analytic proposition.

    And no the expression is not MERELY a way of saying the same thing twice, the LHS contains an OPERATION, not just a number.

    I don’t think I implied that, did I? All I’m saying is that the two sides are numerically equal.

  155. 155
    kairosfocus says:

    DS, the RHS states the result of an operation as a quantity, the LHS gives diverse numbers and an operation performed on same. || + ||| –> ||||| captures that aspect better than the statement as equation with equal sign (hence the wisdom of arrows in Chemical eqns); think about how we are taught basic arithmetic, concrete experience with sticks or the like, pictorial illustration then abstract formal symbolisation — a whole complex process of learning to acquire understanding. They are not at all a simple identity. One needs to understand quantities and the operation as well as the relevant equivalence relationship to see whether the sum is right or wrong. The case is self evident because of its direct simple observability — a matter of commonplace experience and memory of collective facts — such that the absurdity of an error is patent. Hempel’s presentation as cited is a strawman caricature of the situation, as is his onward forcing into the category analytic a priori truth imposed by definition in such a scheme. No, with all due respect, this is not a mere combination of definitions and game-rules yielding a result ahead of any case on the ground. Addition and standard results long preceded axiomatic systems in cultural history and personal development; we have forgotten the learning. KF

  156. 156
    daveS says:

    KF,

    DS, the RHS states the result of an operation as a quantity, the LHS gives diverse numbers and an operation performed on same. || + ||| –> ||||| captures that aspect better than the statement as equation with equal sign (hence the wisdom of arrows in Chemical eqns); think about how we are taught basic arithmetic, concrete experience with sticks or the like, pictorial illustration then abstract formal symbolisation — a whole complex process of learning to acquire understanding. They are not at all a simple identity. One needs to understand quantities and the operation as well as the relevant equivalence relationship to see whether the sum is right or wrong.

    Well, I don’t see how I am implying otherwise? Clearly the left-hand side is a sum, while the right hand side is a single term.

    And of course we need to understand the natural numbers, addition, equality, and so forth. We are dealing with abstract entities, so we need to have clear ground rules. That’s what Hempel calls “definitions” and “stipulations”.

    Edit: I feel that this line of discussion is perhaps taking more space in the thread than it’s worth, so unless there are a new and interesting developments, I will let you have the last word.

  157. 157
    kairosfocus says:

    DS,

    again, you cited Hempel (presumably with approval) as a source and I have responded to him, as he is trying to impose the concept that his is a matter of a priori analytic truth.

    The point is, there is far more than mere arbitrary a priori identities and definitions creating a game we may opt in or out on as it suits us at work here, hence the need for understanding of the world and key ideas connected to it that ground a SET.

    Lurking beneath, again, is the issue of the Kantian ugly gulch between the inner world of phenomena and thought and the outer one of things in themselves (which as noted is incoherent as to assert knowledge of an unbridgeable gap implies claimed knowledge of the outer world which then fails and by failing shows that accurate and warranted knowledge of that world is possible . . . ), where truth and warrant leading to knowledge are crucial issues; on which SETs are very important indeed.

    For which in this case, the fact that the LHS enfolds an operation and two numbers whilst the RHS is a number is a key clue: in a crucial sense this is apples and oranges.

    Likewise this case shows the significance of the patent absurdity on attempted denial test for a SET.

    Insofar as such are warranted (as opposed to proved) this is the test, to one with adequate understanding to see the connexions in the matter, is it instantly plain that the attempt to deny yields an absurdity?

    KF

  158. 158
    daveS says:

    KF,

    Some interesting developments 🙂

    again, you cited Hempel (presumably with approval) as a source and I have responded to him, as he is trying to impose the concept that his is a matter of a priori analytic truth.

    And I take it you disagree? Maybe I shouldn’t be, but I am a little surprised at that.

    For which in this case, the fact that the LHS enfolds an operation and two numbers whilst the RHS is a number is a key clue: in a crucial sense this is apples and oranges.

    But surely we are in agreement that 2 + 3 = 5, correct? 2 + 3 and 5 do denote the same number.

    Insofar as such are warranted (as opposed to proved) this is the test, to one with adequate understanding to see the connexions in the matter, is it instantly plain that the attempt to deny yields an absurdity?

    Yes. Denial of 2 + 3 = 5 yields an absurdity. Yet the Hempel article does show how to verify any true natural number equation of the form a + b = c, assuming the usual definitions and stipulations.

  159. 159
    kairosfocus says:

    DS,

    First 2 + 3 is a binary operation that yields a number, not a number itself.

    5 is the result and this is a number.

    These are strictly categorically distinct things.

    The common eqn is a summmary of the operation and its result. The meaning is something like “the result of binop + applied to counting sets 2 and 3 [effectively a union of disjoint sets] is counting set 5.” Though this is rather a case of sledgehammer, meet nut. Nut, it is too late for you.

    The RHS restates the LHS in an equation, in effect the result of specified ops as applied to given items is the same for both; numerically and as type of quantity, i.e. in the physical sense dimensionally. Thus, in simplifications or manipulations the same further ops must be applied to both sides.

    I am thinking there is a lot of carefully thought through wisdom in the “sums” expression so often used in teaching:

    2

    +3
    _____
    5

    Addend, augend, sum IIRC. Distinct names tied to diverse roles in a process.

    Hempel in effect suppressed a considerable amount of context.

    One thing that can be seen is that the ZFC approach and the final arrival at the result is not a proof awaited with bated breath. If it had failed here, ZFC would never have seen the light of day as a viable framework. We are more directly and substantially confident of this self-evident, easily manifested result than of the ZFC scheme. ZFC could conceivably be overturned [think say Godel], but not this result.

    This result stands by itself, that once the operation and its result are duly understood it will be seen that the result is so and necessarily so on pain of absurdity.

    Self-evidence in a way that ZFC hath not and cannot obtain.

    Again, distinct things with disparate, not just different, properties.

    However, all this allows us to see the significance of self evidence from a new angle.

    Where BTW part of what is involved is the further SET that a finite whole will be more than any proper part; i.e. part-whole relationship and composition as a process.

    I suspect this ties to the related point that functionally specific complex organisation of points is informational and that information needs a credible causal explanation. FSCO/I is not mere addition or accumulation.

    KF

  160. 160

    Z7 @151:

    Cruelty reflects a predisposition or desire to inflict pain or suffering on another living being without good or necessary reason. No sane person person thinks it is good to inflict unwarranted pain and suffering on others; however, reasonable people recognize that sometimes pain and suffering are unavoidable, even necessary side effects of doing good.

    Harming others is not necessarily cruelty; harming others for nothing more than one’s own pleasure or amusement is.

    Being able to recognize an SET requires conceptually understanding the terminology being used to describe it. If it can be moral to harm others for one’s own pleasure (cruelty), then morality is an absurd proposition.

  161. 161

    DaveS said:

    That 2 + 3 = 5 is true by definition can be verified in a purely mechanical, absolutely certain way. I don’t know of any way to likewise verify that “cruelty is immoral”.

    Can the proposition “I exist” be verified in any purely mechanical, absolutely certain way?

  162. 162
    john_a_designer says:

    Someone has said that logical positivism (verificationism) “died a death of a thousand cuts.” Even major proponents like A.J. Ayer admitted “it was false.” If it wasn’t so sad, it would be amusing to watch our internet interlocutors trying to revive it in 2016 and apply it to ethics and morality. We could probably list this as another example of a delusion. Or maybe we should call it desperation.

    Here an interview with a chain-smoking Ayer candidly discussing logical problems of logical positivism.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4cnRJGs08hE

  163. 163
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM,

    I am thinking there is an underlying issue with the concept of self-evidence, which is not currently fashionable.

    The point is, some beliefs are properly basic, and in this case are understood to be manifestly and necessarily true, on pain of immediate patent absurdity on attempted denial. Such absurdity in some cases is logical, in others, self-undermining, dynamical incoherence or reduction to confusion, or general delusion or the Plato’s cave type fallacy of a regress of grand delusions or vicious infinite regress etc.

    But to properly have the belief one needs to have sufficient reflective understanding to be able to see the point clearly. Which, requires a general base of knowledge of reality and some introspection.

    As I just noted, too, there is a tendency to try to collapse into the analytic/ synthetic, a priori/ a posteriori categories but as we saw SETs do not fit in well there as happened with Hempel’s attempt. 2 + 3 –> 5 is a MORE certain and far more readily accessible indubitable truth than something like ZFC could hope to be.

    (Don’t get us started on degrees and types of certainty.)

    Where also SETs are key points of bridging the thought world and the outer reality of things in themselves.

    That is, they are key vehicles of truth and soundness.

    Which, are not exactly fashionable today.

    Then there are MORAL SETs.

    That one opens up an even bigger can of worms.

    That is why in my current argument I take time to start as follows:

    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.)

    2] Second self evident truth, we discern that some things are right and others are wrong by a compass-sense we term conscience which guides our thought. (Again, objectors depend on a sense of guilt/ urgency to be right not wrong on our part to give their points persuasive force. See what would be undermined should conscience be deadened or dismissed universally? Sawing off the branch on which we all must sit.)

    3] Third, were this sense of conscience and linked sense that we can make responsibly free, rational decisions to be a delusion, we would at once descend into a status of grand delusion in which there is no good ground for confidence in our self-understanding. That is, we look at an infinite regress of Plato’s cave worlds: once such a principle of grand global delusion is injected, there is no firewall so the perception of level one delusion is subject to the same issue, and this level two perception too, ad infinitum; landing in patent absurdity.

    It seems people are unaware of just how pervasively our thoughts, words and acts are morally regulated and thus how conscience colours all of our thought life. If this be tarred with the taint of delusion, grand delusion is let loose and a vicious cascade of delusional cave worlds begins.

    We have no good reason to dismiss conscience on the whole.

    Which then points to the objectivity of morality and to our being in a kind of world where such is well founded.

    That, being momentous.

    KF

  164. 164
    daveS says:

    WJM,

    Can the proposition “I exist” be verified in any purely mechanical, absolutely certain way?

    I don’t believe so. I do accept that I can know, without a doubt, that I exist. However, I don’t see that doubting “cruelty is immoral” leads to an immediate contradiction, as does doubting “I exist”.

  165. 165
    kairosfocus says:

    DS, it directly leads to emptying “moral” of relevant meaning once we properly understand cruelty. As in if cruelty is not immoral then nothing else is immoral. KF

  166. 166

    daveS @164:

    So to you, “cruelty is good” is not an immediate contradiction? “Love is evil” is not an immediate contradiction?

  167. 167
    daveS says:

    KF,

    DS,

    First 2 + 3 is a binary operation that yields a number, not a number itself.

    5 is the result and this is a number.

    These are strictly categorically distinct things.

    Eh? The binary operation is +. 2 + 3 is the result of applying the binary operation to 2 and 3, which is itself a number.

    Note that we could be having this discussion in the context of Presburger arithmetic, which is not in danger of being overturned.

    DS, it directly leads to emptying “moral” of relevant meaning once we properly understand cruelty. As in if cruelty is not immoral then nothing else is immoral.

    I agree, but how do I know this just isn’t my personal preference?

    The reasoning here is more complicated than natural number addition. We are also dealing with the inherent vagueness of human language. I don’t think it’s possible to define “cruelty” exactly. Is caning children for minor offenses cruel?

    BTW, I’m not saying above that, because there is not universal agreement on what cruelty is, therefore “cruelty is immoral” is not an objective moral truth. I’m trying to illustrate why I am reluctant to claim to hold such objective knowledge.

  168. 168

    KF @ 163:

    You’re right. The only issue is whether or not people take the time and effort to think it through and are willing to upend ideological/emotional commitments that preclude accepting morality as an objective or absolute aspect of existence.

    If one says “cruelty is good”, they may as well be saying “I do not exist” or “a thing can be both X and not-X at the same time” or “1+1=4”. It’s a nonsensical assertion only the mad and those deep in denial can assert.

    For any sane person, cruelty is absolutely and undeniably immoral. I’m thinking that DaveS just hasn’t thought about it in the proper light before.

  169. 169
    daveS says:

    WJM,

    So to you, “cruelty is good” is not an immediate contradiction? “Love is evil” is not an immediate contradiction?

    To me, they are contradictory.

    How do I determine “cruelty is not good” is an objective moral truth, rather than just my opinion? If I think denial of it is an absurdity, is that good enough?

  170. 170
    Seversky says:

    William J Murray @ 90

    I’m going to break down my response to Seversky’s #66 into individual components to allow for more focus on specifics.

    WJM said:
    1. They dismiss morality as nothing more than strongly felt subjective preference, but admit they act as if morality is objective in nature.

    Seversky responds:

    Some atheists may take the position that they act as if morality is objective but I don’t. In my view, we choose to observe a moral code out of respect for our own interests and those of others. It is similar, in principle, to the way players of a particular sport will abide by its rules during a game. You could argue that they are acting as if the rules are objective but it’s really only because they want a good game. If everybody ignored the rules and did their own thing, there wouldn’t be a game, just a free-for-all.

    Seversky is apparently contradicting himself by first claiming that he doesn’t hold the view that atheists act as if morality is objective, then claiming that the players only act as if the rules are objective because they want a good game. Acting as if the rules are objective because one wants a good game is acting as if the rules are objective all the same.

    Not precisely, I wrote that “You could argue that they are acting as if the rules are objective”- as, indeed, you do – but I do not agree. My argument is that moral codes are similar to the rules of a sport in the sense that both are rules of behavior that groups of people have consented to abide by in order to achieve certain outcomes which they agree are desirable.

    And yes, the players do indeed act as if the rules they are playing are objective. (Actually, the rules are objective; they’re just not considered metaphysically absolute. There are referees at games whose job it is to enforce those objectively detailed rules and penalize anyone who doesn’t obey them.)

    You can certainly interpret that behavior as indicating that they are acting “as if” those rules are objective in some sense but appealing to appearance is hardly evidence of the rules of football being woven into the fabric of the universe from its beginning.

    The fact that the rules are recorded in documentary form, for example, is only evidence for the objective existence of the document, not the rules. I have a large book on my shelf which is a very solid object but that doesn’t mean that the story of The Lord of the Rings is anything other than a wonderfully inventive fiction. I don’t infer from it that Middle Earth exists anywhere but in our imaginations.

    Seversky here admits that if people actually acted as if the rules were subjective, you’d have a free-for-all, and counters that they act as if morality is objective (1) in order to best pursue their own interests and (2) out of respect for other people pursuing their interests ((2) actually being a subset of (1) – seversky implies it’s in your own best interest to respect others’ pursuit of their own interests).

    No, I argued that if the rules were ignored there would be a free-for-all, as we sometimes see in various team sports where players lose their self-control. But, generally, players observe the rules of the game because they have a common interest in playing and, hopefully, winning the game.

    To a person living alone on a desert island proscriptions against murder or theft are simply irrelevant. There is no one there to kill and no property to be stolen. But human beings in society have a number of common interests which it is to their mutual benefit to protect from harm by others. Developing and agreeing on rules of behavior which protect those interests makes good sense on its own. There is no need to invoke objectivity as if it were somehow a warrant for those rules.

    IOW, Seversky is making the case that it is not delusional to act as if morality is objective in nature while believing it is not when you are acting that way in pursuit of your own interests. IOW, seversky is using a deceitful facade of acting as if morality is objective in order to pursue his self-interests.

    No, I am allowing that your interpretation of that behavior as acting as if that morality is objective is one possibility. I don’t agree with it but, even if true, it would be flimsy evidence for the objectivity of morality. Attendees at fan conventions will act, for all intents and purposes, as if the worlds of Star Trek or Star Wars are objectively real but that doesn’t mean they are for a moment.

    Extending that logic, Seversky will act as if morality is subjective when and where he thinks it is in his personal self-interest to do so.

    No, I will abide by the morality I was raised to observe because it is in my interests and that of the society in which I live that I do so. I could ignore them if I chose, just as you could, and if we were not caught in our transgression we might escape any unfavorable consequences.
    But we would ignore the force of gravity, for example, at our peril.

    However, I don’t believe any of it. Seversky, like the rest of us, deeply understands there is a right way and a wrong way to play the game of life regardless of what arbitrary rules and laws may say, and I’m sure he doesn’t act for a second in his life as if morality was an arbitrary set of rules he can simply ignore for his own selfish self-interests. In fact, I’d wager Seversky is quite willing to ignore his own self-interests to obey certain moral principles even when there appears to be only potential negative ramifications in store for him for obeying moral obligations which conflict with the majority.

    I would hope I would act in defense of people whose rights and interests were being violated, whether by individuals or a majority. Majorities can be wrong, in my view, if they violate the agreed rights of a minority of their members without good cause.

    Or, perhaps if a certain Muslim culture took over in the USA an passed corresponding laws, Seversky would be all too willing to treat women like property and sexually abuse children in order to “play the game” the masses have consented to. I sorta doubt it, though. I sorta think that, like me, Seversky would disregard and oppose those “arbitrary rules” to the death.

    Again, I would hope I would. The problem with the morality of such cultures – which, it has to be said, existed in western societies not that long ago – is that the women and children had – and in some areas still have – no say in the matter. They are decided by the men who rule and who often invoke religious beliefs as a justification for preserving their privileges.

  171. 171
    kairosfocus says:

    DS, The force of cruelty: callous indifference to or pleasure in causing physical and/or mental pain and suffering, such as by torture, bullying or abuse. If this is not evil and indeed a yardstick of evil, nothing is. KF

  172. 172
    kairosfocus says:

    DS, + is the operator, the operation is in the process 2 + 3 –> ____, in effect take 2 as addend (first operand), then augment with 3 as augend (second operand). The result is the sum, here 5. KF

  173. 173
    daveS says:

    KF,

    DS, The force of cruelty: callous indifference to or pleasure in causing physical and/or mental pain and suffering, such as by torture, bullying or abuse. If this is not evil and indeed a yardstick of evil, nothing is. KF

    I agree again, but I am less certain about the truth of this than I am about “I exist”. Do you feel the same way?

    DS, + is the operator, the operation is in the process 2 + 3 –> ____, in effect take 2 as addend (first operand), then augment with 3 as augend (second operand). The result is the sum, here 5.

    Do you therefore agree that 2 + 3 is a number? It seems silly to go further on this tangent, so I’ll read your answer and leave it there.

  174. 174

    DS said:

    To me, they are contradictory.

    How is “I exist” not also necessarily true only “to me”? Do you presume to speak for the existential experience of everyone else when you insist that “I do not exist” is objectively self-contradictory?

    Do you also claim that the analytic propositions and mathematical truths you experience as categorically, objectively valid with absolute certainty necessarily extend beyond your personal experience?

    How do I determine “cruelty is not good” is an objective moral truth, rather than just my opinion? If I think denial of it is an absurdity, is that good enough?

    How do you determine 1+1=2 is an objective truth and not simply an aspect of a solipsistic delusion?

    If one wishes to, they can extend their doubt into analytic propositions, mathematical principles and even to the SET principles of logic itself (as we have seen people do here). The question is, why stop here, and not there? Why draw the line at that which you agree are experiential moral certainties which cannot be traversed without rendering “good” and “evil” absurd notions?

    It seems to me you are working overtime and employing arbitrary objections you refuse to employ elsewhere to cast doubt on the concept that morality refers to an objective commodity.

    The question is, why? What is it about morality that drives you and other to cling to the idea that it may not be an objective commodity even if it means living in a state of absurd hypocrisy?

  175. 175
    kairosfocus says:

    DS, strictly 2 + 3 is an operation on two operands (2, 3) using the + operator yielding as result the sum, here, 5. Next, the fact of error means that degree of personal certainty of belief is not a reliable index of warrant. In this case cruelty is always evil; privation, frustration or wrenching of the good and valuable from its proper place, form or fulfillment. In this case cruelty is indifferent to or positively delights in disregard for rights and duties of care through inflicting harm callously or even for pleasure. This is doubly evil, not only in the harm/ wrong to the victim but the degradation of the one resorting to cruelty. Attempted denial of the evil in cruelty would have such a sweeping impact that if cruelty — a very yardstick — is not evil, nothing would then be evil. KF

  176. 176
    daveS says:

    WJM,

    How is “I exist” not also necessarily true only “to me”? Do you presume to speak for the existential experience of everyone else when you insist that “I do not exist” is objectively self-contradictory?

    Well, the argument is that it’s logically impossible for any being to doubt his existence without existing, correct? So I do presume to speak for everyone else in that case.

    Do you also claim that the analytic propositions and mathematical truths you experience as categorically, objectively valid with absolute certainty necessarily extend beyond your personal experience?

    Analytic propositions, yes. The mathematical truths that I assert are objectively true are statements of the form “under these definitions and stipulations, X follows”, and I do believe they extend beyond my personal experience. By that I mean, for example, that any being capable of understanding “in natural number arithmetic, 1 + 1 = 2” would also accept it as true.

    How do you determine 1+1=2 is an objective truth and not simply an aspect of a solipsistic delusion?

    Just to be clear, I claim it’s objectively true that 1 + 1 = 2, assuming the standard definitions and stipulations, as Hempel puts it. I believe that it’s objectively true because one can form a valid argument starting with those definitions and stipulations and arrive at 1 + 1 = 2.

    If one wishes to, they can extend their doubt into analytic propositions, mathematical principles and even to the SET principles of logic itself (as we have seen people do here). The question is, why stop here, and not there? Why draw the line at that which you agree are experiential moral certainties which cannot be traversed without rendering “good” and “evil” absurd notions?

    I’m up for investigating doubt in any setting, really. Do you have any specific suggestions?

    It seems to me you are working overtime and employing arbitrary objections you refuse to employ elsewhere to cast doubt on the concept that morality refers to an objective commodity.

    The question is, why? What is about morality that drives you and other to cling to the idea that it may not be an objective commodity even if it means absurdity and hypocrisy?

    More accurately, I’m trying to understand more clearly the thought process one uses in identifying objective moral truths, and specifically, distinguishing them from mere opinions. Is there a process, other than just saying that “any sane person knows that X is an objective moral truth”?

  177. 177

    DaveS @176:

    You keep reiterating “what you believe” as if it somehow counters the potential for others to reject or doubt those things you personally hold as objectively binding. I understand that, for whatever reason, you draw the line at morality and feel such doubt is warranted. However, I do not see how such doubt is warranted other than by drawing an entirely arbitrary line in the sand of personal, plato’s-cave experience.

    What’s to stop me from saying that I hold the principles of logic or analytic propositions to be opinions that lie upon the myth of the given and reject foundationalism altogether as an oppresive form of thought control?

    Here is the thought process I use to quantify moral truths as objective phenomena; first, I experience moral good and evil via my conscience. Second, I immediately recognize them as categorically different than subjective preferences and values the same way I recognize the principles of logic, math and sensory input as categorically different from subjective feelings.

    Third, I necessarily act as if clear moral oughts are as objectively binding as clear mathematical principles, logical principles, and sensory input. I recognize the absurdity of trying to think, act or argue as if those principled systems are subjective in nature. I cannot act like a solipsist; I cannot argue as if logic is not binding; I cannot act as if morality is subjective in nature.

    I recognize that questioning “I exist” is as absurd as questioning, (as KF points out), “I ought” or “A=A” or “1+1=2” or “error exists”. Doubting the objective nature of morality might be an interesting sojourn into sophistry, and it might provide one intellectual distance from unpalatable ideas, but it is as functionally barren a proposition as “I may not exist” or “A may not always equal A, depending on my personal preference”.

    It seems to me that you are simply insisting on having doubt about the objective nature of morality, even when faced with moral statements you immediately and unequivocally recognize as true and would immediately and unequivocally react to as if objectively true and metaphysically absolute. even to the point of putting your own safety in jeopardy.

    There is no argument I can muster to force doubt from you because, presumedly, you have free will. Free will can maintain doubt even where it is absurd. IMO, at the end of the day, a person simply has to choose whether or not to accept morality as an objective phenomena. No argument can pry doubt from the minds of those wishing not to believe.

  178. 178
    daveS says:

    WJM,

    Thanks for laying out your thought process. I’ve had a busy day, so I won’t be able to read it in detail for a day or two. I will reply to some of the rest of your post.

    You keep reiterating “what you believe” as if it somehow counters the potential for others to reject or doubt those things you personally hold as objectively binding.

    I don’t think it counters anything; I’m simply describing some of my positions FTR when asked about them. Anyone who rejects or doubts my claims to know certain objective truths is of course invited to respond.

    I understand that, for whatever reason, you draw the line at morality and feel such doubt is warranted. However, I do not see how such doubt is warranted other than by drawing an entirely arbitrary line in the sand of personal, plato’s-cave experience.

    For me, the line is not at morality specifically. My interest is how we separate mere opinion from objective truth in general.

    What’s to stop me from saying that I hold the principles of logic or analytic propositions to be opinions that lie upon the myth of the given and reject foundationalism altogether as an oppresive form of thought control?

    Well, I find that to be an uninteresting position, so I’m not at all motivated to argue against it at the moment. Now if someone could make a compelling case for it, that might pique my interest.

    Doubting the objective nature of morality might be an interesting sojourn into sophistry, and it might provide one intellectual distance from unpalatable ideas, but it is as functionally barren a proposition as “I may not exist” or “A may not always equal A, depending on my personal preference”.

    Whether you find it sophistry or not, some of us do indeed find it interesting. “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.”

  179. 179
    kairosfocus says:

    DS, do you notice your focus on the world of appearances? I suggest that this points to issues on the Kantian style ugly gulch that will need to be resolved by you, thence the question of objectivity of truth as what is credibly true beyond the mere perception of an individual or group. Even in mathematics, the issue of the bridge between the world of things in themselves and our inner mental life needs bridging, hence my focus above on the SET nature of 2 + 3 –> 5. Where, such is much more directly and irrefutably certain than any scheme such as ZFC. In the moral province, there are incorrigible truths of conscious experience regarding conscience as a sense that urges us to the right and the true that can only be relegated to delusion on pain of letting grand delusion loose in our inner lives without firewalls. Thus, these and closely connected matters are also self evident. Of course, in the end we have a residual freedom of choice . . . which itself (as well as consciousness in general) is utterly unaccounted for on evolutionary materialism. KF

    PS: Prove all things is actually a guidance regarding testing things in a particular context:

    1 Thess 5:12 We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, 13 and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work.

    Be at peace among yourselves.

    14 And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle,[c] encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.

    15 See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone.

    16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

    19 Do not quench the Spirit.

    20 Do not despise prophecies, 21 but test everything; hold fast what is good.

    22 Abstain from every form of evil. [ESV]

  180. 180
    kairosfocus says:

    PPS: A particularly relevant application of that, c 65 AD, from Peter, then chief eyewitness; about to be judicially murdered by Nero on a patently false accusation of treasonous arson against Rome (that demonically mad and utterly perverted emperor hoping thereby to extinguish the suspicion that he had given the order on or about July 18, 64 AD):

    2 Peter 1:10 Therefore, brothers,[g] be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. 11 For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

    12 Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have.

    13 I think it right, as long as I am in this body,[h] to stir you up by way of reminder, 14 since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me. 15 And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things.

    16 For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.

    17 For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son,[i] with whom I am well pleased,” 18 we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain.

    19 And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, 20 knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation.

    21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. [ESV]

  181. 181
    daveS says:

    KF,

    DS, do you notice your focus on the world of appearances?

    No, could you point to some instances of this?

    Even in mathematics, the issue of the bridge between the world of things in themselves and our inner mental life needs bridging, hence my focus above on the SET nature of 2 + 3 –> 5. Where, such is much more directly and irrefutably certain than any scheme such as ZFC.

    To clarify, I don’t believe that axiomatic or formal systems are “irrefutably certain”; that doesn’t quite make sense to me. It’s like saying that a car is irrefutably certain. What I claim is that in certain theories (e.g., Presburger arithmetic), one can prove that 2 + 3 = 5 starting from the definitions.

    PS: Prove all things is actually a guidance regarding testing things in a particular context:

    Of course.

  182. 182
    kairosfocus says:

    DS, you keep referring to what seems so to you. This, in context raises the Kantian ugly gulch issue. Hence my pointing out F H Bradley’s 1897 corrective. Likewise, I suggest that self evident basic mathematical truths of order

    || + ||| –> |||||

    are utterly beyond doubt, they are prior to and utterly more certain than axiomatised schemes such as ZFC (I speak here as one humbled by a former hallmate on the point by concrete demonstration which forced me to open up bit by bit to SETs and their independent stature). Such simply are not proved by procedures in such systems, at most the systems show connexion to reality by leading to such bedrock results and agreeing with them; a proposed scheme that fails to do so would be seen as a dead end and abandoned. As I in effect said above. Finally, I gave the context, testing claimed prophecies. KF

  183. 183
    daveS says:

    WJM,

    Just a couple of comments on the rest of your post, starting at the end:

    There is no argument I can muster to force doubt from you because, presumedly, you have free will. Free will can maintain doubt even where it is absurd. IMO, at the end of the day, a person simply has to choose whether or not to accept morality as an objective phenomena. No argument can pry doubt from the minds of those wishing not to believe.

    It’s not the case that I “[wish] not to believe”. Rather, I don’t feel I can make a strong case myself in favor of objective morality. I’m a skeptic by nature, and some find my doubts unreasonable of course.

    Here is the thought process I use to quantify moral truths as objective phenomena; first, I experience moral good and evil via my conscience. Second, I immediately recognize them as categorically different than subjective preferences and values the same way I recognize the principles of logic, math and sensory input as categorically different from subjective feelings.

    Third, I necessarily act as if clear moral oughts are as objectively binding as clear mathematical principles, logical principles, and sensory input. I recognize the absurdity of trying to think, act or argue as if those principled systems are subjective in nature. I cannot act like a solipsist; I cannot argue as if logic is not binding; I cannot act as if morality is subjective in nature.

    I hope I’m not being unfair in summarizing the second step as “I immediately recognize good and evil as objective entities, so they in fact are objective entities”. If that’s a fair reading, and you do indeed have the ability to make this determination, then I have no criticism of your thought process.

  184. 184
    daveS says:

    KF,

    DS, you keep referring to what seems so to you.

    Yes. I would be referring to a statement which I believe to be true, but about which I have reservations. What would be a better way to phrase this?

    Likewise, I suggest that self evident basic mathematical truths of order

    || + ||| –> |||||

    are utterly beyond doubt, they are prior to and utterly more certain than axiomatised schemes such as ZFC (I speak here as one humbled by a former hallmate on the point by concrete demonstration which forced me to open up bit by bit to SETs and their independent stature).

    That’s fine, but that’s not the issue I’m debating. I assert that it is the case that “2 + 3 = 5 is true by definition” can be verified in certain theories.

    I don’t think you disagree with that, do you?

  185. 185
    Barry Arrington says:

    daveS, do you assert that it is possible in any conceivable universe for the statement “torturing a child for pleasure is good” to be true?

    If you are, then you are hopeless and we will end the discussion.

    If you are not, then the matter is resolved.

    It really is that simple. Put up or shut up Dave.

  186. 186
    daveS says:

    Barry,

    No, I do not assert that.

  187. 187
    kairosfocus says:

    DS, the theories are less certain that what they “verify.” ZFC for instance was built to be compatible with these facts. If it was not it would have never been taken seriously. Nor is the truth of the claim a mere matter of definitions that are essentially arbitrary, the understandings of 2, 3, 5 the addition operation and equality as used are connected to and embedded in reality. KF

  188. 188
    kairosfocus says:

    DS, do you then affirm that “torturing a child for pleasure is good” is false in this or any other relevant possible world? KF

  189. 189
    daveS says:

    KF,

    Re #187: Again, please read the last three sentences of my #184.

    Re #188: I would hope that “torturing a child for pleasure is good” is false in any possible world. I prefer not to affirm statements that I cannot justify, however.

  190. 190
    kairosfocus says:

    DS, much pivots on that word, hope; sadly — at obvious cash value — it implies that you find yourself unable to rule out BA’s possibility. KF

    PS: I read 184, that’s why I am stressing the concerns I have raised about mathematical SETs.

  191. 191
    john_a_designer says:

    It’s tragic that daveS (along with several other recent interlocutors here) has such a shallow view of his fellow man and his own humanity. Society can survive with a few incorrigible cynics, I don’t think it can survive with a large number of them. As ancient Geek thinkers like Plato understood, one of the goals of moral ethical theory was the question of how one can create or establish a just society. However, you cannot even begin down that path without the presupposition that man-to-man moral obligations are real and binding.

  192. 192
    Seversky says:

    Barry Arrington @ 185

    daveS, do you assert that it is possible in any conceivable universe for the statement “torturing a child for pleasure is good” to be true?

    If you are, then you are hopeless and we will end the discussion.

    If you are not, then the matter is resolved.

    It really is that simple. Put up or shut up Dave.

    The inauguration of the women’s rights movement in the US is customarily dated to 1848. In July of that year Elizabeth Cady Stanton published a Declaration of Sentiments, Grievances, and Resolutions. It included this list of grievances which effectively summarized the status of women in American and European Society:

    Married women were legally dead in the eyes of the law
    Women were not allowed to vote
    Women had to submit to laws when they had no voice in their formation
    Married women had no property rights
    Husbands had legal power over and responsibility for their wives to the extent that they could imprison or beat them with impunity
    Divorce and child custody laws favored men, giving no rights to women
    Women had to pay property taxes although they had no representation in the levying of these taxes
    Most occupations were closed to women and when women did work they were paid only a fraction of what men earned
    Women were not allowed to enter professions such as medicine or law
    Women had no means to gain an education since no college or university would accept women students
    With only a few exceptions, women were not allowed to participate in the affairs of the church
    Women were robbed of their self-confidence and self-respect, and were made totally dependent on men

    This was considered permissible and moral at that time – by the men, at least.

    And if the situation were bad enough for white women consider how much worse it was for black women slaves. Yet slavery was considered permissible and even moral, by some at least.

    I assume you consider all of the above grossly immoral just like the rest of us. So who’s right, then or now, and how do we know? Objective phenomena like gravity or light were the same for the people of 1848 as they are to us. If morality’s objective then how come they didn’t see it just as clearly as we do?

    Oh, and as for your question, I don’t know anything about alien civilizations elsewhere in this universe or any other universe and neither do you. So logically even you have to allow that it is possible just like the rest of us.

  193. 193
    vividbleau says:

    Sev

    “So logically even you have to allow that it is possible just like the rest of us.”

    Heks had this to say on another thread about logical possibilities which I thought might be apropo.

    “Is it a mere logical possibility, without reference to any other background factors, that the belief of a moral objectivist about the moral status of any given act is mistaken? Sure it is. It’s also logically possible that moral objectivists are wrong about the existence of any objective morality. It’s also logically possible that I’m a brain in a vat, that no minds external to my own exist, than you’re merely a figment of my imagination, or that I (and everyone else, if they exist) just winked into existence with memories of a past that never happened.

    We don’t typically consider the fact that some proposition or state of affairs is merely logically possible to necessarily mean that it is remotely plausible, or reasonable to believe, or, especially, something that ought to guide our actions in important aspects of life.

    For example, it is logically possible that the extremely consistent ways in which we’ve observed physical reality behave throughout history are not the result of a set physical laws that constrain its behavior but are merely the result of an astronomically improbable string of chance outcomes, such that it is entirely possible that the next time you drop a hammer it will hit the ceiling instead of the floor. Does the knowledge that this is logically possible make you feel emboldened to jump off a tall building this afternoon?

    If you are not seriously considering taking a swan dive off the nearest skyscraper right now then you should realize that the mere acknowledgement of the logical possibility that one might be wrong on some highly important issue is not likely to impact their actions unless they think they have good reasons to think they’re wrong. If they think all of the available evidence most reasonably indicates that they’re right then they are going to continue to act in accord with their existing belief.

    As I said earlier, I consider a belief in Objective Morality to be properly basic, and I addressed in more detail what I mean by that in my second article here responding to Popperian (linked in comment #52). So I can acknowledge the mere logical possibility that I or anyone else could be mistaken in my view of the moral status of any given action, but I also recognize that I have no rational reason to believe I am mistaken in the absence of any powerful reason to think I am.”

    Vivid

  194. 194
    Barry Arrington says:

    Seversky @ 192

    You delight in hijacking threads and changing subjects. I decline your invitation, but I will make you a deal. Answer this question in good faith and I will answer yours:

    Consider this statement: Torturing a child for pleasure is good. Is it possible in any conceivable universe for the statement to be true?

  195. 195
    kairosfocus says:

    Vivid and HEKS, excellent. KF

  196. 196

    Serversky said @170, wrt playing games according to rules:

    Not precisely, I wrote that “You could argue that they are acting as if the rules are objective”- as, indeed, you do – but I do not agree.

    Seversky makes the argument that he (and by extension other sane people) can act as if morality is a kind of social game where he can adopt the rules for the benefit of himself, others, and society (the game).

    Later, I challenged him about what he would do in a scenario where a different set of rules was adopted by society and then majority:

    However, I don’t believe any of it. Seversky, like the rest of us, deeply understands there is a right way and a wrong way to play the game of life regardless of what arbitrary rules and laws may say, and I’m sure he doesn’t act for a second in his life as if morality was an arbitrary set of rules he can simply ignore for his own selfish self-interests. In fact, I’d wager Seversky is quite willing to ignore his own self-interests to obey certain moral principles even when there appears to be only potential negative ramifications in store for him for obeying moral obligations which conflict with the majority.

    Seversky responds, trying to have it both ways:

    I would hope I would act in defense of people whose rights and interests were being violated, whether by individuals or a majority. Majorities can be wrong, in my view, if they violate the agreed rights of a minority of their members without good cause.

    What “agreed rights of a minority” is he referring to? Minorities only have the “rights” given them by the government or the majority. Is he attempting to draw a distinction between the majority and the law, as if “the law” was somehow a higher arbiter of oughts than the majority?

    Seversky’s hypiocrisy becomes clear in the following exchange. I challenged Seversky with just such a hypothetical based on laws and culture:

    Or, perhaps if a certain Muslim culture took over in the USA an passed corresponding laws, Seversky would be all too willing to treat women like property and sexually abuse children in order to “play the game” the masses have consented to. I sorta doubt it, though. I sorta think that, like me, Seversky would disregard and oppose those “arbitrary rules” to the death.

    To which Seversky responded:

    I would hope I would.

    The question is, why would Seversky “hope he would” disobey the rules of the muslim/sharia culture game” when obeying those rules as if a game is being played is the cornerstone of his argument for subjective morality?

    If cultures can be likened to football vs basketball vs soccer vs golf, the very definition of immoral behavior would be breaking those rules while playing that particular game since there is nothing which transcends those games to tell us which game is better.

  197. 197

    I’ll now address another one of Seversky’s points @66, where he said:

    We all have the appearance of having free will to some extent but how do we know if that appearance or sensation is not predetermined?

    We don’t know. That’s not the point. The point is how we must act, think and argue – as if we and others have free will.

    There is also the problem of an omniscient God with demonstrable foreknowledge of the future rendering this appearance of free will an illusion

    Seversky led of his comments in this post accusing me of offering up straw men, but it is he who offers up a big fat one here: whatever god might be is entirely irrelevant to the question of how people must act, argue and even think – as if we have free will.

    In practice all we can do is act as if we have free will and see where it gets us.

    It appears that Seversky is here agreeing that we all indeed act as if we have free will.

    And since when does free will have to be a metaphysical capacity?

    “Metaphysical” meaning, transcending the cause and effect, deterministic/chance processes of happenstance interacting matter and energy. We do not act, argue or talk as if everything everyone says, does and thinks is due to physical determinism/happenstance chemical interactions.

    The statement “we do not have free will” requires an assumption of metaphysical free will to be taken as anything more than a dog barking or the wind rustling leaves and making happenstance sounds.

  198. 198

    seversky @192 said:

    I assume you consider all of the above grossly immoral just like the rest of us. So who’s right, then or now, and how do we know? Objective phenomena like gravity or light were the same for the people of 1848 as they are to us. If morality’s objective then how come they didn’t see it just as clearly as we do?

    Were objective phenomena like gravity or light explained/described the same way, and viewed the same way, then as they are now? Were they explained/described the same way, and viewed the same way, in the 1600’s? In every culture in every time?

    It seems you and others in your camp are utterly incapable of grasping a very easily understood point: just because descriptions of a thing vary from time to time and from culture to culture does not mean the thing itself is subjective in nature.

    It’s really quite remarkable to see you and others trot out this same failed, debunked argument over and over. It’s like it is a cornerstone of your objection to moral objectivism and, no matter how well refuted or how often, you simply cannot let it go or else your whole defense crumbles.

  199. 199
    Barry Arrington says:

    Seversky in response to my challenge at 194:

    [crickets]

    I thought so.

  200. 200
    Seversky says:

    Barry Arrington @ 194

    My apologies, for some reason I missed this:

    Consider this statement: Torturing a child for pleasure is good. Is it possible in any conceivable universe for the statement to be true?

    Yes. In fact, it’s more than possible and you don’t have to look for other universes to find an example. Recently, I was reading reviews of the movie 300 which led me to research more about the city-state of Sparta. If you do the same you will find that, not only were babies of suspect fitness left out on a hillside overnight to see if they survived but that children were forcibly drafted into the Spartan army from aged 7, subjected to a harsh and violent training regime and even exploited sexually. Today, we would regard such treatment as the most extreme child abuse on an institutional scale. Yet, for the warrior culture of Sparta this was an honorable hence moral hence good thing to do. Why wasn’t this self-evidently wrong to the Spartans?

  201. 201
    Axel says:

    @ zeroseven #20

    ‘It’s amazing how all those hundreds of millions of cognitively deficient, delusional atheists around the world seem to be able to live such successful and fulfilled lives. I guess they are the type of delusions and cognitive dissonances that don’t have any effect on the ability to live successful lives.’

    It is anything but amazing. For them, cognitive dissonance would be one of their most felicitous gifts. They don’t even have to be psychopaths, though it is evidently very helpful, as the complexion of the upper tiers of government and Big Business attests ; not to speak of the history of mankind, which is largely the history of their ministrations, whether as largely hidden malefactors of the ‘deep state’ or the political minions they buy.

    Why would worldlings not achieve eminent worldly success : ‘Where your treasure is, there also will be your heart.’

  202. 202
    DillyGill says:

    Seversky @200
    Perhaps because there is gain to be had in immoral acts. The conscience is easily seared and justification can be imported to maintain pretty much any position. I am sure the children experiencing such abuse would have held a different view to the abusers.

    Their thinking was more likely to be on the lines of survival of the fittest and might and manipulation makes right. The fruit gained from this evil fulled pompous life styles for the elites (through ruthless armies) would have had the intellectuals encouraging (or at least justifying) such things. A lesson for you from history? NO of course not! What you are doing is new under the sun. You have no god. You get a free pass in life and the here after.

    I would say it would have been self evidently wrong to every Spartan at some time in their life and they either fought against it or seared the conscience to it (to reap the ‘benefit’ from it)

    Scientism or evolutionism is merely a tool to sear the (God given) conscience with. Nothing more.

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