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At The Stream: Why IS racism wrong if Darwinism is true?

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Just asking:

Ask Darwinists — who believe that all life, and our life, and our intellects, are the waste product of random mutation and ruthless natural selection — a few simple questions. You’ll quickly encounter The Thing. It’s their answer to every question. So I wrote, in an essay (Brew a cup of coffee and read it!) aimed at college teachers. They should demand of their “Woke” students answers to each of the following:

What’s wrong with racism?

Why is inequality bad?

Why should those who enjoy the benefits of “privilege” ever surrender it?

If the results of injustice are more aesthetically pleasing to me than those of justice, why shouldn’t I choose injustice? Assuming that I can keep the whip hand, of course. Whatever answers they manage, teachers should “critique [each] response by referring strictly to Darwinian materialism. Any argument that can’t withstand that corrosive acid, toss in the trash.”

John Zmirak, “In the Beginning Was the Word, and the Word Was with the Thing, and the Word Was the Thing” at The Stream

Here’s the essay Zmirak refers to.

Hmmm. It may be cruel to expect the young Woke to think carefully about such questions. They might be so much better adapted by their education to relieving their intellectual frustrations by smashing things.


See also: Historian Richard Weikart weighs in on Darwinian anti-Semitism in Poland. According to Weikart, unfortunately, it is not fake news. White nationalists use Darwinism and evolutionary psychology to promote their perspective.

198 Replies to “At The Stream: Why IS racism wrong if Darwinism is true?

  1. 1
    Seversky says:

    Well, why is racism wrong?

    Why is inequality bad?

    I know why I think so but what does the Bible say about why they’re wrong? What reasons does God give, assuming they are specifically forbidden. I don’t seem to remember a commandment against racial discrimination or social inequality.

  2. 2
    Barry Arrington says:

    Seversky, predictably tries to hijack the thread by turning the question away from the point of the OP and put theists on the defensive. Why? Because defending materialist ethics causes painful dissonance of course. There really is no such thing as materialist ethics if by “ethics” one means “a non-arbitrary standard by which right and wrong are measured.” It always boils down to personal preference. As Bob O’H has demonstrated in these pages many times, the materialist’s answer to the holocaust must ultimately be: “Holocausts are not my cup of tea, but who am I to say whether Eichmann’s tea preferences were better or worse than mine.”

    Sev says, he knows why he thinks racism and inequality are bad. Well, Sev, will your answer withstand the corrosive acid of Darwinian materialism? Let’s see. As a materialist Sev’s response to racism and inequality must ultimately be derived from his subjective preference: “Racism and inequality are not my cup of tea, but who am I to say whether Bull Connor’s tea preferences were better or worse than mine.”
    Weak stuff Sev. Toss it out.

  3. 3
    Barry Arrington says:

    From the linked essay:

    But you could make progress by being Socratic. Ask tough questions, and keep on asking, even if your students start shouting at you, or break down crying.

    Yes, perhaps. But you might also be horrified to learn that some students have become hardened by materialism to the point that they acquiesce in its logical entailments. The point of “being Socratic” is to be provocative in the sense of provoking clear thinking. Force the student to face the fact that if he is going to embrace materialism he must also embrace the logical consequences of that view, one of which is that his aversion to the wanton slaughter of millions of innocents in the Holocaust rests on no firmer foundation than his aversion to pistachio ice cream. The hoped for result is the student will recoil in horror and reexamine his metaphysics. As I often say in these pages: If one’s metaphysics causes one to say screamingly stupid things, perhaps one should reexamine one’s metaphysics.

    But just there is the rub. Perhaps the student has examined this metaphysics. And perhaps he understands its logical entailments. And perhaps he has accepted that he cannot pick and choose; he must embrace the whole package, both the premises and the entailments of those premises. And perhaps he does.

    Now it is your turn to be horrified.

    This has happened to me more than once when discussing these matters with young people. I patiently explain the ethical entailments of materialism, often using the Holocaust as a practical point of focus. The student might push back at first, but at the end he always comes to the end of the logical chain (there really is only one end to that chain, no matter how much the Bob O’H’s and Sevs of the world protest). And then expecting the student to be horrified at materialist ethics and open to changing his mind, to my horror he drops this bombshell: “I guess that’s right. There really is no foundation for ethics; the Holocaust was not objectively wrong, because ‘objectively wrong’ does not exist.”

    As I said, some version of this has happened to me more than once. The materialists control the heights of our education system. And from the commanding position of those heights they teach our children. And our children are learning the lesson. It is hard to be optimist about the future.

  4. 4
    Pater Kimbridge says:

    Why is slavery wrong if Christianity is true?

  5. 5
    Fasteddious says:

    Nowadays I would expect the more likely outcome would be for the student to melt, get all “triggered” and issue a complaint about the mean teacher who made him uncomfortable with his “offensive” questioning. The teacher would then be dragged before the protectorate of hurt feelings and chastised at length for his insensitivity and “intolerance”. The teacher would then have to sign an apology, promise never to do it again, and be put on watch for any minor further infractions. He would be lucky to keep his job.

  6. 6
    Barry Arrington says:

    Pater Kimbridge also is apparently afraid to discuss the subject of the OP and wants to change the subject. I don’t blame him. If I espoused his metaphysics, I wouldn’t want to dwell too long or too deeply on their ramifications either. Better to parasitically benefit from the dwindling store of Christian moral capital built up over the millennia while, ironically, sneering at it.

  7. 7
    Truthfreedom says:

    @4 Pater Kimbridge

    Why is slavery wrong if Christianity is true?

    This is not even the shadow of an argument. This is s***. Wow Pater.

  8. 8
    Pater Kimbridge says:

    @Truthfreedom:

    Now you understand why the question in the OP title makes no sense.

  9. 9
    Truthfreedom says:

    @8 Pater Kimbridge

    Now you understand why the question in the OP title makes no sense.

    Nope. Now I understand that you are not providing any argument.

  10. 10
    Seversky says:

    Barry Arrington @ 2

    Seversky, predictably tries to hijack the thread by turning the question away from the point of the OP and put theists on the defensive.

    Theists should be on the defensive if they are claiming that their morality is better-grounded or in some other way superior to others. If the only basis for such a claim is that “God says so” then that really isn’t enough. It’s no better that “I say so” if God doesn’t give any reasons for what He is supposed to have said and if we can’t even verify that He actually exists.

    There really is no such thing as materialist ethics if by “ethics” one means “a non-arbitrary standard by which right and wrong are measured.”

    Quite right, if you can’t derive ‘ought’ from ‘is’ then there can be no materialist ethics

    It always boils down to personal preference. As Bob O’H has demonstrated in these pages many times, the materialist’s answer to the holocaust must ultimately be: “Holocausts are not my cup of tea, but who am I to say whether Eichmann’s tea preferences were better or worse than mine.”

    If Eichmann had actually asked all those who were marched into the ovens whether they wanted to be gassed as the Nazi’s ‘Final Solution’ I’m pretty sure the answer would have been a resounding “No!”

    If people were asked whether they would like themselves or their loved ones to be tortured, raped and murdered to satisfy the warped desires of a psychopath, I’m pretty sure that, again, the answer of the overwhelming majority would be a resounding “No!”

    And if people were asked if they would like themselves and their loved ones to be provided with adequate shelter, food, water and other necessities, I’m pretty sure the answer would be a resounding “Yes!”

    If you asked them if they would like a safe and secure environment in which to enjoy these benefits, I’m pretty sure the answer would be a resounding “Yes!”

    That seems to me to be a good basis for morality.

    And it’s one we can work out for ourselves rather than being imposed on us by someone else, even if the being doing the imposing is supposed to be the greatest that has ever existed. If that’s the only reason for accepting that being’s morality then you are just making the ultimate case of ‘might makes right’. And I really don’t think you want to do that.

  11. 11
    Ed George says:

    Evolution is not about right and wrong. However, that doesn’t mean that it is not the best explanation.

    Whether or not racism is right or wrong is up to human society to determine and enforce. Nazi Germany as a society decided that discrimination against Jews was not wrong. For centuries, many different societies decided that slavery was not wrong. Up until well into the 20th century most societies felt that it was not wrong to discriminate against women. Within living memory most societies felt that it was not wrong to discriminate against homosexuals.

    Things change as societies evolve. Sometimes to be more inclusive, sometimes to be less so.

  12. 12
    Bob O'H says:

    Barry –

    It always boils down to personal preference. As Bob O’H has demonstrated in these pages many times, the materialist’s answer to the holocaust must ultimately be: “Holocausts are not my cup of tea, but who am I to say whether Eichmann’s tea preferences were better or worse than mine.”

    No, that is most definitely not my answer. But I’m not surprised that you’re unable to summarise my views correctly.

  13. 13
    Barry Arrington says:

    OK Bob. I’ll bite. On what basis do you say that your view of the Holocaust is objectively superior to Eichmann’s?

  14. 14
    Truthfreedom says:

    @13

    OK Bob. I’ll bite. On what basis do you say that your view of the Holocaust is objectively superior to Eichmann’s?

    Pop-corn is almost ready. A materialist is going to embarrass him-self (again).
    -Materialism is the worst metaphysics. 🙂

  15. 15
  16. 16
  17. 17
    kairosfocus says:

    As in, Plato

    Ath [in The Laws, Bk X 2,360 ya]. . . .[The avant garde philosophers and poets, c. 360 BC] say that fire and water, and earth and air [i.e the classical “material” elements of the cosmos], all exist by nature and chance, and none of them by art . . . [such that] all that is in the heaven, as well as animals and all plants, and all the seasons come from these elements, not by the action of mind, as they say, or of any God, or from art, but as I was saying, by nature and chance only [ –> that is, evolutionary materialism is ancient and would trace all things to blind chance and mechanical necessity] . . . .

    [Thus, they hold] that the principles of justice have no existence at all in nature, but that mankind are always disputing about them and altering them; and that the alterations which are made by art and by law have no basis in nature, but are of authority for the moment and at the time at which they are made.-

    [ –> Relativism, too, is not new; complete with its radical amorality rooted in a worldview that has no foundational IS that can ground OUGHT, leading to an effectively arbitrary foundation only for morality, ethics and law: accident of personal preference, the ebbs and flows of power politics, accidents of history and and the shifting sands of manipulated community opinion driven by “winds and waves of doctrine and the cunning craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming . . . ” cf a video on Plato’s parable of the cave; from the perspective of pondering who set up the manipulative shadow-shows, why.]

    These, my friends, are the sayings of wise men, poets and prose writers, which find a way into the minds of youth. They are told by them that the highest right is might,

    [ –> Evolutionary materialism — having no IS that can properly ground OUGHT — leads to the promotion of amorality on which the only basis for “OUGHT” is seen to be might (and manipulation: might in “spin”) . . . ]

    and in this way the young fall into impieties, under the idea that the Gods are not such as the law bids them imagine; and hence arise factions [ –> Evolutionary materialism-motivated amorality “naturally” leads to continual contentions and power struggles influenced by that amorality at the hands of ruthless power hungry nihilistic agendas], these philosophers inviting them to lead a true life according to nature, that is,to live in real dominion over others [ –> such amoral and/or nihilistic factions, if they gain power, “naturally” tend towards ruthless abuse and arbitrariness . . . they have not learned the habits nor accepted the principles of mutual respect, justice, fairness and keeping the civil peace of justice, so they will want to deceive, manipulate and crush — as the consistent history of radical revolutions over the past 250 years so plainly shows again and again], and not in legal subjection to them [–> nihilistic will to power not the spirit of justice and lawfulness].

  18. 18
    ET says:

    “Ed George”:

    Evolution is not about right and wrong.

    And yet if evolutionism is true then there isn’t any right and wrong. There is just living, procreating and dying.

  19. 19
    Truthfreedom says:

    @10 Seversky

    If people were asked whether they would like themselves or their loved ones to be tortured, raped and murdered to satisfy the warped desires of a psychopath, I’m pretty sure that, again, the answer of the overwhelming majority would be a resounding “No!”

    Mmmm… Objective morals lurking in the shadows.

  20. 20
    Truthfreedom says:

    @11 Ed George

    Evolution is not about right and wrong.

    What?
    Evolution is your ‘creator’. It has shaped your brain. Your

  21. 21
    Jim Thibodeau says:

    Here’s some quotes about Jews from seminal Christian leader Martin Luther:

    “First, to set fire to their synagogues or schools … This is to be done in honor of our Lord and of Christendom, so that God might see that we are Christians …”
    “Second, I advise that their houses also be razed and destroyed.”
    “Third, I advise that all their prayer books and Talmudic writings, in which such idolatry, lies, cursing, and blasphemy are taught, be taken from them.”
    “Fourth, I advise that their rabbis be forbidden to teach henceforth on pain of loss of life and limb …”

    Luther was instrumental in getting Jews put on the 14th century equivalent of boxcars out of the country. The Holocaust was just the worst of 500 years of pogroms by Christians. To say that this happened because the nice and gentle productive scientist Bob doesn’t have a deity to get his behavior from is to just ignore everything.

  22. 22
    Truthfreedom says:

    @11 Ed George

    Evolution is not about right and wrong.

    What?
    Evolution has shaped our brains, the tools that decide what is ‘right’ and what is ‘wrong’.
    Evolution is the source/ creator of our morals.

    You are contradicting yourself (again).

  23. 23
    Barry Arrington says:

    Jim Thibodeau says that Martin Luther was wrong to be antisemitic. I agree. Here’s the difference. I say that Luther’s antisemitism was wrong because it transgressed an objective and transcendent moral standard rooted in a God’s being. Jim when pressed must admit that he has no objective criterion to judge between his view and Luther’s. It is all just a matter of personal preference for Jim. To be sure, he smuggles in Christian-influenced objective ethics through the back door. No sane person actually lives their lives as the amorality inseparable from metaphysical materialism is true.
    He does not seem to notice the irony of sitting in judgment over Luther when he has announced beforehand that he has no standard to judge by except his own subjective opinion.

  24. 24
    ET says:

    Earth to Jim Thibodeau:

    n defending myself against the Jews, I am acting for the Lord,” said Adolf Hitler. “The difference between the church and me is that I am finishing the job.” Hitler was lying in an attempt to mislead his public by concealing his own racial animosity behind a mask of Christian language.

    https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/1998/april27/8t5012.html

  25. 25
    Truthfreedom says:

    @ET

    And yet if evolutionism is true then there isn’t any right and wrong. There is just living, procreating and dying.

    Well, not even that. For childfree people, i.e, there is only living and dying. No procreation involved.

    Naturalism is a very simple religion:
    Stuff happens.

  26. 26
    Barry Arrington says:

    Seversky at 10 says the Golden Rule is a good basis for morality. As a follower of Jesus, who formulated the Golden Rule, I could not agree more.

    So what is the basis of our disagreement if we both agree that the Golden Rule is the basis for morality? It is this: I assert that the Golden Rule describes a transcendent ethical standard that is binding upon all. Sev says that he subjectively prefers the Golden Rule, but damned if he can give a good reason why Eichmann’s subjective preference for mass murder was objectively inferior to his subjective preference for the Golden Rule.
    NOTICE THIS: Sev’s argument at 10 is based on smuggling in objective morality through the back door. How do I know this? Because without stating it, Sev argues as if it is self-evident that following the Golden Rule is good and not following it is bad. And so it is. Here is the irony. Sev’s argument is contrary to his own metaphysical premises. Sev admits that ought cannot be derived from is. But his premises is that “is” is all there is.
    This is all so obvious. I really wonder sometimes whether Sev is a fundamentalist Christian shilling as a materialist, tossing us softballs to knock out of the park.

  27. 27
    Truthfreedom says:

    @23 Barry Arrington

    He (Jim Thibodeau) does not seem to notice the irony of sitting in judgment over Luther when he has announced beforehand that he has no standard to judge by except his own subjective opinion.

    Materialists.Always.Do.That.
    ALWAYS.

  28. 28
    Barry Arrington says:

    Ed George:

    Evolution is not about right and wrong. However, that doesn’t mean that it is not the best explanation.

    Ed is quite right if his premise (materialism) is true. We do not know for a certain fact that God exists. There is overwhelming evidence that he does. But there is room for doubt. There are many reasons to conclude that evolutionary materialism is false. But we cannot be certain. Maybe everything did come from nothing. I don’t see how that could be true, but granting it for the sake of argument, George is right — if materialism is true there is no such thing as right and wrong. I argue that it is self-evident that right and wrong exist as objective ontological categories accessible to at least some degree by every sane person , and it follows from that fact that materialism is false.

    Whether or not racism is right or wrong is up to human society to determine and enforce.

    Again, granting his premise (materialism), Ed is correct. If material is true, might really does make right. There is no good. There is no evil. There is only strong and weak, and the strong impose their will on the weak. Under Ed’s view, the Nazi’s were not wrong. They were just not strong enough to impose their views on the rest of us. A remarkably candid admission Ed. Good for you.

    Nazi Germany as a society decided that discrimination against Jews was not wrong.

    Again, quite right. And Ed has no basis for saying that the Nazi position is inferior to any other society’s view. Here is one of the problems with materialism: Given materialism, there can be no such thing as moral “progress.” This is true because “progress” implies that one is progressing. And progressing implies that there is a standard that is currently not being met toward which we “ought” to be moving. But materialism denies the existence of any such standard. As Sev has already assured us, an “ought” cannot be derived from materialist premises, and he is right about that.

    Things change as societies evolve.

    If Ed means that as we have realized and implemented Christian ethics our society gets better, who could disagree? Christian morality has been the foundation of every ethical improvement for the last two millennia. For example, Christians were the first to recognize women’s status as equal before God, and that is one reason women flocked to it in droves in the ancient world.

  29. 29
    Ed George says:

    For example, Christian were the first to recognize women’s status as equal before God, and that is one reason women flocked to it in droves.

    Yet they are not allowed to be priests, cardinals or the pope.

  30. 30
    john_a_designer says:

    The key question here is whether any naturalistic or materialistic worldview can provide any kind of basis for universal human rights? Keep in mind exactly what that means. A universal human right applies to all people living at all times. In other words, you naturally or intrinsically have rights because you are human and only human beings have those rights.

    A Darwinian “survival of the fittest” approach at best leads us to a form of tribalism which views it a particular group think and herd morality as better or more privileged than another group think. That is not a basis for universal human rights because it is the group that grants its members their rights.

    If you look at the modern secular progressive movement (think specifically of the eugenics movement) which came into existence in the latter part of the nineteenth and early twentieth century it was very materialistic and Darwinian in its early thinking and outlook. For example, in Germany one of Darwin’s earliest and most enthusiastic disciples was biologist Ernst Haeckel. While in his book the Descent of Man Darwin discussed some of the ethical implications of his theory at some length, Haeckel took Darwin’s thinking to its logical conclusion.

    Haeckel argued that as evolution, supposedly, rewards the “fittest,” man should help evolution along by eliminating the unfit. He wrote:

    “The cruel and unsparing ‘struggle for existence,’ which rages–and naturally must rage–everywhere in the biosphere, this unceasing and inexorable competition of all living creatures, is an undeniable fact; only the chosen minority of the privileged fit ones in the condition to survive successfully this competition, while the great majority of the competitors must necessarily perish miserably” (Richard Weikart, From Darwin to Hitler, p. 80).

    In The Natural History of Creation, 1870, Haeckel praised the Spartans, because they practiced euthanasia of imperfect babies in order to create the superior man. Later “he confessed that he had indeed supported infanticide in his earlier book” (Weikart, p. 146). Killing of the unfit was, in his estimation, the logical consequence of Darwinian survival of the fittest.

    Haeckel promoted abortion, infanticide, and euthanasia for the “inferior” and the infirm. He proposed “a dose of some painless and rapid poison” to do away with the “hundreds of thousands of incurables–lunatics, lepers, people with cancer, etc.” (Weikart, pp. 118, 119). Haeckel proposed that euthanasia program that would be “under the control of an authoritative commission” (p. 119).

    https://www.wayoflife.org/reports/ernst_haeckel_darwins_german_apostle.html

    Notice the reasoning (rationalization) here. So long as the government is in charge of the euthanasia that makes it okay. In other words, as long as it’s legal it’s moral.

  31. 31
    Barry Arrington says:

    Not sure what your point at 29 is Ed. Certainly you do not deny the obvious historical fact that Christian ethics elevated women from chattel to personhood in the ancient world. Are you quibbling and diminishing that monumental accomplishment because certain sects’ ecclesiology is unsatisfactory to you? If so, could you possibly be more churlish?

  32. 32
    Barry Arrington says:

    John_a_designer,
    Yet all the time in these pages (indeed in this very thread), materialist ACT as if their view of morality is or should be universally binding while at the same time espousing a metaphysics that denies the existence of any such standard.

    Once again from the top: No sane person lives his life as if materialism were true.

    Sev, Ed , Pater, if one must live his life as if one’s most fundamental metaphysical commitments are false, perhaps one should reexamine those commitments. I won’t be holding my breath.

  33. 33
    john_a_designer says:

    Some time ago Wesley J. Smith shared some very alarming thoughts from evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne.
    .

    Coyne makes the… claim that since we euthanize our sick pets, we should also kill seriously ill and disabled babies. He then explains why he thinks the reasons we resist that meme are wrong, and indeed, irrational. From his blog:

    “The reason we don’t allow euthanasia of newborns is because humans are seen as special, and I think this comes from religion—in particular, the view that humans, unlike animals, are endowed with a soul. It’s the same mindset that, in many places, won’t allow abortion of fetuses that have severe deformities. When religion vanishes, as it will, so will much of the opposition to both adult and newborn euthanasia.”

    Well, no. As I have written repeatedly, human exceptionalism can include religious views, but it definitely does not require them. As Coyne’s advocacy proves, once we reject human exceptionalism, universal human rights becomes unsustainable, and we move toward the manufacture of killable and exploitable castes of people, determined by the moral views of those with the power to decide.

    Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/.....acceptance

    Coyne’s thinking is the same kind of thinking which led to the Nazi led holocaust, which began with the medical euthanization of “undesirables,” not long after the beginning of WW II. The slippery slope which began with the forced sterilizations in the U.S. and some other countries ended with Nazi Germany going off the cliff.

    However, I think I do agree with Coyne about one thing. Once you get rid of religious basis for morality and ethics, which in western society predominantly Judeo-Christian, you get rid of any basis of human rights. If there are no human rights then there is no basis at all for any kind of democracy.

    That raises another disturbing point: who is Jerry Coyne tell everyone else what to think and believe? If there is no transcendent basis for human rights then there are no human rights. And if that is true for everyone else then Jerry Coyne doesn’t have any rights either, not even the right to express his opinion. Apparently he has been able to fool himself into thinking he does. What do you call a person who so can so easily fool himself?

  34. 34
    Truthfreedom says:

    @33 John_a_designer:

    What do you call a person who so can so easily fool himself?

    I call that person a dogmatic, un-thinking materialist.

    Yes, Jerry Coyne is an eugenicist.

  35. 35
    john_a_designer says:

    Notice that we can insert the names of any of our regular interlocutors (Ed George, Jim Thibodeau, Bob O’H, Seversky etc.) into the following comment. (see #33)

    That raises another disturbing point: who is [person p] tell everyone else what to think and believe? If there is no transcendent basis for human rights then there are no human rights. And if that is true for everyone else then [p] doesn’t have any rights either, not even the right to express his opinion. Apparently he has been able to fool himself into thinking he does. What do you call a person who so can so easily fool himself?

  36. 36
    Bob O'H says:

    Barry @ 13 – I don’t think there’s any point in answering that question unless you’ve understood what my views actually are. So thank you for moving the goalposts straight away.

  37. 37
    Ed George says:

    Barry

    Not sure what your point at 29 is Ed. Certainly you do not deny the obvious historical fact that Christian ethics elevated women from chattel to personhood in the ancient world.

    I agree that Christianity has been instrumental in raising Christian women from being chattel to being institutionally subservient to their husbands. Definitely a step forward, but a far cry from equality.

  38. 38
    kairosfocus says:

    BA,

    One of the more interesting aspects of current exchanges is the studiousness with which some of our interlocutors ignore the most blatant feature of their argumentation when it is pointed out. Namely, that they imply and expect that we know and cannot escape the first duties of reason. Duties, to truth, to right reason, to prudence, to sound conscience, to respect for neighbour, to fairness and justice. That’s why they seem ever so eager to try to tie us up in moral binds.

    For example take that “seminal” Christian leader, one certain Dr Martin Luther and his widely acknowledged anti-semitism. Immediately, of course, I wonder how the seedling era of the Christian Faith could be dated c 1517 Anno Domini, about 3/4 way from the true founding to now. As though, the faith were Lutheranity, not Christianity, and as though Christ were not the Greek translation of a pivotal Hebraic, scriptural term, Messiah; the Lord’s prophesied Anointed Deliverer. Who just happened to have over his head on a Roman cross (with connivance of plainly corrupt local leaders) a sign in Hebrew, Greek and Latin: Jesus of Nazareth, King of The Jews. As in, Davidic King.

    Of course, that was the moment of peak shame and disgrace, a proof of being accursed by being hanged on a tree. But then, three days later, a sealed, guarded tomb was not enough when angelic visitors came by to open things up to let the first of the 500 witnesses in. A certain former courtesan from Magdala out of whom had gone seven devils. The one, the risen Jesus sent to fetch his apostles.

    And, a few years later, he would stop the last of the 500 witnesses on the road to Damascus where he had intended to make merciless slaughter of the Disciples. The very same who would later be apostle to the nations and much resented leader of the Christian Synthesis of the heritage of Jerusalem, Athens and Rome, the foundation of our civilisation. A civilisation now dealing with the chaos of apostasy.

    That’s already highly interesting, revelatory on the depth of misunderstanding of our civilisation among our educated classes.

    But, there is more.

    For, the binding first duties of responsible reason are freighted with worldview level import. Something else that is routinely sidestepped by latterday followers of the tactics suggested by Wilson in his Arte of Rhetorique as the way to dodge inconvenient matters. Act as though they weren’t there.

    For, further, we are clearly governed under a binding law of our nature.

    That points to the IS-OUGHT gap and the only place such can be bridged, on pain of ungrounded morality. The roots of reality. (And, yes, it is manifest that a worldview — evolutionary materialism — that cannot even address that which governs our very rationality, is an utterly incoherent and factually grossly inadequate non-starter. Such simply opens the door to the sort of nihilism you are noting among the deeply indoctrinated youth. Something Plato warned against also, 2360 years ago.)

    We see a bill of requisites for such a reality root. Capable of being the wellspring of worlds. Necessary — independent — being. And, inherently good while being utterly wise.

    A familiar figure looms.

    One then recognises why the refusal to face the implications of moral government, even as we see arguments that inescapably pivot on such.

    So, which is it, that first duties are a grand delusion [implying that responsible rationality itself is delusional], or, that we are responsible, rational creatures morally governed through the built in law of our nature; thus accountable to the inherently good and utterly wise Creator God, a necessary and maximally great being? One, worthy of loyalty and of the responsible, reasonable service of doing the good that accords with our manifest nature

  39. 39
    kairosfocus says:

    Odd, posted itself.

    I’ll just sign off, KF

  40. 40
    kairosfocus says:

    EG, your cynicism shows, compounded by gross theological ignorance. I quote a creedal hymn of the C1 church that should be instructive on nature, role, service and dignity:

    Phil 2: 5 Have this same attitude in yourselves which was in Christ Jesus [look to Him as your example in selfless humility], 6 who, although He existed in the form and unchanging essence of God [as One with Him, possessing the fullness of all the divine attributes—the entire nature of deity], did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped or asserted [as if He did not already possess it, or was afraid of losing it]; 7 but emptied Himself [without renouncing or diminishing His deity, but only temporarily giving up the outward expression of divine equality and His rightful dignity] by assuming the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men [He became completely human but was without sin, being fully God and fully man]. 8 After He was found in [terms of His] outward appearance as a man [for a divinely-appointed time], He humbled Himself [still further] by becoming obedient [to the Father] to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 For this reason also [because He obeyed and so completely humbled Himself], God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus [b]every knee shall bow [in submission], of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue will confess and openly acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord (sovereign God), to the glory of God the Father. [AMP]

    You fail to recognise just how radical the Christian faith is.

    KF

  41. 41
    Ed George says:

    KF

    EG, your cynicism shows, …

    I can’t for the life of me think why.

    Ephesians 5:22-24

    22 Wives, obey your husbands as you obey the Lord.

    23 The husband is the head of the wife, just as Christ is the head of the church people. The church is his body and he saved it.

    24 Wives should obey their husbands in everything, just as the church people obey Christ.

  42. 42
    kairosfocus says:

    EG, as usual, out of context and ignoring the pivotal, absolutely central point in Phil 2:5 – 11:

    Eph 5:15 Therefore see that you walk carefully [living life with honor, purpose, and courage; shunning those who tolerate and enable evil], not as the unwise, but as wise [sensible, intelligent, discerning people], 16 [b]making the very most of your time [on earth, recognizing and taking advantage of each opportunity and using it with wisdom and diligence], because the days are [filled with] evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish and thoughtless, but understand and firmly grasp what the will of the Lord is. 18 Do not get drunk with wine, for that is wickedness (corruption, stupidity), but be filled with the [Holy] Spirit and constantly guided by Him. 19 [c]Speak to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, [offering praise by] singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for all things, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; 21 being subject to one another out of reverence for Christ. [AMP]

    Note, the primary authority i/l/o Phil 2 as cited. Further, that primary authority speaks through not only Scripture but everyone down to a 2 – 3 yo child. So, while recognition of a specific authority structure for family and other contexts such as workplace, community etc is there indeed [something our perverse generation bristles at], such is in the direct context that there is no implied inferiority of nature, that there is respect and cherishing. Husbands, specifically are “love your wives [seek the highest good for her and surround her with a caring, unselfish love], just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her.”

    In context, went to a literal cross for his bride, the church.

    Indeed, the onward application is “husbands should and are morally obligated to love their own wives as [being in a sense] their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own body, but [instead] he nourishes and protects and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members (parts) of His body.”

    In short, there is nowhere in this a justification for abuse or for imposing a notion of inferior being or value. Instead, there is an implication that husbands take up the metaphorical cross daily, and if needs be a literal one. Similarly, mutual submission out of respect for Christ implies a need to listen to not only wife but children and others.

    Somehow, that context did not make its way into your citation.

    Telling.

    But, enough of attempted gotcha tangents.

    KF

  43. 43
    Barry Arrington says:

    KF:

    So, which is it, that first duties are a grand delusion . . .or, that we are responsible, rational creatures morally governed . . .?

    Just so KF. And they will never answer, because they want to have it both ways. (1) “First duties are a grand delusion” when they are pushing their evolutionary materialism AND (2) “we are responsible, rational creatures morally governed” when the nihilism entailed by (1) is pointed out. They NEVER explain how they can have both. They just spew and judge.
    Consider Ed George’s current hobby horse, the status of women. He judges as though his view of the status of women is superior. Yet at the same time he denies there is any standard by which that supposed superiority can be measured. Deeply irrational.

  44. 44
    Ed George says:

    KF@42,

    In short, there is nowhere in this a justification for abuse or for imposing a notion of inferior being or value.

    Sorry KF, but nowhere does it say that if the husband doesn’t follow God’s rules with respect to how to treat his wife that she is allowed to ignore God’s rules on how she is to treat him.

    Wives should obey their husbands in everything, just as the church people obey Christ.

    That doesn’t leave much wiggle room.

    So, if the husband demands sex, she must obey him? Nice God you have there.

  45. 45
    Ed George says:

    Or, as you have strongly asserted , maybe I am ignorant as to theology. Which I admit may be true. All you have to do to correct me of my ignorance is to cite the scripture that says that the husband must obey his wife as he would the Lord.

  46. 46
    kairosfocus says:

    EG, You have seen the direct context of self-sacrificial cherishing and the model husband, Christ in his relationship to the church . . . with Christ in his relationship to the Father lurking. Your onward response shows only that you are so charged up with polarisation and hostility that you cannot see what is there in the surface, much less what is further there i/l/o powerful theological and textual connexions. Your attempted doubling down and refusal to take warranted correction are therefore further duly noted. Attempted gotcha distraction fails, save to illustrate yet another spiritual principle, 1 Cor 2:14 “But the natural [unbelieving] man does not accept the things [the teachings and revelations] of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness [absurd and illogical] to him; and he is incapable of understanding them, because they are spiritually discerned and appreciated, [and he is unqualified to judge spiritual matters].” In short, once a crooked yardstick is made the “standard” for straightness, what is actually straight can never match crookedness. Take time, therefore, to see what the plumb line is telling you about your yardstick. KF

  47. 47
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: As a further bit of context, I will share a directly parallel text which was read at my own wedding, from an Epistle written at about the time of Eph and Philemon [which is also highly relevant and pregnant with historical impact]:

    Col 3:3 Therefore if you have been raised with Christ [to a new life, sharing in His resurrection from the dead], keep seeking the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind and keep focused habitually on the things above [the heavenly things], not on things that are on the earth [which have only temporal value]. 3 For you died [to this world], and your [new, real] life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is our life, [a]appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.

    5 So put to death and deprive of power the evil longings of your earthly body [with its sensual, self-centered instincts] immorality, impurity, sinful passion, evil desire, and greed, which is [a kind of] idolatry [because it replaces your devotion to God]. 6 Because of these [sinful] things the [divine] wrath of God is coming [b]on the sons of disobedience [those who fail to listen and who routinely and obstinately disregard God’s precepts], 7 and in these [sinful things] you also once walked, when you were habitually living in them [without the knowledge of Christ]. 8 But now rid yourselves [completely] of all these things: anger, rage, malice, slander, and obscene (abusive, filthy, vulgar) language from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, for you have stripped off the old self with its evil practices, 10 and have put on the new [spiritual] self who is being continually renewed in true knowledge in the image of Him who created the new self— 11 a renewal in which there is no [distinction between] Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, [nor between nations whether] [c]barbarian or [d]Scythian, [nor in status whether] slave or free, but Christ is all, and in all [so believers are equal in Christ, without distinction].

    12 So, as God’s own chosen people, who are holy [set apart, sanctified for His purpose] and well-beloved [by God Himself], put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience [which has the power to endure whatever injustice or unpleasantness comes, with good temper]; 13 bearing graciously with one another, and willingly forgiving each other if one has a cause for complaint against another; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so should you forgive. 14 Beyond all these things put on and wrap yourselves in [unselfish] love, which is the perfect bond of unity [for everything is bound together in agreement when each one seeks the best for others]. 15 Let the peace of Christ [the inner calm of one who walks daily with Him] be the controlling factor in your hearts [deciding and settling questions that arise]. To this peace indeed you were called as members in one body [of believers]. And be thankful [to God always]. 16 Let the [spoken] word of Christ have its home within you [dwelling in your heart and mind—permeating every aspect of your being] as you teach [spiritual things] and admonish and train one another with all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 Whatever you do [no matter what it is] in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus [and in dependence on Him], giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

    In this context, take due note of one of Paul’s earliest epistles:

    Gal 3:26 For you [who are born-again have been reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, sanctified and] are all children of God [set apart for His purpose with full rights and privileges] through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For all of you who were baptized into Christ [into a spiritual union with the Christ, the Anointed] have clothed yourselves with Christ [that is, you have taken on His characteristics and values]. 28 There is [now no distinction in regard to salvation] neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you [who believe] are all one in Christ Jesus [no one can claim a spiritual superiority]. 29 And if you belong to Christ [if you are in Him], then you are Abraham’s descendants, and [spiritual] heirs according to [God’s] promise.

  48. 48
    kairosfocus says:

    BA, by reducing first duties to delusion and trying to use same to manipulate, such undermine their own rationality, responsibility and credibility. We should take due note. KF

  49. 49
    Barry Arrington says:

    Bob at 36:

    I don’t think there’s any point in answering that question

    Well of course you don’t Bob. Because I represented accurately the views you expressed, your protestations to the contrary notwithstanding. And you know that if you answer the question you will either have to change your position or be pushed back into admitting the truth of what I said. I don’t blame you for avoiding that choice.

  50. 50
    kairosfocus says:

    BO’H: FWIW, once we recognise first duties of reason it is obvious that Eichmann dehumanised and scapegoated targetted victims, leading to the gross injustice of mass murder; reflecting seared not sound conscience. He violated the built in moral law that recognises the first right, life. Likewise, aggressive war is grand theft. KF

  51. 51
    ET says:

    So, if the husband demands sex, she must obey him?

    Where in the Bible does it say that? Or is it like everything else and pulled from Uranus? The man is subservient to God.

    That said, the reason for sex was supposed to be for procreation. And the only time you were supposed to have sex is when you are married. So there should be a time that the marriage is consummated and the procreation part gets started. That means there could possibly be a time when demanding sex would appear to be sanctioned by God. But it would never be sanctioned just for the sake of having sex.

  52. 52
    Ed George says:

    KF

    EG, You have seen the direct context of self-sacrificial cherishing and the model husband, Christ in his relationship to the church …

    Yes, a husband has certain expectations towards his wife. I have not argued otherwise. But could you point me to the one where he must obey her every wish, without question? I must have missed that verse.

  53. 53
    john_a_designer says:

    What the moral subjectivist is really trying to argue is that there are no moral truths about anything. However, it is self-refuting to say there is “no ‘moral truths’ about anything,” because in doing so you’re making a universal truth claim about truth which takes the legs out from under the very argument you are trying to make. Short of being omniscient how can anyone even make such a claim? Besides that it runs contrary to our experience as human beings that there are some things that are really wrong, that civilized societies cannot exist without a standard of justice and that we and society are capable of moral improvement.

  54. 54
    kairosfocus says:

    EG,

    with all respect, it is clear from your continued tone and projection — frankly, it comes across as deeply polarised, hostile doubling down — that unfortunately you still have not heard the force of the counsel and balance; the tone and context is that of the Sermon on the Mount and much more of scripture here.

    Christian marriage is modelled so closely on the relationship of Christ and Church under the government of the Father that the text you snipped out of context is part of the framework of understanding Christology and ecclesiology, among other things.

    You are instead clearly fixed in an utterly alien perception of selfish, domineering, abusive imposition, rather than the proper context of unselfish, holy, love driven self sacrifice in the context of the voice and Spirit of Christ. In that context, primary authority lies in the Godhead and mandates — I turn to the lead up in Eph 5:

    Eph 5: 1 . . . become imitators of God [copy Him and follow His example], as well-beloved children [imitate their father]; 2 and walk continually in love [that is, value one another—practice empathy and compassion, unselfishly seeking the best for others], just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and sacrifice to God [slain for you, so that it became] a sweet fragrance. [–> Notice, below, this is only particularly applied to husbands, it is in fact a global mandate]

    3 But sexual immorality and all [moral] impurity [indecent, offensive behavior] or greed must not even be hinted at among you, as is proper among saints [for as believers our way of life, whether in public or in private, reflects the validity of our faith]. 4 Let there be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse [obscene or vulgar] joking, because such things are not appropriate [for believers]; but instead speak of your thankfulness [to God]. 5 For be sure of this: no immoral, impure, or greedy person—for that one is [in effect] an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God [for such a person places a higher value on something other than God].

    [–> in short, what is genuinely born of God is in a process of utter transformation, so much so that absence of this transformation is a mark that something that ought to be there is not or is at minimum being seriously impaired to the point of mortal spiritual danger]

    6 Let no one deceive you with empty arguments [that encourage you to sin], for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience [those who habitually sin].

    7 So do not participate or even associate with them [in the rebelliousness of sin]. 8 For once you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of Light [live as those who are native-born to the Light] 9 (for the fruit [the effect, the result] of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), 10 trying to learn [by experience] what is pleasing to the Lord [and letting your lifestyles be examples of what is most acceptable to Him—your behavior expressing gratitude to God for your salvation].

    11 Do not participate in the worthless and unproductive deeds of darkness, but instead expose them [by exemplifying personal integrity, moral courage, and godly character]; 12 for it is disgraceful even to mention the things that such people practice in secret.

    That is the context, and we could adduce much more.

    In this context, it is expected of one and all that we walk in discernment in the face of an evil day, as was already cited. However, it seems we need to clip further for emphasis, to drive home the point on inner transformation and how that affects how one acts:

    Eph 5:15 Therefore see that you walk carefully [living life with honor, purpose, and courage; shunning those who tolerate and enable evil], not as the unwise, but as wise [sensible, intelligent, discerning people], 16 [b]making the very most of your time [on earth, recognizing and taking advantage of each opportunity and using it with wisdom and diligence], because the days are [filled with] evil.

    17 Therefore do not be foolish and thoughtless, but understand and firmly grasp what the will of the Lord is. 18 Do not get drunk with wine, for that is wickedness (corruption, stupidity), but be filled with the [Holy] Spirit and constantly guided by Him.

    19 [c]Speak to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, [offering praise by] singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for all things, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; 21 being subject to one another out of reverence for Christ.

    Of course this is the model ideal, the plumb line that is naturally straight and perfectly upright, in practice we will strive to grow into alignment with this.

    Notice, again, what you seem to have particularly missed, we are to be in mutual submission, so that we can hear from one another the voice of Christ, the true ultimate authority. (And elsewhere we are explicitly taught, in a context where it could easily have cost the Apostles their lives to stand up like that, we are to obey God rather than men. There is no command of blind obedience in gospel ethics.)

    By contrast, in an utterly alien voice, you rhetorically demand, “could you point me to the one where he must obey her every wish, without question?”

    This reflect, again a hostile, deeply polarised and profoundly false projection into both letter and spirit of what is in the passage you took excerpts out of context from.

    Yes, many husbands have fallen far short of this yardstick, and at best we struggle to live up to it, but that is our challenge of moral struggle, not the fault of the text or its legitimate interpretation and application. And BTW, this includes on the matter of so-called conjugal rights. The scriptures do envision mutually agreed abstinence for purposes of prayer together etc but it immediately balances that neither party should needlessly deny the other. I simply note this as a matter of a specific fact, not to indulge yet another dreary dragging through obsession with sexual matters.

    The basic point is plain, there is a failure to catch the force and balance of what is being discussed, with indicators of undue polarisation and hostility. Indeed, i/l/o many threads of discussion now, we can see an obvious sense of “need” to put down the Christian faith, its warrant and its ethical standards to the point that there is a failure of intellectual duty.

    I suggest that a sober re-think is in order.

    KF

  55. 55
    kairosfocus says:

    JAD, it is even stronger, given that a core facet of the law of our morally governed nature is that we are inescapably duty bound to truth, right reason, prudence, sound conscience, fairness, justice, etc. In that context, all truth and all reasoning and decision are suffused with and pervaded by moral government. Those who seek to undermine moral government therefore undermine responsible rationality and liberty. That is sobering, and it is no accident that these themes of the law of our nature point to the root of reality in one who is capable of being the wellspring of worlds and is inherently good and utterly wise. KF

  56. 56
    Ed George says:

    KF, I have not taken anything out of context. The bible teaches that the relationship between a husband and wife is a contract. She agrees to obey his every wish without question and he agrees to defend her unto death. Did you ever think that women may prefer to give up that “to death” protection for an equal say in the relationship? Have you not been paying attention over the last century? Women have not been demanding that men sacrifice themselves for them, they have been demanding that they be treated with equal respect, have equal opportunity, etc. From the beginning of Christianity it took almost 2000 years for society to make any serious effort in this respect.

  57. 57
    Barry Arrington says:

    EG

    The bible teaches that the relationship between a husband and wife is a contract.

    First rule of being in a deep hole Ed. Stop digging. Christ teaches the exact opposite of transactional relationships — for every relationship, including most of all marriage. That you would insist otherwise betrays an abysmal ignorance. Please stop. I am embarrassed for you even if you don’t have enough sense to be embarrassed for yourself. Look, at comment 45 you admitted you are ignorant about these matters. That is true. You are. Again, please stop.

  58. 58
    john_a_designer says:

    Unfortunately, many of our interlocutors have a very distorted if not cartoonish view of what most of us who advocate objective morality are arguing. Many of us, including me, are not starting with the Bible we’re starting with natural law. The main quote we use when we quote from the Bible is Paul’s teaching in Roman’s 2:14 &15 where he argues “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…” In other words, Paul is saying that all humans have access to natural law through their hearts and conscience. Whether or not it’s written down somewhere, there is morally binding (or “objective”) natural law. Peter Kreeft gives a very clear and concise explanation of what natural law is in the following linked article:
    What is natural law and why is it important?

    Moral laws are based on human nature. That is, what we ought to do is based on what we are. “Thou shalt not kill,” for instance, is based on the real value of human life and the need to preserve it. “Thou shalt not commit adultery” is based on the real value of marriage and family, the value of mutual self-giving love, and children’s need for trust and stability. The natural law is also naturally known, by natural human reason and experience. We don’t need religious faith or supernatural divine revelation to know that we’re morally obligated to choose good and avoid evil or to know what “good” and “evil” mean… Speaking of pagans [or gentiles,] St. Paul says that “they show that what the law requires is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness” (Rom 2:15).

    The term “natural law” is sometimes misunderstood. “This law is called ‘natural,’ not in reference to the nature of irrational beings [that is, animals — it is not a law of biology], “but because reason, which decrees it, properly belongs to human nature”…
    http://legatus.org/what-is-nat.....important/

    See also:

    https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/natural-law-ethics/

    The point is that just because someone doesn’t believe the Bible or have a religion it doesn’t follow there are no objective moral obligations. Ironically that is actually a biblical teaching.

  59. 59
    Ed George says:

    Barry@57, so the bible doesn’t teach that a marriage is a contract? What word do you prefer? A “covenant”? A “sanctity”? Does the couple not pledge before God and the church to be faithful to each other? Do they not sign a legal document attesting to the same? Does the bible not specify the expectations and duties of a husband and wife? Although, I notice that you are dodging the issue that the expectations and duties of the wife are to be subservient to her husband. Does the bible and the church not prescribe consequences for not meeting these expectations and duties? I’m not a lawyer, but I have drafted several contracts in my career, and they all involve expectations and consequences for failure to fulfill these consequences.

  60. 60
    Ed George says:

    The bible clearly states

    Wives should obey their husbands in everything, just as the church people obey Christ.

    The clear implication is that the wife is expected to obey her husband as if he were Christ. Whereas the only person who the husband is expected to obey as if they were Christ, is Christ.

    You can claim “context” all you want. But the words are very clear. The wife is expected to blindly obey her husband, but the inverse is not a requirement. If you can find a verse that states that men must obey their wives as they would Christ, I would love to see it.

  61. 61
    Marfin says:

    Ed George , if you are seriously interested in getting to the truth lets have a reasonable discussion.
    So why do you believe men and women are equal , as evolution tells us men are physically stronger
    can impregnate 1000s of women in a short space of time (Genghis Khan) , are generally more aggressive ,and as history has shown us men have ruled because of these traits , so how exactly are men and women equal .

  62. 62
    Bob O'H says:

    Barry @ 49 –

    I don’t think there’s any point in answering that question

    Well of course you don’t Bob. Because I represented accurately the views you expressed, your protestations to the contrary notwithstanding.

    No, Barry, you didn’t. I hope this is just because you’re under the delusion that you know more about how I think than I do.

    Barry responds: No, Bob. I don’t know what you think. I know what you wrote. And I accurately represented that.

  63. 63
    kairosfocus says:

    EG, sadly, from your words of denial after specific correction with explicit textual citation, you clearly cannot even see how you have wrenched text out of direct context and have projected an alien tone, focus and meaning. Next, the marital relationship is not contractual — that is a gross error of our time, it is a lifelong covenant; something that is organic and sacred not mechanical — as BA pointed out. That is in part why it is so organically intertwined with the relationship between Christ and the church. Third, it is obvious that you are unable to see that our primary authority is God in any situation and that therefore there is never going to be a principle of blind obedience in gospel ethics. That is why for example — and as was pointed out already — even at potential cost of life, the Apostles twice told the Jerusalem authorities that we must obey God rather than men. Further to this, it is quite clear that we are taught a prior premise [repeatedly pointed out to you] that we have a mutual submission out of respect to Christ, i.e. that as Christ can and does speak through any partner in a situation, we must have an open mind and heart to hear that voice, part of the very important doctrine that we must be filled with the Spirit, rather than wine or the like. I should further note in the context of JAD’s note, that gospel ethics specifically endorses core moral government through built in natural law testified to by conscience, tying it to the principle of neighbour love thus respect, fairness and justice; this last being best understood as the due balance of rights, freedoms and responsibilities. Due balance implies responsible rationality, open-mindedness, truthfulness and prudence. Indeed, the underlying passage in Lev 19:15 – 18 is quite instructive, directly and in its context. Your hostility and polarisation has led you into the fallacy of the closed mind and doubling down on error. I appeal to you, to look at what the plumb line is telling you about your warped yardstick. KF

    PS: Leviticus 19:

    Lev 19:9 ‘Now when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very corners of your field, nor shall you gather the gleanings (grain left after reaping) of your harvest. 10 And you shall not glean your vineyard, nor shall you gather its fallen grapes; you shall leave them for the poor and for the stranger. I am the Lord your God. [–> a requirement of generosity, especially to the vulnerable]

    11 ‘You shall not steal, nor deal deceptively, nor lie to one another. [–> truthfulness and honesty] 12 You shall not swear [an oath] falsely by My name, so as to profane the name of your God [–> this includes of course marital vows of covenant]; I am the Lord.

    13 ‘You shall not oppress or exploit your neighbor, nor rob him [–> a fortiori, one’s wife, children and family, the “likewise and how much more” principle]. You shall not withhold the wages of a hired man overnight until morning. 14 You shall not curse a deaf man nor put a stumbling block before the blind, but you shall fear your God [with profound reverence]; I am the Lord. [–> duty to the disadvantaged]

    15 ‘You shall not do injustice in judgment [–> a fortiori, in marriage and family]; you shall not be partial to the poor nor show a preference for the great, but judge your neighbor fairly. [–> notice the fairness-justice principle] 16 You shall not go around as a gossip among your people [–> truthfulness, prudence, responsibility, principle of innocent reputation], and you are not to act against the life of your neighbor [with slander or false testimony]; [–> guilt by accusation forbidden, a fortiori for marital and familial relationships] I am the Lord.

    17 ‘You shall not hate your brother in your heart; you may most certainly rebuke [–> or, reason frankly with] your neighbor, but shall not incur sin because of him. 18 You shall not take revenge nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor (acquaintance, associate, companion) as yourself; I am the Lord.

    PPS: Rom 2 and 13:

    Rom 2: 13 For it is not those who merely hear the Law [as it is read aloud] who are just or righteous before God, but it is those who [actually] obey the Law who will be [b]justified [pronounced free of the guilt of sin and declared acceptable to Him].

    14 When Gentiles, who do not have the Law [since it was given only to Jews], do [c]instinctively the things the Law requires [guided only by their conscience], they are a law to themselves, though they do not have the Law. 15 They show [–> demonstrate through patterns of action] that the [d]essential requirements of the Law are written in their hearts; [–> built in law of our morally governed nature] and their conscience [their sense of right and wrong, their moral choices] bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or perhaps defending them [–> notice, this directly echoes Cicero’s premise in de Legibus, that sound conscience is a law] 16 on that day [–> and like unto it, any current day of judgement, whether in court or family or workplace etc] when, [e]as my gospel proclaims, God will judge the secrets [all the hidden thoughts and concealed sins] of men through Christ Jesus.

    Rom 13:8 [b]Owe nothing to anyone except to [c]love and seek the best for one another; for he who [unselfishly] loves his neighbor has fulfilled the [essence of the] law [relating to one’s fellowman]. [–> neighbour-love as the core principle of moral government and of just law] 9 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 statement: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” [–> specific rules of moral conduct and law extend and apply neighbour love, locking out particular ways we are prone to break it] 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor [it never hurts anyone]. [–> the do no harm principle] Therefore [unselfish] love is the fulfillment of the Law. [–> underscores the principle again]

    11 Do this, knowing that this is a critical time. It is already the hour for you to awaken from your sleep [of spiritual complacency]; for our salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed [in Christ]. [–> The whole messiah context and concept is eschatological, so if Christ’s coming was a mark of the last days, how much more so will be the days of our lives; and arguably the start of the eschatological era is the time of the Babylonian exile. This context is why the first Christian sermon in Ac 2 speaks of God’s gracious action and call to repentance “in these last days”] 12 The night [this present evil age] is almost gone and the day [of Christ’s return] is almost here. [–> already and not yet principle] So let us fling away the works of darkness and put on the [full] armor of light. 13 Let us conduct ourselves properly and honorably as in the [light of] day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and irresponsibility, not in quarreling and jealousy. 14 But clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for [nor even think about gratifying] the flesh in regard to its improper desires. [–> general call to moral living by walking in true light not darkness confused for light. This echoes not only the Sermon on the Mount but much more, including being a corrective allusion to Plato’s parable of the cave; it also is context to understand Eph 5]

    The tone, focus and principles could not be clearer; our problem is our willful, stubborn blindness which requires the gracious gift of repentance and the transforming light of the indwelling, upwelling, overflowing Holy Spirit to rise to the level we ought to be.

  64. 64
    kairosfocus says:

    EG, I see you are continuing to double down on your out of context text wrenching. I will not explicitly cite the text of warning I just alluded to, save that Peter counsels that in Paul’s writings — and in the wider scriptures — there are things difficult to be understood which the unstable and unlearned wrench to their destruction. The reason for that problem is in part simple ignorance, which lacks context and experience to see clearly [much less make connexions]. But in part, there is also secondary ignorance, where what is upright and straight is being judged by its failure to conform to crooked yardsticks taken as standards of the straight, the accurate, the upright. Please, look at the plumb line in front of you and make due adjustments. KF

  65. 65
    kairosfocus says:

    JAD, correct, and Kreeft is as usual on target. It is willful suppression of the principle and significance of the built in, rationally evident, conscience attested law of our morally governed nature that has led our civilisation to its current peril. Law and justice rest on principles and facts that we did not invent nor can we amend nor repeal. Though — to our peril — we can suppress. These days, to the level of patent absurdity where we refuse to acknowledge what is literally written into our chromosomes about our two complementary sexes. And if we reject the first inescapable duties of responsible reason — and note how EG’s arguments etc pivot on expecting us to acknowledge such! — then we are left to might and/or manipulation make ‘right’/ ‘truth’/ ‘rights’/ ‘justice’/ ‘logic’ etc. Nihilistic chaos in short. Resemblance to the folly and chaos all around us is not coincidental. Let us awaken from our slumber and turn to the light of dawn. KF

  66. 66
    kairosfocus says:

    Marfin, your allusion to the Khan and by extension Marquis de Sade, is telling. KF

  67. 67
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: perhaps, this may be helpful:

    Ps 32:8

    I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
    I will counsel you [who are willing to learn] with My eye upon you.
    9

    Do not be like the horse or like the mule which have no understanding,
    Whose trappings include bridle and rein to hold them in check,
    Otherwise they will not come near to you.

    KF

  68. 68
    kairosfocus says:

    BO’H (again): FWIW, once we recognise first duties of reason it is obvious that Eichmann dehumanised and scapegoated targetted victims, leading to the gross injustice of mass murder; reflecting seared not sound conscience. He violated the built in moral law that recognises the first right, life. Likewise, aggressive war is grand theft. KF

  69. 69
    kairosfocus says:

    Folks, let us ask ourselves, how so many have been led to so distorted a view on the general principles and specific counsels of gospel ethics and its relationship to built in natural law. Something has gone deeply wrong over the past generation of radical, progressive, aggressive secularisation. And if such is compelled to erect and knock over such a strawman caricature in order to create a sense of self-justification, that is a strong demonstration that it is itself unable to stand on its own merits. We need strong correction and we need to become willing to be corrected. Given the hard lessons of the failure of Athens through the Peloponnesian war, I am frankly concerned that we are heading over the cliff and will only be brought to willingness to be corrected through pain, at the foot of the cliff. KF

  70. 70
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: In that light, the mantra, separation of church and state takes on an ugly colouring of strawman caricature, distorted and unjustifiably hostile misrepresentation, scapegoating and outright bigotry. Worse, it is no coincidence that across the same time, our civilisation has enabled mass bloodshed through the ongoing holocaust of our living posterity in the womb under false colour of law and rights. My longstanding observation, on the spiral of my native land into civil war, is that blood guilt is the most corrupting influence of all, even worse than the love of money [which is an expression of lust for power]. Which money-lust, scripture rightly identifies as one root of evil. Let us think again.

  71. 71
    bornagain77 says:

    Bob O’H at 62:

    Barry @ 49 –

    Bob: I don’t think there’s any point in answering that question

    Barry: Well of course you don’t Bob. Because I represented accurately the views you expressed, your protestations to the contrary notwithstanding.

    Bob: No, Barry, you didn’t. I hope this is just because you’re under the delusion that you know more about how I think than I do.

    Too funny, “you’re under the delusion that you know more about how I think than I do.”

    So a Darwinian atheist, i.e. Bob. appeals to his inner subjective experience, i.e. the hard problem of consciousness, as a way to avoid dealing with the all too obvious dehumanizing amorality that is inherent within his Darwinian atheism?

    You just can’t make this stuff up. The hard problem of consciousness, in and of itself, is a VERY powerful argument against Darwinian atheism. That is to say, the fact that Bob himself admits that he has an inner subjective experience that is inaccessible to the rest of us is proof, in and of itself, that Bob’s Darwinian worldview must be false.

    As Frank Jackson made clear in his philosophical argument ‘Mary’s Room’, no amount of scientific and physical examination on Mary’s part will ever reveal to Mary exactly what the inner subjective conscious experience, i.e. qualia, of the color blue actually is until Mary actually experiences what the color blue is for herself. And therefore “Physicalism [materialism] is false.”

    11.2.1 Qualia – Perception (“The Hard Problem” )
    Philosopher of the mind Frank Jackson imagined a thought experiment —Mary’s Room— to explain qualia and why it is such an intractable problem for science. The problem identified is referred to as the knowledge argument. Here is the description of the thought experiment:
    “Mary is a brilliant scientist who is, for whatever reason, forced to investigate the world from a black and white room via a black and white television monitor. She specializes in the neurophysiology of vision and acquires, let us suppose, all the physical information there is to obtain about what goes on when we see ripe tomatoes, or the sky, and use terms like ‘red’, ‘blue’, and so on. She discovers, for example, just which wavelength combinations from the sky stimulate the retina, and exactly how this produces via the central nervous system the contraction of the vocal cords and expulsion of air from the lungs that results in the uttering of the sentence ‘The sky is blue’. (…) What will happen when Mary is released from her black and white room or is given a color television monitor? Will she learn anything or not?”
    Jackson believed that Mary did learn something new: she learned what it was like to experience color.
    “It seems just obvious that she will learn something about the world and our visual experience of it. But then is it inescapable that her previous knowledge was incomplete. But she had all the physical information. Ergo there is more to have than that, and Physicalism [materialism] is false.”
    https://www.urantia.org/study/seminar-presentations/is-there-design-in-nature#Emergence

    As the following article notes, “Cognitive scientists cannot say how the mass or energy of the brain is related to the information it carries.”

    Kept in Mind – Juan Uriagereka – March 2019
    Review of: Language in Our Brain: The Origins of a Uniquely Human Capacity
    by Angela Friederici
    Excerpt: Which part of our brain carries information forward in time? No one knows. For that matter, no one knows what a symbol is, or where symbolic interactions take place. The formal structures of linguistics and neurophysiology are disjoint, a point emphasized by Poeppel and David Embick in a widely cited study.2,,,
    No one has distinguished one thought from another by dissecting brains. Neuroimaging tells us only when some areas of the brain light up selectively. Brain wave frequencies may suggest that different kinds of thinking are occurring, but a suggestion is not an inference—even if there is a connection between certain areas of the brain and seeing, hearing, or processing words. Connections of this sort are not nothing, of course, but neither are they very much.,,,
    Some considerable distance remains between the observation that the brain is doing something and the claim that it is manipulating various linguistic representations. Friederici notes the lapse. “How information content is encoded and decoded,” she remarks, “in the sending and receiving brain areas is still an open issue—not only with respect to language, but also with respect to the neurophysiology of information processing in general.”5,,,
    Cognitive scientists cannot say how the mass or energy of the brain is related to the information it carries. Everyone expects that more activity in a given area means more information processing. No one has a clue whether it is more information or more articulated information, or more interconnected information, or whether, for that matter, the increased neuro-connectivity signifies something else entirely.,,,
    ,,, present-day observational technology does not seem capable of teasing apart these different components of syntax at work,,,,
    https://inference-review.com/article/kept-in-mind
    Juan Uriagereka is a linguist at the University of Maryland.

    That our inner subjective thoughts are inaccessible to physical examination should not be all that surprising. Thoughts, particularly the type of abstract thoughts that radically demarcate humans from animals, is profoundly immaterial.

    As Michael Egnor noted, “Human rationality is different because it is immaterial.,,, It is in our ability to think abstractly that we differ from apes. It is a radical difference — an immeasurable qualitative difference, not a quantitative difference.
    We are more different from apes than apes are from viruses.”

    The Fundamental Difference Between Humans and Nonhuman Animals – Michael Egnor – November 5, 2015
    Excerpt: Human beings have mental powers that include the material mental powers of animals but in addition entail a profoundly different kind of thinking. Human beings think abstractly, and nonhuman animals do not. Human beings have the power to contemplate universals, which are concepts that have no material instantiation. Human beings think about mathematics, literature, art, language, justice, mercy, and an endless library of abstract concepts. Human beings are rational animals.
    Human rationality is not merely a highly evolved kind of animal perception. Human rationality is qualitatively different — ontologically different — from animal perception. Human rationality is different because it is immaterial.,,,
    It is in our ability to think abstractly that we differ from apes. It is a radical difference — an immeasurable qualitative difference, not a quantitative difference.
    We are more different from apes than apes are from viruses. Our difference is a metaphysical chasm.
    https://evolutionnews.org/2015/11/the_fundamental_2/

    Darwinists ultimately seek to ‘scientifically’ explain everything in materialistic terms. i.e. Reductive materialism. And yet, if something is not composed of particles or does not have physical properties (e.g., length, mass, energy, momentum, orientation, position, etc), it is abstract, even ‘spiritual’.
    Numbers, mathematics, logic, truth, distance, time, beauty, ugliness, species, person, information, etc.. etc.. all fall into that category of being an abstract property of the immaterial mind. It is amazing how many things fall into that ‘abstract’ category even though most everyone, including atheists, (“atheists” also happens to be an abstract term itself), swear that they exist physically.

    Take for instance mathematics and logic, (the very backbone of all science, technology and engineering). mathematics and logic are blatantly immaterial. As Dr. Egnor notes, “What is the physics behind the Pythagorean theorem?,,, What is the “physics” of the fact that the area of a circle is pi multiplied by the square of the radius? And of course what is natural and physical about imaginary numbers, infinite series, irrational numbers, and the mathematics of more than three spatial dimensions?,,, What is the location of modus ponens? How much does Gödel’s incompleteness theorem weigh? What is the physics of non-contradiction? How many millimeters long is Clark’s argument for naturalism? ”

    Naturalism and Self-Refutation – Michael Egnor – January 31, 2018
    Excerpt: Mathematics is certainly something we do. Is mathematics “included in the space-time continuum [with] basic elements … described by physics”?,,, What is the physics behind the Pythagorean theorem? After all, no actual triangle is perfect, and thus no actual triangle in nature has sides such that the Pythagorean theorem holds. There is no real triangle in which the sum of the squares of the sides exactly equals the square of the hypotenuse. That holds true for all of geometry. Geometry is about concepts, not about anything in the natural world or about anything that can be described by physics. What is the “physics” of the fact that the area of a circle is pi multiplied by the square of the radius? And of course what is natural and physical about imaginary numbers, infinite series, irrational numbers, and the mathematics of more than three spatial dimensions? Mathematics is entirely about concepts, which have no precise instantiation in nature,,,
    Furthermore, the very framework of Clark’s argument — logic — is neither material nor natural. Logic, after all, doesn’t exist “in the space-time continuum” and isn’t described by physics. What is the location of modus ponens? How much does Gödel’s incompleteness theorem weigh? What is the physics of non-contradiction? How many millimeters long is Clark’s argument for naturalism? Ironically the very logic that Clark employs to argue for naturalism is outside of any naturalistic frame.
    The strength of Clark’s defense of naturalism is that it is an attempt to present naturalism’s tenets clearly and logically. That is its weakness as well, because it exposes naturalism to scrutiny, and naturalism cannot withstand even minimal scrutiny. Even to define naturalism is to refute it.
    https://evolutionnews.org/2018/01/naturalism-and-self-refutation/

    Simply put, mathematics itself exists in a transcendent, beyond space and time, realm. A realm which refuses to be reduced any possible material explanation.

    Furthermore, the fact that humans can think about this timeless and immaterial realm of Platonic mathematical objects is proof in and of itself that humans must possess a timeless and immaterial component to their being. i.e. Humans must possess a immaterial mind and/or ‘soul’.

    As Alfred Russel Wallace, Darwin’s contemporary, himself noted “Mathematics is alone sufficient to prove in man the possession of a faculty unexistent in other creatures. Then you have music and the artistic faculty. No, the soul was a separate creation.”

    “Nothing in evolution can account for the soul of man. The difference between man and the other animals is unbridgeable. Mathematics is alone sufficient to prove in man the possession of a faculty unexistent in other creatures. Then you have music and the artistic faculty. No, the soul was a separate creation.”
    Alfred Russel Wallace – Co-Discoverer of Evolution by Natural Selection

    Thus, for Bob to appeal to his inner subjective experience, i.e. the hard problem of consciousness, as a way to avoid dealing with the all too obvious dehumanizing amorality that is inherent within his Darwinian atheism, is for Bob to, once again, refute his own worldview of Darwinian atheism in that Bob is, in actuality, appealing to his own immaterial mind and/or soul.

    Of humorous note, here is a picture of a Darwinian materialist searching for his mind (which he has apparently lost):

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

    Supplemental notes:

    How Quantum Mechanics and Consciousness Correlate – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4f0hL3Nrdas

    Putting all the lines of evidence from quantum mechanics together, the argument for God from consciousness can now be framed like this:
    1. Consciousness either preceded all of material reality or is a ‘epi-phenomena’ of material reality (Jerry Coyne). or is an intrinsic property of material reality, (panpsychism, Philip Goff)
    2. If consciousness is a ‘epi-phenomena’ of material reality (Jerry Coyne). or is an intrinsic property of material reality, (panpsychism, Philip Goff), then consciousness will be found to have no special position within material reality. Whereas conversely, if consciousness precedes material reality then consciousness will be found to have a special position within material reality.
    3. Consciousness is found to have a special, even central, position within material reality.
    4. Therefore, consciousness is found to precede material reality.
    Eight intersecting lines of experimental evidence from quantum mechanics that shows that consciousness precedes material reality (Double Slit experiment, Wigner’s Quantum Symmetries, as well as the recent confirmation of the Wigner’s friend thought experiment, Wheeler’s Delayed Choice, Leggett’s Inequalities, Quantum Zeno effect, Quantum Information theory, and the recent closing of the Free Will loophole.)

    January 2020 – Here are a couple of examples from that list. Wheeler’s Delayed Choice experiment and Leggett’s inequality
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/wow-panpsychism-gets-a-respectful-hearing-at-scientific-american/#comment-691134

    December 2019 – Although each of those (eight) experiments are very interesting in their own right as to proving that the Mind of God must precede material reality, my favorite evidences out of that group, for proving that the Mind of God must be behind the creation of the universe itself, is the Quantum Zeno effect and Quantum Information theory. This is because the Quantum Zeno effect and Quantum Information theory deal directly with entropy. And, entropy is, by a VERY wide margin, the most finely tuned of the initial conditions of the Big Bang. Finely tuned to an almost incomprehensible degree of precision, 1 part in 10 to the 10 to the 123rd power. As Roger Penrose himself stated that, “This now tells us how precise the Creator’s aim must have been: namely to an accuracy of one part in 10^10^123.”
    https://uncommondescent.com/big-bang/sabine-hossenfelder-physicists-theories-of-how-the-universe-began-arent-any-better-than-traditional-tales-of-creation/#comment-690210

  72. 72
    ET says:

    William spearshake:

    The wife is expected to blindly obey her husband, but the inverse is not a requirement.

    That is wrong. The Bible doesn’t say anything about “blindly” obeying. The man must do as Jesus would. That is how it works. But Acartia Eddie can’t handle reality so it has to make stuff up like the loser it is.

  73. 73
    john_a_designer says:

    Here is an argument I have presented before at UD which I think is worth repeating here for some context.

    Only if an eternally existing transcendent moral standard exists is there any basis for universal human rights.

    Metaphysically atheistic naturalism/ materialism does not accept the existence of an eternally existing transcendent moral standard.

    Therefore, atheistic naturalism/ materialism does not have a basis for universal human rights.

    Please notice what I am not arguing:

    *(1.) That atheists do not believe in human rights. Many do and do so sincerely if not very strongly. But strongly held beliefs and opinions are not the same as moral obligations. (How am I or anyone obligated to your personal opinions?) Human rights are moral obligations. Atheistic naturalism/materialism has no logical basis for human rights.

    *(2.) That atheists do not have human rights. They do. Again the argument is that they have no BASIS for human rights or any kind of objective moral standard.

    *(3.) That Christian theism is the only possible basis for universal human rights. Rather the argument is that the standard needs to be an eternally existing transcendent one. Platonic philosophy, for example, at least appears to provide such a standard. Are there others? Apparently so. However, I do believe that Judeo-Christian moral teaching provides a better grounding than Platonic philosophy or any other world view.

    Obviously any kind of antirealist or moral subjectivist view is not only a very poor basis but it is a completely untenable basis for morality, civil law or fundamental human rights– nor does it provide any kind of starting point for creating a broad societal consensus which is absolute necessary for. It’s basically self-righteousness, narcissism or outright moral nihilism. In other words, moral subjectivism is totally irrational.

  74. 74
    Barry Arrington says:

    Bob @ 62.
    Only you know what you think. We can all see what you wrote. And I accurately represented what you wrote. If I am wrong, all you have to do is tell us how your views are different from what I said they were. Everyone sees that you are steadfastly avoiding doing that. I don’t blame you for that either Bob. Your views are monstrous. No wonder you don’t want to talk about them.

  75. 75
    Truthfreedom says:

    @74 Barry Arrington:
    Spot on.

  76. 76
    kairosfocus says:

    Folks, let me take a moment to respond to the OP’s posed question. Were Darwinism in the sense, evolutionary materialistic scientism the case, “right” and “wrong” would be epiphenomena floating on the molecular, electrical interactions in our brains. So, it would be as right or wrong as Mv and ion gradients are right or wrong. That is, IS and OUGHT being unbridgeable, such notions would be little more than subjective notions with perhaps some survival value. We would not even have enough to assess on population survival value. Perhaps, some power elite with enough clout would wish to decree such wrong or right, and it would translate into, go with the power flow, in interests of survival. But then, mindedness, in general, would be in the same boat. KF

  77. 77
    Barry Arrington says:

    KF @ 76.

    Your summary is correct. Indeed, it is glaringly obvious. And that is why Ed George would rather talk about anything else — like the status of women under Christian ethics — than that.

    Thread hijacking like that attempted by Ed only serves to highlight the fact that they have nothing to say in response to the observations you have made.

    Ed, thank you for highlighting that. It was very helpful.

  78. 78
    john_a_designer says:

    About 10 years ago I ran across the following “debate” between Theodore Schick (a moral objectivist) and Keith Augustine (a moral subjectivist)

    First let’s start with Schick’s argument for rejecting moral subjectivism, which is based on a 1997 article he wrote for Free Inquiry magazine, to which Augustine responded with a letter to the editor:

    Premise 1: What makes something morally right is that a person believes it is morally right.

    P2: Person A believes genocide is morally right.

    P3: Person B believes genocide is not morally right.

    4: Genocide is morally right (from 1 and 2).

    5: Genocide is not morally right (from 1 and 3).

    Of course, Augustine agrees that if premise 1 is true it leads to a hopeless contradiction. But, he then argues that he never claimed that he believes in premise 1. Please notice that he doesn’t claim that premise 1 is true or untrue, provable or un-provable but that it is something that he does not believe in.

    Instead he responds with the following counter argument that also ironically leads to another contradiction.

    P1: What makes something aesthetically better than some other thing is that a person believes that that thing is better than some other thing.

    P2: Person A believes that rock and roll is better than country music.

    P3: Person B believes that rock and roll is not better than country music.

    4: Rock and roll is better than country music.

    5: Rock and roll is not better than country music.

    Then he explains his argument:

    Now, again we have a contradiction; but does this mean that it is irrational for me to claim that rock and roll is better than country music? No, it is a rational claim. But it is a claim about my tastes and preferences. Similarly, it is perfectly rational for me to claim that genocide is morally wrong. But that expresses my emotional reaction to the action; it does not express some objective state of the world. It is rational because here premise 1 is false, just as it was in the example Schick provided. When I say that rock and roll is better than country music, it is tacitly assumed that I am expressing an opinion and not making a claim about the actual objective nature of rock and roll. Similarly, when I claim that genocide is wrong, I am not making an objective claim about the morality of an action; I am expressing an opinion.

    http://www.infidels.org/librar.....moral.html

    Do you see what Augustine has done? He hasn’t really answered Schick’s argument; he has turned the moral argument into an esthetic one. In other words, moral arguments are not really moral arguments. How can they be?

    Now I’ll concede, as the subjectivist does, that the vast majority of people are repulsed by murder, rape and genocide. But what do you do then about someone like Ted Bundy who is not repulsed by rape and murder? Or, the Nazi’s who instituted genocidal polices?

    Bundy justified his actions because he said that is how he found personal fulfillment. Those are his personal opinions, tastes and preferences. And, if morality is just a matter esthetic tastes then we have no moral grounds to condemn his behavior because there is no such thing as moral ground.

    By the way it does not matter that the Nazi’s (at least some of them) were moral realists. The moral subjectivist (at least as described by K. Augustine) still has no way to condemn their actions morally.

    It is absurd to describe this kind of thinking as being either moral or ethical. If Augustine’s argument is not a classic example of a category error I don’t know what is.

    [I had my debate based on this debate with someone using the moniker Dr. Logic in 2010.]

    https://www.thinkingchristian.net/posts/2010/10/morality-without-god-would-i-care/#comment-24079

    So what about Bob? Does he agree with Augustine’s reasoning here or is he beginning to see that it has some underlying flaws? What about some of our other interlocutors? What do you think?

  79. 79
    kairosfocus says:

    With a name like Augustine . . . ?

  80. 80
    john_a_designer says:

    Yes considering his worldview Keith Augustine’s name is more than ironic. His worldview unfortunately could have a devastating effect on any society if it continues to spread as it has.

    Again, as I have asked before: From the standpoint of moral subjectivism, where by definition morals and ethics must be arbitrary, what basis do we have for universal human rights? Would a country like the US even be possible without a concept of universal human rights? Even though our concept of human rights at the founding of our country was very imperfect (slavery, mistreatment of native people, unequal rights for women) there is absolutely no basis for such universal rights from a moral subjectivist point of view.

    While not infallible the morality of western civilization is based on Judeo-Christian thought. There is no historical evidence that a society based on moral relativism can endure for very long. To suggest that moral subjectivist view would be an improvement over a moral objectivist view is completely irrational. Any kind of moral progress requires moral standards– indeed, it requires an overarching or transcendent standard. Moral subjectivism which is an utterly arbitrary approach is the rejection of all standards.

    Schick, who rejects religion as a basis of morality agrees that society cannot be based on moral subjectivism.

    Fundamentalists correctly perceive that universal moral standards are required for the proper functioning of society. But they erroneously believe that God is the only possible source of such standards. Philosophers as diverse as Plato, Immanuel Kant, John Stuart Mill, George Edward Moore, and John Rawls have demonstrated that it is possible to have a universal morality without God. Contrary to what the fundamentalists would have us believe, then, what our society really needs is not more religion but a richer notion of the nature of morality.

    Nevertheless, a transcendent moral standard or law-giver is really the only sufficient basis for morality.

    It would be a disaster for democratic societies if they went all-in with subjectivist/ relativistic moralities as several of our regular interlocutors advocate. Unfortunately that is the not so slippery slope western society, both in Europe and the U.S. is rapidly sliding down– a trend that is hard if not impossible to reverse if you end up going off the cliff at the bottom.

    But that is another discussion for another time.

  81. 81
    bornagain77 says:

    John_a_designer, you may appreciate this syllogism.

    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/

    The kicker is that Richard Dawkins himself admitted that it would be ‘intolerable’ for him to live his life as if his atheistic materialism 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

    Here a few more leading atheistic materialists admitting that it is impossible for them to live their lives as if atheistic materialism were actually true

    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

    🙂

    Supplemental note:

    The Heretic – Who is Thomas Nagel and why are so many of his fellow academics condemning him? – March 25, 2013
    Excerpt:,,,Fortunately, materialism is never translated into life as it’s lived. As colleagues and friends, husbands and mothers, wives and fathers, sons and daughters, materialists never put their money where their mouth is. Nobody thinks his daughter is just molecules in motion and nothing but; nobody thinks the Holocaust was evil, but only in a relative, provisional sense. A materialist who lived his life according to his professed convictions—understanding himself to have no moral agency at all, seeing his friends and enemies and family as genetically determined robots—wouldn’t just be a materialist: He’d be a psychopath.
    http://www.weeklystandard.com/.....tml?page=3

  82. 82
    kairosfocus says:

    BA,

    for a year or two now, I have found it interesting to watch the Wilsonian studious side-stepping of an observation I made that builds on the idea that there are self-evident first principles of reason (starting, of course, with the principle of distinct identity) and that these carry force of law.

    In turn, these came from reflecting on Cicero’s opening remarks on what law fundamentally is, in his de Legibus, c 50 BC,

    Namely, inescapable first duties of responsible reason that are built in; the known duties that I saw are ever-present hidden premises in argument and rhetoric and which clearly have force of built in, conscience attested law: to truth, to right reason, to prudence (so, warrant), to sound conscience, to neighbour love, to fairness and justice, etc. The etc implies that this is a high-points, yardstick cases list, it is not meant to be exhaustive.

    These seem to me to lie close to the core of the law that morally governs responsible, reasonable action of significantly free creatures such as we manifestly are. Further, they are exceedingly powerful principles that can anchor not only ethics but law, administration, education, policy making and more. For instance, fairness or equity and justice — the due balance of rights, freedoms and responsibilities — sets up a framework for just civil law that identifies and defends the civil peace of justice. Which in turn is the primary mission of government that justifies the effort and expense involved; as, a better outcome arises from the community with just law and sound government than from anarchy or the so-called state of nature.

    Inescapability is also important, as I find that just to argue, objectors are forced to rely on our implicit consent to these duties. Indeed, this echoes the classic incident in which, on being challenged to prove the value and validity of logic, Epictetus highlighted that even to try such a proof is to already use logic. That is, we are looking at first principles that it is absurd to deny.

    Such give us common ground for those willing to reasonably discuss rather than evade.

    But of course, if we are indeed under such first duties, we find objective moral truths here. We find, too, that is and ought are inextricably intertwined in any actual case of reasoning. We then see that the IS-OUGHT gap must be bridged, on pain of chaos. Which, can only be done in the roots of reality, on pain of ungrounded ought. This then leads to the bill of requisites, that such a root must be capable of being the wellspring of worlds, must be independent [or it is not the root] . . . i.e. necessary being, it must be inherently good and utterly wise [to successfully unify is and ought].

    A familiar figure looms, but in the sort of radically secularised, anti-theistic era we see, that figure is utterly unwelcome. Which readily explains the willingness to embrace the absurdities and incoherence of radical relativism, subjectivism, evolutionary materialistic scientism and even nihilism.

    Notwithstanding, the first duties stand, and they point. Often, to our shame.

    We need to do serious rethinking as a civilisation.

    KF

  83. 83
    Ed George says:

    KF

    We need to do serious rethinking as a civilisation.

    And civilization has been doing this serious rethinking for close to half a century. And we are much better off because of it.

  84. 84
    kairosfocus says:

    EG, the plain evidence of a dominant, imposition of self-referentially incoherent evolutionary materialistic scientism is that we have failed to soundly re-think. KF

  85. 85
    ET says:

    Acartia George:

    And civilization has been doing this serious rethinking for close to half a century. And we are much better off because of it.

    Wrong again. We are farther away from where we need to be as a people than we have ever been in our entire existence.

  86. 86
    Ed George says:

    KF

    EG, the plain evidence of a dominant, imposition of self-referentially incoherent evolutionary materialistic scientism is that we have failed to soundly re-think. KF

    Women are entitled to paid maternity leave with job protection. Women no longer have to hide the fact that they enjoy sex. Women are making advances in career development. Women no longer have to accept mental and physical abuse from their husbands. Women no longer have to blindly obey their husbands. Women are no longer blamed for being raped. Homosexuals are no longer jailed for who they happen to be attracted to. Homosexuals are no longer denied employment for who they are attracted to. Homosexuals can now marry the person they love. Pedophiles are no longer protected by the church. Children are no longer denied important information about sex so that they can make informed decisions. Christians can no longer use the argument of “religious freedom” to discriminate against others. Christians are less influential in imposing their moral values on others. And much, much more. So, yes, I am happy about the direction that civilization is heading. What’s not to like?

  87. 87
    ET says:

    How many strawmen can Acartia Eddie erect in one post? It is true, though, heathens and trolls would like the direction society is heading. Pushing lies as science. Enabling unnatural and deviant behavior. What’s not to like for a loser?

  88. 88
    kairosfocus says:

    EG, we are currently engaged in enabling — under false colour of law and rights — the worst holocaust in history, 800+ millions and mounting up at a million more per week. Your persistent refusal to acknowledge this concern as serious and persistent tendency to distract and even to stigmatise and scapegoat those likely to point it out are symptomatic of the problem. KF

  89. 89
    Ed George says:

    KF

    Your persistent refusal to acknowledge this concern as serious and persistent tendency to distract and even to stigmatise and scapegoat those likely to point it out are symptomatic of the problem. KF

    Where have I said anything about abortion? If you want to address anything I have said, I am willing to discuss it. But if you are going to equate equality of women and homosexual rights with abortion, I don’t think we have much to talk about. Unless, of course, you feel that to prevent abortion you must suppress women.

  90. 90
    ET says:

    Why would kairsfocus want to address strawmen?

  91. 91
    Truthfreedom says:

    @86 Ed George

    So yes, I am happy about the direction that civilization is heading. What’s not to like?

    You seem to feel very proud of your ‘morality’, which according to deranged materialism is the result of evolutionary ‘tricks’. (Yes, a stupid, mindless process can play ‘tricks’. Sigh).
    You are proud of being told you are a meat-puppet whose ‘morality’ is the result of ‘selective processes acting on random mutations’. You have received the directives, you are no in control. You have no more control over your brain processes than over i.e. your digestive processes and windiness. That includes your ‘morality’.
    The ‘puppet’ and its ‘puppeteer’ (evolution).

    What a lovely doctrine you have.

  92. 92
    Truthfreedom says:

    @86 Ed George

    Homosexuals can now marry the person they love.

    Ah. ‘Love’. How ‘lovely’. Care to please explain the meaning of ‘love’ within the evolutionary paradigm?

  93. 93
    Jim Thibodeau says:

    America was much more Christian in 1940 than it is in 2020. But if the Internet had been around then, there would have been Whites Only websites. Possibly the whole Internet would’ve been Whites Only.

    I much prefer 2020 America.

  94. 94
    Truthfreedom says:

    @81 Bornagain77:

    One section in his (Edward Slingerland) book is even titled “We Are Robots Designed Not to Believe That We Are Robots.”,,,

    Oh my. Another TARD that does not understand logic.
    -How can Mr. Slingerland know that if: he has been designed NOT TO KNOW?
    Another evo-lunatic who curiously HAS ESCAPED THE CLUTCHES OF EVOLUTION.

    Attention: He is a product of ‘evolution’ that ‘is more powerful than the process that programmed him’ (evolution).

  95. 95
    kairosfocus says:

    EG, the point stands. The ongoing holocaust utterly dwarfs any other but we go whistling on as to how wonderful we are unlike those backward whatevers. Our blatant moral blindness and corruption of law, government, media, education, professions etc in enabling holocaust speaks. The warping of rational responsibility to enable such and associated widespread blood guilt then lead to a down spiral of further perversities. And more. KF

  96. 96
    EDTA says:

    EG @ 86
    “What’s not to like?”

    – The instability caused by the absence of a transcendent moral standard. We are in a position now where society can change its mind on absolutely anything within one generation (maybe less). None of us has any assurance that morality will continue in any particular direction (from your perspective, a good direction). For example, you are big on sex, and you’ve said you’re big on consent in sex. But there is nothing more to our culture’s insistence on consent than that it happens to be in vogue today. The type of assertions you make about morality won’t hold us fixed in place if people begin to decide that consent is no longer a thing. But you can’t see the flimsiness of your own position; you just insist that you hold it really tightly and hope everyone else will also. Instability is concerning.

    – The focus we place on demographically-marginal groups, defocusing on the main stream of society (aka those who are actually keeping it going). LGBTQ+ folk are supposedly happier than ever, although I see no evidence of that. But while that is happening, we are creating entire sub-cultures that are angry as hell, more destructive, suicidal, etc. We have no idea where that is going to take us, but it doesn’t look good. Rapid cultural evolution = uncontrolled cultural evolution = uncertain cultural evolution = concern.

    – The extreme hedonism of our culture. 99% of people today lack any goals higher than just having a good time (and acquiring the money to finance that agenda). And they don’t see why they should have any goals higher than just having a good time. Cultural atrophy is concerning.

    Your ideas of improvement are all along just a few axes (mostly fairness and sex,…and fairness in sex). You don’t seem willing (or able) to conceptualize and process the more fundamental things brought up by BA, BA77, KF, et al., based on the fact that you don’t address them at their deeper level. You don’t seem willing/able to analyze the tradeoffs that we are making when we focus 90% of our energy on just a few areas, while de-emphasizing others. A vibrant society requires more than just sex and fairness.

  97. 97
    Ed George says:

    KF

    EG, the point stands. The ongoing holocaust utterly dwarfs any other but we go whistling on as to how wonderful we are unlike those backward whatevers.

    Thank you for bringing this up. The abortion rates continue to drop. Another sign that civilization is heading in the right direction.

  98. 98
    kairosfocus says:

    EG, as you have been corrected several times, the acceptable rate of holocaust is zero. Where as noted my concern is the global rate, about a million per week. In addition, the corruption of government, law, governance, institutions, thought and culture that was in material part led by how this holocaust was enabled is now having its own much wider impacts and consequences. Such is no small part of the moral collapse of our civilisation. Where, it is plain that you are simply benumbed to these issues. Oh how stylishly the Emperor is dressed. KF

  99. 99
    kairosfocus says:

    EDTA, useful thoughts. Of course in appealing to fairness etc, EG shows just how inescapable first duties of responsible reason are. The implication of that inescapability is that we are under moral government of built in law of our nature. That is, even our reasoning is under law. That law then points onward to the necessity of bridging is and ought which is only feasible at reality root. This requires a source that is not only capable of being wellspring of worlds but necessary [independent] in being, inherently good and utterly wise. It is manifest then, that many are willing to entertain incoherent chaos in their worldviews rather than address such implications of there being a built in law of our morally governed nature. So in our professed enlightenment and great wisdom, we have entertained shadow shows as though they were the true light of reason. Such is in some ways one of the most dangerous signs of our peril. Benumbed, perverse, nihilistic, increasingly addicted, unstable, chaotic, far past reasonable, responsible self-control. On a stubborn collision course with hard reality. KF

  100. 100
    kairosfocus says:

    PS, we see EG’s reaction, live, to being corrected on out of context citation in expressing anti-Christian bigotry. Denial, evasion, doubling down. We can calibrate the rest of his remarks from that. The failure to acknowledge and recognise the import of our inescapably being under moral government starting with first duties of responsible reason is also significant. Rethinking is indicated but the lesson of history is that Athens spun out of control until it went over the cliff and hit rock bottom. It is in that context [Socrates having been judicially murdered] that Plato’s warning was finally heard. A sobering lesson. Plato, 40 years after Socrates was put to death unjustly:

    Ath [in The Laws, Bk X 2,360 ya]. . . .[The avant garde philosophers and poets, c. 360 BC] say that fire and water, and earth and air [i.e the classical “material” elements of the cosmos], all exist by nature and chance, and none of them by art . . . [such that] all that is in the heaven, as well as animals and all plants, and all the seasons come from these elements, not by the action of mind, as they say, or of any God, or from art, but as I was saying, by nature and chance only [ –> that is, evolutionary materialism is ancient and would trace all things to blind chance and mechanical necessity] . . . .

    [Thus, they hold] that the principles of justice have no existence at all in nature, but that mankind are always disputing about them and altering them; and that the alterations which are made by art and by law have no basis in nature, but are of authority for the moment and at the time at which they are made.-

    [ –> Relativism, too, is not new; complete with its radical amorality rooted in a worldview that has no foundational IS that can ground OUGHT, leading to an effectively arbitrary foundation only for morality, ethics and law: accident of personal preference, the ebbs and flows of power politics, accidents of history and and the shifting sands of manipulated community opinion driven by “winds and waves of doctrine and the cunning craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming . . . ” cf a video on Plato’s parable of the cave; from the perspective of pondering who set up the manipulative shadow-shows, why.]

    These, my friends, are the sayings of wise men, poets and prose writers, which find a way into the minds of youth. They are told by them that the highest right is might,

    [ –> Evolutionary materialism — having no IS that can properly ground OUGHT — leads to the promotion of amorality on which the only basis for “OUGHT” is seen to be might (and manipulation: might in “spin”) . . . ]

    and in this way the young fall into impieties, under the idea that the Gods are not such as the law bids them imagine; and hence arise factions [ –> Evolutionary materialism-motivated amorality “naturally” leads to continual contentions and power struggles influenced by that amorality at the hands of ruthless power hungry nihilistic agendas], these philosophers inviting them to lead a true life according to nature, that is,to live in real dominion over others [ –> such amoral and/or nihilistic factions, if they gain power, “naturally” tend towards ruthless abuse and arbitrariness . . . they have not learned the habits nor accepted the principles of mutual respect, justice, fairness and keeping the civil peace of justice, so they will want to deceive, manipulate and crush — as the consistent history of radical revolutions over the past 250 years so plainly shows again and again], and not in legal subjection to them [–> nihilistic will to power not the spirit of justice and lawfulness].

  101. 101
    Marfin says:

    Ed George , Dear Ed once again I ask ,why do you believe men and women are equal, or pray tell me how are men and women equal.

  102. 102
    kairosfocus says:

    MF, and, what ought can we squeeze out of any such is of “equality” if there is no is-ought bridge in the roots of reality? KF

  103. 103
    Truthfreedom says:

    @101 Marfin

    Ed George , Dear Ed once again I ask ,why do you believe men and women are equal, or pray tell me how are men and women equal.

    You’ll get no answer from him.

    Ed George: what is the meaning of ‘love’ within the evolutive paradigm?

  104. 104
    Truthfreedom says:

    @93 Jim Thibodeau

    I much prefer 2020 America.

    And Hitler much preferred Germany with no jews. Personal ‘preferences’ are not arguments.

  105. 105
    Truthfreedom says:

    Our evo friends are equality proponents because according to their religion, we are all equally useless.
    Lumps of defective DNA, accidents that were never meant to be. Evolution discriminates against no one and nothing.

  106. 106
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Holocaust anywhere is a menace to us everywhere. That is the lesson of history from both the Bolsheviks and the Fascists. KF

  107. 107
    Ed George says:

    KF

    EG, as you have been corrected several times, the acceptable rate of holocaust is zero.

    And the acceptable rate of lung cancer zero, yet we celebrate reductions in the rate of lung cancer. Why you refuse to see a reduction in the abortion rate as good news is a mystery to me. What is better, enforcing good behaviour by force of law, or obtaining the same result by voluntary and willing behavioural changes? I will take the latter over the former any day.

  108. 108
    Truthfreedom says:

    @Ed George: what is the meaning of ‘love’ within the evolutive paradigm?
    Your continuous dodge is duly noted.

  109. 109
    Truthfreedom says:

    @Ed George
    Why do you believe men and women are equal?
    Under your beloved evolutionary religion both are equally ‘useless and defective lumps of messy DNA’. Is that what you mean?

  110. 110
    Jim Thibodeau says:

    @EdGeorge you are not emotionally invested in believing the sky is falling. Some people are.

  111. 111
    Truthfreedom says:

    Evolutive Genesis 1:1

    There is neither Meaning nor Purpose, neither good nor bad, nor is there morals and justice, for you are all one in Meaninglessness.

  112. 112
    Truthfreedom says:

    @110 Jim Thibodeau
    How does ‘logic’ relate to ‘evolution’? Thank you.

  113. 113
    Truthfreedom says:

    Evolutive Genesis 1:1 (AJV)

    There is neither Meaning nor Purpose, neither slave nor free, for you are all evolutive slaves and meaningless puppets.

    A very appealing, inclusive doctrine. It even has its deranged ‘popes’ (dawkins, coyne).

  114. 114
    john_a_designer says:

    I think the commenters here on my side (those who are sympathetic with traditional natural law morality) unfortunately, have repeatedly allowed our atheist interlocutors to take the discussion off the rails. The key question is: does atheistic naturalism/materialism provide a sufficient foundation for interpersonal moral values and obligations?

    That is the question that no one from their side has been able to answer. Why haven’t they? Is it because they can’t? Probably. You can’t have a rational discussion about morality (questions about what is right or wrong, good or evil etc.) without propositions or premises which are self-evidently true. For example, I would argue that self-centeredness is a very poor basis for any kind of interpersonal morality. And, that “moral subjectivism” is nothing more than ego centric self-centeredness.

    Here is my very succinct argument as to why I think so-called moral subjectivism is an illegitimate basis for any kind of viable system of morality.

    I have no obligation (epistemically or morally) to accept ungrounded and baseless personal (subjective) opinions.

    On the other hand, interpersonal morality requires moral obligation (what we ought or ought not to do.)

    Therefore, it is impossible to base any kind of interpersonal morality on ungrounded personal opinions.

    We can further conclude that what is referred to as “moral subjectivism,” cannot provide a viable basis for interpersonal morality or universal human rights. Indeed at best, the term “moral subjectivism” is an oxymoron; at worst, it’s just plain moronic.

    Again, from what I can see so-called moral subjectivism is just a euphemism for ego centric self-righteousness. People use euphemisms when they don’t want to honestly face the real implications of their beliefs.

  115. 115
    Ed George says:

    JT

    @EdGeorge you are not emotionally invested in believing the sky is falling. Some people are.

    Some people perceive that any change to what they see as “traditional”, whatever that means, must be a bad thing. In reality, change can be either good for society, bad for society or neutral. However, even with “good” changes, there is often unforeseen and/or unintended consequences. For example, providing children with comprehensive and non-judgmental information about sex, risks, contraceptives, etc., and providing unrestricted access to contraceptives, has had the beneficial consequence of reducing unwanted pregnancies and therefore abortions. But it is not without unintended consequences such as an increased questioning of “traditional” moral teachings. Personally, I think that questioning “traditional” values is a good thing. Without this questioning we would still have slavery, indentured servitude, subjugation of women, persecution and prosecution of homosexuals, stigmatizing of unmarried women who have sex, etc. However, I realize that there are some here who feel that questioning moral values is wrong.

  116. 116
    Ed George says:

    JaD

    The key question is: does atheistic naturalism/materialism provide a sufficient foundation for interpersonal moral values and obligations?

    This is an irrelevant question. If there is no objective morality then subjective morality is all that is available. And as has been discussed here before, all evidence from recorded history is consistent with subjective morality. Either that or objective morality is so indecipherable as to be indistinguishable from subjective morality.

  117. 117
    Jim Thibodeau says:

    Thank you for bringing this up. The abortion rates continue to drop. Another sign that civilization is heading in the right direction.

    I don’t know where you are, but here in America the crime rate has been going down for over 25 years. Leaded gasoline was giving people brain damage in the womb, especially in inner cities, and 20 years after tetraethyl lead was banned, the crime rate started seriously declining.

  118. 118
    kairosfocus says:

    EG,

    And the acceptable rate of lung cancer zero, yet we celebrate reductions in the rate of lung cancer. Why you refuse to see a reduction in the abortion rate as good news is a mystery to me.

    lung cancer is a disease, pregnancy is not. That already speaks i/l/o your attempt to compare holocaust with lung cancer. Holocaust is mass killing of the innocent enabled by state power or the equivalent. That you resorted to such an attempted dismissal simply digs in deeper on the issue.

    My concern is and remains, that there is global mass killing of our living posterity in the womb — the ultimately innocent — under false colour of law, with state enabling, media manipulation, corruption of health care, health services and professions. At a rate that, per Guttmacher-UN is about a million victims per week. That is it is of order four to five times the overall Nazi holocaust per year.

    Your inability to acknowledge this, having had it repeatedly pointed out to you, is itself a sign of our mortal peril as a civilisation.

    KF

  119. 119
    kairosfocus says:

    JT, are you aware that the rate of the ongoing slaughter of our living posterity in the womb is per Guttmacher-UN, about fifty million per year? If so, you need to do some serious explaining of dismissive language on how some are vested in saying the sky is falling. If you do not know these numbers or the statistical toll over 40+ years, 1.4 billion [we can readily show 800+ million and on a rough plateau since the 90’s that report is plausible], you need to ask why those numbers are not commonly known. Do you know how many were killed in Auschwitz, now a memorial to a horror that set evil loose on the world 70+ years ago? A few weeks worth of the current global slaughter. And BTW, the American share is about 63 millions. Six times the toll of the specifically Jewish holocaust and over twice the losses suffered by the USSR or China in the wider second world war [I count in Mongolia and China since 1931]. I think you need to so some serious rethinking. KF

  120. 120
    Jim Thibodeau says:

    All of this fancy philosophizing overlooks the important thing about morality which is behavior. If you randomly grab an atheist in America and a Christian in America, and you had to bet on one of them having a criminal record, which one would you bet on?

    All the castles-in-the-sky word games about grounding etc. would disappear and you’d bet on the Christian. Cuz that’s statistically the correct bet.

  121. 121
    kairosfocus says:

    JAD & EG:

    [JAD:] The key question is: does atheistic naturalism/materialism provide a sufficient foundation for interpersonal moral values and obligations?

    [EG:] This is an irrelevant question. If there is no objective morality then subjective morality is all that is available. And as has been discussed here before, all evidence from recorded history is consistent with subjective morality. Either that or objective morality is so indecipherable as to be indistinguishable from subjective morality.

    Nope, EG, it is obvious that it has not registered with you that our reason itself is inescapably morally governed, by first duties to truth, right reason, prudence, sound conscience, fairness & justice etc. If those duties are merely subjective delusion, it directly implies that our rational faculties are pervaded by grand delusion and collapse in utter incoherence, discredit and absurd chaos.

    So, we can freely conclude that that opinion is absurdly false. We are in fact under such first duties of reason and live in a world where such makes sense.

    I again point to Plato’s warning, never mind that you and others of like ilk have studiously ignored the following lessons of history paid for in blood and tears:

    Ath [in The Laws, Bk X 2,360 ya]. . . .[The avant garde philosophers and poets, c. 360 BC] say that fire and water, and earth and air [i.e the classical “material” elements of the cosmos], all exist by nature and chance, and none of them by art . . . [such that] all that is in the heaven, as well as animals and all plants, and all the seasons come from these elements, not by the action of mind, as they say, or of any God, or from art, but as I was saying, by nature and chance only [ –> that is, evolutionary materialism is ancient and would trace all things to blind chance and mechanical necessity] . . . .

    [Thus, they hold] that the principles of justice have no existence at all in nature, but that mankind are always disputing about them and altering them; and that the alterations which are made by art and by law have no basis in nature, but are of authority for the moment and at the time at which they are made.-

    [ –> Relativism, too, is not new; complete with its radical amorality rooted in a worldview that has no foundational IS that can ground OUGHT, leading to an effectively arbitrary foundation only for morality, ethics and law: accident of personal preference, the ebbs and flows of power politics, accidents of history and and the shifting sands of manipulated community opinion driven by “winds and waves of doctrine and the cunning craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming . . . ” cf a video on Plato’s parable of the cave; from the perspective of pondering who set up the manipulative shadow-shows, why.]

    These, my friends, are the sayings of wise men, poets and prose writers, which find a way into the minds of youth. They are told by them that the highest right is might,

    [ –> Evolutionary materialism — having no IS that can properly ground OUGHT — leads to the promotion of amorality on which the only basis for “OUGHT” is seen to be might (and manipulation: might in “spin”) . . . ]

    and in this way the young fall into impieties, under the idea that the Gods are not such as the law bids them imagine; and hence arise factions [ –> Evolutionary materialism-motivated amorality “naturally” leads to continual contentions and power struggles influenced by that amorality at the hands of ruthless power hungry nihilistic agendas], these philosophers inviting them to lead a true life according to nature, that is,to live in real dominion over others [ –> such amoral and/or nihilistic factions, if they gain power, “naturally” tend towards ruthless abuse and arbitrariness . . . they have not learned the habits nor accepted the principles of mutual respect, justice, fairness and keeping the civil peace of justice, so they will want to deceive, manipulate and crush — as the consistent history of radical revolutions over the past 250 years so plainly shows again and again], and not in legal subjection to them [–> nihilistic will to power not the spirit of justice and lawfulness].

    KF

  122. 122
    kairosfocus says:

    JT, dismissive language about philosophising fails to realise that for good or ill, ideas and words have consequences. KF

  123. 123
    kairosfocus says:

    JT, you have been taken in by a statistical trick. The number of people in the US who are nominally Christian is quite large and spans the range of social classes. The number of declared atheists is by comparison tiny and is typically biased to the classes not likely to indulge in violent crime, or to be caught and convicted for white collar crimes. Further, the issue on the table is a natural law crime, but it is not deemed crime because of what has been passed under colour of law. The concern, is that the enabling of holocaust we see is corrupting our whole civilisation. KF

  124. 124
    EDTA says:

    EG,
    >”Personally, I think that questioning “traditional” values is a good thing. ”

    Questioning them is fine. Throwing out in one generation values that have been around for thousands of years, and doing it with no thought to the consequences, is reckless to say the least. The generation that ushered in the sexual revolution for instance, had no clue what they were doing nor where it would lead.

  125. 125
    ET says:

    Acartia:

    Why you refuse to see a reduction in the abortion rate as good news is a mystery to me.

    Because it is still way too high, duh.

    Someone once said that we can tell something about the nature of a country by how it treats its most vulnerable. We seem to relish in killing our most vulnerable. So what does that say about us?

  126. 126
    ET says:

    acartia:

    If there is no objective morality then subjective morality is all that is available.

    Thankfully there is objective morality. But that hasn’t prevented people from changing it to suit their needs. That’s what people do when they can’t live up to the standards set for them.

    And then fools like you come around and proclaim it has always been subjective.

  127. 127
    vividbleau says:

    “If there is no objective morality then subjective morality is all that is available.”

    ‘This is nuts, how can something exist that doesnt exist?

    Vivid

  128. 128
    Truthfreedom says:

    @127 Vividbleau:

    This is nuts, how can something exist that doesnt exist?

    Darwinian logic.
    – Nature’s purpose is that it has no-purpose.
    150+ years of this crap.

  129. 129
    Truthfreedom says:

    Another darwinian blunder:

    Evolution can readily make something from nothing.

    Attention: magical thinking from adults/ ‘scientists’.
    https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-03061-x

  130. 130
    MatSpirit says:

    JT: All of this fancy philosophizing overlooks the important thing about morality which is behavior. If you randomly grab an atheist in America and a Christian in America, and you had to bet on one of them having a criminal record, which one would you bet on?

    KF @ 121: JT, you have been taken in by a statistical trick. The number of people in the US who are nominally Christian is quite large and spans the range of social classes. The number of declared atheists is by comparison tiny and is typically biased to the classes not likely to indulge in violent crime, or to be caught and convicted for white collar crimes.

    Let’s see now … John says the AVERAGE Christian is much more likely to have a criminal record than the AVERAGE athiest and you accept that without argument. 

    You try to excuse this because their are more Christians than athiests, but that does not compute because we’re talking about averages. 

    You also say that Christians span all social classes.  So do athiests.

    Oh wait, you have a third reason: Athiesm is “… biased to the classes not likely to indulge in violent crime  or to be caught and convicted for white collar crimes.” 

    In plainer English, you’re saying that the typical athiest has BETTER morality than the typical Christian.

    For once, I agree with you.

  131. 131
    Jim Thibodeau says:

    @MatSpirit, yeah, if somebody is mugging me, I’m not thinking “well at least his morality is properly grounded, unlike that considerate guy over there sipping coffee!”

    It’s a bunch of empty rhetoric.

  132. 132
    kairosfocus says:

    MS & JT, If about 4/5 of a country across all classes are nominally Christian in identity — not, Christian by repentance, personal commitment and life-transforming discipleship [a far smaller number] . . . another issue with the posing of the matter already — then you will obviously find that that nominal identity will dominate in crime statistics. If on the other hand, you specify and measure by good proxies for serious Christian commitment, the proportion will be far, far lower. I have already noted that those who explicitly identify as atheists will tend to come from classes unlikely to be in the criminal system for the sort of crimes most in gaol are there for. White collar crimes are another matter. And, collectively, there is the issue of the ongoing holocaust, a natural law crime that under colour of law is actually protected by law enforcement agencies. Further to this, we note a desperation to distract attention from the implications of and historical lessons regarding evolutionary materialism. Remember, just in the past century atheistical regimes murdered over 100 millions and it is no accident that penetration of atheistical worldviews and cultural agendas in halls of power are directly connected to the dehumanisation of the unborn that set the stage for the ongoing, worst holocaust in history. KF

    PS: It is striking to see the attitude and hostility being revealed in this thread. Folks, this is what is lurking in the hearts of indoctrinated atheists, and the parallel to what Plato warned against so long ago should give us pause.

    PPS: I suspect this book will be eye opening reading on what we are up against, including on this latest rhetoric of tainting argument.

  133. 133
    kairosfocus says:

    JT, your attempt to dismiss analysis of the first duties of reason in fact inescapably appeals to same and directly fails. You seem utterly unwilling to recognise that ideas have consequences. There is no prize for guessing why. KF

    PS: Again, the 2360 year old lesson from history that has you so desperate:

    Ath [in The Laws, Bk X 2,360 ya]. . . .[The avant garde philosophers and poets, c. 360 BC] say that fire and water, and earth and air [i.e the classical “material” elements of the cosmos], all exist by nature and chance, and none of them by art . . . [such that] all that is in the heaven, as well as animals and all plants, and all the seasons come from these elements, not by the action of mind, as they say, or of any God, or from art, but as I was saying, by nature and chance only [ –> that is, evolutionary materialism is ancient and would trace all things to blind chance and mechanical necessity] . . . .

    [Thus, they hold] that the principles of justice have no existence at all in nature, but that mankind are always disputing about them and altering them; and that the alterations which are made by art and by law have no basis in nature, but are of authority for the moment and at the time at which they are made.-

    [ –> Relativism, too, is not new; complete with its radical amorality rooted in a worldview that has no foundational IS that can ground OUGHT, leading to an effectively arbitrary foundation only for morality, ethics and law: accident of personal preference, the ebbs and flows of power politics, accidents of history and and the shifting sands of manipulated community opinion driven by “winds and waves of doctrine and the cunning craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming . . . ” cf a video on Plato’s parable of the cave; from the perspective of pondering who set up the manipulative shadow-shows, why.]

    These, my friends, are the sayings of wise men, poets and prose writers, which find a way into the minds of youth. They are told by them that the highest right is might,

    [ –> Evolutionary materialism — having no IS that can properly ground OUGHT — leads to the promotion of amorality on which the only basis for “OUGHT” is seen to be might (and manipulation: might in “spin”) . . . ]

    and in this way the young fall into impieties, under the idea that the Gods are not such as the law bids them imagine; and hence arise factions [ –> Evolutionary materialism-motivated amorality “naturally” leads to continual contentions and power struggles influenced by that amorality at the hands of ruthless power hungry nihilistic agendas], these philosophers inviting them to lead a true life according to nature, that is,to live in real dominion over others [ –> such amoral and/or nihilistic factions, if they gain power, “naturally” tend towards ruthless abuse and arbitrariness . . . they have not learned the habits nor accepted the principles of mutual respect, justice, fairness and keeping the civil peace of justice, so they will want to deceive, manipulate and crush — as the consistent history of radical revolutions over the past 250 years so plainly shows again and again], and not in legal subjection to them [–> nihilistic will to power not the spirit of justice and lawfulness].

  134. 134
    Ed George says:

    KF

    Nope, EG, it is obvious that it has not registered with you that our reason itself is inescapably morally governed, by first duties to truth, right reason, prudence, sound conscience, fairness & justice etc.

    Reason isn’t governed by anything. Reason is an ability. I can reason that killing people is not good for society and, therefore, not good for me. In fact, can you think of any moral value that cannot be arrived at by our ability to reason, predict consequences, etc? Hopefully you realize that our reason is a subjective process. It takes in objective evidence and spits out subjective conclusions.

  135. 135
    Truthfreedom says:

    @132 Jim Thibodeau

    Yeah, if somebody is mugging me, I’m not thinking “well at least his morality is properly grounded, unlike that considerate guy over there sipping coffee!”

    Of course not! You should be thinking
    : “he is a meat-robot, the result of RM+NS+billions of years, with no-epiphenomenal morals, unlike that considerate meat-robot over there robotically sipping coffee”.

    It’s a bunch of empty, typical, darwinian non-sense.

  136. 136
    Seversky says:

    Anybody else see an inconsistency between demanding atheists provide solid, well-grounded reasoning for their morality but when it comes to God’s moral prescriptions it’s all “Okay, boss, whatever you say” and no questions asked?

  137. 137
    Truthfreedom says:

    @134 Ed George

    Reason isn’t governed by anything.

    Whaat?! Were not you a ‘scientist’? Reason is not governed by anything? Have you heard about physico-chemical processes? Neurotransmitters? Brains? ‘Natural selection’? Wow.

    Reason is an ability.

    Nope. C-. It is the result of neuronal processes, like windiness is the result of
    digestive processes.
    Ain’t naturalism lovely?

  138. 138
    MatSpirit says:

    KF @ 132: This is great! JT says a Christian is more likely to have a criminal record than an Athiest, you ‘counter’ with a bunch of non-sequitars, I point out your non-seqs, and you reply with … the ‘True Scotsman’ fallacy!

    And then you recommend a book that “… will be eye opening reading on what we are up against”. I click on it annnd – it’s by Vox Day!!!

    You’ve got to move UPWIND from that volcano!

    Best of all, you have obviously not read the last two lines of the original message you’re responding to! Go read message 120 again, this time reading the entire message and not jumping to conclusions and starting to type before you finish it.

    The last two sentences are separated from the previous paragraph by a blank line to make it easy to find.

    – 2 points for bad form.

  139. 139
    Truthfreedom says:

    Oh my. It is *flatulence*, not *windiness*.
    My neurons just informed me. But wait, I am my neurons! Or not? What a conundrum!

  140. 140
    Truthfreedom says:

    @60 Ed George

    The Bible clearly states:
    Wives should obey their husbands in everything, just as the church people obey Christ.

    The evolutive Bible clearly states:

    Meat-robots (a.k.a. humans)*are forced* to obey the dictates of Evolution, just as *every other living creature on Earth is forced to obey the dictates of Evolution, because you know, there is nothing else you can do*.

    The evolutive Bible is of course more inclusive, and well, you have to do what it says, because YOU CAN NOT ESCAPE THE CLUTCHES OF EVOLUTION.

  141. 141
    kairosfocus says:

    EG, reason is a faculty of freedom, or it undermines itself. That wchich is of freedom is morally governed. Your arguments all rely on our known duties to truth, right reason, prudence [so, warrant], fairness and justice etc. I suggest you re-think. KF

  142. 142
    kairosfocus says:

    Sev, your attempt at the Euthyphro dilemma fails. Fails, because you fail to understand God, moral government and natural law. The God of ethical theism is the inherently good and utterly wise creator, a necessary and maximally great being; worthy of loyalty and of the reasonable, responsible service of doing the good that accords with our evident nature. That good is expressed in the built-in law of our morally governed nature, starting with first duties of responsible reason. Duties, to truth, to right reason, to prudence (so, warrant), to sound conscience, to fairness and justice, etc. Your assumption/ projection/ rhetorical suggestion that God in effect arbitrarily, capriciously demands what is irresponsible and irrational is a strawmannish caricature that should be corrected. And indeed, one of the Divine titles in Jn 1 is Logos, communicative reason himself. I suggest that a re-think is in order. KF

  143. 143
    kairosfocus says:

    MS, you profoundly misunderstand what it means to be a Christian. That’s why you project a fallacy that is by even its name offensive as an insult to ancestors whose heritage I bear, written into name and family history. But then proud Edward still needs to be sent homeward tae think again. Western Civilisation as it is now usually styled, grows out of the Christian synthesis of Jerusalem, Athens and Rome. As a result, it is of rather mixed wheat and tares character [and yes, I allude to a highly relevant parable]. The Christian influence partly restrains what is perhaps the all time most aggressive civilisation. As a result, many will have a nominal, culturally shaped Christian identity; but that is a very different thing from repentance, commitment and life transforming discipleship. Something, that any fair minded and responsibly informed person will readily acknowledge. And yes, we are seeing much expressed or implied in this thread on the roots of the palpable hostility that is surfacing. Too late, the cat’s out of the bag. Back on point, once we recognise the difference between nominal identity and serious commitment leading to disciplines of discipleship, the point I made above is manifest: if 4/5 of a population is nominally Christian, we would expect that that would be sufficiently present that the dominance of population would show up in everything from schools to gaols. Just as — and this comparison is now advisable as it just may help some to rethink the underlying hostility, prejudice and bigotry in the sort of commentary we see above — here in the Afro-Caribbean triangle, sheer population dominance of people of noticeably African ancestry shows up in everything from schools to gaols to the Cabinet also. And yes, there are pockets of diverse ancestry that may dominate aspects, e.g. here, Sindi’s [and some Tamils] dominate the grocery trade, for various reasons. I again suggest a re-think on your part. KF

  144. 144
    Truthfreedom says:

    First horn of the dilemma: that which is right is commanded by Evolution because Evolution could not care less and *right* is a trick that helped your ancestors to achieve nothing because life is purposeless and now is a spandrel.
    Makes sense. Naturalism solves everything, best doctrine ever.

  145. 145
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: All of the above brings Plato back into focus, especially given the enabling of holocaust in progress:

    Ath [in The Laws, Bk X 2,360 ya]. . . .[The avant garde philosophers and poets, c. 360 BC] say that fire and water, and earth and air [i.e the classical “material” elements of the cosmos], all exist by nature and chance, and none of them by art . . . [such that] all that is in the heaven, as well as animals and all plants, and all the seasons come from these elements, not by the action of mind, as they say, or of any God, or from art, but as I was saying, by nature and chance only [ –> that is, evolutionary materialism is ancient and would trace all things to blind chance and mechanical necessity] . . . .

    [Thus, they hold] that the principles of justice have no existence at all in nature, but that mankind are always disputing about them and altering them; and that the alterations which are made by art and by law have no basis in nature, but are of authority for the moment and at the time at which they are made.-

    [ –> Relativism, too, is not new; complete with its radical amorality rooted in a worldview that has no foundational IS that can ground OUGHT, leading to an effectively arbitrary foundation only for morality, ethics and law: accident of personal preference, the ebbs and flows of power politics, accidents of history and and the shifting sands of manipulated community opinion driven by “winds and waves of doctrine and the cunning craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming . . . ” cf a video on Plato’s parable of the cave; from the perspective of pondering who set up the manipulative shadow-shows, why.]

    These, my friends, are the sayings of wise men, poets and prose writers, which find a way into the minds of youth. They are told by them that the highest right is might,

    [ –> Evolutionary materialism — having no IS that can properly ground OUGHT — leads to the promotion of amorality on which the only basis for “OUGHT” is seen to be might (and manipulation: might in “spin”) . . . ]

    and in this way the young fall into impieties, under the idea that the Gods are not such as the law bids them imagine; and hence arise factions [ –> Evolutionary materialism-motivated amorality “naturally” leads to continual contentions and power struggles influenced by that amorality at the hands of ruthless power hungry nihilistic agendas], these philosophers inviting them to lead a true life according to nature, that is,to live in real dominion over others [ –> such amoral and/or nihilistic factions, if they gain power, “naturally” tend towards ruthless abuse and arbitrariness . . . they have not learned the habits nor accepted the principles of mutual respect, justice, fairness and keeping the civil peace of justice, so they will want to deceive, manipulate and crush — as the consistent history of radical revolutions over the past 250 years so plainly shows again and again], and not in legal subjection to them [–> nihilistic will to power not the spirit of justice and lawfulness].

  146. 146
    Ed George says:

    KF

    Your arguments all rely on our known duties to truth, right reason, prudence [so, warrant], fairness and justice etc. I suggest you re-think. KF to truth, right reason, prudence [so, warrant], fairness and justice etc. I suggest you re-think. KF

    Nope. Any duties I have to truth, right reason, blah, blah, are conscious and subjective decisions made based on conclusions derived from my ability to reason and predict likely outcomes of actions, not objective obligations.

  147. 147
    john_a_designer says:

    As I have said before moral subjectivism is a rationally indefensible position.

    What the moral subjectivist is really trying to argue is that there are no moral truths about anything. However, it is self-refuting to say there is “no ‘moral truths’ about anything,” because in doing so you’re making a universal truth claim about truth which takes the legs out from under the very argument you are trying to make…

    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/why-do-atheists-deny-objective-morality/#comment-648486

    Arguments with self-refuting premises don’t prove anything.

    Indeed, what the subjectivist is really arguing is:

    I don’t believe that there are any objective moral truths.

    Therefore, there are no objective moral truths for me or anyone else.

    I wouldn’t have a problem if the subjectivist simply claimed, “there are no moral truths for me.”

    Fine. If you want to believe nonsense that’s your choice. But your subjective moral beliefs are not morally binding on me. It’s not only irrational but hypocritical for you to push the beliefs on anyone else because they are not morally binding on anyone else.

  148. 148
    MatSpirit says:

    KF @ 143: I know you love to write, but you’ll be doing yourself a favor by actually reading message 120 again, especially the last two sentences. But then, maybe you’re right to avoid them because they make you look like a right pratt.

    I also resent your saying that I don’t understand Christianity. I was raised Christian. My Dad was General Association of Regular Baptists and my Mom was Missouri Synod Lutheran. We alternated between those two churches for several years and then settled on the only other Protestant church in our small town, Congregational (now United Church of Christ). I absolutely believed in God and Christianity just like I believed that Australia existed. Mom said it was true, Dad said it was true, the Pastor said it was true, the teacher said it was true, my schoolmates said it was true – there was no reason known to me to ever doubt it.

    Then in my early teens, I started studying for my Confirmation and read the Bible for the first time. What a shock! I don’t remember which passage first caught my eye, but it was describing one of God’s mighty feats and I suddenly realized that if I ever did anything like that, they’d lock me up for the rest of my life!

    That was over 50 years ago and I still remember the shock of reading that passage like it was yesterday. The God in the sermons wasn’t like that! Neither was the God my parents and schoolmates told me about! And the Bible was supposed to be completely true! That was when it first occurred to me that maybe (gasp!) God might not really exist. One thing I was sure of, I couldn’t trust the sermons or my parents or friends because the God they told me existed wasn’t remotely like the one I read about in the Bible.

    I stifled myself and got Confirmed and then more or less ignored religion until I logged into a BBS and found a message there from a guy who was overjoyed because he had just read a book, “88 Reasons Why the Rapture Will Be in 1988” and he was looking forward to the destruction of the earth. Needless to say, it didn’t happen, but that BBS and others like it gave me my first closeup look at a real born-again Christian and the very first thing I learned was that you couldn’t argue with him. The guy was obviously reasonably intelligent, but absolutely nothing got through to him about that book. I often wonder how 1989 affected him and whether he got over the disappointment.

    But the reason I was on that BBS in the first place is because Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson and millions of other fundamentalists (who were calling themselves Evangelicals by then) were weaponizing Christianity and trying their hardest to stuff their immoral and foolish religion down my throat and I didn’t like it! I decided to follow 1 Peter 3:15 and have a ready defense to the Evangelical Horde and started studying Christianity.

    I’m always ready to help a Christian understand his religion better.

  149. 149
    MatSpirit says:

    KF: … you project a fallacy that is by even its name offensive as an insult to ancestors whose heritage I bear, written into name and family history.

    Pull the other one! Here’s Wikipedia: “No true Scotsman, or appeal to purity, is an informal fallacy in which one attempts to protect a universal generalization from counterexamples by changing the definition in an ad hoc fashion to exclude the counterexample.

    They give this as an example:

    Person A: “No Scotsman puts sugar on his porridge.”
    Person B: “But my uncle Angus is a Scotsman and he puts sugar on his porridge.”
    Person A: “But no true Scotsman puts sugar on his porridge.”

    If that insults you, your skin is waaay too thin. Oh, by the way, Wiki says that Anthony Flew, ID’s Favorite Philosopher, coined the term in 1971.

    KF: Western Civilisation as it is now usually styled, grows out of the Christian synthesis of Jerusalem, Athens and Rome.

    Actually, Western Christianity started when Emperor Constantine moved his Capital to Constantinople in 324. Of course, he moved the Imperial Church and all it’s best and brightest, highest ranking members and leaders to Constantinople with him, leaving his “B Team” behind in tired, dirty old Rome. And of course, today’s Christianity is the direct descendant of that B Team. Explains a lot!

    KF: I again suggest a re-think on your part.

    Honestly, I think you should follow your own advice.

  150. 150
    MatSpirit says:

    I should have said, “The Christianity we know today” instead of “today’s Christianity” because Orthodox Christianity and the various small Christian religions like Coptic Christianity have different roots.

  151. 151
    kairosfocus says:

    EG, you expect us to implicitly rely on said duties in order for your arguments to have any convincing power; such duties are then reflexive as well. That you deny and/or try to reduce known duties to subjective perceptions poses precisely the dilemmas identified by Plato 2360 years ago. Indeed, you have just told us not to take anything you say with any degree of trust or credit. KF

  152. 152
    kairosfocus says:

    MS,

    With all due respect, you are doubling down on error, regardless of whatever background you may have.

    Here is the key clip in 130:

    Let’s see now … John says the AVERAGE Christian is much more likely to have a criminal record than the AVERAGE athiest and you accept that without argument.

    You try to excuse this because their are more Christians than athiests, but that does not compute because we’re talking about averages.

    You here set up a strawman, which enables an argument that pivots on conflating two senses of being Christian. Nominal cultural identity vs committed, discipleship transformed life. In the former sense, we do have domination of a population which will then be overwhelmingly present in all classes and circumstances. As a parallel, look at WW2 era US servicemen graveyards, you will see a smattering of stars of David among a sea of crosses. In this context, while one may find declarative atheists in any class, they are concentrated in some sectors of the population and those classes are not going to dominate the classes that tend to find themselves in gaol. And BTW, said atheists will as a rule be influenced by the [now waning] influence of gospel ethics and linked natural law thought, which restrains the impacts of the inherent amorality of evolutionary materialistic scientism. But, as the ongoing holocaust of our living posterity in the womb shows, that restraining influence is waning. A grim warning on the other dominoes lined up to go down. In this light, it will be advisable to ponder the blood and tears bought lessons of history in Plato and the history of radically secularist and atheistical regimes over the past century. Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago would be an excellent place to begin.

    In that context, fairly common atheistical arguments on the superior moral conduct of atheists vs Christians become fallacious.

    Now, I pick up several other points that catch my eye:

    >> “No true Scotsman, or appeal to purity, is an informal fallacy in which one attempts to protect a universal generalization from counterexamples by changing the definition in an ad hoc fashion to exclude the counterexample.>>

    Notice, the fact of an alternative name? That’s clue no 1. Clue no. 2, Flew was an Englishman.

    Second, the projection of an ad hoc, arbitrary purity criterion is too often fallacious, and that obtains in this context. Nominal cultural identity is worlds apart from the pattern of repentance, discipleship and transformation that is focal to committed Christian life. And, you should know this.

    >>Actually, Western Christianity started when Emperor Constantine moved his Capital to Constantinople in 324. Of course, he moved the Imperial Church and all it’s best and brightest, highest ranking members and leaders to Constantinople with him, leaving his “B Team” behind in tired, dirty old Rome.>>

    Your history, narrow and broad, is erroneous. In the narrow sense, Diocletian reorganised central government to have an E/W split, each with a senior and a junior Emperor. This was because of severe challenges and a trend of wars. In this context, Constantine ended up in civil war — the bane of the Roman Empire and Republic. After his victory, he moved from W to E to lead defence of frontiers on the more threatened, more critical half. Byzantium, of course, is at a critical narrows between Europe proper and Anatolia, as say popped up again in 1915 with the Gallipoli campaign.

    At pivot was the need for a unifying religion. In 325, he called a council, i/l/o the challenge of Arianism and the obvious failure of older paganism and Mithraism etc, all of which had been tried. The Council, after months of debate trying to find a summary that was not ambiguous, issued the first form of the Nicene Creed. Fifty years later, after Constantine was baptised on his deathbed by an Arian bishop, after Julian the Apostate tried to reinvent Paganism, and after further conflict, an expanded form was issued in 381. I have personally showed that it is indeed a sound, scripturally based systematic summary of the core of NT Christian theology, clause by clause. [And, BTW, the Evil Bible argument is also deeply questionable, as well as yet another cat out of the bag moment.]

    What Constantine did not do is invent the Christian Synthesis of Jerusalem, Athens and Rome, or its roots in the river valley civilisations of the Fertile Crescent.

    The foreshadowing of that synthesis was in the superscription above Jesus’ head on the cross, both the declaration of his kingship [with messianic implications] and the language choice: Hebrew (or Aramaic), Greek, Latin. That was then backed up by the resurrection of said victim of judicial murder for political convenience [a familiar issue], with 500 witnesses. Then came the former arch persecutor who took the place of Stephen, first martyr: a diaspora Jew from Tarsus, a centre of Greek learning and a Roman Citizen (as opposed to subject). He led the sort of synthesis we can read in textual summary in his justly famous Epistle to the Romans.

    So, you are 300 years late. The clever pol in the mould of a Cyrus went with the coming wave, he did not create it.

    >>I should have said, “The Christianity we know today” instead of “today’s Christianity” because Orthodox Christianity and the various small Christian religions like Coptic Christianity have different roots.>>

    Orthodoxy, Rome and Protestantism have the same roots, reflected — note the term — in mutual acceptance of the same Nicene Creed, fruit of the first Council since the Jerusalem Council of 48/49 AD, 15 years before the storm broke. Those fifteen years of toleration BTW, were the period in which the key missions and synthesis happened. The split of 1054 and that of 1517 on, though regrettable reflections of the wheat and tares principle, do not change that commonality.

    Your turnabout attempt fails.

    KF

  153. 153
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: Yes, there are ill educated Christians who may jump on theological hobby horses and who may well manifest the fallacy of the closed mind. In the case you cite as by rhetorical implication typical, he overlooked the clear warning in the NT that date setting is going to fail. As to the wider dismissal of “fundamentalism” a clue is, that AP warns in its style guide of a few years back to avoid the term.

  154. 154
    kairosfocus says:

    JAD:

    As I have said before moral subjectivism is a rationally indefensible position.

    What the moral subjectivist is really trying to argue is that there are no moral truths about anything. However, it is self-refuting to say there is “no ‘moral truths’ about anything,” because in doing so you’re making a universal truth claim about truth which takes the legs out from under the very argument you are trying to make…

    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/why-do-atheists-deny-objective-morality/#comment-648486

    Arguments with self-refuting premises don’t prove anything.

    Correct.

    But unfortunately if one makes a crooked yardstick into his standard for straightness and uprightness, then what is genuinely those things will be rejected. In some cases, including the natural case of a plumb line.

    And, there are those who try to reject the principle of non-contradiction.

    That is how bad things now are.

    KF

  155. 155
    Marfin says:

    Matspirit- Seeing you dislike so much the God of the bible`s Morals , perhaps you could give us a definition of Moral and then explain how you know that definition is correct.
    And as for western Christianity started with Constantine blah ,blah , Christianity started with Christ , then the apostles, and has been sustained thru the Bible ever since , the fact that it has been hijacked by Luther, Calvin etc and people then follow these men`s teaching is not the problem of God or Christianity but of men.
    I am a Christian , there are about 40 of us we assemble every first day of the week and follow the teaching of Christ and the apostles, we have no head office , no organisational structure apart from us being an autonomous body of Christians self governing and basing all our teaching on the new testament only , which is exactly how Gods set it up , if you knew the scriptures you would Know this.
    So Matspirit please help me understand my religion better.

  156. 156
    Marfin says:

    Ed George , Ed did not explain how men and women are equal because as a believer in evolution he must realise that evolution has made Men bigger, taller,faster, stronger, fitter, able to spread their genes around a population at hundreds of times the rate of women ,and more aggressive than Women ,so this does not seem all that equal to me.
    Now I believe men and women are equal as we are both made in Gods image, Christ died for both our sins ,and both are of equal value in the eyes of God.

  157. 157
    MatSpirit says:

    KF @ 152
    Wow! Way too much to answer tonight. I’ll give it a look tomorrow. I’m also working on a more substantial posting on what morality is and why we want good morals.

    Meanwhile, please read message 120. You keep missing the last sentence. I’ve put the msg here.

    120 Jim Thibodeau March 11, 2020 at 10:29 am

    All of this fancy philosophizing overlooks the important thing about morality which is behavior. If you randomly grab an atheist in America and a Christian in America, and you had to bet on one of them having a criminal record, which one would you bet on?

    All the castles-in-the-sky word games about grounding etc. would disappear and you’d bet on the Christian. Cuz that’s statistically the correct bet.

    Please note “you’d bet on the Christian. Cuz that’s statistically the correct bet.”

  158. 158
    bornagain77 says:

    At 120 JT states,

    All of this fancy philosophizing overlooks the important thing about morality which is behavior. If you randomly grab an atheist in America and a Christian in America, and you had to bet on one of them having a criminal record, which one would you bet on?

    And yet,

    Atheists in U.S. prisons argument and atheist morality
    One of the arguments atheists use to address the issue of atheism and morality is the percentage of atheists in U.S. prisons.[2] See also: Irreligious prison population
    The atheist Heina Dadabhoy published at the atheist website Skepchick an article entitled Fellow Atheists: Quit Bragging About Our Prison Underrepresentation which declared concerning the United States prison population:
    “ Atheism is a movement comprised mostly of middle-to-upper-class white people. A middle-to-upper-class white person is far less likely to be incarcerated than a poor person and/or a person of color. The only way atheists as a whole might be less likely to be incarcerated than theists would be if we were a female-majority community. Atheism is hardly the cause of white middle-to-upper-class people’s underrepresentation in the prison population, injustice in the criminal justice system is…
    Intersectional issues aside, being arrested and convicted means being caught breaking the law. Would most of us atheists consider, say, possession of small amounts of marijuana to be a crime worthy of incarceration, let alone an immoral act? Yet prisons teem with non-violent drug offenders. As for being caught, I will return to the example of marijuana. How many of us class and race privileged* atheists would be imprisoned for drug possession had it not been for residence in low-density housing in areas rarely patrolled by the police? Living in a detached home reduces the likelihood of a neighbor or passer-by reporting drug use to the authorities but is hardly an indicator of superior moral character.
    Given that we’re a movement of people not exactly known for dealing so well, if at all, with issues of race or class.[3]
    In 2015, BloombergView reported concerning the United States:
    “ According to a much-discussed 2012 report from the Pew Research Center on Religion and Public Life, only 3 percent of U.S. atheists and agnostics are black, 6 percent are Hispanic, and 4 percent are Asian. Some 82 percent are white. (The relevant figures for the population at large at the time of the survey were 66 percent white, 11 percent black, 15 percent Hispanic, 5 percent Asian.)
    …Craig Keener, in his huge review of claims of miracles in a wide variety of cultures, concludes that routine rejection of the possibility of the supernatural represents an impulse that is deeply Eurocentric.[4]
    See also: Western atheism and race
    The Pew Research Forum reported in 2013 concerning American atheists: “About four-in-ten atheists (43%) have a college degree, compared with 29% of the general public.”[5]
    In 2012, the Pew Research Forum reported regarding American atheists: “And about 38% of atheists and agnostics have an annual family income of at least $75,000, compared with 29% of the general public.”[6] See also: Atheism/Christianity and socioeconomic status diversity
    In order to scientifically determine the relationship between atheism as a causal factor for criminality/non-criminality one would have to do proper statistical analysis (for example, using the generalized linear model).
    Contents
    1 Religion and crime reduction statistics
    2 FiveThirtyEight on atheists in prison statistics
    3 British irreligious prison population
    4 Atheists in U.S. prisons argument to defend atheist morality ignores the vast amount of social science data and the historical data relating to religion and crime reduction
    4.1 Dramatic effects of the Welsh Revival of 1904-1905 on criminality and ill-behavior
    4.2 Korean Revival of 1906-1907 and crime reduction
    5 Atheists in U.S. prisons argument to defend atheist morality ignores the historical data and the social science data relating to atheism and immorality
    6 Atheism and theft crimes
    7 Atheist Marquis de Sade, 120 Days of Sodom and prison
    8 Atheistic China, political prisoners and forced labor in prisons
    9 China and involuntary organ harvesting of prisoners
    10 North Korean communist prisons and torture
    11 Soviet Gulags, political prisoners and forced labor
    12 Islamic countries and crime
    13 See also
    14 External links
    15 References
    https://www.conservapedia.com/Atheists_in_U.S._prisons_argument_and_atheist_morality

    Irreligious prison population
    Concerning the irreligious prison population, in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, according to the 2011 Census, the irreligious make up only “around a quarter of the population.”[1] However, they are over-represented in the prison population, forming over 34% of all criminals.[2][3] Theodore Beale declared: “While the USA doesn’t keep comprehensive statistics related to religion, the UK does…”[4]
    These statistics confirm recent scientific research, which has concluded that “the more involved people are with religious life, the less likely they are to fall into criminal behavior.” (see: Religion and crime reduction).[5]
    https://www.conservapedia.com/Irreligious_prison_population

    Atheism and stealing
    https://www.conservapedia.com/Atheism_and_stealing

    Atheism statistics
    28 Irreligion and criminality statistics
    28.1 Irreligious prison population
    28.2 Atheist prison statistics
    28.2.1 Atheism and theft crime statistics
    29 Atheism and repressive prisons statistics
    https://www.conservapedia.com/Atheism_statistics

    Atheist population and immorality
    Not possessing a religious basis for morality, which can provide a legitimate basis for objective morality, atheists are fundamentally incapable of having a coherent system of morality.[2] For example, atheists have been the biggest mass murderers in history (see: Atheism and mass murder). See also: Atheism and morality and Atheism and culture
    Atheism and various types of immorality:
    Atheism and human rights violations
    Atheism and sexual immorality articles
    Atheism and violence articles
    Atheism and theft crimes
    Atheism and deception articles
    Atheism and racism
    Atheism and unforgiveness articles
    Atheist mass shooters
    List of atheist shooters and serial killers
    Atheism and care of the environment
    Atheism and animal abuse
    https://www.conservapedia.com/Atheist_population_and_immorality

    This ‘statistical trick’ of trying to claim that atheists commit less crimes than Christians, and are therefore supposedly more moral than Christians, (whatever being more ‘moral’ is suppose to mean in the atheist’s amoral worldview), reminds me of the time that Sam Harris falsely tried to claim that atheists were more charitable than Christians,

    Who really cares? The fallacy of charitable secularism – Dec 18, 2017
    Excerpt: “Charitable”? “Giving”? Really?
    The most laughable part comes when Sam (Harris) begins arguing about “charitable giving.” He knows he cannot honestly claim that atheists give more to charitable causes than religious folk, so he uses the word “charitable,” but narrows the definition of the word almost into nothingness. He says,
    “Countries with high levels of atheism are also the most charitable both in terms of the percentage of their wealth they devote to social welfare programs and the percentage they give in aid to the developing world.”2
    Such a fact might shock the average casual reader until he sniffed out Sam’s fishy “terms.” Then we, together, have a good full belly-laugh. If by “devote” and “give” Sam means “devote through government confiscation, and give by forced taxation,” then he can hardly call it charity. Is this the charity of atheism? “Giving” when you may not want to, an amount you may not want to, and to be spent somehow you may not care for? What a blessed assurance! My, how charitable our atheist is with other people’s money. No, charity is voluntarily given. If it’s tax-generated, it ain’t charitable. Besides, boasting that less religious countries take more in government welfare reveals about as much as pointing out that Christians put more in church offering plates than atheists do. What? Really? Get outta here!
    If, however, Sam means “devote” and “give” in the true sense of “charity,” then his claim is so embarrassingly bogus that not even a third-world tax bureau would accept his tax returns. Unfortunately for Sam, he wrote this nonsense in his Letter to a Christian Nation just a few months before the actual science was done on charitable giving. November 2006 saw the release of the definitive in-depth study on the subject of charitable giving: Who Really Cares? by Syracuse professor Arthur Brooks. Results? Across the board, in every category, accounting for every variable, no matter how you slice the pie, the single biggest factor behind charitable giving is . . . religious faith.3 The amount of private charitable giving from American individuals alone (not including foundations, corporations, etc.) could easily finance the entire gross domestic product of Sam’s more “atheistic” nations, Sweden, Norway, or Denmark.4
    The results must be alarming for all secularists. The working poor in America give more than the poor on welfare who have the same income. In fact, the working poor give a larger percentage of their income than the middle class. Two-thirds of American private donations go to other than religious activities (in other words, about 70% in places other than church offering plates). Yet, religious people are more likely to donate even to secular causes than non-religious people are. America gives as much to foreign aid as other nations do, the difference is that we do it mostly through private charity and not government aid. We give it freely—not through socialist government compulsion. No European nation comes close to us in freely-given charitable donations.
    https://americanvision.org/1820/who-really-cares-the-fallacy-of-charitable-secularism/

    What is truly ironic in the deceptive way that JT, EG and MS have tried to claim that atheists are more moral than Christians, in their false claim that atheists commit fewer crimes than Christians, is that they are, by default, admitting that there are objective moral standards to judge by to see if one group of people are behaving more morally than another group of people. 🙂

    But that defeats the entire moral premise of Atheism. Namely that morality is subjective and illusory.

    They can’t have it both ways, either morality is objectively real and one group of people can act in a way that is more morally acceptable than another, or else morality is subjective and illusory and there is no yardstick to measure whether one group of people is acting more morally responsible than the other.

    In short, the atheists on UD, in their false claim that atheists are more moral than Christians, have, once again, shot themselves squarely in their collective foot and issued a blatantly self-refuting argument.

    As Van Til pointed out years ago. Atheists need God to be real just to have the ability to argue against His reality in the first place.

    Once while Van Til was a youth traveling on a train in Holland, he noticed a father with his young daughter sitting in his lap. Apparently, the father urged his daughter to do something when she suddenly slapped her father in the face. Van Til’s application? The girl’s behavior illustrates rebels who live in God’s world and who are supported by God’s common grace (Ps. 24:1). They sit, as it were, on the lap of God, and it is precisely because they sit on God’s lap that they are able to deliver the slap of ingratitude. Thus unbelievers who toot their own independence and autonomy are only able to do so as they are supported by God Himself (Jn. 19:10 -11). Their denial of God is His affirmation.
    https://chalcedon.edu/magazine/van-tils-illustrations

    As to MS’s testimony of him turning against Christianity because he personally found God to be morally reprehensible. well here is a testimony of an atheist becoming a Christian because of the opposite:

    Nicole Cliffe: How God Messed Up My Happy Atheist Life
    The second starting point is usually what I lead with. I was surfing the Internet and came across John Ortberg’s CT obituary for philosopher Dallas Willard. John’s daughters are dear friends, and I have always had a wonderful relationship with their parents, who struck me as sweetly deluded in their evangelical faith, so I clicked on the article.
    Somebody once asked Dallas if he believed in total depravity.
    “I believe in sufficient depravity,” he responded immediately.
    What’s that?
    “I believe that every human being is sufficiently depraved that when we get to heaven, no one will be able to say, ‘I merited this.’ ”
    A few minutes into reading the piece, I burst into tears. Later that day, I burst into tears again. And the next day. While brushing my teeth, while falling asleep, while in the shower, while feeding my kids, I would burst into tears.,,,
    https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2016/june/nicole-cliffe-how-god-messed-up-my-happy-atheist-life.html

  159. 159
    kairosfocus says:

    MS, I am quite aware of the legitimate part of the conclusion from JT’s argument. As I laid out from my very first response, 123: “The number of people in the US who are nominally Christian is quite large and spans the range of social classes. The number of declared atheists is by comparison tiny and is typically [–> note the modifier] biased to the classes not likely to indulge in violent crime, or to be caught and convicted for white collar crimes.” When you and JT tried to pile on, I then amplified:

    If about 4/5 of a country across all classes are nominally Christian in identity — not, Christian by repentance, personal commitment and life-transforming discipleship [a far smaller number] . . . another issue with the posing of the matter already — then you will obviously find that that nominal identity will dominate in crime statistics. If on the other hand, you specify and measure by good proxies for serious Christian commitment, the proportion will be far, far lower. I have already noted that those who explicitly identify as atheists will tend to come from classes unlikely to be in the criminal system for the sort of crimes most in gaol are there for. White collar crimes are another matter. And, collectively, there is the issue of the ongoing holocaust, a natural law crime that under colour of law is actually protected by law enforcement agencies. Further to this, we note a desperation to distract attention from the implications of and historical lessons regarding evolutionary materialism. Remember, just in the past century atheistical regimes murdered over 100 millions and it is no accident that penetration of atheistical worldviews and cultural agendas in halls of power are directly connected to the dehumanisation of the unborn that set the stage for the ongoing, worst holocaust in history.

    I took time to give parallel cases here in the Caribbean and with US WW2 cemetaries that will also reflect that dominance effect. However, in each case I also pointed out that “Christian” has two very different senses, one a nominal-cultural effect [which BTW will restrain trends that may otherwise go far worse . . . the salt and light effect], the other the committed disciple; who will be very unlikely to be involved in habitual criminality. Something, that will be well known to anyone who has a sound understanding of the Christian faith, gospel ethics and history sufficient to properly understand the parable of the wheat and the tares. For that matter, I can add that when Alcoholics Anonymous emerged, they were derided and dismissed using the fact of an incidence of backsliding. But now, their twelve step approach [a generic form of moral discipleship] has had such impact that there are now a great many 12-step, X-anonymous movements.

    The your’e all hypocrites cynical dismissal of serious reform movements is a very old and very fallacious reaction. As long as people are significantly free, any movement of reformation will face backsliding. And, it is obvious that social-cultural influence will spread far beyond the active core of any movement that has major impact on a community or culture.

    That you suggested that I imposed an ad hoc distinction to preserve a false generalisation therefore speaks volumes, and not in your favour.

    But, more interesting is the implicit intensity in the dismissive hostility. In one sense it is a good sign, kicking against pricks. In another sense, it is also a warning, as it shows unjustified resistance and hostility. Where, I note above, how something as inescapable as the moral government of our rationality under known first duties of reason is being dismissed even at the expense of arguments that — inescapably — appeal to the very same first duties they would dismiss.

    That sort of incoherence and kicking against the pricks is telling us something.

    Especially in a day when what is on the table is the enabling of the in-progress, all time worst ever holocaust.

    KF

  160. 160
    kairosfocus says:

    BA77, thanks for giving some of the details and specifics of class-ethnicity phenomena. Of course TIA discusses at length. Let’s see if our interlocutors will recognise why I started by giving hints, summaries and links. KF

  161. 161
    Truthfreedom says:

    @160 John_a_designer:

    As I have said before moral subjectivism is a rationally indefensible position.

    Exactly. Naturalists do not get it.

    Arguments with self-refuting premises don’t prove anything.

    Exactly. Naturalists do not get it.

    Fine. If you want to believe nonsense that’s your choice.

    Naturalism to a tee. Self-refuting non-sense .

    But your subjective beliefs are not morally binding on me.

    Exactly. Naturalists do not get it.

    It’s not only irrational but hypocritical for you to push the beliefs on anyone else because they are not morally binding on anyone else.

    Exactly. And sad.

    Naturalists do not respect neurochemical diversity. They try to impose their brain chemistry upon others. They are, by definition, dictators.

  162. 162
    ET says:

    Acartia Eddie:

    Any duties I have to truth, right reason, …

    You have abandoned truth and right reason a long time ago.

  163. 163
    Truthfreedom says:

    @146 Ed George

    Nope. Any duties I have to truth, right reason, blah, blah, are conscious subjective decisions made based on conclusions derived from my ability to reason and predict likely outcomes of actions, not objective obligations.

    Nope. C- again.
    ‘Reason’ is the result of neuronal processes, like flatulence is the result of digestive processes.
    From Love To Voting: Who Really Decides, You or Your Brain?

    “Even when we think we’ve made a conscious decision, our brain has already made up its mind up to seven seconds before”.

    Yes, Ed George. You are a meat-robot tricked by evolution to achieve… nothing really.
    No-purpose, no goal, no directive. Nihil.

  164. 164
    john_a_designer says:

    Academy Award winning actor Joaquin Phoenix apparently thinks we should all stop drinking milk. This is what he said during his acceptance speech a couple month ago.

    I think we’ve become very disconnected from the natural world. Many of us are guilty of an egocentric world view, and we believe that we’re the centre of the universe. We go into the natural world and we plunder it for its resources. We feel entitled to artificially inseminate a cow and steal her baby, even though her cries of anguish are unmistakeable. Then we take her milk that’s intended for her calf and we put it in our coffee and our cereal.

    https://www.theguardian.com/film/2020/feb/10/joaquin-phoenixs-oscars-speech-in-full

    Well maybe he’s just saying we should feel guilty about it or maybe he is just being facetious. (After all, he won his award for playing the Joker.)

    Whatever it is, it demonstrates the complete and total idiocy of woke virtue signaling. However, it also underscores the irrationality of the typical moral subjectivist who believes I am morally obligated to believe what they believe just because they believe it.

    PS I am going to continue to drink milk. And I must be really jaded because I feel absolutely no guilt about my decision.

  165. 165
    Truthfreedom says:

    @156 Marfin

    Ed (George) did not explain how men and women are equal because as a believer in evolution he must realise that evolution has made Men bigger, taller,faster, stronger, fitter, able to spread their genes around a population at hundreds of times the rate of women ,and more aggressive than Women ,so this does not seem all that equal to me.

    According to Ed’s doctrine, naturalism, we are all equally useless, defective lumps of DNA, the un-intended products of a mindless process, with the same shared ‘purpose’ of achieving… nothing.

  166. 166
    Truthfreedom says:

    @164 John_a_designer:
    I believe animal husbandry is a very important issue, central to our humanity.
    – Do you believe animals have certain ‘rights’. Or not? And why?

  167. 167
  168. 168
    john_a_designer says:

    TF,

    I agree with Wesley J. Smith’s thinking on the subject.
    As I write at National Review, “we don’t treat animals as mere things or as being akin to inanimate objects.” We created animal welfare laws, I write, “precisely because we understand that animals are sentient, have emotions, and can feel pain—meaning, as a matter of human exceptionalism, we have the duty to treat them humanely based on their capacities and levels of sentience.”

    Yes, we are animals in the biological sense—as are flies, clams, and jellyfish. But we are separate and distinct in a moral sense. It is crucial that we keep this clear moral distinction always in mind. Human exceptionalism imposes the solemn duty upon us to treat animals humanely. That’s why animal welfare is important.

    But animal rights—which is an ideology that suggests moral equality between us and them? Never.
    https://www.discovery.org/human/2020/02/24/elephants-are-awesome-but/

  169. 169
    Truthfreedom says:

    @168 John_a_designer:
    Having read your post, we do agree then. Animals deserve respect and protection. Unnecesarly harming them is cruel.
    I live in a country where bullfighting is sanctioned and promoted. (By certain sectors of the population).
    I find it soul crushing.

  170. 170
    john_a_designer says:

    Without real Justice and the real existence of some kind of common good there is no basis for a fair or just society. Nor is there a basis for universal human rights.

    Any authentic right is grounded in and thus limited by the demands of justice and common good. That’s what a sound philosophy of rights will show. And that’s why “rights talk” won’t provide solutions for a society that is unable or unwilling to consider justice and common good.

    https://twitter.com/RyanTAnd/status/1227939325922480128

    Moral subjectivists deny the existence of real justice, so how can their world view (their thinking and beliefs) lead to a Just society or a society that has respect for fundamental human rights? It’s irrational and hypocritical for them to talk about human rights. All such talk is little more than mindless pretension and posturing.

  171. 171
    Ed George says:

    KF

    EG, you expect us to implicitly rely on said duties in order for your arguments to have any convincing power; such duties are then reflexive as well.

    If you want to say that your ability to reason is objectively true, I can accept that. Some are very good at it, and some are like ET. 🙂 But to then say that the moral values (duties) that we derive from this ability to reason must also be objective does not follow. Most of us desire to live in a society. Given this desire, I can use my ability to reason to determine that it is most likely in my long-term best interest not to kill, not to steal, not to lie in most cases, to help others, etc. I simply don’t see a need to impose the need for some designer to feed me these values. The fact that you do is a mystery to me.

    Indeed, you have just told us not to take anything you say with any degree of trust or credit. KF

    I can’t do anything about that. You either think my observations and conclusions are correct or you don’t. I am comfortable either way.

  172. 172
    john_a_designer says:

    Here are some quotes from an online article by the unapologetic Darwinian apologist, Michael Ruse:

    Morality is just a matter of emotions, like liking ice cream and sex and hating toothache and marking student papers. But it is, and has to be, a funny kind of emotion. It has to pretend that it is not that at all! If we thought that morality was no more than liking or not liking spinach, then pretty quickly it would break down. Before long, we would find ourselves saying something like: “Well, morality is a jolly good thing from a personal point of view. When I am hungry or sick, I can rely on my fellow humans to help me. But really it is all bullshit, so when they need help I can and should avoid putting myself out. There is nothing there for me.” The trouble is that everyone would start saying this, and so very quickly there would be no morality and society would collapse and each and every one of us would suffer.

    So morality has to come across as something that is more than emotion. It has to appear to be objective, even though really it is subjective…

    [M]orality is an illusion put in place by your genes to make you a social cooperator, what’s to stop you behaving like an ancient Roman? Well, nothing in an objective sense. But you are still a human with your gene-based psychology working flat out to make you think you should be moral.

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/belief/2010/mar/15/morality-evolution-philosophy

    However, if morality is just an illusion, and I know and believe this as Ruse does, then I don’t have any real moral obligation towards my fellow man nor should I expect that anyone is obligated to treat me “morally” in return. Morality in such a society would be superfluous if not totally meaningless. The surest way to cause the collapse of civilization is to convince a majority or even a large minority of people that Ruse is right– “morality is an illusion.”

  173. 173
    ET says:

    Acartia Eddie:

    Most of us desire to live in a society.

    Based on what?

    Given this desire, I can use my ability to reason to determine that it is most likely in my long-term best interest not to kill, not to steal, not to lie in most cases, to help others, etc.

    You don’t have an ability to reason. And there are plenty of people who think society is great because they get to kill, steal and lie to get whatever they want.

    I simply don’t see a need to impose the need for some designer to feed me these values.

    Except you wouldn’t have those values without the existence of an intelligent designer. That you fail to understand that is a mystery to me.

  174. 174
    Truthfreedom says:

    @158 Bornagain77:

    In short, the atheists on UD, in their false claim that atheists are more moral than Christians, have, once again, shot themselves squarely in their collective foot and issued a blatantly self-refuting argument.

    Spot on. Materialism is self-refuting. It always has, it will always be.

  175. 175
    Truthfreedom says:

    @John_a_designer:

    Morality is an illusion put in place by your genes to make you a social cooperator.
    Michael Ruse.

    -Well, then our genes and evolution are absolutely pathetic, because they are always trying to cheat on us, but our naturalist fellas ALWAYS escape the cheating. Not that they find it strange, of course. And this Ruse is a philosopher. Sigh.
    – Of course being a social cooperator is good, because it helps us to achieve…nothing. Never forget that for the naturalist, nothing is magical. Nothing sprang the whole Universe, for no reason. There is no purpose, no goal, and nothing matters.
    Nothing in the beginning, nothing in the end.
    Nothing, nothing, nothing.

  176. 176
    EDTA says:

    Wow. Michael Ruse and I agree on something:

    “If we thought that morality was no more than liking or not liking spinach, then pretty quickly it would break down. …The trouble is that everyone would start saying this, and so very quickly there would be no morality and society would collapse and each and every one of us would suffer.”

    Hey EG! If Michael Ruse and I agree on something, then maybe you should pay attention. Why are you trying to convince more people to go down a path that even MR says will lead to collapse??

  177. 177
    john_a_designer says:

    Opinions are not arguments. Arbitrary subjective opinion carry no interpersonal moral obligation. If all we have in the moral realm are subjective opinions to ground moral truth then there is no possibility of finding moral truth or any kind of common ground or consensus. If all we have are arbitrary subjective opinions the very idea of universal human rights completely collapses. Indeed I think that is what we are seeing is the west. Already in the U.S. there are numerous example of fundamental human rights being undermined or abridged for the sake of new made-up rights. For example, florists, bakers and photographers being fined for not participating in a same sex wedding.

    “Same-sex marriage” is an idea that has been arbitrarily made up whole cloth by the secular progressive left in that last 50 years. It has absolutely no basis in history, tradition or biology– neither two men nor two women cannot make a baby. However, it is a way for the secular progressive left to carry out its anti-religious agenda. After all where do most people get married? In churches, don’t they? One of the fastest ways to destroy religion is to subvert it. SSM is an example of that.

  178. 178
    kairosfocus says:

    EG,

    Immediately, you put the cart before the horse. It is manifest, even from your own arguments that an inescapable underlying premise is that such arguments and reasoning depend on first duties of reason. No prior worldview assumptions are present, this is an observation.

    If you don’t accept that inescapability, simply try to persuade us of the cogency of your argument:

    If you want to say that your ability to reason is objectively true, I can accept that . . . But to then say that the moral values (duties) that we derive from this ability to reason must also be objective does not follow. Most of us desire to live in a society. Given this desire, I can use my ability to reason to determine that it is most likely in my long-term best interest not to kill, not to steal, not to lie in most cases, to help others, etc.

    . . . without implicitly appealing to duties to truth, right reason, prudence [so, warrant], sound conscience, fairness & justice, etc. Where, objectivity, of course, has to do with having adequate warrant to accept that a claim is true or at least reliable; an expression of prudence. Go ahead, try [start with eliminating your “does not FOLLOW” — an appeal to right reason and “objective”]: ________

    Your argument falls apart instantly.

    See the point and how this transcends the limitations of subjectivity of any one individual, group or community? In short, the inescapability of first duties is not only objective but is self-evident. Truth, is accurate description of reality, ignoring which, or distorting which, is manifest folly, error or deceit, with dangerous consequences lurking. Prudence is pivotal as we may err. Right reason is about how we best reason. Sound conscience, fairness and justice are pivotal for responsible freedom.

    Such moral government, we simply cannot evade, and those who try show themselves to be of no credibility.

    Yes, such do raise reality root issues in a world of discussion involving Hume’s guillotine, the so-called Euthyphro dilemma and more centrally the is-ought gap. Such, are meta issues of significance but they arise from observing something as simple as how we quarrel and disagree generally.

    It is fairly obvious from your reaction that refusal to acknowledge that it is reasonable to take the inescapable as true traces to your resistance to the onward point that the IS-OUGHT gap must be bridged in the root of reality and that root therefore needs to be

    — capable of being a source of worlds [that’s infinite regress and circularity avoidance],

    — independent being [i.e. not subject to external cause, necessary, of whatever character],

    — credibly capable of being source of a world fine tuned for cell based, C chem, aqueous medium life [which points to designer],

    — inherently good and utterly wise [to bridge is and ought].

    We can take it to the bank that your resistance to the inescapable is rooted in your rejection of what it points to. So, you prefer to embrace incoherence, chaos on the life of reason etc. Telling.

    KF

  179. 179
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: Do we need to go over yet again, evidence that our cosmos is fine tuned? Or, that an infinite succession of finite stage causal steps is an infeasible super task? That circular cause is incoherent? I trust these will be fairly obvious by now.

  180. 180
    vividbleau says:

    KF
    “Go ahead, try [start with eliminating your “does not FOLLOW” — an appeal to right reason and “objective”]: ________”

    Game set match!! Well done

    Vivid

  181. 181
    kairosfocus says:

    Vivid, inescapable, and objective does not mean not passing through the subjectivity of subjects but rather well warranted transcending that subjectivity. Thus, meeting requisites of right reason and of prudence. KF

  182. 182
    MatSpirit says:

    KF @ 152
    Thanks for the history lesson and thanks for confirming what I wrote. The Emperor moved his capital to Constantinople and left the dregs in dirty old worn out Rome, along with the junior Emperor. The A-Team eventually morphed into the various Orthodox faiths and the B-Team morphed into the various Catholic-Protestant faiths.

  183. 183
    MatSpirit says:

    BA77 @ 158

    Thanks for the ample response. It must have taken a couple of minutes to cut and paste it.

    I agree completely with Heina Dadabhoy about who gets jailed and for what. That’s what us liberals have been telling you for years now, but you conservatives keep blowing us away. Meanwhile, there are people serving life sentences for marijuana while you live in a city dotted with legal dispensaries that will sell you all the weed you can consume.

    What I don’t understand is why you argue that atheists are smarter and better educated than theists as if that was some kind of point in your favor!

    The Conservapedia links are a little – about what you’d expect from Conservapedia. And the Theodore Beale / Vox Day quotes are always appreciated. The Van Til quote is just him slagging his opponants. He might as well call atheists poopy-faces.

    In some message, you recommended a book, “Who Really Cares”. I found a used copy on Amazon for $1.99, so I ordered it. I think I remember reading some reviews of it when it came out about 15 years ago and if I remember right, he got a lot of criticism. Things like counting all the money you give to the church as a charitable contribution when most of it goes to paying for the church and pastor, which benefits you. I’ll see when the book arrives.

    KF and BA

    You’re both using the No True Scotsman fallacy. When you use things like how often a person goes to church as a criteria for religiosity, you’re tilting your sample more to people who are living more stable lives. Homeless people seldom go to church, for instance and they’re more likely to receive charity than give it. And becoming integrated into just about any group helps you enormously.

    Speaking of that, I’m working on a message laying out what morality is, what it’s for and why we have it, but tigers, leopards and eagles don’t. But for now, sleep.

  184. 184
    kairosfocus says:

    MS,

    with all respect, you have missed the essential points. Start with, there was no splitting of the core faith, as the in-common Nicene Creed — largely based on 1 Cor 15, with Rom 1, Jn 1, Col 1 and Heb 1 playing key roles — shows. Notice, too, how close the Apostle’s creed, which was never hammered out in a council but reflects centuries of tradition, is.

    There were indeed two main splits, none of them regarding core theology, 1054 and 1517 on — that’s at least 700 and about 1300 years on past Constantine’s day.

    These splits have more to do with sinful errors, abuses due to autocratic and oligarchic power structures, stubbornness, needless polarisation and the like than with core substance. Shameful, but precisely the wheat and tares pattern as Jesus foretold.

    As to B-team, no informed person would take the likes of Anselm, or Augustine of Hippo, or Jerome, or Augustine the lesser (key missionary to Britain) or a Patrick or a Gregory or later on an Aquinas as inferior. A Boethius though less well known, speaks eloquently to the period after the collapse of Roman power in the W and the linked rise of Germanic kings.

    There was collapse, due to pandemics, economic decline, barbarian invasions and military defeats, but that did not turn the Western branches of the faith into inferior, essentially heretical and false versions of the faith. Errors, sins and eras of wrong in power, yes, fundamental erosion of the core, no. And for sure, the shifting of the main capital did not set up the decline.

    The military-economic-political situation of Rome was fundamentally unsustainable, reflected in the failure of the Republic and resort to Empire by c 50 BC. By 9 AD, defeat and destruction of three legions in Germany [under Augustus] meant that they would not gain the lands and people of Germany and shorter river lines. The long strategic defence simply slowed the process, meanwhile inflation turned the silver denarius into the copper penny. At a certain point when fresh issues were made the government insisted on taxes being paid in older issue; Gresham’s law on steroids. In the 200’s the empire nearly collapsed and was restored by an Arab queen. The logistics, military challenges and communication difficulties drove the decision to restructure core government on the four emperor system, only to feed into the longstanding problem of civil wars and coups.

    Such is of course part of the ferment that guided thinkers such as Locke and the American framers and founders, as well as those who hammered out the underlying double covenant view of nationhood and government under God, with natural law for morally governed creatures as the stable framework in which civil law has objective reference.

    This is the root of modern liberty and representational, constitutional democracy.

    That’s why Locke cites Anglican canon Richard Hooker in a key passage in Ch 2 of his second essay on Civil Government, and it is why a pope highly praised the same work, Ecclesiastical Polity. Let me quote:

    [Locke, 2nd Treatise on Civil Gov’t, Ch 2 sec. 5:] . . . 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 . . . [This directly echoes St. Paul in 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 . . . “ and 13: “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 to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law . . . “ Hooker then continues, citing Aristotle in The Nicomachean Ethics, Bk 8:] 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.] [Augmented citation, Locke, Second Treatise on Civil Government, Ch 2 Sect. 5. ]

    You have exaggerated differences and have implied or suggested a fundamental heretical inferiority that is not justified.

    KF

  185. 185
    kairosfocus says:

    MS, you are beating a dead horse. If you do not recognise that there is a world of difference between basic nominal, cultural identity and serious, life transforming commitment, you have missed the point of say wheat vs tares, much less the obvious socio-cultural dynamics at work and leading to the structure of statistics that are being abused. Worse, such is in service to distracting from an indubitable worldviews challenge that has faced evolutionary materialism since Plato’s day, and which has haunted power systems on and off ever since. KF

    PS: I again point out Plato’s un-answered warning:

    Ath [in The Laws, Bk X 2,360 ya]. . . .[The avant garde philosophers and poets, c. 360 BC] say that fire and water, and earth and air [i.e the classical “material” elements of the cosmos], all exist by nature and chance, and none of them by art . . . [such that] all that is in the heaven, as well as animals and all plants, and all the seasons come from these elements, not by the action of mind, as they say, or of any God, or from art, but as I was saying, by nature and chance only [ –> that is, evolutionary materialism is ancient and would trace all things to blind chance and mechanical necessity] . . . .

    [Thus, they hold] that the principles of justice have no existence at all in nature, but that mankind are always disputing about them and altering them; and that the alterations which are made by art and by law have no basis in nature, but are of authority for the moment and at the time at which they are made.-

    [ –> Relativism, too, is not new; complete with its radical amorality rooted in a worldview that has no foundational IS that can ground OUGHT, leading to an effectively arbitrary foundation only for morality, ethics and law: accident of personal preference, the ebbs and flows of power politics, accidents of history and and the shifting sands of manipulated community opinion driven by “winds and waves of doctrine and the cunning craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming . . . ” cf a video on Plato’s parable of the cave; from the perspective of pondering who set up the manipulative shadow-shows, why.]

    These, my friends, are the sayings of wise men, poets and prose writers, which find a way into the minds of youth. They are told by them that the highest right is might,

    [ –> Evolutionary materialism — having no IS that can properly ground OUGHT — leads to the promotion of amorality on which the only basis for “OUGHT” is seen to be might (and manipulation: might in “spin”) . . . ]

    and in this way the young fall into impieties, under the idea that the Gods are not such as the law bids them imagine; and hence arise factions [ –> Evolutionary materialism-motivated amorality “naturally” leads to continual contentions and power struggles influenced by that amorality at the hands of ruthless power hungry nihilistic agendas], these philosophers inviting them to lead a true life according to nature, that is,to live in real dominion over others [ –> such amoral and/or nihilistic factions, if they gain power, “naturally” tend towards ruthless abuse and arbitrariness . . . they have not learned the habits nor accepted the principles of mutual respect, justice, fairness and keeping the civil peace of justice, so they will want to deceive, manipulate and crush — as the consistent history of radical revolutions over the past 250 years so plainly shows again and again], and not in legal subjection to them [–> nihilistic will to power not the spirit of justice and lawfulness].

  186. 186
    kairosfocus says:

    PPS: Most criminals tend to be working class but generally they are not the bulk of the homeless. In the US, the homelessness problem is directly tied to ill advised closure of institutional care of the mentally disturbed and to the impact of drugs and alcohol. It remains the case that in a community where 4/5 or so have identity with the dominant nominal cultural religious identity, across classes — it is denominations and sects that will more reflect the class pattern — nominal Christian identity will naturally dominate all sorts of statistics. Mix that with the wheat and tares pattern and it will be clear that there is a world of difference between serious commitment and discipleship [and proxies for this] and nominal affinity. Such is obvious, the significant issue is why the resistance and why statistics have been abused to try to project the notion that the Christian faith is fundamentally morally corrupt and corrupting. The answer is equally obvious, as that faith is the last remaining champion of objective morality in our civilisation so agit prop tactics are being used to try to undermine its influence. What is being distracted from, is the core reason why responsible, rational, significantly free creatures will be under built in government of first duties and wider natural law. Which, historically, has been the breakthrough framework for modern liberty and constitutional democracy. Such will not end well.

  187. 187
    kairosfocus says:

    PPPS: MS, do you not see how your arguments inescapably pivot on the identified first duties of reason? See how a first principle level core truth acts? The issue you need to address, then is those first duties and where they point. That is what is decisive.

  188. 188
    Marfin says:

    Matspirit- When you are telling us plebs what morality is don`t forget to include how you know your definition is correct , and how you tested said definition to come to said conclusion.
    And also if you believe that what Constantine or others of his ilk set up was anything to do with true Christianity boy you know so little about Christianity. All you need to be a christian today is like all we ever needed over the last 2000 years, Gods word , which now resides in the new testament.
    Anyone in the world can pick up a copy read it, obey it, and become a christian , no rulers needed.

  189. 189
    kairosfocus says:

    MF, in principle yes all that is needed is a sound reading of scripture. However, that sound reading, strictly needs to be in informed Koine Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic, informed by a corpus of scholarship as the relevant language forms and context have faded from day to day life. In that context, we will rapidly see that translations depend on quality and integrity of scholarship and that we further need to acquire a considerable body of background knowledge and deep familiarity to be able to stand up and speak in our own right with reliability. In that context, the Nicene Creed is in fact very well warranted by scripture [and it cuts across Constantine’s personal views insofar as we can make out . . . deathbed baptism and that by an Arian bishop speak]. On discipleship, I find that Heb 6:1 – 2 and Ac 2:37 – 47 as well as Titus 2:11 – 14, Eph 2:8 – 10 etc need to be far better heeded. And no, I don’t buy the idea that the word of the beginnings of Christ is the C1 version of the OT framework. More can be said on Constantine’s mixed record but in fact the challenges that reached breaking point c 1517 were long in coming, they built up over centuries and became entangled in power politics. Similarly, the moral collapse of our civilisation has been coming for a very long time. You will see that I am starting from inescapable first duties of reasoning — directly tied to Cicero et al and to Paul’s remarks in Rom 2 and 13 which endorse a core of moral government being written in our hearts — to help us go back to roots. The pattern of distractive arguments above is implicit testimony on the force of the point. We are morally governed, starting with our intelligence and rationality. This points to the root of reality and it frames a needed reformation. Which will always be resisted. KF

  190. 190
  191. 191
    Marfin says:

    KF – So God sent his son to die for my sins, but if I am not a Greek scholar I am out of luck. So when I read in the new Testament , that Jesus is the only saviour, I must believe in him,I must confess my sins, I must repent, I must be baptised, I must then walk in a manner worthy of his calling me , that somehow I am missing something and need a Greek scholar to explain these simple verses to me so I can be saved I don`t think so.
    Read acts 11.14 , 1 Cor 15 . , James 1.21 . There are many many more but for now these will do.

  192. 192
    kairosfocus says:

    MF,

    while the core message of the gospel is simple enough for those who have not been caught up in systems that set up crooked yardsticks as standards of what is straight and upright, it and its warrant can be extraordinarily difficult for those who have not been so privileged. Consider the case of someone convinced that the assured laws of Science forbid miracles or rule out the supernatural. A whole raft of worldviews issues surface in such a case. Likewise, those who have been taught in certain sects will perceive the text in light of that teaching and where there is error, establishing and correcting that can be difficult indeed. For example, what is the correct English reading of Jn 1:! requires reckoning with Greek language issues. Where, Koine Greek is not our native or an everyday language for us.

    I recall here, the hot dispute of about 40 years ago on the continued validity of spiritual gifts.

    Going on to other things, perhaps Peter should be allowed to speak, in the closing words of his theological will:

    2 Peter 3:15 And consider the patience of our Lord [His delay in judging and avenging wrongs] as salvation [that is, allowing time for more to be saved]; just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given to him [by God], 16 speaking about these things as he does in all of his letters. In which there are some things that are difficult to understand, which the untaught and unstable [who have fallen into error] twist and misinterpret, just as they do the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction. 17 Therefore, [let me warn you] beloved, knowing these things beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of [c]unprincipled men [who distort doctrine] and fall from your own steadfastness [of mind, knowledge, truth, and faith], 18 but grow [spiritually mature] in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be glory (honor, majesty, splendor), both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. [AMP]

    Not everything is simple and straightforward in itself, and even of what is, if one has worldviews and indoctrination challenges, it can be very difficult to see what is in itself simple.

    That is the context in which I wrote earlier. Yes, one standing in a credible tradition has a reasonable right to speak freely [e.g. a typical Sunday School teacher or lay Evangelist or even many parsons], however when one sets out to speak in his own right, one had better have done the detailed spadework to equip himself. That spadework has to address original language with a familiarity in which once one hears an issue or context, the span of scripture and relevant background springs to mind. Accurately and soundly.

    In short, Doctors of the church, apologists and the like need to be well grounded indeed.

    KF

  193. 193
    MatSpirit says:

    KF @ 184
    Most of the core beliefs stayed the same, but the Church split into two separate Churches and went their separate ways. They’ve been warring on and off ever since. Mostly Catholics massacring Orthodox, but sometimes Muslims joined in. I think Atheist Stalin did too. I was surprised and rather appalled at the amount of murder, mayhem and outright massacre that Orthodox Christians have endured. It makes me rather contemptuous when a Christians complains loud and long because the nasty old government is insisting that he serves everybody and serving fags / blacks / Jews / whatever else walks in the door.

    Western Christians were killing large numbers of Eastern Christians as recently as a few decades ago. Look up what went on in WWII when the Nazis joined up with the Catholics. And don’t forget former Yugoslavia a few decades ago. DEFINITELY two different religions.

    As for your list of intellectual heroes, they look a little different from outside the bubble. There, you will see them mostly as part of the history that led to this or that idea. I’ve run into too many self styled Thomists to have much use for Acquinas, but I do have a soft spot in my heart for Anselm. From what I’ve read of him, he was a decent man living in very turbulent times dealing with a pretty nasty king and managed to keep the body count low, plus he was reputed to like children. He also got a resolution against the English slave trade passed. What’s not to like?

    As a philosopher, he was limited by lack of knowledge of how we think. For instance, take

    That than which a greater cannot be thought can be thought.

    The problem here is that we don’t think of something too complex or great to comprehend, we create a symbol inside our head, adorn the symbol with a few references to awe and might, not to the greater thing itself, which is too complex for our tiny intellect to comprehend.

    Thus, the next sentence is not logically true:

    If that than which a greater cannot be thought can be thought, it exists in reality.

    But it doesn’t. You can’t comprehend anything you can’t comprehend, you just make a symbol for this ‘greater thing’, point it to a few other concepts and then refer to the symbol. A symbol in your head isn’t going to create anything.

    Your quote from Locke and Hooker is basically the Golden Rule and that’s the basis of all morality. If the world ever stops falling apart around me, you’ll see I base my morality on the Golden Rule too, so good on them.

  194. 194
    kairosfocus says:

    MS, you telescoped 700 years of history in the first instance. However, by implication you acknowledged that the core theological summary of the Christian faith is in common across the fissures that have developed. That statement can be readily shown to be properly rooted in the C1 apostolic deposit. The historical circumstances also show that it cut across Constantine’s personal inclinations, and won the day because of its merits. Yes, awful things have been done by people in a civilisation with strong Christian influences, with clear indications [the Nazis, the Bolsheviks] of what would further obtain if that influence is removed or decisively weakened. Amazingly, you still seem to overlook the single worst — and ongoing — holocaust in history. In that context, that you lump Nazism in with the Christian faith shows that you are determined to taint and refuse to acknowledge the blatant fact: cultural identity and nominal link is worlds apart from repentance, commitment and sound discipleship based transformation. That speaks also. More later, I have a potential emerging epidemic to address. KF

  195. 195
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N — newswatch: 80+ pax MNI on same x-Atlantic flight as the first confirmed Covid-19 ANU. Contacted, told self isolate. Gatherings of 50+ are restricted until April 3 and this may be extended. Schools are closed. Fun stuff! KF

  196. 196
    kairosfocus says:

    MS, I just note that Aquinas is not to be equated to Thomists. The dumb ox fills the world with his bellowing. Nor is he merely an intellectual hero of mine, the fact is, he is one of the pivotal thinkers in the flow of intellectual history. Likewise, Moshe, Isiah, Jesus, Paul, Augustine and more. It is not merely “in a bubble,” the refusal to learn from history and its predictable consequences is itself a lesson. KF

    PS: Heine has a lesson from 1831 — yes, 100 years before the fact — that predicted the true nature of Nazism and the like:

    Christianity — and that is its greatest merit — has somewhat mitigated that brutal German love of war, but it could not destroy it. Should that subduing talisman, the cross, be shattered [–> the Swastika, visually, is a twisted, broken cross . . do not overlook the obvious], the frenzied madness of the ancient warriors, that insane Berserk rage of which Nordic bards have spoken and sung so often, will once more burst into flame [–> an irrational battle- and blood- lust]. …

    The old stone gods will then rise from long ruins and rub the dust of a thousand years from their eyes, and Thor will leap to life with his giant hammer and smash the Gothic cathedrals. …

    Do not smile at my advice — the advice of a dreamer who warns you against Kantians, Fichteans, and philosophers of nature. Do not smile at the visionary who anticipates the same revolution in the realm of the visible as has taken place in the spiritual. Thought precedes action as lightning precedes thunder. German thunder … comes rolling somewhat slowly, but … its crash … will be unlike anything before in the history of the world.

    At that uproar the eagles of the air will drop dead [–> cf. air warfare, symbol of the USA], and lions in farthest Africa [–> the lion is a key symbol of Britain, cf. also the North African campaigns] will draw in their tails and slink away. … A play will be performed in Germany which will make the French Revolution look like an innocent idyll. [Religion and Philosophy in Germany, 1831]

  197. 197
    Axel says:

    Firstly, Darwinsim is wrong, so the question is hypothetical in a way that reflects poorly on the character of the questioner ; but secondly – and for obvious reasons this is not normally spelt out – what is normally held to be the acme of fitness is the possession by an individual of a high wordly intelligence, without reference to the larger spiritual realm and its Divine Sovereign, whose criteria of human fitness for ETERNAL survival in a state of eternal bliss tends to be the antithesis of worldly wisdom, ie. spiritual wisdom, which must underpin the worldly wisdom and trasfigure it, to fit into the ‘big picture’. ‘Where your treasure is, there your heart is.’ The manual worker may be considered to be lacking in worldly wisdom, but that is because he tends to be more strongly focused on spiritual values and priorities favoured by our still vestigial Christian culture, however informal his faith ; hence the beauty and the truth of The Beatitudes.

    Moreover, so sorely lacking in spiritual nous as to presume to judge the fitness of other races to survive, racist Darwinists prove themselves to be misguided, to say the least, here as elsewhere as atheists, even on a worldly level.

    It seems to me arguable that the most likely scenario relating to the ancestors of the black, sub-Saharan Africans today, is that they would have driven out the weaker tribes, who then dispersed across the globe.

    There is a saying relating to Africa, ‘See Africa and die,’ not disparaging but, rather, casting it as a kind of Shangri-La ; perhaps one might describe it as a land of ‘low-hanging fruit’, encouraging a ‘come day, go day, roll on Sunday’ attitude, not so inimical to spiritual sensitivity as to the materialism of the technologically-advance West. Parenthetically, it strikes me that the Australian aborigines and the Hottentots in Africa (who would have preferred desert life to exile abroad), whether good or bad individually, would be, so to speak ‘natural mystics’.

    There is a common anecdotal perception that people with high IQs tend to be weedy, nerdy characters (such as my good self), whereas it is abundantly clear to anyone living near a fairly prestigious unversity that that would be far from being the case. In fact it is well established in surveys that people of above average height are of above aveage IQ. So, given the chance, it seems highly likely that, on a level playing-field, and given their greater spiritual sensitivity, they will give the Jewish people a run for their money, intellectually, in the course of time.

    As a result, therefore, of the natural bounty of sub-Saharan Africa, the progress of the black Africans in developing their natural resources would have been held back by Providence, countervailing in a sense against their egregious athleticism. Presumably, in that scenario, the rest of mankind has physically deteriorated in the meantime, but due to the challenges to survival presented by colder climates, the further North they migrated, the worldly intelligence (what we are pleased to call simply ‘intelligence’) has tended to be more sharply honed, making it much easier for the European, Jewish and Arabian slavers to demonically exploit them. Nothing, however, favoured the world’s technological deveopment so much as the Christian origination and development of the scientific endeavour, as is so often noted on here ; indeed now via:

    https://uncommondescent.com/philosophy/myths-about-christianity-and-science-part-ii-with-mike-keas/

  198. 198
    Axel says:

    My apologies. In the last paragraph, above, I had meant to indicate that the apparently higher development of worldly intelligence of the ‘exiles’, the further north they spread (though generally outside of sub-Saharan Africa), as a result of the necesity to cope with colder climes. By no means an innate inferiority.

    In the mosaic Law, Yahweh decreed that no-one should be punished with more than 40 lashes, “lest they become degraded in the eyes of their fellows” ; but it seems that the chattel slavery of later times inflicted on the s-S African captives by European, Jewish and Arabic merchants “merchants” has had precisely that effect. We need to see the media showing more young black lads suits and ties, and less of the ‘rapping’, cap back-to-front pictures of young, black lads. Their acceptance by the youth entertainment culture seems therefore a mixed blessing.

    All credit to the American media for having black newscasters and anchor people on the TV. It should become progressively easier to identify with them., as simply different-looking versions of ourselves ; more difficult for me.perhaps than most, having grown up as a young child before the immigration of the wonderful West Indians.

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