Intelligent Design Mind

Clown Fish, Subjectivism, and the Great Moral Gap

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As we know, subjectivists labor endlessly to convince us that their morality is on a par with the natural law. Clown Fish, for example, insists that, like objectivists, he follows rules and is governed by “oughtness.”

My moral values are very strongly held. They govern many of the things I do. I believe that others OUGHT to comply with my moral values.

He further states that, like objectivists, he believes that the state should also be governed by “oughtness.”

You (kairosfocus) really have to work on your reading comprehension. Your continuing insistence on disagreeing with me about our government by OUGHTness when I have repeatedly stated that I agree with you on our government by OUGHTness suggests that some unhealthy pathology is at work.

This is pure unadulterated sophistry. When the subjectivist claims that he is governed by “oughtness,” he really means that he is governed by *his* ought, not by *the* ought. In other words, he is not governed by oughtness at all because he is the governor of his own oughtness–a conveniently-crafted moral code that just happens to harmonize with his life style.

By contrast, the objectivist, who is governed by *the* ought, must submit to a moral code that binds him from the outside. Since he doesn’t choose that standard, its requirements are not always congenial with his inclinations and often demand a great deal of moral exertion. It requires leaving his emotional comfort zone to bridge the gap between where he is and where he ought to be. But whatever the cost, there is a definitive moral target to be aimed at, which means that moral growth, moral success, or moral failure are all real possibilities.

Objective morality operates in the arena of personal habits. The “ought” is the evaluator and the individual is the thing being evaluated. If there could be such a thing as a mid-term report card from nature, the objectivist’s grades would reflect his moral performance: During that span, he might receive a B+ for persistence, or a D- for courage, or A- for kindness, or an F for patience, and so on. The growth process is uneven. Sometimes, it means gaining ground in one virtue at the expense of losing ground in another. If the moral realist really tries to be good, (harder than it sounds) he will be shocked to find out how bad he is. It will become evident that the gap between the real and the ideal is much wider than was first believed. At that point, his moral failures have introduced him to himself and moral growth can begin.

The subjectivist, on the other hand, is not interested in knowing his true moral condition. That is why he indulges himself with the false consolation that there is really no such thing as a “good” man. Under the circumstances, he can spare himself the task of becoming one. If there are no moral virtues, then there are no moral targets to aim for—no gap to be bridged between the real and the ideal. The subjectivist is already where he needs to be, thank you very much.

His delusional and custom-made morality fits his behavior like a glove and, in his mind, releases him from the obligation of replacing bad habits with good ones, neither of which are real to him. If there is no need for moral improvement, then there is no need for moral exertion. Like the student who grades his own papers, the subjectivist can’t fail; he gets an A every time. Never mind that his perceived excellence is an illusion.

So watch out when a subjectivist claims that he is governed by “oughtness” and wants our government to operate by the same principle. Make no mistake. He doesn’t want the state to be governed by *the* ought, so that everyone, including the ruling class, will be held morally accountable. He wants the state to be the governor of its *own* ought, so that it can arrogate unto itself the power to grant any right, real or imagined, and pass any law, just or unjust, so long as it “feels” right.

Liberalism, subjectivism, and relativism inevitably lead to the loss of real moral standards and the political freedoms that depend on them. Meanwhile, the bullies in waiting wear the mask of false compassion until their moment arrives. It’s a well-established expression, but it bears repeating: Inside every liberal is a totalitarian screaming to get out. If you don’t believe it, just say hello to one of them while they are terrorizing or beating up supporters at a Donald Trump rally. Subjectivists just don’t feel that moral tension between where they are and where they ought to be.

 

86 Replies to “Clown Fish, Subjectivism, and the Great Moral Gap

  1. 1
    clown fish says:

    This is pure unadulterated sophistry. When the subjectivist claims that he is governed by “oughtness,” he really means that he is governed by *his* ought, not by *the* ought. In other words, he is not governed by oughtness at all because he is the governor of his own oughtness–a conveniently-crafted moral code that just happens to harmonize with his life style.”

    You are really missing the point. There are only two possible realities:

    1 –> objective morality exists.
    2 –> objective morality does not exist.

    Regardless of which one we personally believe, only one of these can be true. I assume that we all believe this to be true.

    If objective morality exists then someone who believes that morality is subjective is, in reality, being governed by “the” ought. Conversely, if objective morality does not exist, people who believe in objective morality are actually being governed by “his/her” individual ought. Again, I think that we all agree with this. In short, how we are actually governed (“the” ought or “his/her” ought) is not affected in any way by whether we believe that morals are objective or subjective.

    This being said, the argument for objective morality by invoking the IS/OUGHT nonsense is pointless. It is nothing more than mental self-gratification. That is why I prefer to follow the evidence. I like self-gratification as much as the next man, put it serves no purpose other than to make you feel good.

  2. 2
    Mung says:

    The lengths people will go to, to deny objective moral values. As if it really matters.

  3. 3
    Mung says:

    There are only two possible realities:

    There is only one reality. Good Exists.

  4. 4
    StephenB says:

    Clown Fish

    If objective morality exists then someone who believes that morality is subjective is, in reality, being governed by “the” ought.

    No. He is being affected by *the* ought, but he is not being governed by it. He is governed by *his* ought, which defines and shapes his moral choices. He will not allow *the* ought to govern him.

    This being said, the argument for objective morality by invoking the IS/OUGHT nonsense is pointless. It is nothing more than mental self-gratification.

    Very few people understand the Is/ought argument, which is why I seldom discuss it. When the idea was first introduced, it meant, correctly, that you cannot establish morality (ought) from factual events or observed behaviors (is). That is correct.

    However, you can certainly establish the ought from the is when the is means the nature of the universe. If God exists, then we ought to follow his morality. If God doesn’t exist, then we ought not to bother with morality at all. Why bother with something that doesn’t exist? In that sense, we can establish the ought from the is.

    That is why I prefer to follow the evidence. I like self-gratification as much as the next man, put it serves no purpose other than to make you feel good.

    Evidence does not speak for itself. It must be followed and interpreted in a rational way. If you think that the evidence points to subjective morality, then you are not interpreting it in a rational way.

  5. 5
    clown fish says:

    StephenB, thank you for responding without resorting to personal attack, as others do. I take that as a sign of the weakness of their argument.

    But, I think that we both agree, the IS/OUGHT concept is of little help in resolving the issue.

    No. He is being affected by *the* ought, but he is not being governed by it.”

    Fair enough. I would agree. But the same would apply if morality was subjective. We would be affected by it (sometimes very strongly) but we could decide to not follow it.

    However, you can certainly establish the ought from the is when the is means the nature of the universe”

    Again I agree.

    If God exists, then we ought to follow his morality. If God doesn’t exist, then we ought not to bother with morality at all.”

    This is where we disagree. If you are defining morality as something that can only be defined by God, then you win by definition. But God does not appear in most definitions of morality to the same extent that it does in the definitions of “evil” and “sin”. Morality can be I dependant of God.

    Evidence does not speak for itself.”

    Very true.

    If you think that the evidence points to subjective morality, then you are not interpreting it in a rational way.”

    Then feel free to enlighten me.

  6. 6
    Mung says:

    StephenB, thank you for responding without resorting to personal attack, as others do. I take that as a sign of the weakness of their argument.

    Right. They ought not respond that way.

  7. 7

    Mung@6: Why should they “ought not respond that way”?

  8. 8
    Seversky says:

    StephenB @ 4

    However, you can certainly establish the ought from the is when the is means the nature of the universe

    How can that be? Previously you wrote:

    When the idea was first introduced, it meant, correctly, that you cannot establish morality (ought) from factual events or observed behaviors (is). That is correct.

    In what ways are “factual events or observed behaviors (is)” different from “the nature of the universe” other than being a part of that nature?

    If God exists, then we ought to follow his morality.

    Why ought we to follow His morality? In what ways are His views any less subjective than our own?

    If God doesn’t exist, then we ought not to bother with morality at all. Why bother with something that doesn’t exist?

    Because rules that regulate human behavior so as to protect the interests of all makes for a society that is safer, more secure, fairer and more just? Isn’t that in and of itself “a consummation devoutly to be wished”?

  9. 9
    goodusername says:

    StephenB,

    Since he doesn’t choose that standard, its requirements are not always congenial with his inclinations and often demand a great deal of moral exertion.

    Interesting – do you mean that there are there moral standards that you follow that you personally don’t feel or sense are right?
    I’m reminded of an interview I once saw of someone who said he personally felt that there was nothing wrong with being a homosexual, but would still help stone homosexuals if given the chance because that’s what God’s laws called for (I forget what country he was from). Is that the sort of thing you’re talking about?

    If God exists, then we ought to follow his morality.

    Why?

    If God doesn’t exist, then we ought not to bother with morality at all.

    Why “ought” we not bother with morality? With or without God, I don’t want to be murdered, robbed, beaten, etc, and neither do others. And because of empathy, most people don’t want such things to happen to others as well. Given that, I can’t conceive that a system of morality wouldn’t develop.

  10. 10
    Andre says:

    What is this obsession with homosexuality?

    Jesus answered the stoning question to everyone.

    “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.”

    Do you understand what that means?

    Then morality can’t evolve from non-morality Darwinian mechanisms can only work with atoms. Morality is not made of atoms…

  11. 11
    Mung says:

    Mung@6: Why should they “ought not respond that way”?

    Because it’s objectively morally wrong. Obviously.

  12. 12
    kairosfocus says:

    SB, well said. KF

  13. 13
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N:

    I think we should note the rhetorical-moral trap of so identifying with wrongful behaviours and agendas that when their wrongfulness is pointed out or corrected, we find ourselves “triggered” on grounds of being personally attacked.

    Still more, We must beware of the rhetoric of shooting at the messenger who bears unwelcome news, and of the turnabout rhetorical tactic of projecting blame the better to duck addressing the substantial issue.

    Unfortunately, it is fair comment to say that this has been a persistent problem among advocates of radical subjectivism, extreme nominalism and thoroughgoing relativism.

    Where, for instance, the modifiers I just used have been turned into rhetorically convenient trigger words.

    Radical — from the roots, as in from the root level of worldviews.

    Extreme, as opposed to moderate or occasional: there are some things where there is no essential nature at stake that drives understanding of meanings so it is indeed a matter of convenient labels and conventions for such, e.g. the definition of the 7 core SI units of measurement. But when core nature, meaning and principles are at stake extreme nominalism on say marriage — deeply connected to our nature as morally governed, responsibly free sexually differentiated creatures who require a stable, sound, committed, healthy family environment for proper nurture and growth — opens the door to might and manipulation make ‘right,’ ‘truth,’ ‘justice,’ ‘meaning,’ ‘sex’ etc nihilism. Too often, enforced under false colour of law. With all sorts of onward implications for the usurpation of the state in the interests of ruthless faction agendas.

    Thoroughgoing, or the like, takes nominalism and subjectivism and puts them into socio-cultural or personal circumstances, so that for instance the mere fact of diversity of opinion on a subject is seen as proof that here is no objective truth about it. As has been pointed out endlessly [and as has been consistently studiously ignored], that error exists is undeniably true, and people have had diverse sometimes strongly held views that were objectively in error on any number of topics.

    For instance, Columbus was objectively wrong that the circumference of the world was as small as he hoped, and his critics were right. Both were ignorant of the presence of the Americas a 3-months sail away from Europe. Similarly, we are wrong today to imagine that educated people 500 years ago thought the world was flat.

    So, mere difference of opinion has no import for whether or no there are objective moral truths, or even self evident ones.

    Where in fact the evidence is, that objective and even self evident and powerful moral truths exist and are commonly known to do so.

    Thus, the trigger word tactic, fails.

    KF

  14. 14
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: Let us refresh our memories on self evident moral truths as has been repeatedly brought to attention for several weeks now in reply to 07’s challenge:

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

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

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

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

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

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

    So also, it is not only possible to

    (a) be in demonstrable moral error, but also

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

    For instance:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    It is clear that there is no cogent relativist response to the objectivity or the grounding of moral governance. Indeed, it looks a lot like animosity motivates attempts to undermine what they do not like, while trying to manipulate then through lawfare to usurp the sword of justice and impose will to power.

    Long, grim history paid for in blood and tears serves as a warning, if we will heed it . . .

  15. 15
    kairosfocus says:

    PPS: Observe:

    My moral values are very strongly held. They govern many of the things I do. I believe that others OUGHT to comply with my moral values.

    Of course, this is personal relativism and invites the projection: how dare YOU try to impose YOUR outdated, intolerant bigoted “Christian” morals on us.

    The problem is, that this omits the possibility of correct-able moral error and genuine progress to sound moral understanding.

    Which then creates a circumstance where refusing to acknowledge well grounded moral truth — yes, assertions involving or implying ought/ought not, thence freedoms, rights & responsibilities (so also, justice) etc that accurately describe facets of reality — is grave error. An error which is then too often mislabelled progress and imposed through agit-prop and lawfare, classic cultural marxist tactics. (And each and every one of those terms can be objectively justified so the trigger word game stumbles fatally in the starting-gate.)

    Where, the core argument is not religion but philosophy, at world-root level . . . as Paul, Hooker and Locke are at pains to point out: in a world in which we imply that we are responsibly and rationally free by participating in discussion, it is patent that there will be principles of logical, epistemological and moral warrant.

    Thus, particularly, manifestly evident core principles of the natural moral law evident to a responsible, reasonably mature person. (For example, as was again outlined above: and if you disagree kindly explain otherwise the urgency towards the right and the truth which is the point of beginning just above; without ending in grand delusion and/or nihilism. Label, deride and dismiss will not do.)

    In this context, I point to a remark I am informed comes from the angelic doctor:

    In learning we must begin with what is easier, unless necessity dictates otherwise. For sometimes in learning it is necessary to start, not with what is easier, but with that on which the knowledge of subsequent matters depends. That is why in acquiring knowledge we must begin with logic; not because it is easier than other sciences (for it involves the greatest difficulty,…), but because the other sciences depend on it inasmuch as it teaches the method of proceeding in all the sciences. And, as [Aristotle’s] Metaphysics says, we must know the method of science, before science itself.” [Commentary on the De Trinitate of Boethius, vi. 1. Ad.3 cf: http://www.logicmuseum.com/aut.....hiumq6.htm ]

    Points to ponder.

  16. 16
    StephenB says:

    seversky

    In what ways are “factual events or observed behaviors (is)” different from “the nature of the universe” other than being a part of that nature?

    An excellent question!

    Circumstances under which we cannot derive the ought from the is

    A factual event or observed behavior (is) with no other information tells us nothing about morality (ought). Person A kills person B, for example. I cannot derive any kind of morality from that event. The fact, acting alone, does not provide enough information to judge the rightness or wrongness of the act. I need something more, such as information concerning the moral law or the inherent dignity of the human person.

    Circumstances under which we can derive the ought from the is

    If something—anything—is made for a purpose (is), then its proper use is for the sake of that purpose (ought) . So, if God designs man for a purpose and a nature for him to pursue it (is) we can conclude that man ought to act according to that purpose and nature.

    SB: If God doesn’t exist, then we ought not to bother with morality at all. Without purpose, there is no morality. Why bother with something that doesn’t exist?

    Because rules that regulate human behavior so as to protect the interests of all makes for a society that is safer, more secure, fairer and more just?

    Why should a society be safe, secure, fair, and just? Why shouldn’t a strong tyrant keep the people unsafe and insecure so that he can satisfy his lust for power?

    Isn’t that in and of itself “a consummation devoutly to be wished”?

    Why should those wishes be honored?

  17. 17
    StephenB says:

    kairosfocus @12, Thank you!

  18. 18
    clown fish says:

    KairosFocus: “Of course, this is personal relativism and invites the projection: how dare YOU try to impose YOUR outdated, intolerant bigoted “Christian” morals on us.”

    Nice persecution complex you have going there.

    The problem is, that this omits the possibility of correct-able moral error and genuine progress to sound moral understanding.”

    No it doesn’t. The majority of the western world has been corrected on their previously held moral view on homosexuality. SSM would not now be legal otherwise.

    Which then creates a circumstance where refusing to acknowledge well grounded moral truth — yes, assertions involving or implying ought/ought not, thence freedoms, rights & responsibilities (so also, justice) etc that accurately describe facets of reality — is grave error. “

    Yes, you should be commended on sticking to your opinion in spite of insurmountable evidence. That must require an incredible leap of FAITH.

    An error which is then too often mislabelled progress and imposed through agit-prop and lawfare, classic cultural marxist tactics.”

    Rules are always imposed by law. That has been the case for centuries. What were the previous laws against homosexual if not the result of agit-prop and lawfare. When the agit-prop lawfare supports your personally held beliefs, you remain silent, but when it is supporting something you disagree with it is now wrong.

    But I do find it extremely ironic at #13 that you complain about people attacking your character and, in so doing, attack their character.

  19. 19
    StephenB says:

    goodusername

    I don’t want to be murdered, robbed, beaten, etc, and neither do others. And because of empathy, most people don’t want such things to happen to others as well.

    So what? The murderer does want you murdered. The robber does want you robbed. The mugger does want you mugged.

  20. 20
    StephenB says:

    KairosFocus: “Of course, this is personal relativism and invites the projection: how dare YOU try to impose YOUR outdated, intolerant bigoted “Christian” morals on us.”

    Clown Fish

    Nice persecution complex you have going there.

    It is not a persecution complex. In this politically correct culture, any Christian who dares to express his faith in the public arena is branded exactly the way kairosfocus describes. I know because it has happened to me many times. The standard is to love the sinner (homosexual) and hate the sin (homosexual acts). That is exactly where I stand. The gay lobby twists this principle to mean that Christians hate the sinner, and are, therefore, bigots and haters. It is a lie. To reaffirm the point, I try to love the liar (not always easy) but I hate the lie.

  21. 21
    clown fish says:

    StephenB, did it ever occur to you that calling people sinners might just get under their skins? It doesn’t bother me because I know that sin is a theistic construct and not real. However, I am sure that there are thousands of homosexuals that consider themselves to be Christians. How would you react if people were constantly telling you (either directly or clearly inferred) that they were better Christians than you? Simply because you were gay, or had an inter-racial marriage, or had an abortion, or worked in an abortion clinic, or taught sex education to children, or supported SSM?

    Persecution is what ISIS is doing. What is happening in the western world, for the most part, is not persecution. It is criticism of some aspects of religion.

  22. 22
    StephenB says:

    Clown Fish @21, I think that I have addressed all your questions about the morality of feelings in my post. It appears that you have not read it. It really isn’t that long.

    Meanwhile, you ignored the substance of my comment @20, so I don’t think it would be appropriate to reward you by responding to your comment @21.

  23. 23
  24. 24

    My man, StephenB. Nice work!

  25. 25
    goodusername says:

    StephenB @19

    So what? The murderer does want you murdered. The robber does want you robbed. The mugger does want you mugged.

    So the rest of us view the murderer, robber, etc as immoral – not to mention criminal – and we put them in prison. That’s how society works.

  26. 26
    kairosfocus says:

    CF, the real issue is, is God real, and one of the strongest lines of evidence pointing to that is precisely the cluster of ontological and moral issues surrounding our being as responsibly free, rational individuals. Your implicit assertion of atheism (e.g. sin is a theistic construct and is not real) pivots on denial of our being a part of a creation, and in fact it is the atheistical, especially evolutionary materialist scientistic, view that is lacking in foundations. For, it is inherently self referentially incoherent and irretrievably amoral, which factors work to undermine the responsible, rational freedom necessary to even have a serious discussion. I suggest for the one willing to examine worldview foundations, the 101 here on. However, we do not need to go there to see that there is a well understood core moral domain readily perceived with conscience and which serves to guide us in moral government (on pain of descent into absurdity); so much so that this domain is one of the lines of evidence we need to reckon with. KF

  27. 27
    StephenB says:

    goodusername

    So the rest of us view the murderer, robber, etc as immoral – not to mention criminal – and we put them in prison. That’s how society works.

    You have not explained why you think that murderers and robbers are immoral. You have not explained why society should be made to work.

  28. 28
    StephenB says:

    Truth Will Set You Free @24, Thank you.

  29. 29
    goodusername says:

    StephenB,

    You have not explained why you think that murderers and robbers are immoral. You have not explained why society should be made to work.

    I believe morality is the result of certain desires (the desire to live, etc) and empathy. That is why it is widely viewed as immoral to kill, rob, etc.

    I can’t imagine a scenario where a group of sentient, intelligent, emotional beings, which have generally similar desires (the desire to live, to not be robbed, to not be beaten, etc), and which have empathy (and therefore its painful seeing others murdered, robbed, or beaten) would not develop a system of morality.

    I’m not sure what it means to say that “society should be made to work,” but people, in general, want society to work.

  30. 30
    StephenB says:

    goodusername

    I believe morality is the result of certain desires (the desire to live, etc) and empathy. That is why it is widely viewed as immoral to kill, rob, etc.

    How would you decide the morality of abortion based on the criteria that you just provided?

  31. 31
    goodusername says:

    StephenB, How would you decide the morality of abortion based on the criteria that you just provided?

    Well, at the point that one believes it would be murder, it would also be immoral.

    My question was not about just anyone, it was about you. What is your decision? (Based on your criteria, of course). Is abortion moral or immoral?

    Why would it be any different than how you decide the morality of abortion?

    Because subjective morality provides many different answers and many different criteria. Objective morality provides only on answer and one criteria.

  32. 32
    Andre says:

    Goodusername

    There is an old saying; what is good for the goose is good for the gander…..

  33. 33
    goodusername says:

    StephenB,

    My question was not about just anyone, it was about you. What is your decision? (Based on your criteria, of course). Is abortion moral or immoral?

    None of the criteria I’ve mentioned for the origin of morality has any bearing on embryology, but I personally feel that an abortion is murder once personhood begins appearing (intelligence, feelings, emotions, etc).

    Objective morality provides only on answer and one criteria.

    That’s utterly contrary to everything I’ve seen.

    Andre,

    There is an old saying; what is good for the goose is good for the gander…..

    k

  34. 34
    Andre says:

    goodusername

    None of the criteria I’ve mentioned for the origin of morality has any bearing on embryology, but I personally feel that an abortion is murder once personhood begins appearing (intelligence, feelings, emotions, etc).

    And if this is based on your feelings you would be wrong, scientifically the only difference is in degree of maturation, not in kind, between any of the stages from embryo, to fetus, infant and so on.

    Scientific literature might help? You are a champion of science right?

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pm.....MC2672893/

  35. 35
    goodusername says:

    Andre,

    And if this is based on your feelings you would be wrong, scientifically the only difference is in degree of maturation, not in kind, between any of the stages from embryo, to fetus, infant and so on.

    There’s only a difference in degree, not kind, between a single-celled zygote and a sentient, thinking, feeling, emotional fully grown adult? Ok, if you say so. But IMHO there’s more than a difference in degree between having a fully functional brain and having no neurons whatsoever.

    But the period at which the qualities of intelligence, feelings, etc begin is unfortunately fuzzy. However, there’s nothing about objective morality vs subjective morality that helps answer such questions.

  36. 36
    Andre says:

    goodusername

    I urge you to read the paper in full, study it understand it. Human beings from the moment of conception until our last breath is intrinsically valuable, it is the first self evident objective moral truth, and no right to life means no rights at all.

    This is the most important thing you can ever wrap your mind around. when you understand this many other things will fall in place.

  37. 37
    Andre says:

    goodusername

    There’s only a difference in degree, not kind, between a single-celled zygote and a sentient, thinking, feeling, emotional fully grown adult? Ok, if you say so.

    I’m not saying so, science is saying so and I happen to agree with science. You see that single cell has the all the information contained in it already to become the person it was meant to be.

  38. 38
    Andre says:

    Goodusername

    from the paper

    Again, the human embryo, from fertilization forward, develops in a single direction by an internally directed process: the developmental trajectory of this entity is determined from within, not by extrinsic factors, and always toward the same mature state, from the earliest stage of embryonic development onward. This means that the embryo has the same nature—it is the same kind of entity, a whole human organism—from fertilization forward; there is only a difference in degree of maturation between any of the stages in the development of the living being.

  39. 39
    Andre says:

    goodusername

    But IMHO there’s more than a difference in degree between having a fully functional brain and having no neurons whatsoever.

    What exists in the early stages of development is not a mere bundle of homogeneous cells. Scientific evidence shows that already at the two-cell stage, and even more so at the four-cell stage and thereafter, there is a difference in the internal structure of the embryonic cells; although they have the same DNA, each has a distinct pattern of gene expression (Memili & First, 2000; Thompson et al, 1998; Zernika-Goetz, 2003; Zimmerman & Schultz, 1994; Santo & Dean, 2004).

  40. 40
    Andre says:

    goodusername

    from the paper again;

    It is therefore incorrect to claim, as Sandel and others do, that the transition from sperm and oocyte to zygote, multicelled embryo, fetus and so on is all on a continuum. On the contrary, after the sperm and the oocyte cease to be and their constituents contribute to the formation of a new organism, what exists is a distinct whole, with its own internal organizing principle. In other words, what exists is a distinct centre of actions and reactions, with a determinately distinct developmental trajectory. Whether a new human organism exists is a question to which the answer must be either yes or no—there is no in between. If a human organism exists, then he or she exists as a whole and not just partly, and this is true for all the times that he or she exists. Embryos are whole human beings, at the early stage of their maturation. The term ‘embryo’, similar to the terms ‘infant’ and ‘adolescent’, refers to a determinate and enduring organism at a particular stage of development. Just as you and I once were infants, so too you and I once were embryos. Each of us came into being as an embryo, and developed by an internally directed and gapless process from the embryonic into and through the fetal, infant, child and adolescent stages, and into adulthood with our determinateness and unity fully intact.

  41. 41
    StephenB says:

    SB: My question was not about just anyone, it was about you. What is your decision? (Based on your criteria, of course). Is abortion moral or immoral?

    None of the criteria I’ve mentioned (feelings) for the origin of morality has any bearing on embryology

    I didn’t ask you about embryology, which is a scientific issue, I asked you about abortion, which is moral issue. You will recall that, according to your standard, morality can be determined by feelings.

    but I personally feel that an abortion is murder once personhood begins appearing (intelligence, feelings, emotions, etc).

    Why do you feel that way? Why is it not murder before that? It is a living human being isn’t it? (Recall the scientific evidence that Andre alluded to).

  42. 42

    A moral subjectivist argued that empathy is the basis of our moral evolution. I recently heard an audio clip of Hillary Clinton making a joke and laughing on national television about the brutal murder of Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi. So much for empathy.

    Also heard a clip of George Bush’s Secretary of State Madeleine Albright calmly asserting that U.S. policy objectives were worth the killing of 500,000 Iraqi children (due to Bush’s sanctions). Again, so much for empathy.

    As I have said before. At worst, empathy is non-existent. At best, it is selective.

  43. 43
    goodusername says:

    StephenB,

    I didn’t ask you about embryology, which is a scientific issue,

    The study of embryology is a necessary part of the subject. It was once commonly believed that abortion was ok prior to the “quickening”. What changed? It wasn’t morality, it was knowledge of embryonic development.

    I asked you about abortion, which is moral issue.

    It’s not just a moral issue. Actually, it might be the least important part of the issue. The disagreement between those that are pro-choice and pro-life isn’t really a disagreement on morality. The people from both sides have, for the most part, the same moral code. It’s disagreements on embryology, as well as philosophical questions about personhood.

    Why do you feel that way? Why is it not murder before that? It is a living human being isn’t it? (Recall the scientific evidence that Andre alluded to).

    Well, it certainly is a living human being. It’s not a chicken. It is alive and a member of the human species. But I would say that it hasn’t yet developed the qualities associated with personhood – there are no thoughts, feelings, emotions, etc.

    How do you feel about organ transplants? What do you think about the way they remove the beating heart and other organs from a living person to give them to other people? Is that murder? Or do you consider the living human being that they take the organs from not a person, just because the brain has died?

    Interesting how we say that “death” has occurred when the heart still beating, the lungs are still breathing, its cells still have 24 pairs of chromosomes and are still dividing, and the organs (aside from the brain) are still functioning.

    Why do we care so much about the brain? Why is that the be-all and end-all for determination of “death”? Because the death of the brain marks the end of the things we actually care about – the stuff that makes “me” me.

    Note that this is all beside the point on the issue of moral relativity vs moral objectiveness and the origin of morality. Even if I woke up tomorrow believing that morality is objective, it’s unrelated to my beliefs regarding the development and start of personhood.

    Although I doubt it, maybe future generations will abhor the way we harvest organs from still-living human beings who merely had the misfortune of having their brains die. If that happens, it won’t be because of a change in morality, but a philosophical change in the way they determine personhood.

  44. 44
    Andre says:

    goodusername

    Time to take you to task… a person freely donating their organs when they are brain dead is not an issue, it was a freely made choice. Scientific evidence says a fetus is a human, are you OK with the butchering of humans?

  45. 45
    goodusername says:

    Andre,

    Time to take you to task… a person freely donating their organs when they are brain dead is not an issue, it was a freely made choice.

    So if you walk into a hospital and say “I’d like to donate my organs right now,” do you think they’d take them (and I don’t mean just a kidney)?

  46. 46
    john_a_designer says:

    StephenB @ 4,

    Very few people understand the Is/ought argument, which is why I seldom discuss it. When the idea was first introduced, it meant, correctly, that you cannot establish morality (ought) from factual events or observed behaviors (is). That is correct.

    Here are a few of my thoughts:

    I think we tend to get a little sloppy when talking about the “is/ought” problem. For example, it is sometimes incorrectly said that you cannot derive an ought from an is. But is that accurate? Isn’t God, after all, an is?

    According to an on-line source:

    In Ex. 3:13-14, Moses asks God, “Whom should I say has sent me?” and God responds by saying, “I AM that I AM… You must say this to the Israelites, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” However, it could be awkward for Moses to go to the Israelites and Pharaoh and say, “I am has sent me.” So, in Ex. 3:15 God revises this phrase and changes it to the third person by saying, “Tell them that ‘He is’ has sent you.”

    The word “He is” comes from the Hebrew root word haya, which means, “to be.” It is the third person form of this word, “He is,” that becomes the name Yahweh.

    From what I know and have read and studied this appears to be accurate.

    Therefore, when we ground moral values and obligations in Yahweh we are in fact grounding them in an “is”—His existence. However, God is personal vs. impersonal. The question/problem then is how can we ground morality in the impersonal? (As is what the naturalist believes.) If our existence is the result of mindless/impersonal evolution, what is the ground of moral values and obligations? That’s the problem which confronts the naturalist/ materialist, grounding morality in the impersonal, because that is ultimately all that there really is.

    The really question then is, is the impersonal an impersonal ground of being (space/time, matter/energy) sufficient to ground the “ought” of human morality, ethics and universal human rights? Clearly it is not. But, on the other hand, if an eternally existing personal being (God) exists we do have a sufficient grounding for moral obligations and universal human rights.

    The problem is that the progressive secular left wants to have it both ways. On the one hand, they reject God as the basis of moral obligations and human rights, but on the other, they want to coopt the idea of universal human rights. Thus over the last 50-60 years or so we see the creation of so called rights– “abortion rights,” “gay rights.” “animal rights” etc.—but these are arbitrary man-made rights which were invented whole cloth by people with a subversive ideological agenda. Can man make up absolute rights? On what basis? Am I morally obligated to recognize or respect these man-made rights? Should they become, as they have, the basis of law?

  47. 47
    Andre says:

    goodusername

    Ever heard of the Hippocratic oath?

    Hippocratic Oath: Classical Version

    I swear by Apollo Physician and Asclepius and Hygieia and Panaceia and all the gods and goddesses, making them my witnesses, that I will fulfill according to my ability and judgment this oath and this covenant:

    To hold him who has taught me this art as equal to my parents and to live my life in partnership with him, and if he is in need of money to give him a share of mine, and to regard his offspring as equal to my brothers in male lineage and to teach them this art—if they desire to learn it—without fee and covenant; to give a share of precepts and oral instruction and all the other learning to my sons and to the sons of him who has instructed me and to pupils who have signed the covenant and have taken an oath according to the medical law, but no one else.

    I will apply dietetic measures for the benefit of the sick according to my ability and judgment; I will keep them from harm and injustice.

    I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody who asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect. Similarly I will not give to a woman an abortive remedy. In purity and holiness I will guard my life and my art.

    I will not use the knife, not even on sufferers from stone, but will withdraw in favor of such men as are engaged in this work.

    Whatever houses I may visit, I will come for the benefit of the sick, remaining free of all intentional injustice, of all mischief and in particular of sexual relations with both female and male persons, be they free or slaves.

    What I may see or hear in the course of the treatment or even outside of the treatment in regard to the life of men, which on no account one must spread abroad, I will keep to myself, holding such things shameful to be spoken about.

    If I fulfill this oath and do not violate it, may it be granted to me to enjoy life and art, being honored with fame among all men for all time to come; if I transgress it and swear falsely, may the opposite of all this be my lot.

    Hippocratic Oath, Modern Version

    I swear to fulfill, to the best of my ability and judgment, this covenant:

    I will respect the hard-won scientific gains of those physicians in whose steps I walk, and gladly share such knowledge as is mine with those who are to follow.

    I will apply, for the benefit of the sick, all measures which are required, avoiding those twin traps of overtreatment and therapeutic nihilism.

    I will remember that there is art to medicine as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon’s knife or the chemist’s drug.

    I will not be ashamed to say “I know not,” nor will I fail to call in my colleagues when the skills of another are needed for a patient’s recovery.

    I will respect the privacy of my patients, for their problems are not disclosed to me that the world may know. Most especially must I tread with care in matters of life and death. If it is given me to save a life, all thanks. But it may also be within my power to take a life; this awesome responsibility must be faced with great humbleness and awareness of my own frailty. Above all, I must not play at God.

    I will remember that I do not treat a fever chart, a cancerous growth, but a sick human being, whose illness may affect the person’s family and economic stability. My responsibility includes these related problems, if I am to care adequately for the sick.

    I will prevent disease whenever I can, for prevention is preferable to cure.

    I will remember that I remain a member of society, with special obligations to all my fellow human beings, those sound of mind and body as well as the infirm.

    If I do not violate this oath, may I enjoy life and art, respected while I live and remembered with affection thereafter. May I always act so as to preserve the finest traditions of my calling and may I long experience the joy of healing those who seek my help.

    It worked for thousand of years until liberals corrupted it.

  48. 48
    StephenB says:

    goodusername

    Well, it certainly is a living human being. It’s not a chicken. It is alive and a member of the human species.

    Right you are.

    But I would say that it hasn’t yet developed the qualities associated with personhood – there are no thoughts, feelings, emotions, etc.

    You did not address the question. Why should an undeveloped child not be permitted to live?

    How do you feel about organ transplants? What do you think about the way they remove the beating heart and other organs from a living person to give them to other people?

    No problem. Why should it be?

    Is that murder?

    No.

    Why do we care so much about the brain? Why is that the be-all and end-all for determination of “death”? Because the death of the brain marks the end of the things we actually care about – the stuff that makes “me” me.

    The issue is not when death occurs. The issue is why death occurs.

    Note that this is all beside the point on the issue of moral relativity vs moral objectiveness and the origin of morality.

    It is an absolutely essential point. Moral relativists kill unborn children; moral absolutists do not.

  49. 49
    goodusername says:

    StephenB,

    You did not address the question. Why should an undeveloped child not be permitted to live?

    I don’t know how I can address it any better or clearer than I already have.

    No problem. Why should it be?

    Because it’s a human being. I thought that mattered to you? It’s not a chicken.

    No

    Why?

    The issue is not when death occurs. The issue is why death occurs.

    I disagree. The issue of when death occurs is rather important when deciding when to start removing organs. But the issue is more about the definition of death. The only thing that matters when defining death is the brain. Why?

    IMO, It’s strange how the brain is viewed as so completely irrelevant as to the start of personhood, and so relevant (actually, the ONLY thing relevant) as the mark of the end of personhood (and not only that, but as the mark of death).

    It is an absolutely essential point. Moral relativists kill unborn children; moral absolutists do not.

    I can’t tell if you’re joking or if you need to get out more. I’ve known many moral relativists who are against all abortions and many moral absolutists who are pro-choice.

    Andre,

    Ever heard of the Hippocratic oath?

    Yes, what about it? Do you think it applies to removing the organs from a living human merely because the brain has died? Why or why not?

  50. 50
    Andre says:

    goodusername

    Yes, what about it? Do you think it applies to removing the organs from a living human merely because the brain has died? Why or why not?

    Well that depends, first on whether it was the brain dead person’s will to donate. I am a donor and when I die they can use whatever of my body they need, why? Because I willed it.

  51. 51
    goodusername says:

    Andre,

    Well that depends, first on whether it was the brain dead person’s will to donate. I am a donor and when I die they can use whatever of my body they need, why? Because I willed it.

    Yes, doctors remove organs from someone who is “brain dead” because the person is, in fact, considered dead. The question is why is the person considered dead?
    If you are trying to take someone “to task,” it’s generally a good idea to at least give some effort to follow the conversation.

  52. 52
    clown fish says:

    Andre: “Human beings from the moment of conception until our last breath is intrinsically valuable, it is the first self evident objective moral truth, and no right to life means no rights at all.”

    If this is actually a God dictated self-evident objective moral value how do you explain the fact that between ten and thirty percent of pregnancies end in miscarriages? If all human life is self-evidently, objectively of intrinsic value in God’s eye, why does he allow so many to die before birth?

  53. 53
    StephenB says:

    SB:You did not address the question. Why should an undeveloped child not be permitted to live?

    I don’t know how I can address it any better or clearer than I already have.

    You merely restated your claim that human beings do not deserve to live until they are old enough to think. I am asking you to explain why you believe that an unthinking, unborn child does not deserve to live.

    Because it’s a human being. I thought that mattered to you? It’s not a chicken.

    It isn’t the death that makes it moral or immoral, it is the reason for the death and why it is determined to be necessary.

    SB: The issue is not when death occurs. The issue is why death occurs.

    I disagree. The issue of when death occurs is rather important when deciding when to start removing organs.

    When to start removing organs is a practical medical consideration. The morality depends on the reason for the act. In other words, Why is it being done?

    Organ donation = I give this organ so that another may live.

    Abortion: = I kill this unborn child because it is in my way.

    Even a moral relativist should be able to understand the difference.

  54. 54
    Andre says:

    Clown fish

    from a medical journal….

    Miscarriage Cause: Chromosomal Abnormalities
    Why it Leads to Miscarriage

    “Mismatched chromosomes account for at least 60 percent of miscarriages,” says Bryan Cowan, MD, chair of the department of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, and a spokesperson for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Chromosomes are the tiny structures in each cell that carry our genes; we each have 23 pairs of them, one set from our mother and one set from our father. Sometimes, when the egg and sperm meet, one or the other is faulty and then the chromosomes can’t line up properly. In that case, the resulting embryo has a chromosomal abnormality and the pregnancy usually results in a miscarriage. Couples who experience two or more miscarriages in a row sometimes learn, through medical testing, that they have chromosomal anomalies that don’t affect them, but do prevent a pregnancy from taking hold.

    Miscarriage Cause: Uterine Abnormalities and Incompetent Cervixes
    Why it Leads to Miscarriage

    If you have a uterus that is “abnormally” shaped or divided–called uterine septum–miscarriage occurs because the embryo either can’t implant or once it does implant, can’t get the nourishment it needs to survive. “Uterine anomalies account for about 10 percent of miscarriages,” says Dr. Cowan. A weakened or incompetent cervix is another problem that can lead to miscarriage, because toward the end of the first trimester the fetus has grown large enough that the cervix starts to bulge. If the cervix is weakened, it can’t hold the fetus in.

    Miscarriage Cause: Immunologic Disorders
    Why it Leads to Miscarriage

    “When you consider that a woman’s body views sperm as a foreign object, it’s a wonder that pregnancy happens at all,” says Dr. Scher. “But most of the time, a fertilized egg sends a message to the mother that says ‘don’t treat me like a germ,’ and pregnancy proceeds without incident.” In some cases, though, the embryo isn’t accepted by the woman’s body. “Antiphospholipid antibodies—antibodies that attack one’s own tissue, including embryos—account for many miscarriages that physicians used to think were unexplainable,” Dr. Scher says.

    So? What’s your beef with God about this? Seems to me there is some minimum requirements for a healthy baby and there are some checks and balances in place. Can you do any better?

  55. 55
    goodusername says:

    StephenB,

    You merely restated your claim that human beings do not deserve to live until they are old enough to think. I am asking you to explain why you believe that an unthinking, unborn child does not deserve to live.

    I don’t consider it murder before the qualities of personhood appear.

    When to start removing organs is a practical medical consideration. The morality depends on the reason for the act. In other words, Why is it being done?
    Organ donation = I give this organ so that another may live.
    Abortion: = I kill this unborn child because it is in my way.
    Even a moral relativist should be able to understand the difference.

    Umm, before all that, it has to be decided if the person is actually dead. That’s the only thing I’m asking about. Why is someone considered dead merely because the brain has died?

  56. 56
    Andre says:

    Before personhood appears? What about the scientific litrature are you unsure about? A zygote, fetus, infant, toddler, teenager or adult is the same thing, a person, but with varying degrees of development. And if we are to butcher fetuses why not butcher them all? What makes you different to Hitler?

  57. 57
    Andre says:

    Goodusername

    When the brain is dead the organism can no longer function. Brain dead means 0 chance of recovery medically speaking. So when you are brain dead the first thing they do is put you on life support, You know how that works right?

  58. 58
    clown fish says:

    Andre: “So? What’s your beef with God about this? Seems to me there is some minimum requirements for a healthy baby and there are some checks and balances in place. Can you do any better?”

    So, when God does it due to genetic abnormalities, it is OK. But when we do it for the same reason it is immoral.

  59. 59
    clown fish says:

    Andre: “When the brain is dead the organism can no longer function. Brain dead means 0 chance of recovery medically speaking. So when you are brain dead the first thing they do is put you on life support, You know how that works right?”

    Yes. It is just like a fetus being put on life support through an umbilical cord and placenta.

  60. 60
    Andre says:

    Right

    More than 95% of elective abortions are not for medical reasons.

    Fetuses are like brain dead people? God help us!

  61. 61
    clown fish says:

    Andre: “More than 95% of elective abortions are not for medical reasons.”

    And more than 99% of those occur before there is a discern able brain. What’s your point?

  62. 62
    goodusername says:

    Andre,

    Before personhood appears? What about the scientific litrature are you unsure about? A zygote, fetus, infant, toddler, teenager or adult is the same thing, a person, but with varying degrees of development. And if we are to butcher fetuses why not butcher them all? What makes you different to Hitler?

    What part of a zygote having no intelligence, feelings, emotions, and other things associated with personhood don’t you understand?

    When the brain is dead the organism can no longer function. Brain dead means 0 chance of recovery medically speaking. So when you are brain dead the first thing they do is put you on life support, You know how that works right?

    So what if there’s no chance of recovery? There are people everywhere living their lives with diseases from which they’ll never recover. Do you think it’s ok to kill them? Is it ok to kill the disabled because they aren’t fully functional? (You know, like Hitler?)

  63. 63
    StephenB says:

    john a designer

    I think we tend to get a little sloppy when talking about the “is/ought” problem. For example, it is sometimes incorrectly said that you cannot derive an ought from an is. But is that accurate? Isn’t God, after all, an is?

    Of course. I thought I made that point. In fact, I am sure that I made that point. If God created a moral universe with moral laws and if he created man as a moral being with a purpose, it follows that we ought to follow those laws and attain that purpose. Thus, we can certainly derive an “ought” from an “is” in that sense.

    The problem is that the progressive secular left wants to have it both ways. On the one hand, they reject God as the basis of moral obligations and human rights, but on the other, they want to coopt the idea of universal human rights. Thus over the last 50-60 years or so we see the creation of so called rights– “abortion rights,” “gay rights.” “animal rights” etc.—but these are arbitrary man-made rights which were invented whole cloth by people with a subversive ideological agenda. Can man make up absolute rights? On what basis? Am I morally obligated to recognize or respect these man-made rights? Should they become, as they have, the basis of law?

    Obviously, you are right. Not only does arbitrary morality fail to ground civil law, it provides no moral justification for obeying those laws. Only the natural moral law can do that.

  64. 64
    StephenB says:

    goodusename

    I don’t consider it murder before the qualities of personhood appear.

    You have still not answered the question.
    Why should an unborn child be required to have such qualities in order to deserve to live?

    before all that, it has to be decided if the person is actually dead.

    When death is a requirement for organ donation, which is not always the case, there has to be some objective moral standard based on the principles of the natural moral law.

    First, you have to answer the question, Why is it moral? Answer, The decision to donate and organ is based on the principle of fraternal charity, which is always moral.

    Now you have to answer the second question. What are the moral conditions under which this can be done. The end can never justify the means.

    First, the donor must give informed consent. Obviously, that must occur before death.

    Second, the physical and psychological risks incurred by the donor must be proportionate to the good sought for the recipient. The donor must be aware of these risks and the proportionate good.

    Third, to destroy the healthy functioning or intrinsic beauty of one’s body, even to delay death of another, is morally wrong.

    These principles are reasonable and are based on the natural moral law. Subjectivism and relativism offer us no such guidance. Those world views are totally useless and cannot help us to make reasonable moral decisions. Indeed, subjectivism is anti-reason.

  65. 65
    StephenB says:

    goodusername

    What part of a zygote having no intelligence, feelings, emotions, and other things associated with personhood don’t you understand?

    What part of — you don’t need to have intelligence, feelings, and emotions to be a person — do you not understand?

  66. 66
    zeroseven says:

    Andre, I keep asking this question and you never answer. I think you live in the US? Why? Your nation is murdering millions of human beings every year. Its the worst genocide in the history of the world. But all you do about is post a few comments on blogs?

    Also, regarding natural miscarriages. Why can’t God make it so every fetus is perfect – no abnormalities? Is he incompetent?

    OT note, Clown Fish, just back at work after a long weekend but did not notice your comment about travelling in NZ. Thanks for saying nice things about my country. You have to come back and go to the South Island next time!

  67. 67
    clown fish says:

    Zeroseven, thank you. The South Island is definitely on my bucket list. Actually, the parts of the north island that I didn’t see is also on my list. My university roommate was the COO for the Kauri Cliffs resort for a few years. Unfortunately, he had moved on before we travelled to NZ.

    Although, I am sure that there is a car rental company that doesn’t want to see me again. Thank “God” that I took full coverage.

  68. 68
    goodusername says:

    StephenB,

    You have still not answered the question.
    Why should an unborn child be required to have such qualities in order to deserve to live?

    Until such qualities appear, I don’t consider it murder. If that doesn’t answer your question, than I don’t know what you’re asking.

    When death is a requirement for organ donation, which is not always the case, there has to be some objective moral standard based on the principles of the natural moral law.

    In every place I’ve seen where such rules have been laid out, a declaration of death is absolutely necessary before organs can be harvested. If you know of (legal) exceptions, I’d be interested in hearing about them.

    The reason it is seen as moral to harvest organs from someone that is brain dead is obvious. With brain death, the qualities that we associate with personhood no longer exist, and so the person is viewed as dead, regardless of the state of the rest of the body. And parts from the rest of the body can be used to save other lives.

    What part of — you don’t need to have intelligence, feelings, and emotions to be a person — do you not understand?

    I understand the statement, I just don’t agree with it. But to be consistent, it seems that someone that agrees with that statement should be against heart transplants.

  69. 69
    Phinehas says:

    cf:

    How would you react if people were constantly telling you (either directly or clearly inferred) that they were better Christians than you?

    I’d suggest they have a warped view of what it means to be a Christian, since Christianity isn’t about comparing ourselves to one another, but about comparing ourselves to Christ.

    And when we compare ourselves to Christ, we conclude with the Apostle Paul that “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

    From the Christian perspective, saying that the homosexual lifestyle is a sin only means that those who have engaged in that lifestyle are in the same boat as the rest of us.

  70. 70
    Phinehas says:

    GUN:

    SB: Why should an unborn child be required to have such qualities in order to deserve to live?

    GUN: Until such qualities appear, I don’t consider it murder. If that doesn’t answer your question, than I don’t know what you’re asking. [emphasis mine –Phin]

    Here we see plainly that “why” boils down to whatever GUN considers.

    Ought it to? I suppose that depends on what GUN considers. Can it be any clearer at this point that morality has been reduced to something as mind-numbingly self-serving as it is self-referential.

  71. 71
    StephenB says:

    SB: Why should an unborn child be required to have such qualities in order to deserve to live?

    Until such qualities appear, I don’t consider it murder. If that doesn’t answer your question, than I don’t know what you’re asking.

    I am asking you why all unborn children don’t deserve to live. You obviously don’t think that they do. Why do only those you characterize as persons deserve to live?

    When death is a requirement for organ donation, which is not always the case, there has to be some objective moral standard based on the principles of the natural moral law.

    In every place I’ve seen where such rules have been laid out, a declaration of death is absolutely necessary before organs can be harvested. If you know of (legal) exceptions, I’d be interested in hearing about them.

    If you are discussing the harvesting of organs, then I agree with that legal stipulation.

    Meanwhile, I am asking about the parallel that you set up. What does the consensual donation of an organ at death have to do with the killing of an innocent unborn child who doesn’t consent? How are you trying to link the two from a moral perspective?

  72. 72
    goodusername says:

    StephenB,

    I am asking you why all unborn children don’t deserve to live. You obviously don’t think that they do.

    Not only is that not obvious, it’s also wrong.

    Why do only those you characterize as persons deserve to live?

    We seem to be going in circles, and I don’t think we’re understanding each other. What do you mean by “deserve to live”? I’ve been taking that as your way of saying “it would be murder to kill”, but now I’m not sure.

    Meanwhile, I am asking about the parallel that you set up. What does the consensual donation of an organ at death have to do with the killing of an innocent unborn child who doesn’t consent? How are you trying to link the two from a moral perspective?

    I’ve explained that several times in several different ways. To repeat what I said in #49:
    IMO, It’s strange how the brain is viewed as so completely irrelevant as to the start of personhood, and so relevant (actually, the ONLY thing relevant) as the mark of the end of personhood (and not only that, but as the mark of death).

    I’m puzzled at other people’s puzzlement of me using the same criteria for the beginning of personhood as we use (for the most part uncontroversially) for the end of personhood (indeed, as the end of life itself).

    I’ve asked several times why “brain death” is accepted as a criteria for death, but I’ve pretty much given up getting an answer to that.

  73. 73
    StephenB says:

    goodusername

    We seem to be going in circles, and I don’t think we’re understanding each other. What do you mean by “deserve to live”?

    It’s pretty straightforward. By deserve to live I mean those who you think should not be aborted. Why should only those children who are “persons” (by your arbitrary definition) be spared from abortion? Why shouldn’t all unborn children be spared?

    IMO, It’s strange how the brain is viewed as so completely irrelevant as to the start of personhood, and so relevant (actually, the ONLY thing relevant) as the mark of the end of personhood (and not only that, but as the mark of death).

    A person is an individual human being. That is the dictionary definition and the rational definition. “Thinking” of “feeling” have nothing to do with it. Abortionists define it another way because they want to rationalize the killing of unborn children.

    With respect to the brain, it defines the end of life from a medical perspective. Meanwhile, what does all that have to do with the end of “personhood?” Who defines the end of personhood as the end of brain life?

    I’m puzzled at other people’s puzzlement of me using the same criteria for the beginning of personhood as we use (for the most part uncontroversially) for the end of personhood (indeed, as the end of life itself).

    End of life issues are different from beginning of life issues.

    I’ve asked several times why “brain death” is accepted as a cause of death, but I’ve pretty much given up getting an answer to that.

    You appear to be confusing the medical cause of death with the medical definition of death. They are not even close to being the same thing.

  74. 74
    zeroseven says:

    StephenB, maybe if a different person explains it, you will get GUN’s point.

    According to your logic, switching off the life support system of a brain dead person is akin to aborting a foetus prior to the brain forming.

    You don’t regard the lack of a functioning brain as a relevant consideration when considering the right to life of a foetus. So you should apply the same standard to the brain dead person. They should have the same right to life. Therefore life support machines should never be switched off.

  75. 75
    StephenB says:

    goodusername

    We seem to be going in circles, and I don’t think we’re understanding each other. What do you mean by “deserve to live”?

    It’s pretty straightforward. By deserve to live I mean those who you think should not be aborted. Why should only those children who are “persons” (by your arbitrary definition) be spared from abortion? Why shouldn’t all unborn children should be spared?

    IMO, It’s strange how the brain is viewed as so completely irrelevant as to the start of personhood, and so relevant (actually, the ONLY thing relevant) as the mark of the end of personhood (and not only that, but as the mark of death).

    With respect to the brain, it defines the end of life from a medical perspective. What does all that have to do with the end of “personhood?” Who defines the end of personhood as the end of brain life? What is their definition of personhood?

    I’m puzzled at other people’s puzzlement of me using the same criteria for the beginning of personhood as we use (for the most part uncontroversially) for the end of personhood (indeed, as the end of life itself).

    Because the word “person” has no standardized meaning. It means whatever the individual using it wants it to mean. None of this has anything to do with morality of abortion.

    I’ve asked several times why “brain death” is accepted as a cause of death, but I’ve pretty much given up getting an answer to that.

    You appear to be confusing the medical cause of death with the medical definition of death. They are not even close to being the same thing.

  76. 76
    StephenB says:

    zeroseven

    According to your logic, switching off the life support system of a brain dead person is akin to aborting a foetus prior to the brain forming.

    No, it isn’t. Aborting a fetus prior to brain forming cannot be morally justified. Switching off the life support system of a brain dead person is not only moral, its mandatory. Why would any rational person try to keep a dead person alive?

    You don’t regard the lack of a functioning brain as a relevant consideration when considering the right to life of a foetus.

    It is not morally relevant in the least.

    So you should apply the same standard to the brain dead person. They should have the same right to life. Therefore life support machines should never be switched off.

    Bad logic. There are many moral reasons why a life support system can be switched off. There are no moral reasons for killing an unborn child.

  77. 77
    zeroseven says:

    StephenB

    I don’t get why its bad logic. What’s the category difference between a foetus without a brain and a brain dead person on a respirator?

  78. 78
    goodusername says:

    StephenB,

    It’s pretty straightforward. By deserve to live I mean those who you think should not be aborted. Why should only those children who are “persons” (by your arbitrary definition) be spared from abortion? Why shouldn’t all unborn children be spared?

    I don’t think anyone should be aborted.

    BTW, do you think that same criterion is “arbitrary” when used as the criterion to mark death?

    With respect to the brain, it defines the end of life from a medical perspective.

    And why do you suppose that might be? Have you… like… ever given it any thought?

    It’s not just the medical community that uses brain death as a point of death, pretty much everyone does (the only reason I brought it up is because I thought no one would object to it!)

    Who defines the end of personhood as the end of brain life?

    Don’t you? If you don’t, you might be the first person I’ve met who doesn’t.

    What is their definition of personhood?

    It’s what makes “me” me and “you” you – each of our personalities. When the brain dies those qualities – our thoughts, emotions, feelings, etc are gone. And pretty much everyone considers the person dead at that point, regardless of how well the heart is beating, the other organs are functioning, and how well the DNA is still transcribing.

    You appear to be confusing the medical cause of death with the medical definition of death. They are not even close to being the same thing.

    Wow, you caught that quickly, I edited it almost immediately after posting to change “cause” to “criteria”.

  79. 79
    goodusername says:

    StephenB,

    No, it isn’t. Aborting a fetus prior to brain forming cannot be morally justified. Switching off the life support system of a brain dead person is not only moral, its mandatory. Why would any rational person try to keep a dead person alive?

    Ah, so you DO consider the person dead when the brain is dead. Good, I really thought I might have found someone who didn’t believe that. So, why do you consider the person dead? (One of these times I might get an answer!)

  80. 80
    StephenB says:

    goodusername

    I don’t think anyone should be aborted.

    So you are morally opposed to all abortions? That would seem to be a change in your position. Or do you mean something else?

    Ah, so you DO consider the person dead when the brain is dead.

    Of course. It’s the best possible medical definition that can be empirically verified for legal reasons. I have never indicated anything else. There is a better metaphysical definition, but we can leave that aside for now.

    BTW, do you think that same criterion is “arbitrary” when used as the criterion to mark death?

    It’s not the same thing at all. When a person dies, he still has a brain and had one all along. On the other hand, a fetus doesn’t have a brain until five weeks after pregnancy. Yet the fetus is a live person even without a brain and can be killed without a brain. However, a man cannot die without a brain and still has a brain after he dies, albeit one that no longer has function. So you cannot rationally compare the death of a fetus without a brain with the death of a man whose brain dies with him. Its apples and oranges as I have been saying.

    SB: Who defines the end of personhood as the end of brain life?

    Don’t you? If you don’t, you might be the first person I’ve met who doesn’t.

    Yes, of course. How could I not since I define a person as an individual human being. I am asking on behalf of those who may define a person differently, like yourself. Since you define a person as someone who has a personality, a person could lose his personality before he becomes brain dead and would therefore, not be a person when he dies. Do you understand the problem with your position?

  81. 81
    Andre says:

    ZeroSeven

    I am a South African.

  82. 82
    clown fish says:

    Andre: “I am a South African.”

    Another beautiful country. I have been to the Cape Town area a couple times. Victoria and Albert Waterfront. A couple wonderful wine tours.

  83. 83
    goodusername says:

    StephenB,

    So you are morally opposed to all abortions? That would seem to be a change in your position. Or do you mean something else?

    Seriously? Why would I think that someone should be aborted, just because I don’t view it as murder?
    Does the difference really require explaining?
    I get the feeling I’m being trolled.

    Of course. It’s the best possible medical definition that can be empirically verified for legal reasons.

    Umm, actually, it’s one of the most difficult definitions that can be empirically verified for legal reasons. The problems in determining brain death are notorious. It’s vastly easier to verify, say, when a heart stops beating, or if breathing has stopped, or loss of kidney function. If one was using the criterion of the ability to “empirically verify” as an indicator of death, cessation of brain function is possibly the last thing one would choose.
    But cessation of heart fuction, or lung function, isn’t used as the criterion for death, because no one considers someone with an artificial heart as dead. And it’s not for legal reasons.

    It’s not the same thing at all. When a person dies, he still has a brain and had one all along.

    Really? Even as a zygote?

    On the other hand, a fetus doesn’t have a brain until five weeks after pregnancy.

    Ah, ok, so not all along.

    However, a man cannot die without a brain and still has a brain after he dies, albeit one that no longer has function.

    A man cannot die without a brain? What?

    I’d ask why it’s necessary for the brain to be dead for a man to be considered dead (when every other organ in the body can still be alive and well), but I’ve given up for the second time.

    Since you define a person as someone who has a personality, a person could lose his personality before he becomes brain dead and would therefore, not be a person when he dies. Do you understand the problem with your position?

    Sure, whatever someone’s position is, there’s going to be all sorts of problems and gray areas.

  84. 84
    Andre says:

    Clown fish

    Cape Town although awesome is not the best part of this country……There are much better things, like its people, beautiful indeed.

  85. 85
    StephenB says:

    goodusername

    Seriously? Why would I think that someone should be aborted, just because I don’t view it as murder?

    I can’t imagine why you would do that, but then I can’t imagine why you do many of the things you do. So, what’s the answer: Are you morally opposed to all abortions?

    Umm, actually, it’s one of the most difficult definitions that can be empirically verified for legal reasons.

    I didn’t say that it was the easiest. I said it was the best. Please don’t misrepresent what I say.

    SB: On the other hand, a fetus doesn’t have a brain until five weeks after pregnancy.

    Ah, ok, so not all along.

    Don’t you have anything substantive to say about that? Your position has just been refuted and you continue to sail along as if nothing has happened.

    SB: However, a man cannot die without a brain and still has a brain after he dies, albeit one that no longer has function.

    A man cannot die without a brain? What?

    I get the distinct impression that you are almost ready to say something. Why not give it a try?

    I’d ask why it’s necessary for the brain to be dead for a man to be considered dead (when every other organ in the body can still be alive and well), but I’ve given up for the second time.

    Where did you get the impression that the brain can be dead and the other organs can be “alive and well?” Do you mean other organs can be sustained by artificial means after the brain dies? Do you mean other organs can provide a last brief gasp at survival after the brain dies? Or do you really mean that other organs can be alive and well after the brain dies? Do you actually know what you mean?

    Since you define a person as someone who has a personality, a person could lose his personality before he becomes brain dead and would therefore, not be a person when he dies. Do you understand the problem with your position?

    Sure, whatever someone’s position is, there’s going to be all sorts of problems and gray areas.

    I am glad that you understand your error. You have also made another error when you say that there are problems with my position or my definition. There is no problem with my definition. It works in any analysis of the morality of human life, either at the beginning stages or the end stages. There is only a problem with your definition. Fortunately, you now understand that problem.

  86. 86
    StephenB says:

    Ah, so you DO consider the person dead when the brain is dead. Good, I really thought I might have found someone who didn’t believe that. So, why do you consider the person dead? (One of these times I might get an answer!)

    From a medical perspective, I would consider the person dead because the brain and nervous system, which control the organs and life sustaining functions, can no longer do the controlling. Seems reasonable to me.

    From a philosophical/Theological perspective, man has both a soul and a body. In that context, I think death occurs when the soul leaves the body.

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