Intelligent Design

Rubbing a Materialist’s Nose in it

Spread the love

As I noted in my last post, sometimes it is necessary to rub materialists’ noses in the morally odious implications of their ethical views.  They really hate that, and when one does it, some materialists – grasping the monstrous implications of taking materialist premises to their conclusion – will flop around like a fish on the bank, trying desperately to hold onto their materialist premises while avoiding the conclusions to which those premises ineluctably lead.

Over the last few days Bob O’H has given us an especially amusing demonstration of this.  Here are his various positions collected.  First, we get several standard materialist statements about how views on the Holocaust are entirely subjective:

1 I’m a moral subjectivist and I’m being precise, I can say that I regard certain acts are good, and I can say that societies (or other groups) regard these acts as good, but I don’t have any external objective standard by which to say that they actually are good

2 By my standards it isn’t good, and wouldn’t be whatever the society thought. But clearly if a society thought it was good, then by their standards it would be good.

3 As far as I am concerned, the Holocaust was evil.

4 I can’t see any circumstances under which I would see the Holocaust (or a similar action) as being morally good, but that is my own subjective opinion. I wouldn’t want to be arrogant enough to say whether anyone else could see any circumstances under which they would consider genocide to be good.

5 I would say that Himmler was wrong, but that is of course based on my own moral views.

After being pressed hard about the implications of his views, Bob shouts (the all caps are his):

6. YES, I AM ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN THAT HIMMLER WAS WRONG THAT THE HOLOCAUST WAS GOOD.

Obviously, statement 6 cannot be reconciled with statements 1 though 5 (especially 1 and 4).  In comment 1, for example, Bob says he has no external objective standard by which to judge Himmler’s view that the Holocaust was good.  Yet in comment 6 he says he is absolutely certain Himmler was wrong.  The only way he can be absolutely certain Himmler was actually wrong (as opposed to being wrong merely in Bob’s opinion) is if he has an external standard by which to judge his own view as compared to Himmler’s view and judge the latter wrong.  And in comment 4 he makes the gobsmacking observation: “I wouldn’t want to be arrogant enough to say whether anyone else could see any circumstances under which they would consider genocide to be good.”  But in comment 6 he does exactly that.

One of two things has happened.  Bob has changed his mind, or he is being incoherent.  Not surprisingly, it is the latter, as his later comments reveal.  I, of course, pressed him by noting that comment 6 placed him squarely in the “objective moral standards” camp.  Bob responded:

7 I can be certain Himmler was wrong because they were wrong by my moral standards, and the standards of the society around me.

Statement 7 is just staggeringly stupid.  In comment 6 Bob did not say Himmler was wrong “by my moral standard.”  He did not say Himmler was wrong “by the standards of the society around me.”  He shouted:  “I AM ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN THAT HIMMLER WAS WRONG” period full stop.

Now, not only are comments 1-5 and 6 logically irreconcilable, but also comments 6 and 7 are logically irreconcilable.  Bob goes on to flip and flop some more:

8 Also, my moral opinions aren’t objective – I think Himmler was wrong, but that’s based on the morals instilled into me by my family and surrounding society.I’m sure that (by may standards)

9 Himmler was wrong. But I acknowledge that my standards are not objective, and allow for other people having different standards.

10 I’m sorry to say, but you haven’t understood my position. We can all say whether my views on the holocaust are superior to Himmler’s (welcome to democracy!). My point is that I can’t say what the views of people 3000 years (say) in the future will be.

God help us.  Bob wants the issue “should we slaughter 18 million men, women and children?” determined by headcount.  Having again been pressed on this Bob flops:

11 Has anyone said [they can’t foreclose the possibility that Himmler might have been right]? I know I haven’t (and it’s not what I think)

Oh, so now Bob says he can absolutely foreclose the possibility that Himmler might have been right.  Back to the objective moral standard camp.

After being pressed some more, Bob winds up trying to straddle both camps:

12. I can be absolutely sure that [Himmler] was wrong, but that is still only my belief, isn’t it?

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.  Probably both responses are appropriate.  Bob’s antics as he tries to adhere to materialist orthodoxy while avoiding the horrifying moral stances that orthodoxy compels are hilarious.  That Bob speaks for many people, and his antics reveal a deep seated inability to think coherently, much less critically, is both terrifying and sad.

44 Replies to “Rubbing a Materialist’s Nose in it

  1. 1
    Dick says:

    It has never occurred to some materialists to “draw the full conclusion from a consistently atheistic position”, as Sartre put it.
    The idea that the holocaust is an objective evil is for many an unexamined assumption that has risen to the level of an axiom, but nothing in atheistic materialism warrants it.
    The declaration that anything is objectively evil is simply an instance of emoting when uttered by someone who denies the existence of a transcendent moral authority.

  2. 2
    Latemarch says:

    Thank you for pulling all those various Bob’O quotes together.
    That puts it all into perspective….the perspective that he has no leg to stand on.
    I’m sure that Bob won’t see it that way. Thinking that he has a nuanced position that leaves him innocent of approving of the death of millions.

  3. 3
    kairosfocus says:

    Sadly, all of this hits a lot closer to home. The worst holocaust in history is NOT Hitler, or the Japanese in China or the Communists and their democides. It is going on today and by and large we all have had a hand in enabling it. Since the early ’70’s something like 800+ millions of our posterity in the womb have been rhetorically robbed of humanity and rights under false colour of law, then robbed of life — the first right. The corruption of moral thought, education, media, professions, law, law enforcement, the courts and many pulpits etc to sustain that readily explains the degree of confusion, incoherence, moral bankruptcy, amorality and outright nihilism that stalk our world today. Maybe we should be getting concerned a lot closer to home. KF

  4. 4
    Bob O'H says:

    The only way he can be absolutely certain Himmler was actually wrong (as opposed to being wrong merely in Bob’s opinion) is if he has an external standard by which to judge his own view as compared to Himmler’s view and judge the latter wrong.

    Why is it impossible for me to be certain about something that is subjective? Why the need for some external standard?

    And in comment 4 he makes the gobsmacking observation: “I wouldn’t want to be arrogant enough to say whether anyone else could see any circumstances under which they would consider genocide to be good.” But in comment 6 he does exactly that.

    No I didn’t. I only said that I was certain. Read what I wrote in comment 6 – I only commented on my own certainty. I didn’t say anything else about what anyone else would consider.

  5. 5
    Barry Arrington says:

    Bob,

    Why is it impossible for me to be certain about something that is subjective?

    Why is it impossible for you to be honest about what you said. You said, “I AM ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN THAT HIMMLER WAS WRONG.” You did not say “I am absolutely certain that in my opinion [or in society’s collective opinion] Himmler was wrong.”

    Why the need for some external standard?

    For the reason I said in the post.

  6. 6
    Barry Arrington says:

    Barry in the OP:

    And in comment 4 he makes the gobsmacking observation: “I wouldn’t want to be arrogant enough to say whether anyone else could see any circumstances under which they would consider genocide to be good.” But in comment 6 he does exactly that.

    Bob @ 4:

    No I didn’t. I only said that I was certain. Read what I wrote in comment 6 – I only commented on my own certainty. I didn’t say anything else about what anyone else would consider.

    Good grief Bob. In comment 6 you said:

    “I AM ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN THAT HIMMLER WAS WRONG”

    Just now you said “I didn’t say anything else about what anyone else would consider.”

    Is Himmler not “anyone else”?

    Bob, at least make up plausible lies.

  7. 7
    Barry Arrington says:

    Remember people, Bob is a teacher. I weep for his students.

  8. 8
    kairosfocus says:

    Bo’H: Perception or opinion or feeling is not reality or truth. For a claim to be credibly, reliably true it needs a warrant which will be independent of a given personality. KF

  9. 9
    Barry Arrington says:

    BTW, Bob, I did not put this post up to encourage further flip flops back and forth from you. It was amusing to watch for a while. It has grown tiresome.

  10. 10
    Bob O'H says:

    Barry @ 6 – Oh please. I’m not flip-flopping. You’re not understanding my point, no matter how many times I try to explain it.

    Here’s a suggestion – if someone says something that seems contradictory, or that you don’t understand, try asking them about it first. It may be that their ideas are clear and coherent, but they haven’t expressed themselves clearly, or perhaps you haven’t understood what they were trying to say. It’ll do wonders for your blood pressure, and you might find that you have some interesting discussions, where everyone learns something.

  11. 11
    Barry Arrington says:

    Bob:

    I’m not flip-flopping.

    Why do you write cringe-inducing crap like that?

    try asking them about it first

    Do you have no shame? I asked you over and over and over, only to have you flip and flop every time I asked. The evidence is in the OP for everyone to see.

    As I said, your antics are now just sad and tiresome. Time to stop.

  12. 12
    Bob O'H says:

    Time to stop.

    Indeed. How about getting back to discussing intelligent design?

  13. 13
    ET says:

    LoL! @ Bob- You ignore ID threads, Bob. You are noticeably absent from the ubiquitin thread

    Why is that, Bob?

  14. 14
    Bob O'H says:

    Because I don’t know anything about ubiquitin.

  15. 15
    ET says:

    Do you know anything about any biological structures or systems?

  16. 16
    Bob O'H says:

    Err, yes, I know a little. But I’m not an expert in structural biology or systems biology.

  17. 17
    ET says:

    Do you know enough to try to support the claims of evolutionism, ie evolution by means of blind and mindless processes? How can we test claims like blind and mindless processes produced ATP synthase, for example.

    Do you know enough to talk about that? If so we can have someone start a thread about it

  18. 18
    Bob O'H says:

    I don’t know enough about a specific system, such as ATP synthase, to have a discussion at the systems/structural biology level, no.

  19. 19
    ET says:

    Ok so why do you want to discuss ID if you don’t understand the evidence that supports it?

  20. 20
    Bob O'H says:

    Err, not all of the evidence used to support ID comes from systems and structural biology.

  21. 21
    ET says:

    True, at least half comes from physics, chemistry and cosmology.

  22. 22
    tribune7 says:

    Bob

    Why is it impossible for me to be certain about something that is subjective?

    Because (pick your favorite villain) asks exactly the same thing.

  23. 23
    Bob O'H says:

    t7 – eh? Does Barry ever ask that?

  24. 24
    ET says:

    Bob O’H:

    Why is it impossible for me to be certain about something that is subjective? Why the need for some external standard?

    I get it- love and beauty being two fine examples. Out of the box, gentlemen

  25. 25
    tribune7 says:

    Bob,

    I will rephrase:

    Why is it impossible for me to be certain about something that is subjective?

    Because Himmler/Hitler/Manson/Mao etc. asks exactly the same thing.

    To further illustrate, take it out of the first person. Was it impossible for Hitler to be certain about something that was subjective? Of course, not. He most certainly was certain.

    So how can you call him immoral if he was following your standard?

  26. 26
    vividbleau says:

    Bob O”H

    Hi Bob, you wrote

    “I’m sorry to say, but you haven’t understood my position. We can all say whether my views on the holocaust are superior to Himmler’s (welcome to democracy!). My point is that I can’t say what the views of people 3000 years (say) in the future will be.”

    Why would the views of people 3000 years in the future have any bearing on the morality or lack thereof of the holocaust?
    Furthermore what does democracy have to do with whether or not your views are superior?

    Vivid

  27. 27
    Trumper says:

    Why would anyone think that a moral truth would shift to anything else … no matter how much time passes? I think that if one grounding their belief system on a social-centric position then sure …it can shift depending on the situation. that type of mindset degrades the actual opinion then…. it shifts back to the eye of the beholder and no longer holds to a more lasting law. Pretty easy to spot, call out and toss aside those who can’t be honest.

  28. 28
    Bob O'H says:

    t7 @ 25 –

    To further illustrate, take it out of the first person. Was it impossible for Hitler to be certain about something that was subjective? Of course, not. He most certainly was certain.

    So how can you call him immoral if he was following your standard?

    Because my standard is that genocide is wrong?

    I’m sorry, I think I’m still missing your point. I don’t see why I can’t be certain about some thing subjective. But I also don’t see why I can’t also be wrong about this thing I’m certain about. Particularly if it’s subjective.

  29. 29
    Bob O'H says:

    vividbleau @ 26 –

    Why would the views of people 3000 years in the future have any bearing on the morality or lack thereof of the holocaust?

    I was being asked if the holocaust would always be immoral. Thus the views of people 3000 years in teh future as as relevant as anyone else’s.

    Furthermore what does democracy have to do with whether or not your views are superior?

    That’s not quite what I said – I said that we can all comment on whether my views are superior. I hope that makes the connection to democracy clearer.

  30. 30
    Bob O'H says:

    Trumper @ 27 –

    Why would anyone think that a moral truth would shift to anything else … no matter how much time passes?

    Because that’s what has been observed. Slavery, for example, used to be morally acceptable.

  31. 31
    tribune7 says:

    Bob

    Because my standard is that genocide is wrong?

    But your standard isn’t that genocide is wrong. Your opinion is that genocide is unaesthetic.

    Your standard is that morality is subjective and that society sets morality.

    I don’t see why I can’t be certain about some thing subjective

    You can be. As I noted Hitler was.

    I also don’t see why I can’t also be wrong about this thing I’m certain about.

    Like genocide being wrong?

  32. 32
    Quaesitor says:

    “… vulgar are the means of livelihood of all hired workmen whom we pay for mere manual labor, not for artistic skill; for in their case the very wage they receive is a pledge of their slavery”.

    — Cicero, De Officiis (44 BC), perseus.tufts.edu

    Chattel slavery, serfdom, indentured servitude, coolie systems, and wage labour are all variations of the ancient relationship between the rulers and the ruled. They’re not necessarily intrinsically good or evil; it depends on the circumstances. Relative to 5 year old child laborers in Pakistan, most Roman slaves were treated rather well.

  33. 33
    Bob O'H says:

    t7 @ 31 –
    Is it possible for you not to tell me what I think? Honestly, What’s the point? Yes, my standard is that genocide is wrong. Regardless of what you tell me my standard is.

  34. 34
    tribune7 says:

    Bob

    Is it possible for you not to tell me what I think?

    It isn’t me telling you what you think, it’s you telling us and us taking you at your word.

    OK, why is genocide wrong?

  35. 35
    Bob O'H says:

    t7 – Your question at 34 implies that you now acknowledge that I do think genocide is wrong, but only after you’ve told me that your description in 31 of my standards is correct, i.e. that I don’t think genocide is wrong.

    I don’t think it’s possible to keep up – do i think that genocide is wrong or not? Apparently I don’t (although I thought that I was of the opinion it was wrong), so why ask me why it is wrong? If it’s aesthetics, then I guess it’s because I don’t like the colour red.

  36. 36
    Allan Keith says:

    Trumper,

    Why would anyone think that a moral truth would shift to anything else…

    It is not the moral “truth” that shifts, but the application of that moral “truth”. Assuming that there is any such thing as a moral “truth”.

    As Bob has mentioned, slavery was once morally acceptable, with rules about how to treat your slaves. We now consider it morally unacceptable. The question is, what is the moral “truth”? The morality around how we treat women, homosexuals, black people, animals etc. has changed dramatically over the last century or two. Are we closer to the moral “truths” about these now, or further away? And how would we know?

  37. 37
    vividbleau says:

    Bob O’H

    “I was being asked if the holocaust would always be immoral. Thus the views of people 3000 years in teh future as as relevant as anyone else’s.”

    What do you mean their views would be as relevant as anyone else’s as it relates to the morality of the holocaust? I dont want to attribute to you views you do not hold but it seems you think that in some possible future, if the peoples views change regarding the immorality of the holocaust, and the new view is that it was and now is moral, then the holocaust is now “moral”?

    Vivid

  38. 38
    vividbleau says:

    AK

    “As Bob has mentioned, slavery was once morally acceptable, with rules about how to treat your slaves. We now consider it morally unacceptable.”

    What does acceptability have to do whether it was morally wrong then just as it is morally wrong now and would be morally wrong in the future regardless of acceptability?

    Vivid.

  39. 39
    tribune7 says:

    Bob

    question at 34 implies that you now acknowledge that I do think genocide is wrong,

    A question that you didn’t answer unless your answer really was because I don’t like the colour red.

    Why do you think genocide is wrong? Why do you think the color red is wrong?

  40. 40
    Allan Keith says:

    Vivid,

    What does acceptability have to do whether it was morally wrong then just as it is morally wrong now and would be morally wrong in the future regardless of acceptability?

    But who is the judge as to whether or not something is morally wrong? We all have our own ideas about what is morally right and morally wrong. Thankfully, for many issues, most of us agree on many of these values. Things like killing, raping stealing, lying. But for these values for which there is overwhelming agreement, no society could survive for long if the majority did not accept these as rules that they are obliged to follow.

    I don’t know if there are objective moral values, but since they must be filtered through humans, they effectively become subjectively applied values. For example, many people believe that homosexual sex is morally wrong. But why is this? Because it says so in the bible? Because the idea of it makes us uncomfortable? Because most of us have absolutely no sexual attraction to the same sex? Because of these reasons, and probably others, homosexuals were persecuted and prosecuted for centuries. Was that morally right? People at the time believed that it was, but most of us now believe that it was not.

    It is always easy to select an act that we would all consider to be morally reprehensible (e.g., kidnapping, torturing and killing a child) and claim that this is proof of objective morality. But this is nonsense. This is just evidence that the vast majority of us agree that such an act is reprehensible.

  41. 41
    vividbleau says:

    AK

    “But who is the judge as to whether or not something is morally wrong?”

    That is not the question I asked!! If you dont want to answer then tell me straight out but dont take me down a rabbit trail by bringing up a different subject that does not answer my question.

    Vivid

  42. 42
    Allan Keith says:

    Vivid,

    That is not the question I asked!! If you dont want to answer then tell me straight out but dont take me down a rabbit trail by bringing something up that does not answer my question

    If you are going to ask a loaded question, don’t be surprised when you don’t get the answer you want.

  43. 43
    vividbleau says:

    KH
    “If you are going to ask a loaded question, don’t be surprised when you don’t get the answer you want.”

    This response is so bizarre on so many levels that hardly know where to begin. First it is not that i did not get the answer I wanted , I did not get any answer at all other than three paragraphs that never answered what I asked.

    You call a question I asked in response to something YOU wrote and refuse to answer it because you consider it a “loaded question” are you serious? I am really curious what makes my question a loaded question, can you answer that? Or is that a loaded question as well LOL

    Vivid

  44. 44
    Trumper says:

    Allan @36
    How would we know… we know this because “we” would both agree that something is not morally acceptable. You raise the excuse of slavery but that only gets you half the way there. Many (you and I included) agree that it was wrong but you and I probably disagree on why. What all of agree but maybe only a few disturbed and warped souls is that the torture of babies for personal pleasure is wrong…as it serves no real purpose.nor is it beneficial for anyone.

    Animals and such have changed in the last century…. ??? really? how so? and for what purpose do you presume?

Leave a Reply