Intelligent Design

How Materialists Mutilate Language in the Service of Mutilating People

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In a recent post I castigated Zachriel for his support of the practice of chopping little boys and girls into pieces and selling the pieces like meat in the marketplace.  In response Popperian weighs in with this:

 

The problem, which Barry seem to have difficulty grasping, is that all words are ultimately undefined. As such it’s not possible to make a pure moral statement outside of a particular moral problem to solve.  All we can hope to achieve is to define words well enough so that we can all understand their usage in the context of a specific problem. Yet, Barry is demanding that Zachriel somehow do otherwise as if it were possible, in practice. It’s unclear how this is a reasonable or even rational request.

Seversky adds in a different post:

Words can mean whatever we want them to mean . . .

There you have it dear readers.  Words have no meaning, or conversely, they mean anything we want.  George Orwell had the number of such as Popperian and Seversky in 1984.  The rulers of the hyper-totalitarian government at the center of that book understood that mutilating language is a useful tool if one intends to mutilate people.  Do you remember the government’s three slogans?

WAR IS PEACE
FREEDOM IS SLAVERY
IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH

“Hear! Hear!” say Popperian and Seversky.  Words have no meaning and we can pour any concept we like into any phrase.  Why can’t “peace” mean “war”?  No reason.  No reason at all.

Orwell was doubtless influenced by earlier versions of the linguistic nihilism Popperian and Seversky are pushing.  After all, when 1984 was published (1949) the camps over whose gates the famous phrase “Arbeit macht frei” was emblazoned had been closed for only four years.

With their comments Popperian and Seversky reveal their latent fascism.  They say there are no binding moral principles, and even if there were there are no meaningful words with which to express such principles.  But with no binding moral principles and the language to express those principles, justice itself is impossible, because justice rests on the twin pillars of language and logic.  If there is no justice, there is only power.  The strong prevail; the weak succumb.  And the unborn are the weakest of all.  Popperian and Seversky are in favor of continuing the utterly depraved and barbaric practices going on this very day at Planned Parenthood.

I attempt to call them to account for the boundless evil they advocate by asking:  “Shall we chop little boys and girls into pieces?”   And they respond with “What do you mean by “boy” and “girl” and “chop” and “pieces”?  Those words have no meaning.”

Popperian and Seversky are liars, and their lies are dangerous, as Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn knew all too well when he wrote:

Violence can only be concealed by a lie, and the lie can only be maintained by violence.

44 Replies to “How Materialists Mutilate Language in the Service of Mutilating People

  1. 1
    anthropic says:

    Pretty harsh words, BA. But since words have no meaning, I guess that’s okay. Besides, it’s not as if you are advocating that they be chopped up into pieces, or their face cut through with scissors so the intact brain can be removed.

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    Words, and how a person chooses to use them, are of far more importance than many people, even many Theists, seem to realize.

    Matthew 12:36-37
    “But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

    At the 17:45 minute mark of the following Near Death Experience documentary, the Life Review portion of the Near Death Experience is highlighted, with several testimonies relating how every word, deed, and action, of a person’s life (all the ‘information’ of a person’s life) is gone over in the presence of God:

    Near Death Experience Documentary – commonalities of the experience – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nTuMYaEB35U

    Of related note, the other day an atheist, perhaps Zach or Seversky, stated that our words were merely sounds produced by chemistry and physics, or something to that effect. Implying that our words are merely ’emergent’, (there’s that magic word again), from a material basis and are thus of no real consequence.
    In response, I pointed out to him that sound has a far deeper, ‘pre-chemistry’, relation to the origin of reality than he realized:

    Big Bang Sound Recording ‘Remix’ Created By Physicist – 04/04/2013
    Excerpt: While you might think that because space is a vacuum the explosion of a singularity wouldn’t make any sound at all, Cramer told QMI that “the Big Bang is the exception to this, because the medium that pervaded the universe in the first 100,000 years or so was far more dense than the atmosphere of the Earth.”
    In other words, matter was so dense in the early Universe that it carried sounds waves in much the same way air does on Earth.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2.....07975.html

    Photons and Phonons
    Excerpt: You see, the primary Planck-Law (E=hf) is metaphysical and independent on the inertia distribution of the solid states.,,,
    Both, photon and phonon carry massequivalent energy m=E/c2=hf/c2.
    The matter-light interaction so is rendered electromagnetically noninertial for the photon and becomes acoustically inertial for the phonons; both however subject to Bose-Einstein stochastic wave mechanics incorporative the Planck-Law.,,
    Where, how and why does E=hf correctly and experimentally verifiably describe the quantum mechanics of energy propagation?,,,
    http://www.tonyb.freeyellow.com/id135.html

    Phonon
    Excerpt: In physics, a phonon,, represents an excited state in the quantum mechanical quantization of the modes of vibrations,,
    The name phonon,, translates as sound or voice because long-wavelength phonons give rise to sound.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phonon

    Evan Grant: Making sound visible through cymatics – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CsjV1gjBMbQ

    Verse and Music:

    Genesis 1:1-3
    In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.

    Words (Official Music Video)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=26&v=Bf_H7Lwl0FI

    Supplemental notes:

    The Healing Power of Positive Words By Linda Wasmer Andrews – Jun 08, 2012
    Excerpt: When researchers analyzed the autobiographies of famous deceased psychologists, they found that those who used lots of active positive words (such as lively, enthusiastic, happy) tended to outlive their other colleagues.
    Within this category of words, the biggest boost came from humor-related terms (such as laugh, funny, giggle), which were associated with living six years longer, on average. In contrast, passive positive words (such as peaceful, calm, relaxed) and negative words (such as worried, angry, lonely) didn’t affect longevity.
    http://health.yahoo.net/expert.....tive-words

    Christians happier than atheists – on Twitter – June 28 2013
    Excerpt: With the help of a text analysis program, the researchers found that Christians tweet with higher frequency words reflecting positive emotions,,,,
    Christians, they found, are more likely to use words like “love,” “happy” and “great”; “family,” “friend” and “team.”
    Atheists win when it comes to using words like “bad,” “wrong,” and “awful”,,,
    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/.....n-twitter/

    Atheism and health
    A meta-analysis of all studies, both published and unpublished, relating to religious involvement and longevity was carried out in 2000. Forty-two studies were included, involving some 126,000 subjects. Active religious involvement increased the chance of living longer by some 29%, and participation in public religious practices, such as church attendance, increased the chance of living longer by 43%.[4][5]
    http://www.conservapedia.com/Atheism_and_health

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    of related note to the Evan Grant cymatics video I listed:

    Sound waves precisely position nanowires – June 19. 2013
    Excerpt: The smaller components become, the more difficult it is to create patterns in an economical and reproducible way, according to an interdisciplinary team of Penn State researchers who, using sound waves, can place nanowires in repeatable patterns for potential use in a variety of sensors, optoelectronics and nanoscale circuits.
    http://phys.org/news/2013-06-p.....wires.html

  4. 4
    Latemarch says:

    The problem, which Barry seem to have difficulty grasping, is that all words are ultimately undefined.

    Except, of course, the words that you’re using which are clearly defined and understood “;^)

  5. 5
    sean samis says:

    The correct way to put this is that all language is conventional, a point Aristotle made.

    But language conventions (at any point in time) are as objective as any other fact about a culture at any point in time.

    That said, at any point in time some words have many distinct meanings; few languages (if any) are so precise as to have just one meaning per word. And of course, writers are often sloppy in their word usage. So every now and then it is necessary to clarify what you meant when you wrote something.

    But that’s only if you’re trying to communicate, which is not usually the point of this site (UD). Here the point usually is to bash and insult. Especially when Barry participates.

    sean s.

  6. 6
    Barry Arrington says:

    Sean,

    The correct way to put this is that all language is conventional, a point Aristotle made.

    It is correct that all language is conventional, but that is not the point they were making.

    But language conventions (at any point in time) are as objective as any other fact about a culture at any point in time.

    That is correct, but it is not the point that either Popperian or Seversky was making.

    That said, at any point in time some words have many distinct meanings; few languages (if any) are so precise as to have just one meaning per word. And of course, writers are often sloppy in their word usage. So every now and then it is necessary to clarify what you meant when you wrote something.

    Can’t argue with anything there. It is not relevant to Popperian’s and Seversky’s antics. Their meaning was clear enough.

    But that’s only if you’re trying to communicate, which is not usually the point of this site (UD).

    Irony. Since we are the ones pushing for the existence of fixed meaning and against the bad faith abuse of language.

    Here the point usually is to bash and insult. Especially when Barry participates.

    If you mean that I have nothing but contempt for those who advocate for chopping little boys and girls into pieces and selling the pieces, yes, I do bash and insult.

    What is your (all too predictable) position on that issue, Sean?

  7. 7
    StephenB says:

    Popperian

    The problem, which Barry seem to have difficulty grasping, is that all words are ultimately undefined. As such it’s not possible to make a pure moral statement outside of a particular moral problem to solve. All we can hope to achieve is to define words well enough so that we can all understand their usage in the context of a specific problem. Yet, Barry is demanding that Zachriel somehow do otherwise as if it were possible, in practice. It’s unclear how this is a reasonable or even rational request.

    Why do people write confused and convoluted paragraphs like that. We don’t define words so that we can understand their usage in the context of a specific problem. We use words so that we can understand the specific problem in the context of the word.

    We don’t understand the meaning of “rape” in the moral context of what Bill Clinton did to Juanita Broderick. We understand what Bill Clinton did to Juanita Broderick in the moral context of the word “rape.”

    Similarly, we must first know the definition of “abortion” and its moral context in order to understand what the baby killers do and we must understand the meaning and moral context of the words “bloodthirsty” and “greedy” in order to understand why they slice babies up and sell them like chopped meat.

  8. 8
    EvilSnack says:

    Nobody who says that words have no meaning really believes it. If they did, they would stop using words and shut the {expletive} up.

  9. 9
    Seversky says:

    With their comments Popperian and Seversky reveal their latent fascism. They say there are no binding moral principles, and even if there were there are no meaningful words with which to express such principles. But with no binding moral principles and the language to express those principles, justice itself is impossible, because justice rests on the twin pillars of language and logic. If there is no justice, there is only power. The strong prevail; the weak succumb. And the unborn are the weakest of all. Popperian and Seversky are in favor of continuing the utterly depraved and barbaric practices going on this very day at Planned Parenthood.

    No, that is blatant misrepresentation.

    I am on record here as opposing abortion on the grounds that I believe the right to life should cover the whole of an individual human being’s existence as such, in other words, it should extend from conception to death. I would allow it where we are forced, for medical reasons, to choose between saving the mother or saving the unborn child but otherwise, no. The practice is immoral, in my view, and should be stopped.

    I do not hold that there are no binding moral principles. I say we are entitled to decide for ourselves which moral codes should bind us. This does not mean that abominations like the Nazis or Stalinist Russia or Pol Pot’s Cambodia are inevitable. Those regimes imposed their policies by the most brutal violence and certainly did not seek the opinions, let alone the consent, of those they oppressed. A better example would be a democracy like the United States which, at first, permitted and even defended slavery but later was persuaded to the view that it was immoral and subsequently banned it.

    For the same reason, it is not for one particular faith to try and impose its own code on the rest of us, especially when any kind of justification for that code is neither given nor, apparently, sought and especially when its own scriptures contain accounts of appallingly immoral behavior which are defended rather than being repudiated and excised from the text. Whatever else you might say about them, Lutheran churches at least have had the moral courage to repudiate the rabid anti-semitism of Martin Luther. If Christianity as a whole were to do the same with the excesses of the Old Testament it would be on much stronger moral ground.

    Neither did I argue that there are no meaningful words. I pointed out that the meanings of words are what we agree they should be. The evidence for the claim that words can have different meanings in different contexts and that meanings have changed over time is to be found in our dictionaries. You could argue that uncertainty is a good thing because it forces us to examine the concepts that lie behind the words which is the exact opposite of meanings being imposed by some arbitrary authority as instanced in 1984.

  10. 10
    harry says:

    Seversky

    I say we are entitled to decide for ourselves which moral codes should bind us.
    — Seversky

    For God doth know that in what day soever you shall eat thereof, your eyes shall be opened: and you shall be as Gods, knowing good and evil.
    — The devil

    If there is a God Who has revealed Himself and a moral code to humanity, then we still can “decide for ourselves which moral codes should bind us” — we have a free will — but who are mere creatures to reject the morality of the Creator, as though we could “be as Gods,” deciding for ourselves what is good and what is evil? I am not advocating robotic obedience to that which we cannot understand. Morality should have our intellectual assent. It should make sense to us. God’s morality makes more sense than anything else. Man’s morality apart from God always ends in Man’s brutal inhumanity to Man.

    Yes there are passages in the Scriptures which are misinterpreted to mean that the Scriptures are advocating that which is “appallingly immoral behavior.” One needs to interpret each verse of Scripture in the context of the whole. The Scriptures, from beginning to end, are about Jesus Christ, Who not only taught but also set an example of radical selflessness and sacrificial love. There is nothing that needs to be repudiated in the Scriptures when they are properly understood.

  11. 11
    lifepsy says:

    It’s always funny to me how people like Zachriel casually shrug off the mass slaughter of unborn children as morally relativistic, yet these same types of people will then go on to castigate anyone who questions Evolution or Global Warming as being part of an absolutely immoral ‘anti-science’ culture that is committing borderline child-abuse and holding back society from becoming a glorious scientific utopia.

  12. 12
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Materialists are often very bold with their claims – denouncing God, pouring contempt on all religion, laughing at prayer and the spiritual hopes of people, and bluntly stating there is no afterlife and no ultimate source of morality.

    But it’s interesting that they’re never bold about the most obvious consequence of all that posturing. Once someone merely says that any kind of evil can be justified under materialist-atheism, all sorts of outrage and denial will follow.

    Suddenly, the bold liberators who choose atheism so “they can do whatever they want”, and who have no need for God or a final judgement, and who ridicule the prayers of believers … suddenly, they become pillars of virtue and reverence and good morals.

    The outrage we see when we say their worldview promotes evil? It’s relentless.

    But when you hack your way through all the emotion and noise and defensiveness — there’s no argument to be found.

    Materialism starts from nothing and ends with nothing.

    It’s about the simplest and most primative concept one can encounter. There’s nothing to say about it.

    So, we get these people who pride themselves on their intellectual achievements and they can’t see the most obvious and ridiculously simple idea staring them in the face.

    No, I should say – they certainly do see it. That is obvious. There’s no way so many materialists can respond in exactly the same way by actually not understanding the point. They don’t want to look at it. And that’s a good thing. At least its a sign they have some kind of conscience still. But it’s dishonest. They don’t want to look at the evil they are proclaiming. They want that part to just disappear.

    It’s like abortion itself. “The problem disappeared”. Now we don’t talk about it. Now we pretend nothing happened.

    But if you’ve ever encountered an angry pro-abortionist and discovered he/she is suffering from guilt of the very act they’re promoting, it’s the same concept.

    When you shut your mind and heart to God, and proclaim freedom to do what you want, you proclaim the same freedom to every psycho-terrorist and child abuser and mass murderer.

    The same people will laugh about the reverence others have for God. But at the same time, we’re supposed to have respect for their own subjective morals, which emerge from an unintelligent process that doesn’t care whether anyone lives or dies.

  13. 13
    Popperian says:

    “Hear! Hear!” say Popperian and Seversky. Words have no meaning and we can pour any concept we like into any phrase. Why can’t “peace” mean “war”? No reason. No reason at all.

    First, note how Barry is just presenting yet another dichotomy. Unless it’s possible to make a purely moral statement independent of any moral problem to solve, “words have no meaning” and “peace” can mean “war”. Does Barry really consider misrepresenting people the moral thing to do?

    Second, absent is any kind of attempt to address the that criticism presented. After all, he’s preaching to the choir, who holds the very same justificationist views has he does.

    I wrote:

    For example, Barry is suggesting that Zachriel should be able to simply start out with words like “sell”, “children” and “chop up” and make moral statements based on their essence, rather than in the context of actual moral problems to solve. The problem with this is, every time we define an essence, we use many undefined terms, which would require us to define those undefined terms, etc. Nor can we simply solve this problem by stating our definitions at the start because those definitions introduce more undefined terms, etc.

    Barry completely ignores this. Instead of an explanation as to how this is a reasonable or even rational request, we get an argument from undesired consequences based on a false dichotomy. It must be possible or society will come crumbling down.

    Furthermore, Barry still hasn’t explained how he can actually have knowledge of this supposed moral essence, in practice. Apparently, rational criticism of his specific philosophical view of knowledge is evil and tantamount to fascism. How exactly? Let’s break this down…

    Barry:

    They say there are no binding moral principles, and even if there were there are no meaningful words with which to express such principles.

    I say there is moral knowledge of how to solve moral problems, which genuinely grows though conjecture and criticism. I say that, while words cannot be ultimately defined, they can be defined to the degree that is sufficient to address specific moral problems. So, while there is nothing that “binds” us in the sense of an authoritative source, we are compelled by rational argument and criticism.

    Barry:

    But with no binding moral principles and the language to express those principles, justice itself is impossible, because justice rests on the twin pillars of language and logic.

    But there is a more fundamental problem, which Barry continues to ignore. Even if there were such a thing as “binding moral principles” in the sense he is implying, it’s unclear how Barry could use them to solve moral problems, in practice, unless he actually possesses the knowledge of what those principles are. To do so would require an infallible way to identify an infallible source of those principles are and an infallible means to interpret it.

    I wrote:

    For example, how does Barry Arrington infallibly distinguish his personal views on same sex marriage, abortion, etc. from this supposed infallible source of essence? The very idea that there is a infallible source requires the concept of criticism to distinguish that source from others, decide under what conditions it is infallible and how to interpret it. Again, reason and criticism always comes first. So when actually faced with a moral problem, it’s unclear how Barry has any other recourse other than to conjecture solutions to moral problems and rationally [criticize] them.

    Barry has yet to explain any alternative is possible. My guess is that this will be met with another argument from undesired consequence based on yet another false dilemma. It must be true or evil will reign!

    Barry:

    If there is no justice, there is only power. The strong prevail; the weak succumb. And the unborn are the weakest of all. Popperian and Seversky are in favor of continuing the utterly depraved and barbaric practices going on this very day at Planned Parenthood.

    See above. Even if there was such a thing as “binding moral principles” it’s unclear how Barry has any other recourse other than to conjecture moral solutions to moral problems and criticize them. So what compels us to accept ideas, and by “us” I’m including Barry himself, is human reasoning an problem solving: i.e. argument. This is because human reason criticism always comes first..

    The problem of unplanned, unwanted and dangerous pregnancies is a moral problem for which we conjecture solutions and criticize them. We start out with a guess, then criticize those guesses. It’s unclear how we can do anything else. Will we get it right the first time? No, we will not. But moral solutions to moral problems will improve though criticism of our ideas. Including those on abortion, the disposition of tissue from abortions, etc.

    And they will be progress not because they come from an ultimate authority but because our criticisms of those ideas will fail. What do I mean by this? When we take our ideas on board for the purpose of criticism and our criticisms fail, we will understand why they fail and why those advances actually represent progress. This is opposed to assuming they are right because they supposedly came from an ultimate source that endowed them with an ultimate essence.

    For example, it’s possible to pass a test on a subject without actually being able to understand it. And when the same problem is encountered in a way that is different than material was originally presented, they lack the ability to apply it, in practice.

    However, what Barry is suggesting is that the issue of abortion should already have been completely settled and that no progress can be made on the issue. No new criticism we could devise could ever improve the ultimate moral truth of abortion, same sex marriage, etc. If anything is immoral, denying that we can make progress beyond the ideas of the past, or even our current ideas, fits that description.

    Again, I invite Barry to explain why he thinks we would get it right the first time, or the second time, or even the third time? How does that work, in practice?

  14. 14
    Barry Arrington says:

    I invite our readers to ponder Popperian’s comment at 13. It amounts to this “blah blah blah blah . . . therefore it is OK to split a little boy’s face in two in order to remove his brain while his heart is still beating so that you can sell that brain like a piece of meat.”

    You see, gentle readers, it takes a lot of blah, blah, blah to get to that conclusion. Myself, I am OK with the simple “Thou shalt not murder.” But I’m not all sophisticated like Popperian.

    Materialists like Popperian can justify literally anything if they give it enough blah blah blah. And that is what makes them evil and dangerous.

    Do you think I’m exaggerating with the “literally anything”? I am not. I don’t know what Popperian’s views on killing born babies is. Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt and say he opposes it. His fellow materialist Peter Singer has used the exact same “blah blah blah” method Popperian uses to conclude that it is good to kill even born babies if that’s what the parent wants. Popperian stops killing at birth. Singer uses Popperian’s logic to keep killing after the baby is born. Like I said. Evil and dangerous.

    Popperian writes:

    I invite Barry to explain why he thinks we would get it right the first time.

    Yes, it is true. God got it right the first time with “thou shalt not murder.” You can’t improve on that. And it is easy to see why. Every exception to that simple rules rests on an arbitrary distinction. Popperian stops at birth. “Arbitrary!” yells Singer.

  15. 15
    OldArmy94 says:

    There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that Popperian and Seversky would be comfortable in the black SS suits. That’s why we must be prepared to destroy those among us who dare to bring back the demonic actions of Hitler.

  16. 16
    Starbuck says:

    Aaaaaaand Godwin.

  17. 17
    StephenB says:

    Popperian

    Unless it’s possible to make a purely moral statement independent of any moral problem to solve, “words have no meaning” and “peace” can mean “war”.

    I already refuted this claim @7. Repeating it with increasing verbosity does not make it legitimate. You cannot use Popperian methodology to assess the relationship between the meanings of words and moral arguments.

  18. 18
    Orlando Braga says:

    “The problem, which Barry seem to have difficulty grasping, is that all words are ultimately undefined. As such it’s not possible to make a pure moral statement outside of a particular moral problem to solve.”

    It’s a sophisticated Nominalism: it turns impossible to categorize general facts from reality.

  19. 19

    @Seversky

    All words like “should” that you use, it is meaningless, because you don’t use them in a spiritual sense, as is clear by your materialism.

    You have definitions of “choosing”, “should”, “appalling”, “subjective” etc. that are consistent with materialism.

    What that basically means is, you have defined choosing as sorting out the best result. Like a chesscomputer sorts out the best result, or a thermostat keeps the room at a preprogrammed optimal temperature. You have given choosing a logic of being forced.

    Your criticism of the immorality of scripture, it is just a criticism of morality altogether. You discard morality in it’s entirety, because you have discarded subjectivity.

  20. 20
    Popperian says:

    I invite our readers to ponder Popperian’s comment at 13. It amounts to this “blah blah blah blah . . . therefore it is OK to split a little boy’s face in two in order to remove his brain while his heart is still beating so that you can sell that brain like a piece of meat.”

    You see, gentle readers, it takes a lot of blah, blah, blah to get to that conclusion. Myself, I am OK with the simple “Thou shalt not murder.” But I’m not all sophisticated like Popperian.

    However, nothing in my comment is specific to abortion. If fact, I haven’t actually presented my view on abortion. Rather, I’m pointing out fundamental issues that are applicable to all moral problems. So, it’s unclear how my “blah blah blah” promotes anything of the sort. IOW, if Barry thinks anything in my comment “gets to that confusion” it makes you wonder if he actually read what i wrote or just decided to ignore it by calling it “blah blah blah”

    Furthermore, I’d again point out that all words are ultimately undefined, including “murder”, person, child, etc. Again, what we can hope to do is define words enough so we can use them in a critical way. When does a fertilized egg become a child or a person? All of the words, depend on other words, etc. As such, no such ultimate definition can exist due to an infinite regress. What we can do, however, if define them enough for the purpose of solving moral problems.

    Is capital punishment murder? Is it OK to kill women and their unborn and born children, if God directs one to? Was it just too inconvenient for the, Israelites to adopt them? Is there some mystical idea at work, in that evil sows evil, so their children would have been evil too?

    But how could Moses or anyone else for that matter, infallibly identify an infallible source (God) and interpret it infallibly (distinguish their own moral views from God’s)? Human reason and criticism always comes first. For example, an argument could have been made that God would demand such a thing because it was a common practice at the time. That’s what they would expect from their God.

    And what about post traumatic shock, which we know occurs when soldiers kill other soldiers in war, let alone killing women children and unborn children? This would desensitize men to committing violence against women and children. Apparently, God doesn’t read many physiology journals.

    And then we have things like this, from Kings 35-36

    By the word of the Lord one of the company of the prophets said to his companion, “Strike me with your weapon,” but he refused.

    So the prophet said, “Because you have not obeyed the Lord, as soon as you leave me a lion will kill you.” And after the man went away, a lion found him and killed him.

    So, for refusing to injure someone God has them killed by a Lion? it is unclear how someone should have known that some man, claiming to speak on the behalf of God, is actually doing just that, given that he demands someone do him harm. Why would we expect the companion to get it right? What other recourse do we have than to conjecture an answer and criticize it. How is this moral?

    Materialists like Popperian can justify literally anything if they give it enough blah blah blah. And that is what makes them evil and dangerous.

    Except, I’m not a jusificationist. And I’ve said so repeatedly. As such, it’s unclear why Barry keeps making arguments as if I am. Apparently, Barry just keep making plays from the same playbook.

    Do you think I’m exaggerating with the “literally anything”? I am not. I don’t know what Popperian’s views on killing born babies is. Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt and say he opposes it. His fellow materialist Peter Singer has used the exact same “blah blah blah” method Popperian uses to conclude that it is good to kill even born babies if that’s what the parent wants. Popperian stops killing at birth. Singer uses Popperian’s logic to keep killing after the baby is born. Like I said. Evil and dangerous.

    Take the argument that God was justified demanding the violent death born and unborn children because their parents were evil and they will in some “magic” way inherit that evil, or that their death was a punishment for their evil. Ok, then why couldn’t one just as well claim any woman that wants to abort her child is also evil. So, why shouldn’t their unborn children come to a violent death as well?

    Again, my point is that conjecture and criticism always comes first. That’s what we do, in practice when faced with moral problems. Adding some ultimate moral authority doesn’t actually get you want to think it does.

    I wrote:

    I invite Barry to explain why he thinks we would get it right the first time.

    Barry:

    Yes, it is true. God got it right the first time with “thou shalt not murder.” You can’t improve on that.

    Thats not the question I asked, as “we” are not God. Still waiting.

  21. 21
    Popperian says:

    Yes, it is true. God got it right the first time with “thou shalt not murder.” You can’t improve on that.

    That statement depends on the definition of “murder”.

    For example, if anyone today ordered troops to kill non-combatant woman and children, they would be convinced for murder. The would be put on trial for war crimes. Regardless if they claimed God told them to or not. So, yes, it has improved.

  22. 22
    Barry Arrington says:

    For those who are interested, Popperian’s objections are answered here:

    http://www.reasonablefaith.org.....-testament

    For example, if anyone today ordered troops to kill non-combatant woman and children, they would be convinced for murder.

    Unless that “anyone” is God, for the reasons Dr. Craig states in the above link.

    Popperian, why so coy? Tell us your position on Planned Parenthood chopping little boys and girls into pieces and selling the pieces like meat.

  23. 23
    Popperian says:

    Unless that “anyone” is God, for the reasons Dr. Craig states in the above link.

    It does?

    Again, for anyone to know it was God doing the ordering, they would need to somehow infallibly identify a supposedly infallible source of those orders, then interpret them infallibly.

    I wrote:

    But how could Moses or anyone else for that matter, infallibly identify an infallible source (God) and interpret it infallibly (distinguish their own moral views from God’s)? Human reason and criticism always comes first.

    IOW, even if some standard or justification exists in the sense that Dr. Craig implies in his article, a fundamental issue remains: how does anyone have infallible access to it? In the absence of such access, when faced with actual moral problems it’s unclear how Barry has any other recourse than to conjecture solutions to those problems and criticize them.

    However, we’re still waiting on how that works, in practice. Why is Barry so coy?

    Second, this does negate the fact that anyone today who claimed to kill non-combatant woman and children on behalf of God – or anyone else, such as a modern day Moses – would be convicted of murder and put on trial for committing war crimes.

    So, again, we have made progress

  24. 24
    StephenB says:

    Popperian:

    Furthermore, I’d again point out that all words are ultimately undefined, including “murder”, person, child, etc. Again, what we can hope to do is define words enough so we can use them in a critical way.

    Contradiction:

    Claim 1 All words are undefined.

    Claim 2 All words are not undefined since we must define them well enough to use them).

    When does a fertilized egg become a child or a person? All of the words, depend on other words, etc.As such, no such ultimate definition can exist due to an infinite regress. What we can do, however, if define them enough for the purpose of solving moral problems.

    Contradiction:

    Infinite regress refers to causation. One word does not cause another. Words do not have causative power and cannot, therefore, be a part of a causal chain.

    Again, my point is that conjecture and criticism always comes first. That’s what we do, in practice when faced with moral problems. Adding some ultimate moral authority doesn’t actually get you want to think it does.

    And I have refuted that claim three times. (Even when it takes you 1000 words to say it.) The definition comes first. Popperian methodology cannot be used to assess the relationship between the definition of words that the substance of moral principles.

  25. 25
    StephenB says:

    Popperian

    However, nothing in my comment is specific to abortion. If fact, I haven’t actually presented my view on abortion.

    Why are you afraid to disclose your views on abortion?

    IOW, even if some standard or justification exists in the sense that Dr. Craig implies in his article, a fundamental issue remains: how does anyone have infallible access to it?

    Access to the knowledge of justification is gained through the exercise of reason. If, even after many warnings, a culture becomes so corrupt that it lacks any potential for moral recovery and, as a result, cannot be salvaged, it makes perfect sense that God would uproot that culture so that the rest of the world will not become contaminated. It hardly matters if He does it directly or indirectly through people. God must sometimes play the role of a surgeon that removes rotting tissue.

    In the absence of such access, when faced with actual moral problems it’s unclear how Barry has any other recourse than to conjecture solutions to those problems and criticize them.

    How many times must you be told that conjecture and criticism via Popperian methodology have nothing to do with definitions and moral claims. If your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. You need a new tool.

  26. 26
    StephenB says:

    Popperian

    Second, this does negate the fact that anyone today who claimed to kill non-combatant woman and children on behalf of God – or anyone else, such as a modern day Moses – would be convicted of murder and put on trial for committing war crimes.

    I gather that you are trying to make an argument here. Do you want me to guess what it is, or do you think you might disclose it.

  27. 27

    Because the topic is about mutilating language I will just make clear what definitions materialists and creationists use:

    materialist:

    choosing = to sort out the best result, using the facts about what is good and evil as sorting criteria

    subjectivity = reaching a conclusion about what is real, dependent on what the observer uniquely consists of (like an unique position of observation, or uniqueness of what information the observer has in mind)

    emotions = electrochemical processes in the brain which control behaviour

    creationist definitions:

    choosing = to make a potential, which is in the future, the present or not

    subjectivity = to choose about what the agency of a decision is, resulting in an opinion. (expression of emotion by free will)

    emotions = the spirit which chooses the way decisions, organized in a particular way, turn out
    ===

    I can tell you after conversing with many materialists, that this is absolutely correct. They all use a sorting algorithm to explain how choosing works, and sorting algorithms are forced. The result depends on the data to sort, and the sorting criteria, it cannot turn out any other way.

    Seversky, and others, insist on subjectivity in regards to morality. But that is completely bogus, because their idea of subjectivity does not involve free will in the sense of that there are several courses of action available.

    Their concept of subjectivity is simply like the bad kind of racism. Blacks will act like this, women will act like this, whites will act like this, etc. But then it is much more sophisticated than stock racism, that there are many more factors (they like to say billions of factors) forcing the result.

    A nazi conceives of emotions of people as fact, just like materialists conceive of what emotions people have as a factual issue. A nazi conceives of people behaving in a way forced by their genes, a materialist conceives of people behaving in a way forced by their genes, and a billion other factors.

    That is how conscience is sabotaged, because the link to real freedom, real subjectivity is lost. It just becomes a matter of calculation what to do, based on the facts of what is good and evil. That is how the nazi and the materialist typically have that coldhearted calculating personality.

    And I should say, to a large extent the majority of religious people conceive of things in more or less the exactsame way as materialists. They also conceive of choosing in terms of sorting, etc. However the official doctrine in religions, of God and the soul choosing which way the universe and the body turns out, whose existence is established as a matter of faith and revelation (opinion), is correct.

  28. 28
    Popperian says:

    StephanB:

    Contradiction:

    Claim 1 All words are undefined.

    Claim 2 All words are not undefined since we must define them well enough to use them).

    Conflation: What I actually wrote was “ultimately undefined”. Defined in the essentialist sense is not the same as defined well enough for us to solve problems.

    Contradiction:

    Infinite regress refers to causation. One word does not cause another. Words do not have causative power and cannot, therefore, be a part of a causal chain.

    Just so I have this straight, when one should use the term “Infinite regress” depends on the term “causation”, which it refers to? And causation refers to ideas like causes, effects, etc. And since the term “definition” does not qualify as a cause, it’s not appropriate? How can one express all of that in the phrase “infinite regress” in the absence of an actual problem to solve? How can we hope to define out terms so well from the start?

    Let me differentiate between an essentialist and a non-essentialist in a practical sense.

    From time to time, old words become obsolete. For an non-essentialist this is not a problem. This is because non-essentialists view words as a tool, not a Thing with a capital T. If any word ceases to function as a tool, a non-essentialists will quickly let it go and find some other new tool to solve problems with. On the other hand, an essentialist will not do this. Why not? Because, for the essentialist, all words correspond with Things with a capital T. And Things do not just disappear. Because of this view, an essentialist is significantly less likely to change their opinion of anything, if at all.

    To elaborate further, if two non-essentialists cannot agree on terms, they will merely search for new terms they can agree on and proceed from there. However, an essentialist is sure that some Thing actually corresponds with his words. As such, he will try to figure out why a non-essentialist won’t admit there really is such a Thing as the Thing he is talking about. The essentialist might merely think the non-essentialist is merely ignorant, or that their intellect is on the fritz. Or he might even decide you are down right evil. But the essentialist certainly won’t agree the Thing he refers to with his word can be so quickly dismissed.

    Does any of this sound familiar?

    Now, I’m a realist, in that I think there really are Things out there in reality. However, it’s unclear how we can actually have knowledge of those Things to the degree necessary for our words to actually correspond with them as an essentialist claims. Furthermore, implicit in that claim is that no further progress could be made. If progress were possible, their words did not actually correspond with the ultimate essence of those things, after all.

    I wrote:

    Again, my point is that conjecture and criticism always comes first. That’s what we do, in practice when faced with moral problems. Adding some ultimate moral authority doesn’t actually get you want to think it does.

    StephanB

    And I have refuted that claim three times. (Even when it takes you 1000 words to say it.) The definition comes first. Popperian methodology cannot be used to assess the relationship between the definition of words that the substance of moral principles.

    Yet the answer to the question that would refute it still remains. How can you infallibly identify the source of said moral principles, then infallibly interpret them once identified? Without this, it seems that our only actual recourse is to conjecture solutions to moral problem, then criticize them.

  29. 29
    Popperian says:

    @StephanB#25

    Why are you afraid to disclose your views on abortion?

    I’m not afraid. See above.

    You have confused fear with focusing on the underlying assumptions that have a significant impact on the issue of morality as a whole. IOW, this one of the reasons why we never get anywhere on the subject of abortion, or anything else for that matter.

    Access to the knowledge of justification is gained through the exercise of reason. If, even after many warnings, a culture becomes so corrupt that it lacks any potential for moral recovery and, as a result, cannot be salvaged, it makes perfect sense that God would uproot that culture so that the rest of the world will not become contaminated.

    Again, it’s unclear how you know whether a culture is “cut off” because God deemed them too corrupt unless you have knowledge of what is “corrupt” or to what degree. This is opposed to a culture failing due to their own ignorance, to a natural disaster, or because someone one else wanted their land and though it was moral to destroy them to obtain it. IOW, you seem to think that, regardless of how things turn out, they turn out that way because God ultimately wanted them to. This is Historicism.

    Furthermore, what you just described is an example of conjecture and criticism, which came first. You conjectured an idea as to why a culture was destroyed. As for criticism, well, that’s what we’re doing right now.

    It hardly matters if He does it directly or indirectly through people. God must sometimes play the role of a surgeon that removes rotting tissue.

    It doesn’t? Try telling that to soldiers that come back from a conflict with PTSD. And killing women and children would desensitize them to committing violence against other women and children. is God, despite being omniscient and existing outside of time, just to busy too keep up with psychology journals?

    After all, God could simply make them disappear. Right?

    How many times must you be told that conjecture and criticism via Popperian methodology have nothing to do with definitions and moral claims.

    Yes, Stephan. You think Morality refers to a Thing with a capital T, which is “obviously” different from conjecture and criticism. As such, you see me as claiming morality does not exist. See my previous comment.

    if your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. You need a new tool.

    Unification is progress. Newton unified the motion of plants and apples. Was Newton just seeing every problem as if it was a nail?

  30. 30
    Popperian says:

    @StephanB#26

    I’ve already disclosed it. We can and have made moral progress. What I presented was a concrete example.

  31. 31
    bornagain77 says:

    Popperian when you claim that,

    “We can and have made moral progress.”

    , exactly what standard of moral perfection are you, an atheist, claiming we have made progress towards?

    “My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust?”
    – C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

    “Over a half century ago, while I was still a child, I recall hearing a number of old people offer the following explanation for the great disasters that had befallen Russia: “Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.” Since then I have spent well-nigh 50 years working on the history of our revolution; in the process I have read hundreds of books, collected hundreds of personal testimonies, and have already contributed eight volumes of my own toward the effort of clearing away the rubble left by that upheaval. But if I were asked today to formulate as concisely as possible the main cause of the ruinous revolution that swallowed up some 60 million of our people, I could not put it more accurately than to repeat: “Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.”
    Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

  32. 32
    Popperian says:

    In anticipation of a possible misrepresentation of what I wrote:

    From time to time, old words become obsolete. For an non-essentialist this is not a problem. This is because non-essentialists view words as a tool [to solve problems with], not a Thing with a capital T. If any word ceases to function as a tool [to solve problems with], a non-essentialists will quickly let it go and find some other new tool to solve problems with.

    The word Knowledge is just one such example. If one sets up a discussion under the assumption that Knowledge is true, justified belief which does not exist independent of a knowing subject, then the discussion will have nowhere to go. this is because Knowledge, in this sense, no longer functions as a tool for us to solve problems.

    It’s only if we’re willing to redefine our terms that we can make progress. Otherwise, the discussion will go nowhere.

    Again, why would we expect to get our definitions of terms correct in the fist place, or even the second, or third place? That assumption is a specific philosophical view about knowledge itself.

  33. 33
    Popperian says:

    BA77:

    , exactly what standard of moral perfection are you, an atheist, claiming we have made progress towards?

    Apparently, i’m not making myself clear enough.

    All we can hope to do is chip away at errors in our conjectured solutions to moral problems. If any such perfect solutions to a problem exists, it’s unclear how we could know about it. So, we’re trying to become less wrong about how to achieve the kind of outcomes we want.

    And, yes, “what we want” starts out as conjecture a well. What we think we want, in principle, doesn’t always line up with what we think we want, in practice. It’s only by taking them on-board for the purpose of criticism that we make progress.

  34. 34
    Barry Arrington says:

    Popperian,

    Here’s some words and a definition and progress for you:

    Anyone who cannot unambiguously condemn the practice of chopping little boys and girls up and selling the pieces like so much meat shares in the evil of those who do so.

    Popperian delights in prolix discourses on moral theory and shifting the discussion from what is happening under his nose to events that occurred 3,500 years ago. But what is clear beyond the slightest doubt is that he refuses to unambiguously condemn the practice of chopping little boys and girls up and selling the pieces like so much meat.

    Popperian is worse than a German who kept quite about those “camps” even though he knew what was going on in them, or a Russian who refused to condemn the Gulags. At least the German and the Russian could use the excuse of fear of retribution for their silence.

    No, Popperian you are a world class example of a chattering pseudo-sophisticate who counts angels on the head of a pin to distract himself from his own evil.

  35. 35
    Barry Arrington says:

    Popperian,

    All we can hope to do is chip away at errors in our conjectured solutions to moral problems.

    “And, sadly, I have not chipped away at my own errors enough to unambiguously condemn the practice of chopping little boys and girls up and selling the pieces like so much meat.”

    If any such perfect solutions to a problem exists, it’s unclear how we could know about it.

    Here’s a perfect solution to the “chopping up boys and girls” problem. Stop it. You can’t possibly imagine how disgusting your “it is all so ambiguous” posturings are.

  36. 36
    asauber says:

    “Anyone who cannot unambiguously condemn the practice of chopping little boys and girls up and selling the pieces like so much meat shares in the evil of those who do so.”

    And I’m interested in why he clings to his position with apparent religious devotion.

    What kind of activity is he engaged in that he must be so loyal to the abortion business?

    Andrew

  37. 37
    bornagain77 says:

    Popperian as to: “what we want”

    MMM, persons ‘want’ moral perfection. Material particles just are what they are and do not ‘want’ moral perfection or any other teleological goal or purpose for that matter. i.e. ‘blind pitiless indifference’:

    Since there is no such thing as a ‘person’ in atheistic materialism, how do material particles become ‘less wrong’ in their moral progress to what they cannot possibly ‘want’ in the first place?

    of note: I agree completely with Mr Arrington that you are purposely being ambiguous just so as to avoid condemning the evil that is taking place right now right under your nose.

  38. 38
    Popperian says:

    Barry:

    Anyone who cannot unambiguously condemn the practice of chopping little boys and girls up and selling the pieces like so much meat shares in the evil of those who do so.

    Note how Barry is making my point for me. I wrote:

    From time to time, old words become obsolete. For an non-essentialist this is not a problem. This is because non-essentialists view words as a tool, not a Thing with a capital T. If any word ceases to function as a tool, a non-essentialists will quickly let it go and find some other new tool to solve problems with. On the other hand, an essentialist will not do this. Why not? Because, for the essentialist, all words correspond with Things with a capital T. And Things do not just disappear. Because of this view, an essentialist is significantly less likely to change their opinion of anything, if at all.

    However, an essentialist is sure that some Thing actually corresponds with his words. As such, he will try to figure out why a non-essentialist won’t admit there really is such a Thing as the Thing he is talking about. The essentialist might merely think the non-essentialist is merely ignorant, or that their intellect is on the fritz. Or he might even decide you are down right evil. But the essentialist certainly won’t agree the Thing he refers to with his word can be so quickly dismissed.

    Again, sound familiar?

    Barry want’s me to condemn something with his terms, rather than decide on terms we can agree on. But that is the underlying problem in the first place. In setting it up that way, we won’t get anywhere.

  39. 39
    StephenB says:

    Popperian

    Defined in the essentialist sense is not the same as defined well enough for us to solve problems.

    We don’t define terms to solve problems. We define terms to explain what we mean. The purpose of a dictionary is not to make the world a better place. It is to provide information about the common meaning of a term. Some words have many definitions because some words are used in many different ways.

    SB: Infinite regress refers to causation. One word does not cause another. Words do not have causative power and cannot, therefore, be a part of a causal chain.

    Just so I have this straight, when one should use the term “Infinite regress” depends on the term “causation”, which it refers to? And causation refers to ideas like causes, effects, etc. And since the term “definition” does not qualify as a cause, it’s not appropriate?

    You don’t have it straight. Words cannot be part of a causal chain. Words have no causal power. Words can be used to describe causality, but they cannot be causes in themselves.

    How can one express all of that in the phrase “infinite regress” in the absence of an actual problem to solve? How can we hope to define out terms so well from the start?

    I always define my terms at the beginning of any meaningful debate because I want clarity. My opponents typically do not because they want confusion. The term “infinite regress” is defined in terms of causality. That definition preceded your attempt to obfuscate it.

    Let me differentiate between an essentialist and a non-essentialist in a practical sense.
    From time to time, old words become obsolete. For an non-essentialist this is not a problem. This is because non-essentialists view words as a tool, not a Thing with a capital T. If any word ceases to function as a tool, a non-essentialists will quickly let it go and find some other new tool to solve problems with. On the other hand, an essentialist will not do this. Why not? Because, for the essentialist, all words correspond with Things with a capital T. And Things do not just disappear. Because of this view, an essentialist is significantly less likely to change their opinion of anything, if at all.
    To elaborate further, if two non-essentialists cannot agree on terms, they will merely search for new terms they can agree on and proceed from there. However, an essentialist is sure that some Thing actually corresponds with his words. As such, he will try to figure out why a non-essentialist won’t admit there really is such a Thing as the Thing he is talking about. The essentialist might merely think the non-essentialist is merely ignorant, or that their intellect is on the fritz. Or he might even decide you are down right evil. But the essentialist certainly won’t agree the Thing he refers to with his word can be so quickly dismissed.
    Does any of this sound familiar?

    Words change meaning, in part, because language evolves and, in part, because non-essentialists abuse it for the purpose of dissembling. The Supreme Court recently tried to redefine the word “marriage” in order to legitimize the act of using one’s lower digestive tract for a sex organ.

    However, being an essentialist does not prevent one from making the necessary adjustments to changing language. What matters is that words must be defined before the debate begins and before problems can be solved. Just because the meanings of words may change over time doesn’t mean that the non-essentialist may change the meaning of words on the fly as a means of avoiding rational debate. You have it backwards: Problems do not inform the meanings of words; the meanings of words inform problems.

    Now, I’m a realist, in that I think there really are Things out there in reality. However, it’s unclear how we can actually have knowledge of those Things to the degree necessary for our words to actually correspond with them as an essentialist claims. Furthermore, implicit in that claim is that no further progress could be made. If progress were possible, their words did not actually correspond with the ultimate essence of those things, after all.

    No. It isn’t words that correspond to reality, it is mental perceptions that the words are trying to describe that correspond to reality. Truth is the correspondence of the mind to reality; it is not the correspondence of words to reality. Among other things, the purpose of words is to describe mental perceptions and to describe reality. Words are descriptions of things; they are not things in themselves.

    SB: The definition comes first. Popperian methodology cannot be used to assess the relationship between the definition of words that the substance of moral principles.

    Yet the answer to the question that would refute it still remains. How can you infallibly identify the source of said moral principles, then infallibly interpret them once identified? Without this, it seems that our only actual recourse is to conjecture solutions to moral problem, then criticize them.

    A moral principle is just that, a moral principle. It applies to all people at all times. A specific problem is an individual case in which the general principle may or may not apply. Conjectures, criticisms, and problems are meaningless, except in the context of the principle. They do not define it; it defines them. Indeed, if we both didn’t know the meanings of the words “conjecture” and “criticize,” in advance, your claims would be even more meaningless than they already are.

    SB: Why are you afraid to disclose your views on abortion?

    I’m not afraid. See above.

    This is more confirmation that you do not want to disclose your position on abortion. I assume that this is because you don’t believe clarity is your friend.

    You have confused fear with focusing on the underlying assumptions that have a significant impact on the issue of morality as a whole. IOW, this one of the reasons why we never get anywhere on the subject of abortion, or anything else for that matter.

    We have explored these underlying assumptions at length. The reasons we never get anywhere is because non-essentialists or positivists or materialists or subjectivist [usually the same thing] will not acknowledge the logical consequences of their assumptions, or even the assumptions themselves. Among other things, they will not face the unvarnished truth: The abortionist mentality is exactly the same as the Nazi mentality: “There is no objective standard to bind me or check my behavior. I can make up my own morality, and my morality is based on what I want. Since I have the power, I will impose my morality on you. I want to kill you. Therefore, my morality says that I may kill you. I will find reasons to rationalize my behavior.”

    SB: Access to the knowledge of justification is gained through the exercise of reason. If, even after many warnings, a culture becomes so corrupt that it lacks any potential for moral recovery and, as a result, cannot be salvaged, it makes perfect sense that God would uproot that culture so that the rest of the world will not become contaminated.

    Again, it’s unclear how you know whether a culture is “cut off” because God deemed them too corrupt unless you have knowledge of what is “corrupt” or to what degree.

    This is subjectivist confusion. It isn’t necessary for me to know. It is only necessary for me to know that an omnipotent God can know. In this case, the God of the Old Testament expressed His reasons for eliminating a culture. It is simply a question of reading what He wrote. If you don’t believe that God is the Divine author of Scripture, expressed also through human authors, that is a separate issue from justification. To justify an act is to provide moral reasons for its execution. Nothing more.

    This is opposed to a culture failing due to their own ignorance, to a natural disaster, or because someone one else wanted their land and though it was moral to destroy them to obtain it. IOW, you seem to think that, regardless of how things turn out, they turn out that way because God ultimately wanted them to. This is Historicism.

    Ignorance is not a factor. Sufficient warnings were provided. We are, or at least we were until you changed the subject, discussing the “justification” for eliminating a culture that is too corrupt to be salvaged.

    Furthermore, what you just described is an example of conjecture and criticism, which came first. You conjectured an idea as to why a culture was destroyed. As for criticism, well, that’s what we’re doing right now.

    No, the principle came first. The principle is that God is Creator and can justifiably make demands on His creatures, which means that they are obliged to obey Him. Criticism and conjecture play no role in the establishment of that moral principle, or any moral principle.

    SB: It hardly matters if He does it directly or indirectly through people. God must sometimes play the role of a surgeon that removes rotting tissue.

    It doesn’t?

    No, it doesn’t.

    Try telling that to soldiers that come back from a conflict with PTSD. And killing women and children would desensitize them to committing violence against other women and children. is God, despite being omniscient and existing outside of time, just to busy too keep up with psychology journals?

    Try staying on topic. None of that has anything to do with the principle that the God in the Old Testament sometimes used people to eliminate cultures that become too corrupt to work with. It is a perfectly good justification for his actions.

    After all, God could simply make them disappear. Right?

    So what? God could also make ISIS disappear for murdering Christians. God could make clergymen disappear for molesting children. For that matter, God could make you disappear for trying to pollute minds with materialistic/positivistic/subjectivist nonsense.

    Yes, Stephan. You think Morality refers to a Thing with a capital T, which is “obviously” different from conjecture and criticism. As such, you see me as claiming morality does not exist. See my previous comment.

    Morality is not a thing. Things are perceptible by the senses. Morality is a non-material code that binds human behavior. Subjective morality is not morality. It does not bind. Subjective morality is an attempt to avoid the demands of objective morality and the consequences for avoiding it.

    I’ve already disclosed it. We can and have made moral progress. What I presented was a concrete example.

    You have not disclosed your position on abortion. What is it?

  40. 40
    kairosfocus says:

    SB, given what is now on the table, silence suggests enabling behaviour. A sad, sad situation. KF

  41. 41
    StephenB says:

    KF, Indeed. You remember that classic phrase:

    “The least initial deviation from the truth is multiplied later a thousandfold.” — Aristotle

  42. 42
    kairosfocus says:

    SB, Mortimer Adler had a sobering point on the effect of little errors in the beginning, echoing the angelic doctor. We need to hear and heed the point about subtle errors at a watershed that gradually force endings oceans apart — and whether we want to end in the ocean we are headed for as a civilisation. And, thing about a watershed and moment of truth, is that time is not on your side, you have to face perhaps unwelcome reality right now before you are swept so far away that there is no coming back. KF

    PS: Erika seems to have hit Dominica far harder than here, though we had some power outages. Rain was welcome.

    PPS: Sometimes only a metaphor can drive home a point. Here, two drops of rain on different sides of a watershed, if things just go with the flow, will inevitably end up oceans apart. Never mind they started mere inches or even millimetres apart.

  43. 43
    Popperian says:

    @StepanB@39

    I wrote:

    Conflation: What I actually wrote was “ultimately undefined”. Defined in the essentialist sense is not the same as defined well enough for us to solve problems.

    StephanB:

    We don’t define terms to solve problems. We define terms to explain what we mean. The purpose of a dictionary is not to make the world a better place. It is to provide information about the common meaning of a term. Some words have many definitions because some words are used in many different ways.

    It’s unclear how the question of how to “explain what we mean” does not represent a problem to solve. Also, do we simply decide to make up different “ways” to use words for no reason?

    Furthermore, you’re attributing the thing to me that I’m attributed to you. You’re implying if that unless we can define murder in a way that is ultimate and correct, then murder has no meaning. Yet, it’s unclear how you have knowledge of such an ultimate meaning. I’m saying that we only need to define murder well enough to solve moral problems that we actually face, when we actually face them. Nor is it clear how we could know this well enough ahead of time today to actually do this in practice, in the future.

    You don’t have it straight. Words cannot be part of a causal chain. Words have no causal power. Words can be used to describe causality, but they cannot be causes in themselves.

    You seem to have missed my point. If I asked you to define a word, you will respond with more words. And If I asked you to define those words, you would respond with yet even more words, etc. Recursively defining words would result in an infinite regress, in practice. So, ultimately, words are undefined.

    For example, you wrote:

    I always define my terms at the beginning of any meaningful debate because I want clarity. My opponents typically do not because they want confusion. The term “infinite regress” is defined in terms of causality. That definition preceded your attempt to obfuscate it.

    There is a difference between wanting to define your terms well enough for the debate and ultimately defining a term. When defining your terms, you would use words, which you would then have to define with words, etc. No actual debate would take place.

    In addition, an infinite regress is also applicable in other fields, such as epistemology. From Wikipedia.

    An infinite regress in a series of propositions arises if the truth of proposition P1 requires the support of proposition P2, the truth of proposition P2 requires the support of proposition P3, … , and the truth of proposition Pn?1 requires the support of proposition Pn and n approaches infinity.

    Did just pointing this out render the term “infinite regress” unintelligible? Also, I’m trying to find terms we can agree on before we continue. It doesn’t seem to be working very well.

    Words change meaning, in part, because language evolves and, in part, because non-essentialists abuse it for the purpose of dissembling.

    Words change meaning because, well, they change meaning and non-essentialists abuse language to hide things? I didn’t get any of that from what I wrote about non-essentialists. Rather, I am a non-essentialists because I am a fallibilist. So, I am not concerned with trying to define words any more than needed to solve the problem at hand.

    The Supreme Court recently tried to redefine the word “marriage” in order to legitimize the act of using one’s lower digestive tract for a sex organ.

    Unless we have a way to infallibly identify an infallible source, then infallibly interpret that source, why would you have expected us to get the definition of the word “marriage” right in the first place? It’s unclear what other recourse would we have other than conjecture and criticism, which comes first.

    However, being an essentialist does not prevent one from making the necessary adjustments to changing language. What matters is that words must be defined before the debate begins and before problems can be solved. Just because the meanings of words may change over time doesn’t mean that the non-essentialist may change the meaning of words on the fly as a means of avoiding rational debate. You have it backwards: Problems do not inform the meanings of words; the meanings of words inform problems.

    You’re not disagreeing with me. Unless words are defined well enough to have a debate or solve a problem, neither can occur. That would represent a problem to solve, right? if we cannot agree on terms, then how can we have a rational and meaningful debate? For example, if the term moral principle, as you’re using it, doesn’t work as a tool in said debate, then how can we use it make progress?

    I wrote:

    Now, I’m a realist, in that I think there really are Things out there in reality. However, it’s unclear how we can actually have knowledge of those Things to the degree necessary for our words to actually correspond with them as an essentialist claims. Furthermore, implicit in that claim is that no further progress could be made. If progress were possible, their words did not actually correspond with the ultimate essence of those things, after all.

    StephanB:

    No. It isn’t words that correspond to reality, it is mental perceptions that the words are trying to describe that correspond to reality. Truth is the correspondence of the mind to reality; it is not the correspondence of words to reality. Among other things, the purpose of words is to describe mental perceptions and to describe reality. Words are descriptions of things; they are not things in themselves.

    Let me clarify. Essentialism says we should ask “what is a thing?” and use that as an explanation. This indicates a search or appeal to its “essence” or its true “nature”, which necessarily causes it to be what it is and behave the way it does. It’s this essence that can be named. If you redefine the term referring to that essence, the thing no longer exists. Marriage cannot be redefined because it refers to a man and a woman. It is an appeal to its “manness and womanness”, so to speak. In absence of those things, it is not a marriage.

    Conjectures, criticisms, and problems are meaningless, except in the context of the principle.

    Of course you think it cannot. You’re simply towing the party line. That assumption is precisely my point about essentialism. For example, you continued…

    They do not define it; it defines them. Indeed, if we both didn’t know the meanings of the words “conjecture” and “criticize,” in advance, your claims would be even more meaningless than they already are.

    If the words “conjecture” and “criticize” did not have some ultimate meaning that can justify their use, then they are meaningless.

    This is more confirmation that you do not want to disclose your position on abortion. I assume that this is because you don’t believe clarity is your friend.

    Apparently, you missed the part of my comment where I wrote:

    Barry want’s me to condemn something with his terms, rather than decide on terms we can agree on. But that is the underlying problem in the first place. In setting it up that way, we won’t get anywhere.

    StephanB:

    The reasons we never get anywhere is because non-essentialists or positivists or materialists or subjectivist [usually the same thing] will not acknowledge the logical consequences of their assumptions, or even the assumptions themselves.

    First, I am not a positivist. And “materialist” is one of those words that should be retired. Second, I am pointing out that even if such a ultimate principle existed, it’s unclear how you have any other recourse other than to conjecture solutions to moral problems and criticize them.

    The abortionist mentality is exactly the same as the Nazi mentality: “There is no objective standard to bind me or check my behavior. I can make up my own morality, and my morality is based on what I want. Since I have the power, I will impose my morality on you. I want to kill you. Therefore, my morality says that I may kill you. I will find reasons to rationalize my behavior.”

    Actually, the Nazi mentality was essentialist. The master race had a natural essence, or an immutable identity, that was defined by particular properties. The absence of these properties, either by lacking them from the start or by dilution, resulted in dehumanization.

    This is subjectivist confusion. It isn’t necessary for me to know. It is only necessary for me to know that an omnipotent God can know.

    You need not need to actually have knowledge of a moral principle to apply it when faced with a concrete moral problem? How would that work in practice?

    In this case, the God of the Old Testament expressed His reasons for eliminating a culture. It is simply a question of reading what He wrote. If you don’t believe that God is the Divine author of Scripture, expressed also through human authors, that is a separate issue from justification.

    Again, even if one thinks God would be justified in moral choices, in an abstract sense, does not help with concrete problems we face unless you can infallibly identity an infallible source and interpret that source infallibly. So, it’s unclear how you have any other recourse than conjecturing solutions to moral problems and citizen them. Specifically, you would conjecture that God would be like X, then criticize those guesses by exposing them to rational criticism. The result is that you reject some moral principles but accept others.

    For example, are you a calvinist? If not, why?

    Furthermore, the very idea of an infallible source requires you to identify when it is not infallible. For example, do you consider the Bible an infallible source on science? if not, why?

    Ignorance is not a factor. Sufficient warnings were provided. We are, or at least we were until you changed the subject, discussing the “justification” for eliminating a culture that is too corrupt to be salvaged.

    A culture can be mistaken about the impact its actions will have. Some of those mistakes could be substantial enough to be fatal to the culture as a whole. It unclear how you can differentiate between such mistakes and God “cutting” them out because they do not follow his moral principles beyond a specific point.

    No, the principle came first. The principle is that God is Creator and can justifiably make demands on His creatures, which means that they are obliged to obey Him. Criticism and conjecture play no role in the establishment of that moral principle, or any moral principle.

    God was powerful enough to create us, so he can make demands on us? How is not what you accuse others of?

    No, it doesn’t.

    That’s not an argument.

    StephanB:

    Try staying on topic. None of that has anything to do with the principle that the God in the Old Testament sometimes used people to eliminate cultures that become too corrupt to work with. It is a perfectly good justification for his actions.

    “Sometimes”, appears arbitrary. Again, If God was all knowing, then why would he demand the Israelite men kill women and children, rather than “cutting” them out himself. Again, doing so would desensitize them to committing violence against Israelite women and children. How do you explain this?

    In addition, there was detaled prophecy regarding the destruction of Babylon that simply failed to come to pass. You’re response as to why the Bible would not infallible in this case, or how it should be interpreted differently so one could assume its infallibly, will reflect conjecture and criticism.

    Morality is not a thing. Things are perceptible by the senses. Morality is a non-material code that binds human behavior. Subjective morality is not morality. It does not bind. Subjective morality is an attempt to avoid the demands of objective morality and the consequences for avoiding it.

    Now you’re merely squabbling over terms to distract from the problem.

  44. 44
    Popperian says:

    I wrote:

    Second, this does negate the fact that anyone today who claimed to kill non-combatant woman and children on behalf of God – or anyone else, such as a modern day Moses – would be convicted of murder and put on trial for committing war crimes.

    StephanB:

    I gather that you are trying to make an argument here. Do you want me to guess what it is, or do you think you might disclose it.

    I replied:

    I’ve already disclosed it. We can and have made moral progress. What I presented was a concrete example.

    StephanB:

    You have not disclosed your position on abortion. What is it?

    Should I take that as a “Yes”, in that we have made progress. Or should I take that as a “No” in that we have not made progress? I can’t tell by your response.

    Are you saying that if someone leader today claimed they were divinely instructed to command their troops to commit genocide, would they not be convicted of murder and put on trial for war crimes? Is that what you’re suggesting?

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