Intelligent Design

JSmith, Simpering Coward

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In The New Atheists Are Simpering Cowards  I wrote:

For Nietzsche nature is cruel and indifferent to suffering, and that cruel indifference is a good thing. The strong rule the weak and that is as it should be. And why should the strong rule the weak? Because that is the natural order of things of course. In a world where God is dead, objective morality is merely an illusion slaves have foisted on masters as a sort of self-defense mechanism.

When Nietzsche urges us to go beyond good and evil, he is urging us to recognize the implications of God’s death for morality. God is the only possible source of transcendent objective moral norms. If God does not exist then neither do transcendent objective moral norms. And if transcendent objective moral norms do not exist, neither do “good” and “evil” in the traditional senses of those words. There is only a perpetual battle of all against all, and “good” is a synonym for prevailing in that battle, and “evil” is a synonym for losing. . . .

I feel like my ears are going to bleed at the bleating of the new atheists who write in these pages. They go on and on and on and on about how morality is rooted in empathy and the avoidance of suffering. Nietzsche would have spit his contempt on them, for they are espousing the “herd animal” Christian slave-morality he disdained and which, ironically, they claim to have risen above. How many times have the atheists insisted, “we are just as ‘good’ as you”? Why have they failed to learn from Nietzsche that “good” means nothing. Why do they insist that they conform to a standard that they also insist does not exist?

The answer to these questions is the same: They refuse to acknowledge the conclusions that are logically compelled by their premises. And why do they refuse? Because they are simpering cowards.

In the comments to KF’s recent post, the bleating from one “JSmith” is especially repulsive.  William J. Murray asked JSmith why his subjective preference for certain moral positions was different from his subjective preference for a particular flavor of ice cream.  JSmith refused to respond.  Instead, he argued that even asking the question was dishonest.  JSmith wrote:

[WJM]  was using a dishonest tactic which he always uses. Trying to equate the dislike you have for your child being killed with the dislike you have for chocolate ice cream.

Umm, JSmith, did you not notice that you just used the word “dislike” twice?  WJM argued that you base your morality on subjective preference (i.e., what you “like”). He argued further that people base their decision about which ice cream to eat based on subjective preference (i.e., which ice cream they “like”).  Everyone concedes that the felt intensity of your subjective preference that your child not be killed is much greater than the felt intensity of your subjective preference for, say, vanilla ice cream.

OK. You feel the subjective preferences differently. They are still both subjective preferences.

This is glaringly obvious and admitted — even celebrated — by brave atheists.  Nietzsche again:

The noble type of man regards HIMSELF as a determiner of values; he does not require to be approved of; he passes the judgment: “What is injurious to me is injurious in itself;” he knows that it is he himself only who confers honour on things; he is a CREATOR OF VALUES. He honours whatever he recognizes in himself: such morality equals self-glorification. . . . one may act towards beings of a lower rank, towards all that is foreign, just as seems good to one, or “as the heart desires,” and in any case “beyond good and evil”

Why does JSmith run from conclusions absolutely compelled by his own premises?  Because he is a simpering coward.  In his own mind he cannot possibly be a nihilist.  He lives his comfortable little bourgeois life, a life that has been built upon a foundation of a Christian cultural heritage centuries in the making.  And standing on that foundation he thinks of himself as a decent fellow.   And so he spews his oh-so-progressive views into our combox with never a thought to the end of the logical road to which his premises lead.

Mr. Smith, allow me to show you the end of that road:

 

387 Replies to “JSmith, Simpering Coward

  1. 1
  2. 2
    JSmith says:

    Because he is a simpering coward.

    Thank you for pointing out to me another person who is not worth the effort to try to have an honest discussion with. So far, two of them have author priveledges. Not looking favourable.

  3. 3
    Barry Arrington says:

    JS @ 3,

    And . . . he responds by simpering. Yes, KF. Sad.

  4. 4
    rvb8 says:

    Barry I read your first paragraph and it left me a little confused.

    I believe most of the posters here would be conservative in their views. A strong economy, defense force, rule of law, personal choice and responsibility etc.

    I, an atheist favour, public spending, high taxes, free public health care, public transport, free libraries.

    I don’t fit your Nietzche nonsense.

    I believe you and your conservative cohorts, are far, far, closer to the philosophy of Nietzche than I.

  5. 5
    Barry Arrington says:

    rvb8,

    That you coast along on Christian moral/political principles simply means that you, like JSmith, stand on a foundation and at the very same time reject the fundamental principles on which that foundation is built.

    Read Nietzche more closely and you will understand that people like you, who would reduce morality to subjective preference, are far closer to Nietzche than a Christian can ever be.

    Ask yourself a question rvb8. Why do you think Nietzche hated Christianity so much?

  6. 6
    dgosse says:

    rvb8: Many, if not most, atheists support “public spending, high taxes, free public health care, public transport, free libraries.” That’s just dialectical materialism AKA communism. Who pays for it and why should they pay for it? John Q. Public, the poor schlepp who thinks he should work for a living and is “high taxes” taxed into oblivion to pay for the public spending, “free” health care, “free” education, etc.

    Nothing is free. It is earned, given by those who earn, or stolen from those who earn.

  7. 7

    rvb8 @ 4: The main difference between you and Nietzche is that he was honest about the logical end of a/mat philosophy… death, oppression, and dictatorship. Nietzche suffered from one delusion (being an a/mat). You suffer from two delusions (being an a/mat and thinking that a/mat philosophy is actually good for humanity). You are twice deluded.

  8. 8
    rvb8 says:

    dgosse @6,

    ‘who pays for it’?

    Taxes pay for it as they do in countries that have free, comprehensive health care.

    Actually it is countries with poor tax systems, which are shambolic and poorly run which suffer a far greater burden to their economies. Russia, India, Africa and most of South and Central America, have terrible affordable health care, and terrible economies; a link perhaps?

    And of course it is the countries with high progressive taxes that are the most humanly run, and largely atheist; odd that, isn’t it.

    Funnily enough it is the homeland of Nietzche, which has high taxes and superb public health.

    It’s quite easy to pay for dgosse, especially if the estimated trillions of dollars in tax havens was winkled out, and tax evaders jailed, not wrist slapped.

  9. 9
    Origenes says:

    In a world where physics fixes all the facts, it’s hard to see how there could be room for moral facts. In a universe headed for its own heat death, there is no cosmic value to human life, your own or anyone else’s. Why bother to be good?
    We need to answer these questions. But we should also worry about the public relations nightmare for scientism produced by the answer theists try to foist on scientism. The militant exponents of the higher superstitions say that scientism has no room for morality and can’t even condemn the wrongdoing of a monster like Hitler. Religious people especially argue that we cannot really have any values—things we stand up for just because they are right—and that we are not to be trusted to be good when we can get away with something. They complain that our worldview has no moral compass. These charges get redoubled once theists see how big a role Darwinian natural selection plays in scientism’s view of reality. Many of the most vocal people who have taken sides against this scientific theory (for instance, the founders of the Discovery Institute, which advocates “intelligent design”) have frankly done so because they think it’s morally dangerous, not because it lacks evidence. If Darwinism is true, then anything goes!
    You might think that we have to resist these conclusions or else we’ll never get people to agree with us. Most people really do accept morality as a constraint on their conduct. The few who might agree privately with Darwinism about morality won’t do so publicly because of the deep unpopularity of these views. …
    We have to acknowledge (to ourselves, at least) that many questions we want the “right” answers to just don’t have any. ..
    First, nihilism can’t condemn Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, or those who fomented the Armenian genocide or the Rwandan one. If there is no such thing as “morally forbidden,” then what Mohamed Atta did on September 11, 2001, was not morally forbidden. Of course, it was not permitted either. But still, don’t we want to have grounds to condemn these monsters? Nihilism seems to cut that ground out from under us.
    Second, if we admit to being nihilists, then people won’t trust us. We won’t be left alone when there is loose change around. We won’t be relied on to be sure small children stay out of trouble.
    Third, and worst of all, if nihilism gets any traction, society will be destroyed. We will find ourselves back in Thomas Hobbes’s famous state of nature, where “the life of man is solitary, mean, nasty, brutish and short.” Surely, we don’t want to be nihilists if we can possibly avoid it. (Or at least, we don’t want the other people around us to be nihilists.)
    Scientism can’t avoid nihilism. We need to make the best of it. …
    To avoid these outcomes, people have been searching for scientifically respectable justification of morality for least a century and a half. The trouble is that over the same 150 years or so, the reasons for nihilism have continued to mount. Both the failure to find an ethics that everyone can agree on and the scientific explanation of the origin and persistence of moral norms have made nihilism more and more plausible while remaining just as unappetizing.

    [Alexander Rosenberg, ‘The Atheist’s Guide to Reality’, Ch.5]

  10. 10
    Seversky says:

    If that terrible image illustrates anything it is what can happen when absolutist thinking – whether political or religious – takes control of a society.

    The Nazi ideology extolled the virtues of an Aryan super-race which regarded all others as inferior, subordinate and ultimately disposable. When they settled on the “final solution” to the Jewish – and gypsy and homosexual and mentally ill – problem did they consult the victims to see of they agreed that it was a good idea? No, of course they didn’t. Neither did the various flavors of communism before they killed even more. Neither did various religions throughout recorded history, including events recounted in the Old Testament. The is no record of God conducting referenda of the populations of Sodom and Gomorrah or the other cities obliterated by Him or His proxies. There was no worldwide survey before almost all life on the surface of the Earth was exterminated in the Great Flood.

    When WJM and others trot out that tired old canard about there being no way to choose between the ‘morality’ of the psychopath and that of the rest of us, be aware that what they are actually arguing for is some form of divine or other command morality. It’s designed by some supreme authority or an elite few supposedly for our benefit but the rest of us who are supposed to be subject to it don’t get a say. Apparently, we’re not good enough. Of course, it’s dressed up as “objective” and/or “natural moral law” but it’s funny how that “objective” and “natural law” morality turns out to by synonymous with the advocates own version of Christianity. It’s never Buddhist or Sikh or Muslim or pagan. I wonder why that is? As for the psychopath problem, the simple answer is that, while the psycho might take perverted pleasure in the rape, torture and murder of others, the rest of us potential victims do not. And we are in the overwhelming majority, which isn’t “might makes right” but democracy does, with some obvious caveats.

    As I noted at the beginning, that picture does not illustrate the consequences of consensus morality. Those tragic victims did not choose to be exterminated. They were never asked. Their fate was the result of narrow, bigoted, absolutist and exclusivist thinking – whether political or religious – that we always need to be on our guard against.

  11. 11
    kairosfocus says:

    Seversky:

    You have neatly omitted the issue of worldviews and their roots tied to the challenge of truth and responsible, rational freedom in community.

    The issue is not “absolutist thinking” (oh, what snide associations and inferences are thereby invited by cleverly loaded, toxic word choice) but rather TOTALITARIAN CONTROL that does not respect responsible, morally governed rational freedom.

    First, truth vs “absolutism.”

    Truth (per Ari’s apt summary in Met. 1011b) is what says of what is that it is, and of what is not, that it is not. In that context, knowledge in the commonly used weak sense is warranted, credibly true and reliable belief. Seeking and seeking to live by the truth is another way of saying, seeking to live in accord with reality. Lunacy is to try to live by fantasies in the teeth of reality.

    Where, as one of the first self-evident truths is, that error exists, we have to reckon with the gap between belief and reality, thus the need to foster responsible, rational freedom in community as the best hope for finite, fallible, morally struggling and too often ill-willed creatures such as we are. Thus, while we can access a limited range of self-evident truths that can only be denied on pain of patent absurdity, that is nowhere near enough to build a worldview much less a community.

    where, only in an utterly nihilistic age will humility before truth and warrant shaped by recognising the dangers of error find itself routinely marginalised and demonised by the twisted accusation that such is equivalent to totalitarian tyranny. Only one matching the bill of particulars for the father of lies could have pulled off such a wicked slander.

    So, we here note that while there is absolute truth: the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth on a matter, the reality of error and of our fallibility means that we must reckon with so balancing the community that no one centre can monopolise power. Where, power tends to corrupt and power without accountability corrupts without limit. This is why, once print, reformation and mass literacy amplified by books, pamphlets and newspapers were on the scene, Christian thinkers and statesmen made a major — and too often overlooked or willfully suppressed — contribution to moving our civilisation into the space of political possibilities now familiar as modern liberty and constitutional democracy.

    The first time in history that that became possible was C17, and the next 1 – 200 years saw the great transition I describe. Before that, the most we could reasonably hope for was a lawful state constrained by a community consensus on justice rooted in the law of our morally governed nature.

    Yes, there was a struggle with real absolutism, the notion that one ruler held ultimate legitimacy and unquestionable authority. From Vindiciae Contra Tyrannos 1579 to the Dutch DoI of 1581 onward to Rutherford and Locke then the US founders and framers, a largely biblical framework for resistance to tyranny involving interposition of lower magistrates who also held legitimate authority was articulated in successful correction. A key facet of this was the double covenant understanding of nationhood under God and government of the nation under God. In this context a ruler turned tyrant could and should be removed. Ultimately, this led to the general election as a peaceful means involving all of the people.

    So, absolute truth is not to be confused with absolutist rule. Nor is objective truth, weak form knowledge equal to absolute truth. Nor is belief equal to knowledge. Nor can every significant knowledge claim be self-evident.

    And, the history of the holocaust is exactly opposite to your suggestions above. Hitler was a totalitarian fascist, leader of the national socialist german workers party who sought to deny the fundamental equality of all peoples as made in God’s image. He built his schemes on Galton’s eugenics and the aryan man myth of a highly evolved master race. And when they pounced on their main victims: Russians [20- 30 millions], Jews [6 mn] and Poles [5 mn including half of the Jewish victims], the argument was that the cat has no sympathy for mice, his natural prey.

    In short, we saw where might makes right ends, in bloody chaos.

    But, in our time the ongoing holocaust mounts up at 1 million more of posterity in the womb per week, 800+ mn in 40+ years. equally, motivated by might (including, manipulation) makes right etc.

    We, collectively, are WORSE than the Nazis.

    Now, you try to pretend that cultural relativism with its Plato’s cave world of shadow shows substituting for truth is some hoped for utopia. No, such a world that has no answer to the IS-OUGHT gap ends up in the balance of power among power elites is arbitrarily imposed by might and manipulation. Amorality and stealth nihilism.

    The ongoing abortion holocaust is proof of that, were such needed.

    Ours is the worst of dark ages, locked into a march of ruinous folly with only faint hope of turning back before it is too late.

    But, we congratulate ourselves through shadow shows and pretend that all is well save for those Christo-fascist followers of a monstrous bronze age god off in a despised corner. Not even the patent echoes of village atheistical folly suffice to warn of how wrong-headed that is. (And BTW, look here on for a 101 corrective to spiteful Internet atheist rhetoric and the underlying toxic hate exposed thereby.)

    No, the reality is very different — and WJM has much the better of the exchange.

    Let us listen to Provine at Darwin Day U Tenn, some years ago:

    Naturalistic evolution has clear consequences that Charles Darwin understood perfectly. 1) No gods worth having exist; 2) no life after death exists; 3) no ultimate foundation for ethics exists; 4) no ultimate meaning in life exists; and 5) human free will is nonexistent . . . .

    The first 4 implications are so obvious to modern naturalistic evolutionists that I will spend little time defending them. Human free will, however, is another matter. Even evolutionists have trouble swallowing that implication. I will argue that humans are locally determined systems that make choices. They have, however, no free will [–> without responsible freedom, mind, reason and morality alike disintegrate into grand delusion, hence self-referential incoherence and self-refutation. But that does not make such fallacies any less effective in the hands of clever manipulators] . . . [1998 Darwin Day Keynote Address, U of Tenn — and yes, that is significant i/l/o the Scopes Trial, 1925]

    If that is not amoral nihilism, nothing is.

    And Provine was actually late to the party. Here is Heine, seeing what would come, c 1831:

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

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

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

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

    That, sirs, is the real root of the Nazi holocaust.

    KF

  12. 12
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: Let Plato speak, in his parable of the ship of state:

    It is not too hard to figure out that our civilisation is in deep trouble and is most likely headed for shipwreck. (And of course, that sort of concern is dismissed as “apocalyptic,” or neurotic pessimism that refuses to pause and smell the roses.)

    Plato’s Socrates spoke to this sort of situation, long since, in the ship of state parable in The Republic, Bk VI:

    >>[Soc.] I perceive, I said, that you are vastly amused at having plunged me into such a hopeless discussion; but now hear the parable, and then you will be still more amused at the meagreness of my imagination: for the manner in which the best men are treated in their own States is so grievous that no single thing on earth is comparable to it; and therefore, if I am to plead their cause, I must have recourse to fiction, and put together a figure made up of many things, like the fabulous unions of goats and stags which are found in pictures.

    Imagine then a fleet or a ship in which there is a captain [–> often interpreted, ship’s owner] who is taller and stronger than any of the crew, but he is a little deaf and has a similar infirmity in sight, and his knowledge of navigation is not much better. [= The people own the community and in the mass are overwhelmingly strong, but are ill equipped on the whole to guide, guard and lead it]

    The sailors are quarrelling with one another about the steering – every one is of opinion that he has a right to steer [= selfish ambition to rule and dominate], though he has never learned the art of navigation and cannot tell who taught him or when he learned, and will further assert that it cannot be taught, and they are ready to cut in pieces any one who says the contrary. They throng about the captain, begging and praying him to commit the helm to them [–> kubernetes, steersman, from which both cybernetics and government come in English]; and if at any time they do not prevail, but others are preferred to them, they kill the others or throw them overboard [ = ruthless contest for domination of the community], and having first chained up the noble captain’s senses with drink or some narcotic drug [ = manipulation and befuddlement, cf. the parable of the cave], they mutiny and take possession of the ship and make free with the stores; thus, eating and drinking, they proceed on their voyage in such a manner as might be expected of them [–> Cf here Luke’s subtle case study in Ac 27].

    Him who is their partisan and cleverly aids them in their plot for getting the ship out of the captain’s hands into their own whether by force or persuasion [–> Nihilistic will to power on the premise of might and manipulation making ‘right’ ‘truth’ ‘justice’ ‘rights’ etc], they compliment with the name of sailor, pilot, able seaman, and abuse the other sort of man, whom they call a good-for-nothing; but that the true pilot must pay attention to the year and seasons and sky and stars and winds, and whatever else belongs to his art, if he intends to be really qualified for the command of a ship, and that he must and will be the steerer, whether other people like or not-the possibility of this union of authority with the steerer’s art has never seriously entered into their thoughts or been made part of their calling.

    Now in vessels which are in a state of mutiny and by sailors who are mutineers, how will the true pilot be regarded? Will he not be called by them a prater, a star-gazer, a good-for-nothing?

    [Ad.] Of course, said Adeimantus.

    [Soc.] Then you will hardly need, I said, to hear the interpretation of the figure, which describes the true philosopher in his relation to the State[ –> here we see Plato’s philosoppher-king emerging]; for you understand already.

    [Ad.] Certainly.

    [Soc.] Then suppose you now take this parable to the gentleman who is surprised at finding that philosophers have no honour in their cities; explain it to him and try to convince him that their having honour would be far more extraordinary.

    [Ad.] I will.

    [Soc.] Say to him, that, in deeming the best votaries of philosophy to be useless to the rest of the world, he is right; but also tell him to attribute their uselessness to the fault of those who will not use them, and not to themselves. The pilot should not humbly beg the sailors to be commanded by him –that is not the order of nature; neither are ‘the wise to go to the doors of the rich’ –the ingenious author of this saying told a lie –but the truth is, that, when a man is ill, whether he be rich or poor, to the physician he must go, and he who wants to be governed, to him who is able to govern. The ruler who is good for anything ought not to beg his subjects to be ruled by him [ –> down this road lies the modern solution: a sound, well informed people will seek sound leaders, who will not need to manipulate or bribe or worse, and such a ruler will in turn be checked by the soundness of the people, cf. US DoI, 1776]; although the present governors of mankind are of a different stamp; they may be justly compared to the mutinous sailors, and the true helmsmen to those who are called by them good-for-nothings and star-gazers.

    [Ad.] Precisely so, he said.

    [Soc] For these reasons, and among men like these, philosophy, the noblest pursuit of all, is not likely to be much esteemed by those of the opposite faction; not that the greatest and most lasting injury is done to her by her opponents, but by her own professing followers, the same of whom you suppose the accuser to say, that the greater number of them are arrant rogues, and the best are useless; in which opinion I agreed [–> even among the students of the sound state (here, political philosophy and likely history etc.), many are of unsound motivation and intent, so mere education is not enough, character transformation is critical].

    [Ad.] Yes.

    [Soc.] And the reason why the good are useless has now been explained?

    [Ad.] True.

    [Soc.] Then shall we proceed to show that the corruption of the majority is also unavoidable, and that this is not to be laid to the charge of philosophy any more than the other?

    [Ad.] By all means.

    [Soc.] And let us ask and answer in turn, first going back to the description of the gentle and noble nature.[ — > note the character issue] Truth, as you will remember, was his leader, whom he followed always and in all things [ –> The spirit of truth as a marker]; failing in this, he was an impostor, and had no part or lot in true philosophy [–> the spirit of truth is a marker, for good or ill] . . . >>

    (There is more than an echo of this in Acts 27, a real world case study. [Luke, a physician, was an educated Greek with a taste for subtle references.] This blog post, on soundness in policy, will also help)

    That, is the fate of the politics of untrammelled relativism driven by evolutionary materialism and its fellow travellers.

  13. 13
    kairosfocus says:

    PPS: And, Plato speaks again, about evolutionary materialism and the radical relativism and nihilism it fosters:

    Ath [in The Laws, Bk X 2,350+ ya]. . . .[The avant garde philosophers and poets, c. 360 BC] say that fire and water, and earth and air [i.e the classical “material” elements of the cosmos], all exist by nature and chance, and none of them by art . . . [such that] all that is in the heaven, as well as animals and all plants, and all the seasons come from these elements, not by the action of mind, as they say, or of any God, or from art, but as I was saying, by nature and chance only [ –> that is, evolutionary materialism is ancient and would trace all things to blind chance and mechanical necessity] . . . .

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

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

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

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

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

    This is of course routinely brushed aside by those who wish to repeat the same experiment.

  14. 14
    tribune7 says:

    rvb8

    I, an atheist favour, public spending, high taxes, free public health care, public transport, free libraries. I don’t fit your Nietzche nonsense.

    That’s an interesting and well-made observation as most of those on the left — who are far more likely to be atheists — favor those things, well high taxes and public spending anyway as I can’t think of anyone on the right who strongly objects to free libraries or public transport.

    One of the reasons is that those who believe in God (hold eternal, objective values) are more likely to recognize that someone demanding public works may not be totally sincere in his claims of compassion.

    A whole lot of people get rich in government.

    Many on the left seem to have put politics in place of God i.e. you are a good, moral person if you support these things and a bad person if you don’t.

    My view is that a particular policy may be wise or unwise and the more someone is screaming at you to support it the less likely the program will be wise.

    When God is your God any form of compulsion will be treated with suspicion. This applies to religion too.

  15. 15
    kairosfocus says:

    Trib, especially when as taxes rise, demands to spend rise even more leading to a runaway debt spiral signalled by a permanent deficit. Laffer’s argument that there is such a thing as counter-productive over-taxing has a point also. So is the problem of triggering a malinvestment driven unsustainable and ruinous artificial boom. KF

  16. 16
    tribune7 says:

    –Trib, especially when as taxes rise, demands to spend rise even more leading to a runaway debt spiral signalled by a permanent deficit. —

    Yup. And our friends like rvb8 wonder in puzzlement why the rich get richer everytime their favored policies get put in place.

  17. 17
    Barry Arrington says:

    Sev,

    If that terrible image illustrates anything it is what can happen when absolutist thinking – whether political or religious – takes control of a society.

    Just exactly the opposite is true. If there had been more absolutist thinking — such as absolute adherence to the moral principle “do not murder” — the Holocaust could never have happened.

    The Atheist/Materialists who comment in these pages cannot bring themselves to condemn the Holocaust as an absolute objective evil. Do you not see how that attitude allows the Holocaust to slip from the “unthinkable” category to the “thinkable” category? And once it becomes thinkable, it is one step closer to “doable.”

  18. 18
    john_a_designer says:

    Jonathan Haidt who is anything but a dyed-in-the-wool conservative –he appears describe himself as a liberal (small l)Liberal– wrote an interesting article which was republished recently in the National Review.

    When we look back at the ways our ancestors lived, there’s no getting around it: we are tribal primates. We are exquisitely designed and adapted by evolution for life in small societies with intense, animistic religion and violent intergroup conflict over territory. We love tribal living so much that we invented sports, fraternities, street gangs, fan clubs, and tattoos. Tribalism is in our hearts and minds. We’ll never stamp it out entirely, but we can minimize its effects because we are a behaviorally flexible species. We can live in many different ways, from egalitarian hunter-gatherer groups of 50 individuals to feudal hierarchies binding together millions. And in the last two centuries, a lot of us have lived in large, multi-ethnic secular liberal democracies. So clearly that is possible. But how much margin of error do we have in such societies?

    Here is the fine-tuned liberal democracy hypothesis: As tribal primates, human beings are unsuited for life in large, diverse secular democracies, unless you get certain settings finely adjusted to make possible the development of stable political life. This seems to be what the Founding Fathers believed. Jefferson, Madison, and the rest of those 18th-century deists clearly did think that designing a constitution was like designing a giant clock, a clock that might run forever if they chose the right springs and gears.

    Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/.....ge-outrage

    Haidt is alarmed by the way illiberal tribalism has begun to take over our democratic institutions– the media, higher education and government. Can a diverse multi-ethnic culture like we find in the United States survive a resurrected form of tribalism? If the trends continue the way they have been going for the last the last 50 years, the answer, in my opinion, is NO.”

    It appears to me that the so-called new atheists have gone all in with tribal identity politics. Despite claims to the contrary, they really don’t have arguments based on reason– “we’re reasonable because our arguments are based on facts, evidence, logic and truth,” but rather “we are reasonable because of who we are.” That’s why with our regular atheist interlocutors we don’t get straight, honest or logical responses but rather evasive slippery eel rhetoric, tag-team obfuscation and disdainful intolerance. And they are not even very good at those tactics– they are, however very obsessed with them. That’s because, at least from what I can see, they have gone all-in with tribalism.

  19. 19
    JSmith says:

    Discussion on the other thread has cantered on the torturing and killing a child nonsense. Why don’t we discuss something that is not absurd and something that is far from decided. Public health care.

    In Canada and many other countries health care is universal and is paid out of tax revenues. Obviously, this was an action based on what many people believe was morally based. Since Canada and the US are the closest culturally, why don’t we pass it through a rational, logical, evidence examination.
    Canadian health system vs US:
    Canadian system:
    1) less costly.
    2) available to everyone regardless of income.
    3) nobody looses their house or goes bankrupt due to medical bills
    4) there is a net influx of US doctors to the Canadian system.
    5) Canada has a higher life expectancy.
    6) Canada has a lower infant mortality rate.

    But there are also some negatives.
    1) the wait times for some elective surgeries can be excessive.
    2) some experimental treatments that may be of use are not covered. But, to be fair, they aren’t covered in the US either.
    3) higher taxes.

    Based on this I would conclude that public health care is a benefit to society and to the infividuals within it. Therefore a morally good thing to offer. Anyone care to offer a counter argument?

    Simpering Coward

  20. 20
    tribune7 says:

    JS

    Do you understand the thing that you were defending was that morals are not objective or eternal?

  21. 21
    kairosfocus says:

    JS,

    the torturing and killing a child nonsense

    Apparently you fail to recognise that you are here trampling on the memory of a real child, kidnapped, bound, sexually assaulted and murdered by a monster, at age 8, having been ambushed on his way home from school.

    I suggest, your reaction displays your cognitive dissonance over being unable to acknowledge that this monstrous act is self-evidently evil.

    I think you need to be re-examining your worldview. Especially as just now (cf. 197 the previous thread) you have had to in effect acknowledge something closely related as a case of objective moral knowledge.

    KF

  22. 22
    OldAndrew says:

    I’m not an atheist. Neither were most of those who put those men in that pit. Yes, they were acting according to an ideology influenced by atheism. But these were people who grew up going to church. They could have stopped this when it started. They could have stopped this hours before this picture was taken. They didn’t.

    The word “antisemitisch” was first written in reference to Ernest Renan, who believed and taught that Jews were an inferior race. He wasn’t an atheist, far from it. He read the Bible but apparently considered himself more human than those who penned it.

    One can split all sorts of hairs over who influenced whom and whose teachings led to the holocaust. But it’s absurd to lay the holocaust at the feet of atheists in nations filled with churches. Or do we just blame atheists for everything?

  23. 23
    JSmith says:

    T7

    Do you understand the thing that you were defending was that morals are not objective or eternal?

    I was arguing that the fact of moral governance is an objective fact but that what it acts on is subjectively derived. Nothing more, nothing less.

  24. 24
    tribune7 says:

    JS

    I was arguing that the fact of moral governance is an objective fact but that what it acts on is subjectively derived.

    So morals are objective and eternal and we are in agreement?

  25. 25
    tribune7 says:

    OldAndrew

    But it’s absurd to lay the holocaust at the feet of atheists in nations filled with churches.

    It’s not about whether the nations are filled with churches but whether the churches in the nations are filled.

    As Nietzsche famously noted, they weren’t.

    The Holocaust was a pointed, purposeful rejection of the values of the New Testament and Old Testament too for the matter.

  26. 26
    OldAndrew says:

    Tribune7,

    I happen to believe that morals are objective. But history suggests that the morals people practice matter more than whether they consider those morals to objective or not. If someone throws me in a pit I don’t care what they think about the objectivity or eternity of their morals. If someone is going to pull me out of the pit I care even less.

    One poster quoted scripture regarding conscience – unbelievers who act as though under law. If we believe – as I do – that their conscience originates with God, perhaps we should show a little more respect for their morality, whether or not they acknowledge its source. Morals wothout humility are hypocrisy.

  27. 27
    tribune7 says:

    OldAndrew

    But history suggests that the morals people practice matter more than whether they consider those morals to objective or not.

    Can’t argue that point, but culture matters. A culture that teaches protect the weak and helpless and love your neighbor is going to be much more pleasant than one that says “only the strong should survive, crush your inferiors”.

  28. 28
    Barry Arrington says:

    JSmith

    Why don’t we discuss something that is not absurd and something that is far from decided.

    Has it been decided absolutely, objectively and irrevocably that torturing infants for pleasure is evil? Then welcome to moral objectivism. Why did you fight it for so long?

  29. 29
    JSmith says:

    T7

    So morals are objective and eternal and we are in agreement?

    That is not what I said. Moral governance is probably an objective fact. I have never heard of anyone, even psychopaths, who does not have a strong moral sense. What this governance acts on, however, is subjective. Or, more accurately, I see no evidence of it being objective, and plenty that it is subjective. Eternal? Nobody knows that.

  30. 30
    StephenB says:

    What J Smith is saying is that governments arrive at their moral code through *subjective* means, but that is an irrelevant and insupportable claim. It is irrelevant because we are discussing only the nature of the code. It is insupportable because we know of at least one group of leaders, the US Founding Fathers, who arrived at their code by apprehending self evident moral truths.

  31. 31
    StephenB says:

    Moral governance is probably an objective fact.

    It isn’t “probably” an objective fact, it is obviously an objective fact. But we are discussing transcendent truths, not mere facts. This is just another distraction.

    I have never heard of anyone, even psychopaths, who does not have a strong moral sense.

    Again, this is spectacularly irrelevant. We are not discussing the strength of one’s moral beliefs but rather the legitimacy of ones moral beliefs.

    Or, more accurately, I see no evidence of it being objective, and plenty that it is subjective. Eternal? Nobody knows that.

    JS believes that past bad behavior is evidence that no objective moral code exists. Inasmuch as men have murdered other men, there is no objective moral code that forbids it. Does everyone understand why that claim has no merit?

  32. 32
    JSmith says:

    OA, I agree with most of what you have said. Other that morals being objective. My concern with claiming that any moral values or actions are objective is that it closes the door to questioning them. And, by so doing, you open the door to all sorts of possible problems.

    People here will often blame the holocaust on atheism, or Darwinism, completely ignoring the fact that it could not have happened without the active and passive complicity of many thousands of Christians. Martin Luther, a raving anti-Semite, probably played a significant role in the mindset of Germany and other parts of Europe with respect to Jews. I doubt that Hitler was influenced by Luther directly other than as a way to manipulate the German people into blindly accepting the persecution of the Jews and the ultimate holocaust. The same way that he manipulated Darwin’s theory to further justify his actions. So, if we are going to be honest, Christianity had a significant role in the holocaust. Not Jesus’ teachings, but those who blindly accepted the prejudices of those who presumed to teach for Jesus.

  33. 33
    tribune7 says:

    JS

    That is not what I said.

    I think you don’t even know what you say. Case in point courtesy of SB:

    It isn’t “probably” an objective fact, it is obviously an objective fact.

  34. 34

    BA @ 17 wrote: The Atheist/Materialists who comment in these pages cannot bring themselves to condemn the Holocaust as an absolute objective evil. Do you not see how that attitude allows the Holocaust to slip from the “unthinkable” category to the “thinkable” category? And once it becomes thinkable, it is one step closer to “doable.”

    Brilliant.

    Also, BA @ 28: Excellent point and good question. My guess is that he is still fighting it (belief in moral objectivism) because of what it might ultimately mean.

  35. 35
    Seversky says:

    Barry Arrington @ 17

    If that terrible image illustrates anything it is what can happen when absolutist thinking – whether political or religious – takes control of a society.

    Just exactly the opposite is true. If there had been more absolutist thinking — such as absolute adherence to the moral principle “do not murder” — the Holocaust could never have happened.

    The Nazis believed in the absolute superiority of their mythical Aryan master-race. All other races were lesser and did not count. The Holocaust followed inevitably from that absolutist and exclusivist premise. If they had treated other races as equals and taken their needs and wishes into consideration – in effect, sought a consensus – the Holocaust would never have happened.

    I have long held that absolutist and exclusivist thinking is what characterizes the worst excesses of oppressive regimes throughout history, just look at North Korea. That is what we should beware of.

    Barry Arrington @ 28

    Has it been decided absolutely, objectively and irrevocably that torturing infants for pleasure is evil? Then welcome to moral objectivism

    “Decided” implies decided by someone since only an intelligent agent makes such decisions. That makes it subjective.

    I assume that we all agree that torturing infants for pleasure is evil. That means we have a lot of subjective opinions that are in agreement. Do a lot of subjective opinions that are in agreement imply an objective property? If a lot of people look at a rose and agree that it is beautiful, does that make beauty an objective property of the rose like its smell or color?

  36. 36
    JSmith says:

    T7

    I think you don’t even know what you say. Case in point courtesy of SB:

    “It isn’t “probably” an objective fact, it is obviously an objective fact.”

    That is his opinion. I agree that it is almost certainly an objective fact that everyone has a strong moral sense, but unless you can examine everyone alive, everyone who has ever been alive, and everyone that will be alive, it is still something that is almost certainly true.

  37. 37
    rvb8 says:

    I think the most pertinent point is why a subject on pure philosophy, morality, and right and wrong, is on a ‘science’ web site.

    That said, public health care, is a moral good. This is for the simple reason that there are many members of society who can not afford good, quality health care. For anybody to deny this, (I specifically point to US Republicans), is to deny not only their belief in ‘objective’ morality, but also the teachings of Christ.

  38. 38
    JSmith says:

    SB

    What J Smith is saying is that governments arrive at their moral code through *subjective* means, but that is an irrelevant and insupportable claim. It is irrelevant because we are discussing only the nature of the code. It is insupportable because we know of at least one group of leaders, the US Founding Fathers, who arrived at their code by apprehending self evident moral truths.

    Like the “truth” that women weren’t persons? Like the “truth” that blacks were inferior to whites and only counted as 3/5 of a person when determining government representatives? Like the “truth” that some of these enlightened founding fathers owned slaves an even had children by them? Harvey Weinstein would probably fit right in with some of them.

    But don’t get me wrong. They brought forward a country and society that everyone can be proud of. But they were men (all white and not a woman in sight) of their times. And as such, should be judged by the standards of their day. And by those standards, most of them rose far above them.

  39. 39
    tribune7 says:

    I think you don’t even know what you say. Case in point courtesy of SB:

    “It isn’t “probably” an objective fact, it is obviously an objective fact.”

    That is his opinion.

    It is not his opinion. It is proper grammar and using words as they are meant to be used..

  40. 40
    critical rationalist says:

    Again, this is spectacularly irrelevant. We are not discussing the strength of one’s moral beliefs but rather the legitimacy of ones moral beliefs.

    So, a moral belief hinges on whether it has been legitimatized in some way? I’d suggest that is spectacularly irrelevant. In what way does whether a belief being considered legitimate or illegitimate have to do with whether it is true or false?

    And how do you decide which beliefs are legitimate? By rational argument?

  41. 41
    StephenB says:

    J Smith

    Like the “truth” that women weren’t persons? Like the “truth” that blacks were inferior to whites and only counted as 3/5 of a person when determining government representatives? Like the “truth” that some of these enlightened founding fathers owned slaves an even had children by them? Harvey Weinstein would probably fit right in with some of them.

    No, none of those qualify as objective self evident truths. Our nation was founded on none of those principles. I am surprised that you didn’t know that. Apparently, you are unfamiliar with the Declaration of Independence.

    “We hold these truths to be SELF EVIDENT, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

    Did you notice that those words contain no references to subjective morality?

  42. 42
    StephenB says:

    CR:

    So, a moral belief hinges on whether it has been legitimatized in some way? I’d suggest that is spectacularly irrelevant.

    If that is what I had said, it would not only be irrelevant, it would be wrong. Fortunately, I didn’t say it.

  43. 43
    Barry Arrington says:

    Sev,

    The Nazis believed in the absolute superiority of their mythical Aryan master-race.

    Perhaps. But we are not talking about anything like that are we. We are talking about absolute assurance of self-evident moral truth.

    I am absolutely sure that murdering millions of innocent people is wrong. You are not. Which of us is more likely to murder millions of innocent people in however a small degree?

  44. 44
    Barry Arrington says:

    rvb8,

    but also the teachings of Christ.

    God help us. Atheist-materialist rvb8 — who is not even absolutely certain that the Holocaust was evil — is now lecturing us on the public policy positions Jesus would lean toward in the 21st century United States. Now that’s funny.

  45. 45
    Barry Arrington says:

    JSmith:

    Like the “truth” that women weren’t persons? Like the “truth” that blacks were inferior to whites and only counted as 3/5 of a person when determining government representatives?

    I have three questions for you:

    1. Are you absolutely certain that it is an objective fact that treating women as if they are not persons is wrong?

    2. Are you absolutely certain that it is an objective fact that it is wrong to treat black persons as inferior to white persons?

    3. Are you absolutely certain that it is an objective fact that counting black people as 3/5 of a person when determining government representatives is wrong?

    I would like yes/no answers to those questions. I will show you how that is done by giving my yes/no answers to those questions:

    1. Yes
    2. Yes
    3. Yes

    Prediction: JSmith will respond with simpering cowardice.

  46. 46
    dgosse says:

    Public health care is not a moral good. I am Canadian and am a recipient of the *blessings* of government health care. It is morally bankrupt on almost every level.

    1) Waiting lists. Suffer for a year or more before receiving any treatment.. for my father, 3 years before knee replacement.

    2) Limited access to technology. In 1993 there was a 200+ day wait for MRIs in Calgary, AB. After a long legal battle it was decided that entrepreneurs could open ‘private’ MRI centers. “The effect on waiting times was dramatic. Within 3 months of contracting out these services the wait time in the CRHA had dropped from 200 days to around 50 days then rose, still during the period of contracting out, to about 70 days. In late 2001 the CRHA brought 3 new public MRIs into service and stopped contracting out. The waiting time has stayed in the 70 day range with the system only using the new MRI capacity. The waiting time has recently increased slightly “due to expanding population” to 75 days for elective scans”

    Please note: the opening of private MRI clinics put pressure on the ‘public’ system and forced them to subcontract (on a limited basis) to bring the wait time down to 70 days.

    3) No control over treatment. The number of doctors, hospitals, beds, and treatments is decided by faceless bureaucrats. Another method for limiting costs is limiting access to doctors. Even when you have a doctor, a good doctor, the doctor is only able to provide the services covered by the public system. If you have a bad doctor, he/she understands very well that *you* don’t pay the bills, the state does. The doctor does not have to satisfy *you* if he/she wants to be paid, only the state bureaucracy.

    4) Almost impossible to sue a doctor for malpractice, etc. The state has given regulatory and disciplinary powers to the Medical Associations. The Medical Associations respond to complaints in closed session and their judgements are (usually) confidential.

    5) Encourages abuse. In much the same way that any *insurance* plan does, public health care encourages abuse by both provider and recipient. The bureaucracy is prepared to accept a certain (and ever-growing) level of abuse to maintain the illusion of a smooth-running system.

    6) Canada makes it a crime for me to pay my doctor or for my doctor to accept payment from me. “He who pays the piper calls the tune.”

    There is a reason why people from the world over go to the United States for medical treatment. The system you have may not be perfect (what is?) but it is innovative, responsive, and open.

    Yes, many people lack health insurance but almost everyone (if not everyone) has access to high quality health care. A great many health care providers offer *pro bono* services to the destitute, the government provides (lower quality) health care to indigents, veterans, and the elderly.

    You may think that government provided health care is laudable but it is not. Look at what *your* government *gives* to the indigent, veterans, and elderly. Imagine receiving that for yourself and your family.

    Better to have no insurance, and no government health care except, perhaps, catastrophic health care.

  47. 47
    kairosfocus says:

    RVB8, UD is not solely a science discussion site, as can readily be seen from various statements of blog policy. We have long since realised that the roots of disputes over science and linked policy or education etc, are ideological and institutional, tied to domineering worldviews, their media-dominating [but often utterly deceitful and destructive] narratives and agendas. Such therefore affect institutional and community governance and law. It is therefore necessary to also address wider issues. It turns out that what knowledge is (as a basic definition), is problematic in a post-modern age. Much less, what scientific knowledge is and how such can be responsibly warranted. Self-evident first principles of right reason — God help us, so benighted are we — are widely doubted or dismissed. The inherent amorality and open invitation to nihilism of evolutionary materialist scientism and its fellow travellers help to entrench evils in institution and community alike. Indeed, such underpin and enable the one million more victims per week holocaust of our living posterity in the womb — instantly revealing this to be a dark, benighted, utterly and cynically corrupt age. So, we cannot responsibly confine ourselves to a narrow focus. Besides, when we raise serious science issues — which goes on all the time — we find that you and many other frequent objectors are either conspicuously absent, or make snide remarks from the sidelines. So, we have no reason to take your latest sneering as anything more than making an ill-informed, unserious noise. FYI, KF

  48. 48
    kairosfocus says:

    In the other thread, on where SET’s on moral issues take us, through the intelligible law of our morally governed nature: https://uncommondescent.com/atheism/can-morals-be-grounded-as-objective-knowledge/#comment-647040

  49. 49
    JSmith says:

    T7

    It is not his opinion. It is proper grammar and using words as they are meant to be used..

    Putting *is* into a semtemcex doesn’t change it from opinion to fact.

  50. 50
    JSmith says:

    SB

    No, none of those qualify as objective self evident truths. Our nation was founded on none of those principles. I am surprised that you didn’t know that. Apparently, you are unfamiliar with the Declaration of Independence.

    “We hold these truths to be SELF EVIDENT, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

    Did you notice that those words contain no references to subjective morality?

    They may have *held* that those truths were self-evident, but that only shows that they talked the talk. They certainly didn’t walk the walk. Blacks were held in slavery for almost a century following independence. Women and blacks did not get the vote until well more than a century after independence. If all men being created equal was so self-evident, why did they not act on it? Could it possibly be because they didn’t consider blacks and women to be fully human? As none of them are alive today, we will never know their reasons.

  51. 51
    JSmith says:

    D

    1) Waiting lists. Suffer for a year or more before receiving any treatment.. for my father, 3 years before knee replacement.

    The wait lists are only for elective surgery or tests I acknowledged that they are far too long and is one of the problems with our system.

    2) Limited access to technology….Please note: the opening of private MRI clinics put pressure on the ‘public’ system and forced them to subcontract (on a limited basis) to bring the wait time down to 70 days.

    I have no problem with private delivery of health care services. I would like to see more of it. It is who pays for them that is important. The Canadian system extensively uses private delivery services. Family doctors are all self-employed, or employed by private clinics. There are many private x-ray clinics, physiotherapists, medical laboratories, home care nursing, etc. that are privately run. In most cases, they are paid by the government, not the patient (health care is provincial).

    3) No control over treatment. The number of doctors, hospitals, beds, and treatments is decided by faceless bureaucrats. Another method for limiting costs is limiting access to doctors. Even when you have a doctor, a good doctor, the doctor is only able to provide the services covered by the public system. If you have a bad doctor, he/she understands very well that *you* don’t pay the bills, the state does. The doctor does not have to satisfy *you* if he/she wants to be paid, only the state bureaucracy.

    In this, you are misinformed. Patients have control over their treatment. They can seek second or third opinions. Doctors may provide services that are not covered by the system on a patient pay basis. Typically these are for services that are not significant health issues. For example, I had a cyst removed from my neck and had to pay for i. Patients must pay for vasectomies. Yes, the government, through hospital boards, dictate the number of doctors and beds in a hospital, based on demographics and perceived needs (admittedly, in a flawed way). As opposed to US private hospitals that make those decisions based the profit margin.

    4) Almost impossible to sue a doctor for malpractice, etc. The state has given regulatory and disciplinary powers to the Medical Associations. The Medical Associations respond to complaints in closed session and their judgements are (usually) confidential.

    Canada has never been as litigious a society as the US and does not tolerate frivolous lawsuits to the extent that the US does. Which, in my opinion, is a good thing. That being said, doctors and hospitals do get sued for malpractice, and settlements are often granted. Yes, they are usually confidential but if a doctor loses his/her malpractice insurance, they cannot practice medicine. If the malpractice in criminally negligent or intentional, then the legal system steps in.

    5) Encourages abuse. In much the same way that any *insurance* plan does, public health care encourages abuse by both provider and recipient. The bureaucracy is prepared to accept a certain (and ever-growing) level of abuse to maintain the illusion of a smooth-running system.

    The system doesn’t encourage abuse, but it is certainly prone to it. In spite of this, health care costs are still lower in Canada than the US. In Ontario, we used to be issued a red and white health card. These were replaced y cards with photo ID, largely because of Americans fraudulently using our system.

    6) Canada makes it a crime for me to pay my doctor or for my doctor to accept payment from me. “He who pays the piper calls the tune.”

    This simply is not true. There are many services that patients pay the doctor for. But for anything covered by the system, doctors are not allowed to accept additional payment. That would be fraud.

    There is a reason why people from the world over go to the United States for medical treatment. The system you have may not be perfect (what is?) but it is innovative, responsive, and open.

    And people come from all over the world to seek treatment in Canada. Our treatment is second to none. However, the US does benefit from economies of scale. There are some treatments that simply are not performed enough in Canada to justify establishing them within the system. However, in many of these cases, the system will cover the cost of having the treatment performed in the US. There is a high profile case currently in the process of a teen with a very rare skin blistering disease. The Canadian system is paying millions of dollars for his treatment in the US by a doctor who specializes in this disease and has had a small degree of success by using bone marrow transplants.

    You may think that government provided health care is laudable but it is not. Look at what *your* government *gives* to the indigent, veterans, and elderly. Imagine receiving that for yourself and your family.

    I’m not sure what you mean by this. If it is that we should spend more on the indigent, elderly and veterans and take it out of health care, that is a lame argument. Any society involves balancing different interests. But playing one off against the other is just a decisive tactic. Like blaming illegal Mexicans because you can’t find a good paying job.

  52. 52
    Barry Arrington says:

    1. Are you absolutely certain that it is an objective fact that treating women as if they are not persons is wrong?

    2. Are you absolutely certain that it is an objective fact that it is wrong to treat black persons as inferior to white persons?

    3. Are you absolutely certain that it is an objective fact that counting black people as 3/5 of a person when determining government representatives is wrong?

    JSmith’s response: [crickets]

    Prediction: JSmith will respond with simpering cowardice.

    Prediction confirmed.

  53. 53
    Mung says:

    Hi Barry. Is “simpering cowards” a phrase from Nietzsche?

  54. 54
    OldAndrew says:

    We hold these truths to be SELF EVIDENT, that all men are created equal.

    I find myself playing devil’s advocate, as I don’t personally view morality as either subjective or relative. I’m not actually on JSmith’s side.

    But I’m honestly boggled by the use of the above statement as a counterargument or example of correct thinking, as those who said it either a) didn’t actually believe that it was true, objectively or otherwise, or b) believed that it was self-evident and chose to deliberately practice heinous evil.

    JSmith believes that owning people is wrong. There’s a apparently much to-do over whether or not he believes that it’s objectively wrong, but no one seems to doubt that believes it’s wrong. I think we can also agree that he neither enslaves nor wishes to enslave any humans of any race.

    If this makes him a “simpering coward,” then how do we judge those who actually did enslave other humans while professing absolute knowledge that all men are equal? Were the founding fathers of the United States simpering cowards? I don’t have to answer that question because I haven’t called anyone a simpering coward.

    To either back down from that harsh accusation or to apply such blistering language equally would display true courage.

  55. 55
    tribune7 says:

    To either back down from that harsh accusation or to apply such blistering language equally would display true courage.

    I second this.

  56. 56
    JSmith says:

    OA

    To either back down from that harsh accusation or to apply such blistering language equally would display true courage.

    T7

    I second this.

    Thank you for the kind words.

    For the record, I do believe that the founding fathers truly believed that all men are created equal. But, unfortunately, they were victims of the commonly held Eurocentric belief that non-whites and women were inferior to white men.

  57. 57
    StephenB says:

    J Smith

    They may have *held* that those truths were self-evident, but that only shows that they talked the talk. They certainly didn’t walk the walk.

    Irrelevant to the point. Please stay on topic. You said that governments rely on subjectively arrived at principles and I refuted the point. Not everyone always followed those objective principles in the DOI, but that is not the issue on the table.

    It is because of those objective self-evident principles that slavery in the United States was ended. Sadly, because liberals like yourself gained power, those principles have been ignored and, in many cases, abolished.

    In too many places, we now have arbitrary laws imposed by a small number of tyrants who are accountable to no one. They have exempted themselves from the rule of law. Indeed, they have become a law unto themselves–the very thing the Constitution was designed to prevent.

  58. 58
    JSmith says:

    SB

    You said that governments rely on subjectively arrived at principles and I refuted the point.

    Could you remind me where I said that.

    For the record, is it because of DOI’s objective self-evident principles that slavery in the United States was ended.

    I wouldn’t underestimate that tiny little civil war that you had.

    Sadly, because liberals like yourself gained power, those principles have been ignored and, in many cases, abolished.

    Could you provide me a couple concrete examples? I don’t deny that liberals make bad decisions. So do conservatives. Nobody is omniscient about the consequences of all of our actions. Sadly, we often learn by trial and error.

  59. 59
    john_a_designer says:

    OldAndrew,

    JSmith believes that owning people is wrong. There’s a apparently much to-do over whether or not he believes that it’s objectively wrong, but no one seems to doubt that believes it’s wrong. I think we can also agree that he neither enslaves nor wishes to enslave any humans of any race.

    Human rights do not depend what JSmith believes or thinks. Human rights are universal, which means there is a universal obligation to respect and protect them and that can’t be unless they are universally (“objectively”) true. JSmith opinions do not determine universal rights or universal moral truth. Who is qualified to determine moral truth? Whose judgements and pronouncements are we obligated to accept as moral truth? That’s the key question in discussions like this.

  60. 60
    StephenB says:

    JSmith

    Could you remind me where I said that.

    Yes. I was interpreting this comment:

    What this governance acts on, however, is subjective. Or, more accurately, I see no evidence of it being objective, and plenty that it is subjective. Eternal? Nobody knows that.

    If I interpreted it wrong way, please let me know.

    SB: For the record, is it because of DOI’s objective self-evident principles that slavery in the United States was ended.

    I wouldn’t underestimate that tiny little civil war that you had.

    I am glad that you raised the issue, because I actually meant the end of institutional racism, not slavery as such. This was a response to the objective moral law.

    Could you provide me a couple concrete examples? (Lawlessness by liberals)

    Sure. Roe vs Wade. Obergefell vs Hodges.

  61. 61
    tribune7 says:

    For the record, is it because of DOI’s objective self-evident principles that slavery in the United States was ended. . . I wouldn’t underestimate that tiny little civil war that you had.

    When the Declaration was written slavery was legal in every one of the 13 colonies By the time the Treaty of Paris was signed, abolition was underway in Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. By the time the Constitution was ratified (1789) abolition was underway in Connecticut and Rhode Island and slavery was banned in the Northwest Territories.

    Were you aware that Canada didn’t ban slavery until 1833? Probably not.

    And what exactly do you think was the reason for the Civil War? Why should those in the North care about the problems facing blacks in the South? Could it be that they held to an absolute, objective, universal morality? Could it be anything else? Please understand that last question was rhetorical and that you will only look foolish if you try to take it otherwise.

  62. 62
    OldAndrew says:

    john_a_designer,

    When I say this:

    JSmith believes that owning people is wrong.

    I’m establishing (or attempting to establish) common ground. So I’m confused by this:

    Human rights do not depend what JSmith believes or thinks.

    Why argue over a point of rather obvious agreement? I’m not saying that those rights depend on what anyone does or doesn’t believe.

    Who is qualified to determine moral truth?

    I think my answer to that would be the same as yours. I think we could also agree that moral objectivity depends on that conclusion. If it were true that we were all a chemical accident then moral objectivity would not exist.

    Belief in moral objectivity requires first belief in an intelligent design or designer. I think that belief can be reasonably supported by logic, reason, and perhaps even science.

    It also requires going a step further an believing that not only is there a designer, but that the designer is the God I believe in. I could make a pretty good case for that as well, but it wouldn’t be scientific.

    (We’d also have to separate the question of whether the designer defines moral standards from what those standards are, because you’re guaranteed to get some disagreement on that as well unless you stick to simple stuff like murder and slavery.)

    So as I see it, insisting that someone accept moral objectivism is really the same as insisting that they accept my religion. And if you don’t accept my religion, then you’re okay with torture and slavery. That’s just not going to work. People don’t generally respond to being compared to Nazis and blamed for all of the world’s evils. And it would be nonsense to blame atheists anyway.

  63. 63
    JSmith says:

    SB

    Yes. I was interpreting this comment:

    What this governance acts on, however, is subjective. Or, more accurately, I see no evidence of it being objective, and plenty that it is subjective. Eternal? Nobody knows that.

    I’m afraid that you did misinterpret what I was saying. I was referring to moral governance (as frequently mentioned by KF), not government.

    I am glad that you raised the issue, because I actually meant the end of institutional racism, not slavery as such. This was a response to the objective moral law.

    OK. That makes more sense.

    Sure. Roe vs Wade

    Three of the four republican judges voted in favour of Roe. Of the dissenting votes, one was Republican and one was Conservative. So this was hardly a Liberal decision.

    Obergefell vs Hodges

    And this happened in a Republican dominated court.

  64. 64
    StephenB says:

    Tribune 7, I agree with everything you said. We can argue successfully that objective principles were responsible for ending slavery.

    The reason I intended to use the example of institutional racism was because, historically, the change happened so suddenly and so dramatically so that it is impossible to deny the salient fact: Martin Luther King alluded specifically to the objective nature of the natural moral law when he demanded justice for blacks.

    Still, it is probably a good thing to point out, as you implied, that the Natural Moral Law was the standard that ended both outrages, not just one of them.

  65. 65
    StephenB says:

    I’m afraid that you did misinterpret what I was saying. I was referring to moral governance (as frequently mentioned by KF), not government.

    OK. No problem. Still, I am not clear on your position. Are you now saying that you agree that morality is objective? Is this a change in your position? Are you saying that morality is objective, but we can’t know that it is objective? You seem to be presenting a moving target.

    And this happened in a Republican dominated court. Three of the four republican judges voted in favour of Roe. Of the dissenting votes, one was Republican and one was Conservative. So this was hardly a Liberal decision.

    Why do you continue to respond to my comments by changing the subject? It was most definitely a liberal decision. There are plenty of irresponsible and liberal Republicans. What does that have to do with the fact that they do not respect the rule of law or the objective principles inherent in the founding documents. You asked for two examples of lawlessness and I provided them. In Roe vs Wade, they allowed a made up right to trump the basic right to life. That is liberalism. So it was with the Obergefelt decision. They rendered a decision based on a made up right.

  66. 66
    asauber says:

    Roe vs. Wade… So this was hardly a Liberal decision.

    Well, it was the result of many Liberal decisions prior to SCOTUS.

    Sexual Liberators and Population Controllers relentlessly combined their activism and the result has been a massive slaughter of human babies that continues today.

    BTW, The March For Life 2018 is Friday, Jan 19th.

    http://marchforlife.org/mfl-2018/rally-march-info/

    I’ll be there.

    Andrew

  67. 67
    JSmith says:

    T7

    Were you aware that Canada didn’t ban slavery until 1833? Probably not.

    Yes. I knew that. It was part of the British act that banned it in the commonwealth. I never said that Canada was innocent in all of this. We have plenty of things to apologize for.

    And what exactly do you think was the reason for the Civil War? Why should those in the North care about the problems facing blacks in the South?

    The issue of slavery was definitely one of the major factors contributing to the war, but it certainly wasn’t the only one. And it certainly wasn’t all for the purpose of making blacks equal players in the American experience.

    Could it be that they held to an absolute, objective, universal morality? Could it be anything else?
    Is this the same absolute, objective, universal morality that resulted in the Fugitive Slave Act in 1850? The act that required free states to return escaped slaves to their owners ?.

    Please understand that last question was rhetorical and that you will only look foolish if you try to take it otherwise.

    I will take that risk.

  68. 68
    tribune7 says:

    It was part of the British act that banned it in the commonwealth. I never said that Canada was innocent in all of this. We have plenty of things to apologize for.

    You should hang your head in shame.

    And it certainly wasn’t all for the purpose of making blacks equal players in the American experience.

    Actually, it was: https://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/amendmentxiv

    Is this the same absolute, objective, universal morality that resulted in the Fugitive Slave Act in 1850?

    You should not have taken the risk. Read that question over slowly, consider the context in which you are raising it and see if you can figure out what is so remarkably stupid about it.

  69. 69
    JSmith says:

    SB

    OK. No problem. Still, I am not clear on your position. Are you now saying that you agree that morality is objective? Is this a change in your position? Are you saying that morality is objective, but we can’t know that it is objective? You seem to be presenting a moving target.

    I apologize if it appears this way. I certainly am not trying to do so.

    What I am trying to say is that the fact that we have this sense of morality (moral governance) is as close to an objective fact as you can get. We all live by deeply ingrained feelings of right and wrong (let’s call them moral values) and we feel deeply uncomfortable and guilty if, by our free will, we choose to act counter to any of these. This moral governance and how we react to it is an objective fact almost as true as the objectivity of hunger and thirst. What I am arguing is subjective is the actual moral values that become ingrained in us.

    Why do you continue to respond to my comments by changing the subject? It was most definitely a liberal decision.

    It was a liberal decision because you disagree with it. It was made by people who hold conservative beliefs. All this shows is that not all conservatives agree on everything and not all liberals agree on everything.

    In Roe vs Wade, they allowed a made up right to trump the basic right to life.

    That is not how the justices saw it.

    So it was with the Obergefelt decision. They rendered a decision based on a made up right.

    Again, that is not how the justices saw it.

    I don’t claim to bet an expert on Roe v Wade or any other US Supreme Court decision but if it is anything like the Canadian Supreme Court, many of the rulings they give are because the law that is being questioned is very poorly written. We had one recently on doctor assisted suicide that effectively overturned the governments legislation. Not because they were in favour or against doctor assisted suicide, but because the way it was written violated our charter of rights. The government was tasked with redrafting it in a way that it wouldn’t violate the charter.

  70. 70
    tribune7 says:

    SB

    that the Natural Moral Law was the standard that ended both outrages, not just one of them.

    EXACTLY!

    Man, in his imagination, can justify any action. Being able to justify an action does not make an action just. This is one of the life lessons that should be acquired by the time one leaves childhood.

    Ironically, concerning our friend, questioning laws and cultural consensus can, in fact, only be appropriate if there is some absolute moral standard against which one can weight them.

  71. 71
    asauber says:

    That is not how the justices saw it.

    Yes it is. They just didn’t utilize the phrase “made up right”.

    The reason abortion was presented to courts to begin with is because some powerful people (social engineers, lawyers, doctors, etc…) wanted abortions to happen and happen legally.

    The SCOTUS decision didn’t happen in a vacuum. The court wasn’t struck by lightning one day and a light bulb of profundity went off. The skids were greased. And the push was on until people got what they wanted.

    Andrew

  72. 72
    JSmith says:

    T7

    JS: And it certainly wasn’t all for the purpose of making blacks equal players in the American experience.

    T7: Actually, it was: https://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/amendmentxiv

    How can an amendment passed after the civil war be the reason for the civil war? And in spite of this amendment, several states denied blacks the right to vote into the the 1960s.

    JS: Is this the same absolute, objective, universal morality that resulted in the Fugitive Slave Act in 1850?

    T7: You should not have taken the risk. Read that question over slowly, consider the context in which you are raising it and see if you can figure out what is so remarkably stupid about it.

    No, I will stick to my answer. Most of the same people who accepted the Fugitive Slave Act were around in the lead up to the civil war. Did their absolute, objective, universal morality change in that decade?

  73. 73
    bb says:

    JS @38

    “..that blacks were inferior to whites and only counted as 3/5 of a person when determining government representatives”

    Slave states wanted to count Blacks in their populations, to increase the number of representatives in congress, while denying slaves a vote. The 3/5 thing was a political move, by those that objectively held that slavery was wrong, to reduce slave-holder representation in the House and eventually outlaw it.

  74. 74
    StephenB says:

    It was a liberal decision because you disagree with it.

    No, it was a liberal decision because it embodied liberal principles, including a contempt for the rule of law and preference for made up rights.

    It was made by people who hold conservative beliefs. All this shows is that not all conservatives agree on everything and not all liberals agree on everything.

    Conservatives are consistently on the side of the rule of law and liberals are consistently on the side of made up rights. The fact that many Republicans are liberal and that all democrats are liberal is a side issue. We are, at least I am, discussing principles, not labels.

    That is not how the justices saw it.

    Yes it is. Justice Harry Blackman stated that the so-called “right to privacy” justifies abortion, which is the deliberate killing of another human being. In other words, he ignored the basic human right to live. There is the objective right to life, which is enshrined in the founding documents, and then there is the liberal’s subjective notion of a right to kill people that get in your way. It’s as simple as that. When the natural moral law is ignored, tyranny and death always follow.

    Again, that is not how the justices saw it.

    It is what they wrote.

  75. 75
    tribune7 says:

    JS

    How can an amendment passed after the civil war be the reason for the civil war?

    But that’s not what you implied when you said And it certainly wasn’t all for the purpose of making blacks equal players in the American experience.

    What you implied was that the Civil War had nothing to do i.e. “certainly” with making Blacks equal when the laws passed by the victors attempted to do just that.

    You can fairly point out the laws were ineffective but you cannot deny their purpose.

    One of the problems in this discussion is you choose words poorly and don’t think about what you write.

    Most of the same people who accepted the Fugitive Slave Act were around in the lead up to the civil war. Did their absolute, objective, universal morality change in that decade?

    Actually no. The Fugitive Slave Act was not accepted. It’s passage led to the dissolution of the Whig Party and the creation of the Republican Party which led to a Republican president in 1860 which led to the Civil War. The absolute , objective, universal morality most certainly did not change and it should not be hard to understand that.

  76. 76
    JSmith says:

    SB

    In other words, he ignored the basic human right to live. There is the objective right to life, which is enshrined in the founding documents, and then there is the liberal’s subjective notion of a right to kill people that get in your way.

    You do realize that you are speaking from a country that allows capital punishment, the willfull taking of another life? And the states that still have the death penalty tend to be those that are considered “conservative.

  77. 77
    tribune7 says:

    bb

    Slave states wanted to count Blacks in their populations, to increase the number of representatives in congress, while denying slaves a vote. The 3/5 thing was a political move, by those that objectively held that slavery was wrong, to reduce slave-holder representation in the House and eventually outlaw it.

    This is a very good point. The slave owners wanted the slaves to be counted fully with regard to apportionment for congressional representation. The abolitionists didn’t want them counted at all as obviously this would have increased the power of the slave states dramatically. The 3/5 was a compromise.

  78. 78
    OldAndrew says:

    There is the objective right to life, which is enshrined in the founding documents, and then there is the liberal’s subjective notion of a right to kill people that get in your way.

    Politics, really? You’re either a conservative or on Team Death and Tyranny? (I’m neither conservative nor liberal so this means nothing to me personally.) And if anyone does anything evil then they weren’t really conservative.

    I can’t help but wonder: Is pornography involving adults objectively moral or immoral? And do conservatives believe that it should be legal or illegal? (For the record, I don’t view pornography either.)

  79. 79
    tribune7 says:

    JS

    There is the objective right to life, which is enshrined in the founding documents, and then there is the liberal’s subjective notion of a right to kill people that get in your way.

    You do realize that you are speaking from a country that allows capital punishment, the willfull taking of another life?

    Are you saying there should not be a right to life and the state (or anyone) can kill another at will?

    Do you believe that there are rights to property and liberty? Should rights to property and liberty be able to be forfeited with due process?

  80. 80
    tribune7 says:

    Is pornography involving adults objectively moral or immoral?

    Thinking of others as objects is immoral, as is letting yourself be used as one.

    It’s a bad idea, though, to make it illegal.

  81. 81
    JSmith says:

    T7

    JS: How can an amendment passed after the civil war be the reason for the civil war?

    T7: But that’s not what you implied when you said And it certainly wasn’t all for the purpose of making blacks equal players in the American experience.

    What you implied was that the Civil War had nothing to do i.e. “certainly” with making Blacks equal when the laws passed by the victors attempted to do just that.

    You obviously missed my statement:

    The issue of slavery was definitely one of the major factors contributing to the war, but it certainly wasn’t the only one. And it certainly wasn’t all for the purpose of making blacks equal players in the American experience.

    And if it was all about making blacks equal players in the American experience, why did it take another 100 years to extend the vote to a large percentage of them?

    One of the problems in this discussion is you choose words poorly and don’t think about what you write.

    Mrs. McTavish, my grade 11 English teacher would probably agree with you.

    The absolute , objective, universal morality most certainly did not change and it should not be hard to understand that.

    As exemplified by the Jim Crow laws.

    This is a very good point. The slave owners wanted the slaves to be counted fully with regard to apportionment for congressional representation. The abolitionists didn’t want them counted at all as obviously this would have increased the power of the slave states dramatically. The 3/5 was a compromise.

    I know it was a political compromise. As was the fugitive slavery act. But I wasn’t aware that objective morality was negotiable. It seems rather subjective to me.

  82. 82
    Barry Arrington says:

    JSmith, I still have three questions for you:

    1. Are you absolutely certain that it is an objective fact that treating women as if they are not persons is wrong?

    2. Are you absolutely certain that it is an objective fact that it is wrong to treat black persons as inferior to white persons?

    3. Are you absolutely certain that it is an objective fact that counting black people as 3/5 of a person when determining government representatives is wrong?

    I would like yes/no answers to those questions. I will show you how that is done by giving my yes/no answers to those questions:

    1. Yes
    2. Yes
    3. Yes

    It has not escaped anyone’s notice that you have studiously avoided answering.

  83. 83
    tribune7 says:

    The issue of slavery was definitely one of the major factors contributing to the war, but it certainly wasn’t the only one.

    It was the only one despite what some lost cause types might claim. But you clearly are missing the point which is: Why should those in the North care about the problems facing blacks in the South?

    But I wasn’t aware that objective morality was negotiable.

    Morality is not negotiable. How we get through life most certainly is. Nobody here as a claim to purity. The irony, though, is that the ones who broke up the Whig Party and started the GOP thought The Fugitive Slave Act was an immoral compromise.

  84. 84
    JSmith says:

    T7

    Are you saying there should not be a right to life and the state (or anyone) can kill another at will?

    No, I support the right to life. Whether this extends to a mass of cells with no ability to think or feel pain, I am on the fence. But reason leads me to conclude that the mass of cells’ rights aren’t as high as those who can think and feel pain.but I am already on record as saying that I oppose abortion but would prefer to address it from the unwanted pregnancy perspective. Comprehensive non judgemental sex education from an early age and unrestricted access to birth control.

    Do you believe that there are rights to property..

    Man-made legal rights? Yes. But I might be biased by the fact that I own property.

    …and liberty?

    Yes. But not unconditional. But again, these are man-made rights.

    Should rights to property and liberty be able to be forfeited with due process?

    Yes. But again, we are talking about rights that we give to ourselves as a society. Not objective rights.

  85. 85
    StephenB says:

    No, I support the right to life. Whether this extends to a mass of cells with no ability to think or feel pain, I am on the fence.

    Yours is the mark of a liberal, and as I have suggested, liberals get people killed. Its a way of playing word games so that you can have it both ways. You say you support life, but you rationalize the killing of helpless, unborn humans on the grounds that they are not really human. This is what liberals do. You carry on as one who is open minded and compassionate, but if unborn babies get in your way, you are fine if the government authorizes their execution. Since children in the womb get in your way, you find reasons to get rid of them.

    The death penalty is in an entirely different moral universe. Unlike abortion, it is not an *intrinsic* evil. There are conditions, however rare, that it can be justified. Your attempt to distract with this issue is more evidence that you are pro-abortion in spite of your claims to the contrary.

  86. 86
    JSmith says:

    B

    It has not escaped anyone’s notice that you have studiously avoided answering.

    Please refer to the last paragraph of comment 221 in this thread. I think that it answers your question in a way that any intelligent being would agree with.

    https://uncommondescent.com/atheism/can-morals-be-grounded-as-objective-knowledge/#comment-647125

    UD Editors: Coward.

  87. 87
    JSmith says:

    SB

    Yours is the mark of a liberal, and as I have suggested, liberals get people killed. Its a way of playing word games so that you can have it both ways.

    No, my remark is that of someone who is at least being honest with himself. To test this, a simple question;
    If abortion is once again made illegal, would you advocate for first degree murder charges against any woman who has an abortion?

  88. 88
    bb says:

    If abortion is once again made illegal, would you advocate for first degree murder charges against any woman who has an abortion?

    I would advocate murder charges for any abortion provider, that should know better, but not necessarily for any woman. So many are misinformed, and it may take some time to treat the moral ignorance resulting from 43 years of darkness, and propaganda.

  89. 89
    Barry Arrington says:

    JSmith refuses to answer three simple questions.

    He is a coward.

  90. 90
    kairosfocus says:

    BB, Prohibition proved that culture has to shift or laws will be dead letters. Indeed, the end of slavery points to the same thing. When we finally realise that enabling holocaust of our living posterity in the womb is utterly corrupting our civilisation, that is when the sea-change will happen. KF

  91. 91
    StephenB says:

    JS

    No, my remark is that of someone who is at least being honest with himself. To test this, a simple question;
    If abortion is once again made illegal, would you advocate for first degree murder charges against any woman who has an abortion?

    This is the typical pro-abortion play, and it is not honest. Here is a taste of honesty. If you were the one being aborted, would you make the same argument? Those who advocates sex without consequences want to hold the baby accountable for their lack of self control. That is the reality.

    Meanwhile, your question poses no challenge. I would advocate first degree murder charges for the so-called doctor that kills the baby if he is trained in either biology, fetology, or embryology. Those so educated know that a child in the womb is not a mere blob of tissue. The science makes that clear.

    Obviously, you are not educated on the matter as is the case for most women, so I would extend mercy under those circumstances. However, you have informed, so you have no excuse from this point on. A child in the womb is a full-fledged member of the human race.

    Meanwhile, your sincerity is in doubt as long as you refuse to answer Barry’s questions. I know why he is asking them and it is for a good reason. I am surprised that you would ignore them after complaining about my post on another thread where I chided those who are afraid to confront challenges.

  92. 92
    bb says:

    KF,

    To cast our culture in physical terms: at the end of a long, steep slide, with rapid descent, one needs a space to gradually decelerate in order to come to a safe stop.

    Here’s a video to illustrate my possibly silly analogy:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cm_u32CuVmM

  93. 93
    JSmith says:

    B.B.

    I would advocate murder charges for any abortion provider, that should know better, but not necessarily for any woman.

    I’m curious. Why not? Would you support first degree murder charges for a woman who arranged with a third party to kill her two day old baby?

    So many are misinformed, and it may take some time to treat the moral ignorance resulting from 43 years of darkness, and propaganda.

    Do you really have that low an opinion of women?

    If there are any women lurkers, preferably some who have been pregnant, I would be interested in your opinion with regard to the mental capacity of pregnant women any their culpability for any crime they commit while pregnant.

  94. 94
    JSmith says:

    SB

    This is the typical pro-abortion play, and it is not honest.

    It is neither pro abortion nor dishonest. The fact is that those who believe that early stage fetuses have the same right to life as you or I, yet oppose murder charges for women who have abortions, are being dishonest with themselves. It is possible to have rational reasons to oppose abortions without invoking the equal right to life, but I seldom see people using those arguments.

    If you were the one being aborted, would you make the same argument?

    If I were aborted as an early stage fetus, I wouldn’t be able to make any argument at all. Arguments are difficult to make without a brain.

    Those who advocates sex without consequences want to hold the baby accountable for their lack of self control. That is the reality.

    I completely agree. But that would be the proverbial KF strawman set ablaze with oil of red herring. Nobody is proposing advocating sex without consequences. Comprehensive sex education deals with the consequences in great detail. Knowledge is power. Ignorance is Alabama.

    Meanwhile, your question poses no challenge. I would advocate first degree murder charges for the so-called doctor that kills the baby if he is trained in either biology, fetology, or embryology. Those so educated know that a child in the womb is not a mere blob of tissue. The science makes that clear.

    Since we have reached the tipping point where more women are obtaining post secondary education than men, very many in the sciences, I assume that you would support first degree murder charges for them. In short, murder charges for the smart women, no murder charges for the dumb ones? Strangely, education level has never been used to decide whether murder charges should be filed. In fact, I would hazard a guess that the majority of those convicted of murder do not have higher education. I don’t think you want to march down this road.
    SB

    Meanwhile, your sincerity is in doubt as long as you refuse to answer Barry’s questions.

    Really? You question the sincerity of the person who has been repeatedly called a “simpering coward” because he doesn’t answer the questions from the person who repeatedly calls him a “simpering coward”? My experience is that bullies like that deserve our pity, not our attention.

  95. 95
    StephenB says:

    J Smith

    Do you really have that low a opinion of women?

    This is another pro-abortion trick. The abortion advocate, who claims not to be an advocate, asks the defender of life if he would charge the woman with murder after the procedure.

    If he answers no on the grounds that the woman doesn’t know that the fetus is human, the abortion advocate says the defender of life thinks women are stupid.

    If he answers yes on the grounds that the woman is responsible for her decisions, the abortion advocate says that the defender of life hates women and wants them in jail.

  96. 96
    Barry Arrington says:

    SB @ 91:

    Meanwhile, your sincerity is in doubt as long as you refuse to answer Barry’s questions. I know why he is asking them and it is for a good reason.

    Stephen, JSmith knows why I have asked them too. Of course, that is why he refuses to answer them.

  97. 97
    JSmith says:

    SB

    This is another pro-abortion trick. The abortion advocate, who claims not to be an advocate, asks the defender of life if he would charge the woman with murder after the procedure.

    If he answers no on the grounds that the woman doesn’t know that the fetus is human, the abortion advocate says the defender of life thinks women are stupid.

    If he answers yes on the grounds that the woman is responsible for her decisions, the abortion advocate says that the defender of life hates women and wants them in jail.

    Or, behind door number three, he acknowledges that he actually doesn’t believe that an early term fetus has an equal right to life as you and I. I am against abortion because I believe the fetus has a right to life. But I don’t believe it is at the same level as the right to life that you and I enjoy. As such, I prefer to put my energies into strategies that have been shown to significantly reduce abortion rates without putting women at serious risk.

    What is more important to you:
    1) significantly reducing the number of abortions?
    2) criminalizing women and not reducing the number of abortions?
    If you have a third option with real evidence to support it, I am willing to listen.

  98. 98
    john_a_designer says:

    Has JSmith been here before using a different alias?

  99. 99
    StephenB says:

    J Smith

    It is neither pro abortion nor dishonest. The fact is that those who believe that early stage fetuses have the same right to life as you or I, yet oppose murder charges for women who have abortions, are being dishonest with themselves. It is possible to have rational reasons to oppose abortions without invoking the equal right to life, but I seldom see people using those arguments.

    The point is that you don’t think fetuses have any rights and you ignore the science for self-serving reasons. The women involved, however, do not normally have access to that information and even if they did, there is no way to prove it. It isn’t fair to charge people with crimes who don’t know what they are doing. Such is not the case with doctors. So there is no dishonesty in that response. The dishonesty comes from those who support abortion and claim not to.

    If I were aborted as an early stage fetus, I wouldn’t be able to make any argument at all. Arguments are difficult to make without a brain

    So you think that the poor little fetus of six seeks who runs away from the knife or quivers violently while being scalded to death with chemicals is not making an argument? Let me translate the non-verbal communication for you: “Please don’t scald me to death or cut me to pieces. It hurts.” That is the most eloquent of all arguments and the same one you would make if you were in that position.

    Nobody is proposing advocating sex without consequences. Comprehensive sex education deals with the consequences in great detail. Knowledge is power. Ignorance is Alabama.

    You must be joking. Liberals want children to have sex as soon as possible. That is why they sexualize them with secularist propaganda, prodding them with such perverse offerings as “A Guide to Anal Sex: “How to do it the RIGHT way.” That is also why they push them into gender confusion, encouraging them to take on the sexual identity of their choice.

    Strangely, education level has never been used to decide whether murder charges should be filed.

    It isn’t a question of formal education. What matters is a command of the facts and a knowledge of right and wrong. If you were put on trial, no one would take you seriously when you claim that you don’t know right from wrong in any objective sense. That kind of nonsense doesn’t work in the real world.

    Really? You question the sincerity of the person who has been repeatedly called a “simpering coward” because he doesn’t answer the questions from the person who repeatedly calls him a “simpering coward”? My experience is that bullies like that deserve our pity, not our attention.

    Well, if that’s all that is bothering you, I will disclose the fact that I was about to ask you a similar question. So allow me, a pussycat and a harmless little fuzzball, to ask you the same question:

    1. Are you absolutely certain that it is an objective fact that treating women as if they are not persons is wrong?

    2. Are you absolutely certain that it is an objective fact that it is wrong to treat black persons as inferior to white persons?

    3. Are you absolutely certain that it is an objective fact that counting black people as 3/5 of a person when determining government representatives is wrong?

    Please answer with a yes or no.

  100. 100
    StephenB says:

    J Smith

    Or, behind door number three, he acknowledges that he actually doesn’t believe that an early term fetus has an equal right to life as you and I. I am against abortion because I believe the fetus has a right to life. But I don’t believe it is at the same level as the right to life that you and I enjoy.

    You mean something like — an unborn child is 3/5ths of a person? Just enough of a right to say that you are anti-abortion, but not enough to save the baby. I get it.

  101. 101
    asauber says:

    Has JSmith been here before using a different alias?

    jad,

    Armand Jacks?

    Andrew

  102. 102
    JSmith says:

    SB

    You mean something like — an unborn child is 3/5ths of a person? Just enough of a right to say that you are anti-abortion, but not enough to save the baby. I get it.

    All I am saying is that if you objectively believe that a fetus has the same right to life as you and I, then to not charge a woman who has an abortion with first degree murder is pure hypocrisy.

  103. 103
    JSmith says:

    SB

    Well, if that’s all that is bothering you, I will disclose the fact that I was about to ask you a similar question. So allow me, a pussycat and a harmless little fuzzball, to ask you the same question:

    1. Are you absolutely certain that it is an objective fact that treating women as if they are not persons is wrong?

    2. Are you absolutely certain that it is an objective fact that it is wrong to treat black persons as inferior to white persons?

    3. Are you absolutely certain that it is an objective fact that counting black people as 3/5 of a person when determining government representatives is wrong?

    Please answer with a yes or no.

    Fair enough. But since you you will not allow any explanation of my answer I will respond after you answer a single question with a yes or no answer. Have you stopped beating your wife?

  104. 104
    StephenB says:

    JS

    I am against abortion because I believe the fetus has a right to life. But I don’t believe it is at the same level as the right to life that you and I enjoy.

    SB

    You mean something like — an unborn child is 3/5ths of a person? Just enough of a right to say that you are anti-abortion, but not enough to save the baby. I get it.

    Your first response was unrelated to my comment. Please address the point without changing the subject.

  105. 105
    StephenB says:

    JS

    Fair enough. But since you you will not allow any explanation of my answer I will respond after you answer a single question with a yes or no answer. Have you stopped beating your wife?

    It’s not really a can’t win formulation, as you imply, but I will loosen the standards anyway in the spirit of compassionate dialogue. Stretch out on the question and answer it any way you like. I will remove the stipulation.

  106. 106
    Barry Arrington says:

    SB @ 105.

    The reason “have you stopped beating your wife?” is an unfair question is that the question is based on an unspoken premise, a premise that must be stipulated to answer it yes or no.

    The three questions I asked are purely interrogative. JSmith is not required to stipulate to any premise in order to answer them yes or no.

    I understand. He is too much of a coward to answer them in a straightforward fashion. He must dissemble and equivocate. He can do nothing else.

    Everyone knows this. Let him say what he will. We all know the true answers.

  107. 107
    StephenB says:

    Barry @106

    Yes, I understand. There was nothing unfair about your stipulation and it is not even in the same universe as “Are you still beating your wife. JS knows this and just made it up as an excuse to avoid answering the question, just as he formerly used the excuse that you were a “bully.” He doesn’t deserve the slack I gave him, but I would like to engage him just a while longer and it is clear that he will never answer your question.

    He understands that if he provides an honest response he will expose his hypocrisy. He knows that the natural moral law is objectively true and he also knows that it is self evident. It is impossible not to know it. He even leans on that fact every time he brings up the subject of spousal abuse, slavery, and other moral offenses that are objectively, universally, absolutely, and obviously wrong. It has nothing to do with subjective perceptions. He knows it, but he is just not honest enough to admit it. It’s as simple as that.

  108. 108
    JSmith says:

    SB

    Your first response was unrelated to my comment. Please address the point without changing the subject.

    My answer was completely in line with the discussion. The argument often against abortion is that the fetus has the same right to life as you and I. This is inconsistent with the reluctance to charge women who have abortions with murder.

    At the time of Roe V Wade the abortion rate was 16.3 per 1000, peaking at 29.3 per 1000 in 1980 and has reduced to 14.6 per 1000 in 2014. The things that happened between 1980 and 2014 was an increase in comprehensive sex education, easier access to information on the internet (although, not always reliable), and increased availability to birth control. And, according to KF, our society has been in a steep decline over this time period due to weakened morality and “lawfare”. So, we have seen a 50% reduction in the abortion rate, with a good correlation to sex education and access to contraceptives. In other countries that have implemented early comprehensive sex education and unrestricted access to birth control, similar trends have been observed.

    I understand KF’s position because, under his philosophy, it is not really about reducing the killing of babies in the womb, it is about making abortion illegal to assuage what he calls our “blood guilt” and forcing everyone to only have sex for conception. He sticks to this opinion in spite of the fact that evidence has clearly shown that rates of abortions before Roe v Wade were higher than they are today, and that deaths due to abortions have reduced from around 200 per year in 1965 to a handful per year today.

    If abortions in the US are made illegal there are some things that are almost certain to happen. Feel free to disagree.
    1) Affluent women will obtain abortions by traveling to Canada.
    2) poor women will not be able to get abortions initially unless they attempt to perform an abortion themselves.
    3) a network of options for illegal abortions will develop, as existed prior to Roe v Wade.
    4) Abortion rates will creep back up to what they were prior to making it illegal.
    5) the death rate of women due to abortion will dramatically increase, possibly as high as 350 per year given the increased population (probably a little lower due to advances in medicine).

    Rather than stick my head in the sand and have a clear conscious because abortions are illegal, I would rather adopt an approach that will significantly reduce the abortion rate without significantly increasing the risk to women. If you have any options that would work better, and have evidence to support it, I would be very interested.

  109. 109
    JSmith says:

    SB

    It’s not really a can’t win formulation, as you imply, but I will loosen the standards anyway in the spirit of compassionate dialogue. Stretch out on the question and answer it any way you like. I will remove the stipulation.

    Fair enough.

    1. Are you absolutely certain that it is an objective fact that treating women as if they are not persons is wrong?

    No. But I am as subjectively certain of this as my reasoning ability allows.

    2. Are you absolutely certain that it is an objective fact that it is wrong to treat black persons as inferior to white persons?

    No. But I am as subjectively certain of this as my reasoning ability allows.

    3. Are you absolutely certain that it is an objective fact that counting black people as 3/5 of a person when determining government representatives is wrong?

    No. But I am as subjectively certain of this as my reasoning ability allows.

  110. 110
    Barry Arrington says:

    JSmith,

    Why should anyone care what you say about anything when you are not even certain it is wrong to treat black persons as inferior to white persons or women as nonpersons?

    I never thought you would admit that. I was wrong. You disgust me.

    To suggest that it is even conceivable that black persons are inferior to white persons is evil. To suggest that it is even conceivable that women are not persons is evil. You have done both. You are evil.

  111. 111
    ET says:

    JSmith:

    All I am saying is that if you objectively believe that a fetus has the same right to life as you and I, then to not charge a woman who has an abortion with first degree murder is pure hypocrisy.

    LoL! It all depends on the circumstances. There will be defense measures for women getting an abortion- measures similar to temporary insanity. Hormonal imbalances causing emotional and physical changes could be one such defense.

    It’s too bad that we can’t “sterilize” people in some retractable way so that unwanted pregnancies are no longer happening. Perhaps if the men were held more responsible- heavy, fines, jail time or chemical castration, come to mind. Education should be working but it isn’t. So I am all for harsh punishment for both the man and woman.

  112. 112
    ET says:

    1) Affluent women will obtain abortions by traveling to Canada.

    Then they better stay there because when they come back they will be arrested.

    2) poor women will not be able to get abortions initially unless they attempt to perform an abortion themselves.

    Then they shouldn’t be having unprotected sex

    3) a network of options for illegal abortions will develop, as existed prior to Roe v Wade.
    4) Abortion rates will creep back up to what they were prior to making it illegal.
    5) the death rate of women due to abortion will dramatically increase, possibly as high as 350 per year given the increased population (probably a little lower due to advances in medicine).

    Then perhaps they will start thinking before opening their legs. And the same goes for men- we have to hold men accountable.

    Stupid people doing stupid things pay the price. I don’t have a problem with that.

  113. 113
    StephenB says:

    SB: Are you absolutely certain that it is an objective fact that it is wrong to treat black persons as inferior to white persons?

    J Smith

    No. But I am as subjectively certain of this as my reasoning ability allows.

    I appreciate the honest answer. Black people beware. Women beware.

    By the way, you have not explained how it is possible for a fetus to have a right to life and, at the same time, not have that same right when it comes to abortion. How can a fetus have a right and not have a right at the same time? Could you clear that up?

  114. 114
    JSmith says:

    SB

    I appreciate the honest answer. Black people beware. Women beware.

    Given the history of slavery and treatment of women, you are probably correct. All the more reason to ensure that we always leave open the ability to question our moral values and actions using rational, logical, evidence based examination. Maybe if that were done before the institutionalization of the African slave trade, a lot of suffering would have been avoided. Maybe if the founding fathers had done this with respect to women, it wouldn’t have taken a century and a half for them to be recognized as equal to men and get the vote.

    By the way, you have not explained how it is possible for a fetus to have a right to life and, at the same time, not have that same right when it comes to abortion. How can a fetus have a right and not have a right at the same time? Could you clear that up?

    Rights are what we as a society afford ourselves and others within the society. It is always a balancing act. Even before abortion on demand, we did not afford the fetus the same right to life as a breathing human being. If there was a choice between saving the mother or saving the fetus, they almost always leaned towards saving the mother unless that was specifically against her wishes. How rights of the fetus would work out is up to society to decide. Possibly increasing rights as the fetus develops. Possibly a hard cut-off after which an abortion will not be performed. It is up to everyone to make sure that their voices get heard so that the best possible decision can be made. Including the voices who oppose abortion for any reason.

    On another topic, is it really safe for you to be talking to a disgusting, evil, simpering coward? 🙂

  115. 115
    bb says:

    Given the history of slavery and treatment of women, you are probably correct. All the more reason to ensure that we always leave open the ability to question our moral values and actions using rational, logical, evidence based examination.

    There was nothing difficult about identifying either as immoral, when honestly compared to universal absolutes, which are innately known. We are all free to question, but doing so dishonestly, like those that come and go while promising “new morality”, or “enlightenment”, is what leads away from that which is rational to what is rationalized. See abortion.

    “If it’s new, it isn’t true. If it’s true, it isn’t new.”
    -Something I heard, but never learned the source, if it is known.

  116. 116
    Barry Arrington says:

    JSmith

    All the more reason to ensure that we always leave open the ability to question our moral values and actions using rational, logical, evidence based examination.

    Coming from an evil man who is not even sure that black people should not be treated as inferior to white people and that women should be treated as persons, that is utterly meaningless.

  117. 117
    StephenB says:

    SB: By the way, you have not explained how it is possible for a fetus to have a right to life and, at the same time, not have that same right when it comes to abortion. How can a fetus have a right and not have a right at the same time? Could you clear that up?

    Rights are what we as a society afford ourselves and others within the society. It is always a balancing act. Even before abortion on demand, we did not afford the fetus the same right to life as a breathing human being. If there was a choice between saving the mother or saving the fetus, they almost always leaned towards saving the mother unless that was specifically against her wishes. How rights of the fetus would work out is up to society to decide. Possibly increasing rights as the fetus develops. Possibly a hard cut-off after which an abortion will not be performed. It is up to everyone to make sure that their voices get heard so that the best possible decision can be made. Including the voices who oppose abortion for any reason.

    You have completely avoided the topic. Would you please address it directly. We are not discussing society’s stated position, we are discussing your stated position. Writing a hundred words or so on another subject is not helpful. How can a fetus have a right and not have a right at the same time.

    On another topic, is it really safe for you to be talking to a disgusting, evil, simpering coward? ????

    Why would it not be safe? It isn’t contagious is it?

  118. 118
    Barry Arrington says:

    JSmith

    On another topic, is it really safe for you to be talking to a disgusting, evil, simpering coward?

    Here a disagree with SB. None of us are safe when such as you are spreading their vile poisonous views. You try to make a joke. It is not funny. Add mocking scoffer to the list. You really are a piece of work.

    It would be a fair question if someone where to ask why I allow you and CR to continue to spew your evil into our combox. The answer is that we have SB and KF and WJM and others ready to refute you. And our readers benefit from the refutation. You and CR are continually shown to be the evil fools that you are.

  119. 119
    JSmith says:

    SB

    SB: By the way, you have not explained how it is possible for a fetus to have a right to life and, at the same time, not have that same right when it comes to abortion. How can a fetus have a right and not have a right at the same time? Could you clear that up?

    Before we go down this road, would you agree that if a choice had to be made between the life of the mother with three small children at home or the life of a three week old fetus, the mother’s right to life supersedes that of the fetus’? Or would you just flip a coin and let chance decide?

    Why would it not be safe? It isn’t contagious is it?

    Who knows? I might convince you that some of my opinions are better than some of yours.

    Sincerely,

    Your friendly neighbourhood disgusting, evil, mocking, scoffing, simpering coward 🙂

  120. 120
    StephenB says:

    JS

    Before we go down this road, would you agree that if a choice had to be made between the life of the mother with three small children at home or the life of a three week old fetus, the mother’s right to life supersedes that of the fetus’? Or would you just flip a coin and let chance decide?

    You will recall that I defined abortion a long time ago and explained the morality of intervention. An abortion is the intentional killing of an innocent human being, but an intervention for the sake of the mothers health is not an abortion because it does not involve an intentional killing. It is an incidental death that occurs as a result of the intervention. Thus, it is a moral act. Again, this is all grounded in the natural moral law, which as I continue to emphasize, you know nothing about, in spite of your claims to the contrary. As a result, you are helpless in forming a moral opinion on the subject. So it is not a choice between abortion and a legitimate health-related intervention.

    Now can we dispense with any further distractions. In your formulation, a fetus has a right to life, but it also does not have a right to life insofar as abortions are concerned. Do you understand that your position is not rational?

  121. 121
    StephenB says:

    Barry:

    Here a disagree with SB.

    Actually, we don’t disagree. *I* am safe from JS and his sophistry (the spirit of his question) because I understand the logical errors in this thinking, but society is not safe because subjectivism destroys cultures and gets people killed. It even destroys reason itself. It is, indeed, a contagious mental disorder, but rational people are immune, unless they feel some perverse need to be accepted by the academy.

  122. 122
    JSmith says:

    SB

    You will recall that I defined abortion a long time ago and explained the morality of intervention. An abortion is the intentional killing of an innocent human being, but an intervention for the sake of the mothers health is not an abortion because it does not involve an intentional killing. It is an incidental death that occurs as a result of the intervention.

    Actually, there are many instances where the intervention is an intentional killing of the fetus in order to save the mother. That is an acknowledgement that the woman’s right to life is greater than (or supersedes) that of the fetus.

    Now can we dispense with any further distractions. In your formulation, a fetus has a right to life, but it also does not have a right to life insofar as abortions are concerned. Do you understand that your position is not rational?

    Nothing irrational about it. You have a right to freedom, but this right can be removed. You have a right to free speech, but this is not absolute. I would argue that the fetus’ right to life in the early stages is based on the women’s desire to have the baby. Any act by someone to kill the fetus without the woman’s will, whether intentionally or through negligence, should be treated in the same way as the death of a breathing individual is treated. I would also argue that at some point (end of first trimester, possibly), the women’s right to terminate the pregnancy is lost. An abortion could only then be performed if the health of the woman is at serious risk. These suggestions are much stricter than current abortion restrictions and criminal law allow for.

  123. 123
    StephenB says:

    Actually, there are many instances where the intervention is an intentional killing of the fetus in order to save the mother.

    No, that is not possible. The killing of a fetus is either purposeful (abortion) or incidental (not abortion). It can’t be both. No one says, “in order to save the mother, I must put the child’s life at risk, and by the way, I want to kill the child as well.”

    That is an acknowledgement that the woman’s right to life is greater than (or supersedes) that of the fetus.

    This is the case if and only if no other medical options are available, It is not related to a woman’s desire to have or not have a baby.

    I would argue that the fetus’ right to life in the early stages is based on the women’s desire to have the baby.

    Again, this is irrational. How can a fetus have a right to live if that same right is contingent on a woman’s desire to let it live. Obviously, you do not know what it means to have a right. If a woman’s desire to have or not have a baby is the determining factor, then the fetus has no rights at all. This is basic logic.

  124. 124
    bb says:

    Before we go down this road, would you agree that if a choice had to be made between the life of the mother with three small children at home or the life of a three week old fetus, the mother’s right to life supersedes that of the fetus’? Or would you just flip a coin and let chance decide?

    SB already refuted your dishonest argument, but the fraction of a percent that this case represents is the exception. We can’t rightly use the exception to justify the mass murder that occurs on a daily basis for reasons that are much different. We certainly can’t use the exception to claim a baby has less right to live than his mother.

  125. 125
    JSmith says:

    SB

    No, that is not possible. The killing of a fetus is either purposeful (abortion) or incidental (not abortion). It can’t be both. No one says, “in order to save the mother, I must put the child’s life at risk, and by the way, I want to kill the child as well.”

    When a woman has a serious heart condition, or aortic aneurism, doctors will perform an abortion are chemically induce a miscarriage (like the morning after pill). How is that not intentionally killing the fetus? To argue otherwise is just dissembling.

    This is the case if and only if no other medical options are available, It is not related to a woman’s desire to have or not have a baby.

    But it is still an acknowledgement that a woman’s right to life is more important than the fetus’ right to life.

    Again, this is irrational. How can a fetus have a right to live if that same right is contingent on a woman’s desire to let it live.

    Why not? Rights are what we as a society decide rights to be.

    Obviously, you do not know what it means to have a right. If a woman’s desire to have or not have a baby is the determining factor, then the fetus has no rights at all. This is basic logic.

    Again, rights are what we as a society decide rights to be. If we apply rational, logical, evidence based examination in determining what these rights are, we will end up with a society that is stable over the long duration and has the potential to benefit all. If we don’t, we get slavery, legal spousal abuse, the crusades, back alley abortions with coat hangers and jailing homosexuals. I know which society I prefer.

  126. 126
    JSmith says:

    BB

    SB already refuted your dishonest argument, but the fraction of a percent that this case represents is the exception. We can’t rightly use the exception to justify the mass murder that occurs on a daily basis for reasons that are much different. We certainly can’t use the exception to claim a baby has less right to live than his mother.

    I have presented an approach that has been repeatedly shown to significantly reduce abortion rates (lower than those before Roe v Wade) without putting women at significant risk. Nobody has proposed any other approach other than making it illegal, with the full knowledge that this does not reduce the abortion rate and significantly increases the risks to women. Do you have a different solution that has evidence to support it? Or is this all about assuaging your “blood guilt” and allowing you to sleep better at night. ?

  127. 127
    ET says:

    When a woman has a serious heart condition, or aortic aneurism, doctors will perform an abortion are chemically induce a miscarriage (like the morning after pill). How is that not intentionally killing the fetus?

    If it’s the case of losing both or saving one, there isn’t a choice and only one solution.

    If we apply rational, logical, evidence based examination in determining what these rights are, we will end up with a society that is stable over the long duration and has the potential to benefit all.

    Except for the millions upon millions of aborted. That society is highly irrational, illogical and doesn’t know what evidence is.

  128. 128
    ET says:

    I doubt anyone is advocating for making abortion illegal and not allowing for sex education. The two would obviously go hand-in-hand. But taxpayers shouldn’t have to pay for contraceptives but I would rather that than millions of abortions. Gun violence will never catch up to the havoc we are raining down on our most vulnerable.

    Once people start realizing that life is a process in which the beginning is as important, or even more so, than all other stages in the development of a human, then coming to grips with the illegality of abortions will be easy. Show people the Las Vegas massacre and tell them there would have to be over 50 of those a day to equal the number of aborted. That should give them a little perspective.

  129. 129
    StephenB says:

    JS

    When a woman has a serious heart condition, or aortic aneurism, doctors will perform an abortion are chemically induce a miscarriage (like the morning after pill). How is that not intentionally killing the fetus? To argue otherwise is just dissembling.

    For some reason, you are not grasping the principle. Everything turns on why and under what conditions the fetus is killed. If the fetus is killed because the mother cannot live under any other circumstances, then the reason for the intervention is to save the life of the mother and not to kill the child. The order of events does not matter. What matters is the reasoning behind the intervention.

    In an extreme case, the intention or the purpose for the intervention would not be to kill the fetus but to provide a pathway for the intervention. In an incredibly rare situation where the child’s physical existence literally threatens the mother’s life, then the purpose of the intervention is not to kill the child but to save the mother, almost as a matter of self defense. This is not murder.

    If the mother and the doctor wish that the fetus could have been saved, then it is not an abortion and is not an immoral act. An abortion is the intentional taking of a human life such that the mother or the provider did not want the child to live.

    SB: If, according to your claim, a woman’s desire to have or not have a baby defines the child’s right to live, then the child has no rights at all. This is basic logic.

    Again, rights are what we as a society decide rights to be.

    Nonresponsive: Try again.

  130. 130
    JSmith says:

    SB

    For some reason, you are not grasping the principle. Everything turns on why and under what conditions the fetus is killed. If the fetus is killed because the mother cannot live under any other circumstances, then the reason for the intervention is to save the life of the mother and not to kill the child. The order of events does not matter. What matters is the reasoning behind the intervention.

    We don’t disagree. But we are talking about situations that increase the risk to the woman. Not one that is a death sentence. What if there was a 10% chance that they could not survive? Or 20%? Or 30%. At what point does it become putting the right to life of the mother above the right to life of the fetus?

    Nonresponsive: Try again.

    I hate using this word, but sometimes it is the only one that fits. Nonsense. You can argue that rights are objective and eternal all you want. But that means absolutely nothing when it is the society that must discern what they are.

  131. 131
    Barry Arrington says:

    SB: “How can a fetus have a right to live if that same right is contingent on a woman’s desire to let it live.”

    JSmith: “Again, rights are what we as a society decide rights to be.”

    Dietrich Bonhoeffer: “How can Jews, homosexuals and the disabled have a right to live if that same right is contingent on the party’s desire to let them live.”

    Heinrich Himmler: “Again, rights are what we as a society decide rights to be.”

    Wow. JSmith’s words fit in Himmler’s mouth like a hand in a glove. Why don’t you just call the unborn Lebensunwertes Leben?

    No wonder you say you can’t be certain the Holocaust was absolutely and objectively evil. You actually agree with the philosophical foundation of the Holocaust.

  132. 132
    Seversky says:

    Barry Arrington @ 131

    JSmith: “Again, rights are what we as a society decide rights to be.”

    Dietrich Bonhoeffer: “How can Jews, homosexuals and the disabled have a right to live if that same right is contingent on the party’s desire to let them live.”

    Heinrich Himmler: “Again, rights are what we as a society decide rights to be.”

    Wow. JSmith’s words fit in Himmler’s mouth like a hand in a glove. Why don’t you just call the unborn Lebensunwertes Leben?

    I agree with JSmith. Rights are entitlements or privileges which a society affords its members, not the party or the ruling elite but society as a whole. I’m pretty sure that the society Himmler would have meant did not include Jews, homosexuals, gypsies, the disabled. In my case and, I assume, JSmith’s, it would. That’s a big difference

    And I don’t see why there’s a problem with the whole of a society having a say in what rights they are afforded and the moral codes which bind them.

  133. 133
    kairosfocus says:

    Seversky,

    May I beg to remind you from 2350 years ago in Plato’s The Laws Bk X:

    Ath [in The Laws, Bk X 2,350+ ya]. . . .[The avant garde philosophers and poets, c. 360 BC] say that fire and water, and earth and air [i.e the classical “material” elements of the cosmos], all exist by nature and chance, and none of them by art . . . [such that] all that is in the heaven, as well as animals and all plants, and all the seasons come from these elements, not by the action of mind, as they say, or of any God, or from art, but as I was saying, by nature and chance only [ –> that is, evolutionary materialism is ancient and would trace all things to blind chance and mechanical necessity] . . . .

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

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

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

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

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

    See the problem?

    KF

  134. 134
    Barry Arrington says:

    Sev.

    In my case and, I assume, JSmith’s, it would. That’s a big difference

    No, it is identical. JSmith decided that some life is not worthy of protection and may be destroyed with impunity. Himmler decided that some life is not worthy of protection and may be destroyed with impunity.

    Sev, you also say you can’t be certain the Holocaust was absolutely and objectively evil. You, like JSmith, actually agree with the philosophical foundation of the Holocaust. It is no wonder that you agree with him in this thread.

  135. 135
    Barry Arrington says:

    JSmith’s next tactic will be to spew some nonsense about Poe’s Law.

  136. 136
    tribune7 says:

    I’ll just point this out again. Without absolute morals there is nothing by which you can question (or condemn) laws and social mores.

  137. 137
    StephenB says:

    SB: Nonresponsive. Try again.

    JS

    I hate using this word, but sometimes it is the only one that fits. Nonsense.

    How can it be nonsense to point out that you evaded my question. Here it is again: “How can a fetus have a right to live if that same right is contingent on a woman’s desire to let it live.” That was your formulation, not mine. If there is any nonsense here it is yours.

    Let’s review. You claimed that the woman’s “desire” to have the child or kill the child defines the child’s right to live. Yet you also claim that a child has a right to live. We are not discussing a medical procedure where the mother’s life is in danger because of the child’s physical presence. We are discussing your claim that the child’s right to live comes from the mother’s preferences, regardless of the situation. Under those circumstances, how can a child have any rights at all.

    You can argue that rights are objective and eternal all you want. But that means absolutely nothing when it is the society that must discern what they are.

    Irrelevant and false. Please address the point. Your distractions are time consuming.

  138. 138
    JSmith says:

    Seversky

    And I don’t see why there’s a problem with the whole of a society having a say in what rights they are afforded and the moral codes which bind them.

    I think what people like KF and Barry worry about IS the whole of society having a say in what rights are afforded. When all of society has a say, rights get extended to people like illegal immigrants, refugees, homosexuals and transgendered. When input into who were deserving of rights was put in the hands of the powerful few, we ended up with slavery, the crusades and the holocaust.

    Sincerely,

    Your friendly neighbourhood disgusting, evil, mocking, scoffing, simpering coward Nazi.

  139. 139
    JSmith says:

    T7

    I’ll just point this out again. Without absolute morals there is nothing by which you can question (or condemn) laws and social mores.

    In an ideal, designed world, I would agree with you. But since it is humans who must subjectively discern what these objective absolute morals are, we are still left with rational, logical, evidence examination to question or condemn laws and social mores.

  140. 140
    StephenB says:

    JS

    We don’t disagree. But we are talking about situations that increase the risk to the woman. Not one that is a death sentence. What if there was a 10% chance that they could not survive? Or 20%? Or 30%. At what point does it become putting the right to life of the mother above the right to life of the fetus?

    Recall the principle that defines all these conditions. What is the purpose of the intervention? What are the circumstances that make it necessary? If intervention is necessary, it is perfectly moral to weigh the chances of one fatality against the other and make an informed judgment about the relative risks involved. As long as the purpose for the intervention is not to kill the child, and the relative risks are fairly weighed, the action is moral and no abortion has taken place, even if the interests of the mother are given greater weight. Of course, if the woman has a 99% chance of living without the intervention while the child has only 1 chance of surviving the intervention, then that is a totally different story. The point is to make a fair judgment. It is impossible to do that without applying the principles as indicated.

  141. 141
    JSmith says:

    SB

    How can a fetus have a right to live if that same right is contingent on a woman’s desire to let it live.

    I never said that the fetus’ right to life superceded the woman’s rights. I suggested that if if the woman wanted the baby that the fetus should be afforded the same right to life as any breathing person. And that anyone who subsequently caused the death of the fetus should be treated under the law in the same way that we treat anyone responsible for the death of another person. Which, by the way, does not happen under current law and never has.

    Let’s review. You claimed that the woman’s “desire” to have the child or kill the child defines the child’s right to live.

    No, I proposed this for the early stages of pregnancy. Before the fetus has a brain capable of perceiving pain or perceiving itself. After that, I proposed that the fetus attain its own rights, independent of the woman’s desires.

    Yet you also claim that a child has a right to live.

    No, I said that the early term fetus has a right to life that is not equal to that of you and I. And I proposed a mechanism by which to grant these rights. If you have a better proposal, one that actually can reduce the abortion rate and not put women at increased risk, feel free to present it. I am not married to my proposals.

  142. 142
    Barry Arrington says:

    JS
    “I suggested that if if the woman wanted the baby that the fetus should be afforded the same right to life as any breathing person.”

    Translating from JS-speak to English: Unless we want to kill you, we will let you live.

    God help us.

  143. 143
    StephenB says:

    JS

    No, I said that the early term fetus has a right to life that is not equal to that of you and I.

    What you said was this:

    I am against abortion because I believe the fetus has a right to life. But I don’t believe it is at the same level as the right to life that you and I enjoy.

    So, you do claim that abortion is wrong precisely because the early term fetus *has a right to life,* maybe not as much as you or I, in your judgment, but it has rights of its own nevertheless.

    But then you contradict that statement by saying that

    the fetus’ right to life in the early stages is *based on the women’s desire to have the baby.*

    If the fetus’ right to life is based on the mothers desire to have the baby, then it obviously has no rights of its own and all rights belong to the mother.

    Do you understand the contradiction? Please acknowledge the point so we can move on.

  144. 144
    tribune7 says:

    JS

    But since it is humans who must subjectively discern what these objective absolute morals are,

    No, we don’t. We have revelation. Of course, if you reject revelation all you have is subjective morality and impotent statements based on your sense of aesthetics.

    Now, whose revelation do we accept? Jesus? Mohammed? Darwin?The Carthegian priest who mandated child sacrifice for his people?

    That’s a matter of faith and always will be. What do you want to bet everything on?

  145. 145
    Barry Arrington says:

    There are two kinds of people in the world.

    There are those who separate humans into categories of those who have an inviolate right to live and those who do not.

    And then there are those who believe all humans should have an inviolate right to life except in the most rare and extreme cases where one life must necessarily end (such as in an ectopic pregnancy).

    Nazi death camp commanders, Maoists, JSmith and Seversky fall into the first group.

    People like StephenB fall into the latter.

    It really is just that simple.

  146. 146
    Barry Arrington says:

    Here is where JSmith’s logic ends.

  147. 147
    mike1962 says:

    JSmith: “rights are what we as a society decide rights to be.”

    You wish. Without absolute rights, your right to live is what I decide it should be.

    Bang bang, shoot shoot.

    Then I eat your liver.

    Now, in a universe where absolute rights exist I may still kill you and eat your liver, but at least you would have a real moral basis to complain.

    So acknowledge that fact, or shut the hell up.

    P.S. now, if you really want to push your “no objective morality where humans really and truly are valuable in a transcendent way”, then don’t be surprised when people believe you, and act on that, kill you, and eat your liver. Without conscience.

  148. 148
    JSmith says:

    Mike, I really like your arguments. They are rational, logical and stay away from over the top rhetoric. You have convinced me.

  149. 149
    kairosfocus says:

    JS, do you not see the absurd result of your case? KF

    PS: You obviously have not read and pondered Luke’s account of a famous actual sea-voyage in Ac 27 which sadly echoes the force of Plato’s parable of the ship of state. The issue is not what a majority thinks or desires, but whether that majority is facing reality (including risks and hazards) with prudence. A march of manipulated folly is a real possibility and such folly often ends in ruin. In short, reality gets a veto. Where what is, is. It cares not what the many or the powerful manipulators say, it just is. Humility is to seek it out, come to as good an understanding as one can and live prudently in light of what one knows and residual uncertainty; even when one cannot assign a distribution to that and then manage as a calculable risk. Even, when this runs counter to the madding crowd. In the linked case, soundness was shown by the event, at great cost. And, I happen to be the son of a man whose life-story runs on a very similar track, in a homeland that ran into shipwreck for much the same reason of insistent march of manipulated folly. I lived to see an Ambassador, a teacher’s college batchmate and a spokesman for a major regional institution publicly acknowledge him at his funeral. But, much has been irretrievably lost.

  150. 150
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: Plato’s parable of the mutinous ship of state:

    Plato’s Socrates spoke to the sort of situation we face as a civilisation, long since, in the ship of state parable in The Republic, Bk VI:

    >>[Soc.] I perceive, I said, that you are vastly amused at having plunged me into such a hopeless discussion; but now hear the parable, and then you will be still more amused at the meagreness of my imagination: for the manner in which the best men are treated in their own States is so grievous that no single thing on earth is comparable to it; and therefore, if I am to plead their cause, I must have recourse to fiction, and put together a figure made up of many things, like the fabulous unions of goats and stags which are found in pictures.

    Imagine then a fleet or a ship in which there is a captain [–> often interpreted, ship’s owner] who is taller and stronger than any of the crew, but he is a little deaf and has a similar infirmity in sight, and his knowledge of navigation is not much better. [= The people own the community and in the mass are overwhelmingly strong, but are ill equipped on the whole to guide, guard and lead it]

    The sailors are quarrelling with one another about the steering – every one is of opinion that he has a right to steer [= selfish ambition to rule and dominate], though he has never learned the art of navigation and cannot tell who taught him or when he learned, and will further assert that it cannot be taught, and they are ready to cut in pieces any one who says the contrary. They throng about the captain, begging and praying him to commit the helm to them [–> kubernetes, steersman, from which both cybernetics and government come in English]; and if at any time they do not prevail, but others are preferred to them, they kill the others or throw them overboard [ = ruthless contest for domination of the community], and having first chained up the noble captain’s senses with drink or some narcotic drug [ = manipulation and befuddlement, cf. the parable of the cave], they mutiny and take possession of the ship and make free with the stores; thus, eating and drinking, they proceed on their voyage in such a manner as might be expected of them [–> Cf here Luke’s subtle case study in Ac 27].

    Him who is their partisan and cleverly aids them in their plot for getting the ship out of the captain’s hands into their own whether by force or persuasion [–> Nihilistic will to power on the premise of might and manipulation making ‘right’ ‘truth’ ‘justice’ ‘rights’ etc], they compliment with the name of sailor, pilot, able seaman, and abuse the other sort of man, whom they call a good-for-nothing; but that the true pilot must pay attention to the year and seasons and sky and stars and winds, and whatever else belongs to his art, if he intends to be really qualified for the command of a ship, and that he must and will be the steerer, whether other people like or not-the possibility of this union of authority with the steerer’s art has never seriously entered into their thoughts or been made part of their calling.

    Now in vessels which are in a state of mutiny and by sailors who are mutineers, how will the true pilot be regarded? Will he not be called by them a prater, a star-gazer, a good-for-nothing?

    [Ad.] Of course, said Adeimantus.

    [Soc.] Then you will hardly need, I said, to hear the interpretation of the figure, which describes the true philosopher in his relation to the State[ –> here we see Plato’s philosoppher-king emerging]; for you understand already.

    [Ad.] Certainly.

    [Soc.] Then suppose you now take this parable to the gentleman who is surprised at finding that philosophers have no honour in their cities; explain it to him and try to convince him that their having honour would be far more extraordinary.

    [Ad.] I will.

    [Soc.] Say to him, that, in deeming the best votaries of philosophy to be useless to the rest of the world, he is right; but also tell him to attribute their uselessness to the fault of those who will not use them, and not to themselves. The pilot should not humbly beg the sailors to be commanded by him –that is not the order of nature; neither are ‘the wise to go to the doors of the rich’ –the ingenious author of this saying told a lie –but the truth is, that, when a man is ill, whether he be rich or poor, to the physician he must go, and he who wants to be governed, to him who is able to govern. The ruler who is good for anything ought not to beg his subjects to be ruled by him [ –> down this road lies the modern solution: a sound, well informed people will seek sound leaders, who will not need to manipulate or bribe or worse, and such a ruler will in turn be checked by the soundness of the people, cf. US DoI, 1776]; although the present governors of mankind are of a different stamp; they may be justly compared to the mutinous sailors, and the true helmsmen to those who are called by them good-for-nothings and star-gazers.

    [Ad.] Precisely so, he said.

    [Soc] For these reasons, and among men like these, philosophy, the noblest pursuit of all, is not likely to be much esteemed by those of the opposite faction; not that the greatest and most lasting injury is done to her by her opponents, but by her own professing followers, the same of whom you suppose the accuser to say, that the greater number of them are arrant rogues, and the best are useless; in which opinion I agreed [–> even among the students of the sound state (here, political philosophy and likely history etc.), many are of unsound motivation and intent, so mere education is not enough, character transformation is critical].

    [Ad.] Yes.

    [Soc.] And the reason why the good are useless has now been explained?

    [Ad.] True.

    [Soc.] Then shall we proceed to show that the corruption of the majority is also unavoidable, and that this is not to be laid to the charge of philosophy any more than the other?

    [Ad.] By all means.

    [Soc.] And let us ask and answer in turn, first going back to the description of the gentle and noble nature.[ — > note the character issue] Truth, as you will remember, was his leader, whom he followed always and in all things [ –> The spirit of truth as a marker]; failing in this, he was an impostor, and had no part or lot in true philosophy [–> the spirit of truth is a marker, for good or ill] . . . >>

    (There is more than an echo of this in Acts 27, a real world case study. [Luke, a physician, was an educated Greek with a taste for subtle references.] This blog post, on soundness in policy, will also help)

  151. 151
    kairosfocus says:

    BA, 800+ million of our posterity in the womb slaughtered since the 1970’s, and now mounting up at another million per week. The indelible shame of this generation, and a root of utter corruption across institutions and in minds, consciences and lives. KF

  152. 152
    Bob O'H says:

    There are two kinds of people in the world.

    There are those who separate humans into categories of those who have an inviolate right to live and those who do not.

    And then there are those who believe all humans should have an inviolate right to life except in the most rare and extreme cases where one life must necessarily end (such as in an ectopic pregnancy).

    So in fact it’s only one group of people, but these people differ in where they draw the line.

  153. 153
    hgp says:

    seversky @10

    Before anything else: I wish you a good time in this year 2018.

    The Nazi ideology extolled the virtues of an Aryan super-race which regarded all others as inferior, subordinate and ultimately disposable. When they settled on the “final solution” to the Jewish – and gypsy and homosexual and mentally ill – problem did they consult the victims to see of they agreed that it was a good idea? No, of course they didn’t. Neither did the various flavors of communism before they killed even more.

    We went over this question in the following thread where you put forth a society consensus model of establishing morality:

    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/can-science-ground-morality/

    Note my posts 97,116,132,150,152 and your posts 107,127,144.

    To my understanding you didn’t give a sensible answer to some pressing problems of your society consensus morality:

    -You didn’t give a coherent account of how anyone’s agreement to the society consensus is established or whether such an agreement is necessary.

    -You didn’t establish a rational way how society can establish whether any given individual should count as moral agent whose views should be taken into account or whether the views of the individual can be discarded by the society. This question is relevant to the examples you gave above.

    -You didn’t explain why you appealed again and again to your own moral intuitions (even against established society consensus) when trying to argue for some moral rules, when you stated that society consensus was the only source of morality.

    -Given that the outcome of a society consensus is to a considerable degree dependent on the consensus making process, you have a chicken and egg problem of how a society can establish the rules for establishing consensus without appeal to their own consensus (which can’t be established at this point). So your consensus morality is either dependent on an arbitrary (and so necessarily on an amoral) process or there exists another source of morality which must be appealed to in order to get the process going.

    -A society must be either open to its consensus being the result of manipulation and/or force OR it must screen its own consensus making process according to moral rules established in a different way from its own consensus.

    -Either one accepts that any society consensus IS moral no matter what (to which you agreed that this idea is stupid) or even your society consensus is in dire need of an arbiter that can be appealed to if one thinks that society is wrong on some issue. If such an arbiter is bound by society consensus then it’s superfluous since it can’t correct the same consensus it is bound by, OTOH if it’s not bound by consensus, then it becomes itself a source of morality independent of society consensus.

    -While you agreed to the general idea that an individual is justified in resisting a wrong consensus you could not give any argument on how to distinguish this case from the case where society is right in forcing its consensus on some individual.

    I would appreciate any sensible argument addressing those problems. Or a friendly reminder to where I overlooked your answer.

    Neither did various religions throughout recorded history, including events recounted in the Old Testament. The is no record of God conducting referenda of the populations of Sodom and Gomorrah or the other cities obliterated by Him or His proxies. There was no worldwide survey before almost all life on the surface of the Earth was exterminated in the Great Flood.

    You are making a category error here. If the Bible God exists, then he is not just another pawn on the board of morality. He is the one who made the board and all pawns on it and who established the “rules of the game”. To demand that God should behave according to the moral rules that (according to your views) are binding upon humans is like demanding that the inventor of a game is bound by the same rules as the pawns on the board he made. Before any sensible discussion of this subject can take place, this point must be acknowledged.

    And after acknowledging that point we see, that the God described in the Bible made the universe, life in it and the moral rules binding on us. So God is the judge in the moral court not just another potential defendant. A judge just simply doesn’t ask the defendants whether they would submit to a judgement. He just renders judgement.

    Now I can understand the question whether such a God really exists. But if He exists there is no question that He can judge Sodom Gomorrah and the people before the flood. If he exists we are the pawns on his moral board; and as pawns we can’t questions his rules. So only if this God doesn’t exist the question whether His judgements are morally sound does even make sense. So in asking the question you implicitly deny His existence.

    There is quite an enlightening discussion of quite a lot of similar questions in the following article:

    https://scholarship.law.duke.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=&httpsredir=1&article=2724&context=dlj;

    I recommend reading this piece.

    When WJM and others trot out that tired old canard about there being no way to choose between the ‘morality’ of the psychopath and that of the rest of us,…

    When I asked you how you establish this difference in your moral system, I didn’t receive an answer that made sense, since it left important points without answer (see reference above).

    … , be aware that what they are actually arguing for is some form of divine or other command morality. It’s designed by some supreme authority or an elite few supposedly for our benefit but the rest of us who are supposed to be subject to it don’t get a say. Apparently, we’re not good enough.

    This is the same category error as explained above. God is unlike any human elite when it comes to establishing morality. I agree with you that a human elite establishing morality for the rest of us isn’t really a good idea and fraught with problems.

    Of course, it’s dressed up as “objective” and/or “natural moral law” but it’s funny how that “objective” and “natural law” morality turns out to by synonymous with the advocates own version of Christianity. It’s never Buddhist or Sikh or Muslim or pagan. I wonder why that is?

    This is another category error: You mix up an ontological question (Do moral standards exist in an objective manner?) with an epistemological question (Which exactly are those objective moral standards?). Just because some people can’t agree on the right answer to the second question doesn’t (necessarily) mean, that they are wrong with their answer to the first question.

    And you are wrong when it comes to paganism. Pagans who believe in gods like Zeus, Ishtar, Thor or Isis, have gods that are on the same ontological plane as we are (albeit more powerful): Those pagan Gods came into existence as parts of the cosmos, they can be destroyed and so they can’t explain the existence of the universe nor can they establish objective morality (even if those gods existed) since they are on the same board like we are, albeit they might be more powerful. So throwing them into this argument shows a lack of understanding the problem.

    As for the psychopath problem, the simple answer is that, while the psycho might take perverted pleasure in the rape, torture and murder of others, the rest of us potential victims do not. And we are in the overwhelming majority, which isn’t “might makes right” but democracy does, with some obvious caveats.

    This is another formulation of the problem: When is the society consensus wrong and I can ignore it? In our former discussion I didn’t really receive an answer that was without self contradictions. So: Is the community consensus always morally correct? If not, then labelling the dissenter as “perverted psycho” doesn’t establish any moral fact, it just establishes that there is deviation from the consensus. I gave you real world examples where democratic societies established wrong doing, that wasn’t really wrong. Some of them remain uncorrected even today.

    And again you assume that society consensus equates democracy. This is obviously wrong for great parts of the world. Given another process for society consensus you get societies like you see in China, North Korea or Saudi Arabia. And BTW Hitler came to power by way of democratic elections in a society where everyone knew (could know) what he intended to do.

    So when is an individual justified in resisting society consensus and when not? As long as you don’t have an an rational answer to this question, you can’t proceed to make any of your points about perverted psychos.

  154. 154

    Bob O’H @ 152: “So in fact it’s only one group of people, but these people differ in where they draw the line.”

    How will line-drawing disputes be resolved? That is the ultimate question. Most people seem to want peaceful coexistence. Some seem to endlessly clamor for war. Human history shows both sides getting their way at various points in time.

  155. 155

    JSmith @ 148: Mike is speaking truth to you. Your response reveals a surprising level of naivety about the world you live in. You remind me of the school kid who teases someone and is then shocked after getting punched in the face. Teachers say that violence never solves problems… but we all know better.

  156. 156
    Bob O'H says:

    TWSYF @ 154 –

    How will line-drawing disputes be resolved? That is the ultimate question. Most people seem to want peaceful coexistence. Some seem to endlessly clamor for war. Human history shows both sides getting their way at various points in time.

    Indeed. Because these are disputes between people, they are resolved in the usual ways that people resolve disputes. For example, abortion in the US was resolved by the law courts. Whilst not everyone was happy with that, they have respected the decision, and most have tried to change it through civil processes, e.g. by discussion it in public, trying to change the laws etc. In Great Britain abortion was made legal by an act of Parliament, i.e. through a democratic process. of course these processes only work if people respect them, and sometimes they don’t. The ending of slavery in the US is a case in point, where it took a civil war.

  157. 157
    asauber says:

    abortion in the US was resolved by the law courts

    Bob O’H,

    If you think the abortion issue has been resolved, you are just plain stupid.

    Andrew

  158. 158
    Barry Arrington says:

    Bob O’H,

    So in fact it’s only one group of people, but these people differ in where they draw the line.

    No, that is plainly false. There is a real and substantial difference between a person who says “you die today for no other reason than I have arbitrarily selected you for death” and a person who says, “you have an ectopic pregnancy, and despite our very best efforts to prevent it — which we would do if we could — the unborn baby must die to save the mother.”

    That you would attempt to blur the line between those groups, Bob, does not speak well of your ability to make rational and obvious moral distinctions. I am not surprised. Liberals (the modern word for fascists) are all too ready to kill when it suits them. The irony is that even though they occupy the “let’s kill them if they are inconvenient” end of the political spectrum, they simultaneously preen over their keen moral sensibilities. They are social justice warriors ready to defend the rights of the downtrodden and helpless — unless they are sanctioning the mass slaughter of the most helpless of all. That’s you Bob. Wake up.

  159. 159
    Bob O'H says:

    asauber – abortion is legal. Yes, I know some people don’t like that, but it is still legal and those who disagree have been unable to do enough change that. It may be that the situation will change in the future, but for the moment that’s the settled situation.

  160. 160
    JSmith says:

    TWSYF

    JSmith @ 148: Mike is speaking truth to you. Your response reveals a surprising level of naivety about the world you live in.

    Really? Because I thought that I was being obviously sarcastic in response to a stupid comment.

  161. 161
    JSmith says:

    Bob O’H at 156, and in Canada the abortion debate was decided in court. That seems like a good place to resolve contentious issues.

  162. 162
    asauber says:

    for the moment that’s the settled situation

    Bob O’H,

    Would you say that laws against rape have resolved rape?

    Or laws against violating the speed limit have resolved speeding?

    This is what the Culture of Death and sin do to your brain. They make you say dumb things in your eagerness to justify yourself.

    Bob, you really need to examine your own beliefs and why you have them. Get rid of the stupid ones.

    Andrew

  163. 163
    asauber says:

    the abortion debate was decided in court. That seems like a good place to resolve contentious issues.

    Armand,

    Courts can’t resolve real issues. If they could, we wouldn’t have prisons, dysfunctional families, the poor, the hungry, the homeless, war, and stupid blog commenters.

    Courts could just decide they are illegal.

    Andrew

  164. 164
    Bob O'H says:

    Barry @ 158 – I didn’t say that the group was homogeneous. My point was that everyone draws a line somewhere, but different people draw the line in different places. Of course there will be very real differences in where that line is drawn, and the reasons used to draw the line in different places, but the differences are qualitative. Everyone – even you – says that there are some circumstances where the inviolate right to live can be violated.

    You seemed to be suggesting that there is no difference between the morals of Nazi death camp commanders and commenters here such as JSmith and Seversky. Are you suggesting that JSmith and Seversky think it is morally OK to kill Jews?

  165. 165
    Bob O'H says:

    asauber – laws against rape & speeding have resolved the societal issue over whether they are acceptable, yes. But people still do unacceptable things, and people still disagree about what is not acceptable. But society as a group has drawn the lines.

  166. 166
    Barry Arrington says:

    JSmith
    “[Court] seems like a good place to resolve contentious issues.”

    Of course you think that. Does anyone else here see how JSmith is trying to have it both ways.

    Above he says “Rights are what we as a society afford ourselves and others within the society.” This sounds like he is a passionate advocate for democracy and the “people” declaring the rights of society.

    But, of course, that is not what he really thinks at all. He really thinks that the unelected, democratically unaccountable members of a court should impose their views on the rest of us. Like all facists in good standing, he is not really in favor of democracy at all.

    JSmith, next time you make up one of your mocking lists, add “hypocrite.”

  167. 167
    JSmith says:

    A

    Courts can’t resolve real issues. If they could, we wouldn’t have prisons, dysfunctional families, the poor, the hungry, the homeless, war, and stupid blog commenters.

    Courts could just decide they are illegal.

    Courts can also decide that something that is illegal is now legal. That is what happened in Canada. An abortion doctor openly flaunted the law of the day and was charged. He never denied performing the abortions. He never denied that he knew of the legality of the abortions. And the court found him not guilty. Twice. This is how democracies work.

    JSmith
    Your friendly neighbourhood disgusting, evil, mocking, hypocritical, scoffing, simpering coward Nazi.

  168. 168
    asauber says:

    have resolved the societal issue over whether they are acceptable

    Wrong. There are societies (and societies within societies) that consider the type of behaviors in question acceptable, despite what the laws may happen to be. So, by your own admission, nothing is resolved.

    It’s only resolved in your imagination. There is no all encompassing ‘society’ that agrees.

    Andrew

  169. 169
    Barry Arrington says:

    JSmith
    “And the court found him not guilty. Twice. This is how democracies work.”

    You are deeply confused about the meaning of the word “democracy.” In a democracy the will of the people (usually acting through elected leaders) prevails. In the situation you just described an unelected, democratically unaccountable court overturned the will of the people as expressed in the laws their elected leaders enacted.

    Next time you repeat your list add “Orwellian.”

  170. 170
    Barry Arrington says:

    Bob O
    “Are you suggesting that JSmith and Seversky think it is morally OK to kill Jews?”

    Why, yes I am. They are clearly OK with the wholesale slaughter of unborn Jewish babies if that is what their mothers want.

    To be sure, JSmith and Seversky would not limit the slaughter of unborn babies to Jewish unborn babies. I don’t see how that makes their position more defensible from a moral standpoint.

  171. 171
    ET says:

    Just think of a society dominated by Darwinian concepts. Rape and murder would be the norm and they would be accepted.

    The only reason abortion is legal in our society today is extreme ignorance and to placate some or even a majority of women. And that is sadly pathetic.

    And to top it off it is pure hypocrisy for those who allow abortions to rail against gun violence as gun violence will never reach over 1 million lives taken a year in the USA alone.

  172. 172
    asauber says:

    Courts can also decide that something that is illegal is now legal.

    Armand,

    I think that if you have any shred of rationality left, you’ll agree that the legal label bit turned on or off is irrelevant to large swaths of life.

    Andrew

  173. 173
    JSmith says:

    A

    I think that if you have any shred of rationality left, you’ll agree that the legal label bit turned on or off is irrelevant to large swaths of life.

    Yet the courts were set up with that authority. And have made rulings that fundamentally changed society. Rosa Parks comes to mind.

    JSmith
    Your friendly neighbourhood disgusting, evil, mocking, hypocritical, scoffing, Orwellian, simpering coward Nazi and all around poopy-head

  174. 174
    ET says:

    Courts are NOT infallible. As the Dover trial proved judges can be ignorant and biased and use that ignorance and bias to harm society, as legal abortions have.

    Allowing the killing of our most vulnerable has opened Pandora’s box to a plethora of other violent acts. Gun violence is nothing compared to the carnage of abortion.

  175. 175
    asauber says:

    Yet the courts were set up with that authority.

    Armand,

    Set up by whom? Other courts? Where did the capacity to set up courts come from?

    Andrew

  176. 176
    Bob O'H says:

    Barry @ 170 – nice attempt to dodge the issue. Nazi death commanders also killed adults. Are you saying that JSmith & Seversky are OK with that? Or do their views on who has an inviolable right to life differ from those that were held by Nazi death commanders?

  177. 177
    ET says:

    Evolutionists shouldn’t be any different from Nazi death commanders if they followed what their alleged scientific position is all about.

  178. 178
    Barry Arrington says:

    Bob @ 176,

    I don’t know if JSmith and Seversky are OK with killing adult humans. They have not said one way or the other as far as I know. I know for a certain fact that they are OK with killing humans. They have said as much. They can speak for themselves regarding whether they are OK with killing only the most innocent and defenseless.

  179. 179
    ET says:

    Barry- Only hypocrisy says it is OK to kill the unborn but not OK to kill adults. And remember we are dealing with hypocrites

  180. 180
    ET says:

    If scientists were to actually grow a pair or a spine, they would say that all babies are also human as being human is a process with a beginning and an end. The beginning is a very, very important stage in the development of a human as are the first years after birth.

    Once that happens the Courts will have no choice but to ban abortions. It is the scientists who caused this mess by redefining what life is.

  181. 181
    Bob O'H says:

    Barry – If JSmith and Seversky are not OK with killing adult humans, then there is a large difference between them and Nazi Death Camp commanders. But you are happy to blur the lines between them, aren’t you?

  182. 182
    ET says:

    Why aren’t they OK with killing adult humans? They must be hypocrites

  183. 183
    Bob O'H says:

    asauber @ 168 – My apologies, I was trying to avoid getting into a long sociological discussion. But I can’t, so here goes…

    Abortion in the US is legal, and thus Society accepts it. Some people within the US don’t think it should be acceptable, and argue their case (which, in a democracy, is a Good Thing). But almost all, at some level, allow abortion to continue, because there are things they could do to try to stop it (e.g. by blowing up all abortion clinics). There are good reasons why they don’t go that far: there are other moral or societal norms that would be violated, and the cost of this violation would be too high. Thus, as members of society, they accept the current situation and work within it to try and change things. So, society as a whole does accept abortion, in the practical sense that women do get abortions.

    I hope this helps you see the issue I was trying to explain.

  184. 184

    Bob O’H @ 156, 159, and 183: Well said. I understand asauber’s point about the abortion issue not being settled, but thus far people have been generally satisfied to use the legislative and judicial processes as the battleground. I think that was your point all along.

  185. 185
    asauber says:

    Poor Bob (and Armand),

    They have a religious devotion to aborting human babies. They speak the language of the culture dedicated to the death of the small and voiceless. What is obvious to us is totally lost on them. They won’t hear us. Their minds are closed.

    Andrew

  186. 186
    asauber says:

    thus far people have been generally satisfied to use the legislative and judicial processes as the battleground

    TWSYF,

    People who care about life are not generally satisfied with any of this. There are lots of other battlegrounds here: the street, the media, clinics, homes, churches, minds and hearts.

    Andrew

  187. 187

    Bob O’H at 181: “Barry – If JSmith and Seversky are not OK with killing adult humans, then there is a large difference between them and Nazi Death Camp commanders. But you are happy to blur the lines between them, aren’t you?”

    I think the blurring of lines is inevitable. For example, in the United States, it is considered a double murder whenever a pregnant woman is murdered. That is a clear blurring of lines. Is the baby a person (that can be murdered) or a mere collection of cells (that can be readily aborted)? If a person, then why do we allow that person to be murdered by its mother? If a mere collection of cells, then why are we calling its demise a murder?

  188. 188
    kairosfocus says:

    BO’H:

    I think this thread has become over-wrought and the voltage should be turned down.

    That said, I think a rewording will help us to realise that societal norms are not a solution, just shift dates by say 160 years:

    SLAVERY in the US is legal [c. 1858, just after Dred Scott etc], and thus Society accepts it. Some people within the US don’t think it should be acceptable, and argue their case (which, in a democracy, is a Good Thing). But almost all, at some level, allow SLAVERY to continue, because there are things they could do to try to stop it (e.g. by blowing up all [PLANTATIONS, AUCTION HOUSES ETC]). There are good reasons why they don’t go that far: there are other moral or societal norms that would be violated, and the cost of this violation would be too high. Thus, as members of society, they accept the current situation and work within it to try and change things. So, society as a whole does accept SLAVERY, in the practical sense that women AND MEN do OWN SLAVES.

    We can readily see that something is seriously out of kilter.

    And I am pretty sure most Americans c 1858 did not think a civil war was staring them in the face.

    We need to wake up and think again. The world cannot afford the US going into societal convulsions, over any of a range of major issues.

    Right now the US seems to be running at eleven on the meter and something is really, really wrong.

    KF

  189. 189

    asauber @ 186: I feel you completely. I hate abortion, especially when it is used as birth control which is often the case. My point (and I think it is Bob O’H’s) is simply that we are not at a place of armed civil war because most people still respect the political process.

  190. 190
    asauber says:

    And my point is:

    “respecting the political process” doesn’t equal “resolved”

    It’s way more complicated than someone declaring something “resolved”.

    Only a simplistic mind would think to present something so controversial as “resolved”.

    Andrew

  191. 191
    ET says:

    Bob O’H:

    Abortion in the US is legal, and thus Society accepts it.

    Abortion is only legal because someone redefined what it is to be human.

  192. 192
    JSmith says:

    A

    They have a religious devotion to aborting human babies. They speak the language of the culture dedicated to the death of the small and voiceless. What is obvious to us is totally lost on them. They won’t hear us. Their minds are closed.

    So far, there is only one person who has proposed actions that have been shown to significantly reduce abortion rates. Admittedly, making them illegal will also reduce the abortion rates, but this will be short lived as an underground system of abortion access will develop. Making them illegal will also increase the risk to women who have an illegal abortion. And given that affluent women will still have access to safe abortions in another country, the increased risk will be born disproportionately by the poor and by minorities.

    It is quite obvious that some commenters here are not interested in any tactic that will reduce abortion rates that does not include criminalizing women who still choose to have them.

    All of the preaching, sermonizing and legislation in the world is not going to stop people from having sex for pleasure. And there is nothing wrong with having sex for pleasure. I feel only pity for anyone who chooses not to..They don’t know what they are missing. Since you can’t, and shouldn’t stop people from having sex, It is in societies best interests to make sure that they have the knowledge and tools necessary to make good decisions.

    But if anyone else has a proposal that will significantly reduce the abortion rates without increasing the risk to woman, feel free to present it. It would be nice if you also had evidence to support it.

  193. 193
    asauber says:

    Admittedly, making them illegal will also reduce the abortion rates, but this will be short lived as an underground system of abortion access will develop.

    Armand has blundered into making my point for me.

    According to Bob O’H, making abortions illegal or legal will “resolve” the issue in every direction, not cause underground systems to develop.

    So really, Bob didn’t have a point. He was just throwing out a word that made himself feel better.

    Andrew

  194. 194
    ET says:

    So far, there is only one person who has proposed actions that have been shown to significantly reduce abortion rates.

    Then that must be me. Thank you

  195. 195
    JSmith says:

    TWSYF

    For example, in the United States, it is considered a double murder whenever a pregnant woman is murdered.

    Actually, this is not the case for 12 states. And it is not true in Canada. Although I think that it should be. Hence my reason for stating that if the pregnant woman has every intention to have the baby then anything done to the fetus should be treated in the same way as if it were done to you or I.

  196. 196
    StephenB says:

    J Smith

    So far, there is only one person who has proposed actions that have been shown to significantly reduce abortion rates.

    Most reductions in abortion rates are the result of changing attitudes about sex, not the distribution of birth control devices or the imposition of amoral sex education. It is the recent youthful trend NOT to have sex that makes the difference, not your perverse programs about HOW to have sex.

    State sponsored sex education prompts children and teens to have sex. Providing them with birth control devices increases abortion rates. Treat children like animals and they will act like animals. In your words, children are “sexual animals.” What a perverse philosophy. Children do not need sexual tools, they need moral tools.

  197. 197
    JSmith says:

    SB

    Most reductions in abortion rates are the result of changing attitudes about sex, not the distribution of birth control devices or the imposition of amoral sex education. It is the recent youthful trend NOT to have sex that makes the difference, not your perverse programs about HOW to have sex.

    This paper seems to disagree with you (http://www.sciencedirect.com/s.....9X07004260)

    Adolescents who received comprehensive sex education were significantly less likely to report teen pregnancy (ORadj = .4, 95% CI = .22– .69, p = .001) than those who received no formal sex education, whereas there was no significant effect of abstinence-only education (ORadj = .7, 95% CI = .38–1.45, p = .38). Abstinence-only education did not reduce the likelihood of engaging in vaginal intercourse (ORadj = .8, 95% CI = .51–1.31, p = .40), but comprehensive sex education was marginally associated with a lower likelihood of reporting having engaged in vaginal intercourse (ORadj = .7, 95% CI = .49–1.02, p = .06). Neither abstinence-only nor comprehensive sex education significantly reduced the likelihood of reported STD diagnoses (ORadj = 1.7, 95% CI = .57–34.76, p = .36 and ORadj = 1.8, 95% CI = .67–5.00, p = .24 respectively).

    As does this one (http://journals.plos.org/ploso.....gn=partner)

    …Using the most recent national data (2005) from all U.S. states with information on sex education laws or policies (N?=?48), we show that increasing emphasis on abstinence education is positively correlated with teenage pregnancy and birth rates. This trend remains significant after accounting for socioeconomic status, teen educational attainment, ethnic composition of the teen population, and availability of Medicaid waivers for family planning services in each state. …

    And this one (https://link.springer.com/article/10.1525%2Fsrsp.2008.5.3.18?LI=true)

    …Study results indicated that most abstinence programs did not delay initiation of sex and only 3 of 9 had any significant positive effects on any sexual behavior. In contrast, about two thirds of comprehensive programs showed strong evidence that they positively affected young people’s sexual behavior, including both delaying initiation of sex and increasing condom and contraceptive use among important groups of youth. …

  198. 198
    Barry Arrington says:

    Bob O:

    If JSmith and Seversky are not OK with killing adult humans, then there is a large difference between them and Nazi Death Camp commanders. But you are happy to blur the lines between them, aren’t you?

    It must have escaped your notice, Bob, that there is no meaningful moral line between the arbitrary slaughter of adults and the arbitrary slaughter of babies. Well, unless you think the latter is worse because babies are always going to be more innocent and more defenseless. If that is your point, I will concede it.

  199. 199
    JSmith says:

    SB

    State sponsored sex education prompts children and teens to have sex.

    Unfortunately your claim is not supported by the facts.

    Providing them with birth control devices increases abortion rates.

    Again, not supported by the facts.

    Treat children like animals and they will act like animals.

    Who suggested that we treat them like animals. Comprehensive sex education does the exact opposite. It respects the fact that, given accurate and non-judgemental information, they can use their intelligence to make the best decisions for themselves.

    In your words, children are “sexual animals.”

    Thank you for putting words in my mouth. I said that humans are sexual animals. Which we are. That can’t be contested. I am not aware of any humans reproducing by binary fission or budding. And it can’t be argued that sex is not extremely pleasurable.

    Children do not need sexual tools, they need moral tools.

    They need both. Providing them with moral lessons without objective information does nothing other than highten their curiosity. And uninformed curiosity can only lead to trouble.

  200. 200
    ET says:

    Yes, human are sexual. We are also allegedly intelligent. We should know what happens when we have sex. Ignorance is neither an argument nor an excuse.

    So everyone should be educated and sign an agreement that they now know about sex. Then those who still have unwanted pregnancies leading to abortions will be fined, heavily, jailed or sterilized. That is the price for ending a human life and a small price at that.

    I would advocate the death penalty for any and all abortions done covertly. Doctor and patient.

  201. 201
    kairosfocus says:

    JS, teens simply are not ready to handle the responsibilities attendant on sexual behaviour. Nor are they able to handle the potential for heartbreak. We live in a hyper-sexual, perverse, utterly unhealthy culture and we need to begin to dial back from 11. teens should be mainly focussed on building a sound education, job skills and life skills. How much education they really need about sexual mechanics could be given in a couple of hours, what they mostly need is education in self-management, family life skills and relationship management, backed up by sound ethics. And, I fear, increasingly, how to break porn addiction. Some of the perversities and unhealthy confusions such as 100 – 200 genders etc need to be shown the door, firmly. Along with what is best termed, grooming behaviour under false colours of education. I suggest, a read of Greyland’s The Last Closet. Think about the comparison, cigarette education. KF

  202. 202
    StephenB says:

    SB: Providing them (children, anyone, for that matter) with birth control devices increases abortion rates.

    J Smith

    Again, not supported by the facts.

    Is it a sociological fact that the distribution of birth control*always* leads to an increase in abortions. I could provide evidence for that claim all day long. According to a study from the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, Britain’s largest abortion provider:

    “Access to effective contraception creates an expectation that women can control their fertility and plan their families. Given that expectation, women may be less willing to compromise their plans for the future. In the past, many women reluctantly accepted that an unplanned pregnancy would lead to maternity. Unwanted pregnancies were dutifully, if resentfully, carried to term. In days when sex was expected to carry the risk of pregnancy, an unwanted child was a chance a woman took. Today, we expect sex to be free from that risk and unplanned maternity is not a price we are prepared to pay.”

    From the same source: “Contraception lets couples down. A recent survey of more than 2000 women requesting abortions at clinics run by BPAS, Britain’s largest abortion provider, found that almost 60% claim to have been using contraception at the time they became pregnant.”

    A study from the pro-abortion Guttmacher institute says this: “After fifty plus years of the current approach, we still struggle with “unintended” or “unwanted” pregnancies, ultimately leaving us with over a million abortions a year. The notion that the answer to this dilemma is more contraception, which is at the heart of much of our public policy, is a notion that has little support in the lived experience of people who have embraced abortion. The time is coming when politicians and pundits will have a harder time asserting that contraception is the answer to abortion, as the empirical and historical records suggest quite the opposite.”

    SB: In your words, children are “sexual animals.”

    Thank you for putting words in my mouth. I said that humans are sexual animals.

    The last time I checked, children are humans.

    That can’t be contested (that humans are sexual animals).

    Of course it can be contested. Humans are not “sexual animals.” They are human beings with a sexual instinct. Do I really need to explain the difference to you? Humans are capable of self control; animals are not. Human sex is situated in the moral realm; animal sex is not. Human sex is designed for marriage and a life-long covenant; animal sex is not. Humans can destroy relationships by misusing sex; animals cannot.

    And it can’t be argued that sex is not extremely pleasurable.

    My, what a profound observation–which leads you to conclude what?–that humans should act like animals? Bad philosophy does not occur in a vacuum. Subjectivsm begins below the belt.

  203. 203
    vividbleau says:

    JSmith

    “rights are what we as a society decide rights to be”

    To think this is the case puts society on to the road to tyranny. Much has been discussed regarding democracies, democracies are at their heart tyrannical.

    The founders of our constitution were so radical for their time, unfortunately because most people are practically illiterate as to history,what we take for granted was considered stunning in its boldness.

    “We hold these things to be SELF EVIDENT that all men are created equal and endowed with certain inalienable rights” This declaration was revolutionary.

    In America our form of Government IS NOT A DEMOCRACY thank God. The tyranny of the majority is as bad if not worse than the tyranny of a dictator.

    It is pretty astounding that those of us who can say with certainty that all men are created equal, that no one of a particular race is 3/5ths of a person, etc, are the problem, while those who cannot make such a certain affirmation are enlightened, is a sign of the ignorance of our age.

    God help us. Ideas and worldviews have consequences JSmith your proclamation about society being the entity that confers rights is one of the most consequential of all.

    Vivid

  204. 204
    JSmith says:

    SB

    Is it a sociological fact that the distribution of birth control*always* leads to an increase in abortions.

    Could you please provide links to these research papers?

    Providing birth control alone is not sufficient. Comprehensive sex education is the key. If you don’t know how to use contraceptives and what their limitations are, just providing birth control does not provide them with the knowledge necessary to make an informed decision. All studies that have looked at the combination of education and birth control show that unwanted pregnant and abortion rates are lower than abstinence geared education.

    The last time I checked, children are humans.

    But what was your motive in claiming that I said that children were sexual animals and not what I actually said, that humans were sexual animals? Is it possible that you were trying to go for the pedophile shock factor?

    Humans are not “sexual animals.” They are human beings with a sexual instinct.

    Instincts improve our odds of survival. Fear of snakes, the dark, jealousy, etc. Sex is an absolute requirement for survival of the species. It is far more than an instinct.

    Human sex is situated in the moral realm…

    No argument. But the amount that each of us incorporates into our moral system varies quite dramatically. Some think that masturbation, oral sex and anal sex are absolutely immoral. Others think it is completely natural. Some, like KF, believe that sex for anything other than procreation, is immoral (I wonder what his wife thinks of this). Others, myself included, think that sex for pleasure is a great thing, as long as both parties (or all three, or four…) are consenting and willing participants. The huge variation about what sex practices people consider to be morally acceptable is just more evidence that moral values are subjective.

    Human sex is designed for marriage and a life-long covenant; animal sex is not.

    You are certainly entitled to your opinion. But given that our sexual organs and means of reproduction are the same as those of animals suggests otherwise.

    Humans can destroy relationships by misusing sex; animals cannot.

    Then you have never seen lions, wolves, walruses, moose, birds, or clownfish fight over mates.

  205. 205
    JSmith says:

    F/N. if we refuse to acknowledge our animal nature, we have no hope in hell of rising above it.

  206. 206
    JSmith says:

    VB

    JS: rights are what we as a society decide rights to be”

    VB: To think this is the case puts society on to the road to tyranny.

    Given that assuming that rights are objective has historically also led to tyranny, I prefer to address reality rather than wishful thinking. By acknowledging that rights are subjective (societally given) puts accountability with the people who afford these rights, or take them away.

  207. 207
    vividbleau says:

    JSmith

    Your wrong as usual. It is only when one denies in mind or deed the self evident truth that all men are created equal and endowed with certain unalienable rights that tryanny ensues. Your the one that thinks it’s possible, if society so decides, that a member of a race can be 3/5ths of a person, etc, etc. Your position is tyrannical at its core and would be laughable if it wasn’t so dangerous.

    Vivid

  208. 208
    JSmith says:

    VB

    Your wrong as usual.

    Quite possibly. Being human means that we may be wrong. Hence the debate over objective vs subjective moral values. Now, if we could only get Barry and KF to ever admit that they might be wrong about something. But, we all have our own little fantasies that will never come true.

    It is only when one denies in mind or deed the self evident truth that all men are created equal and endowed with certain unalienable rights that tryanny ensues.

    Damn. Where were these self-evident truths for the last several centuries? I guess nobody got the memo.

    Your the one that thinks it’s possible, if society so decides, that a member of a race can be 3/5ths of a person, etc, etc.

    Read your constitution. We are not talking about possible, we are talking about factual. I guess your founding fathers didn’t get the memo either.

    Your position is tyrannical at its core and would be laughable if it wasn’t so dangerous.

    No. My position simply accepts reality. It is those who don’t acknowledge reality who doom our society to tyranny. Have you seen who resides in the White House?

  209. 209
    OldAndrew says:

    I’m convinced that high morals lead to a happier life. I’d like to convince other people of that as well. Changing people’s minds doesn’t happen often. I have yet to see a case where self-righteously shouting someone down and telling them how evil they are has helped.

    In fact, it does very much the opposite. It fuels the false characterization of religious people as wild-eyed, self-righteous fanatics. If anyone is actually on the fence it’s not going to bring them over. When politics come into it then 50% of the US population is instantly alienated.

    ID is a decent attempt to scientifically establish the obvious. Some say that it’s religiously motivated. I don’t think it is.

    But I’m only aware of two sites that prominently feature the subject. Both seem determined to shoot themselves in the foot by harping on religious subjects, the immateriality of the mind, and various politically divisive topics. Doesn’t anyone see or care how this damages the perception of ID?

    Obviously it’s your site and you can do whatever you want. But keep in mind that if someone Googles “intelligent design” and is fortunate enough to make it past Wikipedia, they’re likely to find this next. To be honest, it doesn’t make a good impression.

  210. 210
    ET says:

    Have you seen who resides in the White House?

    Thankfully a non-politician. Real things are actually getting accomplished. ISIS is all but put back into their mud huts. The economy is doing well.

  211. 211
    JSmith says:

    OA

    I’m convinced that high morals lead to a happier life.

    In spite of the childish venom spewed here by a couple idiots, I agree with you. Regardless of whether a person believes that moral values are objective or subjective, we all strive to live a moral life. For the life of me I don’t understand the level of irrational and emotional bile that surfaces when the idea that moral values might be subjective is raised.

  212. 212
    kairosfocus says:

    JS, you are studiously ignoring what I have done and said. Now, you are projecting that I pretend to perfection. That reflects a stereotype you have set up in your head. Perhaps, it has not dawned on you that first, I have consistently pointed out that we are finite, fallible (recall, one SET is, error exists!), morally struggling and too often ill-willed. That said, I have also specifically pointed out that our relevant faculties are clearly sufficiently reliable and functional to arrive at warrant that grounds knowledge, in some cases to self-evident certainty. I took time to demonstrate those claims. Only, to be met with a hermeneutic of suspicion (you clearly have a serious animus towards Christians) and to be informed that I am too stupid — the relevant meaning of “obtuse” — for you to bother to read. You are now resorting to stereotypical projections. It seems that I have committed the thought-crime of actually showing that SET’s are real, and extending to the matter of moral SET’s, noting that all of our life of reason is inextricably entangled with duties to truth, sound reasoning, fairness etc, on pain of reducing mind to nihilistic manipulativeness and grand delusion. This is compounded by the “nonsense” of putting up an unfortunately real test case, the kidnapping, binding, sexual assault and murder of a young child. At this stage, you are clearly flailing around almost at random. The balance on the merits is clear, and not in your favour. I suggest, a serious re-thinking is in order. KF

  213. 213
    StephenB says:

    J Smith:

    Could you please provide links to these research papers?

    My latest information comes from four sources.

    The relationship between birth control and sex:

    Google — “Study: Less sex education leads to less sex”

    The relationship between birth control and abortion:

    Google — “Sorry folks. Contraception access increases abortions. And here’s the proof.”

    — “Does contraception really reduce abortions?”

    — “Greater access to contraceptives does not reduce abortions”

    But what was your motive in claiming that I said that children were sexual animals and not what I actually said, that humans were sexual animals?

    I was simply writing from mistaken memory.

    SB: Humans are not “sexual animals.” They are human beings with a sexual instinct.

    Instincts improve our odds of survival. Fear of snakes, the dark, jealousy, etc. Sex is an absolute requirement for survival of the species. It is far more than an instinct.

    Non-responsive. The point is that humans are more than sexual animals, which means that they cannot be defined *as* sexual animals, treated as sexual animals, and, as you seem to think, taught as sexual animals.

    SB: Human sex is designed for marriage and a life-long covenant; animal sex is not.

    You are certainly entitled to your opinion. But given that our sexual organs and means of reproduction are the same as those of animals suggests otherwise.

    Bad logic. Just because humans have sexual organs doesn’t mean that sex was not designed for marriage and a life long covenant.

    SB: Humans can destroy relationships by misusing sex; animals cannot.

    Then you have never seen lions, wolves, walruses, moose, birds, or clownfish fight over mates.

    Apparently, you don’t know the difference between a human relationship and an animal relationship.

  214. 214
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: When Locke set about grounding what would become modern liberty and constitutional, lawful democracy, he quoted Canon Richard Hooker in his Ecclesiastical Polity, as may be seen in the 2nd treatise on Civil Gov’t, Ch 2 Sec 5. The clip, as extended, is instructive:

    [2nd Treatise on Civil Gov’t, Ch 2 sec. 5:] . . . if I cannot but wish to receive good, even as much at every man’s hands, as any man can wish unto his own soul, how should I look to have any part of my desire herein satisfied, unless myself be careful to satisfy the like desire which is undoubtedly in other men . . . my desire, therefore, to be loved of my equals in Nature, as much as possible may be, imposeth upon me a natural duty of bearing to themward fully the like affection. From which relation of equality between ourselves and them that are as ourselves, what several rules and canons natural reason hath drawn for direction of life no man is ignorant . . . [This directly echoes St. Paul in Rom 2: “14 For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them . . . “ and 13: “9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law . . . “ Hooker then continues, citing Aristotle in The Nicomachean Ethics, Bk 8:] as namely, That because we would take no harm, we must therefore do none; That since we would not be in any thing extremely dealt with, we must ourselves avoid all extremity in our dealings; That from all violence and wrong we are utterly to abstain, with such-like . . . ] [Eccl. Polity ,preface, Bk I, “ch.” 8, p.80, cf. here. Emphasis added.] [Augmented citation, Locke, Second Treatise on Civil Government, Ch 2 Sect. 5. ]

    Vivid clearly has the better of the matter, just now.

    PPS: Vivid, while there was and has continued to be prejudice towards black people, an examination of the US Const at the relevant point (and its history) will show that the text clearly refers to “other PERSONS” and so actually invites undermining of the prejudice and the institution that held such persons in bondage. The 3/5 ratio was intended to limit the excess number of Congress-members from slave states, by coupling representation to taxation and striking a compromise on representation of those robbed of power to vote by being enslaved. This was against the backdrop of a nuclear option that was recognised as fatal, disunity. And when that option was exercised through stubborn continuation of the indefensible and absurd it triggered civil war. That should be a sobering lesson for us, given that the world cannot afford a major convulsion of the USA. Sound moral principle is a vital question, and it is all the more on the table today, given the ongoing slaughter of our living posterity in the womb at a rate of a million more per week, on a total over 40+ years that is 800+ millions. Such only happens through enabling that is corrupting and tainting professions, institutions, law, government, media, education and more across the world. I fear the reckoning will be horrific.

  215. 215
    kairosfocus says:

    SB, when we try to make non-rational animals into models for our sexual conduct, that may very well have pretty direct implications as to the REAL opinion of our rationality and moral government i/l/o conscience, principle and self-control. Maybe, that is why there is such a stout and obviously over-wrought reaction when the issue of moral truth and regulation of reason thus behaviour becomes a focus for thought. KF

  216. 216
    StephenB says:

    JS

    For the life of me I don’t understand the level of irrational and emotional bile that surfaces when the idea that moral values might be subjective is raised.

    I will be happy to explain it for you. With subjective morality, people conform their morality to their behavior; with objective morality, they conform their behavior to *the* morality. The first group destroys the culture; the second group has to build a new one.

  217. 217
    JSmith says:

    SB at 213, I provide links to published research papers and you provide me with articles from two pro-life blogs. Forgive me if I don’t accept them as legitimate research.

    I was simply writing from mistaken memory.

    Apology accepted.

    The point is that humans are more than sexual animals, which means that they cannot be defined *as* sexual animals, treated as sexual animals, and, as you seem to think, taught as sexual animals.

    I never said that we were not more than sexual animals. But that doesn’t mean that we can deny the fact that we are sexual animals. We are also warm blooded animals, omnivores and social animals. None of that defines who we are, but we’d be stupid to ignore them.

  218. 218
    StephenB says:

    KF

    SB, when we try to make non-rational animals into models for our sexual conduct, that may very well have pretty direct implications as to the REAL opinion of our rationality and moral government i/l/o conscience, principle and self-control. Maybe, that is why there is such a stout and obviously over-wrought reaction when the issue of moral truth and regulation of reason thus behaviour becomes a focus for thought. KF

    Correct. It is not necessary to put physical chains around a man to make a slave of him. When he is encouraged to put his reason at the service if his glands, the same thing is accomplished. Having been put into bondage, he can become angry without even knowing how or why he is being controlled.

  219. 219
    StephenB says:

    JS

    SB at 213, I provide links to published research papers,,

    What links? Provide them so I can evaluate them. I gave you all my sources. Everyone has a dog in this fight, and your sources are no different.

    SB: The point is that humans are more than sexual animals, which means that they cannot be defined *as* sexual animals, treated as sexual animals, and, as you seem to think, taught as sexual animals.

    I never said that we were not more than sexual animals.

    If you define humans as sexual animals, which you clearly did, then you are saying that they are *essentially* sexual animals. That is what definitions do. They describe the essence of a thing. That would be consistent with your claim that (children, adults, whoever) are “going to have sex” and we might as well adjust ourselves to that fact, implying that, like animals, they cannot control themselves.

    For my part, I define a human as a composite of body and soul, made in the image and likeness of God. Implied in that definition is the potential for sex (the body) as well as the potential to think and act rationally, and also the potential to live an otherwordly existence. You may not agree with that definition, but it is an accurate account of my position and it places sexual activity in the right context–an important part of human existence, to be sure, but a part that ought to be governed by reason. Sexual animals are not governed by reason. They are governed by their glands.

    If I introduce the subject of sexuality to someone who is composed of body and soul, it will be of a decidedly different nature than your introduction to someone who is a “sexual animal.”

  220. 220
    JSmith says:

    SB

    I will be happy to explain it for you. With subjective morality, people conform their morality to their behavior; with objective morality, they conform their behavior to *the* morality. The first group destroys the culture; the second group has to build a new one.

    When I said this, I wasn’t referring to you. We have had a heated discussion, but you don’t display the over the top rhetoric and venom as a couple others.

    With respect to your comment, it is not as black and white as you suggest. Whether we believe that moral values are objective or subjective, we are all just as strongly bound to them. It is no easier for me to go against one of my moral values than it is for you or KF.

    You say that you conform your behaviour to your morality. Do you never question that your morality may be wrong? Should you? Did the bus driver of the bus that Rosa Parks was on question his? Should he have? And if you shouldn’t question yours, why should he have questioned his?

  221. 221
    JSmith says:

    SB

    What links? Provide them so I can evaluate them.

    I provide three links at 197.

    Everyone has a dog in this fight, and your sources are no different.

    My sources were peer reviewed papers from respectable journals. You provided an article from LifeSiteNews, a web site with as much credibility as UD or Evolution News and Views.

    If you define humans as sexual animals, which you clearly did, then you are saying that they are *essentially* sexual animals.

    We were talking about sex so I said that we were sexual animals. If we were talking about thermoregulation I would say that we were warm blooded animals. If we were talking about nutrition, I would say that we are omnivores. You choose to hear what you want to hear.

    That would be consistent with your claim that (children, adults, whoever) are “going to have sex” and we might as well adjust ourselves to that fact, implying that, like animals, they cannot control themselves.

    For centuries, churches, parents and teachers have been trying to prevent teens from having sex. How successful has that been? Do you foresee any future in which they will be successful? I prefer to deal with reality rather that fantasy.

  222. 222
    StephenB says:

    JS

    With respect to your comment, it is not as black and white as you suggest. Whether we believe that moral values are objective or subjective, we are all just as strongly bound to them. It is no easier for me to go against one of my moral values than it is for you or KF.

    That isn’t true at all. Objective morality is a challenging target that often demands a change of attitude and behavior. On some ocassion, It requires a high level of moral exertion. Jesus Christ literally sweat blood in his strenuous and successful effort to avoid temptation. On the current subject, for example, objective morality sets a much higher bar: Chastity is hard; libertinism is easy. Resisting temptation is hard; giving in is easy. Subjectivism surveys the demands of objective morality and decides to find a code that will fit in with their comfort zone. No subjectivist ever sweat blood in an effort to avoid temptation.

    You say that you conform your behaviour to your morality.

    I do my best, but I am human and I often fail.

    Do you never question that your morality may be wrong?

    Not really. I have discovered something very interesting about truth. It hangs together. The truth about morality and the truth about man’s soul are consistent with the truth’s of science, philosophy, religion, and so on. That is the problem with modern education. All the subjects in school are taught as if they were like isolated bottles on a shelf, as if one had nothing to do with the other. Have one bottle of sociology, another bottle of anthropology, and another bottle of psychology. Guess what? they overlap. Each tells us something about the other.

    So no, I don’t question the truths of objective morality. They were put here by the Creator. I do struggle sometimes with the concern that I may not be applying the moral law in the most faithful or honorable way. Unlike the subjectivist, I cannot move the goal posts whenever I feel like it.

    Should you?

    I believe in putting one’s beliefs to the test. Education is a series of questions, the answers to which cause confusion and frustration, and a whole new set of questions at a higher and more important level. If one doesn’t have that experience, then he is not really growing in knowledge. So it is with moral education and the attainment of virtue (there is a word that a moral subjectivist will NEVER use).

    Did the bus driver of the bus that Rosa Parks was on question his? Should he have? And if you shouldn’t question yours, why should he have questioned his?

    In my judgment, every living human being has a moral obligation to follow the light that he has been given. When that happens, he will know where to go in search of the next truth. That obligation is incumbent on me as well.

  223. 223
    vividbleau says:

    JSmith

    “For the life of me I don’t understand the level of irrational and emotional bile that surfaces when the idea that moral values might be subjective is raised.”

    Thats because ideas have consequences and regarding this topic the stakes are very high.

    FWIW I dont think you are evil as a person because you dont understand the dangerous consequences of your worldview.

    KF re 214

    Always good to read your thoughtful and well thought out comments. Thanks for being the warrior that you are.

    Vivid

  224. 224
    StephenB says:

    J Smith

    My sources were peer reviewed papers from respectable journals. You provided an article from LifeSiteNews, a web site with as much credibility as UD or Evolution News and Views.

    Nonsense. Your “respected” journal article was flawed. It didn’t even have a follow up section. The results are meaningless. We at ID know all about those incestuous “peer review” journals where secularists hold hands with secularists.

    Try this: **Outcome Measures The primary outcome was self-report of ever having sexual intercourse by the 24-month follow-up. Secondary outcomes were other sexual behaviors.**
    Also, the participants were randomized.

    Efficacy of a Theory-Based Abstinence-Only Intervention Over 24 MonthsA Randomized Controlled Trial With Young Adolescents
    John B. Jemmott III, PhD; Loretta S. Jemmott, PhD, RN; Geoffrey T. Fong, PhD
    Author Affiliations Article Information
    Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2010;164(2):152-159. doi:10.1001/archpediatrics.2009.267
    editorial comment icon Editorial
    Comment

    Editorial
    Research, Policy, and Adolescent Sexual Behavior
    Frederick P. Rivara, MD, MPH; Alain Joffe, MD, MPH

    Abstract

    Objective To evaluate the efficacy of an abstinence-only intervention in preventing sexual involvement in young adolescents.

    Design Randomized controlled trial.

    Setting Urban public schools.

    Participants A total of 662 African American students in grades 6 and 7.

    Interventions An 8-hour abstinence-only intervention targeted reduced sexual intercourse; an 8-hour safer sex–only intervention targeted increased condom use; 8-hour and 12-hour comprehensive interventions targeted sexual intercourse and condom use; and an 8-hour health-promotion control intervention targeted health issues unrelated to sexual behavior. Participants also were randomized to receive or not receive an intervention maintenance program to extend intervention efficacy.

    Outcome Measures The primary outcome was self-report of ever having sexual intercourse by the 24-month follow-up. Secondary outcomes were other sexual behaviors.

    Results The participants’ mean age was 12.2 years; 53.5% were girls; and 84.4% were still enrolled at 24 months. Abstinence-only intervention reduced sexual initiation (risk ratio [RR], 0.67; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.48-0.96). The model-estimated probability of ever having sexual intercourse by the 24-month follow-up was 33.5% in the abstinence-only intervention and 48.5% in the control group. Fewer abstinence-only intervention participants (20.6%) than control participants (29.0%) reported having coitus in the previous 3 months during the follow-up period (RR, 0.94; 95% CI, 0.90-0.99). Abstinence-only intervention did not affect condom use. The 8-hour (RR, 0.96; 95% CI, 0.92-1.00) and 12-hour comprehensive (RR, 0.95; 95% CI, 0.91-0.99) interventions reduced reports of having multiple partners compared with the control group. No other differences between interventions and controls were significant.

    Conclusion Theory-based abstinence-only interventions may have an important role in preventing adolescent sexual involvement.

  225. 225
    StephenB says:

    J Smith

    My sources were peer reviewed papers from respectable journals. iews.

    Your source seems to have stacked the deck. They didn’t even define the word “delay.” Meanwhile, there is evidence to the contrary everywhere we turn. Whole books are being written on the subject and it isn’t looking to good for your side:

    “Sex Education or Indoctrination?
    by Anthony Willmett (Author), John Lidstone (Author)

    Teen pregnancies increase after sex education classes.

    Teenage pregnancies have risen fastest in areas of the country where the Government has specifically targeted resources to reduce them, a new survey has revealed.

    The report says that the explicit sex education leaflets and free condoms provided to under-age girls by the Government schemes have simply encouraged them to have sex.”

    So far, I have presented references to three studies, one raw study, and one book. You have presented one questionable study that doesn’t provide enough information to be credible. Peer review, indeed.

  226. 226
    kairosfocus says:

    SB, your current exchange with JS reminds me of the old Greek definition of humanity: rational animality. KF

  227. 227
    JSmith says:

    SB

    That isn’t true at all. Objective morality is a challenging target that often demands a change of attitude and behavior.

    So, you disagree with KF that we are all bound by moral governance. Good to know.

    On the current subject, for example, objective morality sets a much higher bar:

    Only if objective morality is truly objective. Given that it always requires human interpretation, even if there is objective morality, it is subjective in function.

    Chastity is hard; libertinism is easy. Resisting temptation is hard; giving in is easy.

    Libertinism and temptation are only easy if we have no sense of guilt or feel uncomfortable after the fact. That is what moral governance does. Whatever moral values we have make us feel uncomfortable and guilty if we don’t comply with them. Call it your conscience, if you would like.

    Subjectivism surveys the demands of objective morality and decides to find a code that will fit in with their comfort zone. No subjectivist ever sweat blood in an effort to avoid temptation.

    Then you have no understanding of what people mean when they say that moral values are subjectively derived. Subjective moral values still require feedback and repeated reinforcement to become what we would call a moral value. This does not include simple preference. I may prefer chocolate ice cream over vanilla. But I am not going to feel guilty for eating vanilla ice cream. Unless, of course, I am on a diet (which I probably should be). However, if I am told by my parents, my teachers and my church from my earliest memories that homosexuality is bad and immoral, it is very likely going to form part of my moral values. And I would most likely feel guilty if I found another man sexually attractive. That certainly doesn’t mean that homosexuality is objectively wrong, but it is evidence that repetition, reinforcement and feedback can condition us to believe certain things are wrong, right down to our bones.

    Not really. I have discovered something very interesting about truth. It hangs together.

    When someone never questions the truth of something, I wouldn’t expect them to change their opinions on it. That is why racism, sexism, homophobia and other previously held societal “truths” takes so long to change.

    That is the problem with modern education. All the subjects in school are taught as if they were like isolated bottles on a shelf, as if one had nothing to do with the other. Have one bottle of sociology, another bottle of anthropology, and another bottle of psychology. Guess what? they overlap. Each tells us something about the other.

    In this we agree.

    So no, I don’t question the truths of objective morality. They were put here by the Creator.

    If you and I were born in Europe in the 1500s, would we believe that it was objectively true that Africans were intellectually and morally inferior to caucasians? Remember that this was the common view amongst Europeans at the time. I would like to think that I would not believe this, but I doubt if that would be the case.

    I believe in putting one’s beliefs to the test.

    You are breaking the law of non-contradiction. The above statement claims that you believe in putting your beliefs to the test (you question them). But a few sentences above, you state that you never question that your moral values may be wrong. If you never question that they may be wrong, why do you put them to the test? It seems like a big waste of time to test something you know with absolute certainty is true. I am absolutely certain that it is true that I cannot survive underwater without SCUBA gear for twenty minutes. I assure you that I have never tested my belief in this and will never test it.

    But let’s assume that you misspoke when you stated that you never question whether your moral values are wrong and that you actually do put them to the test. Which I assume you think is a good thing. From the beginning of this thread, and the other one, all I have been saying is that all of our moral values should be open to questioning, and that it a good thing to do. KF claims that this is an extremely dangerous thing to do and that it will lead to civilization going over the cliff, our smashed bodies mingled with the smashed bodies of little furry rodents. And you have read what Barry thinks about this. Now that I know that you believe in testing your moral values, I would just like to welcome you to the disgusting, evil, mocking, hypocritical, scoffing, Orwellian, simpering coward Nazi club. You won’t be lonely. The club has billions of members.

  228. 228
    kairosfocus says:

    JS, you set up a strawman to try to suggest that SB and I are in fundamental disagreement. When one assents to the evidence and realises that one is under objective moral government, this is not just about self-evident moral propositions but the ones that can be shown to be necessary but not patently so, then the ones that can be shown to follow from the first principles, then the others that can be worked out i/l/o responsible reason and recognition that one deals with valuable others as neighbours, etc etc. The premise of moral certainty that one would be irresponsible to act as though certain things were false, is in there, and more. What SB is pointing to is the challenge of the path of virtue, something which is distinctly old fashioned today. KF

    PS: It also looks like we need to highlight that objective truth is that which credibly goes beyond the perception or belief of a subject, per a responsible, reasonable warrant. This is as distinct from absolute — complete, untainted, undiluted — truth. It is objectively true that Jesus of Nazareth was a C1 Jew in Palestine, and that Manchineel fruit taste sweet at first but are caustic and toxic.

  229. 229
    StephenB says:

    So, you disagree with KF that we are all bound by moral governance. Good to know.

    What KF means is that we are bound by the principles of objective morality and that we should govern our behavior with those principles as our guide. Reason is supposed to rule (govern) the passions and the appetites. The human faculty of intellect provides the moral target (here is what you ought to do) and the human faculty of will shoots the arrow (now go do it). Obviously, that is my position as well.

    Only if objective morality is truly objective. Given that it always requires human interpretation, even if there is objective morality, it is subjective in function.

    Meaning no disrespect, but you continue to confuse the process of knowing with the substance of the thing known. There is a subject (the source of the investigation), and an object (the thing being investigated). Subjectivism places all the emphasis on the knower and disavows the objective reality of the thing that is known.

    Libertinism and temptation are only easy if we have no sense of guilt or feel uncomfortable after the fact.

    Taking the easy way tends to promote guilty feelings. The reason is that the objective moral law binds the conscience. When we do something that is morally right, which can be hard, our conscience makes us feel good; when we do something that is morally wrong, which can be easy, our conscience makes us feel bad. That is because the moral law is objective and the human conscience cannot escape it.

    Subjective moral values still require feedback and repeated reinforcement to become what we would call a moral value.

    Yes, that is true. Bad values, like bad habits, grow through reinforcement. The longer one remains a subjectivist, the less likely he will ever attain rationality. Only the objective moral law can tell you if your values and habits are good or bad. I encourage you to make the transition to objective morality while you still can.

    This does not include simple preference. I may prefer chocolate ice cream over vanilla. But I am not going to feel guilty for eating vanilla ice cream.

    The analogy between liking ice cream and liking subjective morality is right, but not complete. People choose subjective morality because they do like it and because they don’t like objective morality. They choose chocolate ice cream simply because they like it, not because they don’t like something else.

    However, if I am told by my parents, my teachers and my church from my earliest memories that homosexuality is bad and immoral, it is very likely going to form part of my moral values.

    Although your conscience is innate, and capable of knowing right from wrong, it is also, in the beginning, in need of instruction so that it can be formed properly. If your parents tell you that homosexual activity is bad, they are providing a great service to you. Homosexual behavior is disordered. To tell someone what they need to hear is to love them. To tell them what they want to hear is to love yourself.

    And I would most likely feel guilty if I found another man sexually attractive. That certainly doesn’t mean that homosexuality is objectively wrong, but it is evidence that repetition, reinforcement and feedback can condition us to believe certain things are wrong, right down to our bones.

    Good reinforcement is good because it reinforces the right attitudes and behaviors. Bad reinforcement is bad because it reinforces the wrong attitudes and behaviors. One should not feel guilty because he or she feels same sex attraction because it is something they do not choose to feel. Actions and intentions determine the morality of an act, not feelings.

    When someone never questions the truth of something, I wouldn’t expect them to change their opinions on it. That is why racism, sexism, homophobia and other previously held societal “truths” takes so long to change.

    There is a difference between an open mind and a hole in the head. Racism and sexism are not “truths,” they are example of destructive immoral attitudes. One’s race or gender has nothing to do with his or her moral actions. It is a condition of neutral import. “Homophobia” is a politically correct formulation calculated to slander those who recognize the disordered nature of homosexual behavior.

    If you and I were born in Europe in the 1500s, would we believe that it was objectively true that Africans were intellectually and morally inferior to caucasians? Remember that this was the common view amongst Europeans at the time. I would like to think that I would not believe this, but I doubt if that would be the case.

    Cultural attitudes are not synonymous with moral truth, not by a long shot. Indeed, it is the knowledge of objective morality that liberates us from and informs us about the perverse attitudes and beliefs that define all cultures, including our own. Without that intellectual tool, we are slaves to our culture, and our upbringing, and our past.

    You are breaking the law of non-contradiction. The above statement claims that you believe in putting your beliefs to the test (you question them). But a few sentences above, you state that you never question that your moral values may be wrong. If you never question that they may be wrong, why do you put them to the test? It seems like a big waste of time to test something you know with absolute certainty is true.

    Recall my definition of education: It is a series of questions, the answers to which cause confusion and frustration and a whole new set of questions on a more important level. I test what I know not because I don’t know it but because I want to know it more fully. Example: I have always known that murder is wrong, but I didn’t always know that slander is the equivalent of murdering someone’s reputation. Hence, thou shalt not kill also means, don’t kill reputations without a good reason.

    From the beginning of this thread, and the other one, all I have been saying is that all of our moral values should be open to questioning, and that it a good thing to do. KF claims that this is an extremely dangerous thing to do and that it will lead to civilization going over the cliff, our smashed bodies mingled with the smashed bodies of little furry rodents.

    Recall your correct observation about the importance of reinforcement. If you attain the correct morality, then you would want to reinforce it, not question it. On the other hand, if you aren’t sure, then you should question it until you are. The danger is that one can feel certain in a perverse way when the intellectual conviction isn’t really there. That is what KF is referring to. Our culture is so certain that God doesn’t exist that it is willing to commit cultural suicide rather than subject its destructive ideas to rational scrutiny.

  230. 230
    JSmith says:

    SB

    What KF means is that we are bound by the principles of objective morality and that we should govern our behavior with those principles as our guide. Reason is supposed to rule (govern) the passions and the appetites.

    That is not how I read KF’s views. However, I admit that his phrasing is so obtuse that it is often difficult to figure out what he means.

    Meaning no disrespect, but you continue to confuse the process of knowing with the substance of the thing known. There is a subject (the source of the investigation), and an object (the thing being investigated). Subjectivism places all the emphasis on the knower and disavows the objective reality of the thing that is known.

    Keep in mind where this whole discussion started. It was my claim that ALL moral values are open for questioning. That is what got KF’s panties in a wad. But you appear to agree with me that subjectiveness is still needed to discern what the values are. Even if I were to concede that the ultimate values themselves were objective, the ones that each of us incorporate into our moral sense are subjectively derived from them. As such, prone to error. Therefore it is important that all moral values be open for examination.

    Taking the easy way tends to promote guilty feelings. The reason is that the objective moral law binds the conscience.

    Or the subjective indoctrination and conditioning binds the conscience. That, ultimately, is what we are disagreeing about. Not whether you are more strongly bound to your moral values than I am to mine simply because you view them as being based on objective values and I don’t.

    Yes, that is true. Bad values, like bad habits, grow through reinforcement.

    As do good ones.

    The longer one remains a subjectivist, the less likely he will ever attain rationality.

    You are confusing moral relativism with moral subjectivism.

    Only the objective moral law can tell you if your values and habits are good or bad.

    That is a belief that you are taking on faith, not rational, logical, evidence based examination. And if it works for you, the more power to you.

    People choose subjective morality because they do like it and because they don’t like objective morality.

    Subjective morality is not a choice, or a preference. It is a conclusion based on reality.

    Although your conscience is innate, and capable of knowing right from wrong,…

    This is where we disagree. That we develop a sense of conscience, I certainly agree with. And its existence might even be innate. But to say that it s capable of knowing right from wrong I disagree with. Babies and very young children are extremely self-centred selfish beings. It is through teaching, feedback, reinforcement and the appreciation of consequences that we develop the sense of right and wrong.

    Good reinforcement is good because it reinforces the right attitudes and behaviors. Bad reinforcement is bad because it reinforces the wrong attitudes and behaviors.

    And as parents, we are guilty of both.

    One should not feel guilty because he or she feels same sex attraction because it is something they do not choose to feel.

    You should tell that to those who advocate for conversion therapy.

    Racism and sexism are not “truths,” they are example of destructive immoral attitudes.

    Yet, for centuries the intellectual inferiority of blacks and of women were considered truths. And it is the lingering aspects of these that lead to modern day racism and sexism.

    Cultural attitudes are not synonymous with moral truth, not by a long shot.

    Yet societies act as if they are. And have for all of recorded history. How can you be so certain that the moral truths that you now believe in are actually true? Are people in the 21st century somehow more in tune with what they are then we were in the 20th, 19th, 18th and 17th centuries? And if we are, doesn’t that mean that people in the 22nd century will be even more in tune with them? Implying that some of our 21st century moral truths are wrong?

    Recall your correct observation about the importance of reinforcement. If you attain the correct morality, then you would want to reinforce it, not question it.

    I agree. But it always comes back to the same question. How can you be absolutely certain that you have the correct morality. And how can you be absolutely certain that this doesn’t change as conditions change.

    The danger is that one can feel certain in a perverse way when the intellectual conviction isn’t really there.

    Agreed. But does’t that mean that w should treat all of our moral values as if this might be a possibility? To do otherwise makes us fall into the trap of cultural attitudes becoming ubiquitous in society.

    Our culture is so certain that God doesn’t exist that it is willing to commit cultural suicide rather than subject its destructive ideas to rational scrutiny.

    But many come to the conclusion that God doesn’t exist as the result of subjecting their ideas, and those of others, to rational scrutiny. Who’s to say that are wrong and we are right? Why should we hold that our ideas (moral values) are immune from rational scrutiny. If we were so certain about them, we should open them up to this scrutiny. If we are correct, it can only further reinforce them.

  231. 231
    kairosfocus says:

    JS, you seem to imagine it is clever to use a $64 word for “stupid,” to caricature, studiously ignore, stereotype and dismiss what I have had to say. That already speaks volumes, not in your favour. Especially, given your prior declaration of suspicion towards Christians. No one who has responsibly read my remarks in the OP here can reasonably infer from this that I have suggested blind adherence to arbitrary notions tagged as self-evident truths, including moral ones. But of course, you have taken excuse of my alleged stupidity to ignore the substance and substitute handy strawman caricatures. FYI, self evident truths are not proved relative to prior ones, but they can be understood, seen as true and as necessarily true on pain of patent absurdity on attempted denial. This was explained in sufficient detail to meet reasonable epistemic duties. In the case of why our civilisation is currently headed on a march of ruinous folly, ponder first the commonly seen ill-advised resistance to first principles of right reason, multiply by the rise of moral systems that are amoral and open the door to might and manipulation make ‘right’ etc nihilism; ponder where that points. Your onward path of attempted caricature, denigration and dismissal as is illustrated above only manages to further confirm the problem, by way of providing yourself as an example. KF

  232. 232
    JSmith says:

    KF

    JS, you seem to imagine it is clever to use a $64 word for “stupid,” to caricature, studiously ignore, stereotype and dismiss what I have had to say.

    I have never suggested that you are stupid. Just that the way you write your OPs and comments is obtuse. And that is the first time that I have ever heard anyone call the word “obtuse” a $64 word. Would you prefer simpler words like “rambling”, “indecipherable”, “condescending” or “arrogant”? The reason I don’t respond to your comments is that they rarely have anything of value to say.

    Happy new year.

  233. 233
    JSmith says:

    I honestly apologize to KF for not being as tactful with my comment as I should have been.

  234. 234
    kairosfocus says:

    JS,

    Kindly note, AmHD:

    ob·tuse (?b-to?os?, -tyo?os?, ?b-)
    adj. ob·tus·er, ob·tus·est
    1.
    a. Lacking quickness of perception or intellect.
    b. Characterized by a lack of intelligence or sensitivity: an obtuse remark.

    c. Not distinctly felt: an obtuse pain.
    2.
    a. Not sharp, pointed, or acute in form; blunt.
    b. Having an obtuse angle: an obtuse triangle.
    c. Botany Having a blunt or rounded tip: an obtuse leaf.

    Had you said abstruse, yes, the matters in hand are not simple. That is a given. We are dealing with subjects that have taxed leading minds of civilisation for thousands of years.

    But that is not what you repeatedly said, and implied. Starting with the hermeneutic of suspicion implying frankly bigotry and animus against Christians.

    I further must note that “tactful” is a subtle reference, it does not imply withdrawal of the underlying sentiment, just oh I should not ruffle feathers unnecessarily.

    You have painted yourself into a serious corner.

    I suggest to you that you stop using clever rhetorical devices of contempt. You do not have a monopoly on intelligence. Where, those who differ with you are not by that fact necessarily one or more of ignorant, stupid, insane or wicked.

    We are dealing with a major worldviews level issue, one that is therefore a matter of philosophy, which is by best definition the discipline of hard questions.

    Worse, these are connected to the state of our civilisation and its prospects, which right now are pretty grim.

    That is going to require serious discussion, not dirty rhetorical tricks of contempt, strawman tactics, ad hominems, denigration and dismissal.

    I suggest that you need to take a time out and ponder your sustained behaviour then make amends.

    G’day,

    KF

  235. 235
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: I highlight the substantial summary of the issue, which has not been seriously addressed:

    FYI, self evident truths are not proved relative to prior ones, but they can be understood, seen as true and as necessarily true on pain of patent absurdity on attempted denial. This was explained in sufficient detail to meet reasonable epistemic duties. In the case of why our civilisation is currently headed on a march of ruinous folly, ponder first the commonly seen ill-advised resistance to first principles of right reason, multiply by the rise of moral systems that are amoral and open the door to might and manipulation make ‘right’ etc nihilism; ponder where that points.

    Also, this is part of that core:

    When one assents to the evidence and realises that one is under objective moral government, this is not just about self-evident moral propositions but the ones that can be shown to be necessary but not patently so, then the ones that can be shown to follow from the first principles, then the others that can be worked out i/l/o responsible reason and recognition that one deals with valuable others as neighbours, etc etc. The premise of moral certainty that one would be irresponsible to act as though certain things were false, is in there, and more.

    More can be said, I remind of the relevant OP, which responded to and headlined some arguments you made: https://uncommondescent.com/atheism/can-morals-be-grounded-as-objective-knowledge/

  236. 236
    tribune7 says:

    JS has strong opinions that he accepts as facts, which I suspect is due to poor education magnified by cultural reinforcement.

    You did make a noble effort KF.

  237. 237
    JSmith says:

    T7

    JS has strong opinions that he accepts as facts, which I suspect is due to poor education magnified by cultural reinforcement.

    I have a couple post secondary degrees but we all know that education does not always equate to intelligence. I will be more than happy to change my views when someone can provide some compelling evidence. So far, all I have heard with respect to objective morality boils down to the fear that subjective morality would mean that we would be prone to periods of societally sanctioned “badness”. I only have two responses to that. Read a history book and watch the news. Everything around us and everything we have seen throughout history conforms to the idea that our moral values are subjectively derived. Claiming that they are objective just provides false justification for the “badness” that happens.

  238. 238
    StephenB says:

    JSmith

    I have a couple post secondary degrees but we all know that education does not always equate to intelligence. I will be more than happy to change my views when someone can provide some compelling evidence. So far, all I have heard with respect to objective morality boils down to the fear that subjective morality would mean that we would be prone to periods of societally sanctioned “badness”. I only have two responses to that. Read a history book and watch the news. Everything around us and everything we have seen throughout history conforms to the idea that our moral values are subjectively derived. Claiming that they are objective just provides false justification for the “badness” that happens.

    I, too, have my graduate credentials, so I can speak with authority when I say that the academy promotes irrationality. The fact is that subjective morality always leads to intellectual contradictions, so it cannot be true.

    Example:

    JSmith

    I am against abortion because I believe the fetus has a right to life. But I don’t believe it is at the same level as the right to life that you and I enjoy.

    So, you do claim that abortion is wrong precisely because the early term fetus *has a right to life,* maybe not as much as you or I, in your judgment, but it has rights of its own nevertheless.

    But then you contradict that statement by saying that

    …the fetus’ right to life in the early stages is *based on the women’s desire to have the baby.*.

    If the fetus’ right to life is based on the mothers desire to have the baby, then it obviously has no rights of its own and all rights belong to the mother.

    Do you understand the contradiction? You are saying [a] A fetus has a right to life and [b] a fetus does not have a right to life.

  239. 239
    JSmith says:

    SB

    If the fetus’ right to life is based on the mothers desire to have the baby, then it obviously has no rights of its own and all rights belong to the mother.

    No. The rights of the fetus are strengthened by the will of the woman, not created by her. I admit that my choice of words above was not the best. But the woman’s right supercedes that of the fetus, at least in the early stages.

    If I had a friend who was seeking an abortion I would try to convince her to keep it by explaining the options available to her. Even to the point of helping her out financially if necessary. But, at the end of the day, the choice is hers. And I would think no less of her if she opted for the abortion.

  240. 240
    kairosfocus says:

    SB, I weigh in with a couple of graduate degrees, for whatever it is worth. I also spent my early uni years cutting intellectual eyeteeth on Marxism, which dominated my uni’s environment (and wreaked havoc in my homeland at about the same time). For much of that time I lived on the Campus, sometimes hardly leaving it for weeks at a time. Unis can become ideological captive to the fashions of the day, and major media houses are too often not one whit better. The tactics I keep on seeing today running riot across our civilisation bear more than a slight, passing resemblance to the agit-prop I had to deal with in my youth. KF

  241. 241
    tribune7 says:

    JS

    Read a history book

    Your problem is I don’t think you have. My problem is that I don’t have a clue as to what point you are trying to make.

    Are you saying that things have been done that I call immoral so that proves objective morality doesn’t exist?

    Reason is not a means but an end. Starting from the wrong premise, logic can lead to horrific acts (self mutilation, drug addiction, child sacrifice). Even starting from the right premise your own weakness and nature can guide you to horrific acts (Cain and Able, David and Bathsheba, Peter and the crowing cock).

    The Bible does not duck from this. Human nature is a rather big part of it.

    Of course, if you reject the Bible — or the recognition of the reality of objective morality and purpose — you are going to go down some pretty weird and unfortunate roads.

  242. 242
    ET says:

    But, at the end of the day, the choice is hers.

    I agree that the choice is hers. We just disagree on the timing of it. I say that women are smart enough to choose before they get pregnant. You don’t seem to think very highly of that ability.

  243. 243
    JSmith says:

    T7

    Your problem is I don’t think you have. My problem is that I don’t have a clue as to what point you are trying to make.

    Are you saying that things have been done that I call immoral so that proves objective morality doesn’t exist?

    It doesn’t prove anything. But arguing that there are objective moral truths and explaining the thousands (hundreds of thousands?) of historic commonly held historic “truths” that we disagree with today as just misinterpretations of the moral truths, or manipulations of them, is just tap dancing to avoid the more logical conclusion.

    The arguments that are being made by KF and others in support of objective moral truths do not include compelling evidence to support it. Rather, they tend to concentrate on the consequences that we would see if objective morality doesn’t exist. The fact that we have seen these very same consequences throughout history, often repeatedly, is compelling evidence against objective moral truths. As is often said around here: Nice own goal.

  244. 244
    tribune7 says:

    JS

    You are really not looking at this right.

    Does God exist? Y N

    If Y, Did God set morals for us Y N

    If Y, morality set by God is eternal and objective.

    Now if you put an N there, well, I guess that’s where you are coming from but you have no authority to which to appeal regarding aspects of culture and law with which you disagree.

  245. 245
    kairosfocus says:

    JS, recall, one of the first examples of self-evident truths is this: error exists. Do you have any good reason why such should not be the case regarding moral truths, given that such often cut across entrenched interests? The fact of moral (or in many cases underlying factual) disagreement or opinions or even legal frameworks no more means that objectively true or even self-evidently true moral principles cannot exist than the fact that counterfeit money exists means there cannot be true money. Indeed, when wrongs rule under false colour of law backed by power, it is the ability to point to violated but patently sound principle which is the basis for reform. And, that is massively documented in sound history books, too. KF

  246. 246
    daveS says:

    KF,

    A tangent: By “error exists”, do you just mean that false statements exist? And not that “anyone” (any sentient being) has necessarily ever committed an error? For example, if God had never created the universe, presumably no one would ever have erred.

  247. 247
    JSmith says:

    T7

    You are really not looking at this right.

    That is definitely a possibility. As a human, my judgement is as prone to error as anyone’s.

    Does God exist? Y N

    I don’t know. And neither does anyone else.

    If Y, Did God set morals for us Y N

    Maybe. But he also may have given us free will to allow us to derive the morality that works best for us.

    If Y, morality set by God is eternal and objective.

    Why objective? The morals set by him could simply be his subjective opinion. What makes his word objective? From the beginning of the OT to the end of the NT he appears to have changed his mind several times. Obviously he thought that action A was a moral truth one day and not a moral truth the next. Which, I guess answered your second claim about them being eternal.

    Now if you put an N there, well, I guess that’s where you are coming from but you have no authority to which to appeal regarding aspects of culture and law with which you disagree.

    Except the authority of rational, logical, evidence based examination. Society is full of examples of this authority being quite effective. Just look at the relatively recent shift in societal acceptance of homosexuality. That didn’t occur overnight. It took much debate and arguments on both sides. Sadly, for those opposed to the acceptance of homosexuality, their arguments were woefully lacking. Just as they were with regard to same sex marriage. In both cases, those opposed could not mount a rational, logical, evidence based argument.

  248. 248

    JSmith said:

    I don’t know. And neither does anyone else.

    Can you support your assertion that nobody else knows whether or not God exists?

    JS argues that that the fact that interpretations of morality change over time and across societies is evidence that morality itself is subjective in nature. This would be like saying that because scientific models change (sometimes drastically) over time, what those models refer to must be subjective in nature.

    Your logic isn’t good here, JS. Subjective perception and interpretion doesn’t indicate that the thing in question is itself subjective in nature.

  249. 249
    StephenB says:

    JSmith

    No. The rights of the fetus are strengthened by the will of the woman, not created by her. I admit that my choice of words above was not the best. But the woman’s right supercedes that of the fetus, at least in the early stages.

    If the woman’s right supercedes the fetus’s life *on the basis of her desires,* (your formulation) then it is obvious that the woman has all the rights and fetus has no rights at all. Excuse me, but do you even know what a right is?

    If the woman says, “I desire that my fetus lives,” then the fetus’s rights are not needed and, therefore, irrelvant. If the woman says, “I desire that my fetus dies,” then the fetus’s rights are overriden, and therefore, useless, I am amazed that you cannot grasp this point.

    If I had a friend who was seeking an abortion I would try to convince her to keep it by explaining the options available to her. Even to the point of helping her out financially if necessary.

    Good. That is commendable. Still, your formulation above is completely irrational.

  250. 250
    kairosfocus says:

    DS, the set that collects errors is necessarily non-empty. Also, were there not an actual world in the sense of domain of reality, there would have been utter non-being. That having no causal power, such would forever obtain. All of this is tied together. KF

  251. 251
    kairosfocus says:

    JS, again, you are failing to look i/l/o this world existing, with us as morally governed creatures. Once that fact is on the ground, it properly constrains onward speculations. Specifically, the necessary being world-root [of whatever character] must be able to account for us, and our rationality must not collapse into grand delusion. Where, moral government would not be the arbitrary decree of God. KF

  252. 252
    daveS says:

    KF,

    DS, the set that collects errors is necessarily non-empty. Also, were there not an actual world in the sense of domain of reality, there would have been utter non-being. That having no causal power, such would forever obtain. All of this is tied together. KF

    Do you mean the set of errors that actually have been committed, or “potential errors”, in the sense of false statements that could have been made by someone?

    I assume the latter, because if God had never created any fallible beings, no errors would have been committed.

  253. 253
    tribune7 says:

    Does God exist? I don’t know. And neither does anyone else.

    What you don’t understand is that a lot of people do know God exists. Don’t apply your state of ignorance to others.

    Did God set morals for us . . . Maybe. But he also may have given us free will to allow us to derive the morality that works best for us.

    But you’re not even certain that God exists.

    morality set by God is eternal and objective. Why objective?

    Because it would have been set by an authority. That would make them objective.

    The morals set by him could simply be his subjective opinion.

    You are saying that we have a Creator who made us for a purpose but that purpose is just his opinion.

    From the beginning of the OT to the end of the NT he appears to have changed his mind several times.

    Actually, he hasn’t. He changed his way with dealing with us namely by giving us a last chance.

    Obviously he thought that action A was a moral truth one day and not a moral truth the next.

    Not really, if you read it right. The Old Testament is about a loving merciful God dealing with fallen, selfish, violent, superstitious humanity.

    The New Testament is about a merciful God telling us he loves us so much he would suffer and die for us but this is our last chance.

  254. 254
    JSmith says:

    T7

    What you don’t understand is that a lot of people do know God exists. Don’t apply your state of ignorance to others.

    It is not a state of ignorance. I am just applying the definition of Faith.

    Hebrews 11:1: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”

    oxford dict.: “Strong belief in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual conviction rather than proof.”

    Of course nobody “knows” that God exists. They may believe in him with a high degree of certainty but they will never “know” for certain until they die.

    Did God set morals for us . . . Maybe. But he also may have given us free will to allow us to derive the morality that works best for us.

    But you’re not even certain that God exists.

    This is priceless. When people quotemine it is usually taking someone else’s words out of context to give them a different meaning. This is the first time I have ever seen someone quotemine themselves. Your original question started with “If Y [God existing] Did God…”. You conveniently left out the If Y in your response at 253.

    Why objective?

    Because it would have been set by an authority. That would make them objective.

    But, sadly, that is not how “objective is defined;

    Oxfortd dict.: ”1. not influenced by personal feelings or opinions in considering and representing facts.
    2. Not dependent on the mind for existence; actual“

    If morals are dependent on God’s mind then, by definition, they are not objective.

    Obviously he thought that action A was a moral truth one day and not a moral truth the next.

    Not really, if you read it right. The Old Testament is about a loving merciful God dealing with fallen, selfish, violent, superstitious humanity.

    The New Testament is about a merciful God telling us he loves us so much he would suffer and die for us but this is our last chance.

    This may be as you and most Christians see this. But if you are saying that God does not change his mind with respect to morality then it must still be morally acceptable to kill the women and infants of an enemy.

    1 Samuel 15:3 ”Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.”

    There are numerous passages like this throughout the bible. Which is only a problem if you assume it to be the inerrant word of God. I don’t.

  255. 255
    JSmith says:

    SB

    If the woman’s right supercedes the fetus’s life *on the basis of her desires,* (your formulation) then it is obvious that the woman has all the rights and fetus has no rights at all. Excuse me, but do you even know what a right is?

    Rights are not absolute. You have rights as an adult that you didn’t have as a 17 year old. And you had rights as a 17 year old that you didn’t have as a 15 year old. These rights increase with your developing ability to reason as well as physical considerations. The same applies as you get older. Your right to freedom may be suspended due to dementia (hopefully not).

    If you read my earlier comments you will have noted that I would propose that a fetus’ rights increase with the stage of pregnancy. A first trimester fetus would have rights but they would be minimal. For example, if a woman plans to have the baby, either to keep or to put up for adoption, the fetus’ right to a risk free development would be high. The woman should have to give up her right to smoke or drink. If she refuses to do so, she should be forced to do so.

    I would also propose that the fetus’ right to life becomes almost at the same level as yours or mine following the first trimester. Only superseded by the woman’s when her health is at serious risk.

    You might be interested to know that in Canada, abortions on demand are perfectly legal from conception to the birth. In spite of this, only a very small percentage are performed after the first trimester, and most of these due to health complications.

  256. 256
    JSmith says:

    I would just like to thank the academy, my parents and, most importantly, my loyal fans, for making JSmith, Simpering Coward the second most popular thread at UD over the last 30 days. I couldn’t have done it without your support.

  257. 257
    tribune7 says:

    JS

    I am just applying the definition of Faith . . .Hebrews 11:1: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”

    Hebrews 11 is not about “knowing” God or knowledge of God. It is about having assurance that God will not abandon you in difficult times, and right will prevail.

    Romans 1 is about knowing God: since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

    Exodus 6 (and 16 and 29) is about knowing God: I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment. 7 I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God, who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians.

    Psalms are about knowing God: “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” (46:10) or The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” (14:1)

    You get the idea. Scripture is pretty clear about God being able to be known.

    You conveniently left out the If Y in your response at 253.

    You conveniently misread if Y, morality set by God is eternal and objective.

    Actually, you are even twisting the definition of “objective:” Not dependent on the mind for existence; actual“ The reference is to your mind i.e. opinions. By definition, God’s mind creates existence (actuality) ex nihilo.

    But if you are saying that God does not change his mind with respect to morality then it must still be morally acceptable to kill the women and infants of an enemy.

    The Canadian Air Force thought so back in 1944.

  258. 258
    StephenB says:

    JSmith @255: All four of your paragraphs are totally irrelevant. Please address the irrational nature of your formulation. You have made two statements that cannot be reconciled:

    [a] A fetus has a right to life.

    [b] A fetus’s right to life depends on the mother’s desire to have the baby.

    Thus, you have contradiction yourself by saying that a fetus DOES s a right to live and also that it DOES NOT have the right to live.

    Please refrain from plodding through a long-winding evasion. Just address the issue.

  259. 259
    kairosfocus says:

    DS, I suggest that you are making a distinction without a material difference. Once E then immediately also ~E. That is, utterance by any particular individual is a secondary matter to the point. This is the same, for the framework of the naturals on distinct identity. As a theist, I would immediately see that the propositions in question, numbers etc are eternally contemplated by the ultimate mind. That that mind is, is in the context of a required necessary being world root sufficient to account for a world in which there are morally governed rational and responsible creatures. Where the IS-OUGHT gap can only be bridged at world-root level. And more. I am beginning to ponder the point of Solomon that in effect endless debate dragging out and dragging on and on is there and becomes futile beyond a certain point. KF

    PS: This seemed to post itself, I know not why, while incomplete.

  260. 260

    StephenB,

    In JS’ world, “rights” are either seized by the individual or granted to them by more powerful individuals Thus, the fetus has as much “right” as it can physically muster to force its own survival, either competing against or working with the mother (and others). In JS’s world, “rights” simply means “power”. We all have whatever rights, and in whatever quantity, as we can grab in the context of others around us grabbing whatever power they can.

    IOW, might makes right. It is also the father’s right, in JS’s world, to beat the mother until she loses the baby, exerting his JS world “rights”.

  261. 261
    daveS says:

    KF,

    I guess it just sounds strange to my ear to say that error would exist, even in a world populated only by an infallible God.

    Of course the propositions 1 + 2 = 3 and 1 + 2 ≠ 3 would both exist in such a world, and exactly one of them is false, but no one would have ever erred by asserting the false variant.

    This is tangential, however, as I think I agree with your larger point.

  262. 262
    JSmith says:

    SB at 258, you must have missed my comment where I said that it is society that affords rights to its members. At present, society has decided that the fetus has no rights. My opinion is that the fetus should have some rights, but that in the earliest stages it’s rights are minimal. In my opinion, the fetus’ right to exist is lower than the woman’s right not to proceed with the pregnancy. In my opinion, if the woman decides to proceed with the pregnancy, the fetus, regardless of stage, has the right to develop in an environment optimal to its health (ie., the woman can’t smoke or drink). It is my opinion that after the first trimester, the fetus’ right to exist supercedes the woman’s right not to proceed with the pregnancy, except in circumstances where the life of the woman is at serious risk. There is nothing contradictory about any of this. As I mentioned, rights are not absolute.

    Of course, whether or not my opinions are adopted as to what the rights should be would depend on society.

  263. 263
    JSmith says:

    T7

    The Canadian Air Force thought so back in 1944.

    As did the German, British and American Air Forces. I’m glad that our morality has evolved above that of God’s since then in that we no longer think that it is morally acceptable to kill our enemy’s wives and infant children after we defeat them.

    Frankly, that passage in the bible reads like the lies a commanding general would tell to justify his atrocities. After all, what is the moral lesson involved in God being fine with killing infants?

  264. 264
    StephenB says:

    WJM

    In JS’ world, “rights” are either seized by the individual or granted to them by more powerful individuals Thus, the fetus has as much “right” as it can physically muster to force its own survival, either competing against or working with the mother (and others). In JS’s world, “rights” simply means “power”. We all have whatever rights, and in whatever quantity, as we can grab in the context of others around us grabbing whatever power they can.

    IOW, might makes right. It is also the father’s right, in JS’s world, to beat the mother until she loses the baby, exerting his JS world “rights”.

    I am still not getting any sense of consistency here. Yes, JS does advocate the might makes right scenario on some days of the week. Hence, the mother’s right to kill her fetus is based on her desire to kill it or not kill it. I get that.

    On the other hand, if the fetus’s right to live depends on the mother’s *desires*, then the fetus has no rights at all, even the right to grab power and fight its way past the abortionist’s knife. In other words, the mother’s desire to kill the fetus, which is basic, overrides the fetus’s right to grab power for itself.

    It gets even messier than that. JS also claims that he is *against* abortion on the grounds that the fetus has rights. It makes no sense to say that he is against abortion if he is *for* a woman’s right to have one any time she chooses. Further, he says that late term fetus has a greater right to life than an early term fetus. I think you are attributing consistency, albeit a perverse consistency, to JS’s eminently inconsistent position.

  265. 265

    stephenb,

    I think the inconsistency you’re seeing stems from your view of rights as one kind of thing while JS considers rights an entirely different kind of thing. From your perspective his statements seem contradictory; from his they are perfectly consistent. I know his reasoning because I was a subjectivist for a long time.

    If morality is thought of as power, then “rights” exist in proportion to the ability and willingness of any individual to apply that power. Thus, the fetus has however much power it has to continue to exist; the mother has however much power she has to abort the fetus. That the mother can overpower the fetus doesn’t mean the fetus never had any power at all.

    In JS’s view, he could exert his power over the woman in a more overt manner to prevent the abortion, but in the larger power picture that would likely curtail future efforts (prison), so he keeps the expression of his moral power within certain limits.

    However, JS just made a comment that renders his position completely irrational:

    It is my opinion that after the first trimester, the fetus’ right to exist supercedes the woman’s right not to proceed with the pregnancy, except in circumstances where the life of the woman is at serious risk. There is nothing contradictory about any of this. As I mentioned, rights are not absolute.

    All we are left with here is that the fetus, the mother and JS himself have whatever rights conform to his preference, whether or not it is rationally consistent.

  266. 266
    JSmith says:

    SB at 264, I am also against smoking because of the impact that it has on our health system, yet I would not ban smoking. I am also against abortion but I would not be in favour of making early term abortions illegal. We have been all over this before.

    A fetus that is going to be born has the right to enjoy optimal conditions in the womb during development. In some cases, this may mean suspending some rights that the woman had before she became pregnant. If the fetus is not going to be born, it’s rights are minimal. It has the right not to feel pain, not to suffer, etc. That is why I would remove the right of the woman to terminate the pregnancy after the first trimester. This is when the brain starts developing, when the fetus can start to perceive pain. Interestingly enough, this happens to be the cut off where most doctors will refuse to perform an abortion unless there is a health risk to the woman.

    My views are all very consistent and rationally derived. You obviously disagree, and I am fine with that. If your view becomes the majority view, abortions will once again be made illegal. However, if this happens, don’t be surprised if it doesn’t have the consequences that you hope it will. All you will have done is wash your hands of a practice that has existed from the beginning of recorded history. It may make you sleep better at night knowing that women who still seek to obtain an abortion will be placing themselves at much greater risk. Thankfully, I don’t think that way.

  267. 267
    tribune7 says:

    JS

    –After all, what is the moral lesson involved in God being fine with killing infants?–

    Like the Canadian Air Force?

    You really are obtuse.

    OK, what exactly is your problem with killing infants. Spell it out specifically as to why it is eternally immoral.

  268. 268
    JSmith says:

    T7

    OK, what exactly is your problem with killing infants. Spell it out specifically as to why it is eternally immoral.

    So, you are OK with killing infants. Good to know

  269. 269
    tribune7 says:

    JS

    But but but you claim there is no such thing as objective morality. Tell me specifically why you think killing infants is eternally objectively etc. immoral.

    You can do this right?

    You think it’s eternally immoral right?

    Or don’t you?

  270. 270

    JS says:

    A fetus that is going to be born has the right to enjoy optimal conditions in the womb during development.In some cases, this may mean suspending some rights that the woman had before she became pregnant. If the fetus is not going to be born, it’s rights are minimal. It has the right not to feel pain, not to suffer, etc. That is why I would remove the right of the woman to terminate the pregnancy after the first trimester. This is when the brain starts developing, when the fetus can start to perceive pain. Interestingly enough, this happens to be the cut off where most doctors will refuse to perform an abortion unless there is a health risk to the woman.

    Surel, let’s just dish out rights wherever and in whatever quantities that appeal to our personal preferences. Why not?

    My views are all very consistent and rationally derived.

    Derived from what origin? Why, from JS’ personal preferences, of course. Where else?

    One wonders why JS feels obligated to even attempt to rationally justify his personal moral preferences.

  271. 271
    StephenB says:

    WJM, @265:

    I understand. If the subjectivst defines a right in the way you describe it, the contradictions become far less frequent, though they are not eliminated entirely. However, like you, I refuse to be deceived into accepting false definitions of words. A right is properly defined as the right to do something *and to prevent others from doing something else.*

    A right, as I am sure you know, is a zero-sum (game) gain. At a four-way stop sign, one person has the right of way and the other person does not. If person A has the right to not be offended, then person B loses the right to speak. If one citizen has the right to a university education, then another citizen loses the right to keep that portion of his tax money.

    So it is with the present subject. If a woman has the right to “choose,” then a baby loses the right to live. JS wants to have it both ways. I am not going to simply accede to an irrational definition for the purpose of evaluating an irrational world view.

  272. 272
    StephenB says:

    JS

    My views are all very consistent and rationally derived.

    I will define a right in my own words the way everyone else understands it. A legal right is the privileged option to do something and to prevent another person or group from doing something else.
    A moral right is the privileged option to do what you ought to do.

    What is your definition of a legal right? What is your definition of a moral right?.

  273. 273
    JSmith says:

    T7

    But but but you claim there is no such thing as objective morality. Tell me specifically why you think killing infants is eternally objectively etc. immoral.

    Nice deflection. But I will play along.

    No, killing the infants of your defeated enemy is not objectively eternally immoral. Since moral values are not objectively derived, it can’t be. But, at present time, and in our western society, it is considered immoral.

    So, maybe you will now answer my question. At one time, God considered the killing of the wives and infants of your defeated enemy to be morally acceptable. Since you believe that God’s objective moral values are objective and eternal, you must also believe that killing the wives and infants of your defeated enemies is morally acceptable today. So, the question is, do you believe that the killing described above is still morally acceptable, or do you believe that God changed his mind. Keep in mind the law of non-contradiction when you answer this.

  274. 274
    JSmith says:

    SB

    A right is properly defined as the right to do something *and to prevent others from doing something else.*

    Agreed.

    A right, as I am sure you know, is a zero-sum (game) gain.

    I don’t ascribe to that. That certainly applies in some cases, but not in all. Although, in my example you are correct. If the woman opts for an abortion then the fetus loses its right to live. But if the woman opts to keep the baby, she loses some of her rights. And after the first trimester, the woman loses the right to have an abortion on demand.

    What is your definition of a legal right? What is your definition of a moral right?.

    There are no moral rights, only moral values. Societies, through their governments, are responsible for assigning rights. In a fair and rational society, moral values will be used to inform the assigning of legal rights. However, a good government will also not not adopt some moral values into their system of legal rights. For example, except in a court and a few other situations, you have no legal right to be told the truth by others. However, most of us consider this to be a moral obligation. The balance between rights and values is a difficult one, but important.

  275. 275
    StephenB says:

    SB: A right is properly defined as the right to do something *and to prevent others from doing something else.*

    Agreed.

    So that means that a woman’s right to an abortion involves the right to prevent the fetus from living, and a fetus’s right to live involves the right to prevent a woman from aborting it.

  276. 276
    StephenB says:

    JS

    Societies, through their governments, are responsible for assigning rights.

    If there are no moral rights, then there is no moral reason why societies should have that power. Why is it not the case that dictators are responsible for assigning rights in spite of society’s preferences? Why is there a responsibility for assigning rights at all?

  277. 277
    StephenB says:

    JS

    In a fair and rational society, moral values will be used to inform the assigning of legal rights.

    How can a society be fair if there is no objective standard of justice to determine what is fair?

  278. 278
    StephenB says:

    JS

    If the woman opts for an abortion then the fetus loses its right to live. But if the woman opts to keep the baby, she loses some of her rights. And after the first trimester, the woman loses the right to have an abortion on demand.

    However, according to your philosophy, there would be no problem when women lose all those rights if society decides to stop granting them. So obviously, you have no concerns about a law being just or unjust. If a society decides to eliminate blacks, Jews, or any other social or ethnic group, you are fine with it.

  279. 279
    tribune7 says:

    No, killing the infants of your defeated enemy is not objectively eternally immoral. Since moral values are not objectively derived, it can’t be. But, at present time, and in our western society, it is considered immoral.

    So, you are OK with killing infants if western society should become OK with killing infants — apart from abortion that is. That is very interesting.

    At one time, God considered the killing of the wives and infants of your defeated enemy to be morally acceptable. Since you believe that God’s objective moral Since you believe that God’s objective moral values are objective and eternal, you must also believe that killing the wives and infants of your defeated enemies is morally acceptable today.

    And again you look at this from a skewed and pre-determined perspective. To take you back to the Sunday School that perhaps you never attended:

    God is perfect. He is pure good. He is pure love. He created Man with free will and for a purpose to love Him and each other. He created us to create things for ourselves and to play.

    Man, however, used his free will to become corrupt. We became unspeakably vile. If you doubt this read history or even the news. At one point we became so vile He wiped out most of us. It didn’t really improve things. He gave us commandments about not killing or stealing and being merciful and loving our neighbor — this is Old Testament we are discussing — but it still didn’t take. He condemned the lovers of violence — again Old Testament (Psalm 11).

    Still, a no go.

    Now you express outrage for the various references of mandated slaughter. Do you understand that was SOP in war at the time ? OK, sometimes they took slaves and they usually didn’t kill the livestock, and, of course, neither did Saul which is what got him in trouble but what was commanded was what normally occurred in the course of events.

    God was dealing with Man on Man’s terms here. The New Testament is God finally telling Man he must accept His terms.

    You seem not to understand that it is Man who is to blame for the mess and not God.

    Now you seek an eternal, objective value. It make it simple for you it is love. I think, however, people can become so odious that they actually lose the love of God as great as that love may be.

  280. 280
    StephenB says:

    SB” A right, as I am sure you know, is a zero-sum (game) gain.

    JS

    I don’t ascribe to that. That certainly applies in some cases, but not in all. Although, in my example you are correct. If the woman opts for an abortion then the fetus loses its right to live. But if the woman opts to keep the baby, she loses some of her rights

    No. All rights can be accurately characterized as a zero-sum gain. If a woman uses her so-called right be keeping the baby, then she obviously didn’t lose the right to choose. The right to choose is negated only when that choice is not allowed.

    And after the first trimester, the woman loses the right to have an abortion on demand.

    In that case, she loses the right to kill and the baby gains a right to live. It’s always a zero sum gain – some person or group always wins, and some person or group always loses. That is why a government cannot just pass around rights like chocolate candy without considering the impact it will have on the common good, a concept that you don’t believe in.

  281. 281
    JSmith says:

    T7

    So, you are OK with killing infants if western society should become OK with killing infants — apart from abortion that is. That is very interesting.

    No. That is the great thing about subjectively derived morals. I don’t have to agree with the majority. But given that God said that killing the wives and infants of your defeated enemies is morally acceptable, you have no choice but to agree. Or disobey God. That is even more interesting.

    God is perfect. He is pure good. He is pure love. He created Man with free will and for a purpose to love Him and each other.

    Why is it so important to him for us to love him if we love each other. If God were human, this obsession would rank him as a sociopath or, at the minimum, a serious narcissist.

    At one point we became so vile He wiped out most of us.

    Including infants who had never done anything vile in their short lives. That doesn’t sound like a being who is good, pure love.

    Now you express outrage for the various references of mandated slaughter. Do you understand that was SOP in war at the time ?

    And as a God of pure love he chastised these soldiers who killed the wives and infants of their defeated enemies, and then forgave them. What!!?? Or as the youth would say. WTF!!?? He actually commanded them to conduct these atrocities? The God of pure love!!??

    You seem not to understand that it is Man who is to blame for the mess and not God.

    Where have I heard this recently? Oh yah! ISIL.

    Now you seek an eternal, objective value. It make it simple for you it is love.

    Now, if you or Barry or KF or WJM had started with this, I probably wouldn’t be arguing with you. I agree. For whatever reason, we all have the desire and need for love. Much as we appear to be under the governance of our moral values. I would accept that these are objectively true. But this still leaves open the nature of the moral values that our moral governance works with.

  282. 282
    tribune7 says:

    No. That is the great thing about subjectively derived morals. I don’t have to agree with the majority.

    So you can just kill the infants even if the culture is against it? Amazing.

  283. 283
    JSmith says:

    T7

    So you can just kill the infants even if the culture is against it? Amazing.

    Blame God. He gave me the free will that would allow me to do this.

  284. 284
    tribune7 says:

    So you can just kill the infants even if the culture is against it? Amazing. . . .Blame God. He gave me the free will that would allow me to do this.

    God will blame you. Your free will lets you choose the narrow path.

  285. 285
    JSmith says:

    T7, you still haven’t said whether you believe that killing the wives and infant children of your defeated enemy is morally acceptable. I understand why you don’t want to answer. If I were a theist who believed that God’s morals were objective and eternal, I wouldn’t want to answer either.

  286. 286
    tribune7 says:

    JS

    T7, you still haven’t said whether you believe that killing the wives and infant children of your defeated enemy is morally acceptable.

    You haven’t answered “So you can just kill the infants even if the culture is against it?”

    Actually, you have. I just thought I’d point that out.

  287. 287
    tribune7 says:

    JS

    Now you seek an eternal, objective value. It make it simple for you it is love. . . .Now, if you or Barry or KF or WJM had started with this, I probably wouldn’t be arguing with you. I agree.

    Why was it contingent on us to point out this truth? You have been presented with an eternal, objective value. You agree to it. Why are you still arguing?

  288. 288
    kairosfocus says:

    JS, you seem hung up on the God is a moral monster meme of the Internet Atheists. I doubt you will be willing to ponder this 101 — which has already been pointed to as a balance — but I note it there for record. You need to reckon that your remarks are targetting also a likely unintended target, you are here not speaking of the Scriptures of the despised Christians, but the Hebraic ones. I suggest to you that you not try to arraign any Christian with anything you would not willingly point a finger at a Rabbi wearing a tattoo from a death camp over. KF

    PS: I note, the Canadian and Australian and Polish Air forces c 1943 – 44, found they had little alternative to mass bombing campaigns in the face of an existential danger. The key leaders understood that this was a nuclear threshold war that had a seriously ticking time-clock, but could not say that to their soldiers or the public. So, be very careful before condemning Churchill, Roosevelt, Trueman et al.

  289. 289
    kairosfocus says:

    PPS: Recall, too that we face a current holocaust, the worst in history. With the sanction of progressives and of the establishment, including governments, media, education, law, parliaments, courts, police, medical practitioners, nurses and many others, we are currently globally slaughtering a million of our living posterity in the womb per week, per Guttmacher-UN statistics. Over the past 40+ years, this global number is in excess of 800+ million, likely approaching twice that high. Who are to be found on the side of the innocents being literally led to the slaughter, and whose only pleas we have from scans of their flight from ruthless death approaching? Who will be marching in Washington DC in a few weeks to protest the upcoming 45th anniversary of the US decision to legislate from the Court Bench that sanctioned the slaughter — 60 million in the US and setting a policy climate that has led to supporting the global slaughter financially and otherwise? Who will be denigrating, dismissing, caricaturing and studiously ignoring this event? What does this say about the picture you and others have been so assiduously painting, especially when we find the sort of reaction to core Christian morality that we see in a current thread? Can we know how you have gone on record over this ongoing slaughter — especially given the major, decades-long slander of casting this objection to mass slaughter of the innocents as oppression of women?

  290. 290
    JSmith says:

    T7

    Why was it contingent on us to point out this truth? You have been presented with an eternal, objective value. You agree to it. Why are you still arguing?

    Love is hardly a moral value. How you deal with it are the moral values. Things like respect, sacrifice, faithfulness, etc. Much of which we learn from watching our parents, family and friends.

  291. 291
    tribune7 says:

    JS

    Love is hardly a moral value.

    So why did you say you would agree with us if we started off with it? Love most certainly is a moral value. It’s often used as a verb i.e. a call to action. There is notable command to do this.

    Much of which we learn from watching our parents, family and friends.

    You are mixing up social standards with eternal moral values.

  292. 292
    asauber says:

    Blame God.

    Armand, are you going to spend the rest of your life blaming other people for stuff you are responsible for? Man up, would ya?

    Andrew

  293. 293
    kairosfocus says:

    JS:

    Love is hardly a moral value

    On the contrary, it is the first virtue and the foremost, the pivot of the other virtues. this is why it anchors the Golden rule and in the Judaeo-Christian tradition, the decalogue.

    This is also historically pivotal.

    When Locke set out to ground what would become modern liberty and representational democracy, here is what he cited, with some onward reference:

    [2nd Treatise on Civil Gov’t, Ch 2 sec. 5:] . . . if I cannot but wish to receive good, even as much at every man’s hands, as any man can wish unto his own soul, how should I look to have any part of my desire herein satisfied, unless myself be careful to satisfy the like desire which is undoubtedly in other men . . . my desire, therefore, to be loved of my equals in Nature, as much as possible may be, imposeth upon me a natural duty of bearing to themward fully the like affection. From which relation of equality between ourselves and them that are as ourselves, what several rules and canons natural reason hath drawn for direction of life no man is ignorant . . . [This directly echoes St. Paul in Rom 2: “14 For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them . . . “ and 13: “9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law . . . “ Hooker then continues, citing Aristotle in The Nicomachean Ethics, Bk 8:] as namely, That because we would take no harm, we must therefore do none; That since we would not be in any thing extremely dealt with, we must ourselves avoid all extremity in our dealings; That from all violence and wrong we are utterly to abstain, with such-like . . . ] [Eccl. Polity ,preface, Bk I, “ch.” 8, p.80, cf. here. Emphasis added.] [Augmented citation, Locke, Second Treatise on Civil Government, Ch 2 Sect. 5. ]

    See the point?

    See how much re-thinking you need to do?

    KF

    PS: How we happen to learn moral principles in a community is of no more consequence for their warrant than is how we learn the times tables. It is high time for you to move beyond the soft nihilism of hyperskepticism towards the Judaeo-Christian ethical tradition, multiplied by hyper-credulity towards the deliverances of current fashionable opinions, bound up in that self-referentially incoherent system of thought that we may term subjectivism and/or relativism driven by evolutionary materialistic scientism and its fellow travellers.

  294. 294
    JSmith says:

    T7

    So why did you say you would agree with us if we started off with it? Love most certainly is a moral value. It’s often used as a verb i.e. a call to action. There is notable command to do this.

    You obviously didn’t get the sarcasm. I though it was made obvious with my follow-on sentence; “I agree. For whatever reason, we all have the desire and need for love.”
    A desire and a need are not moral values. We also have a desire and need for food and water. That doesn’t make eating and drinking moral actions.

    You are mixing up social standards with eternal moral values.

    You keep talking about eternal moral values as if they are facts. At best, these are hypotheses, trying to reach the status of theories.

    A:

    Armand, are you going to spend the rest of your life blaming other people for stuff you are responsible for? Man up, would ya?

    I am not the one claiming that God was morally right to order the killing of the wives and infants of a defeated people. The only one responsible and accountable for my actions (both good and bad) is myself, as influenced by my subjectively derived moral values. The difference between myself and you/KF/Barry/WJM/etc. is that when I actt on something, I don’t justify by saying that it was an objectively moral act; I act based on rational, logical, evidenced based examinations. And sometimes out of pure selfishness (after all, I am human).

  295. 295
    StephenB says:

    JS

    I don’t justify by saying that it was an objectively moral act; I act based on rational, logical, evidenced based examinations.

    You justify any policy that “society” deems appropriate. If one society wants to kill Jews, you support it. If another society wants to defend Jews, you support it as well. When society supports institutional discrimination against blacks, you support it. When society rejects institutional discrimination and establishes civil rights you support it. If society reverts back, you will support it. There is nothing rational about your position. It is totally irrational.

  296. 296
    tribune7 says:

    You obviously didn’t get the sarcasm.

    You are not very good at it: Now, if you or Barry or KF or WJM had started with this, I probably wouldn’t be arguing with you. I agree. For whatever reason, we all have the desire and need for love.

    FWIW, setting a reasonable condition always ruins sarcastic intent.

    You keep talking about eternal moral values as if they are facts.

    You keep failing to understand that just because you don’t know something doesn’t mean it isn’t a fact.

    I am not the one claiming that God was morally right to order the killing of the wives and infants of a defeated people.

    You are the one who is claiming that we cannot morally judge those who kill women and children for their own subjective reasons.

    God is one day going to cause your death so it’s safe to say that He has the “moral right” to cause death. The moral dilemma you are trying to create is can God order us to commit murder when He expressly commands us not to do it.

    You pull things out of Samuel or Judges or what have you and think “Gotcha”. I can kill babies today.

    Judges, Samuel etc. was the norm in tribal relations back then. You cannot get that for some strange reason things were different B.C. than now.

    Why is that?

    God and morality and right and wrong have not changed. God’s dealing with man has, however.

  297. 297
    tribune7 says:

    SB

    You justify any policy that “society” deems appropriate. If one society wants to kill Jews, you support it. If another society wants to defend Jews, you support it as well.

    EXACTLY

  298. 298
    JSmith says:

    SB

    You justify any policy that “society” deems appropriate. If one society wants to kill Jews, you support it. If another society wants to defend Jews, you support it as well. When society supports institutional discrimination against blacks, you support it. When society rejects institutional discrimination and establishes civil rights you support it. If society reverts back, you will support it. There is nothing rational about your position. It is totally irrational.

    All you are doing is raising a massive steaming heap of strawman, soaking it in oil of red herring, with a health dose of decisive distraction, weaving it all through with rhetorical talking points and setting it ablaze.

    There is nobody saying that you must support a policy that society has implemented. Everyone must make up their own mind, based upon their own subjectively derived morality. In some cases, compromise may be the best approach.

    The Nazis killing of Jews was based on what they considered to be a “truth”. But I am sure that they never consulted with the Jews when they concluded this “truth”. Or with the homosexuals, or with the Roma.

    The best way to minimize the risk of developing policies that are detrimental to society is to not assume that they are based on objective moral values. That only leads to absolutism. And we all know where that leads.

  299. 299
    JSmith says:

    T7

    JS: You obviously didn’t get the sarcasm.

    T7: You are not very good at it:

    I will try harder next time.

    You keep failing to understand that just because you don’t know something doesn’t mean it isn’t a fact.

    Absolutely true. But saying that something is fact because it is fact is a circular argument. Objective, eternal morality must exist because it exists.

    You are the one who is claiming that we cannot morally judge those who kill women and children for their own subjective reasons.

    It is hard to have a discussion with someone who repeatedly puts words in your mouth that you never said. Of course I can morally judge anyone for their actions. However, if my morality is just based on ‘God said it is good’ rather than on a rational, logical, evidence based examination, then the validity and legitimacy of my objection is suspect. People from the Westboro Baptist church morally judge blacks and homosexuals all the time. I assume that you do not agree with them.

    God is one day going to cause your death…

    I wouldn’t downplay the impact of too much drinking and an unhealthy lifestyle.

    The moral dilemma you are trying to create is can God order us to commit murder when He expressly commands us not to do it.

    That definitely seems like a real dilemma to me. Or, at the minimum, he his sending mixed messages.

    You pull things out of Samuel or Judges or what have you and think “Gotcha”. I can kill babies today.

    No, I pull things out of Samuel and Judges (and don’t forget Leviticus) and think, boy, was God as big a jerk as he seems to have been?.

    Judges, Samuel etc. was the norm in tribal relations back then. You cannot get that for some strange reason things were different B.C. than now.

    I understand it quite well. It actually makes perfect practical, although perservse, sense to kill the infants of your defeated enemies. In that way you won’t have to deal with the next generation of enemies. But that is not the issue. The issue is that, if God thought that it was morally acceptable to do that a few thousand years ago, and since according to you morality is objective and internal, why do we not think that it is morally acceptable to do this today? Either God changed his mind, in which case morality is not objective and eternal, or we are misinterpreting God’s will today.

  300. 300
    ET says:

    JS:

    The issue is that, if God thought that it was morally acceptable to do that a few thousand years ago, and since according to you morality is objective and internal, why do we not think that it is morally acceptable to do this today?

    Is God telling us to do this today? What enemies is God telling us to wipe out?

  301. 301
    JSmith says:

    ET

    Is God telling us to do this today? What enemies is God telling us to wipe out?

    That isn’t the point. Are there any circumstances under which it is morally acceptable to intentionally kill the wives and infants of a defeated enemy?

  302. 302
    StephenB says:

    JS

    There is nobody saying that you must support a policy that society has implemented.

    By your philosophy, it doesn’t matter what I think. It’s what society thinks that matters. You said society is the arbiter of all moral values since there are no moral truths that we can use as our guide. It means that you support society’s decision no matter what they decide.

    The Nazis killing of Jews was based on what they considered to be a “truth”.

    They killed Jews based on the subjective morality of German society, which is what you celebrate. They certainly didn’t do it on the basis of the objective natural moral law, which forbids murder and wanton violence, or haven’t you heard.

    But I am sure that they never consulted with the Jews when they concluded this “truth”. Or with the homosexuals, or with the Roma.

    By your standard, it doesn’t matter. German society worked through the government to determine a “fair” policy. That is your philosophy and it admits of no outside standard to hold it in check. If the minority gets screwed, it is irrelevant.

    The best way to minimize the risk of developing policies that are detrimental to society is to not assume that they are based on objective moral values. That only leads to absolutism. And we all know where that leads.

    Are you absolutely sure about that?

  303. 303
    tribune7 says:

    But saying that something is fact because it is fact is a circular argument. Objective, eternal morality must exist because it exists.

    But that’s not argument I’m making. My argument is that eternal morality exists because it must exist. You seem to be asking me to prove it using the methods aimed at learning about energy and matter.

    It is hard to have a discussion with someone who repeatedly puts words in your mouth that you never said.

    I’m not sure you even remember what you said. You are certainly not clear about it. Are you a theist? What does the phrase “I agree” mean?

    That definitely seems like a real dilemma to me. Or, at the minimum, he his sending mixed messages.

    Because you are starting with the premise that Man is good. Start with the premise that Man is cruel and merciless because Man chose to be. Then you might get a glimmer as to God’s goodness.

    But that is not the issue. The issue is that, if God thought that it was morally acceptable to do that a few thousand years ago, and since according to you morality is objective and internal, why do we not think that it is morally acceptable to do this today?

    Suppose if Saul did his slaughter without being commanded to by God as was the norm? Would that make you feel better?

    I’ll try and explain it again. God loves Man. Man does evil. How does God deal with Man? Floods him out? Sends forth disease and conquest? Or does a loving God set a personal example of love? BTW, did you ever read Lincoln’s explanation for the Civil War (2nd Inaugural Address)? It’s relevant. Right and wrong has never changed, and yes there will be an accounting.

  304. 304
    OldAndrew says:

    Jesus once told a group of disciples and followers that they must eat his flesh and drink his blood. It was a shocking thing to say, and as a result many stopped following him.

    What he actually meant he could have said differently. He wasn’t stupid. He knew exactly how they would react. Their own reaction would determine what was in their hearts. If they wanted a reason not to listen anymore, now they had it. If they wanted to follow him, they would try to understand what he meant. If they couldn’t understand it they would set it aside because they knew he must have had a good reason for saying it.

    for emphasis, he did this on purpose.

    The Bible contains some things that are hard to absorb. There are accounts of killing and things that would disturb any normal person if we heard about them on the news. If someone prefers not to believe in God or in the Bible, they can certainly find a reason in it.

    When many of Jesus’ followers left because they didn’t like what they heard, Jesus just them go. He didn’t argue with them.

    With that in mind, what on earth are people trying to accomplish by verbally assaulting atheists, demanding that they accept ‘Judeo-Christian values`? I’m not on the side of atheism, but this dialogue only makes them look more reasonable and isn’t going to convince anyone of anything. I hope it feels really good.

    You justify any policy that “society” deems appropriate. If one society wants to kill Jews, you support it. If another society wants to defend Jews, you support it as well.

    Does no one see the irony in this? This thing about a society that wants to kill Jews actually happened, and the people who did it were from a country where over 90% of the population identified as Protestant or Catholic.

    Over 80% of Rwandans were Catholic or Protestant and that didn’t stop them from hacking each other to death with machetes.

    A minimal application of Christian values wouldn’t have slowed those tragedies down. It would have stopped them in their tracks. What Hitler did would have been impossible if the general population hadn’t been complicit from the very beginning, long before the mass murder started.

    I’m sure some will say that they weren’t real Christians and you’ll get no argument from me. But make no mistake: They went to church, sang the songs, and wore crosses around their necks, and their objective morality was as heavy as leaves in the wind.

    That’s where the rubber hits the road. The dead Jews are real. The rest is talk. I’m flabbergasted by the hypocrisy of telling an atheist that’s what he would do after a bunch of baptized churchgoers actually did it. That’s going to win people over.

  305. 305
    StephenB says:

    Old Andrew

    The dead Jews are real. The rest is talk. I’m flabbergasted by the hypocrisy of telling an atheist that’s what he would do after a bunch of baptized churchgoers actually did it. That’s going to win people over.

    For my part, I am not discussing atheism or religion. I am discussing subjectivist philosophy. JSmith, a subjectivist, does not think it is objectively wrong to kill Jews or blacks. According to his subjective morality, he doesn’t *like* it, but he finds nothing inherently wrong with it. He believes that whatever society comes up with is “fair.” Dire consequences follow from that world view and I am simply pointing it out. I want readers to understand what JS believes and why it is dead wrong, which it is.

  306. 306
    JSmith says:

    OA at 304, excellent comment. Contrary to the opinion of some here, I don’t hate Christians or Christianity. They have done some excellent work over the centuries and continue to do so. The Salvation Army, a Christian organization is, in my opinion, the best charity in the world. They help everyone, regardless of who they are, without judgement. I give them a couple thousand dollars every year even though I am not Christian.

    What bothers me with some of the comments from so called Cristians here is that they are very unChristian. I can only presume that they come from ignorance, not knowledge and experience. I travel extensively throughout the world and have learned one simple truth. Regardless of your race, culture, religion and education level, people are all the same. They want to live a good life, do their best for their family and friends, do no harm to others, etc.

  307. 307
    StephenB says:

    SB: You justify any policy that “society” deems appropriate. If one society wants to kill Jews, you support it. If another society wants to defend Jews, you support it as well.

    Old Andrew

    Does no one see the irony in this? This thing about a society that wants to kill Jews actually happened, and the people who did it were from a country where over 90% of the population identified as Protestant or Catholic.

    Irrelevant. You are missing the point. Hitler was put in power by the German system of government approved of by the people, and for JSmith, that is what makes it fair. He has no objective standard of right and wrong that would say that society, in this case, made a mistake. As he puts it, “rights are what we as a society decide rights to be.” If society decides blacks have no rights, then they have no rights. I society decide that babies have no rights, then they have no rights. If you have a problem with this, then take it up with him.

  308. 308
    StephenB says:

    JSmith

    In a fair and rational society, moral values will be used to inform the assigning of legal rights. However, a good government will also not not adopt some moral values into their system of legal rights.

    Notice that JSmith does not believe there is any such thing as an objective good or objective standard of justice, but he uses words like “good” and “fair” as if he did.

  309. 309
    JSmith says:

    SB at 307, as KF would say, you speak in disregard to the truth. I would say that you lie, but that would put me into moderation (or worse). You are great at telling me what my philosophy requires me to believe, but completely ignore the fact that real life does not reflect yours. The big difference is that my philosophy (morality is subjectively derived) is supported by what we have seen throughout history. And it’s not all pretty. You, on the other hand, can’t support your philosophy with real evidence so you claim to know what my philosophy requires me to believe.

  310. 310
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: On what happened to Germany, as warned against 100 years ahead of time by a leading literary figure:

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

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

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

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

    (BTW, much the same spread from Germany across our civilisation, albeit a lot more slowly. We forget today that for many decades Germany was the intellectual centre of our civilisation. I have seen a discussion in NYT 1914 i/l/o what was already coming out in that war. Start with the rape of Belgium, which BTW was where Hitler spent his war years. Much of the same happened a generation later, on a continental scale.)

    Worth a thought or two. KF

  311. 311
    JSmith says:

    SB

    Notice that JSmith does not believe there is any such thing as an objective good or objective standard of justice, but he uses words like “good” and “fair” as if he did.

    Notice that SB can’t address the real issues so he presumes that subjectively derived morality can’t talk about “good” and “fair”. I wasn’t aware that objective morality had a monopoly on those words.

  312. 312
    OldAndrew says:

    I am discussing subjectivist philosophy. JSmith, a subjectivist, does not think it is objectively wrong to kill Jews or blacks. According to his subjective morality, he doesn’t *like* it, but he finds nothing inherently wrong with it. He believes that whatever society comes up with is “fair.”

    I hear you. And I’m sorry if I got a little wound up, although I hope you can see that I take care not to choose language that makes it personal.

    Let me approach it from a different angle: Once upon a time Robitussin was the undisputed king of cough syrups. They had cough syrups for adults and cough syrups for children.

    How could a newcomer to the market gain entry? By advertising a better cough syrup for adults and a better one for children? No, Robitussin was out-marketed by a company that changed the rules of the game using words.

    Forget adults and children, the question is whether you need daytime cough syrup or nighttime cough syrup. And the rest is history.

    Morality isn’t a product or a game, but what I see here is undue emphasis on adjectives used to describe morality, to the point where the more important matters are buried.

    I propose that what matters far more is not whether our morals are subjective or objective. It matters whether our morals are sincere or insincere. It matters whether they are held with courage and conviction, or whether they blow away with the winds of the moment. It also matters whether they are based on right and wrong information, but the Holocaust didn’t happen because people didn’t know genocide was wrong. They knew it right up until they shut off their consciences.

    I have no doubt that many or most who promote homosexuality believe that they are upholding objective, not subjective morals. They will say that the right of people to live as they do is absolute, objective, and self-evident. You might say, ‘but what objective reality do they base their morals on?’ I’d say probably the Declaration of Independence, which they’ve heard quoted as scripture their whole life. They’ve been preached to that nothing is more precious and holy than freedom. So I have no doubt that they feel well-grounded in their beliefs. They don’t see it as moral relativism. They think that people 2,000 years ago were objectively wrong, and they’ve got the holy writings of the Founding Fathers to back them up. Life, liberty, and happiness.

    Think about that for a moment. There’s been a whole lot of talk about how the DOI “enshrines” absolute objective morals. Newflash: It literally enshrines people doing whatever they think will make them happy, without interference, as long as they don’t think it harms anyone.

    (I’m not agreeing with them. But it takes the wind out of subjective vs. objective.)

    When you say that morals must be objectively held, what you mean is that morals must be objectively held according to what you believe. I’m not faulting you for that. We can’t believe something and at the same time believe that we’re wrong. I can’t.

    But stop saying objectivism and subjectivism. That’s not what this is about. History proves that it doesn’t matter which of those words people use to describe their own morals. They’re adjectives, not the noun. And you must agree that a person can be both objectively certain and wrong. Call it what it is. You want people to believe what you believe. You want them to share your religious beliefs.

  313. 313
    StephenB says:

    JSmith

    SB at 307, as KF would say, you speak in disregard to the truth. I would say that you lie, but that would put me into moderation (or worse). You are great at telling me what my philosophy requires me to believe, but completely ignore the fact that real life does not reflect yours.

    Your philosophy is that societies are responsible for deciding on who gets rights, who doesn’t, and what a legitimate right should be. This is what you called a fair society. If you want to say that you don’t support all societal decisions, or that some of those decisions are wrong, you have to explain what objective standard you use to make that judgment.

    Since you have no such standard, if follows that you support, as fair, any decision that any society makes as long as it represents a consensus view. Thus, if follows that you support both the US consensus that fostered racial discrimination and the later US consensus that renounced it. It also follows that you support both the anti-same-sex-marriage policies arrived at by consensus and the pro-same sex marriage arrived at by the courts and the consensus view that followed.

    You support all these contradictory policies because they were the product of a societal decision. If my analysis is incorrect, then feel free to refute me. Meanwhile, it should be evident that I have refuted you.

  314. 314
    StephenB says:

    Notice that SB can’t address the real issues so he presumes that subjectively derived morality can’t talk about “good” and “fair”. I wasn’t aware that objective morality had a monopoly on those words.

    Notice that SB did address the real issue (JSs subjectivism 302 313), and he has no answers.) Go ahead and try to refute me and tell me where I am wrong. Meanwhile, notice how he also evades even this topic. He appeals to objective morality by using words like “fair” and “good,” even though he doesn’t believe that such things even exist.

  315. 315
    StephenB says:

    Old Andrew

    But stop saying objectivism and subjectivism. That’s not what this is about.

    It is exactly what this thread is about. Just because you have another agenda doesn’t mean that I should not address the topic. Did you even read Barry’s post?

  316. 316
    StephenB says:

    Old Andrew

    I propose that what matters far more is not whether our morals are subjective or objective. It matters whether our morals are sincere or insincere.

    Hitler was very sincere.

  317. 317
    jdk says:

    To JSmith at 309: yes, well said.

    (I’m resisting the temptation to participate, so I’ll limit myself to cheerleading.)

  318. 318
    tribune7 says:

    JS

    They want to live a good life, do their best for their family and friends, do no harm to others, etc.

    So why is there murder, rape, theft, human trafficking etc.? My issue, well one of them, with you is that when someone points out reality you imply they are ignorant or have some character flaw while hand-waving at the reality as though it doesn’t matter.

    Remember, way back you were unable to say that child rape was an eternal evil. I have a problem with that. You represent a type that sweeps suffering under the rug as long as it doesn’t affect them.

  319. 319
    tribune7 says:

    SB

    Hitler was very sincere.

    As were his followers. As was Stalin and Lenin. As was Mao etc.

    And for the record Hitler was an anti-Christian.

  320. 320
    StephenB says:

    JSmith

    I wasn’t aware that objective morality had a monopoly on those words.

    That is why I am here–to make you aware. A subjectivist is not entitled to use the language of objective morality in order to mislead his readers. The fact is that you do not believe that such objective standards of “fairness” and “goodness” exist.

    Thus, to be consistent, you should use phrases such as “fair from my perspective, or “good based on my feelings, and avoid such formulations as “is good” or “is fair,” which make it appear that you believe things that you don’t really believe.

  321. 321
    tribune7 says:

    OA

    You want them to share your religious beliefs.

    Actually, it’s my value system, which, amazingly enough, allows for theological diversity and skepticism.

  322. 322
    OldAndrew says:

    You support all these contradictory policies because they were the product of a societal decision.

    You haven’t established that. He disavows all sorts of historical evils just as much as you do. Your point is that he disavows with them for the wrong reasons while you disavow them for the right reasons.

    And who can say which of us might have owned slaves if we all lived in Alabama 200 years ago? Maybe all of us, maybe none of us.

    So what exactly is the big thing that you’re refuting? You’re splitting hairs, and after you split them you’re splitting them again into smaller hairs.

    I’m really starting to think you don’t get it. It doesn’t matter how other people view us or what they say to us. It’s impossible for us to look down on others as you seem to without at the same time placing ourselves on a pedestal.

    I’m not saying that we compromise and decide that everyone’s right. I don’t think that. Jesus didn’t think that. But knowing right from wrong doesn’t give someone the authority to judge others. Didn’t Paul write,

    For what business is it of mine to judge the outsiders? do not you do the judging of the insiders, but God the judging of the outsiders?

    I’ll leave you to figure out who the “insiders” are, but here’s a hint: They aren’t whoever posts on the same forum you do.

    Thou art refuted. 🙂

  323. 323
    OldAndrew says:

    Hitler was very sincere.

    And I’m sure he thought he was objective too. Does that make what he did better or worse? I think it’s irrelevant.

  324. 324
    StephenB says:

    Old Andrew

    Thou are refuted

    Hardly.

  325. 325
    StephenB says:

    And I’m sure he thought he was objective too. Does that make what he did better or worse? I think it’s irrelevant.

    You said “sincerity” matters most. Since Hitler was sincere, he passes your test for morality. Congratulations.

  326. 326
    StephenB says:

    OA

    He disavows all sorts of historical evils just as much as you do.

    You are way behind the times. JS doesn’t believe that “good” and “evil” exist.

  327. 327
    JSmith says:

    SB

    Your philosophy is that societies are responsible for deciding on who gets rights, who doesn’t, and what a legitimate right should be. This is what you called a fair society.

    Again. Putting words in my mouth. It is really difficult to have a discussion with someone who claims that you say what he wants you to say. Some would call that dishonest. Hell, everyone would call that dishonest.

    This doesn’t make it a fair society. This makes it a society like the ones we have seen for thousands of years. Some fair. Some authoritarian. Some tyrannical. Some theocratic. Some democratic. Some autocratic. And some anarchistic.

    If you want to say that you don’t support all societal decisions, or that some of those decisions are wrong, you have to explain what objective standard you use to make that judgment.

    Why? I only have to convince people that my rational, logical, evidence based examination is better than that used to develop the policy I disagree with. That is how the acceptance of homosexuality and same sex marriage defeated the religious arguments used against it.

  328. 328
    JSmith says:

    SB

    Did you even read Barry’s post?

    You mean the one with the immature childish title of JSmith, Simpering Coward?

  329. 329
    OldAndrew says:

    You said “sincerity” matters most. Since Hitler was sincere, he passes your test for morality. Congratulations.

    I’m sorry, it’s hard to hear you associating me with Hitler way down here among the unwashed masses. Could you ask the angels to swing your chariot a little lower?

    But seriously, I think you’re sincere too.

  330. 330
    ET says:

    JS:

    Are there any circumstances under which it is morally acceptable to intentionally kill the wives and infants of a defeated enemy?

    Yes- disease comes to mind. They carry something that they are immune to but you and yours are not.

  331. 331
    ET says:

    JS:

    I only have to convince people that my rational, logical, evidence based examination is better than that used to develop the policy I disagree with.

    Question begging. How can anyone who thinks that life came from the interactions of matter and energy be rational and logical when said position is the opposite?

  332. 332
    JSmith says:

    T7

    My issue, well one of them, with you is that when someone points out reality you imply they are ignorant or have some character flaw while hand-waving at the reality as though it doesn’t matter.

    Sorry. I apologize for calling people I disagree with nihilists, Nazis, Orwellian, Simpering cowards, disgusting, evil, hypocrites, scoffing…

    Am I getting better at the sarcasm?

    Remember, way back you were unable to say that child rape was an eternal evil. I have a problem with that.

    Since I made it clear that I don’t think that moral values are either objective or eternal, how would you expect me to answer a dishonest loaded question like this? Be a hypocrite?

    SB: Hitler was very sincere.

    T7: As were his followers. As was Stalin and Lenin. As was Mao etc.

    And for the record Hitler was an anti-Christian.

    Actually, he was raised Catholic and turned against it after learning about Martin Luther. Still Christian. Although, I do agree, that he had largely dumped Christianity by the time he came to power. Yet retained some of its fringe anti-Semitic teachings.

  333. 333
    StephenB says:

    JSmith

    Again. Putting words in my mouth. It is really difficult to have a discussion with someone who claims that you say what he wants you to say. Some would call that dishonest. Hell, everyone would call that dishonest.

    Let’s put it to the test:

    JS

    In a fair and rational society, moral values will be used to inform the assigning of legal rights.

    Those are your words, not mine. So the United States, based on its values, assigned legal rights to different groups to citizens. By your standard, it was fair for the United States to first rule for racial discrimination and later against racial discrimination; to rule first against gay marriage and then for gay marriage. All four decisions were based on moral “values.” Thus, it is clear that, by your standard, you think that each of the four contradictory decisions was fair.

  334. 334
    juwilker says:

    JS@ 301:

    “That isn’t the point. Are there any circumstances under which it is morally acceptable to intentionally kill the wives and infants of a defeated enemy?”

    This is the crux of the issue on this whole thread. Do you have the capacity to make this judgement? I say there is no way that you do. I believe that God can rightly make this judgement. He is the creator and knows infinitely more than you and I.

    Us human creators know there are trade-offs when building any system. Think of trying to build the “perfect” laptop computer. You have to balance competing objectives/goals. These balances/trade-offs have got to be exponentially magnified building a community of humans.

    God has the ability to do this. To create the optimal system that balances freewill, restriction, evil, good, punishment and rewards. Sometimes the sovereignty of the individual is sacrificed for the communal good. We see this idea recorded many times in the Bible.

    I feel sorry for the the modern who looks at something in the Bible ordered by God that seems wrong from their view. And then somehow thinks they could do it better than our creator. This is pure arrogance and wishful thinking on our part.

    JS, you won’t win in court against God. I needn’t refer you to the lesson of Job to illustrate this. The bottom line is that its pure folly to think you will prevail. You just don’t have the chops to do it no matter how enlightened you think you are.

    Quit kicking against the goads. Try to give God the benefit of the doubt. Humble yourself and ask God to teach you. He will if you believe that he exists and is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him.

    juwilker

  335. 335
    JSmith says:

    SB

    You are way behind the times. JS doesn’t believe that “good” and “evil” exist.

    It is really sad that you feel that you have to lie in order to score debating points on an inconsequential blog.

  336. 336
    StephenB says:

    SB: If you want to say that you don’t support all societal decisions, or that some of those decisions are wrong, you have to explain what objective standard you use to make that judgment.

    Why? I only have to convince people that my rational, logical, evidence based examination is better than that used to develop the policy I disagree with. That is how the acceptance of homosexuality and same sex marriage defeated the religious arguments used against it.

    You have already said that a fair society establishes rights based on its “values.” Thus, every society that does so passes your test of fairness, regardless of who benefits or loses. So if you are going to declare that the final outcome isn’t fair after all, you have to explain why you changed your mind about the fairness of the process.

  337. 337
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: A reminder:

    Rom 13:8 [b]Owe nothing to anyone except to [c]love and seek the best for one another; for he who [unselfishly] loves his neighbor has fulfilled the [essence of the] law [relating to one’s fellowman]. 9 The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not covet,” and any other commandment are summed up in this statement: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor [it never hurts anyone]. Therefore [unselfish] love is the fulfillment of the Law. [AMP]

    So, the core teaching is clear enough. The parable of the Good Samaritan — extremely well known — clinches it; the hereditary enemy and heretic was the true neighbour. Neighbours build peace, not murder, theft, deceit or lustful using of neighbour’s body.

    Likewise, let us note the same Apostle in Athens:

    Ac 17: 24 The God who created the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; 25 nor is He [e]served by human hands, as though He needed anything, because it is He who gives to all [people] life and breath and all things. 26 And He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their lands and territories. 27 This was so that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grasp for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us. 28 For in Him we live and move and exist [that is, in Him we actually have our being], as even some of [f]your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His children.’ [AMP]

    So, neighbourliness should extend across a global common brotherhood.

    It doesn’t.

    IS is not OUGHT.

    One form of a famous gap.

    A clue, indeed a vital though somewhat obvious point.

    (BTW, for someone who just self-referentially went up on a pedestal, standing up for the significance of the OUGHT vs the IS is not instantly a self-indictment. Lev 19{13 – 18 very explicitly teaches that part of neighbourliness is reasoning frankly to move from a substandard is towards the ought. In other words, we are up against one of the key failings of subjectivism and relativism: locking out reform and reformers by targetting, isolating and scapegoating them. Note a current lawsuit at Google where this has been tolerated through internal social media and allegedly backed by HR with senior leadership falling into enabling behaviour. SB’s point is serious and highly relevant.)

    Clearly, we are morally governed, even in argument and reasoning.

    Inescapably so.

    And the IS-OUGHT gap can become a chasm. One through which holocausts can be and are driven. Including, the in-progress one mounting up at a million more victims per week from our living posterity in the womb on a total from 40+ years of 800+ millions. When we understand how we are implicated and how corrupt and blood-guilt ridden our own institutions, professions, power elites and general populace have become, then we will be better able to answer to past cases.

    Until then, our rhetoric is suspect, for cause. And, the fashionable views we support will also very likely be utterly tainted.

    Back to the gap.

    How can it be bridged?

    (Surely, we can appreciate why it needs to be bridged, starting with in our own hearts.)

    First, we have to face it, recognising that our IS is nowhere near where we OUGHT to be, in thought, word, deed, culture, civilisation.

    Guilty, guilty, guilty.

    Precisely the indictment the White Rose martyrs made against Germany at large.

    But, we are blood-guilt riddled, warped and corrupt. How can we ever learn to think straight about what OUGHT to be?

    We desperately need knowable, warranted, credible MORAL truth. Something that accurately describes what OUGHT to be and with enough credibility that when it points to the gap between that OUGHT and our sorry IS, it breaks us to listen, heed, turn, seek renewal and reformation.

    Crooked yardsticks posing as standards of straightness, accuracy and uprightness cannot do this. We need plumb-line, self-evident, naturally and utterly credibly straight MORAL truths.

    Not, crooked yardstick values, feelings, impulses, intuitions, consensuses, theories or grand but utterly flawed narratives of progress etc. Genuinely, naturally straight and upright plumb-lines.

    One of these was already alluded to: we are inescapably under moral government in our conscious inner life, through the laws of duty to truth, sound reasoning, fairness etc that our consciences keep reminding us of. Indeed, much of the above, seeking to undermine confidence in the truth of that inner testimony, relies for persuasive effect on the force of that voice.

    OUGHT, is inescapable, though we may warp it out of its true course.

    Likewise, once we have something that pervasive, if it is written off as delusional, the rot spreads throughout our inner life of mindedness. In particular, reason is now twisted into clever deceit and manipulation, unfettered by duty to the right.

    So, we must see this absurdity and name it for what it is, a sign of gross error.

    A fresh start is: we are self-evidently under moral government, witnessed to by conscience. And thus, we face, whence that law, and why does it have force.

    A glance at the yardstick case I have repeatedly raised will show it does not come from the might, eloquence or voice of the individual or the community. The monster bound and gagged the innocent child to have his perverse way, but that only underscored how demonic what was being done was. He proceeded to sexually violate and murder then conceal and make a getaway. Thirty-odd years later, he is likely some seemingly respectable greying man who we would never dream is such a monster.

    None of this changes the fact of self-evident evil that points to the dignity and rights thus respect owed to even the weakest, least articulate among us. Indeed, we who have strength, voice and eloquence are duty-bound to stand up on their behalf. Something that has been notably missing for many days, in the part of too many.

    But that just pushes the matter back further.

    Where does this government come from, how can it be true, how can it be warranted as credibly true?

    Hume’s guillotine points to one place: the world-root.

    Where, we need a world-root sufficient to ground not only the cosmos or biological life but a new phenomenon: the inescapably spiritual life of certain morally governed creatures. Us.

    Utter non-being cannot do. For, were there ever utter nothing, such has no causal powers and that would forever obtain. There would be no world. A world is, so something always was, the world-root.

    Nor can the chain of successive causation be extended back into a circle at some point. That would imply that the non existent creates itself. Fail again. Nor is infinite stepwise causal succession credible, not least as such cannot bridge endlessness. Never mind arguments that boil down to implying that the endless span has always already been bridged.

    We need a finitely remote world root of adequate capacity to bridge and fuse IS to OUGHT.

    I have often pointed to the only serious candidate after centuries of debates. A point underscored by how over many days, in many threads, no serious alternative is forthcoming: ___. So, we see: the inherently good creator God and world-root, a necessary and maximally great being, worthy of loyalty and of the reasonable, responsible service of doing the good in accord with our evident nature. A nature that has sometimes been described in terms of being in the image of God, ensouled with a value exceeding the resources of a planet.

    The God of ethical theism would be the unique world-root, reality and its aspects are not independent of him. Goodness is not an arbitrary decree, it reflects the purest character, the maximally great one, and it reflects him who is communicative reason himself, so it is materially intelligible. As necessary being he would be eternal, answering to “something always was.” Indeed, on the logic of being, a serious candidate necessary being (as opposed to say a material composite such as the flying spaghetti monster failed parody) will be either impossible or actual in any possible world, part of its core framework. And more.

    The issue is, are we open to re-think?

    Do we have a genuinely viable alternative, or are we merely clinging to crooked yardsticks and mocking plumb-line cases for failing to conform to our fashionable yardsticks?

    KF

  338. 338
    JSmith says:

    ET

    Yes- disease comes to mind. They carry something that they are immune to but you and yours are not.

    Are you being serious? They just defeated their enemy in close combat using swords, spears and knives.

    Question begging. How can anyone who thinks that life came from the interactions of matter and energy be rational and logical when said position is the opposite?

    Or they can listen to someone who has claimed for over three years that wavelength = frequency. I will leave them to decide.

  339. 339
    StephenB says:

    SB: You are way behind the times. JS doesn’t believe that “good” and “evil” exist.

    JS

    It is really sad that you feel that you have to lie in order to score debating points on an inconsequential blog.

    You have stated many times that objective morality doesn’t exist. Are you really so badly educated that you don’t know that “good” and “evil” exist in the objective moral realm. Is it really necessary for me to provide remedial education for you every time you write something?

  340. 340
    OldAndrew says:

    This is surreal. How is it possible to directly copy and paste a sentence with eighteen words without reading it?

    He didn’t say that the assigning of legal rights should determine moral values. He said exactly the opposite in plain English.

    SB, you are the object lesson in this. You carry on about objective morals, but when you’re in a petty forum discussion you’ll say pretty much anything to score a point, and you don’t care one bit whether it’s true.

    The one faithful in least is faithful in much. If you’ll toss aside your lofty standards just to get a zinger in then you’re demonstrating exactly what I’ve been saying. You’re being dishonest and you don’t seem to care. How do you think that reflects on your hundreds of posts about your objective morality?

    And I do believe in objective morality, so I’m allowed to say that.

  341. 341
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: Let me pause to list where I have taken this line of thought, for some years now:

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

    So also, it is not only possible to

    (a) be in demonstrable moral error, but also

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

    For instance:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    10] Tenth, this entails that in civil society with government, justice is a principal task of legitimate government. In short, nihilistic will to power untempered by the primacy of justice is its own refutation in any type of state. Where, justice is the due balance of rights, freedoms and responsibilities. (In Aristotle’s terms as cited by Hooker: “because we would take no harm, we must therefore do none; That since we would not be in any thing extremely dealt with, we must ourselves avoid all extremity in our dealings; That from all violence and wrong we are utterly to abstain, with such-like .”) Thus also,

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

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

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

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

    PPS: Someone above who took the predictable rhetorical tack of belittling this web site as being an inconsequential voice in an empty wilderness would do well to realise that its site ranking would put it well within the top 1% of sites on the Internet. One of the reasons it attracts persistent objectors. In other words, the behaviour of many objectors speaks more forcefully than their talking points.

  342. 342
    kairosfocus says:

    OA {attn JS and SB): Kindly see 337 just above. KF

    PS: JS and even moreso CR, has been all over the map. There are many mixed narratives, forming a po-mo goulash.

  343. 343
    jdk says:

    kf writes of UD,

    would do well to realise that its site ranking would put it well within the top 1% of sites on the Internet.

    Do you have a source for this claim?

  344. 344
    StephenB says:

    Old Andrew

    He didn’t say that the assigning of legal rights should determine moral values. He said exactly the opposite in plain English.

    To say that legal rights are based on moral values is the same as saying that moral values determine legal rights. Its the difference between active and passive voice, not the substance of what is being said. Now please use that information to reread what I said so that you can follow the argument.

  345. 345
    JSmith says:

    SB

    Let’s put it to the test:

    By all means.

    JS: In a fair and rational society, moral values will be used to inform the assigning of legal rights.

    SB: Your philosophy is that societies are responsible for deciding on who gets rights, who doesn’t, and what a legitimate right should be. This is what you called a fair society.

    If you can’t see the difference between the two, you are denser than I thought. Which I didn’t think was possible, but you are always surprising me.

    My comment presupposes a fair society and claims that they, as a fair society, would base their policies on moral values. Your comment says that I claimed whatever a society decided, regardless of how they made the decision, would constitute a fair society.

    Are there any more of my claims that you would like to misrepresent?

  346. 346
    kairosfocus says:

    JDK, there was just a comment exchange on this. With credibly 250 mn + active web sites [the real number may be several times that], the top ranking 1% would stretch out to 2.5 million sites. As a comparison, Dionisio listed: Uncommondescent.com 80,763, Pandasthumb.org 106,377. Where also, Evolutionnews.org 58,755 with Samaritanspurse.org 40,274. I add: BBC.co.uk 180,874. Top ten,

    1 google.com

    2 youtube.com

    3 facebook.com

    4 yahoo.com

    5 wikipedia.org

    6 live.com

    7 amazon.com

    8 msn.com

    9 bing.com

    10 blogspot.com

    In the past day or so, I have been on seven of these sites, some several times. So, the rankings have some plausibility to me.

    KF

  347. 347
    JSmith says:

    SB

    You have stated many times that objective morality doesn’t exist. Are you really so badly educated that you don’t know that “good” and “evil” exist in the objective moral realm. Is it really necessary for me to provide remedial education for you every time you write something?

    And where have I said that good and evil don’t exist in the subjective morality realm? I realize that some say that right and wrong, good and evil, don’t exist. But when they say this they are referring to them not existing in the objective sense. There is no prohibition of them in the subjective sense.

  348. 348
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: Just checked, dailymail.co.uk is 90. Contrast with BBC!

  349. 349
    kairosfocus says:

    JS, good and evil existing “in the subjective morality realm” comes across as a synonym for, imagination, with shadings of delusion. KF

  350. 350
    OldAndrew says:

    To say that legal rights are based on moral values is the same as saying that moral values determine legal rights.

    Which are both the exact opposite of saying that legal rights determine moral values. So you did understand what he was saying right before you claimed that he said the opposite. I don’t see how flagrant deception makes your point about objective morality. Faithful in what is least, faithful in what is great.

    Let’s repeat JS’s original quote.

    In a fair and rational society, moral values will be used to inform the assigning of legal rights.

    This isn’t about whether those morals are objective or subjective. You twisted this 180 degrees, saying in direct response:

    So the United States, based on its values, assigned legal rights to different groups to citizens. By your standard, it was fair for the United States to first rule for racial discrimination and later against racial discrimination;

    In other words, the legislation determined what was fair, which is the exact opposite of what he said. (You see, I can follow quite well.)

    Aren’t you really scraping the barrel to take issue with that statement? I think that in a fair and rational society, moral values will be used to inform the assigning of legal rights. Everyone thinks that. I’m pretty sure that you think that. (I’d say that you disagreed, but that would be dishonest, which would go against the grain of my objective morals. So I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt.)

  351. 351
    tribune7 says:

    JS

    Remember, way back you were unable to say that child rape was an eternal evil. I have a problem with that. . . .Since I made it clear that I don’t think that moral values are either objective or eternal, how would you expect me to answer a dishonest loaded question like this? Be a hypocrite?

    Excuse me, but what exactly is loaded or dishonest about it? Figure out the answer to that one and you might figure out where some of the scorn you are getting is coming from.

    Actually, (Hitler) was raised Catholic and turned against it after learning about Martin Luther. Still Christian.

    Um no. Hitler turned against Catholicism and Christianity because Jesus was Jewish and he came to accept Darwinian evolution:
    https://www.csustan.edu/history/was-hitler-influenced-darwinism

    Hitler was not merely anti-semitic but was anti-Christian. His goal was the destruction of the Christian Church: http://lawcollections.library....../nur:00773

  352. 352
    tribune7 says:

    JS

    And where have I said that good and evil don’t exist in the subjective morality realm?

    You really have to work on your understanding of the definitions of words and the implications of how you use them. Good and evil would exist in the “subjective morality realm” only in the opinion of the subject and only the subject would be bound by it. Objective morality applies to all and binds all.

    This might help you understand it: https://www.diffen.com/difference/Objective_vs_Subjective

    My comment presupposes a fair society and claims that they, as a fair society, would base their policies on moral values.

    What determines a “fair society”?

  353. 353
    jdk says:

    Thanks, KF. I see. If all possible websites are counted (250 million) then lots of active websites will be in the top 1%.

  354. 354
    StephenB says:

    SB: To say that legal rights are based on moral values is the same as saying that moral values determine legal rights.

    Old Andrew

    Which are both the exact opposite of saying that legal rights determine moral values.

    I never said that legal rights determine social values, nor did I attribute same to JS. You just made it up. Either that or you can’t read. I think it is probably the latter.

    The remainder of your rant is based on an ignorance of JS’s claims that all morality is subjective. I don’t feel the need to repeat every fact just to provide remedial education for you.

  355. 355
    StephenB says:

    JS

    And where have I said that good and evil don’t exist in the subjective morality realm? I realize that some say that right and wrong, good and evil, don’t exist. But when they say this they are referring to them not existing in the objective sense.

    In moral philosophy, the good is referred to in the objective sense.

  356. 356
    StephenB says:

    JS

    js If you can’t see the difference between the two, you are denser than I thought. Which I didn’t think was possible, but you are always surprising me.

    Getting a little testy, aren’t you? There is no substantial difference between the two. I allowed for the fact that your morality, both individual and societal, are subjective. Your philosophy is bankrupt. You just can’t handle the truth.

    Meanwhile, you evaded the issue once again. I provide four examples of how subjective morality generates inconsistency in the granting of personal rights, and you simply ignore the point and continue on as sleek as ever. Subjective morality >> anti gay, subjective morality >> pro – gay subjective morality >> back to anti-gay at any time.

    The problem is that you have no standard of justice on which you can rely. Under the circumstances, you cannot differentiate between a just law and an unjust law, or a fair right from an unfair right. You keep referring to reason, logic, and evidence, but those standards cannot provide a moral code, as I demonstrated several times.

    In the end, your morality, and the one you recommend for society, is based solely on personal preferences and you have no solution to the problem of conflicting preferences. Sometimes you claim to solve the riddle by “consensus,” but then when I point out the failure of that approach, with evidence, you seem to fall apart.

  357. 357
    kairosfocus says:

    SB, I note, “the law is a teacher.” For, what is solemnly passed under colour of high justice by parliament or by judges will often lead people to conclude it must be right (especially when it serves fashionable agendas). Therefore, when falsity, injustice and ruinous folly are passed in that manner, it works mischief across the community. A capital current example is the Roe v Wade decision of the US Supreme Court in 1973, which has long since been exposed by the woman involved as based on questionable facts, and to an end that has stained the USA with a river of blood. Where, that such a leading nation with such influence has done this spreads that river across the world. Currently, the toll rises at a million more victims per week, on a total that exceeds 800 millions. Our shame is indelible, we are a terrible generation. I echo St Peter: save yourselves from this untoward generation. KF

  358. 358
    kairosfocus says:

    JDK, notice, where the BBC is in the scale. The result confers a sobering responsibility for discussion here. KF

  359. 359
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Let us observe an exchange above:

    [JS:] My comment presupposes a fair society and claims that they, as a fair society, would base their policies on moral values.

    [Trib:] What determines a “fair society”?

    Notice, how we almost automatically assume moral government in our argument?

    This reflects how persuasion hinges on duties to truth, sound reasoning, fairness etc.

    And that goes beyond mere subjective perception.

    Speaking of, let us clip again:

    [JS, 347:] And where have I said that good and evil don’t exist in the subjective morality realm? I realize that some say that right and wrong, good and evil, don’t exist. But when they say this they are referring to them not existing in the objective sense. There is no prohibition of them in the subjective sense.

    [KF, 349:] good and evil existing “in the subjective morality realm” comes across as a synonym for, imagination, with shadings of delusion.

    [Trib, 352:] You really have to work on your understanding of the definitions of words and the implications of how you use them. Good and evil would exist in the “subjective morality realm” only in the opinion of the subject and only the subject would be bound by it. Objective morality applies to all and binds all.

    This might help you understand it: https://www.diffen.com/difference/Objective_vs_Subjective

    Do we see where we are heading?

    KF

  360. 360
    DATCG says:

    Being in favor of large public, government run health care may make you feel good about yourself, but the long term consequences are not good for those stuck in the systems.

    British Socialized Health Care…

    50,000 surgeries canceled amid Third World Conditions

    In Staffordshire, one senior consultant said vulnerable patients were now being treated in “third world conditions” amid mass overcrowding.

    The Army doctor, who has done three tours of Afghanistan commanding a field hospital, tweeted a personal apology to patients:

    Dr Richard Fawcett
    @docfawcett
    As an A&E consultant @UHNM_NHS I personally apologise to the people of stoke for the 3rd world conditions of the dept due to #overcrowding pic.twitter.com/HW5JR8PSJ2
    3:38 AM – Jan 2, 2018

    Again, advocating for public tax funded care may feel good for those who seek to save humanity through large government systems, but not for those who use it.

    The consequences of government involvement by largely unseen public bureaucrats are rise of cost, lack of care, failure of innovation, and eventual abuses of elderly and poor by an overwhelmed system. A system not designed to care, but designed to do least as bureaucrats get a lovely pension plan. And are rarely if ever fired for incompetence or malfeasance.

    We have direct evidence of these system failures and abuses in America.

    The VA is your poster child for Government run disaster. As our Vets died waiting, waiting, waiting for care just to get an appointment to make more appointments.

    It was not until the new administration stepped in and allowed competition to allow our Vets access to private health facilities did it begin to get better. And the new admin began firing bureaucrats. Vets stopped dying due to VA corruption by faceless, uncaring bureaucrats.

    While it makes you feel good to say universal health care. It’s a big lie.

    It’s not universal for one. Eventually it turns into universal death wait care. The waiting of the aged, the weak, the poor upon a faceless system that refuses to correct problems. Because they answer to no one, certainly not to patients. And if not for this election, the failed system would’ve most likely stayed in place with more misery and death for our Vets in the failed VA system.

    It’s very much like the failed, unsafe public schools for the poor, where largely black families and other minorities are never allowed freedoms the politicians have. The same politicians that rule over the poor in places like Chicago become rich off the political, government system. And they do not sent their children to the failed schools in their own districts. Yet the poor are stripped of these very freedoms they have every right to under our Constitution. Not just education, but a Choice of education.

    Decades of government bureaucracy, failure, fraud and abuse of tax dollars ensure children remain forever in a spiral of confusion, poor education if any, high dropout rates and failure to transition to college or jobs.

    Where gangs, violence rules the streets and kids have no alternative because politicians refuse to open up School Choice alternatives. That’s big government solutions where people are more enslaved to the system than set free from it. Where each new generation is sent through failed systems over and over again, creating an underclass of people, locked in depression, failure and dependency.

    Having a one size fits all Government solution ultimately leads to failure for the many and government security for the few. Where power is kept in the few hands of politicians and bureaucrat elites that make decisions that the poor cannot overcome.

    Our Founders new centralization of government power was not good, therefor advocated Limited government in favor of Federalism and States Rights. So that innovation and ingenuity would naturally surface among the people, businesses and free markets in local towns, cities and states. This is what generates ideas, what forces people to be better by competition of ideas and solutions. Where the government is not an enforcer of one-size fits all. But an arbiter that is independent to allow ideas to flourish, not stifle them as the great OZ from on high in DC. Behind cloaked rooms and red tape.

    As a result of big governance we now have over $20 trillion in debt. We are building the financial collapse for future generations that will make the last financial meltdown look like a summer rain.

  361. 361
    tribune7 says:

    For the record, my vote remains to change the name of the thread.

    How about “Discussions concerning morality with JSmith”?

  362. 362
    ET says:

    JS:

    Are you being serious? They just defeated their enemy in close combat using swords, spears and knives.

    So what?

    How can anyone who thinks that life came from the interactions of matter and energy be rational and logical when said position is the opposite?

    Or they can listen to someone who has claimed for over three years that wavelength = frequency. I will leave them to decide.

    I say that is far better than someone who claims that water stretches the wavelength, that water turns into ice via some mysterious molecular code and who cannot follow the context of a discussion.

    Have you ever been right about anything? Not that I have seen

  363. 363
    ET says:

    In a fair and rational society, moral values will be used to inform the assigning of legal rights.

    Who decides what is fair and rational? If Darwinism/ Neo-Darwinism is right then murder, incest, rape would be fair and rational whereas abortion would be seriously frowned upon.

  364. 364
    ET says:

    For the record:

    JS asked:

    Are there any circumstances under which it is morally acceptable to intentionally kill the wives and infants of a defeated enemy?

    Yes- disease comes to mind. They carry something that they are immune to but you and yours are not.

    They were NOT fighting the women and children in close combat.

  365. 365
    JSmith says:

    jdk

    Thanks, KF. I see. If all possible websites are counted (250 million) then lots of active websites will be in the top 1%.

    And it has a trust ranking of 1

    Lacks most basic contact information; recognized as “listed” but with the lowest possible score.

  366. 366
    JSmith says:

    ET

    JS: Are there any circumstances under which it is morally acceptable to intentionally kill the wives and infants of a defeated enemy?

    ET: Yes- disease comes to mind. They carry something that they are immune to but you and yours are not.

    JS: Are you being serious? They just defeated their enemy in close combat using swords, spears and knives.

    ET: They were NOT fighting the women and children in close combat.

    Epidemiology is not your strong suit, is it?

  367. 367
    ET says:

    Wow, such a devastating refutation! Women and children are the carriers of the disease and men are not. The hormonal changes from male child to adult squelch the disease such that it is no longer a threat to anyone.

    It isn’t necessarily a bloodborne pathogen.

  368. 368
    JSmith says:

    And, from the theatre of the absurd:

    ET: Wow, such a devastating refutation! Women and children are the carriers of the disease and men are not. The hormonal changes from male child to adult squelch the disease such that it is no longer a threat to anyone.

    It isn’t necessarily a bloodborne pathogen.

  369. 369
    ET says:

    And from the simpering coward:

    And, from the theatre of the absurd:

    Let me see- it isn’t absurd to say that living organisms arose via physics and chemistry, but it is absurd to describe a deadly, non-bloodborne, pathogen that is carried only by women and children because men’s testosterone (for example) makes it inert.

    Do you want to know what is really absurd? Morals in a materialistic world. And even more absurd is rationality and logic in a materialistic world.

  370. 370
    OldAndrew says:

    How about “Discussions concerning morality with JSmith”?

    That would be such a civil thing to do. Not having done so speaks more than most of the discussion.

    I signed up to engage in interesting conversations about intelligent design, evolution, and the origin of life. I can’t blame anyone else if I let myself get sucked into whatever this is. But I’m closing the tab and running away. Anyone who wishes may feel free to say that I ran away, because that’s exactly what I’m doing.

  371. 371
    JSmith says:

    OA

    I signed up to engage in interesting conversations about intelligent design, evolution, and the origin of life. I can’t blame anyone else if I let myself get sucked into whatever this is. But I’m closing the tab and running away. Anyone who wishes may feel free to say that I ran away, because that’s exactly what I’m doing.

    OldAndrew, I for one will miss your voice of reason. They are few and far between here. I wish you and your family well in your future endeavours.

  372. 372
    JSmith says:

    JSmith, Simpering Coward is still languishing at second. Please do all you can to raise it to first place.

  373. 373
    kairosfocus says:

    I came by to see, and it is clear that the tone of this discussion has long since been tainted.

  374. 374

    A quick observation for JSmith:

    My comment presupposes a fair society and claims that they, as a fair society…

    It seems to me that you’ve put yourself into the model in an attempt to make sense of it — i.e. to make it palatable once you remove any objective constraints.

    If we pull you back out of the model, then we could just as easily re-state your words: “In an unfair and irrational society, moral values will be used to inform the assigning of legal rights.” It would make just as much sense (basically meaningless), and I doubt that’s the target you were shooting for.

    You can’t judge the model in that way. You can’t say there is no objective standard in the model, then impose a foreign standard. When you “presuppose a fair society” you establish a standard while arguing that none exists. But sure it does; it’s right there in your formulation. You have your thumb on the scale. Whether or not that changes anything for you, who knows.

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    JSmith says:

    UB

    If we pull you back out of the model, then we could just as easily re-state your words: “In an unfair and irrational society, moral values will be used to inform the assigning of legal rights.” It would make just as much sense (basically meaningless), and I doubt that’s the target you were shooting for.

    This, sadly, is also true. But it would assume that the society does not consider fairness to be a moral value. or intentionally decides to ignore it. Which, again, is sometimes sadly true.

    You can’t judge the model in that way. You can’t say there is no objective standard in the model, then impose a foreign standard. When you “presuppose a fair society” you establish a standard while arguing that none exists.

    This is not true. Most people in a society will share many of the same values (e.g.., freedom, fairness, etc.). If a society does not use the commonly held moral values to inform the assigning of legal rights, then it would not be judged by those in the society to be a fair society. The more commonly held values are easy. It is in situations where there is not general consensus where the balancing act takes place. For example, there would be few that would argue with a society assigning its members the right to life, a right not to be arbitrarily jailed, a right not to be denied employment due to race, etc. But what about the right of the woman to abort a fetus? Or the right for same sex couples to marry? No matter how society decides, not everybody will agree with this. But a fair society will be one that took everyone’s moral values into account when deciding on rights. An unfair society will be one that ignores the values of a large segment of that society, such as ignoring the values of blacks, or women, or homosexuals, or religious people, etc.

    And before someone jumps in with the might makes right nonsense, fair does not mean majority.

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    UB: You can’t judge the model in that way. You can’t say there is no objective standard in the model, then impose a foreign standard. When you “presuppose a fair society” you establish a standard while arguing that none exists. But sure it does; it’s right there in your formulation. You have your thumb on the scale.

    JS: This is not true.

    Yes, it is. And instead of removing your foreign standard from the model, you just spent 200 words explicitly justifying it. Oh well.

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    JSmith says:

    UB, we can go back and forth all day saying this is true, no it’s not. But that does not change the fact that a society that we judge to be a fair one is one that takes the moral values of its members into account when assigning or changing rights. Although most of society would agree that fairness is a moral value, it also has a clear definition on which we can make a judgement.

    Fairness: impartial and just treatment or behavior without favoritism or discrimination.

    We can judge a society on these grounds based on what rights they choose to extend to all members in the society. And I would argue that most societies that pass this sniff test have taken the moral values of their members into account when they assigned those rights. It is not about always getting it “right”, it is about the process and the intent. I am more likely to go along with something I disagree with, although reluctantly, if I know that my views were given a fair hearing.

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    I don’t think you grasp the issue. You appear to believe you can make your point by adding yet another explanation of a fair society.

    JS: Here is a model of society, there are no objective standards in it (err, except that everyone has to play fair).

    UB: You just added a standard to your model.

    JS: No I didn’t, a fair society takes everyone into account.

    UB: You have your thumb on the scale.

    JS: No really, in a fair society they go around and ask everyone what they think and sing songs.

    Don’t sweat it. Pretending there are no objective standards in the way mankind treats its members is a tough business to be in.

    cheers…

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    JSmith says:

    UB, I never said that fairness was an objective standard. But it is a moral value and it is well defined. As such, we can judge societies on their fairness. My claim was that those societies that we judge to be fair, by and large, take the moral values of their members into account when assigning rights. Let’s test this. Rank the following countries in order of fairness, as you would judge them:
    Canada,
    North Korea
    Norway
    United States
    China
    Iran
    Switzerland
    Saudi Arabia
    Now rank them as to the extent you think each took their citizens’ moral values into account when assigning rights.

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    JSmith says:

    UB

    — facepalm —

    When I finally understand a concept that is so simple that it should have been obvious, I often slap my forehead as well. Don’t worry, it is nothing to be ashamed of.

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    ET says:

    In a Darwinian world “fairness” is an unwarranted limitation. So it is only by abandoning a materialistic, Darwinian world can we ever hope to get any discussion on morals.

    In a Darwinian world it is fair and just that the stronger take from the weak. It is fair and just that the weak dwindle in numbers and eventually leave the gene pool. It is fair and just to do whatever you can to leave more viable offspring.

    Only by abandoning that and ride the coat-tails of most religions can we hope to have a discussion on morals.

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    When I finally understand a concept that is so simple that it should have been obvious, I often slap my forehead as well.

    Is that right? My guess is that you don’t work much in research either.

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    JSmith says:

    UB

    Is that right? My guess is that you don’t work much in research either.

    You are correct. It has been almost a year since I published my last research paper in a peer reviewed journal. I should do more.

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    I was giving you the benefit of the doubt.

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    JSmith says:

    We did it!!! We are now the most popular thread at UD in the last thirty days.

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    ET says:

    Only because the cowardly losers over on atbc keep looking in. Not exactly a ringing endorsement.

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