Intelligent Design

Materialist “Ethics” Show Their Colors

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For a materialist the term “ethics” is empty of objective meaning, and in a post from a couple of years ago I pointed out the absurdity of materialist “bioethics.”

After all, when pushed to the wall to ground his ethical opinions in anything other than his personal opinion, the materialist ethicist has nothing to say. Why should I pay someone $68,584 to say there is no real ultimate ethical difference between one moral response and another because they must both lead ultimately to the same place – nothingness.  I am not being facetious here. I really do want to know why someone would pay someone to give them the “right answer” when that person asserts that the word “right” is ultimately meaningless.

I have returned to this theme a few times.  See here, here and here.  At the end of the day, for the materialist, ethical discussions always boil down to might makes right, and the strong impose their preferences on the weak.

Over at ENV Wesley Smith highlights a recent example of this playing out at a practical level.  Materialist “bioethicists” are now saying to doctors:  “You think killing people is wrong?  We will coerce you into violating your conscience or drum you out of the profession.”

Like I said, “materialist ethics” is an oxymoron and always covers “might makes right.”

61 Replies to “Materialist “Ethics” Show Their Colors

  1. 1

    Materialists of all stripes are hopelessly deluded and extremely dangerous to anyone who disagrees with them. I stay as far away from these lunatics as possible.

  2. 2
    HeKS says:

    I remember that post well. It was the one that kicked off my involvement with this site.

  3. 3
    jimmontg says:

    “Like I said, “materialist ethics” is an oxymoron and always covers “might makes right.”

    So true, I ask atheists just why do you “think” something is wrong, where does that thought or feeling come from? They will go on about common sense or the good of society, but I always corner them with the final actuality and that is that all atheist regimes have turned out to be “Might is Right” and it cannot be anything other in the end.

  4. 4
    rvb8 says:

    This is so silly as to be laughable. My atheistic ethics pivots around the concept of my home and family, friends, and fellow human beings. My ethics say quite clearly that if it harms my home (the planet) it harms me and those I hold dear, therefore avoid this.

    Also, the idea of choosing the time of my own demise is written in my will, and is known to my family. If I am in a state of dementia I have instructed the use of a large dose of morphine; this is legal in my country; thank God. Even if I am not demented, but merely in excruciating pain, and my mind is sound, I will (I hope) do the same.

    These atheistic ethics of ’empathy’, and an awareness that the world is not merely ‘you’, is lost on a group of people (and they are the vast majority of Jews, Christians, Muslims)who are so utterly self absorbed, so utterly selfish, that all they can think of is, ‘ME, ME, ME!’

    The sanctity of the individual fits into my ethics so well, that I say I have the freedom to choose the point of my last breath, I will not give that decision to anyone else, least of all to someone, or something, that is intangible.

  5. 5
    bb says:

    rvb8,

    You have no reason to base your ethics around your family, without being inconsistent with your worldview.

    Fortunately, materialism is never translated into life as it’s lived. As colleagues and friends, husbands and mothers, wives and fathers, sons and daughters, materialists never put their money where their mouth is. Nobody thinks his daughter is just molecules in motion and nothing but; nobody thinks the Holocaust was evil, but only in a relative, provisional sense. A materialist who lived his life according to his professed convictions—understanding himself to have no moral agency at all, seeing his friends and enemies and family as genetically determined robots—wouldn’t just be a materialist: He’d be a psychopath.

    -Andrew Ferguson, Ruminating on Thomas Nagel The Weekly Standard, The Heretic, Mar 25, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 27

  6. 6
    rvb8 says:

    Hmmm, to Andrew and bb,
    I am an atheist and you say I have no ‘reason’ to love (which I do) family and friends. Well, I hate to rain on this (Andrew Ferguson) person’s slack jawed schoolboy analysis, but I do love my family, friends, and the planet; try working that one out:)

    I’m sure you, and your fear of God reason, do too.

    Isn’t it wonderful to be alive and love those around you, because it’s just wonderful. Circular reasoning to be sure, but it’s a hell of a lot better than yours, and Andrew’s nasty Tertullian world view; No thanks!:) Keep it, and your fear!

  7. 7
    Querius says:

    Don’t be silly, of course Atheists love their families!

    They can’t help it.

    As an intricate molecular agglomeration with a highly evolved genetic code that’s been optimized for survival, they experience the illusion of warm feelings that control their behavior.

    This is fundamentally no different than how most other mammals, and some reptiles (alligators, for example) are genetically programmed.

    The result of this programming is an evolutionary adaption that enhances survival by protecting immature young—but only to a point. Let me explain.

    Just as mice, for example, sometimes eat their young when stressed, atheists also have no problems with abortion and even infanticide when the life and well-being of a reproducing mother is at risk. This is obviously how nature works.

    There are also circumstances when cannibalism of incompetent juveniles—those who could not survive on their own—is not only justified, but mandated by evolutionary genetics! Infants and toddlers, while hopefully surviving to carry on their genetic survival, also serve as a nutritional backup for reproducing adults and competent juveniles.

    Don’t you see, it’s all very obvious, practical, and efficient. “Right,” “wrong,” or “choice” is not an issue, nor is it even at question as I’m sure that rvb8 will readily agree.

    -Q

  8. 8
    kairosfocus says:

    BA,

    Of course, 2350+ years past, Plato warned our civilisation on the consequences of playing with this particular fire (even as he reflected on the collapse of Athenian democracy . . . this SHOULD be embedded in civics education, no prizes for guessing why it is generally notably absent):

    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].

    We have been warned, long since.

    And over the past generation, 800+ million unborn children slaughtered in the womb stand as mute testimony to our dark, blood-benumbed and endarkened age, pretending to be enlightened even as it continues to corrupt law, courts, parliaments and cabinets, education, media, institutions and more in the central wrong of our age; the lynch-pin wrong that needs to be broken and removed if there is hope to break the mad march of folly to ruin that is already in progress.

    We need to cry out for the gracious mercy of repentance, that we may wake up and turn back before it is fatally too late.

    KF

    PS: Manipulation through an enabling media through dirty spin and scapegoating strawman tactics and other cultural marxist schemes is of course a mater of might in spin making perceived right, truth etc in the teeth of actual reality and responsibilities.

  9. 9
    Marfin says:

    rvb8-You have made a number of assertions based on what you feel and think , and used terms like harm, hold dear and ethics,but you provided no evidence whatsoever to support your position apart from I feel.So please provide the scientific evidence for the fact that ” I feel or we feel so hence it must be right”

  10. 10
    rvb8 says:

    ‘And other cultural marxist schemes.’

    I have no idea what this means, and I know the person who uses such phraeology also can not explain it. The closest I can come would ‘persecution complex’, or ‘conspiracy theory’. Either way, as a way of descrbing something it causes my brain to ache.

    Back to abortion I see, that well never seems to stop producing.I would take these arguments more seriously if I knew that the posters here, who see this as the single greatest mass murder in our planets history, had all adopted unwanted children. If they have not, and don’t intend to, then their argument amounts to; ‘we want 800million more people on the planet, and all the associated problems that entails, but don’t include me in their welfare, and don’t use socialised answers including higher taxes on me to cover the costs.’

    This sounds to me like te ultimate in selfish disregard to the people you purportedly care so deeply about.

  11. 11
    Origenes says:

    Missing the Point: A Play for Two Persons.

    Theist: given materialism, rationality cannot exist, because unthinking particles in motion cannot think.
    Atheist: Well, I hate to rain on this person’s slack jawed schoolboy analysis, but I do think.
    Theist: given materialism, ethics cannot exist, because uncaring particles in motion cannot love other uncaring particles in motion.
    Atheist: Well, I hate to rain on this person’s slack jawed schoolboy analysis, but I do love my family.

  12. 12
    rvb8 says:

    The only response I can give to you Marfin is that my brain produces the emotins I feel from memories, and past experience.

    I know this will not be enough for you and others here as they expect deep religio/philosophical discourse of the kind I am always suspicious of. And when they have finished their long complex arguments, I am left saying, ‘eh?’

    Evolution produced these emotions through natural selection. We are shocked by child rape and child abuse because it goes against all of our child rearing inheritance, and we rightly stigmatize this behaviour as it is not only harmful to the group structure, but could encourage similar harmful behaviour; no more no less.

    I am fine with that, you and many here are not; sorry!

  13. 13
    Vy says:

    Evolution produced these emotions through natural selection. We are shocked by child rape and child abuse because it goes against all of our child rearing inheritance

    And accordingly, evolution “produced” rape through natural selection:

    Sam Harris:… there are many things about us for which we are naturally selected, which we repudiate in moral terms. For instance, there’s nothing more natural than rape. Human beings rape, chimpanzees rape, orangutans rape, rape clearly is part of an evolutionary strategy to get your genes into the next generation if you’re a male. You can’t move from that Darwinian fact about us to defend rape as a good practice. I mean no-one would be tempted to do that; we have transcended that part of our evolutionary history in repudiating it.

    IOW, just like you and other Atheists consider their emotions, thoughts and actions grounded because “evolution produced [it]”, a rapist should also consider his/her actions grounded because “evolution produced [it]”.

    Only mental gymnastics can make you think that as an evodelusionist, you can consider one product of evolution “good” and “true”, and another “bad” and “evil” because “my morality…I feel…xyz”.

  14. 14
    Marfin says:

    rvb8- You say evolution through natural selection produces these emotions, but what you fail to realise is that the same natural selection produces , rapists, murderers, child molesters, and every so called good and bad trait and thought of man.
    If the material world is all there is and from the big bang to today everything we know has come about by a process of evolution, then evolution is the cause of everything, so please explain to me why natural selection has selected paedophilia as a fitness trait , and why is it then deemed bad.

  15. 15
    Origenes says:

    Marfin @14,

    The following quotation from Rosenberg supports your point:

    If we were selected for niceness, how come there are so many SOBs in the world, and still worse, serial killers, moral monsters, and Adolf Hitlers? Biology has the answer. Remember, perhaps the most profound of Darwin’s observations was that there is always some variation in most heritable traits in every generation. A distribution of variations—often a normal, bell-curve distribution—is the rule and not the exception.

  16. 16
    john_a_designer says:

    I don’t think any theist who regularly contributes to or comments on this site has argued that atheists cannot live conventionally moral lives. Indeed, I can think of some individual atheists who do. The argument is that no atheistic world view has a basis for any kind of objective morality or universal human rights.

  17. 17
    bb says:

    Hmmm, to Andrew and bb,
    I am an atheist and you say I have no ‘reason’ to love (which I do) family and friends. Well, I hate to rain on this (Andrew Ferguson) person’s slack jawed schoolboy analysis, but I do love my family, friends, and the planet; try working that one out:)

    rvb8 complains of Andrew Ferguson’s “schoolboy” analysis, yet he demonstrates his utter lack of basic reading comprehension.

    Mr. b8, no one is questioning the love you have for your family and friends. We just point out how it is inconsistent with your worldview. Ferguson again….

    A materialist who lived his life according to his professed convictions—understanding himself to have no moral agency at all, seeing his friends and enemies and family as genetically determined robots—wouldn’t just be a materialist: He’d be a psychopath.

    You don’t live your life according to the logical conclusions of your professed convictions. The fact that you don’t, and can’t, live this way proves your worldview is absolute rubbish and of no value to you. You don’t even believe it truly. The love you have for family and friends demonstrates the inconsistency. Time to be honest with yourself.

  18. 18

    rvb8 has an ongoing problem with conceptual arguments that point out the difference between how self-proclaimed atheistic materialists actually act, and how they should act if they acted in accordance with the logical entailments of an atheistic/materialist worldview.

    Nobody is making any claims about how any self-proclaimed A/M actually acts, or about how they actually think or feel.

    Just because you call yourself an atheistic materialist doesn’t mean you actually think or behave in a manner consistent with the logical entailments of atheistic materialism.

    Obviously, someone who complains about long posts and is suspicious of detailed philosophical examinations and whose head starts to hurt when contemplating complex ideas cannot be expected to spend the time and effort it requires to actually examine the logical consequences of their own professed worldview, much less care when someone points out that they are acting and thinking and arguing in a manner that conflicts with those premises.

    All rvb8 knows is that he thinks A/M is true and he believes he is a good, moral person, so therefore A/M must be able to account for the capacity to be a good, moral person. That’s the extent of his “logic”.

  19. 19
    kairosfocus says:

    RVB8: FYI http://kairosfocus.blogspot.co.....barts.html . . . this is a serious issue reflective of what Plato warned against in The Laws Bk X 2350+ years ago, which you studiously avoid. KF

  20. 20
    bb says:

    1Kings 22 is a bit of history that offers great insight into how an individual can willfully do what he wants, even when it is contrary to obvious truth. And even when it means the difference between life and death. Thomas Nagel actually, in a moment of honesty, came to terms with the stubborn, free-will, and “damn the evidence”, aspect of his atheism:

    I want atheism to be true and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well-informed people I know are religious believers. It isn’t just that I don’t believe in God and, naturally, hope that I’m right in my belief. It’s that I hope there is no God! I don’t want there to be a God; I don’t want the universe to be like that.

    -Thomas Nagel, Evolutionary Naturalism and the Fear of Religion (emphasis mine).

  21. 21
    Marfin says:

    rvb8 – As you have not replied to my post re natural selection and paedophilia, I can only assume you have no explanation apart from ” well I feel “. All of us need to go where the evidence leads and forget about where our feelings, desires and wants are leading us.
    So rvb8 are you willing to go with the evidence or are you that aggrieved by the thoughts that there actually could be a God.

  22. 22

    WJM @ 18: rvb8 has an ongoing problem with conceptual arguments. Period.

  23. 23
    Heartlander says:

    Marfin @ 21
    FYI

  24. 24
    rvb8 says:

    TWSYF, and WJM,
    I don’t claim to be a ‘conceptual’ argument expert. Clearly I am not. Those arguments are tedious, inconclusive, and speculative at best. At worst they amount to planned deception, or if you don’t like my conceptual construction, ‘lying’.

    So, let’s try this one more time! Hands up who has adopted an unwanted child! If not, please stop your endless ‘moral high ground’ shinnannigans, it’s embarassing.

    Also, when is Ann Gauger and Dembski coming out with their latest ‘proofs’, some science would be a nice environmental shift.

  25. 25
    Querius says:

    The only evolution-based ethical objection to abortion and infanticide as I observed in #7 is that the parents and their community didn’t eat what they killed. The taking of life under some circumstances without “frying up some baby burgers” is mildly unethical in evolutionary terms—perhaps wasteful is a more accurate description.

    However, materialists in those circumstances can still justify their decisions by offering their aborted offspring and unwanted toddlers to the medical community as organ donors, subjects for medical experiments (a cure for cancer comes to mind), and possibly beauty products (remember, we’re talking about reproduction in an evolutionary environment).

    That the materialists here are obviously comfortable with these logical conclusions demonstrates their courageous commitment to the materialist ideology without hypocrisy.

    -Q

  26. 26
    rvb8 says:

    Have you adopted an unwanted child Querius? There are millions, and millions; truly! You want more misery?

    I don’t!

    I am not trying to be ‘smart’, or nasty here. I am genuinely interested in the faithful’s solution to this quandry of ‘unwanted’ children.

  27. 27
    john_a_designer says:

    Sometime ago on another thread (I don’t remember where) I wrote this:

    I have actually know a number of Christian couples who wanted to adopt a child but had a difficult time finding a child to adopt. In a high rate abortion country like the U.S. it appears the demand far surpasses the supply. Some of the couple I knew spent a small fortune to adopt a child from overseas. (Anyone else have that experience?) Maybe rvb8 needs to become a little bit better acquainted with the facts.

    It appears that he still hasn’t done his homework.

  28. 28
    rvb8 says:

    john,
    you do realise that the world does not reside State side, and that anti-abortionists desperately try to push aid-linked anti-abortion policy through the UN.

    Whether or not good Christian couples can’t adopt, and are desperate to adopt, is neither here nor there. Kairos is fond of his 800 million figure; do you know of 800 million Christians willing to adopt? I am told the US alone has 30-40 million abortions a year, do you know of 30-40 million good Chrisitians willing to take them in?

    No! You do not! I am saying that I will take the anti-abortion side seriously if they will put their words into practice. Making a worldwide law banning abortion would be a disaster for two important unanswerable reasons; 1) this is not sustainable, and 2) no one wants these extra kids, even good Christian families.

    However, if someone has an adopted child (hopefully Kairos, as he appears to be loudest on the topic), I will take them more seriously on the subject. Until then, the fact that you know of several good Christian families desperate to adopt, is the metaphorical ‘drop in the bucket’, trivial!

  29. 29
    kairosfocus says:

    RVB8, mass murder in the womb and associated perversion of law, government, courts, media, education etc to pretend that this is not the worst holocaust in history cannot be the answer. And the dynamics would change, where 800+ million dead is a calculation on 40 years based on Guttmacher; as was discussed earlier — a calc you and others could not dispute when it was substantiated. No, this is not merely my figure, there is sobering reality here, the reality of half a generation slaughtered in the womb. First, we need to face what we have done then we can have a sober discussion, starting with getting rid of the pretence that pointing out that there has been a mass slaughter of posterity in the womb is an “anti-” movement. Or, have you forgotten that the movement to abolish the slave trade was derided as being against the Royal Navy and its chief pool for recruits? The RN survived the loss of the slave trade, and the reality is that “most people are accidents,” but most of us who have arrived have been loved, nurtured and raised into reasonably decent and healthy productive and creative persons. Where, people are the most valuable resource of all, the intelligent and creative assets that turn other things into valuable things. The notion that there would be 800 million unwanted children who would become a burden on the state and/or families, breaking down “sustainability” is a fallacy covering a monstrous reality. Plainly, the central evil of our time, the root of corruption of our civilisation and consciences from which many others have sprung. KF

    PS: Getting around the circularity in Bruntland’s definition, sustainable development better and more fairly meets our needs today and tomorrow. The ethical and equity components cannot be subtracted, and the undermining of the ethical due to the imposition of inherently amoral evolutionary materialism dressed up in a lab coat is a serious danger, not an advance.

  30. 30
    rvb8 says:

    Kairos,
    I’m just guessing but,you don’t travel much do you?

    Here’s some advice, don’t go to Russia or Eastern Europe, don’t go to Africa, or many Sth American countries too, don’t go Africa, and don’t go to the Middle East or SE Asia, and above all don’t go to India.

    If you did you would see plainly why the world can not feasibly cope with the people we have to day, and your solution is ‘keep’im comming’?

    My father said I could have a puppy, if I looked after my pet rabbit well. God should step in and say;
    “No more babies until you learn how to look after the ones you have!”

    It’s not that I support abortion, I most certainly do not. However you have no answer other than, ‘keep’im comming’. Sorry, that is not an answer however immmoral you claim abortion to be.

  31. 31
    Querius says:

    rvb8 @26 retorted

    You want more misery? I don’t!

    You misunderstand.

    I’m not arguing with you, I’m agreeing with you that from a materialist and evolutionist point of view, abortion and infanticide make perfect sense!

    From the animal world, we can clearly see that evolution dispassionately recycles infants into the food chain when necessary. Humans have been able to add medical research and organ donation as legitimate and ethical recycling.

    But using unwanted or unsupportable fetuses, babies, and toddlers as highly compatible and delicious human protein that can save the lives of adolescents and adults who otherwise suffer painful starvation is beyond question.

    So obviously, yes!

    The suffering of unwanted babies should most certainly be ended and their remaining tissue should be put to better use.

    It’s not my view, but I admit you made a good point.

    -Q

  32. 32
    kairosfocus says:

    RVB8, you have resorted to personalities to cover advocacy of mass slaughter of the unborn. This indicates that you are at least aware of and uncomfortable about the monstrous nature of the 40-year death toll of 800+ millions. (In response, I simply state that I grew up as the child of a public health educator who literally wrote the [comic-]book for my native land on the promotion of contraception . . . your condescending tone is simply out of order. [Notice, which comic book worked, here, though the feedback from some women was they would like to put off Joe for a longer time after giving birth . . . i.e. they took an even more literal view than was intended.]) On demographics, actually, Europe is moving towards demographic collapse, with fecundity for women averaging well below replacement levels, as has been discussed. As for Africa etc, the issue there is that improved public health led to a population rise not sustained by sound economic development and good governance. A policy of mass slaughter of posterity is not going to improve the ethics of governance, which is at the pivot of sound policy-making. But all of this is secondary, the primary issue is that mass slaughter of posterity is the central evil of our time, the worst holocaust in history. That some would try to defend it is itself a proof of just how far gone, just how endarkened we are as a civilisation. KF

  33. 33
    kairosfocus says:

    Q, that is a case for high-tech cannibalism. Reminds me of a shampoo from the ’70’s that had in it human placenta extracts (a euphemism, it seems). Does our civilisation really want to go down that road, given soap, lampshades and cloth now shown as an expose of the horror of an era and regime now fading from living memory? KF

  34. 34

    rvb8 admits he is in over his head:

    I don’t claim to be a ‘conceptual’ argument expert. Clearly I am not.

    Yet, amazingly, considers himself qualified to not only pass qualitative judgement on such discussions:

    Those arguments are tedious, inconclusive, and speculative at best.

    To add to this petulant hand-waving, rvb8 also engages in attacking the motivations of those who are engaged in them:

    At worst they amount to planned deception, or if you don’t like my conceptual construction, ‘lying’.

    Instead of simply admitting he is not qualified, capable nor willing to invest the time and effort, he attempts to throw dirt on everyone engaging in those discussions, as if they are deliberately trying to confuse or lie to him.

    So, let’s try this one more time! Hands up who has adopted an unwanted child! If not, please stop your endless ‘moral high ground’ shinnannigans, it’s embarassing.

    rvb8 apparently cannot even remember that I’m not a Christian, nor can he remember my position on abortion or my view on the comparative status of our moral behaviors.

    Also, when is Ann Gauger and Dembski coming out with their latest ‘proofs’, some science would be a nice environmental shift.

    rvb8, why do you want us to have more science posts? Are you a scientist? No? Are you willing to extensively read research papers and educate yourself on scientific principles and methodology? Are you going to train yourself to understand the terminology? Do you think there are no conceptual aspects to understanding scientific research? Have you read the “About” page on this site? Do you not realize it is not intended as a science-only site?

    You may not know it, rvb8, but you are a troll. All you are doing here is trying to provoke reactions by making comments about things you admit you’re not qualified nor patient enough to intelligently respond to.

    We’re not talking over your head because we’re the mean kids, rvb8. We’re talking over your head because you don’t have the time, desire or capacity to understand what is being said, and what is being discussed cannot be boiled down to superficial, millennial ADD-friendly sound-bites.

  35. 35
    Dionisio says:

    Querius & KF,

    Can morality be always effectively and rightly legislated?

    Can we force people to do what we believe is right?

    Can we impose on others our strong beliefs in the sanctity and dignity of human life, derived from the Imago Dei given to us by our Creator, according to the Holy Scriptures?

    A religious movement that appeared in Arabia around five centuries after Christianity made imposition one of their main ways to fast expansion.

    I believe that the true mission field starts in my own heart and soul.

    Christ asks His followers (not His fans) to be the light missing in this spiritually dark world.

    But that request has an obvious natural problem. How can sinners like us be light to anyone else?

    Well, only by humbly reflecting the only true Light that has always been and will always be. It takes a supernatural transformation to get to that point. It requires our complete submission to the Lord of everything, surrendering our will to His, rejoicing in His promise of eternal life in His glorious presence. That’s the Good News we should gladly proclaim to this world, with love and compassion, sharing the joy that results from being the beneficiaries of His amazing Grace.

    That’s the only Way.

    Apocalypse 22.21

  36. 36
    Phinehas says:

    rvb8:

    So, let’s try this one more time! Hands up who has adopted an unwanted child!

    My hand is up. Now what?

    If I took a materialistic view of morality, though, I’d need to rethink my approach. If my genes are to be propagated, I should probably leave my infertile wife and abandon the adopted baby that carries the genes of a rival instead of my own. What’s a bag of complex chemicals with emergent properties to do?

  37. 37
    Eric Anderson says:

    rvb8:

    I, for one, am confident that you do love your family, you do have feelings, you do assign meaning to life.

    The difference would be that some of us accept these as real, whereas the strict materialist must view it all as an illusion, an evolutionary happenstance, the result of particles bumping into each other over time. Of course the materialist’s very explanation is itself, by his own theory, just an accidental happenstance.

    There are at least three ways for the materialist to deal with this:

    (1) acknowledge that his views, feelings, thoughts, and arguments are just the workings of random particle collisions, no more worthy of consideration than the babblings of a madman;

    (2) admit that he isn’t really a materialist when it comes down to the real important things in life, even though he loves to argue for the materialist viewpoint as a matter of debating;

    (3) propose that by some undefined, unknown cause, love and purpose and meaning and intelligence and consciousness have somehow emerged through the evolutionary process, such that what originally started as meaningless particle collisions has somehow become important and meaningful.

    Each of these is a possible approach.

    My sense is that many materialists would prefer #3, even lacking as it is, unfortunately, in any causal basis. But at least it allows one to stick to the popular materialist narrative as it relates to origins, while acknowledging one’s obvious actual experience with life.

  38. 38
    asauber says:

    Hands up who has adopted an unwanted child!

    I know rvb8 is a troll, but it still should be stated that whether or not I, or anyone at UD, or anyone at all throughout history has adopted or not adopted a child has no relevance to every conceived human person’s intrinsic value and their right to life.

    Andrew

  39. 39
    kairosfocus says:

    D, law insofar as it addresses justice must be of moral character, and to be able to reason also implies being morally governed by the sense of the truth and the right. Just law is also properly backed up by the sword of justice in defence of the civil peace of justice; which is an instrument of force to be constrained and guided by justice . . . a tough challenge to consistently meet but one we cannot safely shirk or snidely deride. The alternative, frankly, is the self-evidently absurd nihilism of might and manipulation making ‘right,’ ‘truth,’ ‘meaning,’ ‘justice,’ etc. So, law is inevitably and inextricably entangled with the moral. The issue is, how soundly; hence the place for and need of reformation — which is what I am calling for, with focal issue being the keystone evil of our day, the worst holocaust in history . . . a holocaust that is in progress and which too often we wish to deny or ignore or brush aside. Law that is undermined by a lawless people will fail of effect, but that is only to say that lawlessness will end in a march of ruinous folly. This is why democracy manipulated by moneyed interests and their bought and paid technicos and rhetors is so dangerous and suicidal (cf Luke in Ac 27 on a real world case of Plato’s ship of state on a march of folly, a warning to us all on the fires we are playing with here as we tickle a dragon’s tail). Such is evident all over our civilisation today. KF

  40. 40
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: Let me cite Cicero from de Legibus on the nature of law:

    . . . M: And indeed correctly. For recognize that in no subject of argument are more honorable things brought into the open: what nature has granted to a human being, how many of the best things the human mind encompasses, what service we have been born for and brought into light to perform and accomplish, what is the connection among human beings, and what natural fellowship there is among them. When these things have been explained, the source of laws and right can be discovered.

    [17] A: So you don’t think that the discipline of law should be drawn from the praetor’s edict, as many do now, or from the Twelve Tables [archaic set of basic Roman laws], as earlier men did, but from within the profoundest philosophy?

    M: In fact, Pomponius, in this conversation we are not seeking how to safeguard interests in law [ius], or how to respond to each consultation. That thing may be a great matter, and it is, which formerly was undertaken by many famous men and is now undertaken by one man of the highest authority and knowledge [Servius Sulpicius]. But in this debate we must embrace the entire cause of universal right and laws, so that what we call civil law [ius] may be confined to a certain small, narrow place. We must explain the nature of law [ius], and this must be traced from human nature. We must consider laws by which cities ought to be ruled. Then we must treat the laws [ius] and orders of peoples that have been composed and written, in which what are called the civil laws [ius] of our people will not be hidden.

    [18] Q: Truly, brother, you trace deeply and, as is proper, from the fountain head of what we are asking about. Those who hand down the civil law [ius] differently are handing down not so much ways of justice as ways of litigating.

    M: That is not so, Quintus: ignorance of the law [ius] is conducive to more lawsuits than knowledge of it. But this later; now let us see the beginnings of law [ius].

    Therefore, it has pleased highly educated men to commence with law—probably correctly, provided that, as the same men define it, law is highest reason, implanted in nature, which orders those things that ought to be done and prohibits the opposite. The same reason is law when it has been strengthened and fully developed in the human mind. [19] And so they think that law is prudence, the effect of which is to order persons to act correctly and to forbid them to transgress. They also think that this thing has been called [from] the Greek name for “granting to each his own,” whereas I think it comes from our word for “choosing.” As they put the effect of fairness into law, we put the effect of choice into it. Nevertheless, each one is appropriate to law. But if it is thus correctly said, as indeed it mostly and usually seems to me, the beginning of right should be drawn from law. For this is a force of nature; this is the mind and reason of the prudent man; this is the rule of right and wrong. But since our entire speech is for the people’s business, sometimes it will be necessary to speak popularly and to call that a law which, when written, consecrates what it wants by either ordering [or forbidding], as the crowd calls it. In fact let us take the beginning of establishing right from the highest law, which was born before any law was written for generations in common [corrupt text here] or before a city was established at all . . .

    Let us note on law as the rule of justice in light of our evident nature, evident to the rational, responsibly free, which properly guides conduct. Which is then more or less well echoed in our understanding and legislation or rulings, precedents etc.

    Whence, the general respect for the corpus of decisions rendered across time as embodying more or less a working replica.

    But, open to genuine reform, not the mere push and pull of might and manipulation make ‘right.’

    Which Plato warned against so sternly in The Laws Bk X.

    And yes, we need to listen again to the classics, to learn afresh what was once so well known and understood, but has now been by and large forgotten.

    Those who dismiss the hard bought lessons of history doom themselves to pay the same coin of blood and tears to relearn them; if they will heed even their own pain.

  41. 41
    Dionisio says:

    KF

    Thank you for the insightful comments @39 & @40.

    Yes, abortion is evil because it goes totally against the only true source of righteousness.
    God gives life and can take it away too.
    We not only can’t create life, we even don’t understand it well from our limited perspective. Hence we have no authority whatsoever over the life of any human being, including the innocent unborn.

  42. 42
    rvb8 says:

    WJM,
    I know what yo are not, ‘a Cristian’. What I don’t know is what you are! I am an atheist, and not a scientist. Why is my lack of science credentials important? When I post at Pandas, or Whyevolutionistrue, they don’t mind this lack. Only at a site where there appears to be a lack of actual science, is my qualification to do so, questioned. Also, reading Denyse, I learn she positively seethes at these adhominems when directed at her, ‘elitist’ or ‘mainstream media’ is her main avenue.

    So, what is your faith? And what is a ‘conceptual’ argument expert? To be fair, I expect a dense impenetrable, jargon filled response, to which my limited brain will say, ‘eh?’

    I really do come here and evolutionnews to keep up with the latest in ID investigation. There is none! I get philosophy lessons, an irate Kairos, who wants to ban something as old as pregnancy itself, and you attacking my intellect.

  43. 43
    Querius says:

    Notice that rvb8 has responded to the irrefutable conclusions of atheistic materialism by simply attacking those who call it into question.

    The fact remains that there is no materialistic counter-argument against eating the flesh of aborted babies and unwanted toddlers. None.

    As a result, rvb8 has declined to present any objection, because rvb8 knows I’m right.

    There’s absolutely nothing immoral about animals eating other animals, and without God, anything is permissible depending on the circumstances—especially for evolved, organically mechanistic living beings such as gorillas, humans, cats, and rats.

    Are you still going to ask me about adopting orphans, rvb8?

    -Q

  44. 44
    rvb8 says:

    My ethics would lead me to forgo the ‘baby in blender’ entre Q.

    I really am more concerned with the crimes committed against our environment than your weird fetishizing on my eating habits.

    My girlfriend’s girlfriend had an abortion, one of two people I know that have. Both were safe, quick, and free. They both struggled with their decisions. That was 15 years ago, they are both married now and both have children. After some initial guilt which time overcame, they have no regrets and regularly thank me and remind me of the time.

    You see, it was my arguments that tipped their decisions. Something I’m proud of, and have absolutely no regrets about.

    If you aren’t or won’t adopt you should follow your morality to its logical conclusion. Why aren’t you out after the doctors performing this service?

  45. 45
    Querius says:

    rvb8,

    Your ethics then, are not consistent with your materialism or atheism. They are simply your quaint preferences of the moment. They’re charming but illogical.

    You still don’t get it.

    I was suggesting that from an atheistic and materialistic point of view, there is nothing ethically wrong with abortion nor with eating human flesh. Are you disagreeing with this or are you simply arguing to argue?

    From an evolutionary point of view, what does adopting unwanted and helpless children have anything to do with survival of the fittest? As far as evolution is concerned, if they can serve as a food source for a starving animal this is a good thing. It ends suffering for both the predator and the prey.

    Do you rescue baby mice from a cat?

    -Q

  46. 46
    Marfin says:

    rvb8- You still have not answered my simple question ,if everything is a result of evolution via natural selection then how can anything such as paedophilia be right or wrong and not just a trait that infers fitness on its possessors.
    Please stop hanging on to you worldview , just because it suits you and not because it has any basis in evidence.

  47. 47

    Why is my lack of science credentials important?

    Because it calls into question why you want to see more scientific articles here. If you are not competent to judge the scientific merits of such articles, why do you want to see more such articles?

    So, what is your faith?

    If I were to put a label only my philosophical views, I would use the term Pragmatist. As Wiki explains:

    Pragmatism rejects the idea that the function of thought is to describe, represent, or mirror reality.[3] Instead, pragmatists consider thought an instrument or tool for prediction, problem solving and action. Pragmatists contend that most philosophical topics—such as the nature of knowledge, language, concepts, meaning, belief, and science—are all best viewed in terms of their practical uses and successes. The philosophy of pragmatism “emphasizes the practical application of ideas by acting on them to actually test them in human experiences”.

    I would add that I am a classical theist (you can also find that on Wiki – essentially, the belief in a metaphysically necessary being) in the sense that I find that classical theism very useful and intellectually satisfying in allowing me to lead an enjoyable life as a good person.

    Additionally, I hold the view that I am a contributor to the ongoing creation of what exists, so I practice various manifestation techniques daily, including prayer. I hold this view because it appears to (1) correspond to my experience, and (2) aid me in living the kind of life I want to live.

    And what is a ‘conceptual’ argument expert?

    You tell me. You’re the one that used the term, not me.

    To be fair, I expect a dense impenetrable, jargon filled response, to which my limited brain will say, ‘eh?’

    Yes, you might be triggered by a response that is not reducible to ADD-friendly sound bites, so you might want to get your safe space ready.

    I really do come here and evolutionnews to keep up with the latest in ID investigation. There is none!

    Then why do you keep coming here? Why do you keep responding on threads about other things?

    Do you have any idea how immature and trollish it is to come to a site where people there are seriously engaging in the kinds of debates and discussion they want to engage in, and then incessantly complaining that they do not talk about what you want to talk about, and then inserting yourself into discussions about things you don’t want to talk about and complaining that people’s posts are too long and too complex and “make your head hurt”, then attacking their motivations?

    Good grief. Do you really not realize you’re being a troll?

    I get philosophy lessons, an irate Kairos, who wants to ban something as old as pregnancy itself, and you attacking my intellect.

    What intellect?

  48. 48
    kairosfocus says:

    RVB8, 42:

    I get philosophy lessons, an irate Kairos, who wants to ban something as old as pregnancy itself

    I am afraid, you seem to be perpetually truth and fairness challenged; and inclined to project the wildest silly assertions that have no foundation to those you object to. On this point, what part of concern about the demographic collapse of the W and what part of objection to the worst holocaust in history — the slaughter of 800 million unborn in 40 years or so — can be responsibly translated into banning pregnancy?

    None.

    In short, you have again spoken in disregard to truth in hope of profiting by what you say or suggest being taken as true.

    And of course, all this to trollishly accuse and snidely dismiss.

    Both of these suggest that you would be well advised to attend more closely to logic, truth and ethics . . . all of them branches of philosophy.

    (And on that subject, it has long since become clear that the problem is not scientific evidence or the logic of inductive inference. There is a trillion-member observation base and there is an easily accessible analysis of blind search of configuration spaces that shows that there is a good reason to see that the only empirically and analytically warranted vera causa plausible explanation of functionally specific, complex organisation and/or information: intelligently directed configuration. AKA, design. The real problem is patently ideological imposition of Lewontin’s evolutionary materialist scientism.)

    Perhaps, you are missing the fjords.

    KF

  49. 49
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: On Pragmatism, if it works, it’s effectively or “practically” true first confuses empirical reliability (so far) for truth. Truth, as Ari pointed out, says of what is that it is, and of what is not that it is not. The world of modelling theory shows that false things can be useful in the sense of power and manipulation. Things that are wrong or even monstrous can also work very well at least for long enough to cause a lot of trouble. If there lurks the further Kantian error of an impassable gulch between the inner world and the outer one of things in themselves, F H Bradley long since corrected that this is a major truth claim about a knowable feature of the outer world; i.e. this is incoherent. Pragmatism fails the worldviews test. KF

    PS: We need to realise that 800 million abortions in 40 years hang around our necks like the albatross, warping moral judgements, law, institutions, policy, media, education and more. Blood guilt is the most corrupting influence of all. And a procedure that intentionally terminates innocent human life cannot properly be termed “safe.” We have some awful realities of very close blood guilt to face, if we, our civilisation and our souls are to return to sound health. It is not going to be easy at all, and will call for compassion and more, but face it we must if our civilisation is to be saved from a march of ruinous, suicidal folly.

  50. 50

    kf:

    Pragmatism doesn’t confuse empirical reliability for truth; it makes no claims about truth other than the apparent success of the propositional method in acquiring the goal. It doesn’t even claim that success is true, only that it is apparent. At least, that’s my understanding of it. Please note that I did not read about pragmatism and then become a pragmatist; I developed my views without any knowledge of metaphysical pragmatism and then later read about it and realized it closely approximated some of my views and methods.

    However, I agree that pragmatism by itself is no better than materialism and deeply problematic, which is why classical theism (at the least) is required. Pragmatism by itself offers no oughts one should pursue via pragmatism. One cannot be satisfied they are a good person without proper oughts guiding their actions, and one cannot be intellectually satisfied they are following proper oughts without (at least) classical theism and (at least) natural law morality.

    So, although I acquired classical theism and natural law morality because they were pragmatic to fulfill my need to be a good person, they are also, IMO, necessary attributes of any rationally consistent worldview. Pragmatism is irrelevant if it is not rationally consistent.

    I would say that pragmatism is not a necessary aspect of a valid and rational theistic worldview; it does represent, however, the logic that moved me from atheism to theism and I think it’s a pretty good argument to make. Atheism is simply not a practical worldview if one actually wishes to be a good person, and for that “goodness” to mean anything other than “because I say so, because I can.”

  51. 51
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM, practically — “pragmatically” — speaking, it does. In effect, crudely, if it works reliably it is meaningful and as “true” or as “known” about “reality” as we are going to get. Yes, the strict refinements you make are relevant, and show how onwards it falls into even hotter water (e.g. opening the door to logical positivism), but the on the ground fact is, this is more or less the muscle behind a lot of vulgar scientism that is fashionable in certain quarters. KF

    PS: Let me clip Peirce in the original Pop Sci article, as this will bring home a lot of my concerns:

    . . . all the followers of science are fully persuaded that the processes of investigation, if only pushed far enough, will give one certain solution to every question to which they can be applied. One man may investigate the velocity of light by studying the transits of Venus and the aberration of the stars; another by the oppositions of Mars and the eclipses of Jupiter’s satellites; a third by the method of Fizeau; a fourth by that of Foucault; a fifth by the motions of the curves of Lissajoux; a sixth, a seventh, an eighth, and a ninth, may follow the different methods of comparing the measures of statical and dynamical electricity. They may at first obtain different results, but, as each perfects his method and his processes, the results will move steadily together toward a destined centre. So with all scientific research. [–> sounds a bit naive and cherry-picked today] Different minds may set out with the most antagonistic views, but the progress of investigation carries them by a force outside of themselves to one and the same conclusion. This activity of thought by which we are carried, not where we wish, but to a foreordained goal, is like the operation of destiny. No modification of the point of view taken, no selection of other facts for study, no natural bent of mind even, can enable a man to escape the predestinate opinion. This great law is embodied in the conception of truth and reality. The opinion which is fated[2] to be ultimately agreed to by all who investigate, is what we mean by the truth, and the object represented in this opinion is the real. [–> see how if it works reliably enough it is practically true comes out as a rule of thumb? And, how truth is indeed deeply embedded in the matter? Also, how scientism easily gets in the door?] That is the way I would explain reality.

  52. 52
    kairosfocus says:

    PPS: Via SEP, James on truth:

    The true is the name of whatever proves itself to be good in the way of belief, and good, too, for definite assignable reasons. (1907: 42 [from: Pragmatism: A New Name for some Old Ways of Thinking, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1975.])

    ‘The true’, to put it very briefly, is only the expedient in the way of our thinking, just as ‘the right’ is only the expedient in the way of our behaving. Expedient in almost any fashion; and expedient in the long run and on the whole, of course. (1907: 106)

    Hence, many, many concerns and a lot of philosophical hot water.

  53. 53
    john_a_designer says:

    I don’t think any of the theist contributors or commenters here have argued that atheists cannot live conventionally moral lives or find personal meaning in their friends, family or work/career etc. So what is rvb8’s argument? “Because I am moral and can find meaning as an atheist, theism is untrue” (?) You do not need to have a sophisticated knowledge of logic and logical reasoning to understand that that logic just does not follow… Furthermore, there is no way he can argue that his beliefs are valid or “true” for anyone else but himself, therefore he has no argument. Only theism can make any sort of universal truth claim in the area of morals and meaning. I don’t see how that can even possibly be true for atheism.

  54. 54

    KF said;

    WJM, practically — “pragmatically” — speaking, it does. In effect, crudely, if it works reliably it is meaningful and as “true” or as “known” about “reality” as we are going to get.

    KF, I don’t hold that pragmatism describes as much knowledge about what is true about reality that we can get. Please remember that I don’t endorse pragmatism nor am I versed in any in-depth understanding of what “official” pragmatism means. What little I have read of it is a fair description of part of my views – as I said, considering all my views, pragmatism by itself is as useless and as problematic as materialism (as you pointed out). So, when someone asks me about my belief system, I point to pragmatism with the caveat that it is within a classic theistic framework. Otherwise, it would take a couple of books to explain my views.

    Perhaps I implied that I was a theist because I’m a pragmatist, which would make me a theist within a pragmatist framework. That would not be correct.

    I came to theism because of my need/desire to be a good person (I think I’ve said this before here), and rationally speaking, the only intellectually satisfying way of being a good person is within a theistic framework. However, it would still be valid to say that I adopted theism pragmatically (even though I was utterly unaware of metaphysical pragmatism) in order to satisfy my need to be able to be a good person. Theism is the only rationally coherent and practical manner in which one can be a good person in any meaningful, substantive sense. Perhaps I should adjust my explanations about my views and how I came to them when asked to avoid misunderstanding.

    You may notice that my arguments are not about “proving” whether or not something is factually true or false. This is not because I don’t think humans are capable of discerning true statements about the world from false, but rather because, IMO, atheistic materialists are in a state of denial about even what is obviously, undeniably true and so trying to prove them true is a useless exercise whereas other argument and discussions may be of value. And if not of value to them, they may be of value to others.

    My pragmatic arguments are like the moral arguments that without theism, morality is a useless concept. You take the idea of being good and acting morally and compare them under a theistic vs a atheistic/materialistic perspective. You end up with morality being a useless concept and a mask for “might makes right” without theism. So, you compare pragmatic lines of thought under atheism and theism, and demonstrate how, even practically speaking, theism is better than atheism.

    Atheistic materialists like to consider themselves good, rational, and practical. They will often say that true beliefs are somehow more useful or practical than false ones. The pragmatic argument demonstrates that there is no such practical reason to be an atheist – that even if false (arguendo), belief in god is the more practical, useful belief for many reasons, while atheism is an entirely impractical, unproductive view.

    The moral argument demonstrates that atheistic morality is meaningless, and even if objective morality is false, we all act and behave as if it true anyway.

    The rationality argument demonstrates how there is no rationality under atheism.

    I guess you could say I like to develop different kinds of arguments wrt theism vs atheism. So, I have developed/putforward some arguments that there is no practical, rational or moral reason to be an atheist, even if atheism is true, the unspoken caveat being that we cannot know that atheism is true. Atheism, in any strong sense is necessarily a faith commitment, but it is one where there is no practical, moral or rational benefit. There is literally no reason to not be a theist other than ignorance, misunderstanding, or irrational anti-theistic commitment. You can’t even claim in principle it’s better to be an atheist because atheism is true, because there’s simply no way to support the claim that atheism is true.

  55. 55
    Dionisio says:

    Phinehas @36:

    If I took a materialistic view of morality, though, I’d need to rethink my approach. If my genes are to be propagated, I should probably leave my infertile wife and abandon the adopted baby that carries the genes of a rival instead of my own. What’s a bag of complex chemicals with emergent properties to do?

    Thank you for sharing such profound thoughts about life illustrated by your own personal experience.
    May God bless you and your family.

    BTW, did anyone answer your questions? Did any of the politely-dissenting interlocutors dare to comment on what you wrote?

  56. 56
    Phinehas says:

    Dionisio @55:

    Thanks!

    No, the question has gone unanswered. I was beginning to wonder whether my post was only showing up on my computer. But it appears that our interlocutors were hoping no one would call their bluff and that they have little else to offer.

  57. 57
    Querius says:

    No, Phinehas. When faced with astute, penetrating questions, people like rvb8 either leave to inflict their unsupported assertions in other topics, or they briefly return to announce that they “won the argument” and then zip off.

    If they’ve been caught in a lie, such as the guy who claimed he had a statistics background and then proceeded to flub a simple statistics problem that was posed to him, they disappear and then seem to reappear after a while under a different name–their style is suspiciously similar.

    Or maybe we’ve been arguing with a “troll-bot” AI. 😮

    -Q

  58. 58
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM

    This has been a busy time, so pardon my pause before responding further on pragmatism (esp. in the informal sense) and linked concerns.

    Perhaps, the heart of your remarks is:

    . . . it would still be valid to say that I adopted theism pragmatically (even though I was utterly unaware of metaphysical pragmatism) in order to satisfy my need to be able to be a good person. Theism is the only rationally coherent and practical manner in which one can be a good person in any meaningful, substantive sense. Perhaps I should adjust my explanations about my views and how I came to them when asked to avoid misunderstanding.

    You may notice that my arguments are not about “proving” whether or not something is factually true or false. This is not because I don’t think humans are capable of discerning true statements about the world from false, but rather because, IMO, atheistic materialists are in a state of denial about even what is obviously, undeniably true and so trying to prove them true is a useless exercise whereas other argument and discussions may be of value. And if not of value to them, they may be of value to others.

    My pragmatic arguments are like the moral arguments that without theism, morality is a useless concept . . .

    Pardon notes on points, a convenient approach for analysis as opposed to a rhetorically elegant one (and some of our visiting objectors will resort to matters of style when substance fails as an objection):

    1 –> I believe you are American or strongly American-influenced (given our media age). Pragmatism is the classic American philosophy and so is readily present as “in the air”. The serious level critiques, much less so.

    2 –> At the crux of the matter seems to be, how does one warrant — as opposed to “prove” — a serious worldview stance relative to others. In effect you are saying that you find that generic ethical theism answers to the facts of moral experience better than atheistical, scientistic evolutionary materialism. (Which, is inherently amoral and opens the door to nihilism of might and manipulation make, ‘right,’ ‘truth,’ meaning,” ‘value’ etc.)

    3 –> Over the years, you will doubtless have heard me speak of “comparative difficulties” as the fundamental method of philosophy and particularly of critical worldviews analysis. [Cf here from a course I presented some years past, long before engaging discussions at UD. Also, the tipsheet, here.)

    4 –> Note, an augmented clip from the tipsheet [which was a handout]:

    Philosophy is based on analysis of worldviews using logic in light of the key hard questions and alternative answers – all of which bristle with difficulties. [–> comparative difficulties looks at fundamental frames of thought for perceiving the world and compares on difficulties with factual adequacy, coherence, explanatory power] So in analysis, we need to see the underlying core worldview beliefs in an argument, then assess how they control the conclusions and action proposals made: do they make good sense? Then, we need to decide which alternative makes best sense in light of the comparative difficulties and the possible consequences of each option . . . .

    [W]e need to see what an argument claims, implies or assumes regarding:

    1] What, or Who, is ultimately real? [i.e. Metaphysics]

    2] How do/can we know and test/justify this? [i.e. Logic & Epistemology]

    3] How, then, should we live? [i.e. Ethics & Aesthetics]

    4] What’s right/wrong with the world, and what should we do? [i.e. “loving and living by wisdom”]

    5] What are the key ideas and terms used in the worldview/argument?

    6] How does this fit with the major worldviews: e.g. theism, naturalism, pantheism, modernism, post-modernism?

    7] What are the key difficulties?

    8] What are the major alternatives to this view?

    9] What are their difficulties?

    10] In light of possible consequences and probabilities, which alternative is most prudent?

    5 –> In effect, your pivotal issue is you took seriously the voice of conscience urging you to truth and right, thus wisdom and goodness. And indeed scripture speaks of there being an inner light, a candle within guiding us to the truth and the right. John Locke, in his introduction to his essay on human understanding, Section 5, aptly observed:

    Men have reason to be well satisfied with what God hath thought fit for them, since he hath given them (as St. Peter says [NB: i.e. 2 Pet 1:2 – 4]) pana pros zoen kaieusebeian, whatsoever is necessary for the conveniences of life and information of virtue; and has put within the reach of their discovery, the comfortable provision for this life, and the way that leads to a better. How short soever their knowledge may come of an universal or perfect comprehension of whatsoever is, it yet secures their great concernments [Prov 1: 1 – 7], that they have light enough to lead them to the knowledge of their Maker, and the sight of their own duties [cf Rom 1 – 2 & 13, Ac 17, Jn 3:19 – 21, Eph 4:17 – 24, Isaiah 5:18 & 20 – 21, Jer. 2:13, Titus 2:11 – 14 etc, etc]. Men may find matter sufficient to busy their heads, and employ their hands with variety, delight, and satisfaction, if they will not boldly quarrel with their own constitution, and throw away the blessings their hands are filled with, because they are not big enough to grasp everything . . . It will be no excuse to an idle and untoward servant [Matt 24:42 – 51], who would not attend his business by candle light, to plead that he had not broad sunshine. The Candle that is set up in us [Prov 20:27] shines bright enough for all our purposes . . . If we will disbelieve everything, because we cannot certainly know all things, we shall do muchwhat as wisely as he who would not use his legs, but sit still and perish, because he had no wings to fly. [Text references added to document the sources of Locke’s allusions and citations.]

    6 –> In effect, in the teeth of the confusions, deceptions and manipulations of our day, you have lived out this passage from Locke. Itself, a not insignificant point.

    7 –> Our knowledge (at its best) is constrained by our bounded rationality, and too often it is further limited by all sorts of challenges that are less able to stand up to scrutiny. This is what the apostle Paul spoke to, in challenging Rome c 57 AD, with Nero Caesar as Sinner and Pervert in Chief [if Suetonius is to be believed, he had by 14 years of age been implicated in murder to get better access to the de facto throne . . . his later behaviour is unmentionable, read Lives of the Twelve Caesars on Nero at a time when you are sufficiently settled in stomach to be able to take it (I cannot believe that we seem to want to go back there . . . )]:

    Rom 1:19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world,[g] in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools . . . . 28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.

    8 –> This, too, should sound hauntingly familiar. (And regarding the truth of the gospel that Paul was “not ashamed” to proclaim, even in chains binding him to a soldier-guard in Rome, kindly cf here on for a 101 level discussion.)

    9 –> And yes, Locke was plainly alluding to this text also in his pivotal essay on epistemology.

    10 –> We are now at a key distinction that lurks in the word pistis, here in the sense, rhetorical proof. That is:

    –there is such a thing as soundly arrived at well-warranted conviction

    — resting, on confidence in the lives as much as the words of those who bring it to one

    — notice, ethos and logos here; with pathos in the context, that our emotive responses are shaped by our perceptions and judgements (and thus are inescapably freigted with the cognitive, especially for those who have disciplined themselves towards the true, sound, right, prudent etc]

    — which, is warranted to that degree that we term moral certainty,

    — such that, it would be irresponsible to act on serious matters as though what is so grounded were false simply because it falls short of some notion of hyperskeptically demanded proof.

    — that is, selective hyperskepticism leading to double standards of warrant, is a key indicator of error on such matters

    11 –> In effect, your reasoning is that of comparative difficulties analysis, starting from the moral failure of grounding of scientistic evolutionary materialistic atheism.

    12 –> Pragmatism, it seems, enters due to the accessibility of the term; where perhaps, soft form open-ended objectivity about knowledge and pistis as the sense of “proof” (better, warrant) in a context of comparative difficulties across factual adequacy, coherence and explanatory power leading to prudent worldviews choice, is what is at work.

    KF

  59. 59
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: It is worth the while to clip Wiki testifying against agenda (with a caveat or two):

    Pistis in rhetoric

    Thus, pistis in rhetoric are the elements to induce true judgment through enthymemes, hence to give proof of a statement.[3] There are three modes by which this is employed. The first mode is the “subject matter capable of inducing a state of mind within the audience.”[4] The second pistis is the “subject itself considered under an appeal to the intellect or in its logical aspects.”[4] The third pistis is the “logical, rational, and intellectual aspect of the issue under discussion.”[5] All three modes of pistis occur in logos as it appeals to logical persuasion.[3]

    Persuasive pistis in Greek rhetoric and Christianity

    Greek rhetoric and Christian faith share a connection through pistis. Christian concepts of faith (pistis) were borrowed from Greek rhetorical notions of pistis.[6] Christian pistis deems its persuasion in a positive light as the New Testament concepts of pistis require that a listener be knowledgeable of the subject matter at issue and thus able to fully assent.[6] Whereas, the Greeks took the notion of pistis as persuasive discourse that was elliptical and concentrated on the “affect and effect rather than on the representation of the truth.”[7] The evolution of pistis in Christianity as a persuasive rhetorical technique starkly contrasts with its meaning used by the Greeks.[6]

    In fact, the first context is not Christianity, but Judaism.

    Post exilic Judaism had to deal with a Greek culture and with being the buffer state or province between two competing Greek-led states, Ptolemaic Egypt to the S, Syria to the N. Indeed, the great independence struggle under Judas Maccabeus [the Hammer] was against the Seleucid Greek empire to the N. By C1, there was the Dekapolis in Palestine, the ten Greek cities. Indeed, it is likely, Jesus and his family worked in the construction industry in Sepphoris, a significant Gk city 5 miles from Nazareth.

    In that context, the OT was translated into Greek, the Septuagint.

    It is in that setting that the word for confidence in God premised on his character and word, spoken by prophets and recorded in scripture would have been rendered in terms of a close Gk term. And Septuagintal Gk usage strongly shaped NT usage. (That is, by C1, certain Gk words were readily available as ways to discuss matters of ethical theism in the Hebraic tradition of Messiah.)

    This is the context in which we read Paul in his theological will, on the eve of his execution, to Timothy his in effect informal adoptive son, a half Greek diaspora Jew who had become a Christian:

    2 Tim 3:10 You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, 11 my persecutions and sufferings that happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra—which persecutions I endured; yet from them all the Lord rescued me.

    12 Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13 while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.

    14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed [others render pistis here, been [appropriately] convinced of], knowing from whom[a] you learned it [–> starting with Jewish mother and grandmother, yes this is primarily OT and likely in Septuagintal translation, then synagogue and then church and finally apostle] 15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings [–> likely in both languages], which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

    16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God[b] may be complete, equipped for every good work.

    In short, biblical faith is not empty of content or warrant, and is also tied to the trustworthiness of both scripture and the people who faithfully pass on the tradition expressed therein.

    In my case, I literally would not be here save for answer to prayer of surrender by my mother (shaped in the first instance by her Anglican heritage deeply embedded in her root community and based on the scriptures . . . ), answered by a miracle of medical guidance that saved my life.

    My life is decisively shaped by the God who answers by fire to sincere prayer in the name of Jesus of Nazareth.

    Here I stand, a Christian disciple [warts and struggles and all] bound by conscience-guided firm conviction with abundant warrant to moral certainty. I lay no claim to perfection, but this I know: I dare not but confess to the truth as I have learned it, tested it and found it sound for life, thought and eternity.

    I freely cast the weight of my soul on it, and invite all others to also taste and see that The LORD — yes, the Great Jehovah (he knows and answers that name quite well by fire, never mind that Yahweh is likely more accurate to the Heb) — is good.

  60. 60
    kairosfocus says:

    PPS: Nordquist, here, is also worth pondering:

    Definition

    In classical rhetoric, pistis can mean proof, belief, or state of mind. Plural: pisteis.

    “Pisteis (in the sense of means of persuasion) are classified by Aristotle into two categories: artless proofs (pisteis atechnoi), that is, those that are not provided by the speaker but are pre-existing, and artistic proofs (pisteis entechnoi), that is, those that are created by the speaker” (A Companion to Greek Rhetoric, 2010).

    See the observations below. Also see:

    Artistic Proofs and Inartistic Proofs
    Argument
    Doxa
    Evidence
    Logical Proof
    Parts of a Speech

    Etymology
    From the Greek, “faith”

    Observations

    “The opening [of Aristotle’s Rhetoric] defines rhetoric as the ‘counterpart of dialectic,’ which seeks not to persuade but to find the appropriate means of persuasion in any given situation (1.1.1-4 and 1.2.1). These means are to be found in various kinds of proof or conviction (pistis). . . . Proofs are of two kinds: inartificial (not involving rhetorical art–e.g., in forensic [judicial] rhetoric: laws, witnesses, contracts, torture, and oaths) and artificial [artistic] (involving the art of rhetoric).”
    (P. Rollinson, A Guide to Classical Rhetoric. Summertown, 1998)

    “One aim of speech within a Western rhetorical tradition is to produce pistis (belief), which will, in turn, produce consensus. A student trained to imitate models, to speak in different ways, could conform language and reasoning to the capacities of different audiences, and thus create that consubstantiality between speaker and audience, the rhetorically created scene of community.”
    (Daniel Bender, “Imitation.” Encyclopedia of Rhetoric and Composition: Communication From Ancient Times to the Information Age, ed. by Theresa Enos. Taylor & Francis, 1996)

    Logical Instruments

    “Pistis is used to represent the state of mind, namely, conviction or belief, at which the auditor arrives when the correctly chosen aspects of the subject-matter are placed before him in an effective manner. . . .

    “In its second meaning, pistis is the word used for a methodological technique . . .. In this sense, pistis means the logical instrument used by the mind to marshal the material into a reasoning process. It is a method which gives the matter a logical form, so to speak, and thus produces that state of mind in the auditor which is called belief, pistis. . . . It is this meaning of pistis which is applicable primarily to enthymeme, but also to paradeigma (example). For in rhetoric enthymeme (the process of deduction) and paradeigma (the inductive process) are the logical instruments which one is to use in constructing argumentation directed toward krisis, or judgment, on the part of another.”

    (William M. A. Grimaldi, “Studies in the Philosophy of Aristotle’s Rhetoric.” Landmark Essays on Aristotelian Rhetoric, ed. by Richard Leo Enos and Lois Peters Agnew. Routledge, 1998)

    The contrast to the rhetoric of manipulative, ruthless persuasion to gain advantage while speaking and acting with disregard to truth in hope of what one says or suggests being taken as true could hardly be more stark.

    And, I daresay, this seems to be at its worst in dealing with political manipulation, agit prop and cynical media operators in our day. (Resemblance to the US election now in progress is NOT coincidental. It is diagnostic.)

  61. 61
    Querius says:

    Dionisio,

    Yes, of course you’re right—I appreciate your kind comments.

    -Q

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