Intelligent Design

Materialists and Puppies

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How is arguing with a materialist like housebreaking a puppy?

Materialist arguments about ethics are the rhetorical equivalent of piles of steaming dog poo. And they drop those piles all over the place. Dealing with the aftermath is very unpleasant. But if you are going to make any progress, it is necessary to rub their noses in it. And they don’t like that.

People like Bob O’H living their comfortable little bourgeois lives, coasting on Christian moral capital built up over centuries, dabble in philosophy and make half-educated pronouncements about ethics. And they come up with gems like “it would be arrogant for me to say Himmler was necessarily wrong.” And a part of that moral capital is flushed down the toilet. How much longer before they undermine it altogether and the whole grand edifice comes tumbling down? I don’t know. But I’m no optimistic. Thus the title of my last post.  Be afraid.

19 Replies to “Materialists and Puppies

  1. 1
    jdk says:

    You are so likeable, Barry! 🙂 I don’t suppose common courtesy and civility is on your agenda, is it?

  2. 2
    Barry Arrington says:

    jdk,

    When someone says they can’t foreclose the possibility that Himmler might have been right, they share in his evil. They have forfeited common courtesy and civility. They deserve to be met with only derision and scorn. Ideas have consequences. 100,000,000 bodies later, I would think you would know that.

  3. 3
    jdk says:

    You can make your point in a way that preserves your own integrity and dignity, Barry, rather than in a way that lowers yourself.

    You write, “But if you are going to make any progress, it is necessary to rub their noses in it. ”

    That is false. You don’t convince others – neither the person himself or onlookers – no matter how right you may be, by being crude and obnoxious. Your post is just self-indulgence, but not in any way effective.

  4. 4
    Querius says:

    Sorry jdk, but I completely disagree!

    After lots of online debating with A-mats, I’ve come to the same conclusion that Barry has. This conclusion came from spending hours of research in response to their skepticism, only to have it blown off in two minutes as inadequate, followed by a stream of ad hominem attacks, changing the subject, or simply moving to another thread.

    You’ll notice that they often “assign” homework to those who disagree with them rather than doing their own research in good faith. Then, I realized that they often seem to believe that their unsupported assertions constitute irrefutable proof.

    So, why can’t I be skeptical of their assertions and ask them to support their assertions with research?

    They never have done so and they seem to be immunized against any logic or actual facts. So, I changed my approach.

    I mock them instead.

    Or I repeat my questions that they have never answered. For example,

    Note that rvb8 still hasn’t addressed the question put to him about whether he considers providing the semi-starving part of the world with a rich source of nutritious protein as somehow immoral. He just seems to disappear (for a while) or jump to another thread!

    At least Dawkins has the courage to follow logic and admit that there are no intrinsic ethical prohibitions from his philosophy against cannibalism.

    Instead, it seems to be the mission of most of the A-mats here simply to waste as much of our time as possible.

    -Q

  5. 5
    Barry Arrington says:

    jdk,
    “but not in any way effective”

    Ya know, I am always so grateful when my enemies give me advice on how to be more effective. Thanks!

  6. 6
    jdk says:

    You’re welcome, although I don’t consider you an enemy.

    [Added in edit] Enemies are people actively engaged in an attack of some kind of my life in some way, including all that I care for. You’re just someone on an internet discussion board that I disagree philosophically with. That doesn’t begin to rise to the level of “enemy.”

  7. 7
    jdk says:

    Querius, you write,

    Sorry jdk, but I completely disagree!

    After lots of online debating with A-mats, I’ve come to the same conclusion that Barry has.

    I think you didn’t get my point. I wasn’t disagreeing (or agreeing) with Barry’s point. I was saying that they way he expressed himself was unnecessarily disagreeable and, being unlikely to effect anyone other than those already totally in agreement with him, nothing more than a self-gratifying self-indulgence.

  8. 8
    Barry Arrington says:

    jdk:

    Enemies are people actively engaged in an attack of some kind of my life in some way, including all that I care for. You’re just someone on an internet discussion board that I disagree philosophically with. That doesn’t begin to rise to the level of “enemy.”

    That is a very narrow conception of “enemy.” My conception of the word goes beyond concerns for my personal safety. I consider people such as yourself, who are busy jackhammering away at the very foundation of liberal civilization, to be the enemy of everything that is good and decent.

    Oh, and please don’t think for a moment I believe you are truly concerned about whether my posts are effective. If you are going to play the false flag game, jdk, by definition it helps if you are not ham-fisted and obvious.

  9. 9
    Querius says:

    jdk,

    I think you didn’t get my point. I wasn’t disagreeing (or agreeing) with Barry’s point.

    Please notice that I didn’t say you were disagreeing with Barry’s point.

    What I strongly disagreed with was your advice to Barry.

    -Q

  10. 10
    bornagain77 says:

    Puppies eventually learn, grow up, become extremely trustworthy, loyal, and protective.

    None of those characteristics apply to the vast majority of militant atheists.

  11. 11
    Origenes says:

    A very interesting analogy, Barry!
    From precision-dog-training.com:

    If you can catch it on time, clap your hands loudly or say “eh!” to startle the pup in the midst of peeing/pooping. Then rush him outside.

    Translation: a temporary ban from UD.

    If you’ve missed this opportunity, take a clean sponge and sop up the pee or pick the poop up in a bag. Take the sponge/bag out with your puppy to the designated “bathroom area”, and wipe in on the grass. Encourage him to sniff it – he needs to smell the pee/poo outside on the grass to understand it!

    Synchronicity exists.

  12. 12
    Bob O'H says:

    Barry –

    When someone says they can’t foreclose the possibility that Himmler might have been right, they share in his evil.

    Has anyone said this? I know I haven’t (and it’s not what I think), so I wonder who you’re on about.

  13. 13
    Barry Arrington says:

    Bob,

    Has anyone said this?

    Yes, you have, repeatedly. Why do you lie about this Bob? You know your posts are still there for everyone to read, right? Here’s one:

    I think Himmler was wrong, but that’s based on the morals instilled into me by my family and surrounding society. Just because I believe something very strongly doesn’t make it a fact

    You allow for Himmler having a different standard than yours. You can’t be absolutely sure Himmler was wrong, because you “don’t have any external objective standard by which to say” Himmler’s standard is necessarily inferior to yours.

    Again, I am not surprised. When someone is soft on whether the Holocaust was evil, flip flopping and lying are certainly no big reach.

    I’ll give you another chance Bob. Please answer the following two questions:

    1. Is it an objective fact that the Holocaust was evil or is it merely your strongly held opinion.

    2. If your answer to question 1 is “strongly held opinion,” do you have any external objective standard by which to say your opinion is superior to anyone else’s, say Himmler’s.

    If you answer consistently with your prior comments your answers will be: 1. Strongly held opinion, and 2. no.

    And that, Bob, is the very essence of saying you can’t foreclose the possibility that Himmler might have been right.

    I get it Bob. I am rubbing your nose in your morally odious views, and you don’t like it. Changing your mind when confronted with the patent absurdity of your comments is the answer. Lying about what you said is not.

    Bob, I also understand that you shirk from looking into the abyss. But the abyss cannot be avoided. If your premise is correct (there is no transcendent moral truth), then you are certainly correct to conclude that your opinion is no better than Himmler’s. If your premise is correct, it boils down to “Holocausts are not Bob’s cup of tea. But apparently they were Himmler’s cup of tea. And who is to say whether Bob’s tea preference is superior to Himmler’s” Stop shirking Bob. It you are going to be an A-Mat, at least be courageous.

    I won’t be holding my breath on this end. You want to be thought of as a fine decent fellow. But in shirking from the abyss, you are demonstrating once again that most A-Mats are simpering cowards.

  14. 14
    Bob O'H says:

    Barry @ 13 – no I haven’t. Why do you accuse me of lying and then quote me saying something which backs me up? I am sure Himmler was wrong. I assume he thought was right.

    You can’t be absolutely sure Himmler was wrong, because you “don’t have any external objective standard by which to say” Himmler’s standard is necessarily inferior to yours.

    Actually, I can be absolutely sure that he was wrong, but that is still only my belief, isn’t it? Unless you want to suggest that my certainty about something means that it is true.

    I don’t see the point of answering your “is it A or B” question when A and B don’t exhaust all possibilities, and my answer is “neither”. I hope that you are aware that there are other possibilities.

  15. 15
    Origenes says:

    Bob: Actually, I can be absolutely sure that he was wrong, but that is still only my belief, isn’t it? Unless you want to suggest that my certainty about something means that it is true.

    You are being incoherent Bob. Which is it?

    1. I am absolutely sure.
    2. I am in doubt, because it is “only my belief” and it is not based on an objective standard.

    Pick one, since you cannot be absolutely sure and in doubt.

  16. 16
    Barry Arrington says:

    Barry: Is it an objective fact that the Holocaust was evil or is it merely your strongly held opinion.

    Bob: Neither.

    Bob, you are not fooling anyone you know. Everyone knows that when you got pushed into a corner and were forced to take a stand, you simply wet yourself and ran away. “Simpering coward” doesn’t even begin to cover it.

    BTW, you have already answered the questions in your prior posts:

    Bob at “Be Afraid” post comment 34:

    Also, my moral opinions aren’t objective – I think Himmler was wrong . . . Just because I believe something very strongly doesn’t make it a fact or objective.

    Bob at “Darwinian Debating Device #20: The ‘Whataboutism’ Tactic” post comment 39:

    Barry at 37: He must admit that under certain circumstances the Holocaust would be good (note, “good,” not merely “regarded as good”) if everyone in the society believes that to be the case.

    Bob in response: Well, no. If I’m a moral subjectivist and I’m being precise, I can say that I regard certain acts are good, and I can say that societies (or other groups) regard these acts as good, but I don’t have any external objective standard by which to say that they actually are good.

    Here are the two questions I asked Bob again:

    1. Is it an objective fact that the Holocaust was evil or is it merely your strongly held opinion.

    2. If your answer to question 1 is “strongly held opinion,” do you have any external objective standard by which to say your opinion is superior to anyone else’s, say Himmler’s.

    From Bob’s comment in the “Be Afraid,” thread we know his answer to question one is “strongly held opinion.”

    From Bob’s comment in the “Whataboutism” thread we know his answer to question two is “no.”

  17. 17
    Bob O'H says:

    Oh dear. Barry, I don’t believe that it is an objective that the Holocaust was evil. But I also think that other people think that the Holocaust was evil. You included, I hope. Thus is it not merely my opinion – it is the opinion of a lot of people. And this isn’t a dodge – it is important because morals aren’t constructed by any one individual: they are socially constructed, so it matters that other people also hold similar opinions.

  18. 18
    Barry Arrington says:

    Bob:

    morals aren’t constructed by any one individual: they are socially constructed

    In Becky’s Lesson, the members of the society overwhelmingly believed the Holocaust was an affirmatively good thing. Therefore, under your premises, in that society the Holocaust was in fact an affirmatively good thing.

    And consistent with what you just said, for you the teacher Mr. Johnson was the hero of the story and Becky’s dad was the villain. Thanks for clearing that up.

  19. 19
    Bob O'H says:

    Oh please, Barry. That it not what I’m saying. Once more you’re making utterly false claims about my views. Please, if you want an honest discussion, acknowledge to yourself that you are not understanding my views and refrain from trying to put words into my mouth.

    Just because another society has different moral values, doesn’t mean I have to accept them. At a descriptive level I can say that they have certain moral values, but I can also happily say that I disagree with these values.

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