Culture Darwinism Intelligent Design Racism

People who doubt “evolution” are more likely to be racist?

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So academic elite types claim in a recent study:

A disbelief in human evolution was associated with higher levels of prejudice, racist attitudes and support of discriminatory behavior against Blacks, immigrants and the LGBTQ community in the U.S., according to University of Massachusetts Amherst research published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

Similarly, across the globe — in 19 Eastern European countries, 25 Muslim countries and in Israel — low belief in evolution was linked to higher biases within a person’s group, prejudicial attitudes toward people in different groups and less support for conflict resolution…

“People who perceive themselves as more similar to animals are also people who tend to have more pro-social or positive attitudes toward outgroup members or people from stigmatized and marginalized backgrounds,” Syropoulos explains. “In this investigation, we were interested in examining whether belief in evolution would also act in a similar way, because it would reinforce this belief that we are more similar to animals.”

University of Massachusetts Amherst, “Disbelief in human evolution linked to greater prejudice and racism” at ScienceDaily (April 4, 2022)

The paper requires a fee or subscription.

A friend who has read the paper kindly writes to say,

I think this study is a prime example of the temptation to make the correlation equals causation fallacy. What this paper is measuring has nothing to do with evolution or belief in it. It is measuring parochial attitudes among people in insulated groups who don’t have much contact with the outside world. These people tend to be prejudiced against other races and also have little contact with evolution so they are skeptical. It just shows that isolation breeds prejudice against the other.

The principle that isolation breeds prejudice against the “other” is a truism. And you could find evidence supporting this truism from very different groups. If you surveyed attitudes of ivory tower types you’d find similar prejudice against conservative religious groups, you’d find similar discriminatory attitudes. Why? Because those evolutionary secular academic types who accept human evolution have very little contact with conservative religious people.

So what’s interesting isn’t the finding of this paper. What’s interesting is why they chose to study isolated people who happen to be religious and defined prejudice as attitudes towards certain privileged groups in society (eg LGBTQ). Why not study prejudice of secular types who accept human evolution towards religious consevatives? You’d find analogous prejudices. But the researchers weren’t interested in studying that…because they are evolutionary secularists with an agenda to make religious conservatives look bad.

Come to think of it, if you are here anyway, you may also wish to read: E. O. Wilson and racism: The smoking gun is found. Some have dismissed the findings but others say they fit a pattern. From Schulson’s story: “I don’t really care that Wilson had racist ideas, because I know pretty much all of the people that I dealt with, when I was coming up through the science system, had racist ideas,” said [evolutionary biologist Joseph] Graves, who in 1988 became the first Black American to receive a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology. “Wilson was just one of many.” Oh.

And remember, Wilson was supposed to be the second Darwin. Funny no one talks about that now.

378 Replies to “People who doubt “evolution” are more likely to be racist?

  1. 1
    polistra says:

    It would be more accurate to say that unfamiliarity breeds unfamiliarity.

    When you haven’t lived around Group B, you only know what the media tells you about Group B. The media’s judgments of each group are purely positive or purely negative, depending on the divide-and-conquer plans of the psychopathic rulers at the current picosecond.

    But if you live and work next to Group B, you know the good AND the bad tendencies of Group B.

    This also applies to Group M and Group F, especially now that academia is forcing those two groups into strict segregation and filling the minds of F with bizarre prejudices about M.

  2. 2
    BobRyan says:

    People who view themselves as nothing more than animals deny absolute morality.

  3. 3
    asauber says:

    The study is simply an Enemy Creation/Targeting Exercise.

    There’s a need for groups of people to hate. Surprise, surprise.

    Andrew

  4. 4
    Seversky says:

    There is nothing wrong with being an animal. Human exceptionalism is just a manifestation of the same impulse that leads to racism.

    Nor is there any such thing as absolute or objective morality. Whenever people propose it, what they really mean is their own morality, usually derived from their personal religious beliefs. Hence, you will never see an evangelical Christian argue that Islam or Buddhism is the source of absolute morality.

    The only worthwhile morality is that which we can agree upon amongst ourselves. All of us. The usual facile objection that the Nazis agreed that the Holocaust was a good thing ignores the fact that the victims of that policy and the populations that fought a world war in part against Nazism most certainly did not agree.

    Yes, trying to work things out ourselves is messy but it’s still preferable to having some self-appointed authority decreeing that this is the one true morality and when you ask why you are told not to ask questions, it’s none of your business, just do as you’re told. Unfortunately, a lot of people can get drawn to that just for the (unwarranted) certainty because, for them, almost anything is preferable to uncertainty and insecurity.

  5. 5
    kairosfocus says:

    BR, yup. Though we need to broaden, objectivity of accessing, warranting and knowing truths, including moral truths. We seem to especially struggle with branch on which we all sit pervasive first principles, the first principles and duties of right reason. Then we see Overton Window marginalisation games that target God, belief in God, belief in the gospel as truth, accepting gospel ethics as integral . . . which in part is about naturally evident first moral truths . . . and associated living a lifestyle of purity. They want it deemed hateful to reject fashionable perversities of thought, ideology, speech, behaviour, and associated social engineering. Sexual aspects get headlined but it is much broader, we are seeing rejection of the built in conscience attested law of our nature, leading to nihilism, which is of course denied, and to question the agenda is deemed hate speech subject to censorship. These serve to slide us down into lawless ideological oligarchy dominated by the perverse. Where, as societies like that more and more lose contact with reality, they slide down a slippery slope over a cliff. KF

  6. 6
    asauber says:

    ” for them, almost anything is preferable to uncertainty and insecurity.”

    Sev,

    I don’t know, Sev. Kinda sounds like *you*. You’ve been regurgitating the same stuff for years, unwaveringly, almost as if you are metaphysically certain of your position.

    Andrew

  7. 7
    Viola Lee says:

    How is that different from almost everyone here, “regurgitating the same stuff for years, unwaveringly, almost as if [they] are metaphysically certain of [their] position”?

  8. 8
    kairosfocus says:

    Sev,

    >>Nor is there any such thing as absolute or objective morality.>>

    1 – including, the duties to truth, right reason and warrant you are implicitly appealing to in this assertion?

    2 – in short you inadvertently demonstrate the branch on which we sit, first principle status of first duties and principles of reason

    3 – that’s how we can recognise they are self evident and thus objectively true, accurately describing states of affairs that obtain.

    >>Whenever people propose it, what they really mean is their own morality,>>

    4 – that is a twisted way of saying, if you see something as true, state it and wish to live on it you can be pounced on as an imposing little bully

    5 – the objectivity of first duties is such that they in fact are pretty widely recognised, I notice sneers at me for pointing to Cicero, but in fact he was a pagan Roman Stoic who recognised that these are foundation of law.

    6 – let me do something else sneered at, cite from a key historical source:

    , On the Republic, Bk 3: {22.} [33] L . . . True law is right reason in agreement with [–> our morally governed] nature , it is of universal application, unchanging and everlasting; it summons to duty by its commands, and averts from wrongdoing by its prohibitions. And it does not lay its commands or prohibitions upon good men in vain, though neither have any effect on the wicked. It is a sin to try to alter this law, nor is it allowable to attempt to repeal any part of it [–> as universally binding core of law], and it is impossible to abolish it entirely. We cannot be freed from its obligations by senate or people [–> as binding, universal, coeval with our humanity], and we need not look outside ourselves for an expounder or interpreter of it. [–> sound conscience- guided reason will point out the core] And there will not be different laws at Rome and at Athens, or different laws now and in the future, but one eternal and unchangeable law will be valid for all nations and all times, and there will be one master and ruler, that is, God, over us all, for he is the author of this law, its promulgator, and its enforcing judge. Whoever is disobedient is fleeing from himself and denying his human nature, and by reason of this very fact he will suffer the worst penalties, even if he escapes what is commonly considered punishment. . . . – Marcus Tullius Cicero, c. 55 – 54 BC

    >> usually derived from their personal religious beliefs.>>

    7 – so, if a religion endorses naturally evident, conscience attested first duties of reasoned, responsible conduct, that is now held against it as another way to imply oppressive imposition.

    8 – Here is the classic foundational Christian scripture that so endorses:

    Rom 2:14 For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them . . .

    9 – Let’s extend this, the very same author, in another Epistle, endorses the Law of Identity (thus of excluded middle and non contradiction) by making reference to what is probably a C1 Rhetoric 101 classic example:

    1 Cor 14:7 If even lifeless instruments, such as the flute or the harp, do not give distinct notes, how will anyone know what is played? 8 And if the bugle gives an indistinct sound, who will get ready for battle? 9 So with yourselves, if with your tongue you utter speech that is not intelligible, how will anyone know what is said? For you will be speaking into the air. 10 There are doubtless many different languages in the world, and none is without meaning, 11 but if I do not know the meaning of the language, I will be a foreigner to the speaker and the speaker a foreigner to me.

    10 – should we therefore dismiss a Christian who endorses this as a self evident first principle of right reason, as attempting to impose his beliefs and religion?

    11 – I think, pardon but your ad hominem fallacies are showing

    >>Hence, you will never see an evangelical Christian argue that Islam or Buddhism is the source of absolute morality.>>

    12 – Immediately, no text is the SOURCE of objective moral truth, though it may well state or endorse it.

    13 – Next, the only place where first laws of our responsible, rational, morally governed freedom can come from is the source or root of that nature, which to bridge is and ought requires that that root be inherently good and utterly wise as well as powerful enough to cause worlds, also being a necessary being . . . a familiar figure

    14 – Islam endorses that such describes God, Buddhism is a bit harder to specify, but acknowledges self evident first moral principles.

    15 – Oh, similar to one certain Tully, as he is affectionately called.

    16 – As in, a pagan Stoic you have repeatedly seen me endorse by name; just as you have seen me endorse Aristotle in his definition of truth and in his outlining of the core of right reason as well as in his identifying pathos, ethos, logos as key levers of persuasion. Another pagan.
    __________________________

    C1 – I think you need to take back your remarks, sir.

    KF

  9. 9
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, kindly note the just above. Warrant on right reason towards knowledge of objective truth is not empty repetition of claims. Warranted, objective knowledge is not empty dogma. And do you want me to remind you of just which agit prop practitioners were ever so swift to make turnabout projections? You won’t like the names, I just give initials, AH and JG. KF

  10. 10
    asauber says:

    “How is that different from almost everyone here”

    VL,

    It’s not. But It’s only fair to observe that Sev, and others (you included), criticize others for the same things they do, which is hold on to unscientific beliefs. Sev is especially egregious, because he tries to pretend it’s all science for him, which is impossible and self-defeating, but he’ll never waver, unless a miracle occurs, which he wouldn’t acknowledge anyway.

    Andrew

  11. 11
    JHolo says:

    Polistra: It would be more accurate to say that unfamiliarity breeds unfamiliarity.

    It might be more accurate to say that unfamiliarity breeds willfull ignorance, which is definitely a major factor in racism.

    But, I can honestly say that I modified many of my racial and cultural prejudices as the result of extensive travel for work. You soon realize that we have far more in common than we differ.

    Does anyone know if education level was looked at as a variable in this study?

  12. 12
    jerry says:

    How is that different from almost everyone here, “regurgitating the same stuff for years, unwaveringly, almost as if [they] are metaphysically certain of [their] position

    There’s a huge difference

    One side can justify what they say about ID. The other side cannot.

    One side occasionally says something without justification but nearly every thing they say is backed up. The other side occasionally says something they can justify but most of which they say cannot be backed up.

    So one side – 97% justified beliefs. The other side 3% justified beliefs. (obviously some hyperbole but close to accurate.)

    If anyone disagrees with this observation, present your reasons with justification?
    ___________________
    Relevant to the OP.

    I’ll repeat this which I posted a couple times before.

    In graduate school we were presented with a study that had a homogeneous group divided into two and then separated but such that each could observe the other from a distance. They were given different tasks to perform. After a short time an attitude test was given to each about the other group. They were negative. The negativity increased over time.

    Then a representative from each group was sent to the other group to observe them up close. The representatives came back and reported on each group’s activity. The negative attitudes disappeared.

    This is normal human behavior and probably a survival technique since throughout history other groups were usually not benign.

    Aside: I am currently watching/listening to a course on English history from the withdraw of Rome to the Norman Conquest. During this time a massive number of Europeans from the area of current Belgium to Denmark migrated to Britain. The question was how peaceful it was and while there was definitely conflict most of it was peaceful. The term “England” means land of the Angles who were from the area of present day Germany and southern Denmark.

  13. 13
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: For record, a summary of buddhist ethics:

    https://sevenpillarsinstitute.org/glossary/buddhist-ethics/

    The common ethical principles of Buddhism were articulated by Gautama Buddha. They include the Five Precepts (or virtues) and three of the eight points on the Noble Eightfold path to enlightenment. These imperatives are not to be construed as commandments as in the Judeo-Christian tradition, but more as guidelines for attaining enlightenment. Enlightenment, or Nirvana in Sanskrit, is a state of mind or being in which one simultaneously realizes one’s true identity (which is infinite and eternal), the illusory nature of the world, and perfect bliss and equanimity. In mainstream Buddhism there is no separate “God” who is the judge or arbiter of ethical action. Rather, it is a general psycho-spiritual “law” that certain behaviors promote enlightenment and abate suffering while others impede enlightenment and bring about suffering. It is in these terms that an act or series of acts is generally deemed ethical or unethical. Ethical behavior both leads to and flows from an enlightened mind.

    In the Five Precepts Buddha advises abstinence from: (1) harming living beings, (2) taking things not freely given, (3) sexual misconduct, (4) false speech, and (5) intoxicating drinks and drugs causing heedlessness (Knierim). While there are up to ten precepts for lay practitioners and sometimes hundreds for ordained monks, these five are the most basic and important.

    The Noble Eightfold path to enlightenment consists of cultivating the following : (1) Right View, (2) Right Intention, (3) Right Speech, (4) Right Action, (5) Right Livelihood, (6) Right Effort, (7) Right Mindfulness, and (8) Right Concentration. These virtues generally fall into three categories. The first two tend toward cultivation of wisdom, the middle three toward ethical conduct, and the latter three toward mental development.

    Buddha viewed Right Speech as abstinence from lying, deception, slander, and idle chatter. Said in a positive way, he advocated speaking only when necessary, and with honesty, mindfulness, and loving kindness. Right Action generally entails the first three points of the Five Precepts listed above. The emphasis is to behave so as not to harm any sentient being physically, emotionally, or spiritually. Right Livelihood follows from Right Action in that one ought to make their living in a peaceful way. Buddha listed four occupations which ought be avoided for their promotion or condonance of harmful behavior. These are (1) weapons dealing, (2) dealing in living beings (including slavery, prostitution, and raising animals for slaughter), (3) meat production such as butchery, and (4) dealing in intoxicants and poisons.

    There are obvious points of differences or points that give pause, but the underlying appeal to commonly recognised first principles is clear.

    KF

  14. 14
    jerry says:

    summary of buddhist ethics

    In the extremely long set of comments on the natural law it was pointed out that nearly every ethnic group from around the globe especially those of Asia had similar observations on the nature of humans and similar recommended ways of living because of it.

    https://uncommondescent.com/laws/should-we-recognise-that-laws-of-nature-extend-to-laws-of-our-human-nature-which-would-then-frame-civil-law/#comment-725390

  15. 15
    Viola Lee says:

    Who are AH and JG? Am I supposed to recognize those initials as people who post here? Or someone “famous”?

  16. 16
    Silver Asiatic says:

    VL

    You can consider AH we don’t want to name. And his buddy JG.

  17. 17
    chuckdarwin says:

    Seversky @ 4
    I agree that there is no such thing as “absolute” morality in the real world. It is an idealized religious notion that people project as “coming from” God (or Krishna, or whatever) e.g., that there is some type of transcendent “law giver” whose laws are absolute and universal as to to all of mankind. No exceptions, no negotiation, no give or take.
    I would actually describe your notion of morality as “objective morality.” Objective morality vis a vis absolute morality is simply a set of rules agreed to by (democracy) or imposed on (monarchy) a given culture/society which are the “rules of the road” that allows a culture to function. These rules are objective because they are publicly communicated, readily understood by members of the culture, carry consequences and are clear as to what is and is not appropriate behavior. But, unlike absolute laws, they can be changed and modified. A person may not agree with them but is still subject to them unless that person chooses to opt out and either leave the culture, suffer the consequence for non-compliance or overthrow or change the culture.
    Christian apologists keep trying to mischaracterize the latter as “subjective” morality or mere “preferences.” But they are not merely preferences, they are applicable to anyone living in that given culture. They also vary from culture to culture, but, again, that does not make them subjective or preferences.

  18. 18
    Viola Lee says:

    re 14: Yep, people are all alike in some important ways despite cultural differences and different cultural manifestations of those similarities.

  19. 19
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, AH and his cabinet colleague JG (Along with the likes of MB, HH, HG etc) were among the absolute worst of the worst ever. The first listed should have been called Schicklegruber instead. Turnspeech accusation was their favourite propaganda tactic ; confession by projection of their own wrongs to the despised other, rather than dealing in truth, sound warrant, justice. They actually launched the European phase of the worst war in history to date, by murdering prisoners and dressing them up in the military uniforms of their targetted nation, to twist about who was responsible for war of murderous aggression. KF

  20. 20
    kairosfocus says:

    CD, instead, objective first duties of reason are so much first principles of reason that in trying to project BLAME to the obviously despised religious other, you cannot but appeal to same. You would be well advised to reconsider. KF

  21. 21
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: I note,

    We may readily identify at least seven branch- on- which- we- all- sit (so, inescapable, pervasive), first principle . . .

    first duties of reason:

    “Inescapable,” as they are so antecedent to reasoning that even the objector implicitly appeals to their legitimate authority; inescapable, so first truths of reason, i.e. they are self-evidently true and binding. Namely, Ciceronian first duties,

    1st – to truth,
    2nd – to right reason,
    3rd – to prudence [including warrant],
    4th – to sound conscience,
    5th – to neighbour; so also,
    6th – to fairness and
    7th – to justice
    [ . . .]
    xth – etc
    .

    Likewise, we observe again, that the objector to such duties cannot but appeal to them to give their objections rhetorical traction (i.e. s/he must imply or acknowledge what we are, morally governed, duty-bound creatures to gain any persuasive effect). While also those who try to prove such cannot but appeal to the said principles too. So, these principles are a branch on which we all must sit, including objectors and those who imagine they are to be proved and try. That is, these are manifestly first principles of rational, responsible, honest, conscience guided liberty and so too a built-in framework of law; yes, core natural law of human nature. Reason, inescapably, is morally governed.

    Of course, there is a linked but not equivalent pattern: bounded, error-prone rationality often tied to ill will and stubbornness or even closed mindedness; that’s why the study of right reason has a sub-study on fallacies and errors. That we sometimes seek to evade duties or may make inadvertent errors does not overthrow such first duties of reason, which instead help us to detect and correct errors, as well as to expose our follies.

    Perhaps, a negative form will help to clarify, for cause we find to be at best hopelessly error-riddled, those who are habitually untruthful, fallacious and/or irrational, imprudent, fail to soundly warrant claims, show a benumbed or dead conscience [i.e. sociopathy and/or highly machiavellian tendencies], dehumanise and abuse others, are unfair and unjust. At worst, such are utterly dangerous, destructive,or even ruthlessly, demonically lawless.

    Such built-in . . . thus, universal . . . law, then, is not invented by parliaments, kings or courts, nor can these principles and duties be abolished by such; they are recognised, often implicitly as an indelible part of our evident nature. Hence, “natural law,” coeval with our humanity, famously phrased in terms of “self-evident . . . rights . . . endowed by our Creator” in the US Declaration of Independence, 1776. (Cf. Cicero in De Legibus, c. 50 BC.) Indeed, it is on this framework that we can set out to soundly understand and duly balance rights, freedoms and duties; which is justice, the pivot of law. The legitimate main task of government, then, is to uphold and defend the civil peace of justice through sound community order reflecting the built in, intelligible law of our nature.

    Where, as my right implies your duty a true right is a binding moral claim to be respected in life, liberty, honestly aquired property, innocent reputation etc. To so justly claim a right, one must therefore demonstrably be in the right.

    Likewise, Aristotle long since anticipated Pilate’s cynical “what is truth?”: truth says of what is, that it is; and of what is not, that it is not. [Metaphysics, 1011b, C4 BC.] Simple in concept, but hard to establish on the ground; hence — in key part — the duties to right reason, prudence, fairness etc.

    Thus, too, we may compose sound civil law informed by that built-in law of our responsibly, rationally free morally governed nature; from such, we may identify what is unsound or false thus to be reformed or replaced even though enacted under the colour and solemn ceremonies of law.

    The first duties, also, are a framework for understanding and articulating the corpus of built-in law of our morally governed nature, antecedent to civil laws and manifest our roots in the Supreme Law-giver, the inherently good, utterly wise and just creator-God, the necessary (so, eternal), maximally great being at the root of reality.

    BTW, the onward discussion on the SOURCE of our morally governed nature is philosophical, rather than religious. That for instance is why I point to Cicero, who was setting out to provide a built in foundation for law that is universal, rooted in our nature. These principles are self evident, undeniable on pain of the absurdity of implying the same principles as one tries to object, and are intelligible to all.

    Our civilisation has come to a sad pass about foundations of justice, as I just noted in the Schaeffer thread: https://uncommondescent.com/philosophy/francis-schaeffers-line-of-despair-model-of-our-civilisations-intellectual-history/#comment-751339

    KF

  22. 22
    Viola Lee says:

    I see. You are talking about HItler. That wasn’t clear at all, since my previous remarks was about posters here at UD. Yes, Hitler was a very bad, evil person (as is Putin, FWIW).

  23. 23
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, you remarked by making resort to the agit prop tactic and fallacy of turnspeech projection. That is why I pointed to its leading proponents, it is that ruthlessly destructive a rhetorical resort. I suggest, that insistence on such tactics becomes tantamount to confession by projection. Let us instead focus the substantial issues and merits. KF

  24. 24
    Lieutenant Commander Data says:

    Hitler was a very bad, evil person (as is Putin, FWIW).

    Your worldview can’t ground the existence of evil . How convenient.

  25. 25
    chuckdarwin says:

    KF
    I’m going to respond to your comments the same way you respond to mine–you have no idea what you are talking about and are manifestly wrong. END

  26. 26
    JHolo says:

    KF: VL, you remarked by making resort to the agit prop tactic and fallacy of turnspeech projection. That is why I pointed to its leading proponents, it is that ruthlessly destructive a rhetorical resort. I suggest, that insistence on such tactics becomes tantamount to confession by projection. Let us instead focus the substantial issues and merits. KF

    All VL said was that both sides in various arguments repeatedly regurgitate the same points. How do you jump from this statement to equating her to Hitler? Your response seems to have jumped the hyperbolic shark.

  27. 27
    Viola Lee says:

    🙂 Sometimes “turnspeech” is appropriate, KF. I think ““regurgitating the same stuff for years, unwaveringly, almost as if [they] are metaphysically certain of [their] position” applies to you as much as anyone here.

  28. 28
    Viola Lee says:

    Hey, LCD. Just to see if you know what you’re talking about, can you give me a summary of what you think my worldview is? I’m curious about what you think you know?

  29. 29
    Silver Asiatic says:

    CD

    These rules are objective because they are publicly communicated, readily understood by members of the culture, carry consequences and are clear as to what is and is not appropriate behavior.

    That’s true with regards to the objective nature of the rules in that sense – they’re accessible and people can point to them, versus rules that people have made up in their own head and nobody but the individual knows what they are.

    But, unlike absolute laws, they can be changed and modified.

    Yes, but this is why they’re not “objective” in another sense, that they apply in all circumstances and have not been generated by a group of people or some individuals.

    A person may not agree with them but is still subject to them unless that person chooses to opt out and either leave the culture, suffer the consequence for non-compliance or overthrow or change the culture.

    This is ‘might makes right’. The lawmakers force people to comply with laws for no other reason than they want control or they think the laws are right. But those lawmakers could be totally corrupt themselves, or at any rate, they have no idea of the laws are good or not. Their authority to make the laws is arbitrary. If elected, they can be replaced. So, it doesn’t really work to say that people are “subject” to such moral norms, given they can change at each election cycle and one can plea-bargain against them or find legal loopholes, or find ways to get influence (buying it) and thus never pay any consequences. This is why poor people suffer from the law more than rich. If there is no real objective standard of justice, then the law is “subjective” – it comes from the interest of a person (dictator) or group of people (legislature) that has no real authority as “moral lawmakers”. They may be authorized to create civil laws, and that’s fine. But a moral law speaks about the “moral character of the person”. Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King showed they had greater morality by appealing to a “higher law” than that of the civil law. They appealed to God’s justice. Otherwise, without that, the government is the highest law. Whatever rights the government gives, it can take away. Not so with God’s law. God’s moral teaching remains the standard whether leftist-Democrats are in power or rightist-Republicans.

    Christian apologists keep trying to mischaracterize the latter as “subjective” morality or mere “preferences.”

    There are those two senses of “subjective” (as with “objective”). In one sense, subjective is that it is a law created in the mind of the individual. In another sense, it’s subjective because, even though it is “objectively visible” as a set of social norms for example, it still has its origin in “the subjective interests of a group of people”. Those interests can change and so the law can change. But “objective law” in that sense would mean something “inbuilt in human nature and which cannot change” no matter what the culture is. That’s a higher law, even natural law, that Aristotle pointed to.

    But they are not merely preferences, they are applicable to anyone living in that given culture.

    True, but that’s also the problem. Why should people be required to adhere to them. Some very great people have fought against unjust laws to the point of death (martyrs have). A “cultural law” like that cannot make demands on people.

    They also vary from culture to culture, but, again, that does not make them subjective or preferences.

    They’re not “privately subjective” that is true. But they’re “publicly subjective”. They’re objective because we can discuss them and refer to them. But they were created by human beings who do not have the right or authority to bind people morally, since humans are not the ultimate moral judges of the virtue or sin of people (and that’s what being a moral person is about).

    It’s that concept of what it means to be a “morally good person” that is at stake. If morality is generated by governmental or cultural laws, then a person can be morally good by following a certain law (the laws of the Third Reich) and then become morally good by opposing those same laws (after Nurenberg trials, for example). Joe Biden opposed tax payer abortion at one time when that was a more popular opinion, now he favors it as the culture has changed. President Obama opposed gay marriage and then he promoted it. That cannot create a morally good person since it’s just a matter of following trends and “whatever you think is the most popular opinion”. There’s no moral standard in those cases.

  30. 30
    Silver Asiatic says:

    We have an absolute moral requirement to the truth.
    The proof of this is that the truth does not need a moral justification for itself, but a lie always needs some kind of justification (and can only find it in rare cases).
    We are oriented to the truth – and thus we are oriented to absolute moral norms (since the truth is a function of the good).

  31. 31
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, If you had instead said, despite exchanges of argument on a wide range of linked themes that go as far as the hypereals and the impossibility of traversal of a transfinite span in finite stages, there is persistent disagreement, and it will not be easily settled, that would have been a very different matter. Instead, you skipped over a little matter of there having been in this blog an establishing of warrant for the claims you tried to sweep off the table. Where, that first duties of reason are branch on which we all sit level first principles can be seen from how even your own objections appeal implicitly to duties to truth, right reason, warrant, fairness etc, so the point is, inescapably pervasive so self evident. That is, there really is warrant on the table. I know, you rejected objectivity in previous exchanges, especially in regards to objective moral truth, but warrant was in fact presented for the point, some of which — as a summary — appears above (doubtless, more of that by suggestion empty repetition you raised: NOT). It is time for you and others to reassess some positions i/l/o actual warrant. KF

  32. 32
    kairosfocus says:

    JH, kindly see the just above, i/l/o more that is further above. VL was not merely repeating a fact, indeed just the issue of the hyperreals and their implication on transfinite traverse in finite stage steps were hammered out over three years of long exchanges, IIRC some went to thousands of comments. KF

  33. 33
    Lieutenant Commander Data says:

    Viola Lee
    Just to see if you know what you’re talking about, can you give me a summary of what you think my worldview is? I’m curious about what you think you know?

    Impersonal far away power that doesn’t have a moral message for you is the same as being an atheist . I don’t know why you protest when people think of you as atheist ?

    “Alongside our wish to be free of rules, we all search for structure. ”
    (Jordan Peterson)

    “You can only find out what you actually believe
     (rather than what you think you believe)
     by watching how you act. You simply don’t know what you believe,
     before that. You are too complex  to understand yourself. “(Jordan Peterson)

  34. 34
    kairosfocus says:

    CD, you know that many times I have taken you up point by point so your characterisation is a strawman fallacy led to an ad hominem. I suggest to you that your attempted dismissal just now appeals to my allegedly having failed in duties to truth, right reason and warrant, likely with side helpings of implying my unfairness. However, that just inadvertently underscores the point that Cicero was right about first duties of reason (and how they frame law) and that indeed it is manifest that objectors to said duties cannot but appeal to same. You may refuse correction, indeed, that is a consequence of the responsible, rational freedom that brings us under moral government. However, you cannot then avert the manifest consequence, the absurdity of implicitly appealing to what you would deny. Which simply shows yet again that they really are pervasive first principles. Many popular worldviews and linked ideologies nowadays may hotly object, but the branch on which we sit manifest reality is there for anyone willing to simply attend to it. Willing. So, so much the worse for such worldviews that reduce themselves to absurdity. KF

  35. 35
    Viola Lee says:

    Not bad, LCD. I believe we are existentially free moral agents, and that no one is out there providing moral messages.

    I also agree a lot with the second Peterson quote: it’s how we act that counts.

  36. 36
    chuckdarwin says:

    SA
    Subjective and objective are opposites. (See e.g., https://www.vocabulary.com/articles/chooseyourwords/objective-subjective/) I understand what you’re trying to say but I don’t think it works.

    It’s important for a few reasons. First a number of apologists use the mantra “without God there’s no objective morality.” By using this semantic bait and switch they claim that human instituted moral systems are all “subjective” so non-believers have no moral grounding to distinguish between good and evil, right and wrong, etc. I view this as one of religion’s biggest sophistries.

    Second, all moral systems derive from power, whether human or divine. Two of our greatest founders, Jefferson and Madison, knew that the solution to the issue of power was to dilute it (checks and balances) and make it accountable to people
    (representative government).

    Finally, words have meaning and it is a pet peeve of mine to see words misappropriated and misused.

  37. 37
    Viola Lee says:

    Hey KF, I never said one could “traversal of a transfinite span in finite stages.” It would be nice if you recognized that.

  38. 38
    Viola Lee says:

    Hey KF, I never said one could “traverse a transfinite span in finite stages.” It would be nice if you recognized that.

  39. 39
    Viola Lee says:

    CD writes,

    .. a number of apologists use the mantra “without God there’s no objective morality.” By using this semantic bait and switch they claim that human instituted moral systems are all “subjective” so non-believers have no moral grounding to distinguish between good and evil, right and wrong, etc. I view this as one of religion’s biggest sophistries.

    Well said.

    I’ve said many times recently that the confusion (possibly a bait-and-switch one) between different meanings of “objective” makes it hard to make clear distinctions about some issues. For example,

    At 29, SA writes,

    That’s true with regards to the objective nature of the rules in that sense – they’re accessible and people can point to them, versus rules that people have made up in their own head and nobody but the individual knows what they are. …
    [CD] But, unlike absolute laws, they can be changed and modified.
    [SA] Yes, but this is why they’re not “objective” in another sense, that they apply in all circumstances and have not been generated by a group of people or some individuals.

    So which is it? What does “objective” mean? Switching back and forth without any clarity on these two meanings (and they would both need further specificity) makes discussion very difficult.

  40. 40
    Lieutenant Commander Data says:

    Viola Lee
    I believe we are existentially free moral agents, and that no one is out there providing
    moral messages.

    So you did agree with what I said:

    Your worldview can’t ground the existence of evil .

    Chuckdarwin
    apologists use the mantra “without God there’s no objective morality.” By using this semantic bait and switch they claim that human instituted moral systems are all “subjective” so non-believers have no moral grounding to distinguish between good and evil, right and wrong, etc.

    You are wrong because:
    1.you can’t ground LOGICALLY objective morality in YOUR atheist dogma(your reference point and judge is matter/atoms. Invalid.)
    while
    2. being created by God you obviously have the intuitions of good and evil exactly like all other people but you just “translate” (artificially) your God’s given intuitions to make sense into your worldview.

  41. 41
    Viola Lee says:

    I can’t ground the existence of evil is an external source – true. I can ground the existence of evil in my own moral nature and my freely chosen moral judgments.

  42. 42
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, by your admission, you are a Mathematics educator. You were present when at least some of the discussion on the claimed beginningless past was live. You should be aware that we had to first bring to the table a framing of logic of structure and quantity that allows us to see what a transfinite span involves, whether explicit or implicit. This then extends to projecting the past of our temporal-causal world, for convenience a succession of years. It was shown that stepwise traversal of a proposed beginningless succession of years involves transfinite traverse, which can be seen to be an infeasible supertask. So, we can be confident our world had a finitely remote beginning. In turn that requires a causal root, and so a necessary being as that root. The is-ought gap then raises the issue of a bridge, in that root. Thence, a bill of requisites, inherently good, utterly wise, capable of causing worlds. And more. Such is far from empty repetition, and you were around for at least the summary. Such points to serious fallacy problems with your dismissive comments above. And that is before we duly note that in a context of objection to objective moral truths, you have actually implicitly appealed to the same first duties. Repeated denials only further exemplified the pattern. KF

  43. 43
    Viola Lee says:

    KF, I am never going to discuss all this in terms of “the past” again, as I’ve made it clear that I don’t think we are at all justified in thinking that the model of time as points on the number line extends back before the beginning of our universe.

    I am sure that in all our discussions I said I was only interested in the topic as a purely mathematical topic about the integers on the number line, and that I was using time as a mere analogy, no matter how convenient” that might have seemed. I regret doing that, and I will never do it again.

    The issue is simply that there is no smallest integer, so you can’t say that the negative integers “begin” anyplace. That’s all.

  44. 44
    jerry says:

    Are we in for hundreds of comments of nonsense? It looks that way.

    On an OP about racism. So far two comments mentioned racism. Two out of 42. That’s on target.

    Good for a hundred comments?

    there is no smallest integer

  45. 45
    Lieutenant Commander Data says:

    Viola Lee
    I can’t ground the existence of evil is an external source – true. I can ground the existence of evil in my own moral nature and my freely chosen moral judgments.

    So why do you blame Hitler/Putin/whatever for doing exactly what you do: choosing his preferred moral judgments ? You have your personal moral preferences ,Putin has his personal moral preferences. If you really think that morality is personal preference you would judge no one for their preferences but you do judge other people for their preferences like you believe that your personal moral law should govern all of us including Putin. Very strange. 😆

  46. 46
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, you are aware that there are those who have advocated a beginningless past, leading to a range of issues relevant to their claims. The point of showing that for reason, proposed beginningless past leads to transfinite traverse which is infeasible (for logic of structure and quantity reasons) is to set a baseline. We then have a world with a beginning, often suggested as about 13 – 14 BYA; if it is true there is an onward quantum foam that pops up subcosmi like ours as bubbles triggered by fluctuations, by the logic it too is not beginningless. . So, we have a contingent world, which it was shown points to a cause. So, we face the onward logic of origins, of root of reality. That pivots on logic of being, impossible vs possible, contingent vs necessary. As non being can have no causal powers, the root is not non being. Nor is circular retrocausation feasible. So we have finitely remote necessary being as objectively warranted world root. Furthermore as we are morally governed, we can identify first duties i.e. self evidently true and objectively knowable first moral truths, starting with the result of attempted denial. These, despite your earlier attempts to deny objective knowable truths on such matters. So, too, not empty repetition, summary of much more detailed working through cumulatively across several years here at UD. Therefore, your attempted dismissive talk points are inappropriate and as fair comment do smack of the turnabout fallacy, given suppressed context. KF

  47. 47
    Viola Lee says:

    LCD, believing that I have a moral nature and free will to exercise it does not mean that I therefore think all moral judgements are equal: in fact, it means exactly not that. “Judgement ” means I can judge, and I judge Putin as evil. Putin obviously (I think) doesn’t think he is evil, but that is irrelevant to me. I have to live by my judgments, as do you and everyone else.

    But this has been rehashed too may times, so I’ll try to leave it at that.

  48. 48
    Viola Lee says:

    To repeat, ” I am only interested in the topic as a purely mathematical topic about the integers on the number line, and … the issue [for me] is simply that there is no smallest integer, so you can’t say that the negative integers “begin” anyplace. That’s all.”

  49. 49
    Silver Asiatic says:

    VL

    So which is it? What does “objective” mean? Switching back and forth without any clarity on these two meanings (and they would both need further specificity) makes discussion very difficult.

    Philosophical terms carry a variety of meanings. Terms like form, substance, essence – even the term “evolution” can mean different things.
    “Objective” with regards to morality can mean “publicly accessiblle”. So, a written code of moral norms is “objective” in that sense. It can be referenced, discussed and analyzed. There can be a Nazi code of morality, a Marxist or a secularist – or any set of laws that is not only codified, but which is agreed upon by a culture or society. Those are “objective norms” in their presentation and output.
    But “objective” can also mean “universal” as it points to the source of the code and not the output. So, it’s not a question of just having a published norm that a group agrees upon. Instead, “objective morals” refers to a source not “created subjectively” by a person or group of persons.
    Objective morality in that sense is aligned with “natural rights” – the rights inherent in rational human nature.

    As a parallel: The rules for the game of Monopoly for example are “objective”. Anybody can access them. They are publicly known. They’re not rules which are hidden in the subjective experience of a person.
    The same with the rules of logic, for example. They’re objective, they can be studied and taught.

    However, there’s a big difference. The rules for Monopoly at their origin are “subjective”. They were created out of the ideas of a person or person. They could have been different. Even now, they could change based on the subjective-whims of the owners of the game.
    So, just because the rules are public, doesn’t mean they’re not subjective in their origin. They were someone’s subjective opinion, put into the game and made-public (objective).
    The rules of logic, however, at their source are not subjective. They don’t represent someone’s opinion. They’re universal norms aligned with human nature. They are objective in that sense – universal and known.

    That’s how the term “objective” has different meanings and can be used correctly but differently depending on the context.

  50. 50
    JHolo says:

    Jerry: On an OP about racism. So far two comments mentioned racism. Two out of 42. That’s on target.

    I am proud that I am one of the two. 🙂

  51. 51
    Silver Asiatic says:

    CD

    First a number of apologists use the mantra “without God there’s no objective morality.” By using this semantic bait and switch they claim that human instituted moral systems are all “subjective” so non-believers have no moral grounding to distinguish between good and evil, right and wrong, etc. I view this as one of religion’s biggest sophistries.

    See my post 49 giving the different meanings of “objective” in this regard. With atheist morality, it’s entirely subjective in its origin. It can have no universal value and it can only be binding on people through sheer force. It is created by human beings for subjective reasons. Atheists have no standard by which to say the Nazi code of morals is better or worse than any other. Of course, atheists can make up a code of rules. But “objective morals” is referring to universal norms that are built into human nature. Those norms are binding on everyone by “conscience” which every human possesses. We don’t need a government to tell us that genocide is evil, even though the Nazi’s thought it was ok. The objective moral norms built into humans tell us that. Atheism, however, would have to accept the Nazis and KKK and Jihadists alongside everyone else, since they’re all just subjective morals and that’s all atheism has. Yes, publishing them somewhere makes them publicly accessible and “fixed” which is better than something that a person makes up day-by-day with no consistency. But they’re not that much different. The Freemasonic code of ethics was created by Freemasons to support their group. It’s subjective for those interests and it can be and has been changed as interests changed. Not so with the Ten Commandments, for example.

    Second, all moral systems derive from power, whether human or divine. Two of our greatest founders, Jefferson and Madison, knew that the solution to the issue of power was to dilute it (checks and balances) and make it accountable to people (representative government).

    That’s fine for civil law, but those founders weren’t creating a new moral law. A person who objected to their ideas couldn’t be considered “immoral” for doing so.
    But yes also, certainly morality has to be given by power. That’s the essential point. Human beings have extremely limited real power (authority) to impose moral norms on anyone else. But without objective norms, that’s what they do.
    Clearly, the power of God – who is the actual creator of the moral law and the final judge of people’s behavior, is infinitely greater and considering that God actually created all life (and is therefore the rightful Father and custodian of it), His authority is immensely greater than what any human or even group of humans can have.
    Atheists do not know the meaning or destiny of life, so they have no basis upon which to tell people what to do and what is right or wrong.
    That’s what evolution ended up with anyway. There can be no moral sins or crimes in the evolutionary worldview. Genocide is just an action of a species to advance the cause of survival and reproductive success in whatever way the fitness variables dictate. There can’t be anything “wrong” with any human behavior.
    Very few evolutionists admit this. Alex Rosenberg admits it but says also that he doesn’t like it.
    Nietzsche admitted it and was very upset that other atheists didn’t have the courage to do the same. But trying to live by an amoral philosophy is a recipe for insanity, as I think his life showed.
    But atheism is nihilistic – it’s amoral. About the best it can do is say that people should behave according to majority rule (thus, the morality of the Third Reich would have to be supported).

  52. 52
    Viola Lee says:

    SA,

    I can point to experiences that anyone can have to confirm objective facts in your first sense. It is an objective fact that there is a maple tree in my front yard. The experiences that confirm that fact are accessible to anyone. However, the knowledge that the maple tree is my front yard is a piece of knowledge that resides in the minds of all the people who have had those experiences. Being an objective fact doesn’t mean that something (the fact) resides somehow apart from the people who hold.

    You write, “But “objective” can also mean “universal” as it points to the source of the code and not the output. So, it’s not a question of just having a published norm that a group agrees upon. Instead, “objective morals” refers to a source not “created subjectively” by a person or group of persons.”

    How do we know such objective morals exist? Maybe objective means what you offer in the second sense, but how do we know such things exist? Of course if you believe in God, you believe such a source exists (it always seems to come back to this, doesn’t), but if such a source doesn’t exist, then objective in the second sense has no meaning.

    Up above, Jerry wrote, “it was pointed out that nearly every ethnic group from around the globe especially those of Asia had similar observations on the nature of humans and similar recommended ways of living because of it”,

    and I replied, “Yep, people are all alike in some important ways despite cultural differences and different cultural manifestations of those similarities.”

    That is, there is a common human nature, I believe, and some common moral foundations in our nature, so we see some commonalities and agreement among all people despite the differences, large and small, that exist. But those commonalities are just recognizable features of our common experiences of people: they are objective in the same sense that the maple tree is. Just because we have a common understanding about human behavior doesn’t mean that that understanding all of a sudden has existence outside of its presence in human beings.

    So the difference in our perspective in that I don’t accept your assertion that morals that refer to a source not “created subjectively” by a person or group of persons exists. All morals are created by people, but due to our common moral nature, we agree about a lot of them. But they have no special ontological status that the objective fact of the tree in my yard doesn’t have.

    That’ my view, and some of the rationale for my view.

  53. 53
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, but of course there is no identifiable algebraically lowest integer, the negatives are the mirror images of the natural counting numbers so `n + n = 0. That is how Z- is transfinite, by implication of that pattern. The problem is, when one claims a past with no beginning for our temporal-causal, thermodynamically successive world, one implies that for every -k, there was a previous year -[k+1] then -[k+2] etc without limit, i.e. one implies the actual, physical past traversed the transfinite in steps, so there are past actual years that cumulatively amount to implicit transfinite traverse. That is impossible of being as an infeasible supertask, the only successive span of years that can be traversed is finite. Among other things this means there was a finitely remote beginning, even if one proposes an earlier quantum foam stage. Or any other thermodynamically constrained causal temporal succession. More to the point, there is a substantial logical case on the table, which has been outlined from time to time when connected matters have come up. There has been no empty repetition. KF

  54. 54
    kairosfocus says:

    JH, whatever validity applies was adequately resolved in the OP, and I say that as one of blended African, European and Indian ancestry. I must further note that people are being routinely stigmatised on racism etc as part of the cultural marxist oppressive White thesis, intended to taint, denigrate and dismiss without accountability over warrant on the merits. A classic is the historically tendentious attempt in the teeth of massive evidence to suggest 1619 is the true foundation of the USA not 1776. Ironically, the US DoI of 1776 is a courageously anti racist natural law argument by men willing to imply indictment of themselves to put down a marker calling for transformational change. As for the past sell by date of tagging those who challenge evolutionary materialistic scientism with the scarlet letter brand, bigotry, that is an evasion of both the failure to account for origin of life and body plans by blind chance and/or mechanical necessity, and that to account for emergence of rationally, responsibly, conscience guided freedom required to carry out theorising. Evolutionary materialistic scientism fails decisively, its fellow travellers go down with it. It is an implied confession of failure to now try to prop it up by tainting those who dare to doubt it, as though it carried the day on the merits. It has failed on the merits, that is enough. KF

    PS, Haldane on the core failure, rearranged as a set of propositions:

    “It seems to me immensely unlikely that mind is a mere by-product of matter. For

    if

    [p:] my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain

    [–> taking in DNA, epigenetics and matters of computer organisation, programming and dynamic-stochastic processes; notice, “my brain,” i.e. self referential]
    ______________________________

    [ THEN]

    [q:] I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true.

    [–> indeed, blindly mechanical computation is not in itself a rational process, the only rationality is the canned rationality of the programmer, where survival-filtered lucky noise is not a credible programmer, note the funcionally specific, highly complex organised information rich code and algorithms in D/RNA, i.e. language and goal directed stepwise process . . . an observationally validated adequate source for such is _____ ?]

    [Corollary 1:] They may be sound chemically, but that does not make them sound logically.

    And hence

    [Corollary 2:] I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms. [–> grand, self-referential delusion, utterly absurd self-falsifying incoherence]

    In order to escape from this necessity of sawing away the branch on which I am sitting, so to speak, I am compelled to believe that mind is not wholly conditioned by matter.” [“When I am dead,” in Possible Worlds: And Other Essays [1927], Chatto and Windus: London, 1932, reprint, p.209. Cf. here on (and esp here) on the self-refutation by self-falsifying self referential incoherence and on linked amorality.]

    That’s nearly 100 years ago, and unanswered to date. It’s over. And, it is manifest that there are reliable signs of intelligently directed configuration in the world of life from the cell to us.

  55. 55
    Viola Lee says:

    KF writes, “VL, but of course there is no identifiable algebraically lowest integer, the negatives are the mirror images of the natural counting numbers so `n + n = 0.”

    Good, we agree on that.

    Would you agree that “you can’t say that the negative integers “begin” anyplace?”

    If you look back at 43 and 48, (which I assume you read, but I will refresh your memory), the rest of what you wrote is not relevant to my interest in this topic.

  56. 56
    kairosfocus says:

    SA, objective becomes universal because it has generally accessible warrant. So, it is adequately evident to the eye of reason and should be assented to by all. KF

  57. 57
    kairosfocus says:

    Jerry, the scarlet brand, racism, was deployed to taint and dismiss by stigmatising, stereotyping and scapegoating. That was adequately answered in the OP:

    I think this study is a prime example of the temptation to make the correlation equals causation fallacy. What this paper is measuring has nothing to do with evolution or belief in it. It is measuring parochial attitudes among people in insulated groups who don’t have much contact with the outside world. These people tend to be prejudiced against other races and also have little contact with evolution so they are skeptical. It just shows that isolation breeds prejudice against the other.

    The principle that isolation breeds prejudice against the “other” is a truism. And you could find evidence supporting this truism from very different groups. If you surveyed attitudes of ivory tower types you’d find similar prejudice against conservative religious groups, you’d find similar discriminatory attitudes. Why? Because those evolutionary secular academic types who accept human evolution have very little contact with conservative religious people.

    So what’s interesting isn’t the finding of this paper. What’s interesting is why they chose to study isolated people who happen to be religious and defined prejudice as attitudes towards certain privileged groups in society (eg LGBTQ). Why not study prejudice of secular types who accept human evolution towards religious consevatives? You’d find analogous prejudices. But the researchers weren’t interested in studying that…because they are evolutionary secularists with an agenda to make religious conservatives look bad.

    KF

  58. 58
    Viola Lee says:

    KF writes, “SA, objective becomes universal because it has generally accessible warrant.”

    So the fact that there is a maple tree in my front yard is “objective in the universal sense.” – true? It certainly has “generally accessible warrant.”

  59. 59
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, there never was a claim on the table that there is an identifiable lowest integer. Indeed, this is part of how we know that the negative integers are a transfinite set, so your confined interest is on a point not in dispute and is a step to failing to accurately characterise the onward substantial argument. Which is that if there is a claimed beginningless past then say taking the singularity as zero point and taking up the fluctuations model etc, then onward there would be previous “years” in year by year succession that for every – k you name onward actual prior years without limit would have been -[k+1], -[k+2] . . . equally without limit. This implies a transfinite succession traversed in finite stage steps, an infeasible supertask, an impossibility on logic of structure and quantity as applied to a temporal causal thermodynamic world. So, we know such is not possible, whether that is interesting to you or not. And, it entails there was a finitely remote beginning of the physical world, even on any model that tries to extend beyond the big bang. As was further outlined above, again whether you are interested or not, that means we are objectively warranted to infer to a necessary being world root capable of causing the world we inhabit. Which is a case of objective knowledge regarding the root of reality. There are other onward objective, knowable truths such as that we are morally governed by branch on which we all sit first duties of reason that show that character by being implicitly appealed to by objectors, for instance. That then ties to the just pointed out by indicating that, on pain of reducing mindedness to grand delusion were the pattern of moral government false and so delusional, that the root will also be inherently good and utterly wise, to bridge the is ought gap post Euthyphro and Hume et al. So, we see frameworks of objective, warranted, knowable truths on topics you have denied that possibility for. Not, that there are not disagreements, but that there actually are relevant knowable objective though unfashionable truths. KF

  60. 60
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, if that is indeed the case, it is universally accessible warranted truth, on grounds we can inspect it, just like the Mango, breadnut, breadfruit, banana, cashew, avocado and Christmas palm trees in the yard here. KF

  61. 61
    Viola Lee says:

    re 59. Good. We have no disagreement about the math.

    re 60: the fat that there is tree in my yard is a objective truth–a universally accessible warranted truth-because we can inspect.

    Can we inspect a moral truth? How?

    For instance, there are many people who believe (I’ll try to pick something serious but not too fiery) that capital punishment is wrong. Can this be inspected to find out whether it is true or not?

  62. 62
    Viola Lee says:

    More on the math: KF, will you agree that for any negative integer you can traverse the integers one at a time from that integer to zero in a finite number of steps – true?

    That is, every negative integer is a finite distance from zero.

  63. 63
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, physical inspection is only one means of warrant as we know from mathematical reasoning etc. Moral truths can be warranted through the use of right reason, just as many other truths not subjected to the same degree of hyperskepticism. As has been repeatedly pointed out seven core first duties are such that the one who attempts to object will invariably appeal to them implicitly. For example just above you appealed to duties to warrant, right reason and truth in your challenging question. That sort of branch on which we all sit pervasiveness is characteristic of self evident first truths. A classic example relates to right reason, as Epictetus showed over 1800 years ago:

    DISCOURSES
    CHAPTER XXV

    How is logic necessary?

    When someone in [Epictetus’] audience said, Convince me that logic is necessary, he answered: Do you wish me to demonstrate this to you?—Yes.—Well, then, must I use a demonstrative argument?—And when the questioner had agreed to that, Epictetus asked him. How, then, will you know if I impose upon you?—As the man had no answer to give, Epictetus said: Do you see how you yourself admit that all this instruction is necessary, if, without it, you cannot so much as know whether it is necessary or not? [Notice, inescapable, thus self evidently true and antecedent to the inferential reasoning that provides deductive proofs and frameworks, including axiomatic systems and propositional calculus etc. We here see the first principles of right reason in action. Cf J. C. Wright]

    Such truths are self evident and objectively true, first principles. KF

  64. 64
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, we repeat prior discussions. Every particular negative integer we can state say – 768563 or represent – k, has onward successors in the L-ward direction without limit; notice my use of implicit iteration and mathematical induction [which with hyperreals can obviously be made transfinite]. Thus, the set is transfinite, and that is agreed; it was never in dispute and to repeatedly put up talking points that invite the inference that it was or is, is to commit a subtle, pernicious where there is smoke there must be a fire strawman fallacy. My use of hyperreals since 2016 with later formal reference to model theory is simply to allow us to frame Z in the wider R* so we can see how the issue of transfinite span lurks in the ellipses we use. For h smaller than any 1/n, for any actually countable to n in N, we identify H = 1/h, so we see transfinite hyperreals, which bracket N, with -H bracketing Z-, etc.

    Z*: . . . -H, -[H-1] . . . -2, -1, 0, 1, 2, . . . [H-1], H, . . .

    where, continuum

    R*: . . . ___-H___ -[H-1]___ . . . ___-2___-1___ 0___1___2___ . . . ___[H-1]___ H ___ . . .

    where we may symbolise the continuum near 0,

    -1—*0* —1,

    where the asterisks mark where infinitesimal hyperreals such as h lurk.

    From this, we cannot traverse in finite stage steps [such as +1, +100 or +10^100 etc] any span k . . . m, where the ellipsis is transfinite, explicitly or implicitly.

    The material point is, as the real physical world we inhabit is causal-temporal, thermodynamic, each year k followed by k+1 etc is part of a succession of finite stages. Where, no such stepwise succession, for very similar reasons, can actually complete a transfinite span.

    We can have Z, but when we match years to date with members of Z, necessarily due to the infeasible supertask of actual transfinite succession, the number of ACTUAL past years will be strictly finite i.e. with a beginning.

    Quantum foam models etc do not evade the issue of a finite past with a beginning for our physical world.

    Much follows from that, on logic of being.

    KF

  65. 65
    Seversky says:

    Chuckdarwin/17

    I would actually describe your notion of morality as “objective morality.” Objective morality vis a vis absolute morality is simply a set of rules agreed to by (democracy) or imposed on (monarchy) a given culture/society which are the “rules of the road” that allows a culture to function. These rules are objective because they are publicly communicated, readily understood by members of the culture, carry consequences and are clear as to what is and is not appropriate behavior. But, unlike absolute laws, they can be changed and modified. A person may not agree with them but is still subject to them unless that person chooses to opt out and either leave the culture, suffer the consequence for non-compliance or overthrow or change the culture.

    My position is that “objective” refers to anything that exists regardless of whether or not conscious observers such as ourselves perceive it or are aware of it. By this understanding, I assume that all other people are objective “entities”, that they exist and will continue to exist regardless of whether or not I am aware of them.

    My personal moral code, however it was derived, is subjective. It originates with me. If I were removed from existence my personal moral code would disappear along with me. The same would be true if all other human life on Earth were to be eliminated, either by some cosmic disaster or by an incompetent Designer who decided we were a mistake after all and wiped the slate clean. All those personal moral codes, whose purpose is to regulate the way humans behave towards one another, would disappear as well.

    The question is whether all those other moral codes, originating with all those other – objective from my perspective – human beings, are thereby objective. I would argue that anything that exists nowhere else but in the consciousness of intelligent beings such as ourselves is still subjective whether we are talking about one consciousness or billions.

    But this is really a question of definition and yours works just as well as mine.

  66. 66
    kairosfocus says:

    Swv, the key point of the general warrant pivoting on branch on which we all sit first principles is that there are universal knowable moral truths and first principles of right reason they bind on us all not just codes relative to cultures etc, with Cicero’s first duties of reason as intelligible core law as exhibit a. KF

  67. 67
    jerry says:

    Dare I bring up that there is no such thing as a negative integer except in our imagination?

    No that would stop the ridiculous comments and thousands of words posted over nonsense. Can’t have that. That’s the purpose of UD for many here.

    Aside: you can make a case for positive integers as I have just done by referring to thousands of words. I can point to each one.

    (73 words including these)

  68. 68
    chuckdarwin says:

    Seversky @ 65
    I get it and I apologize if it appeared I was lecturing you.
    My real problem is not with your observations but with the misappropriation and misuse of the term “objective morality” by Christian apologists who think they have latched on to something clever with the “without God there is no source for objective morality” trope. Thus, by denying “objective morality” one has no basis to condemn (or even comment on) the Holocaust or child molestation or any other myriad horrors that humans are capable of meting out.

  69. 69
    kairosfocus says:

    Jerry, it can be shown that N,Z,Q,R,R*,C etc are framework to any possible world as abstracta that are part of the built in logic of structure and quantity. Hence, Wigner’s observation on the power of Math. KF

    PS, since you want to play at word count, you do the count.

  70. 70
    jerry says:

    framework to any possible world as abstracta

    Yes, imagination can produce almost anything.

    the power of Math

    And a lot of it is useful. No one is denying that.

    Again, there is no example of a negative integer despite all the letters one can write.

  71. 71
    kairosfocus says:

    CD, repeating a fallacy does not turn it into a sound argument, it is the further fallacy of doubling down. First, in your objection just above, you — again, predictably — implicitly appeal to our duties to truth, right reason, warrant, fairness, justice and neighbour. You therefore illustrate yet again what you plainly refuse to acknowledge: we are dealing with branch on which we all sit first principles here, which are therefore self evident as the attempt to object appeals to the very duties it would overturn. So, your objection is again self referentially absurd. It may scratch your anti-Christian itch to single out apologists [those who reply to objections to and/or attempted dismissals/marginalisation of the well warranted truth of the gospel], but kindly notice that the main author I have cited is Cicero, a pagan Roman statesman, rhetor and stoic philosopher dating to 100 years before Paul visited Rome. The point is, self evident by being branch on which we sit first truths, so knowable and objectively true. Ontological issues and root of world issues arise from asking, how do we get to a world with responsible, rational, self-moved, significantly free, morally governed creatures. That is onward as was discussed above at 21, which you would be well advised to consider. Your problem is with philosophy, not “merely” the Christian faith. KF

  72. 72
    jerry says:

    I get it and I apologize

    Absurdity squared!

    One person who never gets anything correct identifying with someone else who never gets anything correct. Appropriate I guess.

    Or is it irony squared?

    Aside: still little or no racism discussed.

  73. 73
    kairosfocus says:

    Jerry, have you ever owed money? That state of affairs shows the reality:

    ($10,000) + $10,000 –> $0

    Debt settled, and the state of affairs in which a negative integer is manifested is demonstrated. This is a major context where, historically Z- and by extension R- etc came up.

    We also see 0 attaching naturally.

    Q has to do with parts and wholes, R has to do with say how a string of 1.5 m length is continuous and can in principle be cut anywhere. C has to do with rotation, R* has to do with infinitesimals at the core of issues such as rates and accumulations of change, with the function 1/x giving a catapult to transfinite hyperreals. Start from how any distinct possible world W has in it inherently {A|~A} thus 0,1,2 thence von Neumann, thence the panoply of quantitative abstracta that do not actively cause but express logic of being quantitative and structural constraints so are recognised as real.

    Such abstracta express identifiable states of affairs and are embedded entities and so sets in any possible world. In our imagination can be taken as admitting they are abstract rather than concrete and are recognised from the constraints of the logic of structure and quantity aka Mathematics.

    And more, you do the word count, I provided further cases on the possibility of a chain of further objections, Z- –> Q,R,R*,C etc.

    KF

    PS, the OP said enough, we can take it as endorsed on one side and as recognised on the other as an objection too far as SA, Vivid and this commenter would demonstrate by our mere presence.

  74. 74
    kairosfocus says:

    PPS, hey Vivid, any Native Americans in your family tree to round out the interracial representation? We have asiatic, african, dot com indian and euro already on the table. My vote is, top end indian girls are the very prettiest (but could be biased due to my mom), what say you.

  75. 75
    jerry says:

    Debt settled, and the state of affairs in which a negative integer is manifested is demonstrated

    You are confusing something real with something imaginary.

    I take something (represented by a positive integer) and give it to someone else. There was a stipulation that the person give me something back in exchange. (represented by a positive integer)

    This is often called subtraction. But subtraction is just removing something represented by positive integer from another entity that is an entity represented by a bigger positive integer.

    It all comes down to positive integers because something real is the only thing that exists.

    Multiplication is just fast addition of positive integers. Division is just fast subtraction of positive integers.

    Again, you are confusing something useful with reality.

  76. 76
    kairosfocus says:

    Jerry, I am highlighting a very real and powerful state of affairs that manifests a class of quantity and structure in action. Perhaps, you are unaware of how debt slavery has been a major social issue. Haiti, having won independence by revolution, was confronted with a French Fleet with implied connivance of the UK and forced to accept and attempt to pay off a bill for value of capital, land and people as priced on a slave market. This is the root of Haiti’s many disasters including having to cut down magnificent mahogany forests with 7 foot diameter trees to sell. Ayti owe, Ayti have to pay. I figure France has US$ 21 billion owed to Haiti over that 1826 disgraceful crushing act of naval intimidation and economic war. After this, tell me it’s only imagination and we may have a racism point to discuss. A REAL black lives matter case. KF

    PS, I am pointing to naturally present framework entities for any possible world, which exert effects through constraints on logic of being. The same logic at core of our reasoning and argument says they are there, here, everywhere.

  77. 77
    kairosfocus says:

    PS, just curious, are price level, rate of interest [a debt tied metric], inflation, growth rate etc real entities?

  78. 78
    jerry says:

    Perhaps, you are unaware of how debt slavery has been a major social issue

    What has debt slavery to do with negative numbers?

    Why was the discussion turned into an example of something completely different? And also why with an accusation? No one is denying debt can be a major problem.

    Has logic hit home?

  79. 79
    Viola Lee says:

    Sev writes, “The question is whether all those other moral codes, originating with all those other – objective from my perspective – human beings, are thereby objective. I would argue that anything that exists nowhere else but in the consciousness of intelligent beings such as ourselves is still subjective whether we are talking about one consciousness or billions.”

    This is a key point, and well said. I said it this way above:

    “But those commonalities are just recognizable features of our common experiences of people: they are objective in the same sense that the maple tree is. Just because we have a common understanding about human behavior doesn’t mean that that understanding all of a sudden has existence outside of its presence in human beings.”

  80. 80
    jerry says:

    just curious, are price level, rate of interest [a debt tied metric], inflation, growth rate etc real entities

    Absolutely!

    But they are all examples of positive integers. People will use shortcuts that make it easier but they all come down to positive integers.

    Again, you are conflating what’s real with what’s useful.

    Have to go. Have a lacrosse game to see.

  81. 81
    Viola Lee says:

    re 79, Here’s an example of this confusion. Above KF makes a point he has made many times: “Physical inspection is only one means of warrant as we know from mathematical reasoning etc. Moral truths can be warranted through the use of right reason … As has been repeatedly pointed out seven core first duties are such that the one who attempts to object will invariably appeal to them implicitly.”

    All people have some common aspects of their nature: we use logic in our thinking, we have moral concerns and beliefs, we desire in most cases to ascertain the truth about things, etc. All of these qualities reside in billions of people, but that fact does NOT elevate those qualities to some type of transcendent, self-evident duty that exists in some way outside of the people who exhibit those qualities.

    The difference, which SA mentioned in another post, is the religious perspective is that there is an outside source of these qualities bearing down upon us, while my perspective is that those qualities arise and reside in each of us individually on there own, not because they are imposed upon on from the outside. They do not get some new ontological status just because we create an abstract understanding of them by noticing their prevalence as common to all human beings.

    This is a key philosophical difference in perspectives, I think.

  82. 82
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Jerry

    It all comes down to positive integers because something real is the only thing that exists.

    Exactly. Existence or being is an affirmation or positive entity. A loss or debt or subtraction cannot exist in reality but only in memory or the imagination or the mind.

    Dare I bring up that there is no such thing as a negative integer except in our imagination?

    That should end the discussion. If people are confused about this it could go on for a while, but not really.
    I can show you two apples plus two apples.
    I cannot show negative 4 apples – or negative anything apples. That’s only a concept in the mind.

  83. 83
    asauber says:

    “my perspective is that those qualities arise and reside in each of us individually on there own”

    VL,

    Aside from the spelling mistake…

    This is as a religious belief as any. It’s not addressable by science. Can I get an amen?

    Andrew

  84. 84
    JHolo says:

    In any discussions I have been involved in about the nature of morality, I have found that the commenters fall into one of two camps. Those who come to a conclusion based on what they observe, and those who come to a conclusion based on what they hope.

  85. 85
    Viola Lee says:

    re 83. Actually, bad grammar. My mistake.

    More seriously, it’s philosophical, but I wouldn’t call it religious. Just because something is not addressable by science (I didn’t say it was, by the way) doesn’t mean it’s religious. That is not an exclusive dichotomy.

  86. 86
    asauber says:

    “Just because something is not addressable by science (I didn’t say it was, by the way) doesn’t mean it’s religious.”

    VL,

    I suspect you are personally invested in it, and it shapes your outlook and behavior. That’s religious, IMO.

    Andrew

  87. 87
    Viola Lee says:

    That is an unusual definition of religious.

  88. 88
    asauber says:

    VL,

    One from Merriam-Webtser:

    “: a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith”

    So, not unheard of, especially if it is beliefs that substitute for or replace or mimic something like the beliefs Christianity.

    Andrew

  89. 89
    Viola Lee says:

    True, a colloquial use of “religious”, but not the sociological use.

    But yes, my position is philosophical. It is a part of a system of beliefs and principles important to me, and is held by choice. I think there is evidence and arguments to support my position, but it is not provable in the scientific sense.

  90. 90
    kairosfocus says:

    Jerry, pardon, but debt slavery is about debt, a negative number per what is owing, that was my first illustration, and the real impact of debt should be clear; were something merely imagination, it would take up any convenient value. It does not as any accountant will tell. I will just note further, that a short while back we saw negative bank interest rates and even — briefly! — a negative price for oil; also, that the economic variable are best understood to be reals or at least decimal values [which are mixtures of whole and fractional parts]. My point is there are structures and quantities embedded in any possible world and while abstract they are framework entities. Just today at service on this Palm Sunday, I was reminded of TWO disciples sent to fetch ONE colt, which had been ridden ZERO times. (It seems, they also fetched its mother so the colt could be accustomed to being ridden with minimum panic.) KF

  91. 91
    kairosfocus says:

    JH, at the heart of morality is the question of right conduct, thus the is-ought gap, tied to the one and the many problem that is literally where Western philosophy began. If one tries to define ought on the is of human conduct, he will end in nihilism and lawless imposition. Instead, we should note the phenomenon of oughtness as sensed and responded to, leading to issues such as rights, duties, freedoms and justice, due balance of the three. Further to such, we can readily see how objectors to the Ciceronian first duties of reason invariably appeal to the said duties in their objections. In your own comment you appeal to our own duty to truth, right reason, warrant and even prudence. Issues of duty to conscience and to neighbour come up, with fairness and justice with them. Branch on which we all sit first principles are self evidently true on pain of self-referential absurdity on attempted denial. See 21 above. KF

  92. 92
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Wikipedia on Religion:

    Religion is usually defined as a social-cultural system of designated behaviors and practices, morals, beliefs, worldviews, texts, sanctified places, prophecies, ethics, or organizations, that generally relates humanity to supernatural, transcendental, and spiritual elements;[1] however, there is no scholarly consensus over what precisely constitutes a religion.[2][3]

    Different religions may or may not contain various elements ranging from the divine,[4] sacred things,[5] faith,[6] a supernatural being or supernatural beings,[7] or “some sort of ultimacy and transcendence that will provide norms and power for the rest of life”.[8] Religious practices may include rituals, sermons, commemoration or veneration (of deities and/or saints), sacrifices, festivals, feasts, trances, initiations, funerary services, matrimonial services, meditation, prayer, music, art, dance, public service, or other aspects of human culture. Religions have sacred histories and narratives, which may be preserved in sacred scriptures, and symbols and holy places, that aim mostly to give a meaning to life. Religions may contain symbolic stories, which are sometimes said by followers to be true, that may also attempt to explain the origin of life, the universe, and other phenomena. Traditionally, faith, in addition to reason, has been considered a source of religious beliefs.[9] [–> in fact, with the Agrippa trilemma once a worldview is involved, as neither infinite regress or circularity are sound, reasoning involves first plausibles which define faith points]

    Religion is complex and is deeply intertwined with philosophy and ideology as well as lifestyle choices.

    KF

  93. 93
    kairosfocus says:

    SA, actually, you can show a cluster of guavas, you can show that cluster a matches with cluster b or may not, leading to structure and quantity as abstracta. Positive or negative integers, alike are relevant abstract entities, we are recognising the presence of the quantity when we see five guavas, maybe counting or matching to fingers. There is no concreteness about +5 that exceeds the want of concreteness of -5. Both are equally abstract and stability and coherence of math operations should give a clue as to objectivity. But the abstract is notoriously hard to address. KF

    PS, SEP: >> Platonism about mathematics (or mathematical platonism) is the metaphysical view that there are abstract mathematical objects whose existence is independent of us and our language, thought, and practices. Just as electrons and planets exist independently of us, so do numbers and sets. And just as statements about electrons and planets are made true or false by the objects with which they are concerned and these objects’ perfectly objective properties, so are statements about numbers and sets. Mathematical truths are therefore discovered, not invented.

    The most important argument for the existence of abstract mathematical objects derives from Gottlob Frege and goes as follows (Frege 1953). The language of mathematics purports to refer to and quantify over abstract mathematical objects. And a great number of mathematical theorems are true. But a sentence cannot be true unless its sub-expressions succeed in doing what they purport to do. So there exist abstract mathematical objects that these expressions refer to and quantify over.

    Frege’s argument notwithstanding, philosophers have developed a variety of objections to mathematical platonism. Thus, abstract mathematical objects are claimed to be epistemologically inaccessible and metaphysically problematic.>>

    I doubt the objections; which, can be countered by noting that key Math structures and quantities are part of the framework of any possible world.

  94. 94
    Silver Asiatic says:

    KF

    There is no concreteness about +5 that exceeds the want of concreteness of -5.

    I disagree here and it comes down, once again to the LOI.
    There is concreteness of +5 that -5 lacks. We can compare the cluster of guavas starting with and composed of 5 to the cluster with 3. Thus, we have the abstract -2.
    But that comparison is only possible under one condition.
    You cannot, for example, compare the cluster starting with and composed of -5 to a cluster with -3.
    Reality is reflected with the positive integers. We can have an abstract understanding of loss, minus, lack, subtraction — but those things cannot directly correspond with reality. They’re abstractions based on mental concepts, not abstractions from observed reality.

  95. 95
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Human beings have a rational nature. That’s an objective quality – universal and not subjective.
    The rational process is not a subjective set of rules. It’s inherent in human nature.
    Humans have a moral conscience as part of their nature. This is how we access the “objective moral law” – from within our conscience which directs us to the good and virtuous and provides guilt and opposition to vice and moral failings.

    Also, “we are oriented to the truth”. This follows from rationality.

    “We have a moral duty to the truth”. That’s universal and an objective basis – and is absolute.

    To deny that you have a moral duty to the truth is to destroy any basis for trust when presenting one’s convictions or testimonies or agreements. That then destroys the reasoning process and attacks human nature.

  96. 96
    JHolo says:

    KF@91, as I mentioned, the commenters fall into one of two camps. Those who draw conclusions based on observations (eg, VL and CD) and those who base their conclusions on hope (yourself and Andrew). I should probably qualify this. “Hope” is probably the wrong word. “Fear” is probably more appropriate. Fear of possible consequences should those who base their conclusion on observation be correct.

  97. 97
    Silver Asiatic says:

    KF

    Just today at service on this Palm Sunday, I was reminded of TWO disciples sent to fetch ONE colt, which had been ridden ZERO times. (It seems, they also fetched its mother so the colt could be accustomed to being ridden with minimum panic.)

    We had the same Gospel and I wondered about the two animals. The Haydock commentary compares the unridden colt to the Gentiles who would be brought with the Jews (the donkey Jesus rode). Both are “loosed” from the bonds of sin. The mother (Jews) then later follow the colt (Gentiles) as they are stirred to hostility in spite of having carried Jesus.

    It’s a mysterious passage in any case.

  98. 98
    Silver Asiatic says:

    JHolo

    The paraphrase of Dostoevsky comes to mind though:

    “If God does not exist, everything is permissible”

    There’s good reason to have some fear about that.

  99. 99
    Sandy says:

    People think in naratives therefore all are religious because they fit whatever concept is discussed into their own worldview that can’t be proved because nobody was there at the beginning of time.
    So atheists who draw conclusion from observations have no observations from beginning of the universe only just so stories and hypotheses that are not observations.
    We are left with who we believe in : some with Jesus ,some with Darwin. Good luck for people who believe in Darwin.

  100. 100
    JHolo says:

    SA: The paraphrase of Dostoevsky comes to mind though:

    “If God does not exist, everything is permissible”

    There’s good reason to have some fear about that.

    Everything is only permissible if you live in isolation. In the real world, we all live in groups, interact with others, require this interaction, benefit from these interactions. If I want to benefit from these interaction on an ongoing basis, the people I interact with will not permit me to steal from them, to injure them, to repeatedly lie to them, to rape their wives and daughters, to be compulsively rude to them, to undermine their ability to benefit from the interactions they thrive on. It is not God that puts limits on what I am permitted to do, it is the people around me who do that.

  101. 101
    kairosfocus says:

    SA, we have become so familiar with counting and the counting numbers that we overlook how abstract they are. Fiveness is the property on which two sets of that cardinality may be matched one to one, often we use subsets of N, by in effect orally matching members of N in sequence until the set being evaluated is exhausted. And that 1:1 matching already loads in oneness. The abstraction lurks under familiarity. KF

  102. 102
    kairosfocus says:

    JH, repeating the assertion, shifting the vocabulary. One cannot base oughtness on observed human patterns of behaviour, which will often reflect any number of ill advised or even ruinous patterns. Our is and our ought often fail to agree, which is precisely why we need well warranted counsels. Those start with first duties, as 21 notes. KF

  103. 103
    jerry says:

    It is not God that puts limits on what I am permitted to do

    This was all discussed in detail over a year ago.

    Everything here is a repeat. It’s what happens at UD on certain threads.

    Morality/ethics can be based on human nature or what’s called the natural law. But where does human nature/natural law come from?

    https://uncommondescent.com/laws/should-we-recognise-that-laws-of-nature-extend-to-laws-of-our-human-nature-which-would-then-frame-civil-law

    I don’t recommend trying to read it because there are over 1200 comments mostly irrelevant. But in the comments nearly everything discussed here is there including definitions.

    After awhile one realizes few are interested in communicating. They are only interested in getting their way. So logic is ignored, the obvious never admitted, only my way is better or your way is disagreeable.

  104. 104
    TAMMIE LEE HAYNES says:

    Respectfully, what you wrote was nonsese

    Here it is:
    “Hitler was a very bad, evil person (as is Putin, FWIW).”

    Here are the facts:
    People are NOT evil. They are all children of God. They have free will, all will choose to do evil sometime. Some do it very often and some to do unpeakably evil things. But they still retain the capcity to repent, reform, and to do good.

    And even those wh do unspeakably evil things, also do good things from time to time.
    This includes mass murderers such as Hitler who killed tens of millions. Yet he was very kind to his secretaries.

    It also includes Americans such as Blackmun, Berger, Thurgood Marshall, Ginsburg, Breyer, the Clintons, Obama and Biden, as well as half the Congress, and the bulk of the media and academia. . They have successfully promoted the premeditated murder of scores of innocent defenseless persons, far more than the Nazis killed. Yet even Ms Justice Ginsberg was very good to her grandchildren. And she always retained the capacity to reform and repent for the evil things she did.

  105. 105
    Silver Asiatic says:

    KF

    And that 1:1 matching already loads in oneness. The abstraction lurks under familiarity.

    The same is true of collections of letters. They are merely abstract symbols. But you’re drawing an equivalency on what the symbols represent on that basis. It’s like saying the letters: “Universe” are an abstraction just like the letters “cat” are. They’re both just symbolic, mental ideas. We could even say the letters “pwoienrwo” are an abstraction, just like the letters “God”.
    But we evaluate the value of the symbols by what they represent in reality.
    With that, “Universe” is radically different than “cat” and “pwoienrwo” is radically different than “God” as representations of reality and for their information content.
    In the same way, +1 is radically different than -1 as representations of existing realities.

  106. 106
    kairosfocus says:

    SA, what I have pointed out is that numbers from the various sets are woven into the fabric of all possible worlds as part of logic of being in such worlds. That is what gives mathematics its universal power, it is about the logic of structure and quantity. We are more familiar with counting numbers, but they too are just as abstract as the rest. Why is it that a group of guavas on a kitchen counter and my fingers can match 1:1? Because they share the fiveness quantitative property. That can be identified, one, two, three, four, five, fingers/guava exhausted we know both are five sets. That is how von Neumann constructed,

    {} –> 0
    {0} –> 1
    {0,1} –> 2
    . . .
    This is truly abstract and powerful when you think of it.

    I find the reality of five guavas is comparable to I owe five dollars. Both accurately describe a state of affairs and identify a unique quantitative attribute of the world, in the context of structures known as sets of different classes of numbers.

    I doubt a short comment would be decisive, but see the PS in 93, from SEP.

    KF

    PS, +1 and -1 alike, are vectors relative to 0 on the number line. That is an element injected when we go from N to Z, we change from scalar to one dimensional vector, C brings in a 2nd dimension and allows us to address rotation.

  107. 107
    JHolo says:

    KF: Our is and our ought often fail to agree, which is precisely why we need well warranted counsels.

    But what if our is and ought can’t be reconciled? Aren’t we left with individuals doing the best we can in cooperation/negotiation with other individuals who can’t reconcile their is’s and outs?

    Where the most egregious horrors have surfaced is situations where one side is certain about being able to bridge this fallacious is-ought gap. You don’t have to look any further than the colonial treatment of indigenous peoples from the different continents to realize this.

  108. 108
    Silver Asiatic says:

    KF

    I find the reality of five guavas is comparable to I owe five dollars. Both accurately describe a state of affairs and identify a unique quantitative attribute of the world, in the context of structures known as sets of different classes of numbers.

    Yes. In the world of abstract, existent entities the debt is a real concept. But it exists entirely as a mental concept. It cannot be instantiated in reality. The five guavas match five fingers. Negative 5 guavas are just not there.
    In terms of the observable, external reality by which we validate what the numbers represent, we could say “I borrowed 5 guavas and ate them. Now I owe 5 which are not there – so that’s -5 guavas as existent.”
    But you’re applying the term “debt” to the missing value. The guavas don’t exist. They can be debt to pay back or just lost.
    I come to you and say “Give me the ten guavas I loaned you”. You say “you only loaned five and I ate them”. In either case, you have zero guavas. Not -5 not -10. To prove I loaned you 5, you need something other than -5 guavas. You need a trusted document or something else.
    I say, “give me the 5 guavas I loaned you” and you didn’t eat them, you can return the five. They exist.
    The -5 is a convention and strictly an idea that cannot be validated in real-time in reality. They’re strictly in the memory or imagination. +5 guavas can be seen, touched, eaten, etc.

  109. 109
    kairosfocus says:

    SA, pardon but you just used “reality” as synonymous with physicality. It isn’t, as we both know. Cause-effect bonds, logic of being constraints (eg why there are no square circles . . . inconsistent proposed core characteristics), how certain logic of structure and quantity properties and entities are embedded in any possible world, states of affairs, qualia, etc are all features of reality. Yes, we use -5 as a conventional symbol, just as +5, both are vectors of the same magnitude but opposite direction relative to a zero point. Is there only reality in going 5 miles North [+5] to A, but no reality in returning by going 5 miles South [-5] thereafter? Would this be equivalent to going 5 miles North starting at A? We see here distinction leading to different identity, with one just as valid as the other. BTW, debt and credit are an abstract form of such vectors. We may note five gallons of gasoline does not carry a direction, but whether one drives or walks five miles North or South does: vectors inherently have size and direction. Of course there is an onward abstraction, vector spaces. I think this will help clarify why I see negative/positive values as just as valid. KF

  110. 110
    kairosfocus says:

    JH,

    in our time, formal and informal education tends to be morally impoverished, in key part a result of radical secularisation. One of its most damaging consequences.

    Similarly, there has been undue hyperskepticism regarding our being responsible, rational, conscience guarded, significantly free creatures who need wisdom to guide us to do the right, just, fair, prudent, etc.

    Ironically, if we are not free, we are not capable of reason or warrant, so we are not capable of knowledge; any species of determinism is self referential and self defeating.

    Yes, we find we are finite (with bounded rationality), fallible, morally struggling, too often ill willed and even willfully stubborn. That is precisely why we need clarity that we are morally governed, significantly free, and that there are intelligible, branch on which we sit first principles of reason including duty.

    In 21 above, I laid out Cicero’s start point for law, our built in self evident first duties. Duties that show that they are branch on which we all sit first principles by what happens when one tries to object: immediately s/he appeals to said duties just to have persuasive force. Oops.

    As for oh let’s negotiate, core justice is NOT negotiable, and many victims of gross injustice — think, holocaust, racially tied chattel slavery, stalinist show trials such as for Milada Horakova — are in no position to negotiate. Similarly, many perversities ignore manifest features of our nature, e.g. the very same overlords who claimed dark skinned slaves were an inferior species then called to bed their domestic female slaves and fathered children by them, physically proving our common humanity; even as we see a classic form of utter inequality here, said female slaves could not just say no.

    Those who oppress, in short, may hold disproportionate power, or may even be outright lawless oligarchs, and, fair comment, too many radicals today hope to become lawless oligarchs like a Robespierre or a Stalin or a Mao.

    Relativism, subjectivism, negotiation-ism and nihilism fail as bases for moral government. And more.

    KF

  111. 111
    JHolo says:

    KF@110. I think my comments speak for themselves. I have no desire to go down a rabbit hole of convoluted logic.

  112. 112
    kairosfocus says:

    JH, that you imagine that a self evident fact is convoluted indeed speaks for itself. I comment:

    >>I have no desire>>

    1 – thus the importance of duty to right reason and to truth which it warrants over desire.

    to go down a rabbit hole>>

    2 – as in, prejudged to be fallacious and or fantasy [Alice in Wonderland] without examination.

    3 – where, why is a fallacy dubious, it fails of duty to right reason.

    4 – why are fantasies questionable, they are not directed to truth (though, truths can be expressed through fantasies and fiction more generally, the power of literature).

    >>of convoluted logic.>>

    5 – why the appeal to logic, it is a synonym of right reason and draws our attention to . . . duty to right reason and warrant, as we are error prone creatures.

    6 – so in your attempted dismissal, predictably, you have appealed to duties to truth, right reason, warrant, etc.

    7 – that is you managed to demonstrate yet again how objectors show the branch on which we all sit first duties of reason are just as advertised, inescapable pervasive first principles so self evident first truths of duty.

    8 – Or, clipping from 21:

    We may readily identify at least seven branch- on- which- we- all- sit (so, inescapable, pervasive), first principle . . .

    first duties of reason:

    “Inescapable,” as they are so antecedent to reasoning that even the objector implicitly appeals to their legitimate authority; inescapable, so first truths of reason, i.e. they are self-evidently true and binding. Namely, Ciceronian first duties,

    1st – to truth,
    2nd – to right reason,
    3rd – to prudence [including warrant],
    4th – to sound conscience,
    5th – to neighbour; so also,
    6th – to fairness and
    7th – to justice
    [ . . .]
    xth – etc.

    Likewise, we observe again, that the objector to such duties cannot but appeal to them to give their objections rhetorical traction (i.e. s/he must imply or acknowledge what we are, morally governed, duty-bound creatures to gain any persuasive effect). While also those who try to prove such cannot but appeal to the said principles too. So, these principles are a branch on which we all must sit, including objectors and those who imagine they are to be proved and try. That is, these are manifestly first principles of rational, responsible, honest, conscience guided liberty and so too a built-in framework of law; yes, core natural law of human nature. Reason, inescapably, is morally governed.

    QED

    KF

  113. 113
    Silver Asiatic says:

    KF

    Is there only reality in going 5 miles North [+5] to A, but no reality in returning by going 5 miles South [-5] thereafter?

    There’s no empirical reality to travelling -5 miles. That journey you describe is travelling 10 miles total. We create the mental concept, however, of “return” and that means that after a 10 mile journey (because we came back) then we went zero miles. But that concept does not align with what happened. We did not travel zero miles. We travelled 10 – five + five. We did not travel 5 – 5 = 0. The “return” travel miles were not eliminated. We call them “return” because we held the journey in memory. We could just as easily said “I travelled to SanFranscico to Los Angeles, but it was only -2 miles, because that was two miles shorter than my previous journey.” Why not? You just compared one journey with another and calculated a distance of -2 miles.
    But as we’ve argued against idealism, we seek to validate certain truths (not all) with an empirical measure. The numeric value -2, for example, or any negative number – is a real, existing mental entity – I agree. But it has no consistent empirical value. A trip of 2000 miles empirically, can be considered -2 or -200 or whatever negative number you want. It’s an arbitrary value.
    This plant has -2 guavas. But it also has -200 and -20000 and -x (whatever we want) since we will compare it to any or every guava.
    But empirically with an “external validator” the guava plant only has the number aligning to the positive integer.

  114. 114
    Viola Lee says:

    Re 111. Not just convoluted, but laden with numerous unjustified premises and assumptions which create large leaps from step to step of the putative “logic”.

  115. 115
    Silver Asiatic says:

    KF

    1 – thus the importance of duty to right reason and to truth which it warrants over desire.

    You presented strong points in rebuttal. If the person quits the discussion then that tells us something. You took the time and effort to provide detail.

  116. 116
    kairosfocus says:

    PS, from Cicero — and this is what built lawful government:

    —Marcus [in de Legibus, introductory remarks,. C1 BC, being Cicero himself]: . . . we shall have to explain the true nature of moral justice, which is congenial and correspondent [36]with the true nature of man [–> we are seeing the root vision of natural law, coeval with our humanity] . . . . With respect to the true principle of justice, many learned men have maintained that it springs from Law. I hardly know if their opinion be not correct, at least, according to their own definition; for . “Law (say they) is the highest reason, implanted in nature, which prescribes those things which ought to be done, and forbids the contrary” . . . .

    They therefore conceive that the voice of conscience is a law, that moral prudence is a law [–> a key remark] , whose operation is to urge us to good actions, and restrain us from evil ones . . . . According to the Greeks, therefore, the name of law implies an equitable distribution of goods: according to the Romans [–> esp. Cicero, speaking as a leading statesman], an equitable discrimination between good and evil.

    The true definition of law should, however, include both these characteristics. And this being granted as an almost self–evident proposition, the origin of justice is to be sought in the divine law of eternal and immutable morality. This indeed is the true energy of nature, the very soul and essence of wisdom, the test of virtue and vice.

    [–> this points to the wellsprings of reality, the only place where is and ought can be bridged; bridged, through the inherently good utterly wise, maximally great necessary being, the creator God, which adequately answers the Euthyphro dilemma and Hume’s guillotine argument surprise on seeing reasoning is-is then suddenly a leap to ought-ought. IS and OUGHT are fused from the root]

    This indeed is the true energy of nature, the very soul and essence of wisdom, the test of virtue and vice.

  117. 117
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, again you only succeed in piling on on showing how you too cannot but appeal to the first duties in trying to object, doubling down on the problem. And in OBSERVING a pattern of consistent behaviour, there is no injection of assumptions. KF

  118. 118
    Viola Lee says:

    KF, once again: I accept that people are rational, free-willed creatures, and it is an observational fact that people use logic and in general want to find the truth about how the world works.

    This does not mean we have a “duty” to do so, which implies an obligation to something outside of ourselves..

    So, the fact that I try to discuss things with you logically and rationally does not mean that automatically I am buying into your metaphysic about what that means.

  119. 119
    kairosfocus says:

    SA, actually, yes there is, with home as zero point and N-ward as + direction for the vector 5 miles northwards. and so 5 miles S-wards is – 5 miles. The +/- injects directionality, a concomitant of space. Miles here happens to be an agreed standard unit of distance, but distance or length is another concomitant of space, physical or virtual. On the definition of a mile ultimately pivoting on 1 metre as the distance light travels in a specific time, just shy of 3 ns, we have an objective meaning to 5 miles, where 5 miles in a specific direction has a different significance than 5 in its opposite. So, here both + and – 5 have real world observable value. On debts, if I owe $10,000, I have travelled in the borrowing direction and someone else a similar amount in the lending direction, here the space is virtual but intelligible. Negative numbers were given prominence in accounting systems. But the underlying point is, vectors. And one can owe 5 guavas, even though there is no physical guava as yet involved in -5 guavas. H’mm, guavas as a unit of value and store of wealth, that would make for an interesting economics indeed. KF

  120. 120
    Sandy says:

    Viola Lee
    This does not mean we have a “duty”

    Oh dear, sweet irony. If you really think that why are you still posting messages about how people should think/act acording to your own “duties”? (X is right ,Y is wrong)
    🙂 How do you manage to think that duty exists(your imaginary duties ) and duties don’t exist (others duties) in the same time. To be or not to be …

  121. 121
    chuckdarwin says:

    SA

    You [KF] presented strong points in rebuttal. If the person quits the discussion then that tells us something. You took the time and effort to provide detail.

    People quit discussions for myriad reasons, so you probably shouldn’t read into it too much. For example, some folks might want to spend their Sunday afternoon watching the Masters, or walking their dog, or watching the NBA season wind-down. Who knows? Or maybe people get bored of being lectured. A lot of comments on this blog are cut-and-paste, repetitive and don’t merit re-plowing. Others morph beyond recognition. This thread, for example, starts out dealing with a somewhat interesting topic, racism and Darwinism, but ends up with a discussion about positive and negative numbers. I’d rather watch paint dry……

  122. 122
    Silver Asiatic says:

    CD

    People quit discussions for myriad reasons …

    Sometimes they quit because their argument doesn’t hold up.

  123. 123
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Sandy

    How do you manage to think that duty exists(your imaginary duties ) and duties don’t exist (others duties) in the same time. To be or not to be …

    True – it’s a strange double-standard.
    And as I mentioned before, the person who says “I have no duty (responsibility) to tell the truth” has just destroyed the trust that is needed for any productive conversation.

    “Anything I tell you could be a lie because I don’t think I have any duty to tell you the truth.”

    The good news is, even a person like that cannot say “I will always tell you a lie”.

    By our own rational ontology, we are oriented to truth and cannot get around that even if we tried to.

  124. 124
    Viola Lee says:

    SA, I wrote, “I accept that people are rational, free-willed creatures, and it is an observational fact that people use logic and in general want to find the truth about how the world works.

    This does not mean we have a “duty” to do so, which implies an obligation to something outside of ourselves..”

    I agree that we are “oriented towards truth.”

    You write, “I have no duty (responsibility) to tell the truth”. I note how you substituted responsibility as a synonym for duty. I have a self-chosen, freely-willed responsibility to myself to be honest and tell the truth: that is a principle I live by. That is different from a duty to something/someone outside of myself.

  125. 125
    Silver Asiatic says:

    VL

    Responsibility is a synonym for duty.

    https://www.thesaurus.com/browse/responsibility

    I have a self-chosen, freely-willed responsibility to myself to be honest and tell the truth: that is a principle I live by. That is different from a duty to something/someone outside of myself.

    I think you’re affirming the point. To reject a responsibility to tell the truth to people is to say “I only have a responsibility to myself, not to anyone else.” As I said, that’s what it means to say “I have no duty to tell the truth to someone outside myself”.
    That destroys any trust a person could put in what you have to say.

  126. 126
    Sandy says:

    You didn’t invent moral law you just learn and discover moral law. Moral law is objective , external and not questionable (10 commandments) you just use it right or wrong according to your “vices” or invent your truths. Yourself came from external source (your mom) , moral law came from external source(God) the only thing that is internal for a person is “free will” to choose right/wrong.

  127. 127
    chuckdarwin says:

    SA
    Actually, I think it is just the opposite. But what do I know? I hold the distinction of contributing the “most stupidest” comments you’ll find here….

  128. 128
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, 118:

    I accept that people are rational, free-willed creatures, and it is an observational fact that people use logic and in general want to find the truth about how the world works.

    This does not mean we have a “duty” to do so, which implies an obligation to something outside of ourselves..

    So, why do you think it important to publicly “correct” me apart from recognising and expecting us to recognise that we have among others, duties to truth, right reason, warrant?

    Do you see the implied duty to these things that you expect us to implicitly regognise?

    I note from 21:

    Perhaps, a negative form will help to clarify, for cause we find to be at best hopelessly error-riddled, those who are habitually untruthful, fallacious and/or irrational, imprudent, fail to soundly warrant claims, show a benumbed or dead conscience [i.e. sociopathy and/or highly machiavellian tendencies], dehumanise and abuse others, are unfair and unjust. At worst, such are utterly dangerous, destructive,or even ruthlessly, demonically lawless.

    Again, in 21:

    there is a linked but not equivalent pattern: bounded, error-prone rationality often tied to ill will and stubbornness or even closed mindedness; that’s why the study of right reason has a sub-study on fallacies and errors. That we sometimes seek to evade duties or may make inadvertent errors does not overthrow such first duties of reason, which instead help us to detect and correct errors, as well as to expose our follies.

    KF

  129. 129
    kairosfocus says:

    SA, 125:

    To reject a responsibility to tell the truth to people is to say “I only have a responsibility to myself, not to anyone else.” As I said, that’s what it means to say “I have no duty to tell the truth to someone outside myself”.
    That destroys any trust a person could put in what you have to say.

    Let us extend through the Kantian categorical imperative. here, suppose disregard for truth in pursuit of advantage aka lying became the norm. Society would collapse as communication, promise keeping, commitment, reliability etc would all go down.

    thus, we know that general untruthfulness would destroy human thriving etc, and is a manifest evil.

    So, we readily see why duty is to truthfulness, and how willful untruthfulness towards advantage is a parasite on truthfulness.

    So, duty to truth is seen through the principle that moral evils are inherently wrongs to be shunned.

    that is in addition to the point I have kept on pointing out that even objectors cannot but appeal to the said first duties, just to gain some persuasive traction.

    That is, the Ciceronian first duties are branch on which we all sit first principles, so are self evident first truths.

    What then becomes interesting is why some wish to dispense with such. The answer comes back, they do not wish to be duty bound, they see duty as the violation of freedom.

    But that is also fallacious, once we see that justice is due — notice the root! — balance of rights, freedoms and duties. That is, if I have a right to my life, liberty, honestly acquired property, innocent reputation, etc, it is because you have a duty to uphold me in those ways, simply because of the dignity of being a human being of quasi infinite worth.

    We need to rethink.

    KF

  130. 130
    kairosfocus says:

    CD, indeed there is a tangent on +/- numbers, connected to whether the past was beginningless, which is of the utmost moment for worldviews. Meanwhile, why is racism wrong and something we seem to have a duty to avoid? If there are no duties to neighbour so to fairness and justice, then racism is acceptable. Likewise, if there is no duty to truth, one is free to assume or assert that members of other races are inferiors, mice or geese for which cats or foxes freely have no mercy. And yes, that is a direct historical allusion to a certain book by a man with initials AH. An allusion, BTW, which was cast in terms of preserving the most highly evolved race, the Aryan. Either duties are real and binding or racism is not an evil to be shunned as violating duty. Pick your choice. KF

  131. 131
    Viola Lee says:

    KF writes, “Do you see the implied duty to these things that you expect us to implicitly regognise?”

    No, I don’t, which I am trying to explain.

    SA writes, “Responsibility is a synonym for duty.”

    I think there are some differences in connotation, but leaving that aside, my responsibility is to myself and to others because that is a freely-willed choice, not because it is imposed duty. That’s the difference.

  132. 132
    Silver Asiatic says:

    CD

    Actually, I think it is just the opposite. But what do I know?

    My comment wasn’t directed to you but I’ll agree that sometimes people just get tired and quit.
    It could be that they have a good argument that is not connecting or maybe they think they haven’t been refuted. In those cases, I think both sides are not able to communicate with each other.

  133. 133
    Silver Asiatic says:

    VL

    my responsibility is to myself and to others because that is a freely-willed choice, not because it is imposed duty. That’s the difference.

    By your rational nature you are obliged to the truth. You don’t have a choice unless you want to be “a troll” (in your words). The truth is external to you, and you also cannot make a choice to the truth without already having accepting its duty imposed on you. The choice to tell the truth requires an adherence to truth that you did not choose.
    An obligation, responsibility or duty to the truth is the same as your responsibility to rational thought. You did not create or choose your rational nature. You have a moral obligation to act in accordance with it, otherwise you would be lying to yourself and everybody else.
    You do not create the truth, since the truth aligns with “what is real”. So, you cannot choose “what is real”. You cannot create reality. The truth is definitely imposed on you as a duty, since it reflects reality.
    You do have the option to lie and deny the truth, but you’re only violating your duty and responsibility in so doing, and plus, you cannot even consistently say “I am committed to falsehoods”. That statement is meaningless and contradictory.

  134. 134
    chuckdarwin says:

    KF
    We can all agree that morality exists. My exceedingly simple point, however, is that the source of “objective” morality is human, not divine. Perhaps, at the risk of being branded a Marxist (LOL), the term “collective” morality would be better, but my point is the same. However, grounding morality in “first duties” does nothing to address my point, because a set of correlative rights and duties is just another way of saying morality. Importing “truth” into the mix simply confuses the issue further. We are actually “free to assume or assert that members of other races are inferiors” and throughout history that is exactly what much of humanity has believed. There are, unfortunately, still large pockets of humanity that still believe it, even in our so-called enlightened Western society. The entire history of the human race (double entendre noted) is one of subjugating our “inferiors” regardless of what criteria is used to determine inferiority. We have slowly made progress, and I will admit, without reservation, that Christianity has contributed to that progress. It is not the only contributing cause, as many apologists wrongly assert, but it is unquestionably a large factor.

    But, again, that was not the point of my posts on the vocabulary we use to describe the source of morality.

  135. 135
    chuckdarwin says:

    SA
    May I venture to say that there is a lot of “not connecting” in these comments. 🙂

  136. 136
    Viola Lee says:

    SA, I say something about myself, and you turn around and say exactly the opposite about me. I don’t accept what you say about me.

    CD is quite right: lots of “not connecting” going on. Makes it fruitless to continue on.

  137. 137
    Silver Asiatic says:

    VL

    I don’t accept what you say about me.

    That seems simple enough. You don’t accept the points I raised and you don’t want to continue.

  138. 138
    Viola Lee says:

    SA, you write, “An obligation, responsibility or duty to the truth is the same as your responsibility to rational thought. You did not create or choose your rational nature. ”

    I think this confuses some issues. We’ve discussed some of this before. I don’t have a responsibility to rational thought because it is just, as you say, part of my nature, any more than I have a responsibility for my heart to beat. I can’t help but use my rationality.

    One effect of having a rational nature is that I am going to make some distinctions between things that are logically true and that are not logically true: I have to accept the truth of “All men are mortal, Socrates is a man, therefore Socrates is mortal”, and i have to accept the falsity of “X is A and X is not A”. In this sense, my rational nature puts some limits on what I can accept as true.

    But other than that, the extent to which I care about the truth about propositions about the world (as opposed to just logical validity) is up to me. I can, and do, choose all sorts of things about the search for truth: what things are important, how certain do I want to be, what do I have time for, etc. My rational nature does not force me to make any specific decisions about all that: that is something for my free will to decide.

    So I disagree with this equivalence you make: in my opinion, explained above, “an obligation, responsibility or duty to the truth” is NOT “the same as your responsibility to rational thought.”

  139. 139
    Silver Asiatic says:

    CD

    We have slowly made progress,

    The idea that we made progress is goal-directed and it conflicts with your view that we’re free to adopt any moral standard that we want. With progress towards moral goodness, then means there’s an obligation, direction and meaning to all of this. Your first view is more correct, given atheism, that society can choose any moral rules it wants and there is no way to say one is progressive or the other regressive. Even the survival of humanity itself is not a goal since atheism is amoral. The only goals and meaning and morals are (as you say) human-generated and can be for any reason or none.

    and I will admit, without reservation, that Christianity has contributed to that progress.

    Progress is a term and concept oriented to theism, not atheism. Christianity strives for growth in moral goodness – striving for the standard of God’s infinite perfection of wisdom, love, generosity – basically the virtues. That’s the personal and individual destiny of each human being also – progress moving towards God.
    With atheism, that’s gone. If the entire human race was destroyed by hedonistic tyrants that cannot be viewed as a “bad result”. It’s just one of those things that happens and evolution might or might not do something else, better or worse – it doesn’t matter.

  140. 140
    Silver Asiatic says:

    VL

    I don’t have a responsibility to rational thought because it is just, as you say, part of my nature, any more than I have a responsibility for my heart to beat. I can’t help but use my rationality.

    If we were always perfectly rational and never contradicted ourselves, then yes. But we are human beings and subject to violations of logic and failure to accept true rational conclusions for a number of reasons. So, we have no choice in some ways, but we can also choose to be irrational, as many people do.

    I have to accept the truth of “All men are mortal, Socrates is a man, therefore Socrates is mortal”, and i have to accept the falsity of “X is A and X is not A”. In this sense, my rational nature puts some limits on what I can accept as true.

    Yes, but we also have an obligation to be consistent. Also, we have to respect our rational nature. It’s on that basis that we accept the syllogisms given. We can try to violate reason (even though it is impossible to do so entirely). This is the obligation to affirm “I will strive to be consistent”.
    That’s honesty, integrity and intellectual-virtue. Those are all necessary in discussing philosophy with other people, for example. That’s our obligation to be truthful. We strive to do our best – for the sake of ourselves, but also to respect other people. A person who has no respect for the truth violates that. This is what is meant by “duty to the truth”. It’s our duty, responsibility, obligation, requirement – if we want to be a trusted person, a rational person, a morally good person – to observe this commitment to the truth.
    Of course, a person can deny all of this and just be willing to lie whenever they want. But that person forfeits trust.

    But other than that, the extent to which I care about the truth about propositions about the world (as opposed to just logical validity) is up to me.

    Yes, as above – you can tell yourself and others “I do not care about the truth”. This disqualifies you from serious conversations or deserving trust. Plus, that statement is contradictory. It’s the liar’s paradox.

    I can, and do, choose all sorts of things about the search for truth: what things are important, how certain do I want to be, what do I have time for, etc. My rational nature does not force me to make any specific decisions about all that: that is something for my free will to decide.

    Our rational nature will come in conflict with any lies that we tell ourself and also with truths that we do not want to accept. This involves “necessary truths” which are required for the development of our self and the fulfillment of our rational nature. In the same way that we have a responsibility to take reasonable care of ourselves and for those who depend on us (children, etc), we have the responsibility to accept the truths that are necessary for our meaning and destiny — which our rational nature points to.

  141. 141
    Sandy says:

    Chuckdarwin
    the source of “objective” morality is human, not divine.

    🙂 The source of a car moving is the engine, not the engineer.

  142. 142
    Viola Lee says:

    You write, “That’s honesty, integrity and intellectual-virtue. Those are all necessary in discussing philosophy with other people, for example. That’s our obligation to be truthful. We strive to do our best – for the sake of ourselves, but also to respect other people. A person who has no respect for the truth violates that. This is what is meant by “duty to the truth”. It’s our duty, responsibility, obligation, requirement – if we want to be a trusted person, a rational person, a morally good person – to observe this commitment to the truth.”

    Yes, I make those commitments. They are self-chosen responsibilities: I commit to a responsibility to be truthful, and to seek the truth (those are two different things), but that doesn’t mean I have a duty to anything outside of myself.

    And you write, “we have the responsibility to accept the truths that are necessary for our meaning and destiny.” I chose to accept that it is good to “face the truths” about things even when we may hope or wish that things were otherwise: rejecting a belief just because we don”t like the consequences is not a solid reason.

    I believe, as CD said above, “that the source of “objective” morality is human, not divine.” People argue against that in part because they believe it leads to unacceptable positions such as nihilism. I don’t think that argument is true, but irrespective of that, the fact that humans are the source of morality rather than a divine source may make things messier and more difficult, but that, to be blunt, is tough: live with it. I think facing the truth that there is no divine source of morality–no divine being to whom we are responsible–puts the responsibility right where it belongs: on us.

    If you are honestly interested in seeking the truth, you will at least consider that perspective as an alternative possibility to the belief in God that you think is the truth.

  143. 143
    Silver Asiatic says:

    VL

    If you are honestly interested in seeking the truth, you will at least consider that perspective as an alternative possibility to the belief in God that you think is the truth.

    If people make up their own morality, then no personal moral code is better than any other. There’s no universal, objective standard. So, I can be fully honest about the truth and insist that everyone else is wrong. That would be my own personal morality – not better or worse than yours or anyone else’s. Again, the morality of the Third Reich is just another version, not right, wrong, good or bad.
    That’s the problem with subjectivism, and yes – that’s nihilism. Everything begins and ends with nothing, and it doesn’t matter at all what happens in-between. As you say, “the fact that humans are the source of morality” – they can make up any moral norms they want. They can be as cruel and violent and oppressive – just as the Chinese Atheist Communists put the Uyghurs and Falun Gong into death camps, forced labor and extract their internal organs while still alive for sale at a profit. There’s nothing wrong with this within Nihilism – as the CCP would assert. Their moral code is the same as yours – not better or worse. There’s no standard for good or bad. It’s just whatever the powers-that-be dictate.

  144. 144
    asauber says:

    “there is no divine source of morality”

    According to you, VL, this position can’t be superior, because it’s not a transcendent reality. It’s just something you decided to think.

    Andrew

  145. 145
    jerry says:

    My exceedingly simple point, however, is that the source of “objective” morality is human, not divine

    There is a problem with this opinion. It falls apart on inspection.

    Why is something moral? If the reason why something is moral comes from human nature or the natural law then where does human nature or the natural law come from? Certainly not from humans.

    If it doesn’t come from human nature or the natural law then what makes something moral? We had this discussion a year ago and the only common sense source of morality is human nature.

    To say morality comes from humans makes Tamerlane, Stalin and Hitler moral people.

    So where does human nature/natural law come from?

  146. 146
    kairosfocus says:

    CD, 134:

    We can all agree that morality exists. My exceedingly simple point, however, is that the source of “objective” morality is human, not divine.

    While I have been busy elsewhere in cyberspace [on GPIO for Raspberry Pi . . .] I came back for a moment. The above strikes me as a highly significant shift of focus and attempt to predetermine an issue due to a locked in position.

    If you will see above, I have NOT emphasised what the source of morality is, but instead that as Cicero did, we can know that we are in fact morally governed. That is an issue of warrant and epistemology, on something very observable. Indeed even in this objection, you imply duties to truth, right reason and warrant. As invariably happens. As I pointed out from the outset.

    My point, then, is that we are dealing with pervasive, branch on which we all sit first principles. That is, these are start points for reasoning, if we try to doubt or reject them, as soon as we try to say why, we immediately appeal to the very same first duties. Even, just to make our arguments seem plausible to the onlooker.

    In short, the would be objector reduces himself to self referential absurdity, appealing to what he is trying to deny.

    Again and again.

    Likewise, the one who imagines he can prove these, by the very attempt is appealing to the said duties.

    These are start-points for reasoning, where proofs and wider warrant begin.

    Inescapable, branch on which we all sit and should not try to saw off first principles. Self evident. Knowable as such, so as objectively true.

    As to where they come from at root, that is an onward matter. One, that has to answer successfully to Hume’s Guillotine and Euthyphro. That is issue two for later.

    Right now we need to acknowledge first principles.

    KF

  147. 147
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, 131:

    my responsibility is to myself and to others because that is a freely-willed choice, not because it is imposed duty. That’s the difference.

    In short, you do not concede that others have rights that inhere to themselves as human beings, which cash out as binding claims that they/we be respected in our lives, liberty, persons, honestly acquired property, innocent reputation, etc. You here have instead opened up Nietzsche’s will to power and the choices of Herr Schicklegruber and co that Jews, Poles, Russians — most of those slaughtered genocidally and in war of aggression — can be withheld from in those ways simply because Aryans are the master, most highly evolved race. That is where deriding first duties as IMPOSITIONS on freedom ends up.

    I doubt that you intend that absurd consequence, but consequence it manifestly is.

    So, let’s start afresh: justice is due balance of rights, freedoms and correlative duties. To properly claim a right to X, one must first be in the right about X as no one can have a right to force others to do or to uphold him in wrongs, thus tainting sound conscience. So, the due balance implies that real rights are mutually compossible across the community.

    This is a key sense of our equality.

    From this, we can see the significance of the Ciceronian first duties.

    The flip side of the coin of core rights.

    KF

  148. 148
  149. 149
  150. 150
    Sandy says:

    VL,CD:Morality is subjective!
    Should we believe that your statement is objective ? Of course not.

    Truth is objective. Morality is objective.

  151. 151
  152. 152
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Correcting relativism, subjectivism, emotivism:

    Excerpted chapter summary, on Subjectivism, Relativism, and Emotivism, in Doing Ethics 3rd Edn, by Lewis Vaughn, W W Norton, 2012. [Also see here and here.] Clipping:

    . . . Subjective relativism is the view that an action is morally right if one approves of it. A person’s approval makes the action right. This doctrine (as well as cultural relativism) is in stark contrast to moral objectivism, the view that some moral principles are valid for everyone.. Subjective relativism, though, has some troubling implications. It implies that each person is morally infallible and that individuals can never have a genuine moral disagreement

    Cultural relativism is the view that an action is morally right if one’s culture approves of it. The argument for this doctrine is based on the diversity of moral judgments among cultures: because people’s judgments about right and wrong differ from culture to culture, right and wrong must be relative to culture, and there are no objective moral principles. This argument is defective, however, because the diversity of moral views does not imply that morality is relative to cultures. In addition, the alleged diversity of basic moral standards among cultures may be only apparent, not real. Societies whose moral judgments conflict may be differing not over moral principles but over nonmoral facts.

    Some think that tolerance is entailed by cultural relativism. But there is no necessary connection between tolerance and the doctrine. Indeed, the cultural relativist cannot consistently advocate tolerance while maintaining his relativist standpoint. To advocate tolerance is to advocate an objective moral value. But if tolerance is an objective moral value, then cultural relativism must be false, because it says that there are no objective moral values.

    Like subjective relativism, cultural relativism has some disturbing consequences. It implies that cultures are morally infallible, that social reformers can never be morally right, that moral disagreements between individuals in the same culture amount to arguments over whether they disagree with their culture, that other cultures cannot be legitimately criticized, and that moral progress is impossible.

    Emotivism is the view that moral utterances are neither true nor false but are expressions of emotions or attitudes. It leads to the conclusion that people can disagree only in attitude, not in beliefs. People cannot disagree over the moral facts, because there are no moral facts. Emotivism also implies that presenting reasons in support of a moral utterance is a matter of offering nonmoral facts that can influence someone’s attitude. It seems that any nonmoral facts will do, as long as they affect attitudes. Perhaps the most far-reaching implication of emotivism is that nothing is actually good or bad. There simply are no properties of goodness and badness. There is only the expression of favorable or unfavorable emotions or attitudes toward something.

    KF

  153. 153
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N2: What does it mean to deny/claim that there are objective, knowable moral truths?

    Let a proposition be represented by x
    M = x is a proposition asserting that some state of affairs regarding right conduct, duty/ought, virtue/honour, good/evil etc (i.e. the subject is morality) is the case [–> truth claim]
    O = x is objective and generally knowable, being adequately warranted as credibly true [–> notice, generally knowable per adequate warrant, as opposed to widely acknowledged]

    It is claimed, cultural relativism thesis: S= ~[O*M] = 1

    [ NB: Plato, The Laws, Bk X, c 360 BC, in the voice of Athenian Stranger: “[Thus, the Sophists and other opinion leaders etc — c 430 BC on, 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.” This IMPLIES the Cultural Relativism Thesis, by highlighting disputes (among an error-prone and quarrelsome race!), changing/varied opinions, suggesting that dominance of a view in a place/time is a matter of balance of factions/rulings, and denying that there is an intelligible, warranted natural law. Of course, subjectivism then reduces the scale of “community” to one individual. He continues, “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 . . . ” [–> door opened to nihilistic factionalism]]

    However, the subject of S is M,
    it therefore claims to be objectively true, O, and is about M
    where it forbids O-status to any claim of type-M
    so, ~[O*M] cannot be true per self referential incoherence [–> reductio ad absurdum]

    ++++++++++
    ~[O*M] = 0 [as self referential and incoherent cf above]
    ~[~[O*M]] = 1 [the negation is therefore true]
    __________
    O*M = 1 [condensing not of not]
    where, M [moral truth claim]
    So too, O [if an AND is true, each sub proposition is separately true]

    That is, there UNDENIABLY are objective moral truths; and a first, self-evident one is that ~[O*M] is false.

    The set is non empty, it is not vacuous and we cannot play empty set square of opposition games with it. That’s important.

    KF

  154. 154
    chuckdarwin says:

    KF

    If you will see above, I have NOT emphasised what the source of morality is….

    Well, at least we agree on that. Kind of makes the whole exchange pointless….

  155. 155
    jerry says:

    Kind of makes the whole exchange pointless

    From someone who excels in pointless exchanges.

    Amazing how every comment is wrong.

  156. 156
    Seversky says:

    Kairosfocus/8

    >>Nor is there any such thing as absolute or objective morality.>>

    1 – including, the duties to truth, right reason and warrant you are implicitly appealing to in this assertion?

    That’s right. Denying that they are “absolute” or “objective” does not deny their utilitarian value to us.

    2 – in short you inadvertently demonstrate the branch on which we sit, first principle status of first duties and principles of reason

    It’s a popular metaphor but not accurate in this case, I would say.

    3 – that’s how we can recognise they are self evident and thus objectively true, accurately describing states of affairs that obtain.

    That they are evidently of value to us does not necessarily make them objectively true.

    >>Whenever people propose it, what they really mean is their own morality,>>

    4 – that is a twisted way of saying, if you see something as true, state it and wish to live on it you can be pounced on as an imposing little bully

    No, it’s not. It’s highlighting the observation that some groups claim an unwarranted supremacy for their own preferred moralities when it’s not at all clear that it is the case.

    5 – the objectivity of first duties is such that they in fact are pretty widely recognised, I notice sneers at me for pointing to Cicero, but in fact he was a pagan Roman Stoic who recognised that these are foundation of law.

    If I hold a particular moral view, that could be described as subjective. If a lot of other people share that view does it become objective or just a consensus of subjective views?

    7 – so, if a religion endorses naturally evident, conscience attested first duties of reasoned, responsible conduct, that is now held against it as another way to imply oppressive imposition.

    No, endorsing such commitments as duties is not the same as attempting to impose them on others whether or not they agree.

    10 – should we therefore dismiss a Christian who endorses this as a self evident first principle of right reason, as attempting to impose his beliefs and religion?

    Again, endorsement is not the same as imposition.

    13 – Next, the only place where first laws of our responsible, rational, morally governed freedom can come from is the source or root of that nature, which to bridge is and ought requires that that root be inherently good and utterly wise as well as powerful enough to cause worlds, also being a necessary being . . . a familiar figure

    So, you are denying that we are capable of exercising our capacity for reason, of acting in good conscience, of observing the Golden Rule? You are denying that we are capable of deciding moral issues by ourselves, that we must stand open-mouthed, staring at the sky, waiting for some parental deity to tell us what is right and wrong? I have to reject that.

  157. 157
    Seversky says:

    Chuckdarwin/68

    Seversky @ 65
    I get it and I apologize if it appeared I was lecturing you.
    My real problem is not with your observations but with the misappropriation and misuse of the term “objective morality” by Christian apologists who think they have latched on to something clever with the “without God there is no source for objective morality” trope. Thus, by denying “objective morality” one has no basis to condemn (or even comment on) the Holocaust or child molestation or any other myriad horrors that humans are capable of meting out.

    No need to apologize. I didn’t feel like I was being lectured. I just wanted to clarify what I understand by “objective”.

    I agree with you that the Christian apologist claim that without God there is no source for morality is unfounded. We are the best source of morality that safeguards our common interests in society and by “we” I mean all of us, not just the few who happen to hold power at any given time. Not that I’m sanguine that such an ideal will happen any time soon.

  158. 158
    Seversky says:

    Viola Lee/79

    This is a key point, and well said. I said it this way above:

    “But those commonalities are just recognizable features of our common experiences of people: they are objective in the same sense that the maple tree is. Just because we have a common understanding about human behavior doesn’t mean that that understanding all of a sudden has existence outside of its presence in human beings.”

    If anything, I think you said it better but we are certainly in agreement.

  159. 159
    Seversky says:

    Viola Lee/81

    All people have some common aspects of their nature: we use logic in our thinking, we have moral concerns and beliefs, we desire in most cases to ascertain the truth about things, etc. All of these qualities reside in billions of people, but that fact does NOT elevate those qualities to some type of transcendent, self-evident duty that exists in some way outside of the people who exhibit those qualities.

    The difference, which SA mentioned in another post, is the religious perspective is that there is an outside source of these qualities bearing down upon us, while my perspective is that those qualities arise and reside in each of us individually on there own, not because they are imposed upon on from the outside. They do not get some new ontological status just because we create an abstract understanding of them by noticing their prevalence as common to all human beings.

    This is a key philosophical difference in perspectives, I think.

    Very well put and I entirely agree.

  160. 160
    jerry says:

    If anything, I think you said it better but we are certainly in agreement

    And

    Very well put and I entirely agree

    And like nearly every thing else you say, superficial at best and entirely wrong.

    Someday an anti ID person will get something right.

  161. 161
    kairosfocus says:

    CD, on the contrary, it is a very important, foundation- of- objective- moral- knowledge- and- of- law- and- government result, that the seven Ciceronian first duties are self evident first principles. We know ourselves to be morally governed and have in hand first duties as an identified list. From these, we already see how to understand rights, freedoms, justice, the lawful state and the civil peace of justice. We readily see that both the Greco-Roman and Hebraic-Christian roots of our civilisation found here a framework that is in common, basis for natural law endorsed by scripture. Indeed, just the last triad embraces the frame of the second tablet of the Mosaic law and the civil law force of love thy neighbour as is drawn out in Lev 19:9 – 18. Historically, this in common ground and the natural law framework growing from it built and reformed our civilisation. And it can do so again. As just one point, as Cicero fully understood, valid core natural law founded reasoning is of universal jurisdiction. A capital example is in the US DoI, 1776, which lays the rights protecting frame of legitimate government, the issue of material breach, remonstrance and right to reform, with forfeit of legitimacy and replacement of govt gone bad. The general election is actually a regularly scheduled audit of government with peaceable means of replacement. Coming back to morality proper, we see how to address due balance of rights, freedoms and duties to build coherent, lawful community. Those are huge results that made a big positive difference and we should not neglect or belittle them. KF

  162. 162
    Sandy says:

    🙂 “My morality is subjective and you are objectively wrong if you think otherwise.”

    “Men are women ,women are men”
    😆

    Leftist logic in action.

  163. 163
    kairosfocus says:

    Sev, 156:

    [KF:] 2 – in short you inadvertently demonstrate the branch on which we sit, first principle status of first duties and principles of reason

    [Sev:] It’s a popular metaphor but not accurate in this case, I would say.

    See how you managed to appeal to branch on which we sit, pervasive first principles, in your attempted dismissive retort?

    Namely, to duties to truth, right reason and warrant; which you imply I failed. Only, to illustrate inadvertently just how on target the branch on which we sit metaphor is.

    At this point, the real issue is, what is systematically blinding educated people to something THAT obvious. The answer comes right back, in noticing how you and VL both react to the notion of binding duties antecedent to our existence and built into our rational, conscience guided, responsible freedom. You perceive such as oppressive imposition, failing to recognise that humans aren’t big enough or old enough to bridge the is-ought gap. That has to be in the world root or it cannot be done. Also, liberty is not licence or anarchy, the civil peace of justice pivots on due balance of rights, freedoms, duties so that no one may properly claim a right that imposes on others that they do evil to support the claim.

    Indeed, it seems a root problem is failure to recognise that rights are binding moral claims: my right to life, liberty, honestly acquired property, innocent reputation etc means you are duty bound to respect such. Disrespect for life leads to murder or to negligent homicide, starting with the congealed rage we call hate and finding its voice in slander.

    So, we need to recognise that to reject duty as oppressive inherently is to reject rights.

    A sobering issue.

    KF

  164. 164
    kairosfocus says:

    Sandy, when a man demands of me that I address and regard him as a woman, he is demanding that I habitually lie. This is a breach of the civil peace of justice. KF

  165. 165
    William J Murray says:

    One of the necessary but often ignored aspects of seeking out true statements (which we all do, one way or another) is that any true statement has to be about something. So, “truth” is not a thing that exists in and of itself; it has to be about something. It is a quality of a statement about a thing.

    In the case of morality, which is the true statement? (1) Morality is objective. (2) Morality is subjective.

    What does each statement mean? KF argues that the “true” answer can be discovered via epistemology absent ontology. IOW, KF has long argued that a true ontology can be reasoned out via epistemology (his argument about warrant and comparable propositions.) From what I’ve been able to glean, it goes something like this: all statements are innately, inescapably grounded in some attempt to find or apply truth; because of this (and other aspects of the argument, such as conscience and consequences,) we can understand truth-telling as an inescapable duty (where lying is still a form of appealing to truth – the false truthfulness of the lie;) such duty directly implies a necessary, inescapable morality as duties that are either logically implied via truth-telling about things/behaviors, or directly accessed via a properly functioning conscience and evidenced by the consequences of failing to fulfill those duties.

    Also we have the comparison to “subjective morality,” which reduces “morality” to “personal preferences,” even if those personal preferences are nearly universal in some cases (like abhorring the idea of torturing children for personal pleasure.)

    Can a subjective moralist say, “X is wrong?” No, they cannot, at least not in the sense that they can say 2+3=6 “is wrong.” What “X is wrong” necessarily means under subjective morality, when you boil it down, is “I personally prefer not-X.”

    Now, one’s personal, preferential morality might be something you can argue for in many ways, such as it is good for society, or for the greater good, or serves some goal, or eliminates the most suffering, but those would all also be personal preferences. You prefer to strive towards those goals or serve those purposes. Other people may have other preferences as goals or justifications for their behaviors or the social agenda they support and work towards.

    As I’ve said before, it’s a good argument, but I don’t know that it is conclusive.

    However, let’s say you are walking down the street and in the yard of a house there, a child is tied to a post and a man is sitting on a lawn chair next to the child and you see the man put a cigarette out on the child’s face. The child is screaming in pain and the man is laughing.

    Let’s say the police are on strike at the time to remove that from the equation. What do you do?

    Let me assume that, like me, you’d go over and attempt to stop the man and free the child, and take the child away into a safer place regardless of what the ramifications may be to your personal safety or legal entanglements thereafter, regardless of what the man’s relationship with the child may be.

    Why would you do that, if you are a moral subjectivist? Are you okay with attempting to impose your personal preferences on others? Aren’t you, essentially, doing the same thing the man is doing – imposing your personal preference on others?

    I’m interested in knowing how a moral subjectivist would justify intervening in such a situation, and if they view their behavior as substantively different from the behavior of the man harming the child if that situation does not actually represent, to them, the same kind of “wrong” as 2+3=6.

  166. 166
    asauber says:

    I’m definitely down for a discussion of the psychology of moral relativists, only it’s impossible to have a serious discussion with a moral relativist, as they eliminate themselves from it before a conversation can start.

    Andrew

  167. 167
    Silver Asiatic says:

    WJM

    Let me assume that, like me, you’d go over and attempt to stop the man and free the child, and take the child away into a safer place regardless of what the ramifications may be to your personal safety or legal entanglements thereafter, regardless of what the man’s relationship with the child may be.

    Right because the man harming the child is a moral subjectivist himself and has decided that action is what he prefers to do. Under subjectivism, there is no logical way to impose one’s own morals on others except through a conflict of preferences and that’s just irrational force and might-makes-right of fascism.

  168. 168
    JHolo says:

    Jerry: Someday an anti ID person will get something right.,

    Thinking that moral values are subjective and not objective is not anti-ID.

  169. 169
    jerry says:

    Thinking that moral values are subjective and not objective is not anti-ID.

    It’s still incorrect thinking.

    Subjective moral values are nonsense. If it is held by a pro ID person, it is still incorrect or nonsense.

    Aside: moral values are not necessarily religious. One can derive what is moral by examination of human nature/natural law and that has nothing to do with any religion. But because there is a distaste for religion by many, they believe this distaste applies to that which most religions espouse. So if a religion espouses morals, one becomes against any standard for morals not realizing that morals can have nothing to do with religion.

    It is a typical knee jerk response. Without any thought.

    This is not an ID/anti-ID issue.

    Yes and no. Morality flows from human nature/natural law. It is in no way subjective. The question then becomes, is human nature designed?

  170. 170
    Viola Lee says:

    I’m going to try and respond to all the “subjective morals is nihilism” comments as the day progresses, but I’ll quickly comment now to say JHolo is right. The universe may be designed, and life may have been designed and mind may be a designed immaterial component of the world, but none of that necessarily implies that some objective moral standards exist, or that human being’s behavior and beliefs aren’t entirely internally motivated and chosen by each individual.

    This is not an ID/anti-ID issue.

  171. 171
    JHolo says:

    Jerry: It’s still incorrect thinking.

    You are certainly entitled to believe this.

    Aside: moral values are not necessarily religious.

    I don’t think anyone is suggesting this.

    Yes and no. Morality flows from human nature/natural law. It is in no way subjective.

    Why can’t it be a combination of both? I don’t think that anyone will disagree that humans have a deep sense of right and wrong, moral and immoral. Whether we are born with this or whether it is “beaten” into us at an early age is certainly up for debate, but I am willing to concede that it is built into us. In that sense, morality is objective because it is within our nature. Why couldn’t the designer have imbued us with this moral sense but let each of us figure out how best to use it? It would certainly explain the variations and fluctuations we observe. My moral values have certainly changed over time.

  172. 172
    jerry says:

    You are certainly entitled to believe this.

    But I have evidence and logic on my side. In other words my beliefs are justified. Subjective beliefs have no justification.

    but let each of us figure out how best to use it

    Why couldn’t the designer have imbued us with this moral sense but let each of us figure out how best to use it?

    How one acts on morality is certainly cultural based.

    But not the basic moral values which are universal across all cultures. They are two different things.

    My moral values have certainly changed over time.

    That is certainly true for everyone as they learn what specific actions are conducive to doing what is right. For example, a typical action by many especially when one is young is to put another person down either verbally or physically in the belief that such an action will elevate them. Learning one way or another can show that this is actually counter productive for yourself or for your social setting.

  173. 173
    Silver Asiatic says:

    JHolo

    In that sense, morality is objective because it is within our nature.

    That is good to hear. Yes, that’s right. It’s something we observe within human nature and is not beaten-into-us in that sense. It does not need to be taught (in its most basic form).

    Why couldn’t the designer have imbued us with this moral sense but let each of us figure out how best to use it? It would certainly explain the variations and fluctuations we observe. My moral values have certainly changed over time.

    Yes, that makes sense. “Figure out how best to use it” would mean, we take the roots of the moral laws and then have to apply them to various situations. Our human nature provides our conscience that directs us to the good and away from evil – but we not only don’t follow that conscience all the time, but also the exact details of what the best choice is can be difficult to figure out. The designer made it that way so each person could work through those challenges. Making moral decisions is part of the design – that’s how we make progress in character and virtue, etc. So, every person gets a chance to discover life. Otherwise, if everything was planned out in exact detail, we would barely have any free will.
    The natural moral law is a foundation and root of morality coming from our human nature.
    It’s like how our reasoning process is built into human nature. But we still have to apply it to various arguments to see what is right or wrong.

  174. 174
    Silver Asiatic says:

    VL

    This is not an ID/anti-ID issue.

    Echoing what Jerry said – we can look at the existence of the natural, objective moral law and see it as evidence for ID. It cannot be caused by materialist evolution, for example. In the same way, our rational nature cannot be reduced to mutations and selection – it’s transcendent and universal, thus supporting arguments for ID.

  175. 175
    Viola Lee says:

    SA, materialism and transcendent moral beliefs are not the only two options, as I pointed out when I wrote,

    The universe may be designed, and life may have been designed and mind may be a designed immaterial component of the world, but none of that necessarily implies that some objective moral standards exist, or that human being’s behavior and beliefs aren’t entirely internally motivated and chosen by each individual.

    The fact that human beings have some common core moral characteristics, such as caring for at least some circle of people close to oneself, does NOT mean those are transcendent characteristics.

    As I wrote above, which has not been addressed:

    All people have some common aspects of their nature: we use logic in our thinking, we have moral concerns and beliefs, we desire in most cases to ascertain the truth about things, etc. All of these qualities reside in billions of people, but that fact does NOT elevate those qualities to some type of transcendent, self-evident duty that exists in some way outside of the people who exhibit those qualities. … They do not get some new ontological status just because we create an abstract understanding of them by noticing their prevalence as common to all human beings.

    1. Do you understand this distinction?

    2. Why do you think that recognizing some common features of human beings, or anything for that matter, creates something that is transcendent?

  176. 176
    jerry says:

    Why do you think that recognizing some common features of human beings, or anything for that matter, creates something that is transcendent?

    Haven’t a clue what you are saying.

    Starting to sound like some others here who are often incoherent.

  177. 177
    Silver Asiatic says:

    VL

    Do you understand this distinction?

    I don’t think it’s clear as I read it. For example, you say:

    They do not get some new ontological status just because we create an abstract understanding of them by noticing their prevalence as common to all human beings.

    We do assign a new ontological status to human life because we notice a characteristic common to humans and not present in other organisms. We say that humans are rational-beings, so human nature is rational. It’s the same for the moral conscience of humans. We don’t “create an abstract understanding”, we see the reality. We possess moral conscience, judge good from evil, and are oriented to the truth.

    Why do you think that recognizing some common features of human beings, or anything for that matter, creates something that is transcendent?

    I think you’re hung-up on the word “transcendent”. It just means in a sense “rising above”, in the sense that an immaterial essence transcends the material. Or human life is transcendent over non-living matter. The common, objective, natural moral values present in human beings “transcend” what we find in animal life. Animals act by instinct, not by moral choice.

  178. 178
    Viola Lee says:

    Jerry, my remark was to SA. He (and others) are the one’s claiming some transcendency.

  179. 179
    jerry says:

    are the one’s claiming some transcendency

    Ok!

    Sounds a lot like the same old problem, lack of common definitions. I see “ontological” and “transcendental” and my BS meter goes up.

    The morality whatever it is does not depend on anything transcendent. Which I take to mean a source outside of humans. It can be transcendent but the argument over morality does not depend on it.

    If human beings were formed by some completely natural process, the end result is what is the basis for morality. If the end result was due to some guided process and not to just a natural process, the morality is still the same but the origin of it was possibly in the guiding process.

    This guiding process if it exists, could be using the morality embedded whatever it is to reach objectives for the species. If it’s purely a natural process, some how this process is helping to reach some objectives.

  180. 180
    Viola Lee says:

    SA, I don’t think I’m “hung up” on the word “transcendent”. It’s a central word, in my understanding, to the differences in our philosophies. If what you just said is all you mean by transcendent, then I would say that is not the usual use when one says moral values are transcendent. I take the word transcendent in this case to mean that you are claiming that moral values exist independently from their existence in any one human, and are accessed by us: they exist outside of us and we access them. Maybe you don’t mean that, but I think you do.

    Also, you write, “We don’t “create an abstract understanding”, we see the reality.

    Every human being is different, and exhibits even the most common core characteristics slightly differently from every other human being. Each one of those people is part of reality. However, when we create an idea about all people, focussing on the similarities and leaving out the differences, that idea is an abstraction.

    Almost all our ideas about reality are abstractions. We have some direct experiences of reality, but it is a central process of our rationality to create abstractions in our minds to represent generalities about certain aspects of reality. But those abstractions are in our minds. They are not outside of us. They are not transcendent in the sense of existing as some kind of independent entity separate from their existence within human beings.

  181. 181
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, strawman, subjectivism or relativism open the door to nihilism, both in theory and as we have seen on horrific history. Precisely because we are neither capable enough or old enough to grounde morality, as the Hume guillotine argument inadvertently shows. Only something at the root of reality can ground moral government and it must be inherently good and utterly wise to also answer the Euthyphro dilemma. KF

    PS, this is a survival of civilisation issue.

  182. 182
    asauber says:

    We don’t “create an abstract understanding”, we see the reality.

    Yes, the reality is revealed to us, and we are taught/formed by it.

    Andrew

  183. 183
    Silver Asiatic says:

    The word transcendent comes from “transcend”. It’s similar to the word “universal”.

    When I say that morality is universal with regards to human nature, that means “it transcends subjective opinion”. That’s what “transcendent” means in that context.
    Apparently, that term rattles people so I can easily avoid it.
    Morality is not subjective it extends beyond [transcends … ok?] the personal opinion.

  184. 184
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Jerry

    The morality whatever it is does not depend on anything transcendent.

    Transcendent comes from the word “transcend” which refers to a higher order or higher level. To say that “morality is transcendent” is not to say anything about what morality “depends on” but about what morality is. It’s a “transcendent” value since it is of a higher order than the individual, subjective, personal opinion. It rises above to be a “universal characteristic”.
    Rationality is also transcendent. It’s a higher level value.
    Here’s what Maslow says about transcendence. It just refers to universal, higher-order characteristics in the hierarchy of human values. Morality and rationality are transcendent values. This is not talking about religion or the Bible, which I’m afraid is what some people are thinking.

    https://www.sloww.co/transcendence-maslow/

  185. 185
    Viola Lee says:

    No, it doesn’t “rattle” me. It says what you mean: that there are universal moral truths that exist independently from their presence in individual human beings.

    That’s what transcendent means, and that’s what I say doesn’t exist. Even if every single one of 7 billion human beings agree that X is wrong, that is just 7 billion subjective beliefs that X is wrong. It is an objective fact that 7 billion people believe that, but that doesn’t elevate the belief itself that X is wrong to a new transcendent status.

  186. 186
    Silver Asiatic says:

    It’s a parallel with the first principles of logic. Those are transcendent.
    This is not because every single one of 7 billion human beings agree with them. But it’s because they do not originate with human beings. No humans invented them – they’re part of human nature.
    The moral laws are the same. They are not personal, private subjective rules that just by chance everybody accepts. They come as part of human nature. That’s why they’re transcendent values – just as the reasoning process is a function of our rational nature and is a transcendent value.

    there are universal moral truths that exist independently from their presence in individual human beings

    Yes. And you are saying, in opposition, that the moral truths we observe are subjective and are created within each person or else are referenced from a group of people. But we are not bound in conscience to moral laws that are independent of our own opinion.

  187. 187
    Viola Lee says:

    No, moral laws are not the same as logical laws. You assert that, but I see no argument or examples in respect to how they are the same. We can write down a set of logic rules which follow one after another according to those rules, and everyone who encounters them, no matter what their metaphysical view (Christian, Buddhist, atheist, materialist, etc.) agrees with them. There is no such analogous aspects of moral rules.

    And you write, “They are not personal, private subjective rules that just by chance everybody accepts.”

    I have no idea why you inserted “by chance” into that statement. In an earlier post you mention the value of intellectual honesty, which I value also. It is not intellectually honest to declare, contrary to all that has been said by me and others, that people choose their moral values “by chance.”

    And you agree that you are using the word “transcendent” to mean, in my words, “exist[ing] independently from their presence in individual human beings’, so I’m glad we have that cleared up.

  188. 188
    jerry says:

    but that doesn’t elevate the belief itself that X is wrong to a new transcendent status.

    I think we are into mumbo jumbo with the use of the word “transcendent.”

    So maybe it’s best to retire it. If I ever used it in a conversation or a paper. I don’t remembered it.

    Morality is just what facilitates the objectives of the entity. Immorality is what frustrates those objectives. Human have common objectives, some of these objectives are more prevalent in some individuals more than others.

    For example, everyone wants to survive. (Please don’t bring up suicide because nearly everyone that does and it’s a extremely small number do so for reasons they wish didn’t exist. People want to continue living.)

    So morality is just what fosters those objectives.

    I’m trying to simplify a previous discussion on this before someone enters with technical terms that are not needed and which actually obscures the discussion.

    Definition of moral – Merriam Webster

    a : of or relating to principles of right and wrong in behavior : ETHICAL

    b : expressing or teaching a conception of right behavior

    c : conforming to a standard of right behavior

    d : sanctioned by or operative on one’s conscience or ethical judgment

    e : capable of right and wrong action

    This should suffice for a discussion of the world moral. We take it for granted but in 4 of 5 definitions the word “right” and “behavior” are used.

    So what is “right?”

    How about what facilities what is consistent with the objectives of the person

  189. 189
    Sandy says:

    VL
    That’s what transcendent means, and that’s what I say doesn’t exist

    1. ViolaLee says( his and others) morality is subjective.
    2.ViolaLee says that subjective morality of others(who happens to believe in transcendence) is false…because of ViolaLee own subjective morality that don’t accept subjective morality(of others) that don’t match to his own subjective morality.

    Make sense.

  190. 190
    ram says:

    Racisim is a form of tribalism, and everyone has tribal impulses. Fight those impulses.

    The best outcome for all involved is individualism. It’s broad spectrum and totally empirical.

    Don’t judge individuals by some cherry-picked variables in the service of your emotional bigotry.

    P.S. don’t forget to agape your neighbor as yourself.

    –Ram

  191. 191
    kairosfocus says:

    VL,

    No, moral laws are not the same as logical laws. You assert that, but I see no argument or examples in respect to how they are the same. We can write down a set of logic rules which follow one after another according to those rules, and everyone who encounters them, no matter what their metaphysical view (Christian, Buddhist, atheist, materialist, etc.) agrees with them. There is no such analogous aspects of moral rules.

    If you don’t see evidence that the first duties of reason are pervasive, branch on which we all sit first principles, directly parallel to the core laws of logic (indeed, they embed, embrace and reinforce these) that is because you have refused to attend to what is on the table before you.

    Let me pause, to remind of how Euthyphro identified the first principles, self evident nature of core logic:

    DISCOURSES
    CHAPTER XXV

    How is logic necessary?

    When someone in [Epictetus’] audience said, Convince me that logic is necessary, he answered: Do you wish me to demonstrate this to you?—Yes.—Well, then, must I use a demonstrative argument?—And when the questioner had agreed to that, Epictetus asked him. How, then, will you know if I impose upon you?—As the man had no answer to give, Epictetus said: Do you see how you yourself admit that all this instruction is necessary, if, without it, you cannot so much as know whether it is necessary or not? [Notice, inescapable, thus self evidently true and antecedent to the inferential reasoning that provides deductive proofs and frameworks, including axiomatic systems and propositional calculus etc. We here see the first principles of right reason in action. Cf J. C. Wright]

    In fact, notice, how the objector demanded warrant, proof as to why logic is necessary. That is, implicitly, he was appealing to duties to truth, to right reason and to warrant. Of course, from earlier remarks you experience principles and rules that you do not freely select as oppressive impositions. One could ask, do you find first principles such as distinct identity, non contradiction and excluded middle, to be oppressive impositions? If so, it’s over, you have chosen irrationality. If not, why then do you choose to project that selectively against first duties, which are similar first principles in the roots of our rational, responsible, self-moved . . . free, conscience guided, morally governed lives? The very duties that are concomitants of our core rights and freedom?

    To see that first principle, branch on which we all sit pervasiveness, let’s do a point by point annotation of your objection as just cited. Which, will be precisely yet another case of how even the would be objector is found appealing to the very first duties as was noted in say 21 above:

    >>No, moral laws are not the same as logical laws.>>

    1 – actually, they embrace and enfold the logical laws as can be seen from Epictetus. Why should we pay 50c worth of attention to laws of logic? The answer comes back, because we are duty bound to truth, right reason, warrant and wider prudence, sound conscience, neighbour, so too fairness and justice.

    2 – Indeed, one who refuses to be so bound becomes untrustworthy, ill advised, even destructive, opening the door to nihilistic misanthropy and enmity to civilisation.

    3 – Yes, that is a hard thing to say, but it is high time it was frankly stated, we are playing with big matches here, matches that can burn down civilisation.

    4 – Matches we can see the danger of, the evil character of, by pondering say Kant’s categorical example on the case of habitual untruthfulness becoming pervasive; which would wreck the fabric of trust and facility of linguistic communication, ruining civilisation.

    5 – Just overnight, I finally found my bug on the GPIO bus: someone giving key information neglected to say plainly that s/he was giving an alternate labelling of pins, creating needless confusion as say GPIO 5 seemingly migrated from pin 29 to pin 18.

    >> You assert that, but I see no argument or examples in respect to how they are the same.>>

    6 – I take “same” as meaning, both are branch on which we all sit, pervasive first principles (and are therefore self evident, objectively true, knowable and binding).

    7 – Of course, you here directly imply that SA and others including the undersigned have failed in . . . duty to warrant, using right reason and because of onward duty to truth. But,

    8 – instantly, this is yet another case of objectors implying the binding nature of the ciceronian first duties of reason and illustrating their pervasiveness thus first principle status.

    9 – To my certain knowledge this has been pointed out to you, using your own objections, and it has been highlighted for others in your presence, many many times here at UD. So, we may freely, initially conclude:
    __________________

    10 – If you have seen no arguments or examples, that is because you have refused to attend to them or acknowledge their presence. Which, is, pardon fair comment, an exercise in untruthfulness on your part.

    11 – Had you instead said that you have seen examples and arguments but in your view they fail to adequately warrant, that would of course instantly demonstrate the pervasiveness of these first duties. Which, would

    12 – have decided the case, against your position.

    >>We can write down a set of logic rules which follow one after another according to those rules, >>

    13: Cicero, long ago, wrote down a list of just such rules or laws, and they have been listed in order as duties pivoting on truth (with right reason and warrant as its direct support with prudence as broader support), sound conscience, and neighbour (so, fairness and justice).

    14: I have repeatedly listed them in logical order:

    1st – to truth,
    2nd – to right reason,
    3rd – to prudence [including warrant],
    4th – to sound conscience,
    5th – to neighbour; so also,
    6th – to fairness and
    7th – to justice
    [ . . .]
    xth – etc.

    15 – So, it is false in the face of readily accessible example such as 21 above, to suggest that no logically coherent list of first, pervasive, first principle duties has been or can be put.

    >>and everyone who encounters them, no matter what their metaphysical view (Christian, Buddhist, atheist, materialist, etc.)>>

    16 – Notice, I have noted the literary source as Cicero, C 55 – 50 BC, in two major works. Cicero was summing up and extending received Greco-Roman wisdom. Paul of Tarsus, a foundational Christian figure who embraceed Hebrew and Christian thought, endorsed the concept that conscience guided reason reveals that these principles — especially those tied to sound conscience, neighbour love and so fairness and justice — are seen by people of diverse traditions. As they are.

    17 – When Buddhism was recently raised as an objection, I highlighted Buddhist ethics in your presence. Let’s use Wiki as a convenient source:

    Buddhist ethics are traditionally based on what Buddhists view as the enlightened perspective of the Buddha.[citation needed] The term for ethics or morality used in Buddhism is ??la or s?la (P?li). ??la in Buddhism is one of three sections of the Noble Eightfold Path, and is a code of conduct that embraces a commitment to harmony and self-restraint with the principal motivation being nonviolence, or freedom from causing harm. It has been variously described as virtue,[1] moral discipline[2] and precept.

    S?la is an internal, aware, and intentional ethical behavior, according to one’s commitment to the path of liberation. It is an ethical compass within self and relationships, rather than what is associated with the English word “morality” (i.e., obedience, a sense of obligation, and external constraint).

    S?la is one of the three practices foundational to Buddhism and the non-sectarian Vipassana movement; s?la, sam?dhi, and paññ? as well as the Theravadin foundations of s?la, d?na, and bhavana. It is also the second p?ramit?.[3] S?la is also wholehearted commitment to what is wholesome. Two aspects of s?la are essential to the training: right “performance” (caritta), and right “avoidance” (varitta). Honoring the precepts of s?la is considered a “great gift” (mahadana) to others, because it creates an atmosphere of trust, respect, and security. It means the practitioner poses no threat to another person’s life, property, family, rights, or well-being.[4]

    Moral instructions are included in Buddhist scriptures or handed down through tradition. Most scholars of Buddhist ethics thus rely on the examination of Buddhist scriptures, and the use of anthropological evidence from traditional Buddhist societies, to justify claims about the nature of Buddhist ethics.[5] . . . .

    The root of one’s intention is what conditions an action to be good or bad. There are three good roots (non-attachment, benevolence, and understanding) and three negative roots (greed, hatred and delusion). Actions which produce good outcomes are termed “merit” (puñña – fruitful, auspicious) and obtaining merit (good karma) is an important goal of lay Buddhist practice. The early Buddhist texts mention three ‘bases for effecting karmic fruitfulness’ (puñña-kiriya-vatthus): giving (dana), moral virtue (sila) and meditation (bh?van?).[7] One’s state of mind while performing good actions is seen as [-> I guess, even] more important than the action itself . . . . The Four Noble Truths . . . . When one “goes for refuge” to the Buddha’s teachings one formally takes the five precepts,[22] which are:[23]

    I undertake the training rule to abstain from taking life;
    I undertake the training rule to abstain from taking what is not given;
    I undertake the training rule to abstain from sensual misconduct;
    I undertake the training rule to abstain from false speech;
    I undertake the training rule to abstain from liquors, wines, and other intoxicants, which are the basis for heedlessness.

    18 – One may have points here and there but the pattern is instantly recognisable.

    19 – As for atheists etc, some months ago now, I took time to explore how a significant new atheist, Stefan Molyneaux, has in fact publicly stumbled on said principles: https://uncommondescent.com/culture/lfp-48-former-new-atheist-stefan-molyneaux-and-his-universally-preferable-behavior-2007-illustrate-inescapably-binding-intelligible-and-identifiable-first-duties-of-reason/

    >> agrees with them.>>

    20 – Highly misleading, you cannot but know that many dispute the first principles of right reason, including as seen here at UD over the years.

    21 – Meanwhile, mere disagreement among a race of creatures who are finite, fallible, morally struggling, too often ill willed, stubborn and quarrelsome, is hardly reason to reject objectivity of key principles.

    >>There is no such analogous aspects of moral rules.>>

    22 – False, as has again been shown.

    _______________

    Again, an objection has been seen to be self referentially incoherent.

    Of course, you have repeatedly announced that you often refuse to read what I write, on various excuses and alleged real or imagined literary and reasoning faults. However, that raises fairness and truthfulness issues. You cannot fairly or truthfully claim there are no relevant arguments or examples if you have refused to look at said arguments and examples. Some of the latter, as in this case, being drawn from your own comments.

    Perhaps, the time has come for rethinking the path our civilisation, rather ill advisedly, is taking.

    KF

  192. 192
    kairosfocus says:

    PS, for reference, Cicero in De Legibus:

    —Marcus [in de Legibus, introductory remarks,. C1 BC, being Cicero himself]: . . . the subject of our present discussion . . . comprehends the universal principles of equity and law. In such a discussion therefore on the great moral law of nature, the practice of the civil law can occupy but an insignificant and subordinate station. For according to our idea, we shall have to explain the true nature of moral justice, which is congenial and correspondent [36]with the true nature of man.

    [–> Note, how justice and our built in nature as a morally governed class of creatures are highlighted; thus framing the natural law frame: recognising built-in law that we do not create nor can we repeal, which then frames a sound understanding of justice. Without such an anchor, law inevitably reduces to the sort of ruthless, nihilistic might- and- manipulation- make- “right,”- “truth,”- “knowledge,”- “law”- and- “justice”- etc power struggle and chaos Plato warned against in The Laws Bk X.]

    We shall have to examine those principles of legislation by which all political states should be governed. And last of all, shall we have to speak of those laws and customs which are framed for the use and convenience of particular peoples, which regulate the civic and municipal affairs of the citizens, and which are known by the title of civil laws.

    Quintus [his real-life brother]. —You take a noble view of the subject, my brother, and go to the fountain–head of moral truth, in order to throw light on the whole science of jurisprudence: while those who confine their legal studies to the civil law too often grow less familiar with the arts of justice than with those of litigation.

    Marcus. —Your observation, my Quintus, is not quite correct. It is not so much the science of law that produces litigation, as the ignorance of it, (potius ignoratio juris litigiosa est quam scientia) . . . . With respect to the true principle of justice, many learned men have maintained that it springs from Law. I hardly know if their opinion be not correct, at least, according to their own definition; for “Law (say they) is the highest reason, implanted in nature, which prescribes those things which ought to be done, and forbids the contrary.” This, they think, is apparent from the converse of the proposition; because this same reason, when it [37]is confirmed and established in men’s minds, is the law of all their actions.

    They therefore conceive that the voice of conscience is a law, that moral prudence is a law, whose operation is to urge us to good actions, and restrain us from evil ones. They think, too, that the Greek name for law (NOMOS), which is derived from NEMO, to distribute, implies the very nature of the thing, that is, to give every man his due. [–> this implies a definition of justice as the due balance of rights, freedoms and responsibilities] For my part, I imagine that the moral essence of law is better expressed by its Latin name, (lex), which conveys the idea of selection or discrimination. According to the Greeks, therefore, the name of law implies an equitable distribution of goods: according to the Romans, an equitable discrimination between good and evil.

    The true definition of law should, however, include both these characteristics. And this being granted as an almost self–evident proposition, the origin of justice is to be sought in the divine law of eternal and immutable morality. This indeed is the true energy of nature, the very soul and essence of wisdom, the test of virtue and vice.

  193. 193
    kairosfocus says:

    PPS, for reference, Plato’s warning:

    Ath[enian Stranger, in The Laws, Bk X 2,360 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 — the natural order], 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; observe, too, the trichotomy: “nature” (here, mechanical, blind necessity), “chance” (similar to a tossed fair die), ART (the action of a mind, i.e. intelligently directed configuration)] . . . .

    [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, so too justice, law and government: 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”), opening the door to cynicism, hyperskepticism and nihilism . . . ]

    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].

  194. 194
    kairosfocus says:

    PPPS, But you are just emptily regurgitating things you have said before. The answer comes back, these highly material historic remarks are key documentation that should have been heeded long since. That they were not is a material part of the many errors on display in this and other threads, so it is appropriate to place them as a current advisory of correction. It is telling that we are seeing persistent errors that were tellingly corrected over 2,000 years ago.

  195. 195
    Viola Lee says:

    KF, how are “first duties of reason directly parallel to the core laws of logic”?

    You continue to assert this, and then quote Cicero as if that were an answer.

    Explicitly show me the parallels.

  196. 196
    kairosfocus says:

    P^4S, in case someone is tempted, here is something else from The Laws, Bk X:

    Cle. Why, Stranger, what other reason [for the gross errors that ruined Athens through the Peloponnesian war and its aftermath] is there?
    Ath. One which you who live in a different atmosphere would never guess.

    Cle. What is it?
    Ath. A very grievous sort of ignorance which is imagined to be the greatest wisdom.

    Cle. What do you mean?
    Ath. At Athens there are tales preserved in writing which the virtue of your state, as I am informed, refuses to admit. They speak of the Gods in prose as well as verse, and the oldest of them tell of the origin of the heavens and of the world, and not far from the beginning of their story they proceed to narrate the birth of the Gods, and how after they were born they behaved to one another. Whether these stories have in other ways a good or a bad influence, I should not like to be severe upon them, because they are ancient; but, looking at them with reference to the duties of children to their parents, I cannot praise them, or think that they are useful, or at all true. Of the words of the ancients I have nothing more to say; and I should wish to say of them only what is pleasing to the Gods. But as to our younger generation and their wisdom, I cannot let them off when they do mischief. For do but mark the effect of their words: when you and I argue for the existence of the Gods, and produce the sun, moon, stars, and earth, claiming for them a divine being, if we would listen to the aforesaid philosophers we should say that they are earth and stones only, which can have no care at all of human affairs, and that all religion is a cooking up of words and a make-believe. [–> hasty, faulty generalisation?]

    Cle. One such teacher, O Stranger, would be bad enough, and you imply that there are many of them, which is worse.

    Ath. Well, then; what shall we say or do?-Shall we assume that some one is accusing us among unholy men, who are trying to escape from the effect of our legislation; and that they say of us-How dreadful that you should legislate on the supposition that there are Gods! Shall we make a defence of ourselves? or shall we leave them and return to our laws, lest the prelude should become longer than the law? For the discourse will certainly extend to great length, if we are to treat the impiously disposed as they desire, partly demonstrating to them at some length the things of which they demand an explanation, partly making them afraid or dissatisfied, and then proceed to the requisite enactments.

    Cle. Yes, Stranger; but then how often have we repeated already that on the present occasion there is no reason why brevity should be preferred to length; who is “at our heels”?-as the saying goes, and it would be paltry and ridiculous to prefer the shorter to the better. It is a matter of no small consequence, in some way or other to prove that there are Gods, and that they are good, and regard justice more than men do. The demonstration of this would be the best and noblest prelude of all our laws. And therefore, without impatience, and without hurry, let us unreservedly consider the whole matter, summoning up all the power of persuasion which we possess. [–> a rebuke to our sound bite and tweet culture: dialectic is not rhetoric, and the later has a deserved reputation as the arsenal of fools, deceivers, propagandists and manipulators]

    Ath. Seeing you thus in earnest, I would fain offer up a prayer that I may succeed:-but I must proceed at once. Who can be calm when he is called upon to prove the existence of the Gods? Who can avoid hating and abhorring the men who are and have been the cause of this argument; I speak of those who will not believe the tales which they have heard as babes and sucklings from their mothers and nurses, repeated by them both in jest and earnest, like charms, who have also heard them in the sacrificial prayers, and seen sights accompanying them-sights and sounds delightful to children-and their parents during the sacrifices showing an intense earnestness on behalf of their children and of themselves, and with eager interest talking to the Gods, and beseeching them, as though they were firmly convinced of their existence; who likewise see and hear the prostrations and invocations which are made by Hellenes and barbarians at the rising and setting of the sun and moon, in all the vicissitudes of life, not as if they thought that there were no Gods, but as if there could be no doubt of their existence, and no suspicion of their non-existence; when men, knowing all these things, despise them on no real grounds, as would be admitted by all who have any particle of intelligence, and when they force us to say what we are now saying, how can any one in gentle terms remonstrate with the like of them, when he has to begin by proving to them the very existence of the Gods? Yet the attempt must be made; for it would be unseemly that one half of mankind should go mad in their lust of pleasure, and the other half in their indignation at such persons. Our address to these lost and perverted natures should not be spoken in passion; let us suppose ourselves to select some one of them, and gently reason with him, smothering our anger:-O my son, we will say to him, you are young, and the advance of time will make you reverse may of the opinions which you now hold. Wait awhile, and do not attempt to judge at present of the highest things; and that is the highest of which you now think nothing-to know the Gods rightly and to live accordingly. And in the first place let me indicate to you one point which is of great importance, and about which I cannot be deceived:-You and your friends are not the first who have held this opinion about the Gods. There have always been persons more or less numerous who have had the same disorder. I have known many of them, and can tell you, that no one who had taken up in youth this opinion, that the Gods do not exist, ever continued in the same until he was old; the two other notions certainly do continue in some cases, but not in many; the notion, I mean, that the Gods exist, but take no heed of human things, and the other notion that they do take heed of them, but are easily propitiated with sacrifices and prayers. As to the opinion about the Gods which may some day become clear to you, I advise you go wait and consider if it be true or not; ask of others, and above all of the legislator. In the meantime take care that you do not offend against the Gods. For the duty of the legislator is and always will be to teach you the truth of these matters.

    Cle. Our address, Stranger, thus far, is excellent.
    Ath. Quite true, Megillus and Cleinias, but I am afraid that we have unconsciously lighted on a strange doctrine.

  197. 197
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, you have been shown, step by step, in detail how both are in fact branch on which we sit pervasive first truths and how in further fact the duties of reason embrace and take up the rules of reason. KF

  198. 198
    Viola Lee says:

    No, I have not been shown direct parallels with the laws of logic.

    If there are direct parallels then there should be short statements showing how each step logically follows from previous steps, with clear statements about beginning axioms. No quotes should be necessary.

  199. 199
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Yet again, Wikipedia as a convenient note, on first principles, a concept that seemingly is alien to many of us today:

    A first principle is a basic proposition or assumption that cannot be deduced from any other proposition or assumption. In philosophy, first principles are from First Cause[1] attitudes and taught by Aristotelians, and nuanced versions of first principles are referred to as postulates by Kantians.[2] In mathematics, first principles are referred to as axioms or postulates. In physics and other sciences, theoretical work is said to be from first principles, or ab initio, if it starts directly at the level of established science and does not make assumptions such as empirical model and parameter fitting.

    In a formal logical system, that is, a set of propositions that are consistent with one another, it is possible that some of the statements can be deduced from other statements. For example, in the syllogism, “All men are mortal; Socrates is a man; Socrates is mortal” the last claim can be deduced from the first two.

    A first principle is an axiom that cannot be deduced from any other within that system. The classic example is that of Euclid’s Elements; its hundreds of geometric propositions can be deduced from a set of definitions, postulates, and common notions: all three types constitute first principles.

    In philosophy “first principles” are from First Cause[3] attitudes commonly referred to as a priori terms and arguments, which are contrasted to a posteriori terms, reasoning or arguments, in that the former is simply assumed and exist prior to the reasoning process and the latter are deduced or inferred after the initial reasoning process. First principles are generally treated in the realm of philosophy known as epistemology, but are an important factor in any metaphysical speculation.

    In philosophy “first principles” are often somewhat synonymous with a priori, datum and axiomatic reasoning . . .

    I would note that when we turn to the first principles that frame our rational, responsible freedom, they are so pervasive in our very first acts of thought and speech that it is hopeless to try to prove or disprove them; we are forced therefore to accept them as first self evident truths. The one who would prove is already using them, the one who would object is already appealing to what he would overturn.

    Such is of course alien to the ultra modern mood in which skepticism is a virtue of virtues and to acknowledge unprovable first principles is seen as dubious.

    I suspect I see here the wisdom of my first Geometry teacher a certain Jesuit Priest and Principal of my High School, who highlighted that one purpose of studying Geometry, Euclidean sense, was to teach us how to reason. Of course, the axioms were the start points of reasoning and many were the arduous nights full of homework. But he did his work well.

    I salute him as I remember my intellectual debts.

    We need to be willing to acknowledge first principles, branch on which we all sit pervasive first truths that we more observe and recognise than invent or demonstrate. They here are the antecedents of demonstration.

    KF

    PS, I beg leave to highlight a C1 Rhetoric 101 example, yet again, to be contemplated as a paradigmatic case study — and yes Paul was quoting it in arguing with Greeks giving themselves over to irrationalism:

    1 Cor 14:7 If even lifeless instruments, such as the flute or the harp, do not give distinct notes, how will anyone know what is played? 8 And if the bugle gives an indistinct sound, who will get ready for battle? 9 So with yourselves, if with your tongue you utter speech that is not intelligible, how will anyone know what is said? For you will be speaking into the air. 10 There are doubtless many different languages in the world, and none is without meaning, 11 but if I do not know the meaning of the language, I will be a foreigner to the speaker and the speaker a foreigner to me.

    Notice, distinct identity is present here from the moment a musical instrument is played, much less when speech and thought are embarked on. There before we can try a proof or raise an objection.

    Paradigm.

  200. 200
    Silver Asiatic says:

    VL

    you mention the value of intellectual honesty, which I value also

    But your point is that intellectual honesty or integrity is a subjective, not objective value. Therefore, on what basis would you scold someone for not adhering to that value? If they want to lie and contradict themselves, that’s their subjective moral value, not better or worse than yours.
    If you insist that people “should be” honest intellectually – then you’re pointing to an objective moral value that we both “should” adhere to. Otherwise, you’d have to respect any and every moral value – because that’s what atheism give us. It’s an amoral system that is nihilistic. There’s no good or bad, no right or wrong – except what any individual wants.

  201. 201
    Silver Asiatic says:

    KF

    the duties of reason

    … are a moral imperative that align with the laws of reason and the objective moral law.
    Without the Intellectual virtues of honesty, integrity, consistency, sincerity, justice, humility – rational discourse is not possible.
    So, the moral law built into human nature is an objective and necessary component of how we use the logical laws.
    The logical laws are meaningless in an amoral, nihilistic worldview where moral norms are subjective. Nobody would be required to maintain the laws of logic. Lies and contradictions would be just as valid as truths.
    This is the same as saying that oppression and violence are the same as any other human action – not better or worse. That’s the problem with subjectivism.

  202. 202
    Silver Asiatic says:

    VL

    there should be short statements showing how each step logically follows from previous steps, with clear statements about beginning axioms

    The natural moral law is axiomatic, not the product of logic. We observe it not derive it from something else.
    The application of the moral norms to various activities requires logic and is easily seen in step by step manner.

    “A person should not murder an innocent person for no reason”.

    That’s a universal, objective moral norm. Everybody knows that. It’s not a subjective opinion that someone concocted on their own and imposed on humanity.
    Logic proceeds from the axiom.

    Since one should not murder an innocent party for no reason, then randomly and senselessly firing a handgun into a public place and killing various people would be a violation of the objective moral law.

  203. 203
    Viola Lee says:

    SA, you and I agree about the value of intellectual honesty. Why did you insert “by chance” in the sentence you did, given that neither one of us have ever remotely implied that human nature happened by chance.

    I asking you, if you refuse to see it any other way, to live up to your own values.

  204. 204
    Silver Asiatic says:

    You cannot engage in a rational discussion without observing the objective moral law.
    If morality was subjective, then rational discourse would fall apart.

  205. 205
    Silver Asiatic says:

    VL

    I asking you, if you refuse to see it any other way, to live up to your own values.

    Right, because “living up to my values” aligns with your subjective morals and you expect me to follow what you believe. You’re pointing to objective morality.

  206. 206
    kairosfocus says:

    Vl, the laws of logic, precisely, are first principle start points, they can be shown coherent but cannot in reality be proved from one another as I just showed with a paradigm of distinct identity that has as close corollaries excluded middle and non contradiction. If you refuse to acknowledge the cogerence of truth, right reason [there is the embracing and taking up, Cicero’s highest reason], warrant and wider prudence guarded and guided by sound conscience [being informed by the first three] and by neighbour [with due rights] so too fairness and justice, then the problem is not the coherence or the facet-microcosm wholistic nature of these themes . . . one leads to all, all contribute to any one. Notice, Cicero started from Justice. No, it is that we live in an age given over to crooked yardstick, warped thinking that makes it impossible for the genuinely straight, accurate and upright to fit our preferred crookedness. Indeed, not even a naturally straight, upright plumb line will dissuade those locked into crooked systems. Metanoia is the solution and that is harsh medicine indeed. KF

    PS, Here we go with Wikipedia again — oops their former excellent discussion evaporated without trace. Okay, here we go:

    Metanoia, a profound change of mind, heart, attitude, passions, schemes of thought, principles and commitments and so extending into regret for former ways and reformation, renewal and restitution as appropriate, thus utter, radical, wholesome change.

  207. 207
    Viola Lee says:

    I gather that you can’t do it, KF. I understand about first principles, axioms, undefined terms, etc.

    Show me parallel between morals and logic.

    Two points: logic is accepted by people of all world views. There is no parallel in morals.

    Second, we don’t need to quote Aristotle to explain logic. He’s historically important, but the explication of logic.

    So try again. I don’t need a lecture about formal system. State, one at a time, your first principles.

    For a start, I’ve made it abundantly clear that I accept that utilizing the laws of logic is essential for rational thought. What next?

  208. 208
    kairosfocus says:

    SA, or even for an inevitably evil reason, the willful shedding of innocent blood is an utter breach of the first right, life without which there are no other rights. KF

  209. 209
    Silver Asiatic says:

    VL

    neither one of us have ever remotely implied that human nature happened by chance

    Atheism generally proposes chance as the origin of all things. If you disagree with the atheist-proposal that is great to hear. But I’d just ask you to explain what other source you propose. If not chance, then what?

  210. 210
    Viola Lee says:

    KF tou write, as you have countless times, things like, ” If you refuse to acknowledge the cogerence of truth, right reason [there is the embracing and taking up, Cicero’s highest reason], warrant and wider prudence guarded and guided by sound conscience [being informed by the first three] and by neighbour [with due rights] so too fairness and justice, then the problem is not the coherence or the facet-microcosm wholistic nature of these themes . . . one leads to all, all contribute to any one.”

    But there’s nothing paralleling logic there. You just say that they all follow and contribute to each other, using a lot of words and concepts that are not well-defined, etc. That is not “parallel to logic.”

  211. 211
    Silver Asiatic says:

    KF – true. If rights are subjective, then nobody has rights since they would be given or taken away based on the subjective opinion of anybody. There would be no reason to respect rights of anyone else if they don’t align with your subjective ideas.

  212. 212
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, I cannot force you to acknowledge what is before you but the record is there and speaks for itself. Even your own onward objections pivot on implying failure of duties of reason on my part. Though in fact adequate substance is on the table. Ponder what first principles are and what a branch on what we all sit is. KF

    PS, I do not need to further elaborate what truth, right reason, warrant, prudence, sound conscience, neighbour, fairness, justice and duty are, all have been adequately discussed and are well understood basic terms found in any high quality dictionary; just, not acknowledged. You yourself have repeatedly shown just this afternoon how your objections imply what they would overturn, showing their first principle nature.

  213. 213
    Silver Asiatic says:

    VL

    You cannot engage in rational discourse or even rational thought in your own mind without what KF said

    Reverence for truth as an intellectual good, right reason [there is the embracing and taking up, Cicero’s highest reason], warrant and wider prudence guarded and guided by sound conscience [being informed by the first three] and by neighbour [with due rights] so too fairness and justice

    Those are the objective moral norms necessary for a rational process and dialogue, for learning and understanding. The laws of logic presented by themselves, will not give us human rationality. We need to objective moral norms to put those laws in action and maintain them.

  214. 214
    Viola Lee says:

    You can’t do it. You can’t justify your statement that the “first duties of reason directly parallel to the core laws of logic.” Pointing to all the other times that you’ve made all your assertions in ways that don’t remotely resemble parallels to the laws of logic is not an answer. (I know what first principles are, by the way.)

    You can’t do it. That’s my conclusion.

  215. 215
    Viola Lee says:

    Challenge: name one–just one– first principle (other than using logic, which I’ve already mentioned).

  216. 216
    Silver Asiatic says:

    KF

    Even your own onward objections pivot on implying failure of duties of reason on my part.

    This is where subjective morals are self-defeating. In the conversation, if the person demands respect, sincerity, consistency and adherence to logic – all of that is pointing to objective moral norms. Otherwise, the person would have to accept subjective morals that could establish lying, insincerity and contradictions as perfectly valid responses.

  217. 217
    Silver Asiatic says:

    VL

    Challenge: name one–just one– first principle

    They’re axiomatic. They’re called “intellectual virtues”. You’ve already demanded at least two of them – expecting us to adhere to them:
    1. Honesty
    2. Consistency

    You chided me for lack of honesty, and then pointed to my failure to live up to my values.

    Prudence is a virtue most necessary for human life. For a good life consists in good deeds. Now in order to do good deeds, it matters not only what a man does, but also how he does it; to wit, that he do it from right choice and not merely from impulse or passion. And, since choice is about things in reference to the end, rectitude of choice requires two things: namely, the due end, and something suitably ordained to that due end.
    Consequently an intellectual virtue is needed in the reason, to perfect the reason, and make it suitably affected towards things ordained to the end; and this virtue is prudence. Consequently prudence is a virtue necessary to lead a good life.

  218. 218
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, we saw seven on the table. Show us how we can freely flout them as a community without chaotic collapse. BTW, logic points to truth, right reason and warrant guided by sound conscience in the community of neighbours acknowledging rights, fairness, justice. Do I need to remind, justice is due balance of rights, freedoms, duties, or that rights are binding moral claims and must be informed by respect for the sound consciences of others? or that soundness points back to the first cluster? KF

  219. 219
    Viola Lee says:

    KF writes, “Show us how we can freely flout them as a community without chaotic collapse. ”

    I also believe those things you mention are virtues. But arguing that they are necessary, objective virtues that are parallel to the rules of logic because we would have bad social consequences if people didn’t follow them is fallacious. You can’t claim a proposition is logically true because you don’t like the consequences of it being false.

  220. 220
    Viola Lee says:

    So, SA, can you just tell me why you added “by chance”. An easy thing would be to say that was a mistake and you know I and others aren’t arguing that people make subjective judgments “by chance.”

  221. 221
    JHolo says:

    KF: PS, this is a survival of civilisation issue.

    How so? Are you suggesting that if our moral values aren’t objective (ie, not derived by the individual) that civilization will end? It has long been known that arguing from consequences is a basic logical fallacy. Do you have anything other than this to defend your argument against the subjective nature of moral values? Keep in mind that using words like “relativism”, “nihilism” and the like in any response is just further pandering to the arguing from consequences fallacy.

  222. 222
    Sandy says:

    ViolaLee
    But arguing that they are necessary, objective virtues that are parallel to the rules of logic because we would have bad social consequences if people didn’t follow them is fallacious

    .

    😆 Always after you say “but” you start to contradict yourself because you start to insert the truth, the reality ,the correct point that are duties. You deny the duty (KF talk about) by professing the duty . Wake up!

  223. 223
    jerry says:

    Morals are not subjective. They are independent of what any individual may think or believe. They are derived from what fosters human objectives and are consistent over all cultures.

    So let’s get rid of the nonsense that they are subjective or individually determined.

  224. 224
    kairosfocus says:

    JH, I am not arguing to persuade or prove that first duties are objective, I am pointing out, with the key note that those who try to object or to prove, alike, are already appealing to first duties. That is, I am observing and inviting others to observe, their branch on which we sit, first principle character. As for civilisation vital issues, we are dealing with the core principles of reason, duty and law that actually built our civilisation and built modern liberty with lawful constitutional democracy. It is fairly easy to see the consequences of general untruthfulness, irrationality, rejection of adequate warrant, want of prudence, benumbed conscience, disrespect for neighbour and pervasive injustice: ruin, as Kant’s universality test points out. For historical case, consult Plato on the collapse of Athens during and after the Peloponnesian war, or as recently as the French Revolution, Germany, the USSR and currently the threat to the USA. Where, the danger is not total end of civilisation — a nuke war could do that — but breakdown of lawfulness and a slide into the natural state of human government, lawless oligarchy and tyranny. But then, radicals seek to rob us of historical awareness as it makes the people less prone to follow their mutiny on the ship of state agendas. KF

    BTW, arguing about fallacies like that is an appeal to duties to truth, right reason, warrant. Precisely an example of the point.

  225. 225
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, your obvious attempt to withhold consent as though that disestablishes the point and allows you to suggest this is a mere oppressive imposition fails. That inadvertently illustrates the dangers of subjectivism and relativism, much as Plato highlighted 2360 years ago in The Laws Bk X: we disagree is not equivalent to that is therefore an error. You have also erected a strawman caricature, for we both know or could easily know, that the observation I have noted is that objectors, including you over and over, find themselves appealing to the very duties they would overturn. In your latest comment to me, you asserted “It has long been known that arguing from consequences is a basic logical fallacy,” which is an appeal to duties to right reason, warrant and truth. Mind you, pointing out that a path embarked upon and with a known snowballing trend is ruinous is not an empty fallacy, it is a warning from prudence. In effect you are showing intent to persist in a mutinous voyage of folly despite warning — and yes, I am pointing to the ship of state and to Ac 27 as a real world microcosm, note too remarks to JH just now. Not advisable. KF

  226. 226
    Viola Lee says:

    Oh my goodness, I withdraw in chastisement! 🙂

  227. 227
    JHolo says:

    Jerry: Morals are not subjective. They are independent of what any individual may think or believe. They are derived from what fosters human objectives and are consistent over all cultures.

    So let’s get rid of the nonsense that they are subjective or individually determined.

    How can you prove this? There are plenty of examples of them varying from one culture to another. If you are a woman, try getting an education in Afghanistan, or a driver’s licence in Saudi Arabia.

    Yes, there are many behaviours that are expected of us if we choose to live in our society. But how can you show that these expected behaviours are based on objective (ie external to individually determined) values and not based on majority consensus of the people in the society you want to live amongst? As far as I can tell, you can’t.

    As I have already mentioned, the arguments fall into two camps. Those who base their conclusions on readily observed evidence, and those who base their conclusion on the fear of what might happen if their preferred model is wrong.

  228. 228
    kairosfocus says:

    JH, we are known to be finite, fallible, morally struggling, too often ill willed and even stubborn. That there is disagreement is to be expected and in fact there is disagreement over any number of vital, in fact well warranted, objective, knowable truths. Start with the first principles of reason. The issue is what is sound at core, precisely to correct our error and move us to what is accurate and advisable. On the cases in hand, notice that your latest appeal is to suggest an objection, with the lurking appeal to unmet duty to warrant so too to right reason and prudence. Though you have not been inclined to acknowledge it, you are yet again inadvertently illustrating how objectors to first duties of reason routinely appeal to same. Thus, showing first principle character. KF

    PS: Not too many generations past majority consensus was racist and eugenicist, even genocidal — as has been pointed out already today. The marginalised and oppressed often do not have negotiation power or support from thoe who do. Oh we can negotiate and build a consensus raises the point: to continue injustice such as ongoing slaughter of our living posterity in the womb at 1 million more victims per week?

  229. 229
    Seversky says:

    William J Murray/165

    However, let’s say you are walking down the street and in the yard of a house there, a child is tied to a post and a man is sitting on a lawn chair next to the child and you see the man put a cigarette out on the child’s face. The child is screaming in pain and the man is laughing.

    Let’s say the police are on strike at the time to remove that from the equation. What do you do?

    Let me assume that, like me, you’d go over and attempt to stop the man and free the child, and take the child away into a safer place regardless of what the ramifications may be to your personal safety or legal entanglements thereafter, regardless of what the man’s relationship with the child may be.

    Why would you do that, if you are a moral subjectivist? Are you okay with attempting to impose your personal preferences on others? Aren’t you, essentially, doing the same thing the man is doing – imposing your personal preference on others?

    I’m interested in knowing how a moral subjectivist would justify intervening in such a situation, and if they view their behavior as substantively different from the behavior of the man harming the child if that situation does not actually represent, to them, the same kind of “wrong” as 2+3=6

    In my view, morality is a set of principles whose function is to regulate the behavior of human beings in society towards one another with the purpose of protecting the agreed rights and interests of all members of that society. If one of those rights guarantees protection from unwarranted physical violence against the person then that would be a justification for intervention. However, that can be seen as a description of what “is” not a prescription of what “ought” to be the case. It is a claim about what morality is not which morality should be observed or whether there should be any moral codes at all.

    The reality is that most normal people would intervene to save the child because they would be appalled and outraged by what was being done to it. In other words, our reaction would be rooted in empathy for the sufferings of another and, in my view, it is empathy which is the foundation of morality.

    While I would agree that moral choices can also be classed as personal preferences, I view it as an attempt to trivialize the former. It implies that the revulsion we would experience if we saw a child being tortured is substantively no different from a preference for strawberry over chocolate ice-cream and that is most definitely not the case in my experience.

    In my view, there is nothing other than subjective morality. Even the moral edicts of a god, while dispensed by a being presumed to be much more knowledgeable and powerful than mere human beings, would still be the subjective views of another individual who is no more able to bridge the is/ought gap than we are. Attempts by some to characterize the moral edicts of a god as objective or to assert that there are moral codes which transcend our reality and are thereby objective is no more than an unwarranted attempt by them to annex the moral high for their own religious presuppositions.

  230. 230
    Silver Asiatic says:

    VL

    can you just tell me why you added “by chance”

    “By chance” meant that someone decides in their subjective opinion that wearing polyester-made clothing is an immoral act. That’s their subjective moral idea. Then a survey goes out and it happens that 35 other people think the same. So, “by chance” there are that many people with the same opinion. It’s not an objective moral law and a group of people believe the same thing not by design or by a plan – but by chance they all think the same thing. That’s the idea behind “morality by popular consent”. It just so happens, other people agree on various moral norms. The phrase “it just so happens” is another term for “by chance”.

  231. 231
    Silver Asiatic says:

    VL

    Oh my goodness, I withdraw in chastisement!

    Well, earlier you said:

    I’m going to try and respond to all the “subjective morals is nihilism” comments

    You’ve written 18 posts since then, avoiding several of the points I responded to you on. It’s easy to get distracted at times.

  232. 232
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Seversky

    It implies that the revulsion we would experience if we saw a child being tortured is substantively no different from a preference for strawberry over chocolate ice-cream and that is most definitely not the case in my experience.

    This is evidence of the objective nature of moral norms. If they were entirely subjective, then you couldn’t refer to “the revulsion we would experience” when witnessing certain crimes. Each person would have to judge for themselves and you couldn’t generalize about what we would do.
    But the fact that “we would” indeed feel moral revulsion, without having to consciously decide that such things are against our subjective opinion, means that moral norms are built into our conscience. Everybody experiences this and therefore we’re responding to an objective truth. Nobody needed to teach or tell us that such a thing is wrong.

  233. 233
    JHolo says:

    I see our sense of morality as being analogous to our perception of aesthetic beauty. It is objectively true that we all have a sense of morality, and a sense of aesthetic beauty. But how we perceive each of these is individual (ie, subjective).

  234. 234
  235. 235
    kairosfocus says:

    JH, we are subjects and are error prone. That is why sound reasoning on first principles including first duties is VITAL, providing warrant that then establishes knowable, intelligible, objective truth. of course you mean to correct what you perceive as our errors, inadvertently revealing your implicit appeals to duties to truth, right reason, warrant. Precisely as we expect for branch on which we all sit first principles.. KF

  236. 236
    William J Murray says:

    Seversky & VL,

    Seversky said @229:

    While I would agree that moral choices can also be classed as personal preferences, I view it as an attempt to trivialize the former.

    I can assure you it was not my intent to trivialize. Preference, IMO, is an intractable aspect of sentience and hardly a trivial one. IMO, it is the root quality that is behind all choice, one way or another. IMO, the only reason anyone follows any particular religion or spiritual belief is because it offers some promised, enjoyable outcome, or at least some measure of relief from that which is unenjoyable.

    VL:
    The last time KF and I argued about “duties,” I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how KF could be right, since I couldn’t understand his argument. I couldn’t see how an inescapable condition of “appealing to truth” represented a “duty,” much less an objective one for all possible sentient beings. Duty to whom or what? Under condition of what consequence? It would have to be, as you said, something like mathematics or logic in order for it to be “inescapable” and “universal” or “transcendent.”

    “Preference towards enjoyment” is, IMO, just such a transcendent, inescapable commodity; it is an inescapable, intrinsic aspect of every free will choice we make, serving either direct or abstract enjoyment, management of enjoyments, or avoidance of what is unenjoyable.

    Enjoyment, IMO, is the ought that drives every choice, regardless of what you dress it up with. Nobody would do the “oughts” in any religion if it was going to deliver to them eternal suffering instead of enjoyable, heavenly reward. Nobody would intervene in my hypothetical situation if they found what the man was doing enjoyable to observe.

    The question is, though, if some personal enjoyments are wrong, and if so, how so? Perhaps a better way of saying this is: is there some universally applicable goal of all sentient beings that represents the highest or ultimate form of enjoyment, by which every choice can be properly evaluated as either “right” or “wrong,” or leading towards that highest form of enjoyment or away from it, fulfilling it or corrupting it? Is there an “ultimate enjoyment,” so to speak, that provides the basis for the math or logic of proper behavior, by which we can evaluate our own behavior and which tells us when we have a “duty” to intervene in some situations?

    I think there is. and at the risk of sounding like a flower-peddling hippie, new ager or starry-eyed romantic, I think the only possible candidate is love. I think it is the universal, non-crooked yardstick by which “moral obligations” and proper behavior can be correctly measured.

    I think the “duty” to love can be understood as a simple form of “duty;” the better we love, the more we are “paid” with the inner, ultimate enjoyment of love; the worse we love, the less we are paid. Properly loving fills one with the enjoyment of having love grow within you. I think conscience and empathy are secondary qualities that come from love. I think love entails all the virtues and explains their value to us.

    I think that in my hypothetical scenario, it is our love that immediately recognizes the behavior as wrong, and gives us transcendent, universal authority to intervene, and to intervene regardless of the potential consequences, because we are accessing something that is a immediately recognizable, as sure as 1+2=4, as wrong, even if the man is enjoying it, we know that enjoyment is wrong.

    How? Because it is unmistakably cruel, and cruelty is the antithesis of love. What we call “good” is the proper expression and advancement of love; what is “evil” is the absence or antithesis of love.

  237. 237
    kairosfocus says:

    Sev,

    In my view, there is nothing other than subjective morality. Even the moral edicts of a god, while dispensed by a being presumed to be much more knowledgeable and powerful than mere human beings, would still be the subjective views of another individual who is no more able to bridge the is/ought gap than we are. Attempts by some to characterize the moral edicts of a god as objective or to assert that there are moral codes which transcend our reality and are thereby objective is no more than an unwarranted attempt by them to annex the moral high for their own religious presuppositions.

    I think this needs to be addressed on points. In so doing, we will move beyond how we can know certain self evident, branch on which we sit first principles, the first duties, to the ontological, logic of being roots of moral knowledge and truth:

    Sev: >>In my view, there is nothing other than subjective morality.>>

    1 – So, is this merely your subjective whim, or is it offered as something to be taken seriously as well warranted?

    2 – If the first, it is of no persuasive merit, it simply is empty opinion..

    3 – If the second, it is an attempt at making an objective truth claim about the domain of right conduct, virtues and duties etc, which becomes self referential and an invitation to cynicism and nihilism.

    4 – Meanwhile, as the presentation of a presumably reasonably informed and responsible person, it is implicitly — as usual — appealing to duties to truth, right reason, warrant etc, i.e. it is yet another case of objections appealing to branch on which we all sit first principles.

    5 – As I showed again in 153, the attempt to deny objective moral truths necessarily fails as it is a claimed moral truth and on negating it as false we have a first, undeniable objective, knowable moral truth.

    6 – Truth, as Aristotle pointed out in Metaphysics, 1011b, is accurate description of reality, its entities and states of affairs etc.

    >> Even the moral edicts of a god, while dispensed by a being presumed to be much more knowledgeable and powerful than mere human beings,>>

    7 – The implicit claim to knowledge, wisdom to pronounce is confirmed.

    8 – Of course, the pivotal failure of the Euthyphro is that a common g god is not the necessary and maximally great being, inherently good and utterly wise creator of all things contemplated by theism. The latter is in a unique position, root of reality framework to any possible world.

    9 – But first, we must understand the radical contingency of our causal-temporal thermodynamic domain [CTThD henceforward], one which is both fine tuned for C-chem, aqueous medium, cell based life and is generally held to trace back to a singularity c 13.8 BYA.

    10 – For, in our CTThD, year follows year in cumulative, causal succession to today. Where, we cannot trace back to utter non being, a true nothing, as such can have no causal powers. Were it ever the case, such would forever obtain and there would be no world, indeed no reality. Note, too, we are here seeing time at cosmological scale as a thermodynamically constrained causal succession, complete with the second law as time’s arrow.

    11 – Further, circular retro-causation (and yes this has been suggested) is an attempt to draw a world out of the not yet. It is appeal to hoped for causal powers of non being in disguise. It fails.

    12 – Another candidate for origins, is that our CTThD and onward extensions are without beginning. This is an implicit appeal to a transfinite more or less physical past through something like a quantum foam etc.

    13 – However, we can quantify and structure the transfinite by using hyperreals R*, which I suggest, are a better picture of what the schools number line indicates with arrows pointing to infinity, than R.

    14 – In effect consider [-1 –*0*–1] as involving . . . in the star markings near zero, some h closer to 0 than 1/n for any number we may count up to in N, n. This is an infinitesimal, the foundation of Robinson’s nonstandard analysis, and historically the root of fluxions/calculus, duly tamed.

    15 – Its reciprocal, using 1/x as catapult function, will be H a transfinite hyperreal, here considered a hyperinteger. We can see, too that continuum is here extended and for example by adding to any real r, *0* as a zone, we see any r has a cloud of neighbouring infinitesimally altered numbers. This opens up a way to treat Calculus as effectively an extension of Algebra. Where r is a vector of magnitude |r| and + or – direction, so the zone near 0 is in effect a cluster of vectors forming a tiny cloud at its tip, by vector addition to r. This allows us to address instantaneous rates, slopes, change, growth etc.

    16 – However, we now have a way to bracket the reals with counting numbers and other integers as mileposts:

    . . . -H__[-H-1] __ . . . -2 __-1__*0*__1__2__ . . . [H-1]__H__ . . .

    17- We thus see what it would mean to be beginningless for a CTThD, it would be transfinite in the actual past. And while c 1910 the steady state universe model contemplated this and many claimed it makes sense, it cannot be the case, for logic of structure and quantity reasons.

    18 – Simply put, it is a futile supertask to try to span the implicit or explicit transfinite in finite stage, causal-temporal, thermodynamically successive steps. Worlds like ours had a physical, finitely remote beginning.

    19 – That which begins has a cause and we see the need for a necessary being world root causally capable of being source and sustainer of worlds including CTThD’s.

    20 – This is already a familiar figure as a necessary being is eternal and a being capable of causing worlds is exceedingly powerful.

    21 – Moreover, as we have seen, this world has responsible, rational, self moved . . . free, morally governed creatures who cannot but know and appeal to first duties as framework for moral government. So, we confront the is-ought gap.

    22 – Post Hume, such can only be bridged, at reality root, on pain of ungrounded ought. We need that the reality root inherently bridges is and ought, i.e. it must be inherently good and utterly wise. That adds to our bill of requisites.

    23 – But, can we just leave it floating?

    24 – No, as immediately that injects grand delusion into our minds as we certainly have a pervasive moral sense we call conscience as a core part of consciousness, which regulates our thinking, reasoning and deciding. If this is delusion, we have discredited our minds and the world of thought collapses in bankruptcy . . . precisely the fate of determinism, relativism, subjectivism.

    25 – So we see why the only serious candidate is the inherently good, utterly wise creator God, a necessary and maximally great being, one worthy of our loyalty and of the reasonable, responsible service of doing the good that accords with our evident nature.

    26 – This solves both Hume and Euthyphro: root of reality bridges is and ought as the root is is good and wise so principles of morality are neither arbitrary nor independent. Secondly, the bridge is in the root so it is grounded. And,

    27 – it is intelligible to those willing to think it through so it is not a demand for blind conformity, it is an invitation to live out our rational responsible potential informed by our evident nature.

    28 – Of course this is philosophy, one is free to propose another candidate ___ or state of affairs ___ but, to be factually adequate ___, coherent ___ and neither simplistic nor ad hoc ___ is another matter entirely.

    29 – Further to this, God is a serious candidate necessary being (as opposed to flying spaghetti monsters etc) and such are either impossible of being or are actual. It would be interesting to hear anyone who doubts God explain that no he is not a serious candidate ___ or is impossible of being ___ especially post Plantinga.

    30 – So, we have on the table an explanation that addresses Hume and Euthyphro etc.

    >>would still be the subjective views of another individual who is no more able to bridge the is/ought gap than we are.>>

    31 – Pagan, small g gods are not comparable to God as conceived through ethical theism, and as serious candidate necessary being world root. To lump together given that these matters have been seriously raised at UD for years, is to set up and knock over a strawman.

    >> Attempts by some to characterize the moral edicts of a god as objective>>

    32 – We are not addressing empty moral edicts, again, strawman. We have seen how we can know that certain branch on which we all sit first duties are accessible to all as first principles, that they are such that objectors invariably appeal to such, and so are inescapably true and self evident.

    33 – So, we know them and we further know these are endorsed by the foundational teachings of the Judaeo-Christian tradition. We know that a pagan stoic summarised them as the collective wisdom of the Greco-Roman thinkers. We know that someone like Steven Malveaux stumbled across them as an atheist. We know that Buddhism etc recognise them. Long ago C S Lewis summed them up as in common first platitudes. And we know that they actually built civilisation including constitutional democracy.

    34 – We are not dealing with dubious, failed attempts b nonentities that are easily dismissed, we are dealing with what built our civilisation.

    >>or to assert that there are moral codes which transcend our reality and are thereby objective>>

    35 – There are first duties long since identified and shown to be branch on which we all sit first principles that built our civilisation. They are intelligible, are self evident, are appealed to by objectors as an inevitable part of their arguments, making those arguments fail.

    36 – Let us understand just what awful, oppressive impositions of wicked priestcraft and right wing theocratic christofascists — not — we are talking about . . . duties:

    1st – to truth,
    2nd – to right reason,
    3rd – to prudence [including warrant],
    4th – to sound conscience,
    5th – to neighbour; so also,
    6th – to fairness and
    7th – to justice
    [ . . .]
    xth – etc.

    37 – Let the would be objector then explain how habitual pervasive untruthfulness, fallacies and irrationalism, refusal to soundly warrant, refusal to be prudent, crushing or warping or benumbing sound conscience, disrespect for neighbour and her rights, unfairness and injustice become a sound foundation for thought and life.

    >> is no more than an unwarranted attempt by them>>

    38 – There we go again, the inevitable appeal to the first duties in an attempt to overturn them.

    >> to annex the moral high [ground?]>>

    39 – There we see it, the slanderous oppressive imposition thesis.

    >>for their own religious presuppositions.>>

    40 – And, the right wing Christofascist theocracy thesis, too.

    41 – On the contrary . . .

    KF

  238. 238
    jerry says:

    How can you prove this?

    Easy.

    No where can you find humans that don’t have the same objectives. These are essentially survival/safety and thriving/flourishing.

    What you have pointed to was individual cultures flouting these objectives. Essentially they are immoral because they are suppressing innate human goals.

    This is nothing new as every culture since the begging of time has done so in some small or large ways. Including every religion.

    Usually this suppression by religions is not religious doctrine but still advocated by religions as they are entwined in local politics which is mainly the source of the suppression.

    Aside: this has all been presented before. But most people on both side here are not interested in understanding. So the same nonsense gets repeated over and over.

    The answer has always been simple and obvious but literally hundreds of thousands of words have been expended saying nothing new.

    Aside2: various religions have instituted additional objectives not obvious from human nature. For example, some have said there is eternal life in bliss after death. That is an additional objective. So promoting that becomes moral and impeding that becomes immoral.

    One observation from this additional objective is that there should be nothing in the objectives of human nature to contradict this. Since both would arise from the same source. So survival and flourishing should be consistent with achieving eternity.

  239. 239
    JHolo says:

    <blockquote<Jerry: No where can you find humans that don’t have the same objectives. These are essentially survival/safety and thriving/flourishing.
    Agree. But these aren’t moral values. We may judge others’ subjective moral values by how they impinge on these objectives, but this does not mean that the values themselves are objective.

  240. 240
    jerry says:

    But these aren’t moral values

    They certainly are. And they are definitely objective.

    Read my post (#188) above that includes a definition of moral.

    You are confusing what people decide to do/not do to be moral with what morality is all about. Morality is all about meeting innate objectives which are shared in common with others.

    And to make Kf happy, Cicero’s duties are conducive to achieving these objectives. Something said many times before so it is not ever necessary to reference Cicero in this regards again except by a link to this argument either here or someplace else.

  241. 241
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Cicero makes those seven principles of morality clear and easy to understand though, and it’s natural moral law, not religious. So posting those can help people understand the topic, as I see it. We have an objective moral responsibility to those:

    1st – to truth,
    2nd – to right reason,
    3rd – to prudence [including warrant],
    4th – to sound conscience,
    5th – to neighbour; so also,
    6th – to fairness and
    7th – to justice

  242. 242
    jerry says:

    So posting those can help people understand the topic, as I see it.

    I disagree. They have literally been posted several hundred times. To what effect?

    None that I can see. Because why would there be this constant reposting? And why the continual questioning of the concept of duty? So is posting them again and again actually counter productive?

    They are never succinctly associated with reaching objectives. If that was ever made, I failed to see it in all the hundreds of thousand words.

    Aside: But to point to irony, immediately after I said there was never a need to repost them, a reposting happened for the 5th time on this thread. I never questioned the efficacy of these duties and in fact defended them in many places.

  243. 243
    Silver Asiatic says:

    As a statesman, Cicero felt it was essential for the nation to adhere to the natural moral law because a failure there would be destructive to society – and that’s what happened through to the fall of Rome.
    So that’s why the idea of subjective morality is not just a private matter. It affects our society and world.
    For example, Cicero mentioned “right reason” and people can be confused about that. But it’s just the duty that has been debated here, and without that we couldn’t have rational arguments.
    The beauty of Cicero’s writings are that they’re clear and succinct. But there are other classical thinkers who could be quoted also, not just Cicero. He’s just a very good example and a brilliant mind.

  244. 244
    jerry says:

    He’s just a very good example and a brilliant mind

    I do not disagree.

    But how do these discussions get so crazy with nonsense ideas constantly thrown about? Especially when Cicero’s ideas are available and have been presented hundreds of times.

    This is obviously not doing any good. Maybe there is a need for rethinking how he and others are presented?

    Read the Wikipedia article on De Officiis

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/De_Officiis

    Just repeating the same list 500 times hasn’t done it. (Definition of insanity) Time to retire that list and try something else.

  245. 245
    asauber says:

    No offense to anyone in particular, but it’s the pearls before swine issue.

    Put a beggar on horseback and he’ll ride himself to h*ll.

    Pride, rebellion, hatred, emotionalism… these are things that words won’t likely defeat.

    Andrew

  246. 246
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Jerry

    But how do these discussions get so crazy with nonsense ideas constantly thrown about?

    It’s a key question and something worth thinking about. I look at the responses, or lack thereof, to whatever I posted. So, I try to improve. I think we’re all trying to have a good impact with the truths we know. So, whatever is not working with everybody else, is also not working with me because I see the same nonsense that we all do. I take it as my task to use the best material I can and work on explaining. I think KF offers a wealth of material that is often not absorbed – sometimes if we echo his points or good points made by other ID supporters here, that can give an impact.
    But the same group of objectors have been here a while – that mega-thread from last year (almost 300,000 words on my count) had all the same people who are here. But I think the questioning changes. The anti-ID position doesn’t stay exactly the same. Our opponents try out different arguments. At the same time, the choice is ours. Whether to keep reading the posts here, or to keep replying, or to keep trying to convince the same people … we invest the time and have to judge if it is worth it, or are we just talking to a wall.

    Read the Wikipedia article on De Officiis

    I just read some sections – loved it. Cicero is a gold-standard for ancient thought. I can always stand to learn more about his writing and life also.

    Just repeating the same list 500 times hasn’t done it. (Definition of insanity) Time to retire that list and try something else.

    I know what you’re saying but I’ve repeated the irrefutable basics of the ID argument dozens of times and I’ll keep doing it until there’s a real response.
    I recall a guy like ET (hasn’t been around in a while) would repeat his themes and just silence opponents with them. Something like the example of Stonehenge — it just works.
    I think Cicero actually does work more than it may seem.
    A non-response is often the best we can hope for, since our opponents are almost never going to say “Ok, you’re right, I’ll have to change my views”.
    So, in the meantime it’s best to not get too frustrated with them – unless they’re just trolling and amusing themselves at everyone else’s expense.

  247. 247
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Andrew

    Pride, rebellion, hatred, emotionalism… these are things that words won’t likely defeat.

    Is there anything we can do to try to help them overcome those things? Fighting fire with fire doesn’t seem to work as I see it – although I’m very tempted to do that almost all the time.

  248. 248
    Silver Asiatic says:

    A few of the “rules” I’ve come up with:

    1. If you leave something open-ended, or you use slightly the wrong word, or you misspelled something, or you offered an analogy – they’ll attack that and not the core of the argument.
    2. If you do not comprehensively explain the entire end-to-end argument each time, you will be attacked for what you left out.
    3. If you present ideas unsupported by expert commentary, the attack will focus on that
    4. If you provide expert commentary, it will be attacked as quote-mining
    5. If you provide a full, lengthy quote – it will go unread
    6. If you fully refute the point, you’ll usually be met with silence

    From those rules, I think guys like BA77 and KF have learned that you have to put a lot of material out there, make it as comprehensive and air-tight as possible. That can result in some long, repetitive posts, but that says something about the nature of the opposition.

  249. 249
    kairosfocus says:

    SA, once the ding dong exchange has been had, then we can refer to it. You will notice how after THREE YEARS were spent on the issue of the transfinite and the cosmological succession of time, once Prof Carol Woods was on the table backing up things I has pointed to from the outset, I can now talk to it in brief. Unfortunately, we are not just dealing with ideas and concepts. The seven Ciceronian First duties overturn maybe 150 years of legal undermining and much longer on worldviews leading to frankly suicidal agendas. But we are in a situation where Marxist and related indoctrination equates moral principles with oppressive imposition by “religion” — effectively, a dirty word. But we must remember for every rat one sees by day, there are twenty by night. I think it is being quietly, duly noted that there is a way to get back to sound reasoning, governed by self evident first duties and leading to a saner vision of law, government and public policy. The concern I have, is we may be too late to avert going over the cliff as a civilisation, for sure the US has been in 4th gen dirty colour revolution civil war since about 2017 and is playing out a Reichstag fire game now, while geostrategic vultures are pouncing or contemplating pouncing. I notice, there was very little to say to what the Russian Chief of General Staff had to say about colour revolutions backed up by a notorious leaked phone call between US big wigs on the Ukraine where US Diplomats were literally vetting cabinet appointments c 2014. Likewise, the SOCOM insurgency escalator and McFaul’s rosy tinted description of colour revolutions. But then, sometimes only massive pain and loss will teach. But, if you are going to be the good man/woman in the storm, per Ac 27, sometimes you have to be willing to lose the debate and vote when a tempting voyage of folly is on the table; backed by money and power, being presented by bought and paid for technicos and publicists. KF

  250. 250
    kairosfocus says:

    SA, did you see what happened when I mentioned that a fifth force is contemplated so we cannot just talk about four? (For all my sins, I have a physics background.) There was a suspicious spin put on it, and it went for several rounds until in an odd coincidence, it was in the news that there may be some evidence. I responded a little to that, and boom, silence. That was just as the Russian General’s remarks on dirty colour revolutions was backed up by report on a diplomatic scandal with US State Dept big wigs literally vetting the Ukraine cabinet on the phone. Dead silence and on to some new thread. KF

  251. 251
    Viola Lee says:

    I have been one of the main people who have engaged all you folks in discussion for quite a while, so I’m going to assume all these last posts are partially about me. I think there is quite a bit I could say about how my arguments are received and responded to also, but it is clear to me that nothing constructive would come of that. The divide is too great, and the antagonism that is felt towards me is too strong, so I’ll not bother.

  252. 252
    jerry says:

    the antagonism that is felt towards me is too strong, so I’ll not bother.

    I have no antagonism towards you personally.

    I have a hard time knowing just what you are espousing or believe and when I think I do, there are some things I agree with and some I don’t.

  253. 253
    Silver Asiatic says:

    VL

    I do not feel any antagonism towards you at all. I can see no reason for that. You haven’t said anything deserving of such. I’ve just tried to explain my point of view.
    The question came up as to why certain ideas are not accepted here and why certain posts may seem repetitive. I try to use the approach that will best help others to understand what I’m saying. Of course there’s opposition from the anti-ID side. I always hope to get past that if possible. Sometimes the fault is with my explanation and sometimes it is with the person I’m writing to.
    The points on discussion technique I offer in the hopes of improving my communication skills on this topic.
    Again, it is in no way directed as a criticism of you personally.
    … and just some context – I’ve been arguing with atheists on-line for 15 years so I have tried to learn from the experience as best I can.

  254. 254
    Silver Asiatic says:

    KF

    Great thoughts, as always.

    I notice, there was very little to say to what the Russian Chief of General Staff had to say about colour revolutions backed up by a notorious leaked phone call between US big wigs on the Ukraine where US Diplomats were literally vetting cabinet appointments c 2014.

    I was shocked to learn about that move to replace the duly elected president with a choice favorable to American politics. Then to follow that with an abolition of the Russian language in that region is really and literally a culture war. This even has been covered-up since it occurred, even after we see its effects in the on-going war.

    But, if you are going to be the good man/woman in the storm, per Ac 27, sometimes you have to be willing to lose the debate and vote when a tempting voyage of folly is on the table; backed by money and power, being presented by bought and paid for technicos and publicists.

    That’s true and it points to the necessity of justice and right-reason. I have read just today that Prime Minister Trudeau has implemented a rule that requires all Canadian journalists to be licensed by the government. Clearly, that will destroy the necessary role of the media as a watchdog on government. When the corrupt government has a partisan media bought and paid for by their own illicitly gained funds, then justice and truth suffers.
    The remedy has to fall to the average citizen to pursue a virtuous life and be willing to take risks for the truth. Blogs like this are a firewall against government encroachment on information-exchange, although even independent blogs could be suppressed as their are by the CCP.

  255. 255
    asauber says:

    Speaking of antagonism, some commenters are here to oppose what UD presents, which is pro-ID content. I would like to see some honesty from these commenters as to why they are here, which would save a lot of comment space.

    I’ll wait by the phone.

    Andrew

  256. 256
    Silver Asiatic says:

    KF

    Dead silence and on to some new thread.

    I try to interpret silence as, I’d hope, a response to something unanswerable because of its truth.
    Maybe, in the best case, the person wants to think about the challenging post, so they’re quiet.
    It can be a signal that the person has been corrected (I’d wish for an acknowledgement).
    In the worst case, it’s the prelude for a distraction to switch the topic and avoid the discomfort of being corrected.
    It could also be that the person doesn’t know what to say because they don’t understand. They could ask for an explanation in that case though.

  257. 257
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Andrew @255. I agree that is essential. We’ve always had people join here with zero interest in ID. And there are always the Christ-haters. You’ll be waiting by the phone until eternity to get them to admit that.

  258. 258
    Viola Lee says:

    I don’t intend to keep replying, but I will say this: that for the most part I don’t think the antagonism is directed at me personally as much as it is an antagonistic intolerance of anyone who holds a philosophical perspective different from the mainstream one on this site.

  259. 259
    asauber says:

    “intolerance of anyone who holds a philosophical perspective different from the mainstream one on this site”

    VL,

    Actually, as far as I know, people can comment freely here, so I don’t know what else you could ask for. If you want some people’s attitudes to be different, I’m sure they want your attitude to be different, too, so welcome to the big time world.

    Andrew

  260. 260
    Silver Asiatic says:

    VL

    Maybe look for the small wins – the little positive movements that you can detect. Maybe somebody understood your point of view a little better. Maybe you gained new perspectives yourself.
    That can make the time worthwhile.
    You’re an atheist on a mostly pro-theist site so there’s going to be that conflict.
    I appreciate your willingness to discuss.

  261. 261
    JVL says:

    Asauber: I would like to see some honesty from these commenters as to why they are here, which would save a lot of comment space.

    I’ve declared why I comment here, many times. That hasn’t seemed to have gained me any respect or understanding from some.

  262. 262
    asauber says:

    JVL,

    Forgive me, but would you point me to where you declared these things? I think I remember that you have, but the specifics are lost to my memory in the commentwash.

    Andrew

  263. 263
    jerry says:

    it is an antagonistic intolerance of anyone who holds a philosophical perspective different from the mainstream one on this site.

    Is this true?

    There is a range of perspectives on this site. I doubt anyone who is pro ID will differ too much on what is known and not known about the science. The people here pride themselves on having a good grasp of the science and what can be believed because of the evidence. We don’t believe those that do not espouse ID can justify their beliefs about science.

    On other issues that do not require knowledge of the specifics of science, such as discussions of logic, what is truth, what exists and what is moral, there can be wide differences within those that support ID. Nearly all of us that support ID believe there is a creator of the universe and that this has implications.

    One of the problems is that nearly all who support ID on this site espouse some form of Christianity and many then let those beliefs into their justifications for their beliefs. So sometime it is hard to separate out why someone believes something. Is it religious or just the logic of ID? This will make it hard to have a discussion with someone who is not a Christian.

    Stay if you believe you are getting something out of it. Present your POV as best you can and if the responses are antagonistic, say so. But do not expect anyone to automatically agree if your opinions are not justified. Also one strategy is to not respond if you believe the person is unreasonable or just provoking.

  264. 264
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Andrew

    I asked him to present his worldview and he did it – I think last month one time. He gave a sincere answer. I’ll try to find it and repost.

  265. 265
    Silver Asiatic says:

    You’re an atheist on a mostly pro-theist site so there’s going to be that conflict.

    I should say that ID is neutral about philosophy or theology. There are pro-ID atheists and deists so that shouldn’t be a problem either.
    … there are anti-ID theists also.

  266. 266
  267. 267
    kairosfocus says:

    SA, which comment number, please? I see 610, where if you click on the date time stamp you will see a link to the specific comment: https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/has-anyone-else-noticed-the-blatant-political-flavor-of-many-sciencey-mags-these-days/#comment-750009 After the pound sign is a comment number, where too lb-xxx is an in page anchor. KF

  268. 268
    asauber says:

    “Personally I do find the arguments for unguided evolution to be compelling”

    Well… this surely needs to be unpacked. All of the arguments are compelling? Some are stronger than others? Which one is the strongest? Which is weak? The pages of UD are and have been strewn with the demolition of unguided evolution arguments. Are we not paying attention?

    Andrew

  269. 269
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: The specific remark by JVL is:

    I would not consider myself a materialist in the normal sense; I think there is a lot of slop at the quantum level that stops every thing from being completely deterministic. Also, I would not characterise myself as being an atheist, I think of myself as being an agnostic, someone who has not yet been convinced of the existence of a deity but who is, I hope, open to persuasion. I’m trying to be anyway!!

    Personally I do find the arguments for unguided evolution to be compelling (I did not say evidence since we’re all looking at the same evidence) but I can see how one might come to a different conclusion. In fact, in all honesty, years ago when I first start frequenting this site, I spent a lot of time really questioning and considering the mainstream view. Which meant I read more from both sides.

    I still accept and acknowledge that all scientific views (and my own) are provisional, i.e. they could change based on new data and evidence. The very last thing I want to be is closed minded. I admit, I don’t think it’s likely that the general paradigm of unguided evolution will be overturned but I do admit it’s possible.

    I do find it confusing as to what ID is saying in the bigger picture; meaning past just that design was implemented. Sometime. Somewhere. Somehow. But that is not out of disrespect to any one person. It’s just that I don’t understand how it is that there isn’t some research or at least a research agenda in place to deal with those questions. But, hey, it’s not for me to direct that is it?

    A live case of how a reasonably serious minded objector to ID — as opposed to one just playing the troll — thinks.

    My comment is of course that first we must mark out a matter of inductive reasoning and epistemology. Observed tested, reliable signs such as FSCO/I beyond 500 – 1,000 bits point to design as cause for cases we have not observed. This is the design INFERENCE.

    Note, inference, not movement, not theory.

    Following the UD Weak Argument Correctives under the Resources tab, we can identify ID Theory as a [small] research programme that explores whether there are such observable, testable, reliable signs, whether they appear in the world of life and in the cosmos, whether we may responsibly — notice, how duties of reason pop up naturally — use them to infer that cell based life, body plans, the cosmos etc are credibly the result of intelligently directed configuration . . . and that’s a definition of design. This, in a context where the proposed “scientific” alternative, blind chance and/or mechanical necessity has not been observed to actually produce things exhibiting FSCO/I etc.

    Logically, this is an application of inductive reasoning, modern sense, abduction.

    Which is common in science and is commonly held to ground scientific, weak philosophical sense, knowledge. Weak, it is open ended and can be defeated by further analysis and evidence, warranted, credibly true [and so reliable] belief.

    Going beyond, where we have further information, evidence and argument we may explore whodunit, howtweredun, etc.

    Such is after all commonplace in technical forensics, medical research, archaeology, engineering [esp. reverse engineering], code cracking etc. I guess, these can be taken as design-oriented sciences. Going back to 4th form I remember doing natural science explorations of springs. Manufactured entities. So are lenses, mirrors, glas blocks, radio systems, lasers etc.

    Beyond the theory, there is a movement, comprising supporters and friendly critics as well as practitioners consciously researching design theory or extending thinking on it and applying same to society or civilisation, including history of ideas.

    The first major design inference on record in our civilisation is by Plato, in The Laws, Bk X:

    Ath [in The Laws, Bk X 2,360 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 — the natural order], 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, contrasted to “the action of mind” i.e. intelligently directed configuration] . . . .

    [[T]hese people would say that the Gods exist not by nature, but by art, and by the laws of states, which are different in different places, according to the agreement of those who make them . . . .

    Then, by Heaven, we have discovered the source of this vain opinion of all those physical investigators . . . . they affirm that which is the first cause of the generation and destruction of all things, to be not first, but last, and that which is last to be first, and hence they have fallen into error about the true nature of the Gods.

    Cle. Still I do not understand you.

    Ath. Nearly all of them, my friends, seem to be ignorant of the nature and power of the soul [[ = psuche], especially in what relates to her origin: they do not know that she is among the first of things, and before all bodies, and is the chief author of their changes and transpositions. And if this is true, and if the soul is older than the body, must not the things which are of the soul’s kindred be of necessity prior to those which appertain to the body?

    Cle. Certainly.

    Ath. Then thought and attention and mind and art and law will be prior to that which is hard and soft and heavy and light; and the great and primitive works and actions will be works of art; they will be the first, and after them will come nature and works of nature, which however is a wrong term for men to apply to them; these will follow, and will be under the government of art and mind.

    Cle. But why is the word “nature” wrong?

    Ath. Because those who use the term mean to say that nature is the first creative power; but if the soul turn out to be the primeval element, and not fire or air, then in the truest sense and beyond other things the soul may be said to exist by nature; and this would be true if you proved that the soul is older than the body, but not otherwise.

    [[ . . . .]

    Ath. . . . when one thing changes another, and that another, of such will there be any primary changing element? How can a thing which is moved by another ever be the beginning of change? Impossible. But when the self-moved changes other, and that again other, and thus thousands upon tens of thousands of bodies are set in motion, must not the beginning of all this motion be the change of the self-moving principle? . . . . self-motion being the origin of all motions, and the first which arises among things at rest as well as among things in motion, is the eldest and mightiest principle of change, and that which is changed by another and yet moves other is second. [–> notice, the self-moved, initiating, reflexively acting causal agent, which defines freedom as essential to our nature, and this is root of discussion on agents as first causes.]

    [[ . . . .]

    Ath. If we were to see this power existing in any earthy, watery, or fiery substance, simple or compound-how should we describe it?

    Cle. You mean to ask whether we should call such a self-moving power life?

    Ath. I do.

    Cle. Certainly we should.

    Ath. And when we see soul in anything, must we not do the same-must we not admit that this is life?

    [[ . . . . ]

    Cle. You mean to say that the essence which is defined as the self-moved is the same with that which has the name soul?

    Ath. Yes; and if this is true, do we still maintain that there is anything wanting in the proof that the soul is the first origin and moving power of all that is, or has become, or will be, and their contraries, when she has been clearly shown to be the source of change and motion in all things?

    Cle. Certainly not; the soul as being the source of motion, has been most satisfactorily shown to be the oldest of all things.

    Ath. And is not that motion which is produced in another, by reason of another, but never has any self-moving power at all, being in truth the change of an inanimate body, to be reckoned second, or by any lower number which you may prefer?

    Cle. Exactly.

    Ath. Then we are right, and speak the most perfect and absolute truth, when we say that the soul is prior to the body, and that the body is second and comes afterwards, and is born to obey the soul, which is the ruler?

    [[ . . . . ]

    Ath. If, my friend, we say that the whole path and movement of heaven, and of all that is therein, is by nature akin to the movement and revolution and calculation of mind, and proceeds by kindred laws, then, as is plain, we must say that the best soul takes care of the world and guides it along the good path. [[Plato here explicitly sets up an inference to design (by a good soul) from the intelligible order of the cosmos.

    Earlier in the same Bk X, he had noted just how old and how philosophically loaded evolutionary materialism and its appeal to chance and/or necessity are, drawing out consequences for law, government and community:

    Ath[enian Stranger, in The Laws, Bk X 2,360 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 — the natural order], 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; observe, too, the trichotomy: “nature” (here, mechanical, blind necessity), “chance” (similar to a tossed fair die), ART (the action of a mind, i.e. intelligently directed configuration)] . . . .

    [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 . . .

    We see the wider setting and the more specific themes.

  270. 270
    kairosfocus says:

    PPS: FSCO/I is functionally specific, complex organisation and/or associated information. By now we need a way to say it, I propose, Fun-skee. It is the functional form of CSI. Most readily recognised in alphanumeric text but note organisation such as the exploded view of the ABU 6500 CT fishing reel. I did say “fun” didn’t I?

  271. 271
    kairosfocus says:

    PPPS, I suggest, the type of system, entity and process is dynamic-stochastic, so for example we talk about natural causes as embracing blind chance [stochastic] and/or mechanical necessity [more or less dynamics with deterministic form laws such as F = ma or V = IZ — extended Ohm’s law — or E = hf or F = GMm/r^2, etc. — and yes, embracing sensitive dependence on initial conditions aka butterfly effect and aka chaos]. This is as opposed to intelligently directed configuration where intelligence implies a degree of more or less responsible, rational freedom of a self-moved entity or agent, though it embraces things like beaver made dams.

  272. 272
    Silver Asiatic says:

    KF – thank you. I think in the past the comment number was the live-link but now it’s the date/time stamp. Here’s the comment:
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/has-anyone-else-noticed-the-blatant-political-flavor-of-many-sciencey-mags-these-days/#comment-750009

  273. 273
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: An interesting case is the ideal gas law PV = nRT, with extensions and modifications, as the behaviour of gases was explored. Note, we now recognise that the deterministic form recognises a stochastic micro structure giving rise to macro phenomena based on averages and net tiny fluctuations. This is where we recognise that oner sense o9f randomness emerges from molecular interactions, so Temp is a measure of average random KE per molecule etc, per degree of freedom at micro level. KF

  274. 274
    kairosfocus says:

    PS, that micro-macro pattern is also seen in economics and other social phenomena. Y = c + i + g + (x-m) is effectively an accounting equatio9n but its elements are rooted in the mirco structure of the economy and the associated non linearites become pivotal.

  275. 275
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Apparently, VL has left the conversation … not sure but that’s what it seems like.
    She didn’t respond to the logical problems that subjective morality generates. Atheism is amoral. With that, nothing can be “immoral” except in the mind of the individual person and anyone else that agrees with that person. There’s no need to even have tolerance for anyone, since tolerance is a moral value that people could choose or not.

  276. 276
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Prudence is the intellectual virtue that enables us to choose the best option between extremes. Virtue is in the middle between too much and too little. Prudence guides the mind to that difficult choice.
    Generosity is a virtue.
    Too much – would be wasteful giving away of things and money to impoverish self
    Too little — is stinginess

    The virtue is between those two – giving the right amount

  277. 277
    Viola Lee says:

    I’m pretty sure I shouldn’t do this, but I am going to respond to SA: I’ll take responsibility for my decision. I will try to be short and succinct. If you respond to my points, I’ll continue.

    SA, you write,

    She didn’t respond to the logical problems that subjective morality generates. Atheism is amoral. With that, nothing can be “immoral” except in the mind of the individual person and anyone else that agrees with that person. There’s no need to even have tolerance for anyone, since tolerance is a moral value that people could choose or not.

    There is no “logical problem” to my position.

    First, I and others have repeatedly pointed out that argumentum ad consequentiam is a logical fallacy: the fact that you don’t like what you see as the consequences of my position is not a logical argument against my position or for your position. That I think is a logical fallacy that is often commi ted by people here.

    Second, I have to repeat, I am an atheist but not a materialist. My position is not “amoral”. I believe that people, besides being rational and free-willed, have a moral nature: the capacity and need to make moral judgments that in part tap into deep commonalities in our nature about the importance of caring for the welfare of others as well as ourselves.

    So, yes, although we see disagreements among people about morals we see a lot of agreement. I, and several others here, have repeatedly given arguments based on observing human beings about the utility of moral behavior both for the individual and for society. No “objective values” are necessary to explain that utility. All of this–our moral nature and our rationality–is antithetical to both amorality and nihilism.

    So yes, people can choose, in theory, whatever morals they want. In practice, they don’t, for reasons such as I have sketched above.

    The second issue that is commonly brought up is that if morals are chosen by the individual without regard to any objective standard, then that person must consider all positions equally valid, and thus can not judge anyone else because they too are just acting on their standards.

    I have repeatedly addressed this. When I choose a moral value or principle, as a free-willed agent, I take responsibility for that choice. I judge that some things are good, and some not, and I live by those choices. If you choose differently then we will disagree, but I am going to stand by what I believe. As Gandhi said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world”. The moral world becomes what we choose it to be, so if I care about the world as I wish it to be, then I will act on my moral principles. This is the total opposite of thinking that are moral perspectives are equal.

    Putting these two points together, we see that the world is full of messy conflict about morals. Each of us in various ways, from just modeling what we see as good in our daily life to fighting hard about some issues, manifests our moral choices.

    I don’t expect you guys to agree with me about this, but there isn’t any “logical fallacy”. My position is based on what I consider valid and justified conclusions based both on my internal experience of myself as a human being and on my, and many others, observational evidence about the psychological and sociological nature of human beings.

    This is a summary of things I have said many times before. Often (usually) I have felt that my points are just glossed over: that is one reason why I don’t want to keep doing this. Unless I can participate in a genuine conversation, as opposed to a continual battle of assertions, I have no interest in continuing.

  278. 278
    Sandy says:

    ViolaLee
    argumentum ad consequentiam is a logical fallacy: the fact that you don’t like what you see as the consequences of my position is not a logical argument against my position or for your position.

    Also Viola Lee:

    ViolaLee
    Yes, Hitler was a very bad, evil person (as is Putin, FWIW).

    So ViolaLee what did you said about argumentum ad consequentiam ?
    Is not fallacy when you do it but “certainly” is a fallacy when somebody else do it?

  279. 279
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, I addressed this fallacy assertion, the fallacy claim is unreliable especially when there is a real ratchet or slope leading or credibly leading over a cliff. Prudence guides us to avoid such marches of folly, as Plato’s Ship of state advises. Are you prepared to say his warning about incompetent, ambitious and looter pols was a fallacious appeal to bad consequences? That tells us something is very off with the way the claim is being made. See here https://uncommondescent.com/logic-and-first-principles-of-right-reason/logic-first-principles-what-about-appeal-to-consequences-vs-reductio-ad-absurdum/ . KF

  280. 280
    Silver Asiatic says:

    VL

    So yes, people can choose, in theory, whatever morals they want.

    We’re talking about the universal or global effect of morality. The subjective view is one thing, the objective moral view another.
    The subjective view is as you say: People can choose whatever morals they want.
    This is what is meant by “amoral”. It’s not a system of moral codes. Any behaviors, within the system may be freely chosen. There is no standard within the system, by which one can say a certain act is universally good, and must be chosen by everyone. None can be said to be universally or objectively evil. Each person creates their own morality.
    So, that’s the definition of a subjective, amoral system.
    Now, as you say, you can choose your morals and stand by them.
    Other people choose their own morals and stand by them.
    You can try to convince people to agree with your views. But what cannot happen is that you could say that your moral views are correct. You cannot know that. The other person thinks their morals are correct for other reasons.
    If each person can choose their own morals, then none are universally correct.
    To attempt to convince someone that your morals are correct and their opposing morals are wrong, therefore, is proposing that there are, indeed, correct, universal moral norms.
    That’s the illogical nature of it.
    Subjectivity says that everyone can choose their own morals because there are no correct, true, universally binding morals.
    If there is no universally correct answer to the question: What is the morally correct thing to do?, then it is illogical to insist that people accept your views as if they are universally correct.
    In an amoral system, there is no right or wrong. Everyone is free to choose for themselves.
    Claiming that someone else’s moral code is wrong and yours is right is a contradiction.
    By the nature of a system that says “there are no universal, objective moral norms”, it would be illogical to argue against someone who created their own subjective moral norms just as you created your own. There is no logical basis by which to disagree with them. You cannot say “you have chosen unwisely” because that assumes that there is a correct (wise) moral choice that is universally binding on people.
    But by the nature of subjectivity, there can be no such universal norm.

    We can apply it to any other topic and that’s how it works.
    For math:
    Proposed: Answers to math problems are subjective. People can choose any answer they want.
    Therefore, the answer 5 to the question what is 2+2 is permitted. It’s a subjective answer, not better or worse than any other.
    If, however, the person says “no, 5 is wrong” – then that person is pointing to an objective standard – a “right versus wrong”. But the objective standard logically contradicts the claim that “everyone can choose their own subjective answer – math answers are subjective, just like whether they like chocolate or vanilla ice cream better”.
    Subjectivity is what it is. Any answer comes from the equally authoritative source – the individual. By its nature, there can be no universally correct moral answer.
    From that, there is no moral standard by which to judge any one else’s moral choices.
    The fact that you made your own choices applies only to yourself. Other people make other choices.
    Subjectivity does not even demand that people need good reasons for their choice. Whatever they choose is “what is good or evil for them”.
    To say that someone’s moral choice upsets you or you don’t like it or it makes you feel bad – all of that is fine but those responses are confined to yourself. They say nothing about the validity of whatever choice the other person made.
    If there were correct reasons to choose one moral norm or another, then that is something “outside of the individual” – that’s objective.

  281. 281
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Classical thought speaks of virtues and vices – and that there is a purpose for human life, for each person to work for virtues and overcome vices with the goal of being a good person.
    To say that everyone can choose their own morals (their own definition of good and bad) just destroys all of that. Nobody could even say if “that is a good person” or not. There’s no basis for it. One person chooses to murder innocent people, another chooses to help the needy and sick. They both made equal choices for their own reasons – neither is better than the other.

  282. 282
    asauber says:

    I think I asked VL what made her position about morality superior to anyone else’s.

    Unless there is something objective to compare it to, the answer is nothing.

    Andrew

  283. 283
    JVL says:

    Silver Asiatic: Proposed: Answers to math problems are subjective. People can choose any answer they want.
    Therefore, the answer 5 to the question what is 2+2 is permitted. It’s a subjective answer, not better or worse than any other.

    That doesn’t really work though does it? Mathematics is demonstrably NOT subjective and everyone agrees on most of what is taught in mathematics courses because it can be demonstrated to follow from some basic axioms/assumptions. When you change those axioms you can get different results. Some people think math should be taught differently or that certain topics should be emphasised or left out.

    It is pretty clear that there are a lot of different moral standards, even amongst some faith-groups like Christians.

    If I ask you about a particular issue and what is the correct objective moral response I might get a completely different answer from someone else. You might both have well-thought out and supported reasons for your different views.

    Given that that is clearly the case . . . when there are clear and divisive differences between people who both claim to be operating from an objective moral standard how does one pick which view is ‘correct’? Who decides what is and is not part of your objective standard?

  284. 284
    kairosfocus says:

    JVL, did you see that I answered your questions about ID in 269 ff? KF

  285. 285
    JVL says:

    Kairosfocus: JVL, did you see that I answered your questions about ID in 269 ff?

    I did see those responses. But now I am asking some different questions about objective moral systems.

    When two people both claiming to be using an objective moral standard disagree about a particular issue how is the disagreement resolved?

  286. 286
    Silver Asiatic says:

    JVL

    I used the example of mathematics to indicate what subjectivism is. I’m showing you what it means to say “morality is subjective”.
    When I propose “Math is subjective” (or anything is subjective – history, art, science) – it means, “Every answer has equal value”. 2+2 can equal 5, 500, one million – anything the person feels or wants.
    Once again:
    I propose: “The value of art is subjective”. That means “there is no right or wrong, good or bad. One person likes it, another does not. Nobody can say “there’s a universal quality of goodness or badness in that art work”. Whether you agree that art is subjective or not, is not the point.
    Whether you agree that math is subjective is not the point.
    It just means IF math was subjective, then 2+2 can equal anything. There is no objective correct answer. A million people can say it is 4. But anybody who says its 500 is just as correct. It’s a subjective, personal opinion. One person likes chocolate, another likes vanilla. It’s subjectve.
    We say that math is objective however. There is a correct answer.
    When morality is subjective – “all moral norms are equal” – there is no right or wrong. It’s an amoral system. There’s no good or bad.
    Adolph Hitler had his subjective ideas. You have yours. Neither is better than the other.
    The fact that subjective morality does not exist like that and human beings know that murdering innocent people for no reason is objectively wrong (otherwise there would be no way to condemn it), then morals point to an objective quality, inherent in rational human nature.
    For subjectve

  287. 287
    JVL says:

    Silver Asiatic: Adolph Hitler had his subjective ideas. You have yours. Neither is better than the other.
    The fact that subjective morality does not exist like that and human beings know that murdering innocent people for no reason is objectively wrong (otherwise there would be no way to condemn it), then morals point to an objective quality, inherent in rational human nature.

    So, if there is an objective moral standard and two individuals who both claim to be following that objective moral standard disagree then how can the disagreement be resolved?

  288. 288
    Silver Asiatic says:

    JVL

    When two people both claiming to be using an objective moral standard disagree about a particular issue how is the disagreement resolved?

    The object moral standard is universal and are general norms. They’re the root of the moral system.
    It’s a foundation. They promote virtues and forbid vices. Something like “murder of an innocent person for no reason is a moral crime” — is a basic, universal, objective moral norm, known by all humanity.
    When it comes to specific instances, then we have to look at the case and match it with the norm. Someone kills a person. Was it deliberate murder? Was there no reason? If there was a reason, does it meet the virtue of justice (another moral norm)?
    There is always room for disagreement in the specifics on various actions. But the norms themselves are not up for debate.
    Something debatable like abortion is an example where both sides try to defend the moral rightness of their view by pointing out that it is either unjust murder of a child or it is not. The debate never proceeds to say “yes, it is murder of a baby but that is always a good thing”. That’s the objective moral law guiding the debate.

  289. 289
    kairosfocus says:

    JVL, I will come back later, I have CMOS IC pulldown resistors on the mind just now. I will suggest that any difference on objective matters can be addressed on the underlying first principles, evidence and quality of logic. In fact, the sound form of sustainable development policy thinking is an application of the Kantian Categorical Imperative and I found Bariloche Foundation of Argentina excellent in its use of scenario based planning contemplating business as usual and alternative options projected across a world model. The gap between expected and alternative outcomes can motivate, empower and guide positive change. Put in simpler terms, wisdom is justified by her children. KF

    PS, kindly observe that the objectors to the Ciceronian first duties have repeatedly been unable but to implicitly appeal to same. This shows their branch on which we sit first principle and indeed self evident character. Moreover, our civilisation was actually built on these, especially the breakthrough to rights respecting constitutional democracy. See US DoI, 1776, the charter for such. And yes, there were huge disagreements to the point of continued fighting of a war. But today, even the British will concede the point. (BTW, it seems there is currently a push to remove Boris Johnson on grounds of a party where he allegedly flouted the lockdown principles he proposed for others.)

  290. 290
    Sandy says:

    JVL, there a mathematicians that stop at 1+1 and there are doctors in math, or have few PhD. If I ask them I would get different answers about math. Same with Christians. It’s not about objective morality it’s about different levels of understanding of that objective morality. That’s why if you want to learn about Christianity you don’t go to self-appointed Christians that you just can’t know for sure that they are Christians you go directly to Church Fathers books.

  291. 291
    JVL says:

    Silver Asiatic: There is always room for disagreement in the specifics on various actions. But the norms themselves are not up for debate.

    It seems to me that sometimes the norms are debated and disagreed upon by those professing to believe in an objective moral standard. In that situation how can the disparity be resolved?

  292. 292
    Silver Asiatic says:

    JVL

    an objective moral standard and two individuals who both claim to be following that objective moral standard disagree then how can the disagreement be resolved

    It is resolved with an appeal to human reason since the objective moral law aligns with the rational nature of man. The rational nature of man directs him towards what is true and good, towards fulfillment of his becoming a good person. If the moral norm is irrational, then it cannot be an objective good. If it leads to the destruction of himself or others, then it cannot be a universal good for himself or others.
    If a person says “I think killing all the Jews and putting all my other enemies in prison to be tortured is an objective moral norm” – then that idea has to be subjected to rational analysis. But an idea like that strikes against the human conscience and would indicate injustice, insincerity, and irrationality – none of which can be correct.
    So, there are several ways to judge various moral claims against the objective norms. Reason, truth, conscience, virtue, integrity, justice – all of those are used.

  293. 293
    JVL says:

    Kairosfocus: I will suggest that any difference on objective matters can be addressed on the underlying first principles, evidence and quality of logic.

    And yet, sometimes, reasonable, intelligent folks who believe in an objective moral standard disagree. I think discussion and debate and the willingness to compromise are all important parts of resolving conflicts; but what happens when two people disagree on first principles?

  294. 294
    JVL says:

    Sandy: there a mathematicians that stop at 1+1 and there are doctors in math, or have few PhD. If I ask them I would get different answers about math.

    Maybe about things like the axiom of choice or whether or not theorems are discovered or invented. But there is literally millennia of mathematics that virtually all mathematicians agree on.

    Same with Christians. It’s not about objective morality it’s about different levels of understanding of that objective morality.

    But whose to say who has the better understanding when the parties disagree?

  295. 295
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Sandy

    That’s why if you want to learn about Christianity you don’t go to self-appointed Christians that you just can’t know for sure that they are Christians you go directly to Church Fathers books.

    That is true because the objective moral law only provides the basics – like the ten commandments does. But to find the details it is essential to consult authorized teachers.
    That’s the virtue of “counsel” – meaning, we don’t just trust our own opinion but look to those who are wise.
    The virtue of piety is essential for human life. We have to give honor and respect to that which deserves it — and God deserves the greatest honor and respect.
    So, the sincere worship of God is a necessary moral value.

  296. 296
    Silver Asiatic says:

    JVL

    People reject the first principles of logic and math also. They exclude themselves from rational discourse.
    Some people, sadly also, are mentally ill. We seek to take care of them.
    A person who irrationally thinks that he has the moral command to kill everybody he doesn’t like will be evaluated for mental illness. He’s clearly “disagreeing about objective moral norms”.

  297. 297
    JVL says:

    Silver Asiatic: So, there are several ways to judge various moral claims against the objective norms. Reason, truth, conscience, virtue, integrity, justice – all of those are used.

    Of course all those things should be used. I quite agree. But surely you do agree that some issues are still not resolved even after all that is tried. What happens then? And what happens if the resolution changes over time? Does that mean the moral standard was not objective?

  298. 298
    JVL says:

    Let’s consider some examples:

    Do you think it’s moral for the US to be sending arms and munitions to Ukraine which will be used to kill Russians soldiers and, inevitably, some innocent civilians who get hit accidentally?

    Should the US have sent arms and munitions to Ukraine in 2014 when Russia annexed Crimea?

    Should the US have intervened when Russia ‘helped’ the Syrian government put down a rebellion?

  299. 299
    Silver Asiatic says:

    JVL

    But surely you do agree that some issues are still not resolved even after all that is tried.

    You speak here of “some issues”. You’ve repeated that.
    I invite you to re-read what I said about the general, axiomatic nature of the objective moral norms.
    They’re not “some issues”. They’re foundational. Nobody is debating that innocent people should be killed for no reason. That’s a basic, objective norm.
    “Some issues” that may flow from that axiom can, indeed, be subject to debate. But the norm is a fixed aspect of human nature. It speaks to our conscience. Murder, theft, torture, lying – those are basic fundamental objective evils to avoid. Justice, temperance, prudence, fortitude, humility, generosity, courage – those are basic virtues. How they are applied can be debatable.

    We resolve debates this way:
    The wise man will concede to the best, most rational argument within a sincere conversation.
    The unwise man is convinced only of his own opinion, even when refuted.
    How should we deal with the unwise?
    We can only try to educate and persuade – unless they are a danger to themselves and others and then then must be arrested or hospitalized.

  300. 300
    JVL says:

    Silver Asiatic: But the norm is a fixed aspect of human nature. It speaks to our conscience. Murder, theft, torture, lying – those are basic fundamental objective evils to avoid. Justice, temperance, prudence, fortitude, humility, generosity, courage – those are basic virtues. How they are applied can be debatable.

    Is it murder to send equipment to another country so they can kill soldiers invading their country but who are not threatening yours?

    Also, I am interested in some less volatile issues that still cause great consternation and discord. For example: should same-sex marriage be allowed? It seems to me that if you are just, exercise temperance, are prudent, have humility and generosity then you might very well agree that same-sex marriage is not a problem. But there are many people who profess to believe in an objective moral standard who think it should not be allowed under any circumstances, period. How does one resolve that particular issue?

    It used to be widely held that women should not be given the right to vote; many and various reasons were given and supported. But we think differently now. Did the objective moral standard change or our interpretation of it? If our interpretation changed then how can we be sure at any one point in time if we’ve got it right?

  301. 301
    Silver Asiatic says:

    JVL

    Did the objective moral standard change or our interpretation of it?

    When talking about voting rights or how election districts should be fairly allocated, we’re not talking about the universal, objective moral law.
    I have said this, with an extensive explanation three times now. I know you are more than intelligent enough to understand what axiomatic, moral, first principles are – so, I’m not going to answer it again. I try to take some time and care with responses, so I’ll just hope you consider and read them. Repeating the same questions that have already been answered, without actually adding to your understanding is not the way to proceed.
    Voting rights require an application of the objective moral norms of justice, fairness, respect for human life and that good governance is for the common good of society and the benefit of human growth in virtue.
    So again, whether someone needs to show a driver’s license at the voting booth is not a universal objective moral norm.

  302. 302
    Silver Asiatic says:

    JVL

    It seems to me that if you are just, exercise temperance, are prudent, have humility and generosity then you might very well agree that same-sex marriage is not a problem.

    Same sex marriage is clearly a violation of the natural law, the primary purpose of marriage, an unjust distortion of the value of human life and relationships, a denial of the dignity of men and women for who they are and how they are constituted, and an exercise in lying and social and personal manipulation. Applying the term “marriage” to such relationships is unjust and irrational. So, an application of universal objective moral principles would clearly condemn such actions.

  303. 303
    JVL says:

    Silver Asiatic: Voting rights require an application of the objective moral norms of justice, fairness, respect for human life and that good governance is for the common good of society and the benefit of human growth in virtue.
    So again, whether someone needs to show a driver’s license at the voting booth is not a universal objective moral norm.

    I’m not talking about whether or not you need to show a driving license; I’m talking about who should be granted the right to vote in the first place!! I know it’s an application of basic principles; I’m just pointing out that people still disagree and not just on the application of moral norms but sometimes on what those moral norms are. And, it appears, that just and sensible applications of objective moral norms can change radically in a couple of hundred years.

    Which is why I think it might be better to talk about some concrete examples:

    Again, is it morally right for US tax payers to sanction sending arms and munitions to Ukraine to kill, maim and disable thousands of young, naive Russians soldiers most of whom are just following orders, many of whom are probably trying to support their families back home? If resolving that issue just requires sensible, enlightened application of the objective moral norms of society then just spell that out please.

    NOT saying I would but if I did disagree with your reasoned application of the objective moral norms of society in the above situation then how would you propose to resolve the disagreement?

  304. 304
    JVL says:

    Silver Asiatic: Same sex marriage is clearly a violation of the natural law, the primary purpose of marriage, an unjust distortion of the value of human life and relationships, a denial of the dignity of men and women for who they are and how they are constituted, and an exercise in lying and social and personal manipulation. Applying the term “marriage” to such relationships is unjust and irrational. So, an application of universal objective moral principles would clearly condemn such actions.

    And yet, some Christians disagree with you. How do you propose to resolve that conflict? Who gets to decide whose interpretation is the one society will live with?

    Do you agree with: If a man lieth with another man, both must be killed. (Leviticus 20:13)

    It’s very late for me; I’m going to ‘hit the hay’ as it were. I shall return tomorrow.

  305. 305
    Sandy says:

    But there is literally millennia of mathematics that virtually all mathematicians agree on.

    Not really. A math teacher of a 3rd grade level don’t agree with a PhD mathematician because they live in different planets of maths . It’s about levels of understanding and knowledge. The maths of a PhD mathematician is a “foreign language” for a math teacher of 3rd grade. So no not all mathematicians agree on math because not all have the same level of understanding and knowledge .

  306. 306
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Woke Math
    https://spectator.org/woke-math-oregon/
    The toolkit, according to a Fox News report, includes a list of ways “white supremacy culture” supposedly “infiltrates math classrooms.” The ones cited include that the “focus is on getting the ‘right’ answer’,” and students are “required to ‘show their work,’ ” which used to be keys to teaching math to grade-schoolers.

    The toolkit says that “The concept of mathematics being purely objective is unequivocally false, and teaching it is even much less so.” It adds that “Upholding the idea that there are always right and wrong answers perpetuate objectivity as well as fear of open conflict.”

    The toolkit encourages teachers not to focus on students getting the “right” answer but to come up with more than one answer to questions that are “equally right,” …

  307. 307
    Silver Asiatic says:

    JVL

    And yet, some Christians disagree with you. How do you propose to resolve that conflict?

    I try to engage with my fellow Christians and reason with them, so they can see the higher-level morality that comes through Christian faith. That is, there’s a greater moral authority for the Christian than just the universal moral norms. The Christian believes that God has revealed more detailed moral truths through the Church, authorized to teach in the name of God.
    But for atheists here, I wouldn’t talk about such things at that higher level.
    All we can do with atheists and deists is talk about the built-in moral law which are the general moral precepts objective in human rational nature.
    From that, atheists can discover that God is the author of the moral law and then they can discover the truths of the Christian revelation.

  308. 308
    Viola Lee says:

    to SA, re 280.

    First, I made a few points at 280 to which you responded only with an assertion, but not with an actual reply to my specifics. I said I would only be interested in continuing if I got some response to my points. I think we should take one thing at a time.

    For instance, you wrote, “Each person creates their own morality. So, that’s the definition of a subjective, amoral system.”

    I explained some reasons why people choosing their morals is not amoral. I wrote,

    My position is not “amoral”. I believe that people, besides being rational and free-willed, have a moral nature: the capacity and need to make moral judgments that in part tap into deep commonalities in our nature about the importance of caring for the welfare of others as well as ourselves.

    There is no “definition” that says people acting as moral agents, without reference to any outside standards, but drawing on their own rationality and concern for their own and others welfare is “amoral.” That is only a “definition” because you think it’s true, but it’s not any kind of a standard definition.

    Amoral means “having or showing no concern about whether behavior is morally right or wrong.” But, I repeat: people do have a moral nature, and they do care, often very much, about whether their behavior is right or wrong. That is an observable, empirical fact. This is a separate issue from whether the moral standards they live by are related to some objective, universal standards or not, which is a philosophical, metaphysical issue of a different sort.

    So it is wrong to say that my position, as quoted above, is amoral.

    Comment?

  309. 309
    kairosfocus says:

    JVL, I lived through the great debate over economics, and its resolution as what was utterly ill founded collapsed. That makes me all too aware of the price of irrationality dressed up in the garb of brilliance and even soundness. Time will tell, and there manifestly are first truths and duties on the table with powerful track record. My wish is that we come to our senses and avert going over the cliff. I do not fear for the truths, but I am concerned for us. KF

  310. 310
    Seversky says:

    Human morality is arguably founded on nothing more than concern for the well-being of ourselves and others in society. There is no reason to think that this unimaginably vast Universe is in the least bit concerned about our well-being or is even capable of such concern. Functionally, the God of Christianity appears notable only by His absence where human suffering is concerned, although belief in a benevolent Creator is clearly of great psychological benefit to those who believe.

    And the problem with any free-will defense of God’s inaction founders on the presumption of His omniscience and omnipresence. If God exists in all times as well as in all places then He knows what is in our future because He is already there to see it. In that case what purpose can it serve to sit back and watch our little dramas play out when He already knows the outcome? In fact, as I have argued before, His knowledge of our future would seem to preclude the possibility of our having free will. This, in turn, makes any concern about the imminent collapse of civilization pointless. Just as Peter was powerless to prevent his denials of knowing Jesus, even though he was warned specifically of what was about to happen, so what will be, will be, regardless of what we might want.

  311. 311
    Silver Asiatic says:

    VL

    So it is wrong to say that my position, as quoted above, is amoral.

    You gave the definition of amoral as: “having or showing no concern about whether behavior is morally right or wrong.” I don’t think that’s fully accurate in the context I’m using. What I’m saying is not oriented to individuals “having or showing no concern”. Whether a person is concerned or not is irrelevant to what I mean by amoral.
    What I’m talking about is “a system by which it is not possible to assert that something is truly right or wrong’.
    I’m talking about subjective morals. In that system, no matter how much one is concerned or not, there is no way to state that one’s moral choices are good or evil. This cannot be said with logical consistency. That is why it is illogical.
    Here’s an example:
    It is said, “taste in music is subjective”. People may think one piece of music is good and another person may think it is bad. Each person may be highly concerned about whether the music they like is good or bad – but in reality, they cannot state that what they like is better or worse than what others like.
    “Taste in music is subjective. A person may like Elvis Presley’s music and another person dislike it.”
    On that basis, the subjectivist is saying that “there is no good or bad for music”. Some like it, others don’t. We do not expect everyone to think my tastes are good. We do not expect everyone to agree and we must accept the differences in taste as the ordinary, normal part of subjective opinion on music.
    Now substitute morals.
    “Moral norms are subjective” Some people want to commit genocide against innocent people and others do not. There’s no right or wrong. Some people like one thing, others like another.

  312. 312
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Seversky

    Just as Peter was powerless to prevent his denials of knowing Jesus, even though he was warned specifically of what was about to happen, so what will be, will be, regardless of what we might want.

    Peter did not perceive himself to be powerless. He repented of his action – and that repentance meant that he knew he could have made a better choice. That’s how it works even though God knows the end, God does not force the decisions that lead there. We all have freedom to make moral decisions, and that’s why our conscience afflicts us when we choose badly.

  313. 313
    Viola Lee says:

    SA, you write, “I mean by amoral.
    What I’m talking about is “a system by which it is not possible to assert that something is truly right or wrong’.”

    Then you are using the word incorrectly. That confuses the discussion. I know you are talking about “a system by which it is not possible to assert that something is truly right or wrong”. Calling that amoral is incorrect because that is not what the word means.

    If we can be clear about how that is an inappropriate word, then I’d be glad to move on to one of your next points about what you think is illogical about my position.

  314. 314
    kairosfocus says:

    JVL, pardon but as fair comment: you have misjudged the geostrategic issues and may be unaware of relevant history (especially how the post WW1 League of Nations system collapsed as power mad tyrants precipitated WW2). You may find the recent OP here at UD helpful. Also, this draws in a key issue, many polarised, morally tinged and governed exchanges — much of politics and policy discussion, today — pivot on debates over what is factually so [truth], what is well reasoned, what is warranted, what is known/unknown, what is prudent, just, fair. All of which tie to the branch on which we all sit, self evident Ciceronian first duties. Indeed, second fair comment, part of the reaction to such self evident principles is that they will cut across many agendas and preferences. Moral error has real world, destructive consequences, never mind convenient dismissive talking points about fallacies of appeal to consequences. A likely destructive, absurd result is a relevant issue and refusal to be prudent is destructive to rationality and common good sense. But the misanthropes like it that way. KF

  315. 315
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, SA is right by direct extension,

    amoral (e??m?r?l)
    adj
    1. having no moral quality; nonmoral
    2. without moral standards or principles
    amorality n
    a?morally adv
    Usage: Amoral is often wrongly used where immoral is meant. Immoral is properly used to talk about the breaking of moral rules, amoral about people who have no moral code or about places or situations where moral considerations do not apply
    Collins English Dictionary

    That which discredits and breaks down credibility of self evident first principles of morality and their status as knowable, objective first truths is amoral, whether by intent or consequence is of little relevance. So too, that which implies or outright asserts, there are no intelligible or knowable, objective first moral truths — the axioms of morality are being sidelined so indifference to right, wrong, prudence etc results, meanwhile distorted moral outrage then attaches to targets of the daily two minute hate. That is why, with all due respect, it is fair comment to note with Lewis Vaughn and many others, that radical relativism, subjectivism, hyperskepticism etc are corrosive and an open invitation to destructive nihilism and chaos. Thus, onward, frankly, lawless oligarchy. And that is no empty, emotive fallacious appeal to consequences.

    Mutiny on the ship of state has predictably disastrous consequences which in all prudence we should heed.

    KF

  316. 316
    kairosfocus says:

    Sev, 310:

    Human morality is arguably founded on nothing more than concern for the well-being of ourselves and others in society. There is no reason to think that this unimaginably vast Universe is in the least bit concerned about our well-being or is even capable of such concern. Functionally, the God of Christianity appears notable only by His absence where human suffering is concerned, although belief in a benevolent Creator is clearly of great psychological benefit to those who believe.

    On points of comment, at minimum for record:

    >>Human morality is arguably founded on nothing more than concern for the well-being of ourselves and others in society.>>

    1 – Immediately, see the appeals to duty to truth, right reason, warrant etc? The branch on which we all sit, pervasive first principle, self evident first truths strike again, shattering your argument in its opening words.

    2 – Of course, you are arguing in effect that love for, respect of, the rights of, neighbour are pivotal to working out detailed moral rules, decisions, conduct. Yes, one of the ciceronian first duties is duty to neighbour, thus as corollaries, to fairness and justice.

    3 – Where, justice is that civil peace in which there is due balance of rights, freedoms, duties.

    4 – However, this is only about knowability so far, it has not resolved the Hume and Euthyphro challenges on logic of being roots.

    5 – That requires analysis on roots of reality, the only level where the is-ought gap can be soundly bridged. See my comment to you here.

    >>There is no reason to think that this unimaginably vast Universe is in the least bit concerned about our well-being or is even capable of such concern.>>

    6 — Red herring, led away to strawman then knocked over; the physical cosmos is not generally seen as in itself a personal being so it is not the locus of moral concern.

    7 – This is a case where a merely physical is cannot ground ought, i.e. physicalism and wider evolutionary materialistic scientism cannot ground moral government, is thus amoral, and invites the notion that moral perceptions are subjective and relativist, i.e. delusional. Which brings grand delusion into mind yet again on such thinking.

    8 – Recall, more broadly, Haldane’s warning:

    “It seems to me immensely unlikely that mind is a mere by-product of matter. For

    if

    [p:] my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain

    [–> taking in DNA, epigenetics and matters of computer organisation, programming and dynamic-stochastic processes; notice, “my brain,” i.e. self referential]
    ______________________________

    [ THEN]

    [q:] I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true.

    [–> indeed, blindly mechanical computation is not in itself a rational process, the only rationality is the canned rationality of the programmer, where survival-filtered lucky noise is not a credible programmer, note the functionally specific, highly complex organised information rich code and algorithms in D/RNA, i.e. language and goal directed stepwise process . . . an observationally validated adequate source for such is _____ ?]

    [Corollary 1:] They may be sound chemically, but that does not make them sound logically.

    And hence

    [Corollary 2:] I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms. [–> grand, self-referential delusion, utterly absurd self-falsifying incoherence]

    [Implied, Corollary 3: Reason and rationality collapse in a grand delusion, including of course general, philosophical, logical, ontological and moral knowledge; reductio ad absurdum, a FAILED, and FALSE, intellectually futile and bankrupt, ruinously absurd system of thought.]

    In order to escape from this necessity of sawing away the branch on which I am sitting, so to speak, I am compelled to believe that mind is not wholly conditioned by matter.” [“When I am dead,” in Possible Worlds: And Other Essays [1927], Chatto and Windus: London, 1932, reprint, p.209. Cf. here on (and esp here) on the self-refutation by self-falsifying self referential incoherence and on linked amorality.]

    >> Functionally, the God of Christianity appears notable only by His absence where human suffering is concerned,>>

    9 – A largely empty assertion, evading first that ethical theism is a far broader generic philosophical position . . . and ignoring the scandal of the cross, rather than merely religious dogmatic imposition [where, in the core, it is affirmed by the Christian faith that all men have adequate intellectual access to God if they are but willing], and that there is the little unanswered problem of the collapse of the argument from evils, post Plantinga’s free will defence.

    >> although belief in a benevolent Creator is clearly of great psychological benefit>>

    10 – The crutch argument. Oddly, literally on Christmas morning 1987, I nearly broke my ankle and badly sprained it. For some reason no crutches were to be had and I had to unscrew a broom handle and use it as improvised substitute. Lesson learned!

    11 – The lesson? When you are hurt, a crutch is a very helpful thing, not to be despised or dismissed. And, as a race of finite, fallible, morally struggling, too often ill willed creatures, we are hurting.

    >> to those who believe. >>

    12 – Guess what? We ALL believe, as the Agrippa trilemma so directly implies: if A why? B. But why B? C, D . . . so infinite regress [impossible], or question begging circularity [common but fallacious], or acknowledging a faith point F, with first plausibles that frame our worldviews.

    13 – That is, we all live by faith, the issue is to examine on comparative difficulties and seek a reasonable, responsible well founded faith.

    14 – And since on this Good Friday morning, the Christian Faith as usual is in the cross hairs here at UD, I note here on in context, start by taking out an hour to watch the video.

    KF

  317. 317
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: This Good Friday-Resurrection Sunday weekend, let us pause to reflect on The Scandal of the Cross: https://dashhouse.com/the-scandal-of-the-cross-1-corinthians-117-25/ KF

    PS, Let me clip remarks by the unacknowledged founding father of our civilisation:

    1 Cor 1:17 For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.

    18 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written,

    “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
    and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”

    20 Where is the one who is wise?
    Where is the scribe?
    Where is the debater [rhetor] of this age?
    Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?

    21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach2 to save those who believe.

    22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.

    25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men,
    and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

    26 For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards,3 not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29 so that no human being4 might boast in the presence of God.

    30 And because of him5 you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31 so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

    God’s folly and God’s weakness exceed man’s wisdom and man’s strength.

    Indeed, let us note one of the most sobering warnings of scripture:

    Rom 1: 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith,5 as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”6

    18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. [–> notice, willful suppression of evident truth]

    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,7 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, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

    24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! [–> reason being morally governed, to reject moral government pivoting on first self evident duties is to fatally undermine reason and self control on a civilisational basis] . . . .

    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. 32 Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

    Let us take due heed.

  318. 318
    kairosfocus says:

    PPS, I am applying the corollary to SA’s rules, that if you link they won’t click and read.

  319. 319
    JVL says:

    Sandy: Not really. A math teacher of a 3rd grade level don’t agree with a PhD mathematician because they live in different planets of maths . It’s about levels of understanding and knowledge. The maths of a PhD mathematician is a “foreign language” for a math teacher of 3rd grade. So no not all mathematicians agree on math because not all have the same level of understanding and knowledge .

    No, it doesn’t work that way. First of all NOT being able to address the same issues is NOT the same as disagreeing. Secondly, many high school math teachers have taken Calculus, Dif Eq, and some other higher level courses so they are aware of much past most people’s daily experience. One of my high school math teachers had taken Topology which is quite abstract and quite messy.

  320. 320
    JVL says:

    Silver Asiatic: The toolkit says that “The concept of mathematics being purely objective is unequivocally false, and teaching it is even much less so.” It adds that “Upholding the idea that there are always right and wrong answers perpetuate objectivity as well as fear of open conflict.”

    The toolkit encourages teachers not to focus on students getting the “right” answer but to come up with more than one answer to questions that are “equally right,” …

    While it is true that there are areas of mathematics which are ambiguous and/or you can get different ‘answers’ depending on some assumptions or methods used at the high school level things are much more black and white.

    I think it is important when teaching mathematics to encourage students to try out different techniques and approaches; I have even had the experience of a student having a better approach to a particular kind of problem than I was used to using. It’s also helpful, as an instructor, to get some glimpse of how your pupils think. In that sense, sometimes you do want to de-emphasise the one correct answer so that math is more like exploring and trying and, therefore, less scary and more engaging. It’s alway more fun to experiment than to just memorise a set technique. In the 90s that sort of thing was starting to get introduced at the Calculus level when more emphasis was put on how you think about problems and situations first to be followed up by learning techniques to solve those problems.

    As a graduate student I was sometimes taught by the Moore method wherein the professor would give us a list of propositions and we had to either prove them or show that they weren’t true usually via a counter-example. There the emphasis was also on learning how to think about the mathematics with the secondary objective of being able to do a lot of proofs.

    Anyway, all these kind of educational reforms at elementary levels always fall by the wayside once you start teaching engineers or chemists or mathematics majors. At some point you just have to use what works regardless of who discovered it.

  321. 321
    JVL says:

    Silver Asiatic: I try to engage with my fellow Christians and reason with them, so they can see the higher-level morality that comes through Christian faith. That is, there’s a greater moral authority for the Christian than just the universal moral norms. The Christian believes that God has revealed more detailed moral truths through the Church, authorized to teach in the name of God.
    But for atheists here, I wouldn’t talk about such things at that higher level.

    You do understand the confusion that entails when people of faith seem to disagree (quite vehemently at times) about issues that seem pretty fundamental like homosexuality? It makes it sound like this claimed objective moral standard is not universally understood to be the same.

    All we can do with atheists and deists is talk about the built-in moral law which are the general moral precepts objective in human rational nature.

    And we sometimes still disagree. Like, say, about same-sex marriage. In a modern society where compromise is the sine qua non of introducing political and economic reform and advancement how would you propose a country like the US deal with that particular issue knowing that you would not be able to get your opposition to change their mind and see things your way?

    From that, atheists can discover that God is the author of the moral law and then they can discover the truths of the Christian revelation.

    But, again, when they see that even Christians can’t agree on what the moral law says then how are they to discover those truths which seem to be relative instead of objective?

    I brought up a reference from Leviticus: If a man lieth with another man, both must be killed. (Leviticus 20:13). I would expect most people, including most Christians would find that directive appalling. I hope so anyway. How would you explain the proper way to interpret that verse?

    There are many such Biblical injunctions that, by modern standards, seem quite barbaric:

    If a man cheateth on his wife, or vise versa, both the man and the woman must die. (Leviticus 20:10)

    Any person who curseth his mother or father, must be killed. (Leviticus 20:9)

    If a man or woman has sex with an animal, both human and animal must be killed. (Leviticus 20:15-16)

    If you find out a city worships a different god, destroy the city and kill all of its inhabitants, even the animals. (Deuteronomy 13:12-16)

    Kill anyone with a different religion. (Deuteronomy 17:2-7)

    Slaves must be submissive and obedient to their masters. (Ephesians 6:5)

    And there are some that are just weird to modern ears:

    Don’t have a variety of crops on the same field. (Leviticus 19:19)

    Don’t wear clothes made of more than one fabric. (Leviticus 19:19)

    Don’t cut your hair nor shave. (Leviticus 19:27)

    People who have flat noses, or are blind or lame, cannot go to an altar of God. (Leviticus 21:17-18)

    Women are not allowed to wear the clothing of men and men are not allowed to wear the clothing of women (Deuteronomy 22:5)

    And then there are these:

    Women must be submissive to their husbands. (1 Peter 3:1 and 3:5)

    Women should not style or braid their hair or wear any adornments (jewellery) or fancy clothing. 1 Peter 3:3, 1 Timothy 2:9)

    Women should be generally submissive and should be quiet, never teach or hold any authority over men. They should just be silent. (1 Timothy 2:12)

    Women must wear head coverings in any place of worship. (1 Corinthians 11:4-7)

    Clearly many of those (and other) Biblical ‘rules’ are no longer enforced or even taken seriously by most Christians and some Jews. So, how is an outsider to know what is part of the moral standard and what is not? Considering that Muslims are also people of the book how does one incorporate their much different interpretations into the objective moral standard?

  322. 322
    JVL says:

    Kairosfocus: Time will tell, and there manifestly are first truths and duties on the table with powerful track record.

    And when another Christian disagrees with your views on those truths how do you propose to resolve the issue so that those not of faith can see the underlying objective moral standard?

    you have misjudged the geostrategic issues and may be unaware of relevant history (especially how the post WW1 League of Nations system collapsed as power mad tyrants precipitated WW2).

    I am in support of intervention in the situation in Ukraine, I understand the history and geopolitical issues. My moral question was: how do you morally justify aiding and abetting the killing of soldiers that are not actively involved in attacking you our your country? It’s not a political or economic or strategic question, it’s a question about morals and an object moral standard.

  323. 323
    jerry says:

    Morality has been defined. It is objective and universal. It has nothing to do with religion just as ID has nothing to do with religion

    This has been ignored.

    There is no interest on UD for understanding, learning or truth about a lot of things. Just feigned hurt or neglect for a lot irrational points of view and the desire to generate thousands of words that are irrelevant and achieve nothing.

    This is just a repeat of what went on a year ago. So what else is new?

    Aside; religion has focused on morality but that does not mean morality is necessarily religious. Just as ID is not necessarily religious. Logic and evidence are all that’s necessary.

    Aside2: it may be possible using logic and evidence to tie morality to a creator. But that is not what these comments are about. They all beg the question by assuming that is so and not proving that.

    But first morality has to be shown to exist outside of religion and is universal which is easy. I was taught this in business school but the professors had no clue what they were proving.

  324. 324
    Silver Asiatic says:

    KF @ 315 – thank you for that reference and definition.
    Yes, an amoral system is one where there is no standard, and that’s what it means to have subjective morals.
    Again, people who think art is subjective say that “there is no good or bad art”. Taste is subjective.
    As I offered hypothetically, if math was subjective there would be no correct answers. All answers would be correct.
    When morality is considered subjective, then there is no standard. There can be no true good or bad because the very same action can be considered either morally good or morally bad.

  325. 325
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Seversky

    the God of Christianity appears notable only by His absence where human suffering is concerned

    As KF reminds us @317, today is Good Friday and it’s the perfect opportunity to contemplate Jesus’ Seven Last Words on the Cross. There’s a message about God’s response to human suffering contained within that.

  326. 326
    Viola Lee says:

    I will withdraw. If you can’t even pay attention to what I write, and distort the meaning of a common word, then further discussion is hopeless.

    I will leave with this paragraph that I wrote above.

    Amoral means “having or showing no concern about whether behavior is morally right or wrong.” But, I repeat: people do have a moral nature, and they do care, often very much, about whether their behavior is right or wrong. That is an observable, empirical fact. This is a separate issue from whether the moral standards they live by are related to some objective, universal standards or not, which is a philosophical, metaphysical issue of a different sort.

  327. 327
    Silver Asiatic says:

    JVL

    You do understand the confusion that entails …

    I understand that you have been, and perhaps still are, confused about what the objective moral law entails. You cited localized, temporal laws and applications of the moral law as if they were universal.
    You’re running now to another topic (have you absorbed the first one yet?) by extracting Biblical quotes from the Hebrew scriptures and demanding an explanation.
    Understanding the history and meaning of Judaism and Christianity is a big topic to study. So, we have to be patient and look sincerely. We have to overcome inbuilt bias against religion, if it exists, and have some humility before the magnificence of God. Then we can ask questions and be open to the meaning of things.
    You have written very well and, in my opinion, some beautiful thoughts about the power and value of Faith. You have seen that faith enables us to rise above the passing-things and “noise” of life and conflicts. Yes, it brings us to the harmony, love, peace, knowledge and goodness of God’s presence.

    Maybe this weekend, where the holy Resurrection of Christ is celebrated throughout the world, would be a good chance to go to church and maybe inquire more.

  328. 328
    Silver Asiatic says:

    VL @326

    If you can’t even pay attention to what I write, and distort the meaning of a common word, then further discussion is hopeless

    I find that unfortunate. You insist that I must accept your definition and you reject mine as invalid.
    But take a look, from the very exact page where you got your definition, we see this:

    Definition of amoral

    1a : having or showing no concern about whether behavior is morally right or wrong amoral politicians an amoral, selfish person
    b : being neither moral nor immoral specifically : lying outside the sphere to which moral judgments apply Science as such is completely amoral. — W. S. Thompson
    2 : being outside or beyond the moral order or a particular code of morals

    Definition 2 is exactly what I said. Subjectivism is outside the moral order. In fact, it’s not a code of morals at all. It’s entirely private within the person. There’s no objective source. The definition speaks of “a particular code of morals” and that references objective codes, not subjective.

  329. 329
    jerry says:

    It’s interesting how a discussion of “moral” becomes a discussion on the word “amoral” but not “immoral.”

    Why the change? Why the emphasis?

    Again, do people really understand what they are talking about? Or is the diversion on purpose?

  330. 330
    Silver Asiatic says:

    An easier way to understand the amoral nature of atheism is as I said before – atheism is nihilistic. It proposes that ultimately, there is no meaning. But morality is entirely “a system of meaning” and requires a sense of justice.
    A nihilistic system proposes that everything came from nothing, without meaning, and then human life ends as nothing.
    In atheism, there can be no real justice. As mentioned many times, evolution does not propose that some species are good or others bad. No evolutionary developments are morally better than others. The death and destruction of species by evolutionary forces is not a “bad’ result for evolution.

  331. 331
    JVL says:

    Silver Asiatic: You have written very well and, in my opinion, some beautiful thoughts about the power and value of Faith. You have seen that faith enables us to rise above the passing-things and “noise” of life and conflicts. Yes, it brings us to the harmony, love, peace, knowledge and goodness of God’s presence.

    Thank you for that. Even if I am not blessed with faith myself I am very cognisant of what it means to those who are so lucky. Or persistent? Or . . .

    I understand that you have been, and perhaps still are, confused about what the objective moral law entails. You cited localized, temporal laws and applications of the moral law as if they were universal.
    You’re running now to another topic (have you absorbed the first one yet?) by extracting Biblical quotes from the Hebrew scriptures and demanding an explanation.

    I hope I didn’t ‘demand’ an explanation; what I am trying to understand is what is meant by an objective moral standard by considering some particular cases. Perhaps that’s just my way of trying to wrap my head around something that I can’t quite grasp. It’s kind of like quantum mechanics: I don’t really understand how or why it works so I focus, initially, on its effects and ramifications.

    Since I am interested in what you think I ask questions hoping you will clarify some things I consider confusing. I understand that a complete and deep understanding takes years of thought and contemplation but I was hoping to gain at least a sliver of insight from considering some particular cases.

    I am also interested in how a multi-faith society can (and should?) find ways of handling conflicts of interest. I figure finding out what other people think is the obvious first step. I figure that when I am confused by something others say then I should ask for clarification. This is why I try to answer questions asked of me honestly and clearly.

  332. 332
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Jerry

    Again, do people really understand what they are talking about? Or is the diversion on purpose?

    There’s a very big theme which is subjective morals and what that means, and then does the objective moral law exist or not. I said something like “atheism is nihilistic and amoral”. That’s just setting the stage and a very minor point. But instead, the word “amoral” became the topic. It’s actually a synonym for “not having an objective moral code”. But it’s a trigger-word, apparently.
    I did the same thing with “transcendent”. I said the objective moral law is transcendent (not its origin, but it in itself). It “transcends the personal” because it’s universal. It’s transcendent – that’s what it means in that context. Yet again, the word “transcendent” became the topic and we forget the hundreds of words I wrote in the argument on the bigger issue of subjective morals.
    The same thing happened when I said that subjective morals “by popularity” just means that people “by chance” believe the same moral things, so that becomes a popular view.
    So then we had to debate what “by chance” meant in that context.

    Morality is a very personal topic. It can create defensiveness and fear. I wouldn’t like people telling me that my moral code is not good, for example. Guilt is one of the most painful things humans can experience. In fact, in some severe cases, people will commit suicide rather than feel guilt for a wrong done.
    That’s my fear for atheists. Walking around with just nothingness, but also having to feel the guilt for various things. It’s not pleasant to think about and I would hope to have compassion.
    But at the same time, if something doesn’t make sense, then we have to say it. For people to create their own moral code (where do they get the authority to decide what is right or wrong?) means they can change it.
    That also means “whatever I do is good because I always follow my moral code”.
    That makes sense because whatever the person does, they can just say that it’s part of their moral code. So, they can never commit a sin or fault, since the creator of the moral law is also the judge of it, and is also the one who can grant exceptions and revisions to the law as needed.
    That’s how every human behavior can be justified.
    That is the sad world of atheism and I hope people will realize that and try to change and move past that.

  333. 333
    JVL says:

    Silver Asiatic: In atheism, there can be no real justice. As mentioned many times, evolution does not propose that some species are good or others bad. No evolutionary developments are morally better than others. The death and destruction of species by evolutionary forces is not a “bad’ result for evolution.

    We are not prisoners of the evolutionary process. We can strive to care and support and love each other. We can choose to look after and support probably the only planet we will have to live on so that our descendants can also enjoy its beauty and life sustaining abilities. We can choose to create art and music and literature out of the sheer joy of making things that evoke great feelings and emotions. We can choose to be tolerant of those whose views are not ours and allow people to pursue life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as independently as possible as long as they are not imposing on the rights or faith of others. Sometimes we have to find some middle ground when making difficult choices that affect a large number of us but we can choose to do so in as fair a way as possible.

    All of this indicates to me that regardless of our faith or opinions the first rule must be: we have to learn to listen to each other. We have to avoid deciding what we think others believe. We have to avoid labelling other people based on a part of their view we disagree with. That takes time and effort and sincerity. That means giving people the chance to explain themselves before drawing conclusions. I think that entails asking questions and listening to the answers.

    No matter where we came from we are all made of star stuff, we literally are children of the universe. And that is an awe inspiring and humbling thought that should not be dismissed or minimised. We have only a limited period of time to be a physical part of the universe; we should not demean or waste that opportunity. Nihilism is cowardly; saying it doesn’t matter so I don’t have to work hard at making a difference.

    I only have a short time to help others, help the environment and help my society and civilisation. When I’m no longer here I don’t mind if no one remembers my name but I do hope that those that come after me have even a slightly better world to live in.

  334. 334
    Silver Asiatic says:

    JVL

    I am trying to understand is what is meant by an objective moral standard by considering some particular cases …

    I’ll try to clarify this. I think it’s essential to make your questions clear and precise. Here you’re asking “what is mean by an objective moral standard” but you’re then saying you want to “consider particular cases …” — of the objective moral standard? Or of application of the objective moral standard to human activities?
    So, we need to lock this down. First – do you see the difference there? The objective moral code is one thing. The application of the code to various actions is another. The “particular cases” of the objective moral law are the principles themselves. Cicero lists foundational virtues and necessary moral principles. I have given some.
    Take one: A person should never murder an innocent person for no reason.
    That’s a universal norm. it’s not a subjective opinion that someone happened to come up with.
    That’s an example of the universal, objective moral law.
    So, to “consider the particulars” – is to consider that statement. It’s axiomatic and true. There’s not much else to say. To murder an innocent person (say a child) for no reason is clearly an immoral act and we know this through our rational moral conscience.

    But, what it seems you’re confusing is “particular cases” meaning “how the objective principles are applied”. You asked if it is right for a country to finance weapons for another in warfare.
    Obviously, the status of the Ukraine and America’s military budget and relationship is not something spelled out in the universal moral law. It’s an application of principles.
    One principle would be what I provided – would the weapons be used to murder innocent people for no reason? Then, there’s the question of “justice” – with the objective moral code, “justice” is the action that all are given what is truly due to them in proportion to the value and meaning of the acts performed. It’s a generalized law. So, we apply justice to the situation in the Ukraine.
    In the end, there’s room to disagree on how the moral norms are applied.
    As I said, for atheists, all they have is the objective norms and then apply them. For Christians, there is God’s revelation. But even there, it takes some thought to discern what God wants.

  335. 335
    JVL says:

    Silver Asiatic: Or of application of the objective moral standard to human activities?

    I am asking about applications so that I might glean a better understand of the underlying principles. And I’d like to see how it works in practice so that I can see a way to account for it when finding solutions to social issues.

    The more cases I can see it applied to the better I will be able to account for it in the future.

  336. 336
    Silver Asiatic says:

    JVL

    So, how is an outsider to know what is part of the moral standard and what is not?

    Nobody is an outsider to the objective moral standard. Those are the basic norms that we know from our own conscience.

    Considering that Muslims are also people of the book how does one incorporate their much different interpretations into the objective moral standard?

    At the root of Koranic laws are the objective moral norms. There are some big differences however, and Islam does not stress the rational nature of human beings as much as Christianity. The religious belief is that Allah just wills things, and they do not have to be consistent.

  337. 337
    jerry says:

    Morality is a very personal topic

    No it’s not.

    It’s actually quite simple and objective so it cannot be personal. If it’s personal, it’s based on a misunderstanding.

  338. 338
    Silver Asiatic says:

    JVL

    how would you propose a country like the US deal with that particular issue knowing that you would not be able to get your opposition to change their mind and see things your way?

    The USA is secularist and pluralist in that sense. Every political platform points to the objective moral law to justify itself. But the application of those norms can create conflicts at times. Eventually, rational thought can only sort things out to a limited degree. That’s why atheism would not be good as a foundation for morals for a nation. People need to realize that there is meaning in life and there is also justice.
    Some Christians feel that they have to separate from a secular structure and create their own communities. Some Jews and Muslims think the same. Some Muslim groups hope to gain a majority and thus create a religious-based law like Sharia to then control the moral life of people. That has been successful for Muslims in places like Turkey and Saudi Arabia. But it can create violent conflicts also, as we know.
    Natural law theory will say that governments have to have some level of tolerance for bad morals among the people. So, it’s a trade-off. The objective moral law will say that we have to act for the good of the whole community and also allow for personal freedom to the extent that it can. But that conflicts when people do things that benefit themselves (or they thing it does) and harms the community. That’s the problem with something like gay marriage.

  339. 339
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Jerry

    It’s actually quite simple and objective so it cannot be personal.

    In one aspect, it is simple and impersonal. Murder, rape, torture of innocents, theft, lying. There are simple norms, everyone knows in their conscience. That’s the objective law.
    In the other aspect, morality is personal. To what extent is a person guilty of sin? How deliberate was their action? What should a person do to make up for wrongs he has done?
    It also is not simple: Is divorce is a sin? Are Christians required by the moral law to go to Church every Sunday? Is a person permitted to tell a lie in order to achieve a greater good (like saving many lives?). Will certain sins not merit the punishment of eternal hell? If so, which ones? Can a person interpret the Bible correctly through his own subjective opinion?

  340. 340
    jerry says:

    Are Christians required

    You are introducing religion to the issue.

    As I said above religion is a not necessary for an understanding of morality. Morality/ethics is taught in business school. It’s hard to imagine a more forbidden subject in business school than religion

    So take it out of any discussion. I realize this is where many are first taught about morality. But it gets in the way of understanding just what it is.

    For centuries Christianity was guilty of advocating immoral policies. Not as part of religious doctrine but because it was too entwined with politics and advocated policies identified with Plato that led to the suppression of freedom of individuals which led to serfdom/slavery.

    So was the whole planet, not just the Christian areas.

  341. 341
    kairosfocus says:

    Jerry, immoral acts are done in breach of a known, acknowledged moral principle. Amorality suppresses and denies principles as we see above. Back in the day, one of the strongest terms of rebuke, for cause, was to speak of an unprincipled man. KF

  342. 342
    kairosfocus says:

    SA, of course Math is objective in its core and your analogy is apt. That’s why it is being hit at. We know that humans generally come issued with conscience, 1. We also know or could readily confirm if we were willing, that in our reasoning, thinking, arguing and dealing, we so pervasively appeal to the Ciceronian first duties that we can readily see that they are branch on which we all sit first duties, first principles, self evident first truths of morality. I even took time out to show how the attempt to deny objective moral truths is necessarily false as it implies being what it denies. No wonder objectors find themselves appealing to what they try to overturn, and those who try to prove find themselves already appealing to the duties. These are antecedents of proof just as the first laws of logic they embrace. Anyone willing can see that. So the real issue is why the fuss and feathers flying in attempts to object. The answer is, many today have been programmed to perceive moral principles as a threat to their desired behaviour, there is even a tendency to project that these are “far right” “religious” “theocratic” “Christofascist” “impositions and the like. To the point, that I see above attempts to drag us off on evil Bible type debates on Good Friday. Have some basic respect! KF

    PS, Thank God, I have now got through my GPIO bus headaches. The last key was to use a 10 k Ohm pulldown resistor.

  343. 343
    kairosfocus says:

    JVL, have some basic respect: today is Good Friday and Sunday is Easter. KF

  344. 344
    kairosfocus says:

    Jerry, it is first a failure of formal and informal education that many are unaware that morality is a major focus of philosophy, ethics. Second, there is refusal to acknowledge self evident first duties as first principles of moral government, failing to understand the US DoI 1776, where RIGHTS are binding moral claims tied to duties of justice and must be compossible. That already tells us we are in danger of undermining the basis of lawful freedom in a constitutional democratic state. Doubtless such cannot imagine that lawless oligarchy is the natural state of human government. KF

  345. 345
    JVL says:

    Silver Asiatic: Nobody is an outsider to the objective moral standard. Those are the basic norms that we know from our own conscience.

    But you keep saying that atheists cannot have an objective moral standard. If you’re just saying that the objective moral standard is the stuff we all agree upon then what’s to stop that from changing from time to time and place to place? For example: it seems to have been widely accepted during the pre-Christian era that it was acceptable and expected that you could completely wipe out all the inhabitants of a city you were at war with. Women, children, the elderly, everyone. Such things are documented in The Bible. Does that mean that the things we ‘know’ have changed?

    But the application of those norms can create conflicts at times. Eventually, rational thought can only sort things out to a limited degree. That’s why atheism would not be good as a foundation for morals for a nation.

    So how does your belief help sort things out better? How do you progress things further? This is why I keep asking you about particular situations so that you can give an example of how you can propose a better, more consistent and less contentious approach.

    The objective moral law will say that we have to act for the good of the whole community and also allow for personal freedom to the extent that it can. But that conflicts when people do things that benefit themselves (or they thing it does) and harms the community. That’s the problem with something like gay marriage.

    Are you saying that your approach would or would not allow same-sex marriage given the level of support it has in the US at this time? I am not asking for your personal opinion, just the application of the objective moral standard.

  346. 346
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Some key vocabulary, from Webster’s 1828 Dictionary:

    LI’CENSE, noun [Latin licentia, from liceo, to be permitted.]

    1. Leave; permission; authority or liberty given to do or forbear any act. A license may be verbal or written; when written, the paper containing the authority is called a license A man is not permitted to retail spirituous liquors till he has obtained a license

    2. Excess of liberty; exorbitant freedom; freedom abused, or used in contempt of law or decorum.

    License they mean, when they cry liberty.

    UNPRIN’CIPLED, adjective

    1. Not having settled principles; as souls unprincipled in virtue.

    2. Having no good moral principles; destitute of virtue; not restrained by conscience; profligate.

    IMMOR’AL, adjective [in and moral.] Inconsistent with moral rectitude; contrary to the moral or divine law; wicked; unjust; dishonest; vicious. Every action is immoral which contravenes any divine precept, or which is contrary to the duties which men owe to each other.

    1. Wicked or unjust in practice; vicious; dishonest; as an immoral man. Every man who violates a divine law or a social duty, is immoral but we particularly apply the term to a person who habitually violates the laws.

    LIB’ERTY, noun [Latin libertas, from liber, free.]

    1. Freedom from restraint, in a general sense, and applicable to the body, or to the will or mind. The body is at liberty when not confined; the will or mind is at liberty when not checked or controlled. A man enjoys liberty when no physical force operates to restrain his actions or volitions.

    2. Natural liberty consists in the power of acting as one thinks fit, without any restraint or control, except from the laws of nature. It is a state of exemption from the control of others, and from positive laws and the institutions of social life. This liberty is abridged by the establishment of government.

    3. Civil liberty is the liberty of men in a state of society, or natural liberty so far only abridged and restrained, as is necessary and expedient for the safety and interest of the society, state or nation. A restraint of natural liberty not necessary or expedient for the public, is tyranny or oppression. civil liberty is an exemption from the arbitrary will of others, which exemption is secured by established laws, which restrain every man from injuring or controlling another. Hence the restraints of law are essential to civil liberty.

    The liberty of one depends not so much on the removal of all restraint from him, as on the due restraint upon the liberty of others.

    In this sentence, the latter word liberty denotes natural liberty.

    LAW, noun [Latin lex; from the root of lay. See lay. A law is that which is laid, set or fixed, like statute, constitution, from Latin statuo.]

    1. A rule, particularly an established or permanent rule, prescribed by the supreme power of a state to its subjects, for regulating their actions, particularly their social actions. Laws are imperative or mandatory, commanding what shall be done; prohibitory, restraining from what is to be forborn; or permissive, declaring what may be done without incurring a penalty. The laws which enjoin the duties of piety and morality, are prescribed by God and found in the Scriptures.

    Law is beneficence acting by rule.

    2. Municipal law is a rule of civil conduct prescribed by the supreme power of a state, commanding what its subjects are to do, and prohibiting what they are to forbear; a statute.

    Municipal or civil laws are established by the decrees, edicts or ordinances of absolute princes, as emperors and kings, or by the formal acts of the legislatures of free states. law therefore is sometimes equivalent to decree, edict, or ordinance.

    3. Law of nature, is a rule of conduct arising out of the natural relations of human beings established by the Creator, and existing prior to any positive precept. Thus it is a law of nature, that one man should not injure another, and murder and fraud would be crimes, independent of any prohibition from a supreme power.

    LAW’FUL, adjective

    1. Agreeable to law; conformable to law; allowed by law; legal; legitimate. That is deemed lawful which no law forbids, but many things are lawful which are not expedient.

    2. Constituted by law; rightful; as the lawful owner of lands.

  347. 347
    kairosfocus says:

    JVL, more accurately, adherents of evolutionary materialism cannot have in their worldviews an ontological source adequate to bridge the is ought gap. This tends to issues noted above as raised long since by Plato in The Laws Bk X, as already ruinous in his day. KF

    PS, I already had to notify you on the significance of today, you also know full well that there are other fora better suited to address what you seem to have hoped to toss in as disruptive.

    PPS, kindly, show us a nine sided hexagon.

  348. 348
    JVL says:

    Kairosfocus: have some basic respect: today is Good Friday and Sunday is Easter

    I cannot insist that anyone take time out from their worship to respond to my queries; they should only do so when and if they see fit. I will not take offence if replies are delayed by several days.

    I do not think I’m being disrespectful; I am trying very hard to gain a greater understanding of what believing in an objective moral standard means when applied to some specific social issues. I have not called anyone’s faith into question nor have I ridiculed such. If you think I have then perhaps that’s more down to how you view reasonable questions about how your moral standard gets applied in a practical sense. But only you can answer that.

  349. 349
    JVL says:

    Kairosfocus: JVL, more accurately, adherents of evolutionary materialism cannot have in their worldviews an ontological source adequate to bridge the is ought gap.

    I didn’t say it could. I’ve been asking for examples of applications of an objective moral standard to particular social issues.

    I already had to notify you on the significance of today, you also know full well that there are other fora better suited to address what you seem to have hoped to toss in as disruptive.

    You are not obligated to reply. I’m happy to wait until you have time.

    I’m am not being disruptive; I am trying to understand how an objective moral stand would or could affect current social issues.

  350. 350
    kairosfocus says:

    JVL, frankly, your behaviour is disrespectful to a holy day, and you must know it is inappropriate to UD. That speaks, tellingly and now clearly irretrievably. KF

  351. 351
    JVL says:

    Kairosfocus: frankly, your behaviour is disrespectful to a holy day, and you must know it is inappropriate to UD. That speaks, tellingly and now clearly irretrievably

    Why do you keep responding then? I’m happy to wait.

  352. 352
    Silver Asiatic says:

    JVL

    But you keep saying that atheists cannot have an objective moral standard.

    We have to keep working on this for clarity.
    The objective moral standard is universal – all humans have access to it from their rational nature and moral conscience. Believer or atheist or any religion at all or none – we have built into human beings the objective moral law. So, we all have it. It’s like the principles of Logic. Those are inherent in our rational nature. Every human has those principles and uses them, even if they don’t know what they are. Logic is universal and objective. It’s not a subjective value that people make up with their own opinion.
    So, every atheist has within, the objective moral norms. That’s what makes the atheist feel guilty when he goes against conscience.
    But what we’re arguing is that atheism, as a system, does not recognize this. So, people say that they just make up their own moral opinions. But that is like saying that they make up their own system of rationality.

    If you’re just saying that the objective moral standard is the stuff we all agree upon then what’s to stop that from changing from time to time and place to place?

    No, it’s not just what we all agree on. It’s an objective morality that is part of human nature – it cannot change.

    For example: it seems to have been widely accepted during the pre-Christian era that it was acceptable and expected that you could completely wipe out all the inhabitants of a city you were at war with.

    You could never do that without a justifying reason. That action was always therefore limited by reason. If it was subjective, then no reason would be needed.

    Such things are documented in The Bible. Does that mean that the things we ‘know’ have changed?

    The objective moral norm is the same, unchanging. You cannot commit war on someone with no justification for it. In the Christian era, “the just war theory” of morality came about. This also can even be questioned now that humans can use nuclear weapons and destroy entire cities. But previous moral norms on how to engage war morally all stemmed from the objective moral norms on justice and the good of society.

    So how does your belief help sort things out better? How do you progress things further? This is why I keep asking you about particular situations so that you can give an example of how you can propose a better, more consistent and less contentious approach.

    That’s an admirable interest. Contention and division among people can be very damaging. But those disputes start at the root, not at the surface. The root of the problem is what we’re hoping to solve here with ID. If people realize that they have been designed and are not just the product of blind chance, they can discover that there is a purpose to life.
    Atheism says there is no purpose or meaning. When you’re dead you’re entirely gone – so it doesn’t really matter. There doesn’t seem to be any way to work with that mindset.
    So, the approach is to help people improve their worldview. Nihilism just says that nothing matters really. Good or bad doesn’t make a difference.
    Nobody can propose a less contentious approach when trying to reconcile a world without God, without meaning and without objective morals – with the world of God. That’s a serious conflict that has to be battled out. There’s no real compromise between the two, although people should do you as you encouraged – and listen to each other and try to understand.

  353. 353
    Silver Asiatic says:

    KF

    Thank you, We should be respectful of the Holy Scripture and resist anything of ridicule against God. I notice even in my secular culture here that people acknowledged the Holy day in some ways, and that is a very good thing.

  354. 354
    Silver Asiatic says:

    JVL

    I have not called anyone’s faith into question nor have I ridiculed such.

    We often see that big list of Bible quotes tossed into the conversation in a manner that is ridiculing to the faith of people. You were asking questions but I think you probably extracted that list from an anti-Christian site versus having read the Bible yourself and noted areas where you saw a concern.
    The way to study and discuss theology is to work through the knowledge, as you would with any subject of interest.

  355. 355
    vividbleau says:

    SA
    “If you can’t even pay attention to what I write, and distort the meaning of a common word, then further discussion is hopeless”

    In other words you have a duty to truth and you are not being truthful when you perpetuate falsehoods. Believe how people act not what they say.

    Vivid

  356. 356
    JHolo says:

    KF: Kairosfocus: frankly, your behaviour is disrespectful to a holy day, and you must know it is inappropriate to UD. That speaks, tellingly and now clearly irretrievably

    I’m sorry if I missed anything, but how is JVL being disrespectful? He is just pointing out the fact that Christians, or any faith for that matter, don’t agree on what the objective moral values are. For example, some Christian and Jewish denominations support same sex marriage and others don’t.

  357. 357
    JHolo says:

    SA: We often see that big list of Bible quotes tossed into the conversation in a manner that is ridiculing to the faith of people.

    I agree that I have seen people use Bible quotes with the clear intent of ridiculing the religion and those that follow it. But I don’t see this in JVL’s use of biblical quotes.

  358. 358
    Silver Asiatic says:

    JHolo

    The request from the moderator is to be respectful of the Holy Scriptures on this Good Friday. I echo that request.

  359. 359
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Vivid

    Well, I hope she will reconsider and return to the discussion.

  360. 360
    JHolo says:

    SA: The request from the moderator is to be respectful of the Holy Scriptures on this Good Friday. I echo that request.

    But nobody has explained how JVL has been disrespectful of the scriptures. All he has done was point out several verses that are no longer followed by the majority of Christians. All in the context of a discussion on the nature and origin of moral values. Besides, UD is not a site about religion.

  361. 361
    kairosfocus says:

    JH, do you understand being a reasonable neighbour? It seems not. Let me give you two examples. A few minutes ago, I returned from a service where I visited to give a friend who was to speak support. One of our Hindu grocers also came as a visitor with family, and participated as he could. Similarly, a few weeks back another shop keeper was behind his counter dealing with an incense ceremony. We paused, standing until he finished and was ready for us. Going to Acts, when the silver smiths fomented a riot at Ephesus, it was the pagan priests, who had become friends with Paul, who reached out to him. I hope the message gets through. KF

    PS: Notice, what is happening. The issue on the table is philosophical, knowability of first moral principles. There are repeated distractions and attempts to drag in the false notion that this is an oppressive religious imposition. Now, reaching the pitch of trying to toss in Internet Atheist style objections on a site where that is not appropriate, where said objectors have been directed to where there are panels of experts willing to address such matters, and where jt is obvious that today and this weekend happen to be the most solemn days of the Christian calendar. The actions speak, louder than words, and not to the credit of those indulging such. It is clear there is no serious answer on the merits to the issue that there indeed are first duties and that objectors find themselves appealing to them as they try to overturn them.

  362. 362
    kairosfocus says:

    Vivid, you are right, yet again would be objectors appeal to the very first duties they would overturn. And ironically, that branch on which we all sit pattern is precisely a sign that we deal here with pervasive first principles that cannot be evaded, so are self evidently true and objective, knowable first moral truths. For months this pattern has persisted here at UD. I am led back to the point that if one makes a crooked yardstick his standard for straight, upright, accurate, he will reject what is genuinely such for failing to conform to his favoured brand of crookedness. Even to the point of dismissing a naturally straight and upright plumb line. KF

  363. 363
    JVL says:

    Since Kairosfocus has continued to debate issues similar to what was brought up in this thread despite his request to have respect for the Easter holiday I think it’s fair for me to offer some comments:

    Firstly, I listened to a very interesting and enlightening podcast episode: Crucifixion on the The Rest is History podcast. The central presenter/host was Tom Holland, author of the book Dominion, an exploration into the influence of Christianity in western civilisation. I found his discussion of crucifixions in general and Christ’s in particular quite interesting especially when he gave support for its historical authenticity. I would highly recommend that particular episode of that lovely podcast. And, I will say, it changed my view significantly.

    Secondly, I find it extremely odd that I have been told over and over and over again that atheists do not have a solid ground for claiming a moral standard and then to have Silver Asiatic say that we all are tapped into a common, objective, moral standard. That confuses me because I am hearing different things from different people. I have been told over and over and over again that atheists have NO claim to an objective moral standard. So which is it? How can I decide who has got the right tact?

    Then when I query parts of the holy scripture as held by some who claim an objective and consistent moral standard I get told off and accused of being disrespectful. Why? What is wrong with asking questions? Surely that is part of learning and understanding scripture and what it means to have faith? It that might be my path to understanding then why close it off?

    I understand that it might take a long time to actually come to understand some of the more subtle points of Christian theocracy. What I don’t get is criticism for asking questions or wanting some clarity. Surely if God gave use the power of reason then we should be able to exercise that in regard to statements made in the Bible. I would think.

    If bringing up passages from Leviticus is rude or insulting then please tell me why that is so. They are in the Bible. Surely they can be discussed.

  364. 364
    Seversky says:

    I have not seen anything posted here by JVL that I would consider disrespectful, My impression is that he takes great care in the way he composes his posts to avoid giving any semblance of offense. Granted that may not always be sufficient to prevent offense being taken but giving offense does not appear to be his purpose.

  365. 365
    Silver Asiatic says:

    JVL

    Secondly, I find it extremely odd that I have been told over and over and over again that atheists do not have a solid ground for claiming a moral standard and then to have Silver Asiatic say that we all are tapped into a common, objective, moral standard. That confuses me because I am hearing different things from different people. I have been told over and over and over again that atheists have NO claim to an objective moral standard. So which is it? How can I decide who has got the right tact?

    You could be told that all human life was and is created by God. So, that includes all atheists. However, atheists have NO claim to having been created by God.
    So, which is it? Are we all created by God or not? How could we say we’re all created by God but then say atheism has no claim to say that we’re created by God?
    You see the parallel.
    We say, “all humans are tapped into a common, objective moral standard. It comes from our rational nature towards truth and good and away from falsehood and evil. When we violate the objective norms, we know that in our conscience. This is universal.
    So, how could we say that atheists have no claim to the objective moral order? How could we say that “atheism is amoral” – when all humans have this moral sense?
    The answer here is that atheism denies the truth that exists.
    The reason for that, is that the objective moral code must have a source which is not human and not materialist. Physical, material nature cannot create a moral code of right and wrong. Also, human beings cannot create a universal, common moral code for all of humanity.
    So, atheists deny the origin of the objective moral law. Most of them, the vast majority, deny that the objective moral law exists.
    However, one could be an atheist, perhaps, and accept that an objective moral law exists. It has to have some source though, that is rational and built on justice (good versus evil). It would seem that God is the only candidate for the source for that objective morality but maybe there is another.
    What does not work is the idea that “we each make up our own moral code”. So, subjective morals based on one’s opinion does not match what we know from reality.
    The subjective code is most common with atheism. For materialists, it is the belief that morality evolved somehow from mutations, or just that we have moral opinions.
    That kind of atheist morality has:
    1. A lawgiver (the self)
    2. An actor with or against the law (the self)
    3. A prosecutor when acts are against the law (the self)
    4. A defense attorney to give reasons why the law was broken (the self)
    5. A counsel to change or amend the law (the self)
    6. A judge in all trials of violation of the law (the self)
    7. The sentencing judge to hand out punishments if needed (the self)

    That’s a very big problem. The same guy who made his moral law, breaks it. Then he has to defend himself against himself and the law. He had good reasons to break the law, or he did not have good reasons — or maybe the law itself is unjust.
    Then he judges himself and is free to change his own moral law.
    Then he can assign a punishment or not.

    That cannot work as a system of morality because the law is created and changed, observed and broken by the same person.

  366. 366
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Seversky

    Granted that may not always be sufficient to prevent offense being taken but giving offense does not appear to be his purpose.

    I think you’re right in general. He tries to be respectful.
    In the case I cited to him, it appeared to me that he took a list of controversial Bible quotes off of an anti-Christian attack-site and that will make good dialogue difficult to achieve.
    The Bible requires, at least, a respect for the idea that God exists. That’s the first premise.
    “Ok, for the sake of argument, God exists, He is the all powerful, Father and Creator of the universe and life and of mankind, and therefore deserves respect and has the authority and right to mandate certain conditions for life (laws and expectations) and every creature owes its life to Him. He is the moral judge at the end of time of all people.”
    That’s where the Bible-argument has to start. Lacking that, the Bible will have no meaning since it starts on that point and does not seek to prove it.

  367. 367
    kairosfocus says:

    JVL, it is obvious that you have missed the point, tin ear style. Similar to how NYT thought it appropriate to publish this on this weekend. There is an underlying attitude reflected in behaviour like that which reflects what has to be a subtext of hostile, sneering contempt.* The attitude of Dawkins et al: those who differ from us the brites, could only do so because they are ignorant, stupid, insane or wicked. I call that hostility backed prejudice and frankly self-blind pride leading to a dangerous situation. Morally struggling, is our common lot, yes. It includes that we are often ill willed and stubborn. Meanwhile, finite and fallible are we. You would have been far better advised to have refrained yourself in regard to what looks a lot like visceral hostility to the Christian faith, its adherents and possibly to God [notice, not to “The Judaeo-Christian ‘[g]od’ “], on this weekend. The most solemn one in the Christian Calendar, as well you know. I suggest, you reconsider. KF

    * PS, you compounded the problem, by willfully choosing to pose a toxic, tangential distraction in a context where you have (among others) been directed to other fora where you could get a seriously informed answer from panels of relevant experts.

  368. 368
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Let me go to some of the points as reported from the NYT Op Ed, it being early Easter Monday.

    God, it seems, paints with a wide brush. He paints with a roller. In Egypt, said our rabbi, he even killed first-born cattle. He killed cows. If he were mortal, the God of Jews, Christians and Muslims would be dragged to The Hague. And yet we praise him. We emulate him. We implore our children to be like him.

    Perhaps now, as missiles rain down and the dead are discovered in mass graves, is a good time to stop emulating this hateful God. Perhaps we can stop extolling his brutality. Perhaps now is a good time to teach our children to pass over God — to be as unlike him as possible.

    Killing gods is an idea I can get behind.

    The attitude here speaks for itself in piled up fallacies of caricature and denigration, failing to even cursorily reckon with living memory context. Over the past little more than a century radical secularist and atheistical regimes erected the all time worst tyrannies and murdered over 100 million of those in their power. Meanwhile today, carrying out the rulings of courts and the like we slaughter a million of our living posterity in the womb every week.

    So, my comment is, confession by projection to the despised other.

    That’s where we need to start: duty to neighbour. Including to our neighbour Upstairs.

    KF

  369. 369
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Let us refocus, the natural law argument that has stirred such reactions. Not, because it is fallacious but because it is just a tad close to the truth:

    We may readily identify at least seven branch- on- which- we- all- sit (so, inescapable, pervasive), first principle . . .

    first duties of reason:

    “Inescapable,” as they are so antecedent to reasoning that even the objector implicitly appeals to their legitimate authority; inescapable, so first truths of reason, i.e. they are self-evidently true and binding. Namely, Ciceronian first duties,

    1st – to truth,
    2nd – to right reason,
    3rd – to prudence [including warrant],
    4th – to sound conscience,
    5th – to neighbour; so also,
    6th – to fairness and
    7th – to justice
    [ . . .]
    xth – etc
    .

    Likewise, we observe again, that the objector to such duties cannot but appeal to them to give their objections rhetorical traction (i.e. s/he must imply or acknowledge what we are, morally governed, duty-bound creatures to gain any persuasive effect). While also those who try to prove such cannot but appeal to the said principles too. So, these principles are a branch on which we all must sit, including objectors and those who imagine they are to be proved and try. That is, these are manifestly first principles of rational, responsible, honest, conscience guided liberty and so too a built-in framework of law; yes, core natural law of human nature. Reason, inescapably, is morally governed.

    Of course, there is a linked but not equivalent pattern: bounded, error-prone rationality often tied to ill will and stubbornness or even closed mindedness; that’s why the study of right reason has a sub-study on fallacies and errors. That we sometimes seek to evade duties or may make inadvertent errors does not overthrow such first duties of reason, which instead help us to detect and correct errors, as well as to expose our follies.

    Perhaps, a negative form will help to clarify, for cause we find to be at best hopelessly error-riddled, those who are habitually untruthful, fallacious and/or irrational, imprudent, fail to soundly warrant claims, show a benumbed or dead conscience [i.e. sociopathy and/or highly machiavellian tendencies], dehumanise and abuse others, are unfair and unjust. At worst, such are utterly dangerous, destructive,or even ruthlessly, demonically lawless.

    Such built-in . . . thus, universal . . . law, then, is not invented by parliaments, kings or courts, nor can these principles and duties be abolished by such; they are recognised, often implicitly as an indelible part of our evident nature. Hence, “natural law,” coeval with our humanity, famously phrased in terms of “self-evident . . . rights . . . endowed by our Creator” in the US Declaration of Independence, 1776. (Cf. Cicero in De Legibus, c. 50 BC.) Indeed, it is on this framework that we can set out to soundly understand and duly balance rights, freedoms and duties; which is justice, the pivot of law. The legitimate main task of government, then, is to uphold and defend the civil peace of justice through sound community order reflecting the built in, intelligible law of our nature.

    Where, as my right implies your duty a true right is a binding moral claim to be respected in life, liberty, honestly aquired property, innocent reputation etc. To so justly claim a right, one must therefore demonstrably be in the right.

    Likewise, Aristotle long since anticipated Pilate’s cynical “what is truth?”: truth says of what is, that it is; and of what is not, that it is not. [Metaphysics, 1011b, C4 BC.] Simple in concept, but hard to establish on the ground; hence — in key part — the duties to right reason, prudence, fairness etc.

    Thus, too, we may compose sound civil law informed by that built-in law of our responsibly, rationally free morally governed nature; from such, we may identify what is unsound or false thus to be reformed or replaced even though enacted under the colour and solemn ceremonies of law.

    The first duties, also, are a framework for understanding and articulating the corpus of built-in law of our morally governed nature, antecedent to civil laws and manifest our roots in the Supreme Law-giver, the inherently good, utterly wise and just creator-God, the necessary (so, eternal), maximally great being at the root of reality.

    Let the objectors answer on the merits including grounding the credibility of rationality, thus too how we can address moral government including of our rationality.

    Meanwhile, of course, JVL, too, is another objector managing to implicitly appeal to first duties he would overturn.

    KF

  370. 370
    JVL says:

    Silver Asiatic: So, how could we say that atheists have no claim to the objective moral order? How could we say that “atheism is amoral” – when all humans have this moral sense?
    The answer here is that atheism denies the truth that exists.
    The reason for that, is that the objective moral code must have a source which is not human and not materialist. Physical, material nature cannot create a moral code of right and wrong. Also, human beings cannot create a universal, common moral code for all of humanity.
    So, atheists deny the origin of the objective moral law. Most of them, the vast majority, deny that the objective moral law exists.

    Okay, I get where you are coming from. I don’t see what that has to do with elucidating a particular moral dilemma based on the objective moral code. I’m just asking for your view/opinion.

    In the case I cited to him, it appeared to me that he took a list of controversial Bible quotes off of an anti-Christian attack-site and that will make good dialogue difficult to achieve.

    Are the references a fair representation of those Biblical passages? If yes then why can’t they be used as discussion points? I suspect you don’t agree with some of the passages so how do you consider then with regard to the moral standard?

    The Bible requires, at least, a respect for the idea that God exists. That’s the first premise.

    So, you won’t discuss difficult/embarrassing Biblical passages unless the questioner first professes respect for the idea that God exists? I don’t understand why you can’t discuss applications of your moral standard without that? What difference would that make?

  371. 371
    JVL says:

    Kairosfocus: you compounded the problem, by willfully choosing to pose a toxic, tangential distraction in a context where you have (among others) been directed to other fora where you could get a seriously informed answer from panels of relevant experts.

    First of all, no one is forcing you to reply or acknowledge my posts; if you just ignored them then they would draw a lot less attention.

    Secondly, I’m sorry you think asking questions about confusing and divisive Biblical passages is toxic. I think, as a society, we have to learn how to listen to each other, find out what others think and why and find ways to come to some kind of workable solution. To that end I would like to understand better the objective moral standard you operate from. I’m happy to discuss other issues, like same-sex marriage, but you refuse to engage in those topics.

    If I can’t even ask you about passages from The Bible and you won’t engage with lots of other relevant and current issues then there’s not much point me trying to figure out what your objective moral standard is.

    You would have been far better advised to have refrained yourself in regard to what looks a lot like visceral hostility to the Christian faith, its adherents and possibly to God [notice, not to “The Judaeo-Christian ‘[g]od’ “], on this weekend. The most solemn one in the Christian Calendar, as well you know. I suggest, you reconsider.

    I don’t think I am being hostile! I’m trying to learn something. AND at least one other person was being civil and making an attempt to respond to me.

    I hope, despite your obvious consternation at my questions, that you’re having a lovely and soul restoring Easter. And I do mean that sincerely.

  372. 372
    asauber says:

    “I don’t think I am being hostile!”

    JVL,

    The fact that you are not a Christian, yet you are throwing around Bible quotes in a gotcha game that has nothing to do with the OP, and is intended to make Christians look bad, is an indication of your hostility. IF you really want to learn about the Bible and how it relates to Christianity, there are plenty of resources out there, that someone can point you to. Meanwhile, there’s ID, which is the interest of this site. You are free to comment as you like, but seriously, this shtick wore out long before you got here.

    Andrew

  373. 373
    kairosfocus says:

    AS & JVL, the patent hostility speaks for itself,

    JVL,

    especially when we also see your reaction to timing and oh you can let the insinuations stand . . . with invited inference that Christians have no good answers.

    Which, you could easily learn to be false by going to those in the right fora with panels of experts. If I were to attempt an outline answer here, it would just reward toxic distraction, throw a rhetorical stink bomb and see they have to scramble to explain their misogynistic, bronze age tribal war god. Meanwhile the real issue and its balance on the merits will be conveniently forgotten.

    That is priority and we turn to what you wish to avoid.

    Even, this much, is already distractive and has a chilling effect: oh you ignoramuses, stupid, insane or wicked Christofascist oppressive theocrats — we know the misanthropic cultural marxist tactics all too well and they are now pervasive — better shut up or we will pounce on you.

    Okay, it is cognitive dissonance, confession by projection time.

    Mirror principle.

    All that you have managed to do is show that you want to distract toxically as you have no good answer on merits to central but unwelcome issues on the table. So, why, what does this reflect that triggers patent cognitive dissonance relieved by projection to the other?

    Meanwhile, also, by implicitly appealing to duties to fairness, justice etc you imply the branch on which we all sit nature of first duties and values of reason. That is, you actually imply their self evident, pervasive, first principles character. Which is a positive achievement, we see axioms of moral government of rational responsible freedom that anchor both ethics and government and law as founded on objective, knowable first duties.

    So, why the toxic tactics and evasion of accountability?

    Fundamentally, many find the idea of intelligible, pervasive, self evident first duties unacceptable. They do not fit their favoured crooked yardsticks. So, the better path is to recognise that what is straight, accurate and upright cannot ever conform to the crooked, so we had better calibrate our yardsticks against what is naturally straight and upright. That brings us to plumb line self evident first principles, here, the first duties.

    So, it would be advisable to attend to these rather than resist them.

    AS,

    You are correct in your summary.

    However, if there is insistence on clinging to crooked yardsticks, then there is no basis for positive, responsible resolution. This is the implicit misanthropy and invitation to nihilism in what we are seeing. In the end, it comes down to going over a cliff and then having a broken backed, stalemate of mutual exhaustion, trench warfare fight.

    That is a road to ruin.

    KF

  374. 374
    Silver Asiatic says:

    JVL

    Are the references a fair representation of those Biblical passages? If yes then why can’t they be used as discussion points?

    We’ve been talking about the objective moral law. That topic is independent of what the Bible says or what the Koran or any religious text says. The objective moral law points to a source for that law which cannot be from individual humans or even a group of humans. We are all subject to it. Our conscience hurts us when we break the moral law. This is relevant for atheists and Christians and Muslims – and everyone. So, we can discuss that.
    However, jumping over to God’s revelation through the Bible is a wildly different subject.

    So, you won’t discuss difficult/embarrassing Biblical passages unless the questioner first professes respect for the idea that God exists?

    Every passage in the Bible is “difficult/embarrassing” in a discussion with a person who denies that God even exists. A prophet prays to God. Why is he praying to an imaginary being? The psalm praises the goodness of God. Why praise something that does not exist? A miracle occurred. Why is the Bible expecting us to believe a lie and delusion? God tells the people to worship in a special day, once a week. Why would people follow a command from an imaginary being?
    So, yes – there’s very little in the Bible you can discuss if you don’t believe God exists. All you have to do is ask those questions I posed. For the atheist, God is some kind of imaginary concept. It’s like asking “What would Alice in Wonderland do if she came to London tomorrow? What restaurant would she visit?” She’s an imaginary character. We can’t talk about what she would do since she lives only in the book. We could imagine some things, but with God, we are talking about the supreme Being who is real, living and active today. The Bible will make no sense at all unless you start with that.

    I don’t understand why you can’t discuss applications of your moral standard without that? What difference would that make?

    The difference is that God has revealed Himself over time and has issued commands.
    Some of those commands are basics of the objective moral law: Thou shalt not kill. Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not bear false witness.
    Those are universal. We don’t need the Bible to tell us those are wrong. People in all cultures and religions, and even atheists know those things are wrong (atheists think they have created the moral laws themselves though, and that is incorrect).
    However, God also made commands specific to the Jewish people, for a specific reason – for the time and place for those people. Those are not universal moral norms.
    God also revealed Himself in the person of Jesus, as humanity matured and developed in the moral code that was given to the Jews.
    God made the world so human beings can learn and improve, generation to generation. So, the guidance God gives us can also be adjusted somewhat – certain norms are appropriate for a time, for a reason. Those would not be part of the objective moral norms, but what we would consider “disciplinary laws” meant for a group of people.
    For example, as the Israelites were in the desert, God gave them the command that they had to only collect as much manna as they needed for one day. That was a specific “disciplinary norm” for that group of people in that place and time.

  375. 375
    Silver Asiatic says:

    AS

    IF you really want to learn about the Bible and how it relates to Christianity, there are plenty of resources out there, that someone can point you to.

    True. As we know also, the Christians on this blog would have different ideas of the best sources for that – so it’s complex.
    But I noticed also that JVL took time to watch a video about evidence for the resurrection and he praised it for helping his understanding (it was not just an attack on belief in the resurrection).
    So, I believe JVL is sincerely looking at evidence and personally evaluating it.
    Sometimes he comes across as attacking – maybe he’s just frustrated at times.
    But I think it will be worth our time to listen to what he is saying, and be patient – do our best to avoid trading nasty-for-nasty.
    In my experience with him – I think JVL is quite different from the atheists I have seen so often over 15 years of debate. He actually takes in the points and lets them simmer inside. He’s not going to just change everything – that takes time for all of us.
    But if we can help him with good answers, I think its worth it.

  376. 376
    JVL says:

    Silver Asiatic: We’ve been talking about the objective moral law. That topic is independent of what the Bible says or what the Koran or any religious text says. The objective moral law points to a source for that law which cannot be from individual humans or even a group of humans. We are all subject to it. Our conscience hurts us when we break the moral law. This is relevant for atheists and Christians and Muslims – and everyone. So, we can discuss that.
    However, jumping over to God’s revelation through the Bible is a wildly different subject.

    Okay. I think. I mean I am happy supposing that what is revealed and discussed in the Bible may not be the same as the core objective moral standard.

    Every passage in the Bible is “difficult/embarrassing” in a discussion with a person who denies that God even exists. A prophet prays to God. Why is he praying to an imaginary being? The psalm praises the goodness of God. Why praise something that does not exist? A miracle occurred. Why is the Bible expecting us to believe a lie and delusion? God tells the people to worship in a special day, once a week. Why would people follow a command from an imaginary being?

    My comments were about the morality of the passages quoted not their source.

    So, yes – there’s very little in the Bible you can discuss if you don’t believe God exists. All you have to do is ask those questions I posed. For the atheist, God is some kind of imaginary concept. It’s like asking “What would Alice in Wonderland do if she came to London tomorrow? What restaurant would she visit?” She’s an imaginary character. We can’t talk about what she would do since she lives only in the book. We could imagine some things, but with God, we are talking about the supreme Being who is real, living and active today. The Bible will make no sense at all unless you start with that.

    You seem to be distancing yourself and your discussion from the issues raised in the passages I referenced. I’m not sure why you are doing that or why you cannot address those moral statements. But I’ll keep listening.

    Some of those commands are basics of the objective moral law: Thou shalt not kill. Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not bear false witness.
    Those are universal. We don’t need the Bible to tell us those are wrong. People in all cultures and religions, and even atheists know those things are wrong (atheists think they have created the moral laws themselves though, and that is incorrect).
    However, God also made commands specific to the Jewish people, for a specific reason – for the time and place for those people. Those are not universal moral norms.

    Right, okay. So how do you decide which are specific and which are universal?

    I see modern society having trouble dealing with certain moral issues partially because they are complicated and partially because there are widely divergent views on those issues. I’m interested in finding a way through the morass and disagreement; a way forward. I think that means everyone listening to everyone else AND everyone being clear and explicit in what they believe and thinks is essential.

    So I’m asking questions about your beliefs and moral standard.

    Is there some point when you will be specific as to how you view some of the moral issues I have highlighted? You know you will never get everyone to accept some of your theological axioms so you really should consider how to move forward aside from that requirement. Personally, I’d like to accommodate your views as much as possible but you seem determined to avoid specifying them. Although, you were specific about same-sex marriage as I recall; very specific in fact. And that was helpful, to me, meaning that I got a better appreciation for your own personal view.

    Perhaps we should be even more general: how would you propose a multi-cultural, multi-faith society like the US proceed when considering issues like same-sex marriage or abortion or trans rights? Meaning what procedures and legal pathways should be followed. A decision will have to be reached for all those at some point, how do you think it should be arrived at?

  377. 377
    Silver Asiatic says:

    JVL

    My comments were about the morality of the passages quoted not their source.

    But the source of the moral norms is extremely important. Moral norms come with authority. Do they bind the person to a responsibility in some way? If morals are subjective, as the atheist view would have it, then that’s a very weak authority. I would not be required to follow the moral norms created by another person, unless that person forced me to do it somehow. Even then, there would be little real requirement.
    If, however, I knew that the moral norms came from God, then that’s an infinitely higher authority. So, what God directed me to do would come with a greater responsibility and meaning.

    So how do you decide which are specific and which are universal?

    There are some ways to sort them out.
    First, we could determine of the moral situation was attached to specific, changeable aspects. Is the norm something that could apply to people in any time period and any cultural situation? If so, then it’s probably a universal norm. If the moral directive is specific to a particular kind of government or a social situation that only exists in one place and time – then it’s not universal.
    Is it part of the universal moral law to say that it is immoral to park in a handicapped zone when you are not handicapped? No, that wouldn’t be part of the objective moral law because it references cars and parking regulations – those are time-bound and arbitrary.
    The root of that question: Is it immoral to deliberately deprive a needy person of the help they may need to live better — that is something that applies universally, and yes that would be an objective moral norm. We should not deliberately harm those who are in need of care.

    I see modern society having trouble dealing with certain moral issues partially because they are complicated and partially because there are widely divergent views on those issues.

    I agree.

    I’m interested in finding a way through the morass and disagreement; a way forward. I think that means everyone listening to everyone else AND everyone being clear and explicit in what they believe and thinks is essential.

    Well, you’re beginning with some moral demands on people and I believe you will encounter opposition right from the start. Very many people do not want to be clear about their moral positions and others do not want to listen. So, it’s important to give reasons why you think people should or even must do those things – and your reasons have to be convincing. If you merely say, “You should do it because I, JVL, have said you should do it” – people will not see that as a good reason. Again, morality is a function of authority.

    Is there some point when you will be specific as to how you view some of the moral issues I have highlighted?

    Yes, if I could see a good reason to do that, but as it stands now – this blog is not a place for me to promote my own religious and moral ideas. I offer a little of that for some personal insight, but something like the objective moral law is more relevant to ID.

    Personally, I’d like to accommodate your views as much as possible but you seem determined to avoid specifying them.

    I appreciate that, JVL but I want to try to stay close to the topic of this blog – which is ID. I can’t use this place to promote my own religion. It’s like joining the wine-connoisseur’s club and wanting to argue about who has the best football team. Both are good topics but they have their own special places for that.

    Perhaps we should be even more general: how would you propose a multi-cultural, multi-faith society like the US proceed when considering issues like same-sex marriage or abortion or trans rights? Meaning what procedures and legal pathways should be followed. A decision will have to be reached for all those at some point, how do you think it should be arrived at?

    Right now it is a conflict which is increasing and may even result in more violence. I don’t think that is a good thing.
    But your question remains, how do we reconcile competing worldviews?
    As I see it, we have to try to be open to the truth about things and then engage in honest discussion so we have a chance to find the actual truth of the matter. If we think we know the truth, we need to try to convince people, until unless we are proven wrong.
    Yes, I fully agree that we should listen to each other and I am glad you stress the importance of that.
    If we don’t understand an opposing argument, we should ask questions for clarification. If we know something is wrong, we should try to correct it.
    If there are matters where we lack knowledge, we should study and learn and ask from people who know more than we do.

  378. 378
    JVL says:

    Silver Asiatic: The root of that question: Is it immoral to deliberately deprive a needy person of the help they may need to live better — that is something that applies universally, and yes that would be an objective moral norm. We should not deliberately harm those who are in need of care.

    A good example, thank you.

    I appreciate that, JVL but I want to try to stay close to the topic of this blog – which is ID. I can’t use this place to promote my own religion. It’s like joining the wine-connoisseur’s club and wanting to argue about who has the best football team. Both are good topics but they have their own special places for that.

    Okay, nicely put.

    Yes, I fully agree that we should listen to each other and I am glad you stress the importance of that.
    If we don’t understand an opposing argument, we should ask questions for clarification. If we know something is wrong, we should try to correct it.
    If there are matters where we lack knowledge, we should study and learn and ask from people who know more than we do.

    All quite reasonable and clear. Thanks.

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