Intelligent Design

Subjectivists Need to Check Their Moral Privilege

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Many of our interlocutors here often complain about the lengthy comments KF often posts which frame the necessity of a cohesive and coherent worldview when it comes to moral views and arguments. With others, their arguments often hinge around the insistence that either morals simply are not objective in nature, or that there is no way to tell. Even when the logic shows how subjective morality fails to provide a sound basis for behavior or argument, and fails to differentiate any moral view from another, their mantra seems to be a big “so what?”

IOW, so what if their worldview is rationally inconsistent with their behavior? So what if ultimately subjective morality endorses any and all behavior as moral equivalents? That’s not how most people actually behave, they counter, so worrying about worse-case scenarios derived from subjective morality is a groundless concern, especially since believing in objective morality doesn’t appear to make people behave better. Most people, they argue, have similar enough conscience and empathy and other feelings so that if they just adhere to those, we can have a generally-agreed upon and workable moral system without worrying about whether or not it is objectively true.

One problem with this line of thought – especially for those who grew up in western countries – is that it fails to recognize how a “similar-enough” set of personal feelings about others in society has developed within the framework of a virtually universal belief in certain moral absolutes (inviolable rights). Moral relativists take for granted the impact of hundreds of years of post-Enlightement Christian moral objectivism upon our culture and society when they appeal to feelings baked into culture from hundreds of years of enlightened Christianity as their basis of morality.

IOW, their moral views and feelings (even those that superficially appear to contradict some formal Christian “sins”) are the very product of a culture based on and inextricably steeped in post-enlightenment Christian moral objectivism. Their moral relativism is a privileged position sitting atop, relying upon and operating through the very thing it says does not exist.

Even when the Western moral relativist mistakenly argues for an end to discrimination against transgenders, they are taking for granted that “discrimination” against a minority is “a bad thing” that “most people” would automatically “feel bad” about. They are using an Christian Enlightenment-generated set of moral absolutes entrenched in the citizenry to make an emotional case against what they mistakenly frame as “discrimination”, when anti-discrimination as a good thing itself is not something a relativist would probably have access to use outside of Western Christian Enlightenment. Just look around the world to find that out.

Yeah, it’s real easy to point at empathy and feelings when you can rely on most people around you to share similar feelings. Looking outside of the enlightened, western-civilization box, this isn’t something we find to be a universally-shared moral feeling, even if the precept of moral equality is one you can find from sages of all times and from all locations around the world. Around the world you have entire cultures that have no problem at all seeing women and children as inferior objects to be used and abused, seeing other tribes and cultures as something to be exterminated, beheading gays and mutilating people for small legal infractions. They have zero expectation of any moral equality or rights.

The Western objective-morality idea of an objective, god-given inviolable right to liberty and self-determination set the table for today’s western, post-modern moral relativists; how convenient for them when they offer up a big fat “so what” in arguments showing the logical soundness of objective morality and the principles that came from the Enlightenment. They don’t have to account for their moral perspective and tender sensibilities as long as they ignore where they are drawing them from and what has protected their feelings from the brutality of other social mores in other other places in the world.

Moral subjectivists need to check their moral privilege. If they’re going to dismiss the enlightened Christian natural law objective morality basis, they have no right to take for granted the “feelings” and “conscience” and “empathy” it has generated for them to rely on in their arguments supporting moral relativism.  Every time they claim someone has a right or that they should have some liberty, they are intellectually freeloading on hundreds of years of moral objectivism and enlightened Christian views permeating the society they grew up in.

520 Replies to “Subjectivists Need to Check Their Moral Privilege

  1. 1
    Mung says:

    It never ceases to amaze me how these folks often express moral indignation, as if they ought to be taken seriously when doing so and that everyone else ought to agree with them.

    God forbid that anyone hold a view they think is wrong.

    What on earth is up with that!?

  2. 2
    Mung says:

    What exactly would it mean to empathize with Hitler, Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot? And why ought anyone do so?

  3. 3
    clown fish says:

    WJM: “Even when the logic shows how subjective morality fails to provide a sound basis for behavior or argument, and fails to differentiate any moral view from another, their mantra seems to be a big “so what?””

    You repeatedly make this assertion, completely ignoring every argument made to the contrary and all of the evidence around you. Humans live in communities and we have the ability to think critically and rationally. And, more importantly, we have the ability to fairly accurately predict the consequences of our actions. These facts alone are sufficient to explain how we, as individuals, arrive at rules to live by (morals, if you prefer) without having to raise the spectre of externally directed objective morals.

    But, I don’t expect to convince you or KairosFocus of the obvious. KF will simply resort to his ill-supported IS OUGHT fallacy, as if capitalizing the words make them any more valid.

  4. 4
    Mung says:

    You repeatedly make this assertion, completely ignoring every argument made to the contrary and all of the evidence around you.

    So? Is that wrong? What is the objective ought which he has violated?

  5. 5
    Mung says:

    Humans live in communities and we have the ability to think critically and rationally. And, more importantly, we have the ability to fairly accurately predict the consequences of our actions.

    So? What objective moral obligation follows from this? Is there some objective moral ought that says we ought to think critically and rationally just because we can?

    Talk about an is-ought fallacy.

  6. 6
    Mung says:

    But, I don’t expect to convince you or KairosFocus of the obvious.

    So? Do you just not see your implied moral ought? Because I can see it, even if you can’t.

  7. 7
    clown fish says:

    Mung: “So? Is that wrong? What is the objective ought which he has violated?”

    None. Just stating an observation. There is no moral ought, objective or otherwise, that requires someone to follow the evidence.

    So? What objective moral obligation follows from this?”

    None. Who said there are any objective moral obligations?

    Is there some objective moral ought that says we ought to think critically and rationally just because we can?”

    No. What is it about there being no objective moral obligations don’t you understand?

    So? Do you just not see your implied moral ought?”

    No. I think of it as more of a desire, a wish.

  8. 8
    Mung says:

    There is no moral ought, objective or otherwise, that requires someone to follow the evidence.

    I note the implied moral ought, that people ought to follow the evidence.

    Who said there are any objective moral obligations?

    It was implied.

    What is it about there being no objective moral obligations don’t you understand?

    The part where you say one thing but imply another.

    Why do you think I ought to understand that there are no objective moral obligations?

    I think of it as more of a desire, a wish.

    Got it. You think people ought to conform themselves to your wishes.

  9. 9
    Mung says:

    I’d like to thank clown fish for making the point of the OP for all to see.

  10. 10
    clown fish says:

    Mung: “Got it. You think people ought to conform themselves to your wishes.”

    Don’t we all? That doesn’t make my “wishes” or yours objective. I think people “ought” to accept the extension of legal protection to transgendered. I think people “ought” to accept same sex marriage. I think people “ought” to accept the legalization of Doctor assisted suicide. I suspect that you think otherwise. Your “oughts” are no more objectively grounded than mine are. I am comfortable with that.

  11. 11
    Aleta says:

    I agree with all three of the “oughts” stated by Clown Fish, and his additional points.

  12. 12
    Mung says:

    clown fish:
    Your “oughts” are no more objectively grounded than mine are. I am comfortable with that.

    Another implicit ought that manages, somehow, to utterly miss the point.

    What are the “oughts” that you think are mine and why do your think they ought to be objective?

    In case it has managed to escape your attention up to this point, my claim is that you seem incapable of making statements that do not consist of moral judgments that you think others ought to abide by, despite your claim that there are no such moral standards that accord with what you assert to be moral standards.

    Perhaps if you began every statement with an “I wish” and then proceeded to explain why anyone else should care what you wish for, as if anything you wish for is morally binding on anyone else.

  13. 13
    Mung says:

    Aleta: I agree with all three of the “oughts” stated by Clown Fish, and his additional points.

    You wish that …

    And if wishes were horses…

    Why ought anyone else submit to your wishes?

  14. 14
    Mung says:

    Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, etc.

    Where’s the empathy?

  15. 15
    clown fish says:

    Mung: “n case it has managed to escape your attention up to this point, my claim is that you seem incapable of making statements that do not consist of moral judgments that you think others ought to abide by, despite your claim that there are no such moral standards that accord with what you assert to be moral standards.”

    Where did I say that I couldn’t make moral judgments? Where did I say that I didn’t have moral standards?

    Perhaps if you began every statement with an “I wish” and then proceeded to explain why anyone else should care what you wish for, as if anything you wish for is morally binding on anyone else.”

    Nothing anybody says is morally binding on anybody else. I could explain to someone why I think that they should not kill, or steal, or lie, but whether they heed my advice will depend on what moral standards they have already established for themselves and how deeply held they are.

  16. 16
    Eugen says:

    ClownFish, The Story

    “I wish”

    There was a clown who wished to become a fish. Fairy showed up , she waved the little stick and *plink* : ClownFish!

    ( I apologize to moderators if this is inappropriate but I don’t know what to say to atheists anymore about this issue)

  17. 17
    Mung says:

    clown fish:
    Where did I say that I couldn’t make moral judgments? Where did I say that I didn’t have moral standards?

    Do you think it helps your case when you misrepresent what I actually wrote? Your posts drip with moral oughts. That was my claim and now we have your assent. But your claims lack any element of objectivity. You agree with this. Right?

    Your “wishes” are not morally binding on anyone and lack any element of being objective claims about morality.

    Your implied position that you have somehow been wronged by something I wrote is yet another example of your illogical and incoherent position.

    I ought not have done what I did because …

  18. 18
    vividbleau says:

    Clown

    How does one get an ought from a wish, do we wish it?

    Vivid

  19. 19
    vividbleau says:

    Aleta RE 11

    We ought to do whatever it is you and Clown wish….got it.

    Vivid

  20. 20

    Every time CF or Aleta say that in their opinion X is right and people should do or support X, they are making statements they would only make, and which only make sense, and which only carry any significant value if they are made in the context of a social structure based on presumed objective moral values. When they qualify such statements as being their “wish” or “personal opinion”, the statement still relies upon the assumption of objective morality and their qualification that it is opinion or a personal wish makes no sense.

    This can be easily understood simply by replacing X with any non-moral commodity that is a matter of personal, subjective preference, like favorite foods or styles of clothes. If we are ordering food in a restaurant, does it make sense to say “I think everyone should avoid the lobster because I don’t like lobster”? Or, “I think everyone should eat the chicken-fried steak because I love chicken-fried steak”? Does it make sense to say “You should avoid wearing jeans because I don’t like to wear jeans”? Does it make sense to pass a law where everyone must eat lobster, or nobody can wear jeans, simply because of one’s personal preferences?

    We immediately recognize these as nonsensical statements because they treat what we universally recognize as subjective personal preferences as if a personal preference in fact translates into what other people should do for no reason other than it is what we personally prefer for ourselves.

    When CF or Aleta say “all people should do X” and others call them out for the conflict such a claim has with moral subjectivism, they retreat to explanations such as “it’s just my opinon or a personal wish” in an attempt to avoid the implication of objective morality. But couched in personal subjectivism where it belongs, the statement makes no sense whatsoever and phrases their personal preference in a way they would never phrase any other personal preference.

    It makes no sense to say that X is just one’s personal preference AND that everyone else should also have that same personal preference because it contradicts the nature of what personal preferences are accepted as; that people should do whatever they personally prefer in matters that are about subjective personal preference. IOW, for all other matters of personal preference, we agree that if a person prefers the lobster, they should eat it. If they prefer jeans, they should wear them. Only an egomaniacal narcissist would think it is acceptable to try to make others to adopt their personal preferencess under force of law.

    Aleta and CF, I’m sure, would champion the individual freedom of choosing one’s personal preference and would be against anyone or any group imposing anything that is a matter of subjective personal preference on others. In fact they are here making the self-contradictory “argument” that others should do what Aleta or CF think they should because people should pay attention to their subjective moral oughts. Morality, they claim, is a matter of doing what each person subjectively prefers, but here they are advocating that instead of doing what we – others – prefer, we should do what CF and Aleta prefer – under force of law, if necessary.

    Self-contradictory, hypocritical, narcissistic, and egomaniacal.

    Yet, in an attempt to avoid the objective moral value of their words when they say others “should” do X, this is exactly the nonsense they have endorsed. They say things like “others should do X” which only make sense in the context of moral objectivism, then attempt to have it both ways via disclaimers that turn their statements into laughable nonsense only an egomaniacal narcissist would say about personal, subjective preferences.

  21. 21

    Moral objectivism = people ought behave according to objective standards.

    Moral subjectivism = people ought behave the way they personally prefer.

    Egomaniacal narcissism = people ought behave the way I personally prefer.

  22. 22
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: First, let me point to the focal argument, and clip the material part about the objectivity of morals by way of a list of a dozen or so self evident moral truths first put up by way of elaborating what is in the Locke cite of Hooker and in the 2nd paragraph of the US DoI, 1776 (and behind it, in Paul, Jesus and Moshe).

    Yes, this is “long” but I am sure the reasonable person will not do a TL;DR dismissal, understanding that when 07 challenged us to identify ten self evident moral truths and tried to rhetorically drumbeat away that we could not, there was need to both list and give a modicum of explanation as to why the attempted denial lands one in patent absurdity.

    Where, it is to be noted that 07 has been conspicuously absent since the answer was given.

    Where also, obviously, the foundational issue of moral truth that is able to be warranted above and beyond opinions backed up by force of might and manipulation — the nihilist’s credo — is prior to the questions of any day. And, where it is precisely because the civilisation will not put such first things first that we are in the sorry state of double, opposed slippery slopes wedging apart and heading for a collision with hard reality that we are in.

    Oh yes, BTW, in a world where the parable of the Good Samaritan had to be taught, it should be obvious that we cannot count on general empathy to carry the day in grounding OUGHT, moral governance. And, despite the dismissals on the sin of capitalisation etc, the IS-OUGHT gap is real, and points to the question as to whether OUGHT is objective . . . credibly accurately pointing to and grounded in reality (the IS); thence the onward one that as if it is not general delusion is let loose undermining the life of the mind, then it must be properly grounded somehow. Where (after Hume’s guillotine) the root of reality is the only place where an IS can be to ground OUGHT.

    So, I clip:

    normally responsive people will at least grudgingly respect the following summary of such core, conscience attested morality from the pen of Paul:

    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 . . . .

    Rom 13:8 Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong [NIV, “harm”] to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. [ESV]

    Where, John Locke, in grounding modern liberty and what would become democratic self-government of a free people premised on upholding the civil peace of justice, in Ch 2 Sec. 5 of his second treatise on civil Government [c. 1690] cites “the judicious [Anglican canon, Richard] Hooker” from his classic Ecclesiastical Polity of 1594 on, as he explains how the principles of neighbour-love are inscribed in our hearts, becoming evident to the eye of common good sense and reasonableness:

    . . . if I cannot but wish to receive good, even as much at every man’s hands, as any man can wish unto his own soul, how should I look to have any part of my desire herein satisfied, unless myself be careful to satisfy the like desire which is undoubtedly in other men . . . my desire, therefore, to be loved of my equals in Nature, as much as possible may be, imposeth upon me a natural duty of bearing to themward fully the like affection. From which relation of equality between ourselves and them that are as ourselves, what several rules and canons natural reason hath drawn for direction of life no man is ignorant . . . [Hooker then continues, citing Aristotle in The Nicomachean Ethics, Bk 8 and alluding to Justinian’s synthesis of Roman Law in Corpus Juris Civilis that also brings these same thoughts to bear:] as namely, That because we would take no harm, we must therefore do none; That since we would not be in any thing extremely dealt with, we must ourselves avoid all extremity in our dealings; That from all violence and wrong we are utterly to abstain, with such-like . . . ] [Eccl. Polity,preface, Bk I, “ch.” 8, p.80, cf. here. Emphasis added.]

    We may elaborate on Paul, Locke, Hooker and Aristotle, laying out several manifestly evident and historically widely acknowledged core moral principles for which the attempted denial is instantly and patently absurd for most people — that is, they are arguably self-evident moral truths. For instance:

    1] The first self evident moral truth is that we are inescapably under the government of ought.

    (This is manifest in even an objector’s implication in the questions, challenges and arguments that s/he would advance, that we are in the wrong and there is something to be avoided about that. That is, even the objector inadvertently implies that we OUGHT to do, think, aim for and say the right. Not even the hyperskeptical objector can escape this truth. Patent absurdity on attempted denial. [–> WJM and others have deftly used this, above])

    2] Second self evident truth, we discern that some things are right and others are wrong by a compass-sense we term conscience which guides our thought. (Again, objectors depend on a sense of guilt/ urgency to be right not wrong on our part to give their points persuasive force. See what would be undermined should conscience be deadened or dismissed universally? Sawing off the branch on which we all must sit. [–> again, manifest in the above])

    3] Third, were this sense of conscience and linked sense that we can make responsibly free, rational decisions to be a delusion, we would at once descend into a status of grand delusion in which there is no good ground for confidence in our self-understanding. That is, we look at an infinite regress of Plato’s cave worlds: once such a principle of grand global delusion is injected, there is no firewall so the perception of level one delusion is subject to the same issue, and this level two perception too, ad infinitum; landing in patent absurdity. [–> implicit above]

    4] Fourth, we are objectively under obligation of OUGHT. That is, despite any particular person’s (or group’s or august council’s or majority’s) wishes or claims to the contrary, such obligation credibly holds to moral certainty. That is, it would be irresponsible, foolish and unwise for us to act and try to live otherwise. [–> notice how the objectors cannot twist off the hook]

    5] Fifth, this cumulative framework of moral government under OUGHT is the basis for the manifest core principles of the natural moral law under which we find ourselves obligated to the right the good, the true etc. Where also, patently, we struggle to live up to what we acknowledge or imply we ought to do.

    6] Sixth, this means we live in a world in which being under core, generally understood principles of natural moral law is coherent and factually adequate, thus calling for a world in which OUGHT is properly grounded at root level. (Thus worldviews that can soundly meet this test are the only truly viable ones. if a worldview does not have in it a world-root level IS that can simultaneously ground OUGHT, it fails decisively.*)

    7] Seventh, in light of the above, even the weakest and most voiceless of us thus has a natural right to life, liberty, the pursuit of fulfillment of one’s sense of what s/he ought to be (“happiness”). This includes the young child, the unborn and more. (We see here the concept that rights are binding moral expectations of others to provide respect in regards to us because of our inherent status as human beings, members of the community of valuable neighbours. Where also who is my neighbour was forever answered by the parable of the Good Samaritan. Likewise, there can be no right to demand of or compel my neighbour that s/he upholds me and enables me in the wrong — including under false colour of law through lawfare. To justly claim a right, one must first be in the right. [–> the pivotal issue with an agenda bearing a long list of novel “rights” that arguably do try to impose upholding and enabling of evil under false colour of law])

    8] Eighth, like unto the seventh, such may only be circumscribed or limited for good cause. Such as, reciprocal obligation to cherish and not harm neighbour of equal, equally valuable nature in community and in the wider world of the common brotherhood of humanity. [–> in short, reciprocity among equals in worth, social coherence of rights and duties, leading to the civil peace of justice that duly balances rights, freedoms and responsibilities]

    9] Ninth, this is the context in which it becomes self evidently wrong, wicked and evil to kidnap, sexually torture and murder a young child or the like as concrete cases in point that show that might and/or manipulation do not make ‘right,’ ‘truth,’ ‘worth,’ ‘justice,’ ‘fairness,’ ‘law’ etc. That is, anything that expresses or implies the nihilist’s credo is morally absurd.

    10] Tenth, this entails that in civil society with government, justice is a principal task of legitimate government. Thus also,

    11] Eleventh, that government is and ought to be subject to audit, reformation and if necessary replacement should it fail sufficiently badly and incorrigibly.

    12] Twelfth, the attempt to deny or dismiss such a general framework of moral governance invariably lands in shipwreck of incoherence and absurdity. But that does not mean that the attempt is not going to be made, so there is a mutual obligation of frank and fair correction and restraint of evil.
    _________________

    * F/N: After centuries of debates and assessment of alternatives per comparative difficulties, there is in fact just one serious candidate to be such a grounding IS: the inherently good creator God, a necessary and maximally great being worthy of ultimate loyalty and the reasonable responsible service of doing the good in accord with our manifestly evident nature. (And instantly, such generic ethical theism answers also to the accusation oh this is “religion”; that term being used as a dirty word — no, this is philosophy. If you doubt this, simply put forth a different candidate that meets the required criteria and passes the comparative difficulties test: _________ . Likewise, an inherently good, maximally great being will not be arbitrary or deceitful etc, that is why such is fully worthy of ultimate loyalty and the reasonable, responsible service of doing the good in accord with our manifestly evident nature. As a serious candidate necessary being, such would be eternal and embedded in the frame for a world to exist at all. Thus such a candidate is either impossible as a square circle is impossible due to mutual ruin of core characteristics, or else it is actual. For simple instance no world is possible without two-ness in it, a necessary basis for distinct identity inter alia.

    Let us see if at length 07 or CF or Aleta or another will respond cogently on the matter.

    KF

  23. 23
    kairosfocus says:

    CF:

    I think I need to respond point by point to you in 3 above:

    WJM: “Even when the logic shows how subjective morality fails to provide a sound basis for behavior or argument, and fails to differentiate any moral view from another, their mantra seems to be a big “so what?””

    [CF:] You repeatedly make this assertion, completely ignoring every argument made to the contrary and all of the evidence around you. Humans live in communities and we have the ability to think critically and rationally. And, more importantly, we have the ability to fairly accurately predict the consequences of our actions. These facts alone are sufficient to explain how we, as individuals, arrive at rules to live by (morals, if you prefer) without having to raise the spectre of externally directed objective morals.

    But, I don’t expect to convince you or KairosFocus of the obvious. KF will simply resort to his ill-supported IS OUGHT fallacy, as if capitalizing the words make them any more valid.

    Let’s see, on points:

    >>WJM: “Even when the logic shows how subjective morality fails to provide a sound basis for behavior or argument, and fails to differentiate any moral view from another, their mantra seems to be a big “so what?””>>

    1 –> thus revealing the underlying nihilism. Namely, might and manipulation make ‘right’ ‘truth’ etc, and that’s that.

    2 –> Already, a grim warning that there is a serious so what at stake: nihilism.

    >>[CF:] You repeatedly make this assertion, completely ignoring every argument made to the contrary and all of the evidence around you.>>

    3 –> Au contraire, the evidence shows that we are inescapably under moral government as even the subtle implication of your own words that WJM is in the wrong and should change, entails.

    >> Humans live in communities and we have the ability to think critically and rationally.>>

    4 –> Which rationality is exactly what is in the stakes.

    5 –> Our sense of being under OUGHT pervades all of our dealings with one another and our own inner thought life. If this is instead what Ruse and Wilson say, an illusion, then grand delusion has been let loose across our life of mindedness without firewalls.

    6 –> R & W as just one example:

    The time has come to take seriously the fact [[–> This is a gross error at the outset, as macro-evolution is a theory (an explanation) about the unobserved past of origins and so cannot be a fact on the level of the observed roundness of the earth or the orbiting of planets around the sun etc.] that we humans are modified monkeys, not the favored Creation of a Benevolent God on the Sixth Day . . . We must think again especially about our so-called ‘ethical principles.’ The question is not whether biology—specifically, our evolution—is connected with ethics, but how. As evolutionists, we see that no justification of the traditional kind is possible. Morality, or more strictly our belief in morality, is merely an adaptation put in place to further our reproductive ends. Hence the basis of ethics does not lie in God’s will … In an important sense, ethics as we understand it is an illusion fobbed off on us by our genes to get us to cooperate. It is without external grounding… Ethics is illusory inasmuch as it persuades us that it has an objective reference. This is the crux of the biological position. Once it is grasped, everything falls into place.

    [Michael Ruse & E. O. Wilson, “The Evolution of Ethics,” Religion and the Natural Sciences: The Range of Engagement, , ed. J. E. Hutchingson, Orlando, Fl.:Harcourt and Brace, 1991.]

    >> And, more importantly, we have the ability to fairly accurately predict the consequences of our actions.>>

    7 –> This only means that we then are able to decide which consequences we OUGHT to follow, it has not escaped the force of OUGHT nor does it found it.

    8 –> in fact, it presumes it, i.e. this is a case of question begging circularity.

    >> These facts alone are sufficient to explain how we, as individuals, arrive at rules to live by (morals, if you prefer)>>

    9 –> Nope, it begs the question. Unless the actual implication is, oh If I do X then I face effective retaliation so let me do Y instead.

    10 –> This is of course the nihilist credo in action.

    >> without having to raise the spectre of externally directed objective morals.>>

    11 –> A revelation of worldview level motivation.

    12 –> The subjectivity of morals is asserted in order to escape being under external direction. Under moral government.

    13 –> Missing, that objectivity is first a question of truth independent of particular opinion, not of the imposition of an inferred overbearing power that is oh so patently resented.

    14 –> Further missing, the concept that moral government is intelligible, can be discerned in key part on self evident first principles, and that the path of virtue can be freely and rationally and responsibly chosen: our reasonable service.

    15 –> Spectres are feared, often irrationally as they do not exist in reality. This is implied [with a further implied dismissive brush-off], not justified.

    >>But, I don’t expect to convince you or KairosFocus of the obvious.>>

    16 –> On evidence, your obvious is in fact question-begging and implies both incoherence and nihilism in multiple ways.

    >> KF will simply resort to his ill-supported IS OUGHT fallacy, as if capitalizing the words make them any more valid.>>

    17 –> First, you project a strawman caricature; nowhere have I argued or implied that capitalisation to draw attention to key terms confers logical cogency.

    (But obviously it does succeed in drawing attention to points that you find it necessary to strawmannise to dismiss, inadvertently revealing that they have more force than you are wont to credit.)

    18 –> Next, you imply that either you have an adequate answer to the IS-OUGHT gap, or else that there is no credible answer, i.e. it is a non-problem.

    19 –> You have met neither condition, and in fact the gap is a well known foundational issue in ethics, the critical study of morality. Here is Hume’s Guillotine, a classic statement, 1739 in A Treatise of Human Nature:

    In every system of morality, which I have hitherto met with, I have always remarked, that the author proceeds for some time in the ordinary ways of reasoning, and establishes the being of a God, or makes observations concerning human affairs; when all of a sudden I am surprised to find, that instead of the usual copulations of propositions, is, and is not, I meet with no proposition that is not connected with an ought, or an ought not. This change is imperceptible; but is however, of the last consequence. For as this ought, or ought not, expresses some new relation or affirmation, ’tis necessary that it should be observed and explained; and at the same time that a reason should be given, for what seems altogether inconceivable, how this new relation can be a deduction from others, which are entirely different from it. But as authors do not commonly use this precaution, I shall presume to recommend it to the readers; and am persuaded, that this small attention would subvert all the vulgar systems of morality, and let us see, that the distinction of vice and virtue is not founded merely on the relations of objects, nor is perceived by reason.

    19 -> In other words, is and ought must be bridged and in the root of reality.

    20 –> That is the context in which I have repeatedly argued as seen above, in context:

    1] The first self evident moral truth is that we are inescapably under the government of ought.

    (This is manifest in even an objector’s implication in the questions, challenges and arguments that s/he would advance, that we are in the wrong and there is something to be avoided about that. That is, even the objector inadvertently implies that we OUGHT to do, think, aim for and say the right. Not even the hyperskeptical objector can escape this truth. Patent absurdity on attempted denial. [–> WJM and others have deftly used this, above])

    2] Second self evident truth, we discern that some things are right and others are wrong by a compass-sense we term conscience which guides our thought. (Again, objectors depend on a sense of guilt/ urgency to be right not wrong on our part to give their points persuasive force. See what would be undermined should conscience be deadened or dismissed universally? Sawing off the branch on which we all must sit. [–> again, manifest in the above])

    3] Third, were this sense of conscience and linked sense that we can make responsibly free, rational decisions to be a delusion, we would at once descend into a status of grand delusion in which there is no good ground for confidence in our self-understanding. That is, we look at an infinite regress of Plato’s cave worlds: once such a principle of grand global delusion is injected, there is no firewall so the perception of level one delusion is subject to the same issue, and this level two perception too, ad infinitum; landing in patent absurdity. [–> implicit above]

    4] Fourth, we are objectively under obligation of OUGHT. That is, despite any particular person’s (or group’s or august council’s or majority’s) wishes or claims to the contrary, such obligation credibly holds to moral certainty. That is, it would be irresponsible, foolish and unwise for us to act and try to live otherwise. [–> notice how the objectors cannot twist off the hook]

    5] Fifth, this cumulative framework of moral government under OUGHT is the basis for the manifest core principles of the natural moral law under which we find ourselves obligated to the right the good, the true etc. Where also, patently, we struggle to live up to what we acknowledge or imply we ought to do.

    6] Sixth, this means we live in a world in which being under core, generally understood principles of natural moral law is coherent and factually adequate, thus calling for a world in which OUGHT is properly grounded at root level. (Thus worldviews that can soundly meet this test are the only truly viable ones. if a worldview does not have in it a world-root level IS that can simultaneously ground OUGHT, it fails decisively.*) . . . .

    * F/N: After centuries of debates and assessment of alternatives per comparative difficulties, there is in fact just one serious candidate to be such a grounding IS: the inherently good creator God, a necessary and maximally great being worthy of ultimate loyalty and the reasonable responsible service of doing the good in accord with our manifestly evident nature. (And instantly, such generic ethical theism answers also to the accusation oh this is “religion”; that term being used as a dirty word — no, this is philosophy. If you doubt this, simply put forth a different candidate that meets the required criteria and passes the comparative difficulties test: _________ . Likewise, an inherently good, maximally great being will not be arbitrary or deceitful etc, that is why such is fully worthy of ultimate loyalty and the reasonable, responsible service of doing the good in accord with our manifestly evident nature. As a serious candidate necessary being, such would be eternal and embedded in the frame for a world to exist at all. Thus such a candidate is either impossible as a square circle is impossible due to mutual ruin of core characteristics, or else it is actual. For simple instance no world is possible without two-ness in it, a necessary basis for distinct identity inter alia.

    21 –> That is what is to be answered and the dismissive argument above patently fails to do so cogently.

    KF

  24. 24

    It is an amazement to me that anyone can, on the one hand, claim that morality is a matter of subjective, personal preference, and then say others ought have that same personal preference, and not realize the nonsensical, contradictory nature of that position. If morality (what one ought do) is subjective in nature, it necessarily means that what one ought do is what that individually personally prefers; to get them to behave, instead, the way you prefer via emotional pleading or force of law is by definition getting them to act immorally (against what they personally prefer).

    It’s clearly evident nobody here acts, talks or argues like a moral subjectivist, because moral subjectivists have nothing to argue about when it comes to morality because it would be like arguing that someone’s favorite artist is not their favorite artist. It’s a nonsensical argument to make.

    This really isn’t even that abstract. Logically, every time a moral subjectivist attempts to change the behavior of others they are attempting to get others to behave immorally (against that person’s subjective preference).

    However, as Mr. Arrington has pointed out repeatedly, these people suffer from a derangement syndrome where they are willing to defend the absurd and say nonsensical things to preserve their a worldview where morality must be subjective. It doesn’t matter if all sanity and logic and even common sense is thrown out the window: morality must be subjective in nature.

    The alternative leads to what is, for them, an unacceptable conclusion.

  25. 25
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Notice, the point I have argued is that ought goes down to the root of reality and is found there in the IS at that root. KF

  26. 26

    CF said:

    Humans live in communities and we have the ability to think critically and rationally. And, more importantly, we have the ability to fairly accurately predict the consequences of our actions.

    None of which describes how humans should use their abilities to think critically, rationally or predict consequences. Should they use those abilities and the fact that they live in a community to successfully prey on those weaker than he for his own benefit? Should he use those facts and abilities to help others who are not as fortunate and protect them from being used by others? The fact of living in a community and having rational, predictive capacity says nothing about what goal those facts and abilities should be used in pursuit of.

    These facts alone are sufficient to explain how we, as individuals, arrive at rules to live by (morals, if you prefer) without having to raise the spectre of externally directed objective morals.

    No, those facts alone cannot get you to what one ought do in any situation because those facts do not tell you what you ought do with them, which ones one ought pay attention to, nor do those facts tell you what goals one should use their rational capacity to pursue.

    But, I don’t expect to convince you or KairosFocus of the obvious. KF will simply resort to his ill-supported IS OUGHT fallacy, as if capitalizing the words make them any more valid.

    That you believe that a rational, critical assessment of facts will produce what one ought do demonstrates for all here the gaping hole in your worldview. It is probably just a blind spot that you cannot see yourself due to your unexamined moral privilege of having been raised in a society entirely structured according to enlightened Christian moral objectivism.

    One can use their reason and facts in pursuit of whatever goal they personally desire. Facts and reason do not by themselves produce any oughts because oughts are what facts and reason are used to support.

    You have your cart before your horse.

  27. 27
    clown fish says:

    Eugen: “( I apologize to moderators if this is inappropriate but I don’t know what to say to atheists.)”

    Perhaps provide real life examples that do not conform to the concept of subjective morals. Just a thought.

  28. 28

    CF asks:

    Perhaps provide real life examples that do not conform to the concept of subjective morals. Just a thought.

    Perhaps CF could tell us what example or evidence he would count towards a conclusion that morality is objective in nature instead of subjective?

    CF: can you point out any real life example that does not conform to the concept that everything I experience is a subjective delusion?

  29. 29
    clown fish says:

    Vividbleu: “How does one get an ought from a wish, do we wish it?”

    You are doing what most objectivists do. Equating a subjective morality to “wishes” as if they are somehow less grounded or less strongly held than what you consider to be objective morals. This is simply a lame debating tactic that any rational person can see through, on a par with calling someone a bigot or racist in order to detract from the actual argument.

    A subjectivists morals are grounded in learning, indoctrination, instinct, critical thinking, abstract thinking, the ability to predict consequences of actions, positive and negative feedback, community pressure and experience (I’m sure there are other factors that have slipped my mind). It is supported by all of recorded human history. What does objective morality have to support it? The fact that some people (usually theists) don’t like the idea and the discredited IS OUGHT nonsense.

    Whether you think morality is subjective or objective, the more strongly held the moral issue is (eg, not killing) the more strongly we think that others OUGHT to comply with our position on the issue.

  30. 30
    clown fish says:

    WJM: “None of which describes how humans should use their abilities to think critically, rationally or predict consequences.”

    It is not a case of “should”, it is a a case of “does” (pardon the grammar). It is the consequences of using these abilities, along with others, that contribute to the establishment of oh individual morality.

    Should they use those abilities and the fact that they live in a community to successfully prey on those weaker than he for his own benefit? “

    Some do. Just check out Wall Street and ambulance chasing lawyers. But that is not a sustainable strategy for everyone in a society to have.

    Should he use those facts and abilities to help others who are not as fortunate and protect them from being used by others?”

    And, in so doing, help themselves. I have paid into unemployment insurance for forty years and never collected a penny. All my money has gone into helping others. Should I stop paying into it?

    The fact of living in a community and having rational, predictive capacity says nothing about what goal those facts and abilities should be used in pursuit of.”

    We set those goals as individuals. For most, thankfully, the goal is to make life easier for us and our family. For some, it is just to make life easier for themselves. There are probably as many nuances to these goals as there are people.

  31. 31

    You are doing what most objectivists do. Equating a subjective morality to “wishes” as if they are somehow less grounded or less strongly held than what you consider to be objective morals. This is simply a lame debating tactic that any rational person can see through, on a par with calling someone a bigot or racist in order to detract from the actual argument.

    No, what is going on is that we are calling you out on you attempting to frame a subjective interactive commodity (morality) with value and descriptive attachments that you do not use for any other subjective interactive commodity (flavor, fashion, music, art). The “lame” aspect of the debate is you and others insisting on calling X subjective but acting and arguing as if X is objective.

    You don’t get a special case pass; morality is either subjective in nature and so is part and parcel of other “personal preference” interactive commodities and should be treated and worded as such, or it is part and parcel of the category of interactive commodities assumed to refer to objectively real things, and treated and worded as such.

    A subjectivists morals are grounded in learning, indoctrination, instinct, critical thinking, abstract thinking, the ability to predict consequences of actions, positive and negative feedback, community pressure and experience (I’m sure there are other factors that have slipped my mind).

    If you are saying that how one should act is according to their individual nature+nurture, why try to get others to behave otherwise? Aren’t they going to do that very thing regardless of any argument you make or law you pass anyway?

    It is supported by all of recorded human history.

    No, most all of human history supports the view that morality refers to an objective commodity because that is how most humans have understood and conceptualized morality and how everyone – even you – argues and acts anyway.

    What does objective morality have to support it?

    The existence of self-evident moral truths and the fact that every (other than sociopaths) must act and argue as if morality is objective anyway, even when they are argue and insist it is not. The logically consistent moral subjectivist doesn’t make moral arguments, nor does he/she try to get others to behave like they do. It’s nonsensical.

    The fact that some people (usually theists) don’t like the idea and the discredited IS OUGHT nonsense.

    You have yet to demonstrate how you can get an ought from an is without assuming the ought in the first place.

    Whether you think morality is subjective or objective, the more strongly held the moral issue is (eg, not killing) the more strongly we think that others OUGHT to comply with our position on the issue.

    Except that with all other subjective interactive commodities, it doesn’t matter how strongly we don’t like a thing, we are perfectly fine letting others enjoy that thing if it suits their tastes.

    Which is why your logic breaks down; how you act wrt morality is not how you act wrt any other presumed subjective commodity; how you act with morality is how you act with other presumed objective commodities.

  32. 32
    clown fish says:

    WJM: “Perhaps CF could tell us what example or evidence he would count towards a conclusion that morality is objective in nature instead of subjective?”

    Certainly a long history of civilizations all having the same moral standards would weight heavily in its favour. We’ll talk again when this happens.

    Can you point out any real life example that does not conform to the concept that everything I experience is a subjective delusion?”

    Nice debating tactic with the “subjective delusion” phrase. But, regardless of your lame rhetoric, I will answer honestly. The almost universal belief that people should not be killed comes the closest.

  33. 33

    CF said:

    It is not a case of “should”, it is a a case of “does” (pardon the grammar). It is the consequences of using these abilities, along with others, that contribute to the establishment of oh individual morality.

    Then you’re not talking about morality, which is entirely about oughts. IOW, for you morality is just a word that describes how humans behave, not how they ought to behave.

    IOW, under your moral subjectivism, humans do whatever they do, and the fact of that “doing” is what makes their actions “moral”. Which renders morality a useless term because it is self-validating; whatever one does, is moral by definition.

  34. 34

    CF said:

    Certainly a long history of civilizations all having the same moral standards would weight heavily in its favour. We’ll talk again when this happens.

    Can you give me an example of anything that has “a long history of civilizations all having the same” view or concept of it?

    The almost universal belief that people should not be killed comes the closest.

    How does that make the case that it is not part of my personal, subjective delusion?

  35. 35

    So, we can see CF’s explanations unraveling right before our eyes as he attempts to avoid the imprimatur of moral objectivism.

    He attempts to avoid the “oughts” required by morality by saying:

    It is not a case of “should”, it is a a case of “does” (pardon the grammar). It is the consequences of using these abilities, along with others, that contribute to the establishment of oh individual morality.

    However, previously he said:

    I think people “ought” to accept the extension of legal protection to transgendered. I think people “ought” to accept same sex marriage. I think people “ought” to accept the legalization of Doctor assisted suicide.

    Why should people “ought” accept things they do not, when CF has said that morality is simply what people do as a result of nature+nurture?

    If he was logically consistent, he would agree that regardless of what one thinks about any law, and regardless of how one treats others, they are morally right to do so because that is the result of their particular case of nature+nurture “doing”.

    Why would CF, as a logically-consistent moral subjectivist, try to talk people out of their current moral “do-ing”? They’re being perfectly moral, but yet CF says they “ought” do things differently.

    The absurdity here is both profound and troubling.

  36. 36
    Seversky says:

    William J Murray @ 24

    It is an amazement to me that anyone can, on the one hand, claim that morality is a matter of subjective, personal preference, and then say others ought have that same personal preference, and not realize the nonsensical, contradictory nature of that position. If morality (what one ought do) is subjective in nature, it necessarily means that what one ought do is what that individually personally prefers; to get them to behave, instead, the way you prefer via emotional pleading or force of law is by definition getting them to act immorally (against what they personally prefer).

    Sadly, I am not amazed you keep trotting out this same flawed argument time after time, in spite of the fact it has been answered effectively many times.

    Once more, the observable function of moral codes in human societies is to regulate the behavior of individual members towards one another. Why should that be? A lone human being is a weak and vulnerable creature but all have common interests. They need food, water, shelter and a relatively secure environment in which to live, grow, raise families and provide for them. Human beings in a group have a better chance of achieving all that than the loner.

    Of course, each individual human being has an inescapably subjective view of the world and develops their own preferences for various reasons. But that doesn’t prevent them from reaching mutually-beneficial agreements with others about how best to protect their common interests within their society. Call it inter-subjective agreement (ISA). I know you and kf have a low opinion of humanity in general. You seem to believe we’re too dumb to work these things out for ourselves, that faced with some awful atrocity, we would all stand around scratching our heads wondering what to do until some divine father-figure told us what was good and bad. Except, we’re not all that dumb. We can work these things out for ourselves and what better warrant could you have for your morality other than that it had been freely agreed by all members of the community to which it applies?

    It’s clearly evident nobody here acts, talks or argues like a moral subjectivist, because moral subjectivists have nothing to argue about when it comes to morality because it would be like arguing that someone’s favorite artist is not their favorite artist. It’s a nonsensical argument to make.

    It is, so it’s just as well subjectivists don’t make it. Is it really necessary to point out that a choice in music is rather different from the preference of almost all people that they and their families and friends not be, raped, tortured and murdered by psychopaths?

    This really isn’t even that abstract. Logically, every time a moral subjectivist attempts to change the behavior of others they are attempting to get others to behave immorally (against that person’s subjective preference).

    A psychopath who lives in a society which has adopted an ISA morality is as much bound by it as all other members. If he or she doesn’t like it they can go and live somewhere else. The will of the moral majority prevails. How is that immoral?

    However, as Mr. Arrington has pointed out repeatedly, these people suffer from a derangement syndrome where they are willing to defend the absurd and say nonsensical things to preserve their a worldview where morality must be subjective. It doesn’t matter if all sanity and logic and even common sense is thrown out the window: morality must be subjective in nature.

    I’m pretty sure that Mr Arrington and you and all the other contributors here – including me – would agree that one of the greatest achievements of the United States lies in the Constitution on which it is founded. Was that handed down from on high, inscribed of tablets of stone, to delegates who had been standing around with bated breath, waiting to be told what it should be? No, it was not. It was hammered out by the delegates to the Constitutional Convention of 1787 over months of painstaking negotiation. Each one of those delegates approached it from his own subjective perspective but they were nonetheless able to forge an agreement by which they could all live and which has stood the test of time thus far. In other words, one of the finest examples of inter-subjective agreement the world has ever seen. I see nothing deranged or illogical about that.

  37. 37
    clown fish says:

    WJM: “Then you’re not talking about morality, which is entirely about oughts. IOW, for you morality is just a word that describes how humans behave, not how they ought to behave.”

    No, it is how we think we ought to behave and how we think others ought to behave. Which, strangely enough, are often the same thing, with minor variations.

    IOW, under your moral subjectivism, humans do whatever they do, and the fact of that “doing” is what makes their actions “moral”.”

    No. A person’s actions may be different than what their moral standards say they should be. That applies to both objectivists and subjectivists. Sometimes we knowingly do things that go against our moral standards. That does not necessarily change what that moral standard is.

    Which renders morality a useless term because it is self-validating; whatever one does, is moral by definition.”

    See above.

    Can you give me an example of anything that has “a long history of civilizations all having the same” view or concept of it?”

    Thank you for making my point for me.

    So, we can see CF’s explanations unraveling right before our eyes as he attempts to avoid the imprimatur of moral objectivism.”

    You have a very strange definition of “unravelling”.

    Why would CF, as a logically-consistent moral subjectivist, try to talk people out of their current moral “do-ing”? They’re being perfectly moral, but yet CF says they “ought” do things differently.”

    If their “moral doing” did no harm to others, I probably wouldn’t. If the long term consequences of their “moral doing” did no harm to others, I probably wouldn’t. If their “moral doing” did harm, or the long term consequences did harm, to others, my own “moral authority” might compel me to try to stop them. And their own “moral authority” might compel them to resist. So, again, explain to me how this differs from all of human history?

    The absurdity here is both profound and troubling.”

    Finally, something we agree on.

  38. 38

    Seversky said:

    Sadly, I am not amazed you keep trotting out this same flawed argument time after time, in spite of the fact it has been answered effectively many times.

    Note the habit of moral subjectivists claiming to have rebutted arguments but never actually doing so.

    Once more, the observable function of moral codes in human societies is to regulate the behavior of individual members towards one another.

    Sez who? According to what definition morality – one you’ve conveniently invented for your own purposes? How does one “observe the function of moral codes”?

    Why should that be? A lone human being is a weak and vulnerable creature but all have common interests. They need food, water, shelter and a relatively secure environment in which to live, grow, raise families and provide for them. Human beings in a group have a better chance of achieving all that than the loner.

    Note how Seversky cherry-picks certain aspects of human nature and experience to accommodate a narrative convenient to his particular moral perspective – one grown entirely within the protection and fertile ground of post-enlightenment moral objectivism.

    Of course, each individual human being has an inescapably subjective view of the world and develops their own preferences for various reasons. But that doesn’t prevent them from reaching mutually-beneficial agreements with others about how best to protect their common interests within their society.

    Nor does it prevent them from reaching conclusions that are not mutually-beneficial agreements, but are rather deceptions and manipulations concerning how that individual can best promote and protect his individual interests. The same can be said for sub-groups within societies, like gangs and mafias, that reach agreements between themselves on how to best take advantage of the larger social order for their profit.

    Call it inter-subjective agreement (ISA). I know you and kf have a low opinion of humanity in general.

    You know no such thing. We’re just not letting you assume things about the nature of humanity due to your unwarranted moral privilege that history and current affairs around the world doesn’t support.

    You seem to believe we’re too dumb to work these things out for ourselves, that faced with some awful atrocity, we would all stand around scratching our heads wondering what to do until some divine father-figure told us what was good and bad.

    Not at all, because I don’t think for a moment you would act like a logically-consistent moral subjectivist, but you would rather act as if your moral views are objectively valid. Just as you argue as if they are.

    <blockquote.Except, we’re not all that dumb.

    What’s dumb is refusing to actually respond to the specific challenges that are brought before you and instead inventing a cherry-picked narrative that rests upon the moral privilege of hundreds of years of enlightened moral objectivism to work.

    We can work these things out for ourselves and what better warrant could you have for your morality other than that it had been freely agreed by all members of the community to which it applies?

    Go live in Turkey or France or Syria and “work things out for yourselves” and see how much agreement you get with your Western moral values, and see how willing you are to act in agreement with what “the community” has agreed upon.

  39. 39
    StephenB says:

    CF

    If their “moral doing” did no harm to others, I probably wouldn’t (try to talk them out of their position).

    Would you try to talk a doctor out of aborting an unborn child? Would the act of slicing the child up in pieces or scalding him to death qualify as “harm”?

  40. 40

    WJM asked: “Perhaps CF could tell us what example or evidence he would count towards a conclusion that morality is objective in nature instead of subjective?”

    CF said: “Certainly a long history of civilizations all having the same moral standards would weight heavily in its favour. We’ll talk again when this happens.”

    WJM asks for an example of what CF is talking about “Can you give me an example of anything that has “a long history of civilizations all having the same” view or concept of it?”

    CF responds: “Thank you for making my point for me. ” … [apparently admitting that his requested criteria cannot be met by anything.]

    Which means, even things that are objectively existent or are known to be objective, scientific facts cannot meet the criteria CF has requested that would support the contention that morality refers to an objective commodity. So he has set a criteria for supporting the objective nature of morality that even objective, scientific facts cannot meet.

    Note how CF has simply not responded to any salient argument point about the difference between commodities held to be objective and those held to be subjective and how we act in society with regards to those two different categories of phenomena.

    Note how he and Seversky refuse to account for the disparity in how they act according to all other subjective preferences vs how they act with regard to morality. They refuse to explain what it is that authorizes them to force their personal preferences on others when it comes to morality, but not when it comes to music or art or fashion.

    IOW, they are willing to describe a convenient narrative that ends up with them doing what they are already doing and feeling in their privileged moral position, but they refuse to address the logical ramifications of their worldview when it comes to societies or large swathes of humanity that fundamentally disagree with the moral view described in their idealistic narratives.

  41. 41
    clown fish says:

    StephenB: “Would you try to talk a doctor out of aborting an unborn child?”

    Not if the abortion was being conducted on the request of the woman.

  42. 42
    clown fish says:

    WJM: “Note how CF has simply not responded to any salient argument point about the difference between commodities held to be objective and those held to be subjective and how we act in society with regards to those two different categories of phenomena.”

    Note how WJM shifts the goalposts from objective morality to objective commodity.

  43. 43

    Seversky continues:

    IIs it really necessary to point out that a choice in music is rather different from the preference of almost all people that they and their families and friends not be, raped, tortured and murdered by psychopaths?

    Depends on what you mean by “different”; if you mean “different” in forms of degree, meaning a more intensely felt preference and or a more widely popular preference, then yes it is different in degree or popularity and you have warrant to argue and act according to that increased degree of preference or popularity.

    What it cannot be, however, is categorically different. Under moral relativism, one’s dislike of harm to self or family must still be, categorically, a personal preference and cannot be an objective commodity, so it cannot warrant behavior or terms that are reserved for objective commodities.

    How is that immoral?

    For example, if society says that homosexual behavior is immoral, then if “majority prevails”, you cannot challenge that view because you would be acting immorally. You have no basis to challenge majority morality if majority determines what is moral. If only the individual determines what is moral for them (true moral subjectivism), then the act of attempting to talk another person into behaving differently is a de facto attempt to get them to behave immorally – against their own personal, subjective morality.

    I’m pretty sure that Mr Arrington and you and all the other contributors here – including me – would agree that one of the greatest achievements of the United States lies in the Constitution on which it is founded. Was that handed down from on high, inscribed of tablets of stone, to delegates who had been standing around with bated breath, waiting to be told what it should be? No, it was not. It was hammered out by the delegates to the Constitutional Convention of 1787 over months of painstaking negotiation.

    By people who, to a man, each believed in and objective basis for morality.

    Each one of those delegates approached it from his own subjective perspective but they were nonetheless able to forge an agreement by which they could all live and which has stood the test of time thus far.

    Everyone approaches everything in existence “from their own subjective perspective”; that doesn’t mean what they are approaching is itself subjective in nature. You seem to think that they could have come up with the idea of “unalienable rights” and “self-evident truths” if they were moral subjectivists. Sorry, no. You’re intellectually freeloading on concepts unavailable to the logically-consistent moral subjectivist.

    In other words, one of the finest examples of inter-subjective agreement the world has ever seen. I see nothing deranged or illogical about that.

    You’re just using terminology to co-opt the work of of moral objectivists and a document that relies entirely upon the precepts of moral objectivism and natural law to feed a subjectivist narrative you have no logical access to.

    The DoI and Constitution were created by moral objectivists and were founded moral objectivism, asserting objectively, self-evident moral truths. That you bald-facedly try to turn that into an account for subjectivism is absurd.

  44. 44

    CF said:

    Not if the abortion was being conducted on the request of the woman.

    What difference does it make if the woman is requesting the harming of an unborn child?

  45. 45

    CF said:

    Note how WJM shifts the goalposts from objective morality to objective commodity.

    The debate is about whether or not moral subjectivists act as if morality is an objective commodity, or if they act as if it is a subjective commodity, and further that their subjectivist arguments and narrative depend entirely upon their privileged position of growing up in a westernized society with deeply embedded post-enlightenment Christian precepts of natural law moral objectivism.

    Note how Seversky brazenly refers to a document created by moral objectivists which gains it’s authority from natural law precepts as ” In other words, one of the finest examples of inter-subjective agreement the world has ever seen.” The full force of the point of the OP is on full display here.

    What makes the constitution of the USA “one of the finest” such examples, and not any other agreement struck by any other group of people throughout the history of the world?. Note Seversky’s implication that people of different subjective views reaching intersubjective agreement is laudable – is the capacity of a single empereror to force his personal moral views on an entire population not also laudable? What difference does it make – morally speaking – if one person forces his views on everyone, or if a lot of people come to an agreement?

    Under moral subjectivism, there is no difference between majority makes right and might makes right.

    Seversky seems to be trying to make the case that people being able to come to agreements about fundamental moral rights and obligations indicates that morality is subjective in nature. It indicates no such thing; rather, it makes the case that people were able to set aside personal preferences and use logic and reason to refine a document to reflect the most basic and rationally certain aspects of what they all held was an objective moral foundation. It speaks to the objective nature of morality above personal preference, not the other way around.

  46. 46
    StephenB says:

    StephenB: “Would you try to talk a doctor out of aborting an unborn child?”

    CF

    Not if the abortion was being conducted on the request of the woman.

    You said that your standard for talking someone out of a position was based on whether or not someone would be “harmed” by that position. Now we find that you really don’t care about harm at all. If it pleases a woman, you will harm unborn children all day long. You are a walking contradiction.

  47. 47
    StephenB says:

    I’m pretty sure that Mr Arrington and you and all the other contributors here – including me – would agree that one of the greatest achievements of the United States lies in the Constitution on which it is founded. Was that handed down from on high, inscribed of tablets of stone, to delegates who had been standing around with bated breath, waiting to be told what it should be? No, it was not. It was hammered out by the delegates to the Constitutional Convention of 1787 over months of painstaking negotiation.

    What is it about the words, …”the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them …” that you do not understand.

  48. 48
    StephenB says:

    CF

    Note how WJM shifts the goalposts from objective morality to objective commodity.

    Bad logic: WJM did not move the goalposts. He referred to objective and subjective commodities. In that context, commodity is the general category while “subjective” and “objective” are particulars within that category.

  49. 49
    Aleta says:

    Those words are not from the Constitution, Stephen.

  50. 50
    kairosfocus says:

    Aleta,

    The May 17, 1776 national prayer meeting called by congress sets the context of covenant nationhood under God. The July 4, 1776 DoI is the first part of the formation of government under God by duly proper representatives and the Sept 17, 1787 Constitution delivered a revised form of Govt in the twelfth year of independence. That is, it fulfilled what is in the 2nd para DoI, and properly is to be understood in that context.

    Thus, SB is entirely correct to cite the DoI as the relevant context of the Constitution that has the following grand statement structure:

    We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America . . . . [Main Body, Arts I – VII] . . . . Done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the States present the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven and of the Independence of the United States of America the Twelfth. In Witness whereof We have hereunto subscribed our Names. . . . . [AMENDMENTS].

    Where, blessings of liberty is particularly significant. But first, the 1778 Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union have this structure:

    And Whereas it hath pleased the Great Governor of the World to incline the hearts of the legislatures we respectively represent in Congress, to approve of, and to authorize us to ratify the said Articles of Confederation and perpetual Union. Know Ye that we the undersigned delegates, by virtue of the power and authority to us given for that purpose, do by these presents, in the name and in behalf of our respective constituents, fully and entirely ratify and confirm each and every of the said Articles of Confederation and perpetual Union . . . . In Witness whereof we have hereunto set our hands in Congress. Done at Philadelphia in the State of Pennsylvania the ninth day of July in the Year of our Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred and Seventy-Eight, and in the Third Year of the independence of America.

    That May 1776 call to prayer gives critical context, i/l/o the classic, reformation understanding of nationhood and government under God, with particular reference to blessings of liberty:

    May 1776 [over the name of John Hancock, first signer of the US Declaration of Indpependence] : In times of impending calamity and distress; when the liberties of America are imminently endangered by the secret machinations and open assaults of an insidious and vindictive administration, it becomes the indispensable duty of these hitherto free and happy colonies, with true penitence of heart, and the most reverent devotion, publickly to acknowledge the over ruling providence of God; to confess and deplore our offences against him; and to supplicate his interposition for averting the threatened danger, and prospering our strenuous efforts in the cause of freedom, virtue, and posterity.. . . Desirous, at the same time, to have people of all ranks and degrees duly impressed with a solemn sense of God’s superintending providence, and of their duty, devoutly to rely, in all their lawful enterprizes, on his aid and direction, Do earnestly recommend, that Friday, the Seventeenth day of May next, be observed by the said colonies as a day of humiliation, fasting, and prayer; that we may, with united hearts, confess and bewail our manifold sins and transgressions, and, by a sincere repentance and amendment of life, appease his righteous displeasure, and, through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ, obtain his pardon and forgiveness; humbly imploring his assistance to frustrate the cruel purposes of our unnatural enemies; . . . that it may please the Lord of Hosts, the God of Armies, to animate our officers and soldiers with invincible fortitude, to guard and protect them in the day of battle, and to crown the continental arms, by sea and land, with victory and success: Earnestly beseeching him to bless our civil rulers, and the representatives of the people, in their several assemblies and conventions; to preserve and strengthen their union, to inspire them with an ardent, disinterested love of their country; to give wisdom and stability to their counsels; and direct them to the most efficacious measures for establishing the rights of America on the most honourable and permanent basis—That he would be graciously pleased to bless all his people in these colonies with health and plenty, and grant that a spirit of incorruptible patriotism, and of pure undefiled religion, may universally prevail; and this continent be speedily restored to the blessings of peace and liberty, and enabled to transmit them inviolate to the latest posterity. And it is recommended to Christians of all denominations, to assemble for public worship, and abstain from servile labour on the said day.

    The context could not be clearer and more sustained.

    It would be helpful to add the congressional call to thanksgiving in Dec 1777, however:

    December 1777: FORASMUCH as it is the indispensable Duty of all Men to adore the superintending Providence of Almighty God; to acknowledge with Gratitude their Obligation to him for benefits received, and to implore such farther Blessings as they stand in Need of; And it having pleased him in his abundant Mercy not only to continue to us the innumerable Bounties of his common Providence, but also to smile upon us in the Prosecution of a just and necessary War, for the Defence and Establishment of our unalienable Rights and Liberties [–> Just war theory, a Christian theological context]; particularly in that he hath been pleased in so great a Measure to prosper the Means used for the Support of our Troops and to crown our Arms with most signal success: It is therefore recommended to the legislative or executive powers of these United States, to set apart THURSDAY, the eighteenth Day of December next, for Solemn Thanksgiving and Praise; That with one Heart and one Voice the good People may express the grateful Feelings of their Hearts, and consecrate themselves to the Service of their Divine Benefactor; and that together with their sincere Acknowledgments and Offerings, they may join the penitent Confession of their manifold Sins, whereby they had forfeited every Favour, and their humble and earnest Supplication that it may please GOD, through the Merits of Jesus Christ, mercifully to forgive and blot them out of Remembrance; That it may please him graciously to afford his Blessing on the Governments of these States respectively, and prosper the public Council of the whole; to inspire our Commanders both by Land and Sea, and all under them, with that Wisdom and Fortitude which may render them fit Instruments, under the Providence of Almighty GOD, to secure for these United States the greatest of all human blessings, INDEPENDENCE and PEACE; That it may please him to prosper the Trade and Manufactures of the People and the Labour of the Husbandman, that our Land may yet yield its Increase; To take Schools and Seminaries of Education, so necessary for cultivating the Principles of true Liberty, Virtue and Piety, under his nurturing Hand, and to prosper the Means of Religion for the promotion and enlargement of that Kingdom which consisteth “in Righteousness, Peace and Joy in the Holy Ghost.”[i.e. Cites Rom 14:9]

    Oh, how much has been so conveniently forgotten.

    KF

  51. 51
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: I cannot but note that Cf et al have yet again failed to cogently address the following, so lest it be lost in the stream of comments, I again draw attention to it, as addressing the pivotal underlying issue, the objectivity of our being under moral government and of key moral principles.

    Notice, first, how Paul, in what would become the most important single foundational bit of theology in the Christian scriptures, firmly places moral government communicated by conscience and linked understanding of the natural moral law accessible specifically tot he one who does not have scriptures, in the heart of Christian theology.

    Then, notice how Anglican Canon Richard Hooker, in his Ecclesiastical Polity (1594+, praised BTW by the pope across the dividing lines of the reformation) draws out the principles, and how Locke in grounding what would become modern liberty and democracy, cites this at a crucial point in his 2nd treatise on civil gov’t.

    This would then find its fulfillment in the US DoI and Constitution, then would spread tot he wider world as the first great modern democracy . . . yes, carefully balanced to stabilise it . . . succeeded:

    _______________

    >>normally responsive people will at least grudgingly respect the following summary of such core, conscience attested morality from the pen of Paul:

    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 . . . .

    Rom 13:8 Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong [NIV, “harm”] to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. [ESV]

    Where, John Locke, in grounding modern liberty and what would become democratic self-government of a free people premised on upholding the civil peace of justice, in Ch 2 Sec. 5 of his second treatise on civil Government [c. 1690] cites “the judicious [Anglican canon, Richard] Hooker” from his classic Ecclesiastical Polity of 1594 on, as he explains how the principles of neighbour-love are inscribed in our hearts, becoming evident to the eye of common good sense and reasonableness:

    . . . if I cannot but wish to receive good, even as much at every man’s hands, as any man can wish unto his own soul, how should I look to have any part of my desire herein satisfied, unless myself be careful to satisfy the like desire which is undoubtedly in other men . . . my desire, therefore, to be loved of my equals in Nature, as much as possible may be, imposeth upon me a natural duty of bearing to themward fully the like affection. From which relation of equality between ourselves and them that are as ourselves, what several rules and canons natural reason hath drawn for direction of life no man is ignorant . . . [Hooker then continues, citing Aristotle in The Nicomachean Ethics, Bk 8 and alluding to Justinian’s synthesis of Roman Law in Corpus Juris Civilis that also brings these same thoughts to bear:] as namely, That because we would take no harm, we must therefore do none; That since we would not be in any thing extremely dealt with, we must ourselves avoid all extremity in our dealings; That from all violence and wrong we are utterly to abstain, with such-like . . . ] [Eccl. Polity,preface, Bk I, “ch.” 8, p.80, cf. here. Emphasis added.]

    We may elaborate on Paul, Locke, Hooker and Aristotle, laying out several manifestly evident and historically widely acknowledged core moral principles for which the attempted denial is instantly and patently absurd for most people — that is, they are arguably self-evident moral truths. For instance:

    1] The first self evident moral truth is that we are inescapably under the government of ought.

    (This is manifest in even an objector’s implication in the questions, challenges and arguments that s/he would advance, that we are in the wrong and there is something to be avoided about that. That is, even the objector inadvertently implies that we OUGHT to do, think, aim for and say the right. Not even the hyperskeptical objector can escape this truth. Patent absurdity on attempted denial.)

    2] Second self evident truth, we discern that some things are right and others are wrong by a compass-sense we term conscience which guides our thought. (Again, objectors depend on a sense of guilt/ urgency to be right not wrong on our part to give their points persuasive force. See what would be undermined should conscience be deadened or dismissed universally? Sawing off the branch on which we all must sit.)

    3] Third, were this sense of conscience and linked sense that we can make responsibly free, rational decisions to be a delusion, we would at once descend into a status of grand delusion in which there is no good ground for confidence in our self-understanding. That is, we look at an infinite regress of Plato’s cave worlds: once such a principle of grand global delusion is injected, there is no firewall so the perception of level one delusion is subject to the same issue, and this level two perception too, ad infinitum; landing in patent absurdity.

    4] Fourth, we are objectively under obligation of OUGHT. That is, despite any particular person’s (or group’s or august council’s or majority’s) wishes or claims to the contrary, such obligation credibly holds to moral certainty. That is, it would be irresponsible, foolish and unwise for us to act and try to live otherwise.

    5] Fifth, this cumulative framework of moral government under OUGHT is the basis for the manifest core principles of the natural moral law under which we find ourselves obligated to the right the good, the true etc. Where also, patently, we struggle to live up to what we acknowledge or imply we ought to do.

    6] Sixth, this means we live in a world in which being under core, generally understood principles of natural moral law is coherent and factually adequate, thus calling for a world in which OUGHT is properly grounded at root level. (Thus worldviews that can soundly meet this test are the only truly viable ones. if a worldview does not have in it a world-root level IS that can simultaneously ground OUGHT, it fails decisively.*)

    7] Seventh, in light of the above, even the weakest and most voiceless of us thus has a natural right to life, liberty, the pursuit of fulfillment of one’s sense of what s/he ought to be (“happiness”). This includes the young child, the unborn and more. (We see here the concept that rights are binding moral expectations of others to provide respect in regards to us because of our inherent status as human beings, members of the community of valuable neighbours. Where also who is my neighbour was forever answered by the parable of the Good Samaritan. Likewise, there can be no right to demand of or compel my neighbour that s/he upholds me and enables me in the wrong — including under false colour of law through lawfare. To justly claim a right, one must first be in the right.)

    8] Eighth, like unto the seventh, such may only be circumscribed or limited for good cause. Such as, reciprocal obligation to cherish and not harm neighbour of equal, equally valuable nature in community and in the wider world of the common brotherhood of humanity.

    9] Ninth, this is the context in which it becomes self evidently wrong, wicked and evil to kidnap, sexually torture and murder a young child or the like as concrete cases in point that show that might and/or manipulation do not make ‘right,’ ‘truth,’ ‘worth,’ ‘justice,’ ‘fairness,’ ‘law’ etc. That is, anything that expresses or implies the nihilist’s credo is morally absurd.

    10] Tenth, this entails that in civil society with government, justice is a principal task of legitimate government. Thus also,

    11] Eleventh, that government is and ought to be subject to audit, reformation and if necessary replacement should it fail sufficiently badly and incorrigibly.

    12] Twelfth, the attempt to deny or dismiss such a general framework of moral governance invariably lands in shipwreck of incoherence and absurdity. But that does not mean that the attempt is not going to be made, so there is a mutual obligation of frank and fair correction and restraint of evil.
    _________________

    * F/N: After centuries of debates and assessment of alternatives per comparative difficulties, there is in fact just one serious candidate to be such a grounding IS: the inherently good creator God, a necessary and maximally great being worthy of ultimate loyalty and the reasonable responsible service of doing the good in accord with our manifestly evident nature. (And instantly, such generic ethical theism answers also to the accusation oh this is “religion”; that term being used as a dirty word — no, this is philosophy. If you doubt this, simply put forth a different candidate that meets the required criteria and passes the comparative difficulties test: _________ . Likewise, an inherently good, maximally great being will not be arbitrary or deceitful etc, that is why such is fully worthy of ultimate loyalty and the reasonable, responsible service of doing the good in accord with our manifestly evident nature. As a serious candidate necessary being, such would be eternal and embedded in the frame for a world to exist at all. Thus such a candidate is either impossible as a square circle is impossible due to mutual ruin of core characteristics, or else it is actual. For simple instance no world is possible without two-ness in it, a necessary basis for distinct identity inter alia.>>
    ________________

    That is what needs to be answered and the consistent absence of a cogent reply speaks for itself.

    KF

  52. 52
    Aleta says:

    But you’ll agree, won’t you kf, that the words Stephen posted are not in the Constitution. True?

  53. 53
    StephenB says:

    Aleta

    But you’ll agree, won’t you kf, that the words Stephen posted are not in the Constitution. True?

    Of course. The DOI is the “why.” The Constitution is the “how.” It is the why that always justifies the how. That is why I brought it up. Subjectivists don’t understand this because for them, there is no “why,” –there is only, “I want.”

  54. 54
    Mung says:

    Note how WJM shifts the goalposts from objective morality to objective commodity.

    So? Are you saying that he ought not do that because you wish he would not do that?

  55. 55
    Mung says:

    But you’ll agree, won’t you kf, that the words Stephen posted are not in the Constitution. True?

    What is the point of arguing about whether it is true or not if there is no objective morality?

  56. 56
    Aleta says:

    The DoI was about why we were to dissolve our political connection with Great Britain. It is not about how the 13 colonies were to govern themselves. The Constitution, which was written over a decade later, was about how the thirteen colones were to be governed as a unified country. The Constitution is not the “how” of which the DoI was the “why”.

    So I don’t think your explanation of the connection between the DoI and the Constitution is valid, Stephen.

  57. 57
    Aleta says:

    Mung, that is a silly comment. Irrespective of whether there is objective morality, factual questions can be true or false. The phrase about “Nature’s God” is in the DoI, not the Constitution, and that’s a true fact. The statement has nothing to do with morality.

  58. 58
    kairosfocus says:

    Aleta,

    Not so, please look again at the philosophical f/w and principles in the 1st and 2nd paras of the DoI:

    When . . . it becomes necessary for one people . . . to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. –That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, —That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness [–> sets up the Confed and const to follow]. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security . . .

    This is in the historical, documentary context as outlined at 40 in which several history of ideas themes can be clearly seen in continuity. And the 2nd para is a rationale, explicitly that lays out a basis. SB is right.

    The attempt to drive a wedge between the two on excuse of passage of a decade, fails.

    KF

    PS: To get a further idea of context here is Blackstone in Commentaries on the Laws of England 1765:

    Man, considered as a creature, must necessarily be subject to the laws of his creator, for he is entirely a dependent being . . . consequently, as man depends absolutely upon his maker for every thing, it is necessary that he should in all points conform to his maker’s will. This will of his maker is called the law of nature. For as God, when he created matter, and endued it with a principle of mobility, established certain rules for the perpetual direction of that motion; so, when he created man, and endued him with freewill to conduct himself in all parts of life, he laid down certain immutable laws of human nature, whereby that freewill is in some degree regulated and restrained, and gave him also the faculty of reason to discover the purport of those laws . . . These are the eternal, immutable laws of good and evil, to which the creator himself in all his dispensations conforms; and which he has enabled human reason to discover, so far as they are necessary for the conduct of human actions. Such among others are these principles: that we should live honestly [NB: cf. Exod. 20:15 – 16], should hurt nobody [NB: cf. Rom 13:8 – 10], and should render to every one his due [NB: cf. Rom 13:6 – 7 & Exod. 20:15]; to which three general precepts Justinian[1: a Juris praecepta sunt hace, honeste vivere. alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere. Inst, 1. 1. 3] has reduced the whole doctrine of law [and, Corpus Juris, Justinian’s Christianised precis and pruning of perhaps 1,000 years of Roman jurisprudence, in turn is the foundation of law for much of Europe]. [Parenthetical remarks and emphases added.]

  59. 59
    Aleta says:

    institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness

    And this is what the Constitution does, without reference to God. The Constitution is a secular document.

  60. 60
    kairosfocus says:

    Aleta,

    sorry, not so again (but you are giving the usual partyline talking points . . . ), the statement in the preamble and in the closing of the Const clearly connect it to

    — the spiritual covenant understanding of May 17 1776 and Dec 18 1777 plus plus plus, and

    — to the DoI, cf 50 – 51 above again, and my discussion on manifestly evident core principles of the natural moral law —

    * explicit in the DoI paras 1 and 2,

    * with obvious context in Locke and Blackstone

    * with other content ranging through Rutherford, Vindiciae Contra Tyrannos, the Dutch Doi of 1581 and

    * as far back as King Alfred’s Book of Dooms [Common Law . . . Literally starts with Moses (10 Commandments!) and the Apostles before speaking to the Witans of Saxon kingdoms that had taken baptism],

    * Justinian’s Corpus Juris Civilis

    * and of course Magna Carta.

    Note, blessings of liberty in the relevant history of theology is highly loaded with significance as the congressional calls to prayer amplify.

    Much has been forgotten and needs to be seen with fresh eyes, and the documents I point to are of particular significance.

    They also strongly support WJM’s points on the historical natural law foundation of stabilised modern democracy.

    What is happening in our time is the knocking out of the stabilising framework through the hostile dechristianising agendas at work, not knowing how crucial the blessings of Christendom are to what we have. Predictably, the course onward will be much like that in Athens surrounding the Peloponnesian war.

    Which BTW is a good part of specific concerns behind why the US founders/framers were so careful to speak in terms of a republic, they wanted to make sure of stabilisation and answer to the then widely understood concerns on the dangerous instability and self destructive nature of democracies.

    KF

  61. 61
    kairosfocus says:

    (Decided the stuff was a bit dense so I opened it up a bit)

  62. 62
    Aleta says:

    Hmmm. Why are my statements “the usual party line talking points . . .”, but yours are not your party line talking points?

  63. 63
    StephenB says:

    So I don’t think your explanation of the connection between the DoI and the Constitution is valid, Stephen.

    What you think is irrelevant to the facts, which I just presented. The DOI provides the objective moral justification for the Constitution.

  64. 64
    kairosfocus says:

    Aleta, there is a well known narrative that is conventional wisdom in many quarters but which is strongly contradicted by key state papers and associated pivotal history of ideas documents. In this case, the original key documents are decisive but are largely forgotten or are seriously misread i/l/o a current and anachronistic secularistic mindset projected to the past. As just one sampler consider that it is Congress which was calling the American people to repentance and reformation in May 1776. Congress itself. And in so doing it was clearly thinking in terms of the double covenant understanding of nationhood and government under God with blessings of liberty requiring national penitence; a view that inter alia traces to Ac 17 and Rom 13. KF

  65. 65
    CLAVDIVS says:

    WJM: What exactly is ‘objective morality’ the way you are using it.

    – Can it ever change?
    – Can we show any part of it is agreed upon by all?

  66. 66
    kairosfocus says:

    Clavdivs, Cf 51 above. KF

  67. 67
    clown fish says:

    WJM: “What difference does it make if the woman is requesting the harming of an unborn child?”

    If she is not requesting the abortion then the doctor would be doing harm to her.

  68. 68
    StephenB says:

    WJM:

    “What difference does it make if the woman is requesting the harming of an unborn child?”

    CF:

    If she is not requesting the abortion then the doctor would be doing harm to her.

    Wait a minute, we were discussing the harm done to the unborn child, not to the mother. It isn’t the mother who gets sliced up or scalded to death. How does the woman’s consent to an abortion effect the harm done to the child. Is this not more evidence that it is impossible to have a rational discussion with a subjectivist.

  69. 69
    CLAVDIVS says:

    kairosfocus @ 66

    – 51 doesn’t answer the question whether objective morals can change.

    Interestingly, if 51 is a list of objective moral principles, I notice none militate against gay marriage – in fact, #7 and #8 seem to argue *in favour* of gay marriage.

  70. 70
    mugwump3 says:

    While I’m not sure at all that I could possibly crack through the candy shell of dogmatism that hides the relativistic and irrational melty core of the above lazy thinkers any more effectively than those of you with more patience and much more source data at hand, I’ll try.

    Often enough, I’m forced to plod through an illustration with the odd lazy thinker, a proud member of the brainwashed masses…the Holier-than-thou bicycling, recycling, vegan, the drippy “emperor has no clothes, and I’m loving it” art student with nothing but a medical Marijuana card and a vaporizer to his name, Bernie worshipper. The illustration I use is an attempt, normally after failing to get through with basic logic and first principles…discarding that benefit of the doubt you guys keep graciously affording the above lazy thinkers. Goes something like this:

    Sitting at a table, you’re gathered with members of every major religion, every political philosophy, and you, the relativist, the enlightened, the scoffer decide to stand up and declare to all at the table that they are all wrong…that, because they hold to truths that exclude the truths of their fellow truth-holders, they are therefore “closed-minded…that they are relics of a dark past, that, like you, they shouldn’t judge each other based on their own limited subjective perspectives…you know…cuz, like, judging is, like, so bourgeois, man…like so fascist, man…we need to move forward, man, and, like, make everyone feel welcome, man…”

    And, on and on, it goes…except, hold on…

    What we’re trying to point out to you relativists is that you’re doing exactly what you accuse moral objectivists of doing: YOU’RE BEING EXCLUSIVE; YOU’RE EMPLOYING DOGMA! YOU’RE PLACING YOUR
    SELF-DESCRIBED SUBJECTIVE BELIEFS ABOVE THOSE OF EVERYONE ELSE AT THE TABLE!

    YOU’RE EXCLUDING EXCLUSIVISTS! YOU’RE BORROWING FROM A MORAL OBJECTIVITY TO CONDEMN MORAL OBJECTIVITY! IOW, YOU’RE A HYPOCRITE WHO EITHER IS DEVOID OF SELF-AWARENESS, A HUGE LOVER OF IRONY, OR, I SUPPOSE, OK WITH INCLUDING HYPOCRISY AMONG YOUR SUBJECTIVIST’S COMMANDMENTS.

    Your whole “awww, hey, man, all religions can’t be right, so none of them are true” shtick is a RELIGIOUS position…a superior judgment made possible through lazy thinking and expensive poli-sci tenured-Marxist-teaching undergrad classes you were forced to take…and, now, you’re better than all those religious whackadoodles…you…are…enlightened.

    Nope. Sorry. You’re still just an exclusivist…only you’ve no “why” or “wherefore” on which to ground your dogma but majority opinion??? Faddish imperatives??? Emotional feel-good, government-compelled directives about bathrooms and wedding cakes??? The latest Facebook poll??? The latest tweet from Lena Dunham??? Or Bill Nye??? Or Leonardo Dicapprio???

    Please, for all of our sakes, try a little critical thinking.

  71. 71
    Andre says:

    I am having a hoot reading all this nonsense ……

    I’ve seen people say they use their reason…. What reason? You can’t use reason to deny that reason exist!

    Then I see people leaning on their logic……. What is your logic grounded in? Please do tell?

    Then I see people imposing their subjective moral values on others…… Do they realise that a moral relavist has absolutely nothing to say about the subject?

    Then they use their intentional states (opinions) to make us aware that everything is just material…..

    Then they tell us personal preferences trump the right to life. When you lose the right to life there are no personal preferences…

    It’s a circus out here……

  72. 72
    kairosfocus says:

    Clavdivs, do humans have a morally governed nature and are we each of fundamentally equal and valuable status as responsibly and rationally free persons (individuals with challenges notwithstanding)? Are we regulated by conscience? Is conscience something which can become warped or dulled? Do we grow in understanding but are we also prone to fall into endarkenment? Would, in particular, things seen to hold truth as necessarily so on pain of patent absurdity on the attempted denial be enduring as self evidently true? (Or would the actual circumstances that make such so — as opposed to our perceptions and opinions — shift, how and why?) KF

  73. 73
    kairosfocus says:

    Mug & Andre, food for thought. KF

  74. 74
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Congressional call to Prayer March 1779, over John Jay’s signature as president (that is itself another story!):

    ____________________

    >>Congressional Prayer Proclamation, 1779

    March 20, 1779

    WHEREAS, in just Punishment of our manifold Transgressions, it hath pleased the Supreme Disposer of all Events to visit these United States with a calamitous War, through which his Divine Providence hath hitherto in a wonderful Manner conducted us, so that we might acknowledge that the Race is not to the Swift, nor the Battle to the Strong [–> note the concept of how wars arise from our sinful inner contentions and the Bible citation implying reliance on Divine rescue of the duly penitent, also the echo of the consciousness of moral struggle and failure . . . not to mention repudiation of might makes ‘right’ or even victorious]: AND WHEREAS, notwithstanding the Chastisements received and Benefits bestowed, too few have been sufficiently awakened to a Sense of their Guilt, or warmed with Gratitude, or taught to amend their Lives and turn from their Sins, that so he might turn his Wrath:

    In just Punishment of our manifold Transgressions, it hath pleased the Supreme Disposer of all Events to visit these United States with a calamitous War

    AND WHEREAS, from a Consciousness of what we have merited at his Hands, and an Apprehension that the Malevolence of our disappointed Enemies, like the Incredulity of Pharaoh [–> allusion to Moses and the Exodus as context of formation of new nation], may be used as the Scourge of Omnipotence to vindicate his slighted Majesty, there is Reason to fear that he may permit much of our Land to become the Prey of the Spoiler, our Borders to be ravaged, and our Habitations destroyed:

    [–> Notice this is the rationale for the following]

    RESOLVED,

    THAT it be recommended to the several States to appoint the First Thursday in May next to be a Day of Fasting, Humiliation, and Prayer to Almighty God, that he will be pleased to avert those impending Calamities which we have but too well deserved: That he will grant us his Grace to repent of our Sins, and amend our Lives according to his Holy Word [–> The Bible]: That he will continue that wonderful Protection which hath led us through the Paths of Danger and Distress: That he will be a Husband to the Widow, and a Father to the fatherless Children, who weep over the Barbarities of a Savage Enemy: That he will grant us Patience in Suffering, and Fortitude in Adversity: That he will inspire us with Humility, Moderation, and Gratitude in prosperous Circumstances [–> aware of the sins of pride and ingratitude occasioned by prosperity]: That he will give Wisdom to our Councils, Firmness to our Resolutions, and Victory to our Arms: That he will bless the Labours of the Husbandman, and pour forth Abundance, so that we may enjoy the Fruits of the Earth in due Season: That he will cause Union, Harmony, and mutual Confidence to prevail throughout these States: That he will bestow on our great Ally all those Blessings which may enable him to be gloriously instrumental in protecting the Rights of Mankind, and promoting the Happiness of his Subjects [–> France, itself to be convulsed in a decade]: That he will bountifully continue his paternal Care to the Commander in Chief [–> Washington], and the Officers and Soldiers of the United States: That he will grant the Blessings of Peace to all contending Nations, Freedom to those who are in Bondage, and Comfort to the Afflicted: That he will diffuse Useful Knowledge, extend the Influence of True Religion, and give us that Peace of Mind which the World cannot give [–> Biblical citation]: That he will be our Shield in the Day of Battle, our Comforter in the Hour of Death, and our kind Parent and merciful Judge through Time and through Eternity [–> God as Father and Judge].

    Done in CONGRESS, this Twentieth Day of March, in the Year of Our Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred and Seventy-Nine, and in the Third Year of our Independence.

    JOHN JAY, President.

    Attest. CHARLES THOMSON, Secretary.

    PHILADELPHIA: PRINTED BY HALL AND SELLERS.>>
    ____________________

    Further food for thought.

    KF

    PS: Note the similar proclamation for Virginia for Dec that year, here over Th Jefferson’s hand based on a further congressional call. Note particularly the citation from Congress:

    “Whereas it becomes us humbly to approach the throne of Almighty God, with gratitude and praise, for the wonders which his goodness has wrought in conducting our forefathers to this western world; for his protection to them and to their posterity, amidst difficulties and dangers; for raising us their children from deep distress, to be numbered among the nations of the earth; and for arming the hands of just and mighty Princes in our deliverance; and especially for that he hath been pleased to grant us the enjoyment of health and so to order the revolving seasons, that the earth hath produced her increase in abundance, blessing the labours of the husbandman, and spreading plenty through the land; that he hath prospered our arms and those of our ally, been a shield to our troops in the hour of danger, pointed their swords to victory, and led them in triumph over the bulwarks of the foe; that he hath gone with those who went out into the wilderness against the savage tribes; that he hath stayed the hand of the spoiler, and turned back his meditated destruction; that he hath prospered our commerce, and given success to those who sought the enemy on the face of the deep; and above all, that he hath diffused the glorious light of the gospel, whereby, through the merits of our gracious Redeemer, we may become the heirs of his eternal glory [–> yes, this is the cite, as attested by Jefferson]. Therefore,

    Resolved, that it be recommended to the several states to appoint THURSDAY the 9th of December next, to be a day of publick and solemn THANKSGIVING to Almighty God, for his mercies, and of PRAYER, for the continuance of his favour and protection to these United States; to beseech him that he would be graciously pleased to influence our publick Councils, and bless them with wisdom from on high, with unanimity, firmness and success; that he would go forth with our hosts and crown our arms with victory; that he would grant to his church, the plentiful effusions of divine grace, and pour out his holy spirit on all Ministers of the gospel; that he would bless and prosper the means of education, and spread the light of christian knowledge through the remotest corners of the earth [–> yes, this was a prayer of the Congress and people]; that he would smile upon the labours of his people, and cause the earth to bring forth her fruits in abundance, that we may with gratitude and gladness enjoy them; that he would take into his holy protection, our illustrious ally, give him victory over his enemies, and render him finally great, as the father of his people, and the protector of the rights of mankind; that he would graciously be pleased to turn the hearts of our enemies, and to dispence the blessings of peace to contending nations.

    That he would in mercy look down upon us, pardon all our sins, and receive us into his favour; and finally, that he would establish the independance of these United States upon the basis of religion and virtue, and support and protect them in the enjoyment of peace, liberty and safety.”

  75. 75
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: From here at UD, the opening of Alfred the Great’s Book of Dooms [= judgements], the roots of the common law tradition (in turn, context of references to the rights of Englishmen):

    _______________

    >>Dooms.

    The Lord was speaking these words to Moyse [= Moses], and thus quoth;

    I am the Lord thine God. I led thee out of the Egyptians’ lands, and of their bondage [–> slavery].

    1. Love thou not other strange gods ever me.
    2. Call not thou mine name in idleness, for that thou art not guiltless with me, if thou in idleness callest mine name.
    3. Mind that thou hallow the rest-day. Work you six days, and on the seventh rest you. For that in six days Christ wrought heavens and earth, seas, and all shapen things that in them are, and rested him on the seventh day: and for that the Lord hallowed it.
    4. Honour thine father and thine mother that the Lord gave thee : that thou be the longer living on earth.
    5. Slay thou not.
    6?. Commit thou not adultery.
    7. Steal thou not .
    8. Say thou not leasing witness.
    9. Wish not thou thy neighbour’s goods with untight.
    10. Work thou not to thyself golden gods or silvern. [–> scan not guaranteed 100%]

    11. These are the dooms that thou shalt set them . . . .

    49. These are dooms that the Almighty God himself was speaking to Moses, and bade him to hold, and, since the Lord’s onebegotten son, our God, that is, healing Christ, on middle earth came [–> “In the year of our Lord . . .” and now you know where “middle earth” comes from], he quoth that he came not these biddings to break nor to forbid, but with all good to eke them, and mild-heartedness and lowly-mindedness to learn [ –> teach, Alfred here alludes to and enfolds in the foundations, the Sermon on the Mount of Matt 5 – 7]. Then after his throes [sufferings], ere that his apostles were gone through all the earth to learn [teach], and then yet that they were together, many heathen nations they turned to God. While they all together were, they send erranddoers to Antioch and to Syria, Christ’s law to learn [teach]. When they understood that it speeded them not, then sent they an errand-writing to them. This is then that errand-writing that the apostles sent to Antioch, and to Syria, and to Cilicia, that are now from heathen nations turned to Christ.

    The apostles and the elder brethren wish you health. And we make known to you, that we have heard that some of our fellows with our words to you have come, and bade you a heavier wise [way or law] to hold, than we bade them, and have too much misled you with manifold biddings, and your souls more perverted than they have righted. Then we assembled us about that, and to us all it seemed good, that we should send Paul and Barnabas, men that will their souls sell [give] for the Lord’s name. With them we sent Judas and Silas, that they to you the ilk [same] may say. To the Holy Ghost it was thought and to us, that we none burden on you should not set, over that to you was needful to hold, that is then, that ye forbear that ye devil-gilds [idols] worship, and taste blood and things strangled, and from fornication, and that ye will that other men do not to you, do ye not that to other men. [–> Yes, the Golden Rule of Moshe, of Yeshva and of Paulo, Apostolo Mart, is right there too.]

    From this one doom a man may think that he should doom [judge] every one rightly: he need keep no other doom-book. Let him thmk [take care] that he doom to no man that he would not that he doom to him, if he sought doom over him. [–> This is essentially the point that Locke cited from “the judicious [Anglican Canon, Richard] Hooker [in his Ecclesiastical Polity 1594+]” when in his 2nd treatise on civil gov’t, he grounded the rights – lawfulness principle at the heart of modern liberty and democracy, cf. OP and here]

    Since that, it happened that many nations took to Christ’s faith; there were many synods through all the middle earth gathered, and eke throughout the English race, they took to Christ’s faith, of holy bishops’, and eke of other exalted witan [wise men]. They then set forth, for their mild-heartedness, that Christ learned [taught], at almost every misdeed, that the worldly lords might, with their leave, without sin, at the first guilt, take their fee-boot that they then appointed; except in treason against a lord, to which they durst not declare no mild-hearted ness, for that the God Almighty doomed none to them that slighted him, nor Christ God’s son doomed none to him that sold him to death, and he bade to love a lord as himself. They then in many synods set a boot for many misdeeds of men ; and in many synod books they wrote, here, one doom, there, another.

    I then, Alfred king, gathered these together, and bade to write many of those that our foregoers held,—those that to me seemed good: and many of those that seemed not good, I set aside with mine witan’s counsel, and in other wise bade to hold them: for that I durst not venture much of mine own to set in writing, for that it was unknown to me what of this would be liking to those that were after us. But those that I met with either in Ine’s days mine kinsman, or in Offa’s, king of Mercia, or in Ethelbryte’s that first took baptism in the English race,—they that seemed to me the lightest, I gathered them herein and let alone the others.

    I then, Alfred, king of the West Saxons, shewed these to all mine witan, and they then said that that all seemed good to them to hold . . .>>
    __________________

    See the context in which those who hold forth the decalogue as foundational to law are historically fully justified, not just theologically? (And, just perhaps, someone should carve a monumental rock citing the Dooms; note the altered order from Exodus 20 and incorporation of an allusion to John 1, Col 1 and Heb 1 in the 4th.)

    KF

  76. 76
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: From the pen of chief Lord Spiritual, and Archbishop of Canterbury, Stephen Langton, at Runnymede June 15, 1215, in Magna Carta:

    + (39) No free man

    [–> recognition of freedom, the further question is, who shall be free]

    shall be seized or imprisoned, or stripped of his rights or possessions

    [–> recognition of rights including property],

    or outlawed or exiled, or deprived of his standing in any way, nor will we proceed with force against him

    [–> policing power & the sword of state subordinated to justice],

    or send others to do so, except by the lawful judgment of his equals

    [ –> peers, i.e. trial by jury of peers]

    or by the law of the land

    [–> rule of law, not decree of tyrant or oligarch].

    + (40) To no one will we sell, to no one deny or delay right or justice.

    [–> integrity, lawfulness and legitimacy of government rooted in the priority of right and justice]

    Sounds familiar?

    KF

    PS: This (given John’s wars in France) is also the context for annual, publicly debated budgets and for taxation must be based on effective representation in the legislature. Indeed, it set the context in which parliament would emerge some 50 years later.

    PPS: As we were all once unborn children in the womb, let us ponder the force of “to no one will we . . . deny . . . right and justice,” and the consequences of warping law and the state in that context.

  77. 77
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Dutch DoI 1581:

    ___________

    >>. . . a prince is constituted by God to be ruler of a people, to defend them from oppression and violence as the shepherd his sheep; and whereas God did not create the people slaves to their prince, to obey his commands, whether right or wrong, [–> denial of might makes right and subordination of the prince under the justice and law of nature and nature’s God] but rather the prince for the sake of the subjects (without which he could be no prince), to govern them according to equity, to love and support them as a father his children or a shepherd his flock, and even at the hazard of life to defend and preserve them. And when he does not behave thus, but, on the contrary, oppresses them, seeking opportunities to infringe their ancient customs and privileges . . . then he is no longer a prince, but a tyrant, and the subjects are to consider him in no other view . . . This is the only method left for subjects whose humble petitions and remonstrances could never soften their prince or dissuade him from his tyrannical proceedings; and this is what the law of nature dictates for the defense of liberty, which we ought to transmit to posterity, even at the hazard of our lives. . . . . So, having no hope of reconciliation, and finding no other remedy, we have, agreeable to the law of nature in our own defense, and for maintaining the rights, privileges, and liberties of our countrymen, wives, and children, and latest posterity from being enslaved by the Spaniards, been constrained to renounce allegiance to the King of Spain [Philip II], and pursue such methods as appear to us most likely to secure our ancient liberties and privileges [–> note direct parallel in US DoI]. >>
    ____________

    Note, law of nature in a specifically Calvinist context, a century before Deism became significant. Also note, Vindiciae was 1579 and that so often banned book is quietly echoed.

    Of course, all of this points to the issue of objectivity of moral government and that of the root of our morally governed nature.

    KF

  78. 78
    CLAVDIVS says:

    kairosfocus

    After all that, I still don’t have your answer to my question: Can objective morals change?

    And don’t you agree that your self-evident moral truths #7 and #8 support gay marriage?

  79. 79
    Andre says:

    ClavDIVS

    Objective moral truth’s can not be changed by humans as they are independent and outside of human opinions, experiences, wishes, or feelings.

    #7 and #8 does not support gay marriage because in the natural order of things male to male or female to female copulation is incapable of making Offspring.

    Have you forgotten what evolution is all about? Should I help you?

    biological principles

    selection

    The theory of evolution by natural selection was proposed by Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace in 1858. They argued that species with useful adaptations to the environment are more likely to survive and produce progeny than are those with less useful adaptations, thereby increasing the frequency with which useful adaptations occur over the generations. The limited resources available in…

    biology: Evolution

    In his theory of natural selection, which is discussed in greater detail later, Charles Darwin suggested that “survival of the fittest” was the basis for organic evolution (the change of living things with time).

  80. 80
    CLAVDIVS says:

    Andre

    But can objective moral truths ever change at all, other than by humans?

    And: Are you saying that it is a self-evident moral truth that only child-bearing copulation is good, and any other sort of copulation is bad?

    – That’s not self-evident (i.e. one can deny it without absurdity)
    – It commits the naturalistic fallacy of trying to derive an ‘ought’ from an ‘is’ (i.e. only straight sex is child-bearing, therefore only straight sex is morally good).

  81. 81
    CLAVDIVS says:

    Andre

    Actually, there are examples in nature of animals that have non-child-bearing members who are essential to the balanced functioning of their society e.g. some species of ants with various sterile workers, soldiers etc.

    This strategy supports the propagation of the genes that the sterile members share with the queen, and is 100% in line with Darwin’s theory.

  82. 82
    Andre says:

    Are homosexuals sterile slave workers? News to me!

  83. 83
    Andre says:

    Clavdivs

    The problem with your idea of copulation is that the rectum’s only function is to excrete feces. It does not have the ability to function as some recreational sex organ. There are many health problems associated with that type of activity. Sure not all people do anal but if you think on the natural order of things that a male and a male can complete each other you are seriously deluded. Matter of fact I believe you are insane.

  84. 84
    CLAVDIVS says:

    Andre

    You have not answered my question – Can objective moral truths ever change at all?

    And you have not responded to my criticisms – You claim that it is a self-evident moral truth that only child-bearing copulation is good, and any other sort of copulation is bad:
    – This is not self-evident (because it can be denied without absurdity)
    – It commits the naturalistic fallacy of trying to derive an ‘ought’ from an ‘is’ (i.e. only straight sex is child-bearing, therefore only straight sex is morally good).

    Also, it is a simple fact that the rectum has the ability to function as a recreational sex organ – healthy or not – and it is preposterous that you would deny this fact.

    And it is not up to me to decide whether two people complete each other – surely that is up to them to decide, in accordance with self-evident moral truths #7 and #8 listed above.

  85. 85
    Andre says:

    Health Risks

    http://www.mayoclinic.org/heal.....t-20047107

    Why is it that gay men suffer more from depression and image problems? I find that intriguing….. What are they depressed about? Why do they have issues with their image?

  86. 86
    CLAVDIVS says:

    Andre

    Yes, homosexuals are sterile workers and child-raisers. But they are not slaves (neither are the ants).

  87. 87
    CLAVDIVS says:

    Andre

    Gay men suffer more depression and image problems because of centuries of irrational prejudice against them.

  88. 88
    Andre says:

    Ahhh Here we go….

    Two people who decide they love it each is up to them, so by that same rationale when a 6 year old and a 40 year male love each other it is up to them to decide? Or if I fall in love with my dog its up to us to decide?

    Got you loud and clear!

    So when something is not healthy for you its still good? Really?

    You are not deciding sure but you are advocating and giving moral judgements to those that disagree with you.

    Lastly Biology is not on your side in this argument no matter what, a crap hole is a crap hole…. comprende?

  89. 89
    Andre says:

    Please go away with this nonsense that they are being victimised, since when do victims have pride parades?

  90. 90
    Andre says:

    Victims, run hide and live under false pretences they don’t have parades all over the world celebrating their gayness, victims don’t do that! Narcissistic, self absorbed people do that.

  91. 91
    Andre says:

    Oh and hypocrites and bigots do pride parades!

  92. 92
    CLAVDIVS says:

    Andre

    Still no answer to my question — Can objective moral truths ever change at all?

    Still no response to my criticisms — You claim that it is a self-evident moral truth that only child-bearing copulation is good, and any other sort of copulation is bad:
    – This is not self-evident (because it can be denied without absurdity)
    – It commits the naturalistic fallacy of trying to derive an ‘ought’ from an ‘is’ (i.e. only straight sex is child-bearing, therefore only straight sex is morally good).

    And your response about six year olds and dogs is hilarious. We’re talking about people who are fully morally autonomous and competent – not children and animals. Try to debate like a grown-up.

    And it was your citation to Mayo Clinic that states:

    Gay men and men who have sex with men might be at higher risk of depression and anxiety. In addition, youth who identify themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender might have a higher risk of depression and attempted suicide.

    Contributing factors could include social alienation, discrimination, rejection by loved ones, abuse and violence. The problem might be more severe for men who try to hide their sexual orientation and those who lack social support.

    Don’t try and blame me for your own goal.

  93. 93
    Andre says:

    Your question is absurd, here is why, only male and female copulation can make offspring, male and male copulation is incapable of making offspring! Can you please give me any evidence that male to male copulation can make offspring please?

    The truth about six year olds and dogs is trying to point out to you that there must be a line. where is that line you are a subjectivist so where is that line CLAVDIVS?

    It is total nonsense that they are being victimised, its an old story and victims do not have pride parades!

  94. 94
    CLAVDIVS says:

    Andre

    I’m not a subjectivist.

    My question, which you have still not answered, is not absurd. It is simple – Can objective moral truths ever change at all?

    Of course gay sex is not procreative. So what? You cannot derive an ‘ought’ from an ‘is’. Trying to do so is a well-known fallacy called the naturalistic fallacy. Washing my car is not procreative either. Does that alone make it good, or bad? Of course not. What makes something good or bad is whether it accords with self-evident moral principles.

    The claim that only straight, procreative sex is morally good is not a self-evident moral principle. It is not self-evident, because its denial does not lead to absurdity. In fact – for the third time – it is just an instance of the naturalistic fallacy.

    Where we draw the line is quite obvious – a morally autonomous person “has a natural right to life, liberty, the pursuit of fulfillment of one’s sense of what s/he ought to be (‘happiness’)” (from @51). We sensibly do not regard children or animals as morally autonomous.

    As to your claim that gay people are not victimised, you are just hiding your head in the sand:
    Study finds high rate of victimization among gays, lesbians and bisexuals

    Oh, and here’s a very interesting study: New Study Links Homophobia with Homosexual Arousal (abstract here).

  95. 95
    Andre says:

    CLAVDIVS

    Can you point me to any pride parade by any Yazidi, Christian or Jew currently in IRAQ? Turkey? Iran? Syria? Lebanon? Saudi Arabia? Afghanistan? Pakistan? Yemen? UAE? Jordan? Egypt? Algeria? Libya?

    Can you give me a single pride parade being organised or done for any of these persecuted groups?

  96. 96
    Andre says:

    Ah! because you label me a homophobe (I’m not one) I must naturally be gay myself? Really?

    There is no ought when it comes to sex there only is. You are either a male or a female. Homosexuality is not even genetic.

    So a child is not an autonomous being? Really? So children don’t have a right to life and we can choose whatever we want to do to them on their behalf?

  97. 97
    Andre says:

    I have answered you already about objective moral truths, scroll up look for it read it……

  98. 98

    CLAVDIVS asks about objective morality:

    Can it ever change?

    No, because it reflects the purpose for which existence was created. The purpose of creation is that which oughts serve. Oughts only exist in relation to a purpose or a goal. Our understanding of moral law may change, and we may develop a better or more thorough understanding of it as new situations come up – much like so-called “physical laws”.

    Can we show any part of it is agreed upon by all?

    Can we show anything that all humans agree upon, whether objective or subjective in nature? I don’t understand this hyperskeptical requirement that keeps popping up where objective morality needs to be perfectly understood by everyone or else it cannot be objective in nature. Think of morality like a spiritual set of “laws” that are analogous to physical laws. That all humans cannot immediately understand them or agree on them doesn’t make morality non-objective in nature.

    There are, however, self-evidently true moral statements that all sane people would agree with: such as cruelty is wrong and love is good.

    Not all true moral principles or rules are self-evident. Self-evident truths, such as “I exist” and “X=X” are truths we reason from. They allow us to prove other things; they themselves cannot be proven – they are assumed. There are few self-evident truths – which means, the very concept of a thing would fail if the self-evident truth was wrong. Morality is absurd if love is evil, or if cruelty is good. This is one reason moral subjectivism, if true, renders morality an absurd proposition: anything can be good or evil, and is made good or evil by the subjective views of the individual.

    Some moral truths are logically necessary extensions or extrapolations of self-evident truths; some are conditionally true, some generally true. As with any human endeavor, ego, error and corruption can creep in and harm one’s moral perception and reasoning and produce disastrous results.

    Which is why both command authority objective morality, and moral subjectivism, are so dangerous.

  99. 99
    Andre says:

    The claim that only straight, procreative sex is morally good is not a self-evident moral principle. It is not self-evident, because its denial does not lead to absurdity. In fact – for the third time – it is just an instance of the naturalistic fallacy.

    Of course your statement is completely wrong because you’re ignoring all the health risks associated with homosexuality, which there are many of. Things that can kill you knowingly can not be morally good for you no matter what.

    Here is some interesting info for you,

    Heterosexual couples that have only ever had a single partner and also where the male is circumcised shows a virtual zero cervix cancer rate in females. Interesting hey! go look it up…..

  100. 100
    CLAVDIVS says:

    Andre

    Luckily for oppressed people around the world, we don’t judge whether a group is victimised based on Andre’s bizarre rule about whether or not they can organise a parade.

    In any case … you’re plain wrong:
    SOLIDARITY RALLY IN SUPPORT OF THE YAZIDI COMMUNITY IN SINJAR
    Dallas Area Christians to Rally in Support of Persecuted in Iraq
    Hundreds rally in Nashville to support Syrian refugees
    etc.

  101. 101
    CLAVDIVS says:

    Andre

    I did not label you a homophobe – stop telling lies.

    There is no ought when it comes to sex there only is.

    Andre, you cannot say what one ought to do based on some fact about the world i.e. what is. To do so is called the naturalistic fallacy because it is clearly a non sequitur. You clearly don’t understand this simple point and I will not bother explaining it to you again.

    So a child is not an autonomous being? Really? So children don’t have a right to life and we can choose whatever we want to do to them on their behalf?

    More lies from you, Andre. I said children are not morally autonomous, that is, we do not hold them morally accountable the same way we do adults. This is quite correct and proper.

    Honestly, your discussion points are on a kindergarten level and I think I’m done.

    And you never did answer the question whether objective moral truths ever change at all? You said humans can’t change them; ok, but that wasn’t the question. Can objective moral truths ever change at all?

  102. 102
    Andre says:

    CLAVDIVS

    Are you an imbecile? I only ask because I am not speaking about the lobby groups I’m talking about the persecuted people themselves? Do persecuted people have pride parades? Not do other have pride parades on behalf of others?

  103. 103
    Andre says:

    Can you biologically determine if someone is gay or a transgender?

    Off you go run!

  104. 104

    CLAVDIVS said:

    The claim that only straight, procreative sex is morally good is not a self-evident moral principle.

    I agree with this, but whether or not concluding it is wrong is a “naturalistic fallacy” depends on the reasoning employed. One could equally rebut the argument that homosexual behavior is morally good because it is natural (it occurs in the animal kingdom or because it is pleasurable for those that engage in it) as a naturalistic fallacy.

    If one holds that the complementary physiological and psychological nature of males and females serves the purpose of autonomously generating a paired whole and can complete itself as a fundamental procreative and social unit we call a “family”, then it would not be a naturalistic fallacy to refer to homosexual behavior as erroneous because it would be misusing physical, psychological and emotional complementary aspects that were intended for another purpose.

    Superficially, it would be like using a pair of plyers to hammer in a nail. It would be an error wrt the purpose of the complementary psychology and physiology of the male and female wrt to purpose of creation.

    One could make a counter-argument that expressions of love are just as important to the purpose of creation as male-female bonding and the generation of families. I think that’s a fair argument, but the argument becomes much more complex when homosexuals want to co-opt a concept intended to legally reflect the intended purpose of male-female union – marriage – and claim that their relationship is “the same thing”.

    It is not and cannot ever be the same thing. A relationship of “love” is not the same thing as the complementary union of males and females (even though, hopefully, love is a key ingredient therein), nor can any other kind of union produce children.

    This doesn’t mean that gays in relationships are evil people; it would just mean they are making a mistake. I make moral mistakes all the time – knowingly so. However, I don’t pretend they are not mistakes nor fool myself into thinking it’s the equivalent of something else that is a moral good.

  105. 105
    CLAVDIVS says:

    William J Murray

    Thanks for the response.

    Can [objective morality] ever change?
    No, because it reflects the purpose for which existence was created. The purpose of creation is that which oughts serve. Oughts only exist in relation to a purpose or a goal.

    That is a good point and I concur that morality only exists for beings like us that have purposes.

    This question was an ontological one because objectivity does not entail immutability – the orbit of the moon is objective but it changes. I think morality is objective but it changes as the world changes and our purposes within the world change too.

    I don’t understand this hyperskeptical requirement that keeps popping up where objective morality needs to be perfectly understood by everyone or else it cannot be objective in nature.

    You misunderstand me. This is an epistemological question – how does one establish that morality is objective? It seems to me that objective means that virtually everyone agrees on some observation. What else could it mean? If there are no core aspects of morality that everyone agrees on, what does it mean to call it objective?

  106. 106
    CLAVDIVS says:

    Andre

    As I suspected you are simply not debating in good faith; you have told lies, and now you are moving goalposts in a laughably blatant manner.

    You said:

    Can you give me a single pride parade being organised or done for any of these persecuted groups?

    That’s what I showed. Your subsequent evasions are hilarious, but a bit sad.

  107. 107

    Clavdivs said:

    You misunderstand me. This is an epistemological question – how does one establish that morality is objective? It seems to me that objective means that virtually everyone agrees on some observation. What else could it mean? If there are no core aspects of morality that everyone agrees on, what does it mean to call it objective?

    I would argue that one establishes that morality is objective by following a couple of different lines of reasoning. First, subjective morality is a non-starter; all sane people must act and argue as if morality refers to an objective commodity. To claim that morality is subjective would be similar to insisting solipsism is true. It’s just a worthless, impossible position to act from.

    However, that in itself only demonstrates the functional need for morality to be considered objective in nature. The means of acquiring moral knowledge requires that the moral landscape, if you will, be something that is available to us in some sensory capacity and is subject to rational analysis. Otherwise, there is no way to acquire or validate moral knowledge other than revelation, which is a very problematic methodology.

    Just as humans generally agree on information they acquire about the physical landscape via their senses and use reason to hammer out what the world is like “out there”, it is my view that humans can come to understand the moral landscape in a similar fashion by using conscience and reason. I hold that conscience is our sensory ability to acquire information from the moral landscape.

    All sane humans can use this sensory capacity to observe self-evident apsects of the moral landscape, such as “cruelty is wrong” or “love is good”, which is a great starting place for figuring out moral rules.

    You say morality can change; in your opinion, is it possible for morality to change so that cruelty becomes a good thing?

  108. 108
    Heartlander says:

    The unsound proposition that separate facilities assigned by biological sex involves discrimination on the basis of gender identity collapses into incoherence. If a boy who identifies as female has a right under Title IX to use the girls’ restrooms and showers, then it would clearly be discrimination on the basis of gender identity to bar a boy who identifies as male from also using them. After all, the difference between these two biological males is that they have different gender identities. How could one of the males be allowed to use the girls’ facilities and the other be barred from doing so if Title IX bars discrimination on the basis of gender identity? In short, contrary to everyone’s (including the Obama administration’s) understanding of Title IX, the transgender illogic would disallow any system of single-sex facilities to survive.
    Transgender Activism Has Produced a Legal Absurdity

  109. 109
    clown fish says:

    StephenB: “Wait a minute, we were discussing the harm done to the unborn child, not to the mother. It isn’t the mother who gets sliced up or scalded to death. How does the woman’s consent to an abortion effect the harm done to the child. Is this not more evidence that it is impossible to have a rational discussion with a subjectivist.”

    When you have already concluded that abortion is murder, and refuse to accept any other possibility, then it will be impossible for you to have a rational discussion about the subject.

    Canada has absolutely no law on abortion. In theory, it is completely legal to perform an abortion up until the first breath is taken. But this never happens. In fact, abortions after the first trimester are very rare.

    I’m in favour of limitations on abortion, based on how far along the pregnancy has proceeded, but not of a complete ban on it.

  110. 110
    CLAVDIVS says:

    Hi William

    Sorry, must get to bed (Sydney Australia here) but just to answer your last question – no, I don’t think morality could change such that cruelty would be a good thing.

    It looks like an oxymoron – cruelty = not good. If cruelty could somehow be good that would rob ‘goodness’ of any meaning.

  111. 111

    CLAVDIVS said:

    no, I don’t think morality could change such that cruelty would be a good thing.

    It looks like an oxymoron – cruelty = not good. If cruelty could somehow be good that would rob ‘goodness’ of any meaning.

    Then we agree that there at least some aspects of morality that are unchanging – IOW, absolute moral conditions. This is why I hold morality as “unchanging”; just as human subjective interpretation and understanding of physical laws of the universe change doesn’t mean that those physical laws themselves change; it just mean human understanding and how humans frame or comprehend the factual nature of our physical and moral existence changes.

    However, no amount of changes in human understanding will ever undermine self-evident truths, because those truths are what enable our understanding to advance and evolve.

  112. 112
    daveS says:

    WJM,

    Do you believe we can know with absolute certainty that objective morality exists?

  113. 113

    daveS:

    Do you believe we can know with absolute certainty that morality is objective?

    No.

  114. 114
    daveS says:

    Thanks, WJM.

  115. 115

    daveS:

    I will add this, however: everything I experience may be a big fat delusion, so I humbly defer when asked about “absolute certainty” about virtually anything. The only things I know with what I call absolute certainty is “I exist” and “I experience”, which are basically the same thing. I am not absolutely certain what such existence and experience entails, nor am I absolutely certain that experience is anything other than entirely subjective/delusional.

  116. 116
    kairosfocus says:

    DS can we know anything with absolute certainty apart from say that we are self aware? (And no, per brains in vats etc I am not even claiming absolute certainty on the content of our thoughts; but we can have objective certainty and moral certainty, including many cases of self evident truth.)

  117. 117
  118. 118
    daveS says:

    KF,

    DS can we know anything with absolute certainty apart from say that we are self aware? (And no, per brains in vats etc I am not even claiming absolute certainty on the content of our thoughts; but we can have objective certainty and moral certainty, including many cases of self evident truth.)

    I am very hesitant to claim absolute certainty about anything beyond “I exist”.

    But occasionally I do see references here to other propositions which are claimed to be true, with absolute certainty:

    (Or, is that not yet another self-referential absurdity that guarantees just what it would dismiss: (1) certain truth exists on pain of absurdity on attempted denial, (2) the certainty that there is no certainty is certainly false by way of self-refutation?)

    Okay, to the first steps.

    Error exists, E. Try to deny it, ~E — it is an error to hold error exists, whoops.

    Undeniably and self evidently true.

    Truth, knowable truth to self evident certainty exists and serves as a yardstick or plumbline for worldviews which in general will be much broader than such SETs.

    What about the “rules of right reason”?

    I: (A => A) = 1, i.e. A = A, LOI

    II: x in W such that x is (A AND ~A) = 0, i.e. NOT (A and ~A), LNC

    III: x in W is such that x is in A X-OR ~A, i.e. x is A or else ~A, not in both or neither; the dichotomy imposed by distinct identity is not a fuzzy border, LEM

    Those, or their equivalents, cannot but be plain to the reasonably informed and experienced person. And, by their nature such are certain and not open to change, where also the attempted denial ends in immediate patent absurdity.

  119. 119
    kairosfocus says:

    DS, do you see the criterion, self evidently and undeniably true? This is not equal to absolute truth. It is saying that we see it as true and as true necessarily on pain of patent absurdity on the attempt to deny. A decision has to be taken, relative to content of consciousness. Indeed, a cluster of such. The affirmation absolute truth is semantically quite different: truth, only truth, all the relevant truth, nothing but the truth. KF

  120. 120
    john_a_designer says:

    Clownfish responding to Mung @ #10:

    Mung: “Got it. You think people ought to conform themselves to your wishes.”

    Don’t we all? That doesn’t make my “wishes” or yours objective. I think people “ought” to accept the extension of legal protection to transgendered. I think people “ought” to accept same sex marriage. I think people “ought” to accept the legalization of Doctor assisted suicide. I suspect that you think otherwise. Your “oughts” are no more objectively grounded than mine are. I am comfortable with that.

    Clownfish illustrates the absolute absurdity of the subjectivist position. If there are only subjective “oughts,” (a person’s subjective opinions about morality) then there are no morally binding obligations of any kind. Therefore, on subjectivism there is NO BASIS for any kind of rights, starting with fundamental rights like the right to free speech and conscience and then including pseudo rights like, gay-rights, transgender rights, a right to legally assisted suicide etc. I agree. Again, on subjectivism, since moral obligations do not exist, rights of any kind do not exist. That’s why the whole LGBT… agenda is phony, baseless and without merit.

    Only traditional theism (mainly Judaism and Christianity) provides any real basis for moral obligations and universal human rights.

  121. 121
    daveS says:

    KF,

    DS, do you see the criterion, self evidently and undeniably true? This is not equal to absolute truth. It is saying that we see it as true and as true necessarily on pain of patent absurdity on the attempt to deny. A decision has to be taken, relative to content of consciousness. Indeed, a cluster of such. The affirmation absolute truth is semantically quite different: truth, only truth, all the relevant truth, nothing but the truth. KF

    Well, I don’t believe I referred to “absolute truth”. What I’m asking, for example, is whether we can be absolutely certain that the proposition “error exists” is true.

  122. 122

    daveS: What is the point of these “absolutely certain” questions of yours?

  123. 123
    daveS says:

    WJM,

    I’m just trying to get a better understanding of what people here are saying when they assert that objective morality exists. Are they asserting so beyond a reasonable doubt, or beyond any doubt? This general issue arises quite frequently here.

    Whether we can know “error exists”, “1 + 1 = 2”, and “I am not Mount Everest” are true with absolute certainty has been debated quite extensively.

    If you feel it’s off topic, then I will leave it for another thread.

  124. 124
    Andre says:

    There can never be absolute certainty the only certainty is “I think therfore I am.”

    And that is the starting point to everything else.

  125. 125

    daveS,

    I don’t care if it is off-topic. I just don’t understand the value of the line of questioning. What difference does it make if we cannot be absolutely certain whether a thing exists or not, or whether a statement is true or not?

    We operate off of the best information we can arbited by the best logic we can muster to come to the most rational conclusions with varying degrees of confidence in those conclusions. I don’t see how whether or not we are “absolutely” certain of something is of much importance over, say, being credibly certain.

    Perhaps you could enlighten me.

  126. 126

    This debate is pointless without definition of terms. I have defined all terms, subjectivity, objectivity, opinion, fact, etc., to make one consistent conceptual scheme.

    and the inevitable, bleedingly obvious, conclusion is that you cannot put morality into the same category as chemistry or something, as something “objective”.

    http://creationistischreveil.nl/fact
    http://creationistischreveil.nl/opinion
    http://creationistischreveil.nl/creationism

  127. 127
    daveS says:

    WJM,

    Well, if some proposition is true with absolute certainty, then I want to know about it. It seems like a good place to start in a discussion between individuals who disagree on some things–first look at the statements which are purportedly true beyond doubt (if there are any, of course).

    Obviously, Descartes found the issue worth pondering as well.

  128. 128
    Eugen says:

    I’ll mention small observation related to the discussion that is surprising from liberals. I happen to listen to lots of indie music. From interviews I gather most of indie musicians are pretty liberal, leftists, Democrats,etc. I listen to few dozen artists, hundreds of songs and music videos. Some videos are incomprehensibly artsy bizarre, some are about social issues, some about relationships….

    The last ones always show boy-girl, male-female i.e opposites. So far I didn’t see anything about homosexuals. (don’t start searching on YouTube to prove me wrong. I’m not claiming there’s no such video or song) Point is: even these predominantly liberal artists instinctively (and by reason) know the most important relationship, the one which sustains human race is boy-girl. The other stuff is insignificant.

  129. 129
    clown fish says:

    JAD: “If there are only subjective “oughts,” (a person’s subjective opinions about morality) then there are no morally binding obligations of any kind.”

    Other than those that we as a society/community agree to. And, being subjective, they will change over time. As history has shown.

    Therefore, on subjectivism there is NO BASIS for any kind of rights, starting with fundamental rights like the right to free speech and conscience…”

    Sure there is. If society as a whole agree that these should be fundamental basic rights, they have a strong basis. Until such a time as society as a whole thinks differently. Again, check the history of what have been considered fundamental rights.

    …and then including pseudo rights like, gay-rights, transgender rights, a right to legally assisted suicide etc.”

    They are every bit as fundamental if society as s whole agrees to them.

    Only traditional theism (mainly Judaism and Christianity) provides any real basis for moral obligations and universal human rights.”

    I give you credit for at least admitting that you believe that the faith you have selected has an assemblage of morals that, in your estimation, are superior to those of other faiths. Others are not capable of being this honest with themselves.

  130. 130
  131. 131
    Mung says:

    Others are not capable of being this honest with themselves.

    This is hilarious.

  132. 132
    Mung says:

    Aleta:

    Mung, that is a silly comment. Irrespective of whether there is objective morality, factual questions can be true or false. The phrase about “Nature’s God” is in the DoI, not the Constitution, and that’s a true fact. The statement has nothing to do with morality.

    You teach mathematics, not philosophy, so I’ll give you a pass.

    The point was about facts, truth and the good. IOW, objective morality.

    You claim that truth matter because facts matters. But why ought that be the cause? And why ought facts matter?

    Perhaps there is something inherently and objectively wrong with FALSENESS.

  133. 133
    Aleta says:

    Mung: There is a difference between saying “The phrase ‘Nature’s God” is not in the Constitution”, which is an objectively true fact, and making any claim as to whether one should make, or care about whether one makes, factually true statements. The first is not about morality, the second is. I made the first statement.

    So I think my comment quoted in 132 is accurate, and your question about whether accurate facts matter is a different issue.

  134. 134
    daveS says:

    KF,

    This is what I was referring to in #118, more succinctly:

    BA: Ironically, one of the absolutely certain things is that error exists.

  135. 135
    john_a_designer says:

    Here I think is the key paragraph from KF’s link above @130:

    We live in a world in which we credibly are responsibly and rationally free, morally governed and so under the rule of OUGHT. The rule of evident core principles of a moral law of our nature. So also, a world in which at world-root level (the bridge cannot be effected at any subsequent level) there must be an IS capable of sustaining the weight of OUGHT. And after centuries of debates, it is clear that there is only one serious candidate: the inherently good creator God, a necessary and maximally great being worthy of our respect, loyalty and the reasonable service of doing the good in accord with our evident nature.

    I agree. As I wrote in my post @ 120: “Only traditional theism (mainly Judaism and Christianity) provides any real basis for moral obligations and universal human rights.”

    The foolish subjectivist, on the other hand, has no moral foundation on which to stand (Matthew 7:24-27.) His opinions, no matter how sincere or well-intentioned they may be, are not and cannot be argued to be morally binding obligations. (Of course, he does have the right to his opinions. As well as the right to express those opinions.) As arguments, however, they fail to be rationally persuasive. As far as I can see, the only options open to the subjectivist are dishonesty, deception and/or dominance– using a brute force kind of will-to-power. However, such tactics will only result (if successful) in the subversion and collapse of a free and open democratic society. Tragically that is what we are presently witnessing in the U.S. Like the hour glass in Wicked Witches’ castle the sand is running out. We don’t have that much time.

  136. 136
    clown fish says:

    Mung: “This is hilarious.”

    Actually, just sad.

  137. 137
    clown fish says:

    JAD: “The foolish subjectivist, on the other hand, has no moral foundation on which to stand (Matthew 7:24-27.) “His opinions, no matter how sincere or well-intentioned they may be, are not and cannot be argued to be morally binding obligations.

    And neither can an objectivist when he is arguing to a subjectivist. Or to another objectivist who disagrees with the objectiveness of the moral value in question. I hate to keep bringing this up, but there are many moral objectivists who do not agree that homosexuality is morally wrong. What morally binding obligations ought he follow with regard to homosexuality.

    Arguing that there are objective moral values is like arguing over how many angels can fit on the head of a pin. Without agreement on the specific objective values, or the size of an angel, both are pointless arguments, no better than the mental equivalent of spilling your seed on the ground.

  138. 138

    Subjectivity = To choose about what it is that chooses, resulting in an opinion on what it is.

    Objectivity = To make a model of something forced by evidence, resulting in a fact.

    That is the standard meaning of those terms, derived by investigating the structure of common discourse.

    A fact is always a model of something. The facts about the moon, the facts about photosynthesis, etc. when someone provides those facts then in principle they correspond 1 to 1 with what the fact is about.

    To say “goodness” and “evil” are natural properties as can be measured, quantified, calculated, like any other physical property, is totally meaningless with the standard definition of fact.

  139. 139
    kairosfocus says:

    DS, In short, we can be certain. KF

  140. 140
    kairosfocus says:

    CF, again you are asserting when something you have consistently refused to address is on the table. On the subject of good and evil in sexuality cf here. The real issue is, do we have a nature and so a proper purpose, leading then to the evident complementarity of the sexes, marriage and the act of union, childbearing and requisites of the stability to sustain families and communities. It is becoming ever more evident what the dangers of extreme nominalism are: might makes right, truth, meaning, value, etc — nihilism in one word has been let loose and blinds us to the significance of good vs evil and the nature of evil as privation, frustration or warping out of proper purpose or end, of the good. And as law and justice are entailed, this is yet another manifestation of the dangerous divisions and manipulations that are afoot. Our civilisation is setting itself up to pay a terrible price. KF

    PS: The old phil debate commonly expressed in those terms and dismissed as useless, is actually a colourful way to express the differences about the difference between location and extension. Recall the definition of a point as pure location without extension?

  141. 141
    Aleta says:

    Mung asks,

    You claim that truth matters because facts matters. But why ought that be the case? And why ought facts matter?

    I didn’t actually claim this (see 133), but I’ve been thinking about what Mung said.

    Consider this: A Christian, a Buddhist, and an atheist walk into a bar. In a friendly philosophical discussion, they all say that they believe, and hold as a principle that they consistently act upon, that facts matter and that working to establish and know accurate (i.e, truthful) facts matter.

    They all are happy, and move on to other topics.

    Does it make any difference at all that the Christian and the Buddhist believe in some objective metaphysical foundation that supports their adherence to this belief (even though they don’t believe in the same metaphysical foundation), and the atheist doesn’t?

    Why is the fact the these three human being share common values and beliefs not enough?

  142. 142
    daveS says:

    KF,

    DS, In short, we can be certain. KF

    I hate to belabor the point, but can we be absolutely certain that objective morality exists? Just as we are each aware that we exist?

  143. 143
    kairosfocus says:

    DS, We can be certain to the point of self-svident truth on pain of absurdity on attempted denial. This is conditioned by certainty that we are conscious, rational and responsible — criteria for having a discussion. The semantic focus is different from that of assertions of absolute — truth, whole truth, naught but truth — but the effect is the same. SET is tantamount to absolute certainty when the absurdity is self stultifying to the point of undermining rational responsible freedom of action. In short, to deny X we would have to give up the life of the mind, so, we accept X as a premise of rational responsible freedom . . . assumed as an implicit presupposition of debate, including the premise that we fund ourselves under the oughtness of truth. It is far easier to understand this than to debate degrees of certainty in the abstract much as we debate degrees of purity of milk: whole, undiluted, untainted. KF

  144. 144

    Objective morality is forced morality. It is the forced smile of the utopian communist.

    It is not really a smile, it is really just turning the corners of the mouth upward, so as to act in accordance with the objective fact that this facial configuration constitutes goodness.

    As dictated by scientific socialism, what objective morality amounts to in practise.

  145. 145
    Mung says:

    Mung: “This is hilarious.”

    clown fish: “Actually, just sad.”

    What’s sad is that you cannot remember what you’ve said from one thread to another.

  146. 146
    Mung says:

    daveS: I hate to belabor the point, but can we be absolutely certain that objective morality exists?

    Yes, we can be certain.

  147. 147
    Mung says:

    Is it good to believe what is factual and true?

    Yes.

    We don’t despise holocaust deniers for no good reason.

  148. 148
    clown fish says:

    KairosFocus: “CF, again you are asserting when something you have consistently refused to address is on the table.”

    the fact that you disagree with how I have repeatedly addressed the issue does not mean that I have “consistently refused to address” it.

  149. 149
    Aleta says:

    Re 147: good, Mung and I agree.

    Re 148: what he means is that you consistently refuse to agree with him.

  150. 150
    vividbleau says:

    Clown RE129

    “Sure there is. If society as a whole agree that these should be fundamental basic rights, they have a strong basis. Until such a time as society as a whole thinks differently. Again, check the history of what have been considered fundamental rights.”

    Remember the phrase from I think Seinfeld “No soup for you” Clown is saying “No inalienable rights for you”

    Vivid

  151. 151
    kairosfocus says:

    CF,

    You have in fact failed to substantially address the first matter . . . objectivity of moral SET’s.

    The second matter, objectivity of good and evil vs extreme nominalism, relativism and/or subjectivism in the context of the sexual, pivots on the import of the first.

    We are undeniably under moral government, manifest in conscience and seen in even your implicit assumption in exchanges that we have conscience urging us on to truth and right in reasoning or debate.

    Were that an illusion (as say evolutionary materialism — and yes such is self-falsifying and inherently amoral — and its fellow travellers implies) — the case, such would let grand delusion loose on the life of the mind, reducing all to an infinite regress of plato’s cave shadow show worlds.

    This can be set aside as absurd.

    We can be confidently certain that we are morally governed and are informed by the moral perception faculty, conscience. Like other senses this can be dulled or trained, but on the whole we do perceive core moral principles and our fundamental equality and worth thus the need in justice to duly balance rights, freedoms and responsibilities. Therefore — as Plato counselled 2350 years past in The Laws Bk X — we are well advised to set extreme nominalism, amorality and relativism aside as absurd and destructive, leading straight to the nihilist’s credo: the highest right is might.

    So too, the basic facts and evident purpose of complementary sexes and requisites of family and social stability (it takes a village . . . ) for sound child nurture point to core sexual morality and the foundational nature of conjugality in marriage.

    That then leads directly to the above, which you studiously side-stepped:

    The real issue is, do we have a nature and so a proper purpose, leading then to the evident complementarity of the sexes, marriage and the act of union, childbearing and requisites of the stability to sustain families and communities. It is becoming ever more evident what the dangers of extreme nominalism are: might makes right, truth, meaning, value, etc — nihilism in one word has been let loose and blinds us to the significance of good vs evil and the nature of evil as privation, frustration or warping out of proper purpose or end, of the good. And as law and justice are entailed, this is yet another manifestation of the dangerous divisions and manipulations that are afoot. Our civilisation is setting itself up to pay a terrible price.

    The further evidence is, that no our genes do not program us sexually (nor on the whole do developmental processes in the womb etc) such that we have genetic determinism of sexual behaviour. This too would set grand delusion loose, undermining responsible, rational freedom, a condition of reasoned argument.

    Our civilisation is playing with fire sexually and is beginning to be burned (cf here on 12 step recovery alternatives):

    We live in a world in which we credibly are responsibly and rationally free, morally governed and so under the rule of OUGHT. The rule of evident core principles of a moral law of our nature. So also, a world in which at world-root level (the bridge cannot be effected at any subsequent level) there must be an IS capable of sustaining the weight of OUGHT. And after centuries of debates, it is clear that there is only one serious candidate: the inherently good creator God, a necessary and maximally great being worthy of our respect, loyalty and the reasonable service of doing the good in accord with our evident nature.

    If you would doubt or dismiss this, simply provide a viable alternative: ___________________ (Predictably, you cannot.)

    In that context, we can make sense of evil and of sometimes seemingly strange or unappealingly constraining moral rules in that further light. Namely, evil is the privation, frustration, wrenching out of proper end of what is good by nature of creation. So, we may discern the good and right from the bad and evil by its perverse tendencies that will also strongly tend to undermine the good ends that are evident to a reasonable mind. Often, such will not be instantly obvious, it sets up a seemingly attractive but slippery slope that leads to a hard crash with reality.

    That is the context of Kant’s categorical imperative: evils use other persons as means to our ends, frustrating or wrenching out of course their proper fulfillment of their natural and good ends. Likewise, evils parasite off the general good, i.e. they profit from being the exception not the rule. Were lying and cheating or thievery and murder to become the rule, damage and harm would spread across the whole community, breaking it down.

    This also obtains for the sexual order of our being.

    It is quite evident that maleness and femaleness are complementary and are connected inherently to reproduction. Where, sound upbringing of children requires stable, committed families based on lifetime covenant of man and wife, mother and father. Where, families and clans come together in communities to further stabilise and protect this central end of humanity through the civil peace of justice.

    When sexual attitudes, thoughts, expressions and behaviours are wrenched out of this context and are twisted away from such ends, it brings ever increasing privation to these ends. That holds for general sexual promiscuity, it holds for the porn plague, it holds for the divorce game, it holds for mass abortion, it holds for the attempts to warp our understanding of the proper use of sex organs under false colour of law and love, it holds for attempts to warp the definition of marriage under colour of law, it holds for the latest agenda item, to warp sense of sexual identity itself, equally under false colour of law.

    Nor, can it be fairly, responsibly argued that “my genes MADE me do it.” (That claim, under false colours of science, and spread far and wide by the media and education systems, has done much harm.)

    So, it is time to re-think; lest we find ourselves so far down mutually opposed slippery slopes that a hard crash with reality becomes inevitable.

    And frankly, I have my doubts that such a crash can now be averted. Too many institutions have become too warped and manipulating.

    But maybe we can soften the impact somewhat.

    Maybe.

    What chills me to the core is an observation in a work on the Great War, now 100 years past. Namely, that the Allies could not win until the best German troops were dead. That is, they had to soak up the horrible casualties of attrition (often at unfavourable exchange rates) until German strength was broken. Only then could they advance decisively — and still at stiff cost.

    Our civilisation is descending into polarisation that on such matters will soon reach that kind of entrenched irreconcilability. Already acts of 4th generation war are being resorted to by radical progressives to impose their will through lawfare. Yes, the usurpation of the sword of justice — note the morally freighted central concern of law — to impose an agenda by might and manipulation is a de facto declaration of war by launching a campaign.

    And I do not mean war metaphorically. The sword of justice carried by solemn courts, police forces, parliaments and executives is an instrument of force. Only when it is truly and manifestly guided by justice is it a defence of the civil peace.

    Once usurped, it is a means of war.

    And the clever agit prop trotted out to lend it plausibility and mob support are then also instruments of and tactics of war.

    Might makes ‘right’ war.

    When a critical mass wakes up to the ruthless determination to manipulate, usurp, impose and subjugate, that remonstrance is useless in the face of the ruthless, that mere votes make little difference given the machinations of the political machines and that ruin lies ahead, there will be a terrible price to pay.

    As happened with Athens.

    If we are lucky, there will be enough peaceful confessors and martyrs that enough will wake up before we go over the brink as a civilisation.

    God help me, I am looking at confessors and martyrs as a blessing of MERCY for our civilisation, even as was the man of my family whose name I bear.

    But I fear the seed of hate has been so deeply sown that many will not perceive such for what it is; peaceful witness willing to pay terrible cost without retaliation, to stand unflinchingly for the truth and the right in the face of demonic government gone wrong.

    (Do you not see the dragon’s teeth being sown when you so triumphantly label those who protest the agenda: bigots, tantamount to KKK racists, and more?)

    Do not be astonished, if the ruthless activists and their strategic backers persist in the march of folly, to see secession and acts of civil then at length military defence against the rise of demonic despotism.

    Have you not learned the lesson of the US DoI after 240 years?

    Do you not see that as esp. the US is the leading maritime power, it is chief guardian of global stability? Things are utterly different from 1861 . . . FYI the Royal Navy is effectively gone and is not coming back, and standing for sexual and marital sanity on principle is not to be morally equated with explicitly supporting or enabling slavery. Which, God help us, someone tried to do.

    (The neo-isolationists of various stripes are themselves on another march of geostrategic folly, with the Persian Empire being reborn before our eyes and with Israel and Egypt as the cork in the bottle holding back the thrust into Africa to seize continental scale strategic resources. FYI, France cannot bear the cost and Nigeria and South Africa, Kenya and Ethiopia even moreso cannot. God help us, I see rivers of blood, fire and tears ahead.)

    Do you not see what playing at Wiemar Republic is doing?

    Do you not see that since 1979 we have been in a slow burn, 4th gen global war, renewal of World War Zero, the 1400 year war of IslamIST expansionism?

    Do you not see the red, double green unholy alliance of convenience and how this sets up internal chaos as a renewed global threat stalks the world?

    Do you not see that the dogs of war are about to slip their chains?

    Do you not see the fire that is being so foolishly, so blindly played with?

    KF

  152. 152
  153. 153

    The rights of man are based on the fact that it is the nature of man to choose. A man cannot not choose, and be robotic.

    But objective morality states that man is to act as a robot, his behaviour predetermined by the instructions of objective morality.

    Objective morality takes away the rights of man, as regimes based on objective morality like communism and nazism have shown.

    Subjective morality confirms the rights of man, because subjectivity operates by choosing. And subjective morality leads to democracy with freedom of opinion.

  154. 154
    Aleta says:

    I didn’t “throw down the gauntlet”. I just pointed out that kf continually rejects and, can I say, fails to address, any comment that disagrees with his analysis and apocalyptic views; and then he says people have failed to address him.

    Another repeat of his views doesn’t address my point at all.

  155. 155
    kairosfocus says:

    Aleta, what do you think it means when you twist a principled discussion into a will to power assertion? Look again at your words, given the ongoing wider context: what he means is that you consistently refuse to agree with him. And it is outright falsehood to assert several other dismissive things you have asserted just now, on context. For just one instance, there has been no cogent geostrategic counter analysis [indeed, some have stated that they do not want to take that issue up or have indicated concern tantamount to substantial agreement), there has been no cogent substantial response on the inherent instability of democracy and what it means as wedges are driven ever deeper into our civilisation on core matters of moral governance, and more. Assertions, dismissals, loaded caricatures and invidious comparisons aplenty, cogent substantial counter analysis, not so much. Indeed 07’s being missing in action on substantially responding on his demand for 10 self evident moral truths is emblematic. And your conclusive one liner just now simply announces that in effect you disagree and think you can impose your will. I have made a case . . . and WJM has too and BA has too and Vivid and others, explaining dynamics and principles, addressing worldview foundations and cultural agendas on HISTORY not apocalyptic scriptures (a corrective point I have made already), that is a gross and toxic mischaracterisation and case of mislabel to dismiss. Kindly answer the case or stand revealed — the true unveiling — as enabling a march of folly. KF

  156. 156

    Aleta asks a good question here:

    Does it make any difference at all that the Christian and the Buddhist believe in some objective metaphysical foundation that supports their adherence to this belief (even though they don’t believe in the same metaphysical foundation), and the atheist doesn’t?

    Why is the fact the these three human being share common values and beliefs not enough?

    Here we have a prime example of what I mean by “moral privilege”. I assume that Aleta has been raised in western countries, which were all founded entirely upon the concept of moral objectivism. Further, through the enlightenment, the civilization of the west has flowed from and prospered through an enriched understanding of that moral objectivism mediated via the principles of sound reasoning.

    This gave rise to what many consider the pinnacle of the concept of objective natural law employed as the basis of the founding of the USA – the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, rooted in the idea that people have inviolable, natural rights and are metaphysical equals (because obviously, we’re not physical or mental equals).

    The social/cultural history of western countries, regardless of how “secular” they have grown over time, is entirely framed by this Judeo-Christian, enlightenment-reformed model. Our behaviors, expectations of others, feelings, views, norms – all incubated within an enlightened, Judeo-Christian cultural oven.

    Think of Western civilization as a tower built almost entirely with and upon a foundation of a certain material and using certain engineering principles. It has stood the test of time and provided a home for great success, prosperity, freedom and innovation, unlike almost anything else the world has ever seen.

    Now, more and more, some people are offended by the kind of material that has been used to build the tower they live in (and enjoy the benefits thereof), and wish to start tearing out the old material and replace it with a different material that has never – anywhwere in the history of the world – been shown to be able to build a tower.

    What will the effects be of tearing out moral objectivism, the idea of free will, and faith in god on the tower we all live in, and replacing that material with moral subjectivism, physical determinism, and no faith in any higher spiritual purpose?

    Aleta asks (from my perspective) with her example, “Isn’t it enough that we all live in the same tower (meaning, having lived in the tower, share the same general sense of oughts and have similar sensibilities)? Why do we have to have to agree about the materials the tower is founded upon, built up with, and the engineering principles that keeps it from collapsing?”

    Aleta was born in and lives entirely within a tower engineered with and built from theistic metaphysics, where even the secular protections and separations are generated entirely from that perspective. Aleta thinks she and others can simply start tearing out parts of the tower and its foundation and use subjectively-preferred engineering techniques where they wish as if this haphazard building method doesn’t pose a risk to the tower.

    No, Aleta, it’s not enough that we all just happen to live in the tower. You an your ilk are haphazardly ripping out sections of foundation and wall and slapping in your subjectiely-preferred materials however you “feel” like while sneering at KF, myself and others who are raising warnings from a building material and engineering perspective about what you’re doing to the structural integrity of the tower.

    The tower in which we all live and upon which we all depend for our freedom, rights and enlightened culture depends entirely upon the principles and material used to build it. You seem to think that such principles and materials are nothing but a matter of subjective, aesthetic art and are not necessary to the integrity of the tower itself. You think the builders and engineers that planned and built the tower are merely artists, and that the only thing keeping the tower up is a shared artistic aesthetic, which when changed in any subjectively-preferred way the tower will remain standing.

    That’s what makes you and others like you so dangerous. You have no regard for any of the principles or materials used to build the civilization that affords you your privileged position; you think it’s all a matter of subjective personal preferences, emotions and empathy.

    And so we get to things like “transsexual protections” and SSM. You think “everything will be just fine” and poo-poo any alarms raised when you alter fundamental aspects of the tower you live in without any regard whatsoever to how such changes might affect its structural integrity. We get laws and policies based on sentiment which have vast unintended consequences down the road. You advocate and argue to rip out and replace fundamental, core building concepts and materials like free will, the sanctity of human life and objective morality without any concern or consideration about the potentially devastating effects such reckless acts might have on the very tower you live in.

    No, Aleta. That we might share many of the same sentiments is not enough to keep the tower up.

  157. 157

    Aleta: Saying that you disagree with KF is not the same thing as actually addressing his points and making logical rebuttals or showing how his premises are unsound.

    I doubt you and others here even read much of what KF posts; I’ve never seen you or anyone else offer a point by point rebuttal argument against his premises and ensuing logical inferences and conclusions. Actually, I doubt any of you here in opposition are even capable of understanding his argument, much less offer an effective rebuttal, because you don’t care about logically defending your worldview structure. You don’t even appear to care about worldview structures and whether or not they are sound and what conclusions they logically lead to. I’ve never seen you make any such case or argument.

    To me, you and others seek only to summarily dismiss what KF posts because you’re too lazy and/or ignorant to actually address/rebut it, which leads you to invest in some narrative about KF and what he posts that justifies dismissing him and not actually responding to the meat of his posts.

  158. 158
    mike1962 says:

    WJM @156,

    I wonder how people like Aleta whould have fared preaching their “we can work it out together”, feel-good moral relativism in, say, Assyria circa 2600 BCE. Or in Iran and Saudi Arabia today.

    It’s impossible to ignore the one that done brung ya to the dance.

  159. 159
    john_a_designer says:

    I think morally we can begin with one simple self-evident truth: If there are only subjective “oughts,” (a person’s subjective opinions about morality) then there are no morally binding obligations of any kind.

    A person who holds to such a thorough going form of subjectivism is incorrigibly selfish and self-righteous. Why would I or anyone else have any reason to trust someone like that?

    In other words, for morality to be meaningful in any TRUE sense to society it must be interpersonal. It must recognize the moral value and worth of other individuals.

    Or putting it another way, I must respect your rights. However, if rights are not real—only arbitrary– there is no reason to respect them.

  160. 160
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM,

    I endorse your analysis and warning as just presented.

    I add to it that we seem to have suppressed the history and formerly deeply understood lessons on the inherently unstable self destructive nature of democracies. Thus, the need for stabilising supports, checks and balances in the face of demagogues, mobs manipulated by agit prop and schemers alike.

    It is as though some view Western, constitutionally Democratic, private enterprise funded, ethical theism rooted, conjugal family based civilisation as what is wrong with the world and are willing to enter into unholy alliances to utterly change it and break its power. Especially the maritime power that secures global stability, trade and economic prosperity.

    (And neo-isolationists, there is no Royal Navy of consequence now. The dinky corvettes and slightly armed merchantman logistics ships that now perform West Indies/Atlantic guard duty are a chilling reminder of how the mighty have fallen. Indeed, I suspect the former are only marginally capable of standing the sort of seas we have in this part of the world. Cold fingers grip my heart every time I look out across Carrs bay and see the visiting guard ship. The days when a Fisher could say there are five gates to the world and I have the keys in my back pocket are over. WWI and II did that, and guess what, in winning the war geostrategically, and the cold war too, you the USA signed up for the duties of global ocean guard. Absent that, chaos — predictable chaos. Think Delian League without ambitions of empire vs surrender of the seas to whoever would impose will to power.)

    — We can in fact see the clear connexions of a de facto red double green alliance,

    — we can see the undermining of consensus within, the usurpation of the sword of justice,

    — we can see the agenda of mass immigration of clearly incompatible and terrorist riddled “refugees” despite the warnings of the precedent of the collapse of the W Roman Empire,

    — we can see the re-emergence of Persia,

    — we can see the MB 100 year plan and civilisation/ settlement jihad strategy,

    — we can see demographic collapse,

    — we can see breakdown of family,

    — we can see despising of the church,

    — we can see Africa as a geostrategic continental base that is poorly governed and worse garrisoned,

    — we can see the Nile corridor and the land bridge from the Sinai to the Bosporus,

    — we can see the lines of a fourth generation world war moving from slow burn to nuclear backed heat,

    — and more.

    And we can see the dismissiveness in the face of warnings on history and geostrategic dynamics and worldviews and cultural dynamics and more. All the signs of a march of folly, as Tuchman warned a generation past.

    KF

  161. 161
    kairosfocus says:

    M62 and JAD, sobering points. KF

  162. 162
    daveS says:

    KF,

    From the FYI-FTR:

    Of course, the truth is, CF and others of like ilk have consistently side-stepped dealing with evidence that there are self-evident moral truths …

    When you speak of “self-evident moral truths”, do you mean that any being (human or otherwise) intelligent enough to understand the meaning of, for example, “one should not commit murder”, will comprehend that statement’s truth? Sociopathic humans included?

  163. 163
    kairosfocus says:

    DS,

    Kindly observe, I again lay out — and while the point is that denial lands in patent absurdity, one can cling to absurdity (as do sociopaths):

    _____________

    >>normally responsive people will at least grudgingly respect the following summary of such core, conscience attested morality from the pen of Paul:

    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 . . . .

    Rom 13:8 Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong [NIV, “harm”] to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. [ESV]

    Where, John Locke, in grounding modern liberty and what would become democratic self-government of a free people premised on upholding the civil peace of justice, in Ch 2 Sec. 5 of his second treatise on civil Government [c. 1690] cites “the judicious [Anglican canon, Richard] Hooker” from his classic Ecclesiastical Polity of 1594 on, as he explains how the principles of neighbour-love are inscribed in our hearts, becoming evident to the eye of common good sense and reasonableness:

    . . . if I cannot but wish to receive good, even as much at every man’s hands, as any man can wish unto his own soul, how should I look to have any part of my desire herein satisfied, unless myself be careful to satisfy the like desire which is undoubtedly in other men . . . my desire, therefore, to be loved of my equals in Nature, as much as possible may be, imposeth upon me a natural duty of bearing to themward fully the like affection. From which relation of equality between ourselves and them that are as ourselves, what several rules and canons natural reason hath drawn for direction of life no man is ignorant . . . [Hooker then continues, citing Aristotle in The Nicomachean Ethics, Bk 8 and alluding to Justinian’s synthesis of Roman Law in Corpus Juris Civilis that also brings these same thoughts to bear:] as namely, That because we would take no harm, we must therefore do none; That since we would not be in any thing extremely dealt with, we must ourselves avoid all extremity in our dealings; That from all violence and wrong we are utterly to abstain, with such-like . . . ] [Eccl. Polity,preface, Bk I, “ch.” 8, p.80, cf. here. Emphasis added.]

    We may elaborate on Paul, Locke, Hooker and Aristotle, laying out several manifestly evident and historically widely acknowledged core moral principles for which the attempted denial is instantly and patently absurd for most people — that is, they are arguably self-evident moral truths. For instance:

    1] The first self evident moral truth is that we are inescapably under the government of ought.

    (This is manifest in even an objector’s implication in the questions, challenges and arguments that s/he would advance, that we are in the wrong and there is something to be avoided about that. That is, even the objector inadvertently implies that we OUGHT to do, think, aim for and say the right. Not even the hyperskeptical objector can escape this truth. Patent absurdity on attempted denial.)

    2] Second self evident truth, we discern that some things are right and others are wrong by a compass-sense we term conscience which guides our thought. (Again, objectors depend on a sense of guilt/ urgency to be right not wrong on our part to give their points persuasive force. See what would be undermined should conscience be deadened or dismissed universally? Sawing off the branch on which we all must sit.)

    3] Third, were this sense of conscience and linked sense that we can make responsibly free, rational decisions to be a delusion, we would at once descend into a status of grand delusion in which there is no good ground for confidence in our self-understanding. That is, we look at an infinite regress of Plato’s cave worlds: once such a principle of grand global delusion is injected, there is no firewall so the perception of level one delusion is subject to the same issue, and this level two perception too, ad infinitum; landing in patent absurdity.

    4] Fourth, we are objectively under obligation of OUGHT. That is, despite any particular person’s (or group’s or august council’s or majority’s) wishes or claims to the contrary, such obligation credibly holds to moral certainty. That is, it would be irresponsible, foolish and unwise for us to act and try to live otherwise.

    5] Fifth, this cumulative framework of moral government under OUGHT is the basis for the manifest core principles of the natural moral law under which we find ourselves obligated to the right the good, the true etc. Where also, patently, we struggle to live up to what we acknowledge or imply we ought to do.

    6] Sixth, this means we live in a world in which being under core, generally understood principles of natural moral law is coherent and factually adequate, thus calling for a world in which OUGHT is properly grounded at root level. (Thus worldviews that can soundly meet this test are the only truly viable ones. if a worldview does not have in it a world-root level IS that can simultaneously ground OUGHT, it fails decisively.*)

    7] Seventh, in light of the above, even the weakest and most voiceless of us thus has a natural right to life, liberty, the pursuit of fulfillment of one’s sense of what s/he ought to be (“happiness”). This includes the young child, the unborn and more. (We see here the concept that rights are binding moral expectations of others to provide respect in regards to us because of our inherent status as human beings, members of the community of valuable neighbours. Where also who is my neighbour was forever answered by the parable of the Good Samaritan. Likewise, there can be no right to demand of or compel my neighbour that s/he upholds me and enables me in the wrong — including under false colour of law through lawfare. To justly claim a right, one must first be in the right.)

    8] Eighth, like unto the seventh, such may only be circumscribed or limited for good cause. Such as, reciprocal obligation to cherish and not harm neighbour of equal, equally valuable nature in community and in the wider world of the common brotherhood of humanity.

    9] Ninth, this is the context in which it becomes self evidently wrong, wicked and evil to kidnap, sexually torture and murder a young child or the like as concrete cases in point that show that might and/or manipulation do not make ‘right,’ ‘truth,’ ‘worth,’ ‘justice,’ ‘fairness,’ ‘law’ etc. That is, anything that expresses or implies the nihilist’s credo is morally absurd.

    10] Tenth, this entails that in civil society with government, justice is a principal task of legitimate government. Thus also,

    11] Eleventh, that government is and ought to be subject to audit, reformation and if necessary replacement should it fail sufficiently badly and incorrigibly.

    12] Twelfth, the attempt to deny or dismiss such a general framework of moral governance invariably lands in shipwreck of incoherence and absurdity. But that does not mean that the attempt is not going to be made, so there is a mutual obligation of frank and fair correction and restraint of evil.
    _________________

    * F/N: After centuries of debates and assessment of alternatives per comparative difficulties, there is in fact just one serious candidate to be such a grounding IS: the inherently good creator God, a necessary and maximally great being worthy of ultimate loyalty and the reasonable responsible service of doing the good in accord with our manifestly evident nature. (And instantly, such generic ethical theism answers also to the accusation oh this is “religion”; that term being used as a dirty word — no, this is philosophy. If you doubt this, simply put forth a different candidate that meets the required criteria and passes the comparative difficulties test: _________ . Likewise, an inherently good, maximally great being will not be arbitrary or deceitful etc, that is why such is fully worthy of ultimate loyalty and the reasonable, responsible service of doing the good in accord with our manifestly evident nature. As a serious candidate necessary being, such would be eternal and embedded in the frame for a world to exist at all. Thus such a candidate is either impossible as a square circle is impossible due to mutual ruin of core characteristics, or else it is actual. For simple instance no world is possible without two-ness in it, a necessary basis for distinct identity inter alia.>>
    ______________

    Conscience proverbially can be seared as with a hot iron, or can be warped by a debased mind, but the signs of such searing and debasing show themselved through absurdity.

    In the case of robbing another person of his or her life, that is clearly a failure of respect for those of equal worth, and were it to be generalised, civil society would collapse into a war of the feuding tribes.

    Which chaos is precisely what the institutions of civil society were developed to counter.

    KF

  164. 164
    Aleta says:

    to William:

    I am quite aware that I am a product of Western civilization: I am the one arguing that moral and broader world views are in large part a product of culture.

    Also, I know that what you call “enlightened, Judeo-Christian cultural oven” is a combination of our Judeo-Christian cultural background and a more rational, scientific, and humanitarian overlay that has helped balance some of the deficiencies of that Judeo-Christian background.

    William writes,

    That’s what makes you and others like you so dangerous. You have no regard for any of the principles or materials used to build the civilization that affords you your privileged position; you think it’s all a matter of subjective personal preferences, emotions and empathy.

    That’s a bunch of crap, and you can take your judgments about what I believe and shove it. I have a very high regard for what you call the principles of our civilization, and I don’t need to believe in God to do so. So *$^%& you.

    You advocate and argue to rip out and replace fundamental, core building concepts and materials like free will, the sanctity of human life and objective morality without any concern or consideration about the potentially devastating effects such reckless acts might have on the very tower you live in.

    More sanctimonious blathering. You and kf say we “don’t address his arguments.” I can assure you that you don’t address mine. If you had more ability to sit down in the bar and really try to understand the common humanity of people with different perspectives rather than being so one-sidedly divisive, you’d be a better person.

  165. 165
    Aleta says:

    P.S. My support of same-sex marriage and transgendered accommodations, as well as many other things, is consistent with my belief in the principles of our Constitution concerning rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all.

  166. 166
    kairosfocus says:

    Aleta,

    In fact this is what the import of playing with identity, marriage and family under false colour of law is:

    We live in a world in which we credibly are responsibly and rationally free, morally governed and so under the rule of OUGHT. The rule of evident core principles of a moral law of our nature. So also, a world in which at world-root level (the bridge cannot be effected at any subsequent level) there must be an IS capable of sustaining the weight of OUGHT. And after centuries of debates, it is clear that there is only one serious candidate: the inherently good creator God, a necessary and maximally great being worthy of our respect, loyalty and the reasonable service of doing the good in accord with our evident nature.

    If you would doubt or dismiss this, simply provide a viable alternative: ___________________ (Predictably, you cannot.)

    In that context, we can make sense of evil and of sometimes seemingly strange or unappealingly constraining moral rules in that further light. Namely, evil is the privation, frustration, wrenching out of proper end of what is good by nature of creation. So, we may discern the good and right from the bad and evil by its perverse tendencies that will also strongly tend to undermine the good ends that are evident to a reasonable mind. Often, such will not be instantly obvious, it sets up a seemingly attractive but slippery slope that leads to a hard crash with reality.

    That is the context of Kant’s categorical imperative: evils use other persons as means to our ends, frustrating or wrenching out of course their proper fulfillment of their natural and good ends. Likewise, evils parasite off the general good, i.e. they profit from being the exception not the rule. Were lying and cheating or thievery and murder to become the rule, damage and harm would spread across the whole community, breaking it down.

    This also obtains for the sexual order of our being.

    It is quite evident that maleness and femaleness are complementary and are connected inherently to reproduction. Where, sound upbringing of children requires stable, committed families based on lifetime covenant of man and wife, mother and father. Where, families and clans come together in communities to further stabilise and protect this central end of humanity through the civil peace of justice.

    When sexual attitudes, thoughts, expressions and behaviours are wrenched out of this context and are twisted away from such ends, it brings ever increasing privation to these ends. That holds for general sexual promiscuity, it holds for the porn plague, it holds for the divorce game, it holds for mass abortion, it holds for the attempts to warp our understanding of the proper use of sex organs under false colour of law and love, it holds for attempts to warp the definition of marriage under colour of law, it holds for the latest agenda item, to warp sense of sexual identity itself, equally under false colour of law.

    KF

  167. 167
    daveS says:

    KF,

    DS,

    Kindly observe, I again lay out — and while the point is that denial lands in patent absurdity, one can cling to absurdity (as do sociopaths):

    So I take it this means sociopaths (even those with IQ’s) may not be capable of discerning self-evident moral truths. What about highly intelligent aliens?

    As you can tell, I’m somewhat skeptical about self-evident truths in general, aside from those which are actually analytic.

    Is there any way to show which of the following (if either) is true?

    1. “One should not murder” is a self-evident moral truth.

    2. “One should not murder” is not a self-evident moral truth, but any human with a normally functioning conscience finds the notion of murder so abhorrent that s/he finds it nearly impossible to behave as if it is not.

    A related question: Are self-evident moral truths things you “either get or don’t”, or is it possible to persuade someone that a particular self-evident moral truth is such?

  168. 168
    clown fish says:

    Vividbleu: “Remember the phrase from I think Seinfeld “No soup for you” Clown is saying “No inalienable rights for you””

    Pretty much correct. We have the rights that we as a society are willing to give ourselves. KairosFocus and StephenB and Aleta went on at length about the DoI and the constitution. These are nothing but documents written by people, detailing the rights and freedoms that they as a group (a very small group) agreed should be extended to everyone equally. Except, of course, blacks, Indians, women, etc. Because it was accepted by society as a whole, they became the rights for all Americans. They can be, and have been, removed or suspended at any time.

  169. 169

    Aleta said:

    I am quite aware that I am a product of Western civilization: I am the one arguing that moral and broader world views are in large part a product of culture.

    That’s where you have your cart before your horse, Aleta. What is the culture a product of, which then in turn produces, or at least influences, the views of those inside the culture? KF and I are arguing about what generates a culture; you are insisting on validating the personal feelings and views that culture influences without checking it against that which generated the culture in the first place.

    Also, I know that what you call “enlightened, Judeo-Christian cultural oven” is a combination of our Judeo-Christian cultural background and a more rational, scientific, and humanitarian overlay that has helped balance some of the deficiencies of that Judeo-Christian background.

    As I have said, our culture is a product of Christian theism meeting and combining with Enlightenment rationalism. You seem to think that we can extract one from the other and maintain the tower. You are mistaken.

    Aleta continues:

    I have a very high regard for what you call the principles of our civilization, and I don’t need to believe in God to do so.

    Here Aleta demonstrates, for all to see, just how unequipped she is in terms of comprehending either the structure of our civilization or arguments concerning it; one cannot “not believe in god” and possibly have any hope of understanding what “belief in god” means with regard to every single aspect of how the tower was built and how it continues to provide safety and opportunity even for those that wish to dismantle it.

    Aleta can only superficially, artistically regard those principles; her disregard is evident in every position she takes on social matters. IOW, she highly regards what she can use the terminology of those principles to support, but only by utterly disregarding the deep, spiritual, contextual meaning of those principles and the metaphysics that provides them with authority and obligation. She thinks she can “highly regard” the principle while disbelieving where the principle comes from, what it is necessarily rooted in, and what it requires for its force and authority.

    She thinks she can disbelieve god exists, but then claim that a principle that requires god for any significant value, responsibility or obligation is “highly regarded”. The only thing she can “highly regard”, from the disbelievers logically consistent perspective, is the deceptive rhetorical value employing the terminology of the principle gains her when she uses it in a culture that otherwise considers that principle only meaningful in context of theistic metaphysics.

    IOW, without god and theistic metaphysics, the principle of human equality and self-evident, inviolable rights are just words and sentiment set to law via personal preference. Nothing more. That’s not a sound foundation, Aleta. Anyone can see that. The tower wasn’t built on personal preference and subjective sentiment, nor can it survive on such restructuring.

    More sanctimonious blathering. You and kf say we “don’t address his arguments.” I can assure you that you don’t address mine. If you had more ability to sit down in the bar and really try to understand the common humanity of people with different perspectives rather than being so one-sidedly divisive, you’d be a better person.

    Instead of this kind of vitriol and vague handwaving about “understanding common humanity”, you could just take the time to actually, point by point, address KF’s premises and inferences. Or, you could lay out your worldview for us and explain how your premises should be considered valid and how they logically lead to your moral conclusions and behaviors, then field questions and respond.

    But, I doubt you’ve given your worldview that much critical analysis. More likely, it’s just a mish-mash of views generated entirely by sentiment and empathy with no regard whatsoever as to whether or not they are even rationally reconcilable with each other or how you actually behave.

  170. 170
    clown fish says:

    KairosFocus: You have in fact failed to substantially address…

    I have been over this repeatedly. I refuse to continue to go over what I have already addressed.

    The second matter, objectivity of good and evil vs extreme nominalism, relativism and/or subjectivism in the context of the sexual, pivots on the import of the first.

    Since there is no objective good or evil, the rest of your words are of little import. We have been over this before as well.

    This can be set aside as absurd.

    You may chose to do so. But this doesn’t make it so.

    We can be confidently certain that we are morally governed and are informed by the moral perception faculty, conscience.

    Yes, we are morally governed by the morality that we subjectively establish for ourselves. And yes, when we consider doing something that goes counter to our subjectively established morals, our conscience bothers us. We feel guilty.

  171. 171
    clown fish says:

    Kairosfocus: “Aleta, what do you think it means when you twist a principled discussion into a will to power assertion?”

    I call it the Kairosfocus school of debate.

    With respect, KairosFocus, you have a history of accusing those who refuse top accept your arguments as debating in bad faith, disregarding truth, distractive behaviour and many other character flaws. It is a very unattractive behaviour that does not add to your arguments.

    But it is a free country. Feel free to continue as you wish.

  172. 172

    Aleta continued, demonstrating my point above about her superficial regard for founding principles:

    P.S. My support of same-sex marriage and transgendered accommodations, as well as many other things, is consistent with my belief in the principles of our Constitution concerning rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all.

    …. she extracts her support of “transgender protections” by applying sentiment to the terminology of a fundamental principle utterly rooted in a theistic metaphysics while dismissing the theistic metaphysics as unimportant to the princple behind the terminology/phrasing. She is employing the terminology instead under atheism/moral subjectivism as if that terminology still means the same thing, which it cannot.

    Those words cannot refer to the same principle, Aleta, because the original principal depends upon the theistic premise for its value, authority and obligation. Under atheistic moral subjectivism, the words might refer to a principle of “conditional and temporary license to behave according to current law”, but it certainly doesn’t refer to any metaphysical, inviolable right.

  173. 173
    Aleta says:

    William says of me:

    But, I doubt you’ve given your worldview that much critical analysis. More likely, it’s just a mish-mash of views generated entirely by sentiment and empathy with no regard whatsoever as to whether or not they are even rationally reconcilable with each other or how you actually behave.

    I will quit responding to William, but this is a ridiculous comment. I have been studying many subjects concerning worldviews in general and my own for 50 years, in both academic and self-study contexts.

    This is another example of the tendency of both William and kf to think that those who don’t see the world as they do are deficient, misguided, etc.

    This is all very instructive about some personality types, but it is also very tiresome.

  174. 174
    Aleta says:

    Bye, all. I’ve enjoyed the company of some like minds, but it’s time to leave.

  175. 175

    There is no atheistic moral subjectivism. For an atheist subjectivity is just another subcategory of objectivity.

    For an atheist subjectivity means statements of fact about particular brainstates.

    So for an atheist to say the painting is beautiful, is equal to stating as fact that a love for the way the painting looks exists in their brain.

    Atheists go on and on and on about how they cannot accept the existence of the human spirit choosing, because there isn’t any evidence of the human spirit existing. Atheists do not accept the validity of subjectivity to reach a conclusion if or not the human spirit is real, or if people have love in their heart. Atheists only accept the validity of objectivity to arrive at answers.

  176. 176

    You’ve been challenged to present your carefully-thought out worldview for criticism, Aleta. It seems you are making an excuse not to do so. Do you require a “safe space” where you can offer your worldview and not have it challenged & criticised?

  177. 177
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: I have added a geostrategic map markup [and the seven mountains framework], http://www.uncommondescent.com.....al-sanity/

  178. 178
    kairosfocus says:

    CF, pardon but you ate playing the same game. KF

  179. 179
    kairosfocus says:

    DS, one can indeed cling to the absurd, but that is itself a high cost. KF

  180. 180
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Plato’s Warning in The Laws, Bk X, 2350 years ago:

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Yes, warning — with the memory of Athens’ failure fresh in his mind. KF

  181. 181
    kairosfocus says:

    Aleta, did you see how, again you converted an issue of an analysis into a clash of wills, the will to power agenda of nihilism in effect? That is what Plato warned against and it is what we are warning against. KF

  182. 182
    daveS says:

    KF,

    But do you have any response to my questions in 167?

  183. 183
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: It seems there is a want of understanding of the framework of the US DoI, 1776. Let us look, again:

    When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God [–> laws of our nature, which are rooted in our creation order as morally governed creatures, cf Hooker, Locke, Blackstone] entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

    We hold these truths [–> not individual or community views] to be self-evident [–> true, seen as true on proper understanding and as necessarily so on pain of instant patent absurdity], that all men are created equal [–> we are equally valuable,conscience enlightened humans and this stands before and after any given culture], that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights [–> thus are owed duties of care in respect of certain matters that cannot be legitimately alienated, sold, taken away etc], that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness [–> fulfilment of purpose, i.e. implies individual calling and general calling, not to be frustraed, deprived or wrenched out of proper order under the inherently good Creator].–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men [–> rights are prior to the cultural institutions of a community, particularly, govt], deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed [–> consent confers legitimacy to guard the civil peace of justice], –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it [–> right of reform or revolution . . . ballot box being a peaceful means established through this revolution as at heart of modern democracy], and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles [–> moral frame]and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right [–> usurpation, tyranny and lawfare delegitimise govt], it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government . . . .

    In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people. [–> from ruler to tyrant]

    Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. [–> stubborn enabling behaviour] We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

    We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions [–> in Biblical context, an appeal to the Lord of Armies and God of battles for rescue in the field from an oppressor], do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence [–> cf prayers and calls to penitence issued by congress as interposing lower magistrates], we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor [–> commitment of the lower magistrates as acting with honour in the face of tyranny].

    KF

  184. 184
    kairosfocus says:

    DS, the pivotal issues as already outlined are that truth is accurate accordance of assertion with reality. In the case of SETs the force of self-evidence comes through to one able to understand. And the attempt to deny is at once patently absurd — different from a complex reductio ad absurdum. So, the question is, are you a reasonable responsible being able to understand a truth? (The pons asinorum issue highlighted by Aquinas.) If so, on such understanding you will see why it is true and why the denial lands in patent absurdity. It is self evident to each of us that s/he is conscious, though contents of ones thoughts may be in error. Equally it is a SET that error exists, or that 2 + 3 = 5. In the moral sphere it is SET that we sense guidance of conscience to move to the right, true, just, that we sense others owe us similar duties, i.e, we are of an order of being and worth to be morally governed. Likewise, were such content of consciousness delusional, it would be grand delusion, so it is SET that this sense is generally sound save where broken down, warped or blunted. From such and the like much else of core — not exhaustive — morality follows. If you deny such SETs show that claimed absurdities do not follow on denial or are not absurd. KF

  185. 185
    daveS says:

    KF,

    Before I reply to the rest, let me address this:

    Equally it is a SET that error exists,

    I think you’re using the term “self-evident truth” differently than I am. I don’t believe “error exists” is self-evident. Knowing the meaning of those words is not sufficient to convince one that it’s true. You have proved it.

  186. 186
    john_a_designer says:

    WJM @ 172 wrote,

    [Aleta] extracts her support of “transgender protections” by applying sentiment to the terminology of a fundamental principle utterly rooted in a theistic metaphysics while dismissing the theistic metaphysics as unimportant to the principle behind the terminology/phrasing. She is employing the terminology instead under atheism/moral subjectivism as if that terminology still means the same thing, which it cannot.

    It seems to me that this is an example of the so-called “taxi cab fallacy”– using the assumptions of an argument you actually disagree with to get you to your destination and then casually dismiss how you got there as being totally irrelevant.

  187. 187
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Key clip from UD News, presenting a Pearcey article:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....-restroom/

    . . . California set the tone in 2007 when it changed its education code to define gender as “a person’s gender identity and gender related appearance and behavior whether or not stereotypically associated with the person’s assigned sex at birth.”

    What’s the key word here? “Assigned.” As though a person’s sex at birth were purely arbitrary instead of a scientific, biological fact.

    What such language implies is that biological facts do not matter. The law is being used to impose a worldview that denigrates the physical body as inconsequential, insignificant, and irrelevant to gender identity. It is a worldview that alienates people from their own bodies. As Anglican theologian Oliver O’Donovan writes, transgender ideology implies that “the body is an accident that has befallen the real me; the real me has a true sex” apart from my body.

    Where did such a negative view of the body come from? From Darwin’s rejection of purpose and design in nature. Both classical Greek and Christian philosophy regarded the natural world as teleological – from the Greek telos, meaning purpose or goal. It is evident that eyes are for seeing and ears for hearing; fins are for swimming and wings for flying. The only reason molecules are arranged in those particular configurations is to achieve a purpose.

    Because the human body is part of nature, it too was recognized as having a purpose. The sexual differentiation of male and female was not some cosmic accident. It showed that the human body is oriented toward opposite-sex pair-bonding for emotional attachment and procreation. Teleology is the basis for naturallaw ethics: It tells us how to fulfill our true nature, how to become fully human.

    Darwin did not deny that nature appears to be designed for a purpose. But he wanted to reduce that appearance to an illusion, the result of a purposeless material process. The two elements of his theory, random variations sifted by the blind automatic forces of natural selection, were proposed expressly to eliminate plan or purpose.

    As historian Jacques Barzun writes, “This denial of purpose is Darwin’s distinctive contention.”

    The implication of the Darwinian worldview is that the biological differentiation of male and female is a cosmic accident. The body was reduced to raw material that can be manipulated and controlled to serve human needs and preferences – like any other natural resource. Gender identity is strictly in the mind, even to the point of overriding biological identity. Matter does not matter.

    This was “Darwin’s dangerous idea,” says philosopher Daniel Dennett in a book by that title. He describes Darwinism as a “universal acid; it eats through just about every traditional concept and leaves in its wake a revolutionized world-view.”

    Food for thought.

    KF

  188. 188
    kairosfocus says:

    DS, that error exists is true, is seen as true once understood and on attempted denial instantly instantiates error thus denial is absurd. Thus it is SET. This one instantly shoes, truth exists, warranted truth exists, objective knowledge accessible to us exists, and anything that asserts or suggests denial of such fails. Whole worldviews lie fallen on this one point. KF

  189. 189
    daveS says:

    KF,

    Do you have any sources which state that “error exists” is self-evident?

    When you have posted on this subject before, you usually include a proof of this statement, which indicates to me it likely isn’t self-evident.

  190. 190
    kairosfocus says:

    DS, there is no need to go down the line of oh can you cite an authority; no more than for, the sky is blue. The existence of error is a well understood generally acknowledged fact. The world of arguments pivots on it and it is well understood — indeed that is where Royce and Trueblood started. What is also the case is that the attempt to deny produces a clear, easily seen case of an error — you are using my illustrations of ways such errors arise as a claimed proof, but they are not proofs of self evidence. We see that error exists is readily understood, is easily seen as in fact true, is also easily seen to be undeniable as the attempt to deny instantly creates an error. This is a description of what we readily see and know, not a demonstration without which it is in doubt. Nor has it escaped notice that this is a side issue at best. KF

  191. 191
    daveS says:

    KF,

    DS, there is no need to go down the line of oh can you cite an authority; no more than for, the sky is blue.

    Well, it would be worth checking out what others have said from time to time. Perhaps someone else could explain why “error exists” is a SET in a way that I can understand more easily.

    What is also the case is that the attempt to deny produces a clear, easily seen case of an error — you are using my illustrations of ways such errors arise as a claimed proof, but they are not proofs of self evidence.

    Exactly. You proved that error exists. Obviously you didn’t prove that the statement is self-evident.

    Nor has it escaped notice that this is a side issue at best.

    Yes, but details matter.

  192. 192
    kairosfocus says:

    DS, a description of an error arising from “Error exists” = E, so deny ~E then join: (E AND ~E) = 0 by definition so ~E is necessarily false is not a proof of any consequence or steps of reasoning more than || + ||| –> ||||| i,e, 2 + 3 = 5, it simply shows that the attempt to deny E instantly entails a necessarily false statement or error. This then simply means it is readily seen — not after arduous step by step argument — that E is undeniably true due to the meaning of the statement. That is it is true, necessarily true, undeniably true, self evidently true. This is not where anything of serious reasoning is; it is the consequence of truth existing and SE, knowable truth existing that is momentous. And still, we are on a side track that is not looking at say,self evidently, we find ourselves guided towards truth and right by conscience. With the fact of argument and concern towards truth itself as direct witness. KF

  193. 193
    vividbleau says:

    Clown RE 168

    “Pretty much correct”

    Pretty much? LOL

    “Except, of course, blacks, Indians, women, etc”

    Under your worldview they did not have any rights to begin with, nor were they denied any rights.

    Vivid

  194. 194
    clown fish says:

    Vividbleu: “Under your worldview they did not have any rights to begin with, nor were they denied any rights.”

    None that were objectively given. All rights that people have are granted by society as a whole. Those rights change over time, sometimes expanding, sometimes contracting. At the time of the constitution, blacks Indians and women did not have the same rights as those of white male land owners. Last century, society decided that rights should be expanded to different races and women. This century, society has decided to expand rights to homosexuals and transgendered. And, contrary to the opinion of some here, we are not heading over the cliff to a broken back.

  195. 195
    vividbleau says:

    Clown

    “None that were objectively given.”

    Nor any subjectively given, they had no rights at all and were not denied any rights.

    Vivid

  196. 196
    clown fish says:

    Nor any subjectively given, they had no rights at all and were not denied any rights.

    If society decides to grant rights, they are real and binding. You, as an individual, may disagree with the fact that something is a right, and I might even agree with you, but until we can convince society that it should no longer be a right, we are obliged to not prevent the enjoyment of that right until we are successful at changing the law.

    If we intentionally attempt to prevent someone from enjoying one of societies rights, we run the risk of losing our own rights (fines and jail time).

    For example, if society says that same sex marriage is a right, your personal or religious beliefs cannot do anything to hinder someone from availing themselves of that right. If we allow individuals to only support the rights of people on issues where we agree with the specific right, we are on a slippery slope that can only lead to a fall over the cliff and a broken back.

  197. 197
    daveS says:

    KF,

    DS, a description of an error arising from “Error exists” = E, so deny ~E then join: (E AND ~E) = 0 by definition so ~E is necessarily false is not a proof of any consequence or steps of reasoning more than || + ||| –> ||||| i,e, 2 + 3 = 5, it simply shows that the attempt to deny E instantly entails a necessarily false statement or error.

    Yes, perhaps I was wrong above.

    I thought I understood what this exercise with E and ~E was supposed to show, but I think I confused it with something else.

    So:

    E = the statement “error exists”.

    ~E = the statement “error does not exist”.

    (E and ~E) is false of course.

    How does this lead to the conclusion that ~E is necessarily false again?

    Edit: Are you saying that you’ve supplied a procedure for constructing false statements, therefore error exists?

  198. 198
    kairosfocus says:

    DS, let me go through more simply. Start with Error exists = E, then ~E is asserting — propositions are assertions — it is an error to assert that errors exist. So ~ E contradicts itself. E AND ~E is, similarly necessarily false entailing one or the other is false and on understanding what error is it is ~E. Again, we are still on a side issue, belabouring what is otherwise patent. KF

  199. 199
    kairosfocus says:

    CF, the community giveth the right to life, liberty etc, the community taketh such away; blessed be the name of the community’s consensus. See the problem, and the reductio to might and manipulation make ‘right’ — and where that points? That wailing noise you hear in the background is the chorus of the ghosts of over 100 million victims of nihilistic atheistical and neopagan regimes in the past 100 years. KF

  200. 200
    vividbleau says:

    Clown RE 196

    You wrote a lot of words when one would have sufficed “yes”

    Vivid

  201. 201
    daveS says:

    KF,

    DS, let me go through more simply. Start with Error exists = E, then ~E is asserting — propositions are assertions — it is an error to assert that errors exist.So ~ E contradicts itself.

    Er, how does ~E contradict itself? ~E is the statement that error does not exist. How is that self-contradictory?

    Yes, a side issue, but still it’s important to be right on specifics.

  202. 202
    clown fish says:

    Kairosfocus:

    CF, the community giveth the right to life, liberty etc, the community taketh such away; blessed be the name of the community’s consensus. See the problem, and the reductio to might and manipulation make ‘right’ — and where that points? That wailing noise you hear in the background is the chorus of the ghosts of over 100 million victims of nihilistic atheistical and neopagan regimes in the past 100 years. KF

    That wailing noise you hear is the western society that believed in objective morality and God given rights, taking away the rights of aboriginal children, of citizens of Japanese ancestry, of blacks, of homosexuals, of women.

    You can continue to lie to yourself about the existence of objective morality and God given rights, in spite of the all of the evidence to the contrary, or you can accept that these are things that society is responsible for, and work hard to make sure that your voice is heard in society and that you can influence the establishment, and changing, of these rights.

  203. 203
    clown fish says:

    Vividbleu: “You wrote a lot of words when one would have sufficed “yes””

    I have been hanging around KF and BA77 too much. 🙂

  204. 204
    vividbleau says:

    Clown RE 203

    No disrespect to KF and BA but I must admit that was funny. Your worldview not so much but I know you feel the same about mine.

    Vivid

  205. 205
    vividbleau says:

    Clown RE 202
    “That wailing noise you hear is the western society that believed in objective morality and God given rights, taking away the rights of aboriginal children, of citizens of Japanese ancestry, of blacks, of homosexuals, of women.”

    But no rights were taken away you have already agreed to that.

    Vivid

  206. 206
    vividbleau says:

    Clown RE 196

    For example, if society says that same sex marriage is a right, your personal or religious beliefs cannot do anything to hinder someone from availing themselves of that right. If we allow individuals to only support the rights of people on issues where we agree with the specific right.

    ‘Nazi leaders began to make good on their pledge to persecute German Jews soon after their assumption of power. During the first six years of Hitler’s dictatorship, from 1933 until the outbreak of war in 1939, Jews felt the effects of more than 400 decrees and regulations that restricted all aspects of their public and private lives. Many of those laws were national ones that had been issued by the German administration and affected all Jews. But state, regional, and municipal officials, on their own initiative, also promulgated a barrage of exclusionary decrees in their own communities. Thus, hundreds of individuals in all levels of government throughout the country were involved in the persecution of Jews as they conceived, discussed, drafted, adopted, enforced, and supported anti-Jewish legislation. No corner of Germany was left untouched.'”

    No soup for them Jews.

    Vivid

  207. 207
    clown fish says:

    Vividbleu: “No disrespect to KF and BA but I must admit that was funny. Your worldview not so much but I know you feel the same about mine.”

    The fact is, I suspect that you and I share the vast majority of moral values that we each hold. Where we differ is in the origin of these values. I just can’t reconcile the proposal that there are objective moral values (rights, truths) when history clearly does not support this view. Or, if there are objective morals, the fact that entire societies can apparently deviate from them at will (change them over time) means that it is impossible to rationalize what they are with any level of confidence. Which is effectively the same as saying that they are not objective.

    But no rights were taken away you have already agreed to that.”

    That depends. Americans of Japanese descent had the right to own property and to have the same freedoms as other citizens. This right was taken away from them during the war.

  208. 208
    kairosfocus says:

    DS, Ponder the significance of an assertion that means, it is an error (of falsity) to assert that error exists. And still, this is on a side issue. KF

  209. 209
    kairosfocus says:

    CF, your reaction to exposure of the implicit might/manipulation makes ‘right’ nihilism in community/cultural relativism — with right to life on the line (and a past 100 years history of democides going beyond 100 millions) — tells us all we need to know about the bankruptcy of such a view. Those who refuse to heed lessons bought with blood and tears doom themselves to pay the same coin for the same lessons over and over again. And you have forgotten already the point WJM hammered home above that relativism turns the reformer into an immoral person, that is you cannot live consistent with your own view even when trying to lay smokescreens and deflect blame to targetted others. KF

    PS: Those who genuinely need to look at the sins and blessings of Christendom may find here on helpful.

  210. 210
    clown fish says:

    Vividbleu@206. You are correct. Jews had societal rights (not equal to others in Germany, but that is a different issue) that the democratically elected Nazi government took away. The holocaust is an excellent example of what can happen if morality is subjective. But lets assume, for the sake of argument, that morality is objective as KF, WJM, yourself and others claim. Does that mean that the holocaust did not or would not have happened? Of course not.

    There are serious potential consequences to subjective morality. Nobody is arguing against that. But there are also serious potential consequences to an understanding of chemistry, physics, evolution, cosmology, biology, etc. The way I see it, we have two options:

    1) Accept the fact that morality is subjective and society driven. And do our best to ensure that we work together to have a society that we can all enjoy, knowing that there will be mis-steps along the way, some of them very serious.

    2) We can claim (pretend) that morality is objective, knowing that there will be mis-steps along the way, some of them very serious.

    To me, the bigger risk is the latter. The former requires us to work at maintaining and improving society, the latter encourages complacency and unreasonable resistance to change. If there is one “truth” in life (as supported by human history) it is that societies evolve or die. We know from history that resisting change has never worked over the long term. If we accept that change is inevitable, and work hard at making sure that the changes are well thought out, we have a better change of it working out best for everybody.

  211. 211
    vividbleau says:

    Clown RE 207

    “That depends. Americans of Japanese descent had the right to own property and to have the same freedoms as other citizens. This right was taken away from them during the war.”

    So what? As you say “They can be, and have been, removed or suspended AT ANY TIME”

    Vivid

  212. 212
    kairosfocus says:

    CF, cf 209. KF

    PS: This from Bernard Lewis in his epochal essay on the roots of Muslim rage, is instructive:

    . . . The accusations are familiar. We of the West are accused of sexism, racism, and imperialism, institutionalized in patriarchy and slavery, tyranny and exploitation. To these charges, and to others as heinous, we have no option but to plead guilty — not as Americans, nor yet as Westerners, but simply as human beings, as members of the human race. In none of these sins are we the only sinners, and in some of them we are very far from being the worst. The treatment of women in the Western world, and more generally in Christendom, has always been unequal and often oppressive, but even at its worst it was rather better than the rule of polygamy and concubinage that has otherwise been the almost universal lot of womankind on this planet . . . .

    In having practiced sexism, racism, and imperialism, the West was merely following the common practice of mankind through the millennia of recorded history. Where it is distinct from all other civilizations is in having recognized, named, and tried, not entirely without success, to remedy these historic diseases. And that is surely a matter for congratulation, not condemnation. We do not hold Western medical science in general, or Dr. Parkinson and Dr. Alzheimer in particular, responsible for the diseases they diagnosed and to which they gave their names.

  213. 213

    I think it is very confusing to use the nazi or atheist definition of subjectivity.

    The nazi and atheists definitions of subjectivity are wrong.

    The nazi’s asserted a scientific objective morality, and then they proceeded to categorize the Aryan view of things as subjective. They use the word subjective, but it has nothing to do with the human spirit choosing in expression of emotion with free will. It is about particular objectively measurable racial characteristics reacting to the environment and things.

    This whole definition is bogus for lack of defining terms.

  214. 214
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Notice, that we have still yet to actually address the substantial matter, starting with self evident moral truth as grounding objectivity of morality — even after such was again drawn to focal attention. That speaks volumes on the actual balance on the merits on the core issues, and on claims or suggestions to have successfully rebutted such issues. Were there a substantial response that would be successful, it would have been long since given; the rhetoric of smokescreens and deflection to try to project emotional discrediting of core, self evident and objective moral truth speaks inadvertent volumes. KF

    PS: Cf earlier today: http://www.uncommondescent.com.....al-sanity/

  215. 215
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Moved up the geostrategic chart to a better place: http://www.uncommondescent.com.....al-sanity/ KF

  216. 216
    Phinehas says:

    Aleta:

    My support of same-sex marriage and transgendered accommodations, as well as many other things, is consistent with my belief in the principles of our Constitution concerning rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all.

    Objective rights?

    Or are you saying something closer to…

    My support for chocolate ice cream is consistent with my belief that it tastes better than vanilla.

    But then, how to justify imposing that taste on others?

  217. 217
    Phinehas says:

    cf:

    But lets assume, for the sake of argument, that morality is objective as KF, WJM, yourself and others claim. Does that mean that the holocaust did not or would not have happened? Of course not.

    No, but it would mean that others have a rationally justifiable and non-hypocritical right to oppose the holocaust. On subjective morality, they simply would not.

  218. 218

    It’s no surprise that you haven’t received a convincing argument from atheists and materialists. But the argument for objective morality is wrong on creationist terms.

    There are 2 categories in creationism, creator and creation. Opinion applies to the creator, fact applies to the creation. No way no how can you put morality into the creation and fact category.

    Unless you were talking about morality written in DNA, or the objective fact that books of laws exist. That is the only extent to which morality is objective in creationism.

  219. 219

    Feeling outrage, feeling sick, horror, and all kinds of emotional responses to the holocaust, are subjective and a basis for condemnation of it.

  220. 220
    clown fish says:

    KairosFocus: “… tells us all we need to know about the bankruptcy of such a view.”

    So much for even the pretense of an open and fair discussion.

    Notice, that we have still yet to actually address the substantial matter, starting with self evident moral truth as grounding objectivity of morality — even after such was again drawn to focal attention.”

    Your micharacterization of us not agreeing with your assessment as not addressing it speaks volumes. Why don’t you cut and paste the same numbered nonsense about OUGHT and IS that starts with the claim that if you don’t accept it as self evidently true that you are being blatantly absurd? I never get tired of that.

  221. 221
    CLAVDIVS says:

    William J Murray

    … acquiring moral knowledge requires that the moral landscape, if you will, be something that is available to us in some sensory capacity and is subject to rational analysis. … I hold that conscience is our sensory ability to acquire information from the moral landscape.

    If our conscience is the only way to acquire moral information, then the whole process is incorrigibly subjective, is it not?

    There are some moral precepts that every sane person agree upon, and there are some that different groups wildly disagree upon.

    If everyone agrees upon a moral precept, does that make it objective (i.e. by definition)? Or does that just mean everyone happens to agree upon it for now and that might change? How can we tell the difference?

  222. 222
    daveS says:

    KF,

    DS, Ponder the significance of an assertion that means, it is an error (of falsity) to assert that error exists. And still, this is on a side issue. KF

    Well, then we’re back to my #197. You have provided a proof of E by showing that ~E leads to a contradiction.

  223. 223
    clown fish says:

    Phinehas: “No, but it would mean that others have a rationally justifiable and non-hypocritical right to oppose the holocaust. On subjective morality, they simply would not.”

    Are you serious? I expect stupid statements like this from KairosFocus, not from you. Are you serious in thinking that a subjectivist can’t use critical thinking, rational thought, and the ability to predict consequences of actions, reasonably argue against killing?

  224. 224
    vividbleau says:

    Clown
    “But lets assume, for the sake of argument, that morality is objective as KF, WJM, yourself and others claim. Does that mean that the holocaust did not or would not have happened? Of course not.”

    What it does mean is that for the objectivist the Jews had inalienable rights not to be slaughtered before they were slaughtered, while they were being slaughtered, now that they are not being slaughtered ,and cannot not have these same rights in the future.

    Contrast that with the your stated position. The Jews did not have inalienable rights not to be slaughtered before they were slaughtered, did not have inalienable rights while they were being slaughtered, don’t have these inalienable rights now and would not have them in the future.

    Surely you can appreciate the difference. “No soup for anyone”

    Vivid

  225. 225
    clown fish says:

    Vividbleu: “What it does mean is that for the objectivist the Jews had inalienable rights not to be slaughtered before they were slaughtered, while they were being slaughtered, now that they are not being slaughtered ,and cannot not have these same rights in the future.”

    With the risk of appearing insensitive, of what comfort was this to them as the cattle car pulled up to the camp?

    Surely you can appreciate the difference.”

    I can appreciate the differences that actually make a difference. How does this difference count to the family being led to the “showers”?

    Vividbleu, on a personal note. I do appreciate the fact that you are willing to discuss this as if I am not the devil incarnate.

  226. 226
    Phinehas says:

    cf:

    Phinehas: “No, but it would mean that others have a rationally justifiable and non-hypocritical right to oppose the holocaust. On subjective morality, they simply would not.”

    cf: Are you serious? I expect stupid statements like this from KairosFocus, not from you. Are you serious in thinking that a subjectivist can’t use critical thinking, rational thought, and the ability to predict consequences of actions, reasonably argue against killing?

    No amount of critical thinking, rational thought, or the ability to predict consequences can turn a preference into the kind of ought that is in any way morally binding on others. Even more, that one should base their own morality on their own personal preferences while not allowing others to do likewise is hypocritical. One would hope subjectivists have access to the kind of critical thinking and rational thought that would make this obvious, but the jury still appears to be out. Do you have anything other than your own incredulity to offer as a rational response?

  227. 227
    kairosfocus says:

    Cf, you appeal to fairness, is that an objective ought, or is this a way for you to manipulate rhetorically and emotionally and impose your will to power? Given your declared commitments, it is patently the latter. Again, after 50 and more comments you have failed to address the core substance — vindicating my comment this morning: http://www.uncommondescent.com.....al-sanity/ . KF

  228. 228
    kairosfocus says:

    DS, I have pointed to the meaning of the claim error exists and the claim that denies that. On doing so instantly it is clear that to try to deny error existing is to say something that means it is an error that error exists. That is we are dealing with self evident and undeniable truth. But it looks like we will go in rhetorical circles on this while the substantive issue lies un-addressed. Revealing. KF

    PS: Notice, what the subjectivists, nominalists and relativists keep on trying to evade: http://www.uncommondescent.com.....al-truths/

  229. 229
    clown fish says:

    Phinehas: “No amount of critical thinking, rational thought, or the ability to predict consequences can turn a preference into the kind of ought that is in any way morally binding on others…”

    Again, I thought better of you. If you think that a subjectivist’s moral belief that killing Jews is no different than a “preference”, then there is no point continuing this discussion. Come back when you want to be serious.

  230. 230
    Phinehas says:

    cf:

    Are you serious in thinking that a subjectivist can’t use critical thinking, rational thought, and the ability to predict consequences of actions, reasonably argue against killing?

    Further, the subjectivist can (and does) use all of the language, foundation, assumptions, and freighting of objective morality to reasonably argue against killing, all while maintaining such doesn’t exist.

    Unfortunately, I am unable to explain how this can be so blatantly obvious to the objectivist (as it seems to be universally on this thread) while the subjectivist remains oblivious to the fact.

  231. 231

    The first thing God forbade to man, to Adam and Eve, was to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

    Now we watch the travesty of selfprofessed Christians insisting they know as fact what is good and evil, objective morality.

    It’s upside down from Christianity, and Islam for that matter. It’s positively satanic, and the exactsame thing atheists are doing with professing scientific morality.

  232. 232
    Phinehas says:

    cf:

    Again, I thought better of you. If you think that a subjectivist’s moral belief that killing Jews is no different than a “preference”, then there is no point continuing this discussion.

    I think that a subjectivists’s moral belief that killing Jews is wrong is very much different than a preference. Which is why it is nonsensical to call it subjective in the first place. I’ve always maintained that subjectivists (at least the ones I’ve interacted with) speak and act exactly as though they have objective moral beliefs, but then curiously turn around and deny such exist.

    Rather than responding with incredulity, though, why don’t you demonstrate in some sort of rational, concrete fashion how subjectivity must lead to something other than a preference in the case of morals, when elsewhere in human experience, subjectivity is associated only with personally held opinions, tastes, and preferences.

  233. 233
    clown fish says:

    KairosFocus: “Cf, you appeal to fairness, is that an objective ought, or is this a way for you to manipulate rhetorically and emotionally and impose your will to power?”

    No, that is just a desire that most rational subjective humans expect. I know that it is a foreign concept to you, but I had hopes.

    Given your declared commitments, it is patently the latter.”

    The only thing that is patent is your pathological inability to accept any criticism of your opinions. Sucks to be you.

    Again, after 50 and more comments you have failed to address the core substance — vindicating my comment this morning: http://www.uncommondescent.com…..al-sanity/ . KF”

    Sorry, I tend not to respond to mental masturbation. Maybe if you present your argument in logical, concise sentences (fewer than 1000 words) I might respond.

  234. 234
    clown fish says:

    Phinehas, thank you for clarifying: “I’ve always maintained that subjectivists (at least the ones I’ve interacted with) speak and act exactly as though they have objective moral beliefs, but then curiously turn around and deny such exist.”

    In this, I agree with you. I think we all act as if our moral beliefs are objective. I have never denied this. But acting as if they are objective, and them actually being objective, are two different things.

  235. 235

    Subjectivity is about belief in God the holy spirit and the human spirit, morality, personal relationships with friends and family, culture, tastes in food, and artsy fartsy.

    To relagate the main meaning of subjectivity to food and artsy fartsy is consumerist hedonism.

    Don’t you love anybody? Is that love not meaningful, or is the emotional depth of it just like a taste for cola?

  236. 236
    daveS says:

    KF,

    DS, I have pointed to the meaning of the claim error exists and the claim that denies that. On doing so instantly it is clear that to try to deny error existing is to say something that means it is an error that error exists. That is we are dealing with self evident and undeniable truth. But it looks like we will go in rhetorical circles on this while the substantive issue lies un-addressed. Revealing. KF

    I don’t consider this a “rhetorical circle”. In fact, I doubt that either of us would benefit from a discussion of these candidate self-evident moral truths; I’m more interested in matters of logic and so forth.

  237. 237
    kairosfocus says:

    DS, that would be tangential. Enough has been said on self evidence. And while logic is also involved in the ongoing collapse, the pivot is morals — including justice. With matters geostrategic lurking. Frankly, it does not look like things will end well. KF

  238. 238
    kairosfocus says:

    CF, you are now at the threshold of outright vulgarity in a context of persistent failure — nay, refusal backed up by now hurling of insults — to cogently address substance. In short, it is quite clear that you are trying to evade having to deal with the substantial core of the matter. Further, that the matter is coming down to the emergence of the implicit nihilistic will to power that is in the heart of subjectivism, nominalism and relativism: might/manipulation makes “right.” That is, you are inadvertently underscoring the point and showing the polarisation that leads to my concern about ever-deepening divisiveness and its consequences. Our civilisation is in trouble and your behaviour across today is a case in point on why. KF

  239. 239
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Let me again put on the table what the relativists evidently will do and say anything but address:

    _________________

    >> normally responsive people will at least grudgingly respect the following summary of such core, conscience attested morality from the pen of Paul:

    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 . . . .

    Rom 13:8 Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong [NIV, “harm”] to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. [ESV]

    Where, John Locke, in grounding modern liberty and what would become democratic self-government of a free people premised on upholding the civil peace of justice, in Ch 2 Sec. 5 of his second treatise on civil Government [c. 1690] cites “the judicious [Anglican canon, Richard] Hooker” from his classic Ecclesiastical Polity of 1594 on, as he explains how the principles of neighbour-love are inscribed in our hearts, becoming evident to the eye of common good sense and reasonableness:

    . . . if I cannot but wish to receive good, even as much at every man’s hands, as any man can wish unto his own soul, how should I look to have any part of my desire herein satisfied, unless myself be careful to satisfy the like desire which is undoubtedly in other men . . . my desire, therefore, to be loved of my equals in Nature, as much as possible may be, imposeth upon me a natural duty of bearing to themward fully the like affection. From which relation of equality between ourselves and them that are as ourselves, what several rules and canons natural reason hath drawn for direction of life no man is ignorant . . . [Hooker then continues, citing Aristotle in The Nicomachean Ethics, Bk 8 and alluding to Justinian’s synthesis of Roman Law in Corpus Juris Civilis that also brings these same thoughts to bear:] as namely, That because we would take no harm, we must therefore do none; That since we would not be in any thing extremely dealt with, we must ourselves avoid all extremity in our dealings; That from all violence and wrong we are utterly to abstain, with such-like . . . ] [Eccl. Polity,preface, Bk I, “ch.” 8, p.80, cf. here. Emphasis added.]

    We may elaborate on Paule, Locke, Hooker and Aristotle, laying out several manifestly evident and historically widely acknowledged core moral principles for which the attempted denial is instantly and patently absurd for most people — that is, they are arguably self-evident moral truths. For instance:

    1] The first self evident moral truth is that we are inescapably under the government of ought.

    (This is manifest in even an objector’s implication in the questions, challenges and arguments that s/he would advance, that we are in the wrong and there is something to be avoided about that. That is, even the objector inadvertently implies that we OUGHT to do, think, aim for and say the right. Not even the hyperskeptical objector can escape this truth. Patent absurdity on attempted denial.)

    2] Second self evident truth, we discern that some things are right and others are wrong by a compass-sense we term conscience which guides our thought. (Again, objectors depend on a sense of guilt/ urgency to be right not wrong on our part to give their points persuasive force. See what would be undermined should conscience be deadened or dismissed universally? Sawing off the branch on which we all must sit.)

    3] Third, were this sense of conscience and linked sense that we can make responsibly free, rational decisions to be a delusion, we would at once descend into a status of grand delusion in which there is no good ground for confidence in our self-understanding. That is, we look at an infinite regress of Plato’s cave worlds: once such a principle of grand global delusion is injected, there is no firewall so the perception of level one delusion is subject to the same issue, and this level two perception too, ad infinitum; landing in patent absurdity.

    4] Fourth, we are objectively under obligation of OUGHT. That is, despite any particular person’s (or group’s or august council’s or majority’s) wishes or claims to the contrary, such obligation credibly holds to moral certainty. That is, it would be irresponsible, foolish and unwise for us to act and try to live otherwise.

    5] Fifth, this cumulative framework of moral government under OUGHT is the basis for the manifest core principles of the natural moral law under which we find ourselves obligated to the right the good, the true etc. Where also, patently, we struggle to live up to what we acknowledge or imply we ought to do.

    6] Sixth, this means we live in a world in which being under core, generally understood principles of natural moral law is coherent and factually adequate, thus calling for a world in which OUGHT is properly grounded at root level. (Thus worldviews that can soundly meet this test are the only truly viable ones. if a worldview does not have in it a world-root level IS that can simultaneously ground OUGHT, it fails decisively.*)

    7] Seventh, in light of the above, even the weakest and most voiceless of us thus has a natural right to life, liberty, the pursuit of fulfillment of one’s sense of what s/he ought to be (“happiness”). This includes the young child, the unborn and more. (We see here the concept that rights are binding moral expectations of others to provide respect in regards to us because of our inherent status as human beings, members of the community of valuable neighbours. Where also who is my neighbour was forever answered by the parable of the Good Samaritan. Likewise, there can be no right to demand of or compel my neighbour that s/he upholds me and enables me in the wrong — including under false colour of law through lawfare. To justly claim a right, one must first be in the right.)

    8] Eighth, like unto the seventh, such may only be circumscribed or limited for good cause. Such as, reciprocal obligation to cherish and not harm neighbour of equal, equally valuable nature in community and in the wider world of the common brotherhood of humanity.

    9] Ninth, this is the context in which it becomes self evidently wrong, wicked and evil to kidnap, sexually torture and murder a young child or the like as concrete cases in point that show that might and/or manipulation do not make ‘right,’ ‘truth,’ ‘worth,’ ‘justice,’ ‘fairness,’ ‘law’ etc. That is, anything that expresses or implies the nihilist’s credo is morally absurd.

    10] Tenth, this entails that in civil society with government, justice is a principal task of legitimate government. Thus also,

    11] Eleventh, that government is and ought to be subject to audit, reformation and if necessary replacement should it fail sufficiently badly and incorrigibly.

    12] Twelfth, the attempt to deny or dismiss such a general framework of moral governance invariably lands in shipwreck of incoherence and absurdity. But that does not mean that the attempt is not going to be made, so there is a mutual obligation of frank and fair correction and restraint of evil.
    _________________

    * F/N: After centuries of debates and assessment of alternatives per comparative difficulties, there is in fact just one serious candidate to be such a grounding IS: the inherently good creator God, a necessary and maximally great being worthy of ultimate loyalty and the reasonable responsible service of doing the good in accord with our manifestly evident nature. (And instantly, such generic ethical theism answers also to the accusation oh this is “religion”; that term being used as a dirty word — no, this is philosophy. If you doubt this, simply put forth a different candidate that meets the required criteria and passes the comparative difficulties test: _________ . Likewise, an inherently good, maximally great being will not be arbitrary or deceitful etc, that is why such is fully worthy of ultimate loyalty and the reasonable, responsible service of doing the good in accord with our manifestly evident nature. As a serious candidate necessary being, such would be eternal and embedded in the frame for a world to exist at all. Thus such a candidate is either impossible as a square circle is impossible due to mutual ruin of core characteristics, or else it is actual. For simple instance no world is possible without two-ness in it, a necessary basis for distinct identity inter alia.>>
    _________________

    It is clear that there is no cogent relativist response to the objectivity or the grounding of moral governance. Indeed, it looks a lot like animosity motivates attempts to undermine what they do not like, while trying to manipulate then through lawfare to usurp the sword of justice and impose will to power.

    Long, grim history paid for in blood and tears serves as a warning, if we will heed it,

    KF

  240. 240
    StephenB says:

    Clown Fish

    Each time you write, you contradict yourself. First, you claim to base your morality on the basis of “who is harmed.” Then you immediately make it clear that you care nothing at all about unborn children who are harmed (and then some) when the abortionist slices them up or scalds them to death. “Harm” is just a word that you throw around to create the illusion of compassion.

    Accept the fact that morality is subjective and society driven. And do our best to ensure that we work together to have a society that we can all enjoy, knowing that there will be mis-steps along the way, some of them very serious.

    Obviously, you don’t recognize all the naive assumptions that clutter your idea. Without an objective standard, there is no way to know which policies are “mis-steps,” let alone which mis-steps are “serious.” You cannot answer because the concept is irrational on the face of it. Under subjectivism, there are no “serious mis-steps.” There are only steps, none of which can be judged or evaluated–except to say that you like some and dislike others. Subjectivism is totally irrational.

  241. 241
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: Some of the lessons, from Plato in The Laws Bk X, c 360 BC:

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

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

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

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

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

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

  242. 242
    clown fish says:

    KairosFocus: “CF, you are now at the threshold of outright vulgarity in a context of persistent failure…”

    Just grow up. When I said that your words were little more than mentally spilling your seed on the ground, you had no comment, presumably because the words are in the bible, you had not problem. When I said that your words were the equivalent of mental masturbation, which is the same as spreading seed on the ground, I am being vulgar. This speaks volumes.

    In short, it is quite clear that you are trying to evade having to deal with the substantial core of the matter.”

    Been there, done that, bought the T-shirt. I and many others have addressed what you feel is the substantial core of the matter. The fact that you refuse to agree with anything that you don’t already believe is not a weakness in my (or others) arguments. It is a weakness in yours.

    Further, that the matter is coming down to the emergence of the implicit nihilistic will to power that is in the heart of subjectivism, nominalism and relativism: might/manipulation makes “right.””

    I get it. Anyone who disagrees with you is nihilistic. Anything else?

    That is, you are inadvertently underscoring the point and showing the polarisation that leads to my concern about ever-deepening divisiveness and its consequences.”

    So, if I disagree with you, I am being polarizing and deeply decisive. Good to know.

    Our civilisation is in trouble and your behaviour across today is a case in point on why. KF”

    Translation: you disagree with me so I am responsible for the fall of society. Nice to know

  243. 243

    CLAVDIVS said:

    If our conscience is the only way to acquire moral information, then the whole process is incorrigibly subjective, is it not?

    Depends. If you call sight, smell, touch, and taste “incorrigibly subjective”, then okay, but our sensory capacities (arbited by reason) are all we have to build models of presumed objective commodities

    There are some moral precepts that every sane person agree upon, and there are some that different groups wildly disagree upon.

    So? There are some features of the objective world that every sane person agrees upon, and there are some that different groups wildly disagree upon. Yet again someone trots out this double-standard; so what if everything about morality cannot be perfectly understood by every human to walk the Earth? So what if our understanding of it is flawed? That’s the way it is with all things that are objective in nature.

    If everyone agrees upon a moral precept, does that make it objective (i.e. by definition)?

    No, it just makes that thing universally agreed upon. Even if everyone agrees that the sun revolves around the Earth, that does not make it an objective fact of our existence.

    Or does that just mean everyone happens to agree upon it for now and that might change? How can we tell the difference?

    As human knowledge, articulation and capacity to think in abstract terms is stretched by the march of time and progress, we gain better understanding and more complete perspectives about the nature of our existence. This is true of scientific knowledge and understanding, and it is true of moral understanding and knowledge.

    There are some things which are certain about morality, such as self-evident truths. Other things we can be credibly certain of if they are necessary extrapolations of self-evident truths. As with knowledge about the objective world around us, we hold that much of what we consider to be moral knowledge to be of a provisional nature – IOW, we are humbly doing the best we can with where we are in terms of the refinement of our conscience sensory capacity and our ability to rationally understand what that sensory capacity means and how it should be interpreted.

  244. 244
    kairosfocus says:

    CF, you are the one using borderline vulgar language and insults rather than address substance. That itself speaks volumes. Your attempt to brush it off as though it is “a nuh nutten” is further revealing, precisely along the lines Plato indicated in The Laws Bk X. As for the strawman tactic mischaracterisations, they speak for themselves in the context of your refusal to engage substance on cultural marxism, the phenomenon of polarisation, marches of folly, front groups, activists and enablers, and strategists and backers. Not to mention the geostrategic situation that our civilisation faces. And to be precise, you would be a low level web activist enabler. KF

  245. 245
    clown fish says:

    KairosFocus: “CF, you are the one using borderline vulgar language and insults rather than address substance.”

    First, we have talked about every form of sex here (anal, oral, etc.) and you have not raised a peep. I mention masturbation and all of a sudden I am vulgar. A survey of teen males showed that 95% admitted to masturbation. The conclusion of the study was that 5% of male teens lie.

    Your attempt to brush it off as though it is “a nuh nutten” is further revealing, precisely along the lines Plato indicated in The Laws Bk X. As for the strawman tactic mischaracterisations, they speak for themselves in the context of your refusal to engage substance on cultural marxism, the phenomenon of polarisation, marches of folly, front groups, activists and enablers, and strategists and backers. Not to mention the geostrategic situation that our civilisation faces. And to be precise, you would be a low level web activist enabler. KF”

    I seem to remember a couple people here being banned for practicing psychiatry without a licence. Where did you get your psychiatric degree?

    You have refused to address every single question I have raised and you accuse me of not addressing issues that I have. KairosFocus, meet Freud. Freud, meet KairosFocus.

  246. 246
    kairosfocus says:

    CF, yet another diversion and toxic smokescreen. You know you used language meant to be insulting and that the language was borderline vulgar. Meanwhile, you are still not addressing the substantial issues on the table in any cogent fashion. The rhetorical shift you have made is a strong indicator that in fact you cannot address the matter cogently. KF

    PS: I have described an activist role you have played across several threads, I have not tried to psychoanalyse you as to personal motives and background much less id ego superego conflicts or the like. And BTW the objectivity of morality is the pivotal issue for all of this, so that is where the matter is to be settled.

  247. 247
    clown fish says:

    KairosFocus: “ Meanwhile, you are still not addressing the substantial issues on the table in any cogent fashion.”

    Translation: I disagree with you but can’t support my opinion with evidence so I will just accuse you of not responding.

  248. 248
    kairosfocus says:

    CF,

    Here is what you have yet to cogently engage — and this is not personal disagreement it is a matter of warrant:

    _______________

    >>normally responsive people will at least grudgingly respect the following summary of such core, conscience attested morality from the pen of Paul:

    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 . . . .

    Rom 13:8 Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong [NIV, “harm”] to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. [ESV]

    Where, John Locke, in grounding modern liberty and what would become democratic self-government of a free people premised on upholding the civil peace of justice, in Ch 2 Sec. 5 of his second treatise on civil Government [c. 1690] cites “the judicious [Anglican canon, Richard] Hooker” from his classic Ecclesiastical Polity of 1594 on, as he explains how the principles of neighbour-love are inscribed in our hearts, becoming evident to the eye of common good sense and reasonableness:

    . . . if I cannot but wish to receive good, even as much at every man’s hands, as any man can wish unto his own soul, how should I look to have any part of my desire herein satisfied, unless myself be careful to satisfy the like desire which is undoubtedly in other men . . . my desire, therefore, to be loved of my equals in Nature, as much as possible may be, imposeth upon me a natural duty of bearing to themward fully the like affection. From which relation of equality between ourselves and them that are as ourselves, what several rules and canons natural reason hath drawn for direction of life no man is ignorant . . . [Hooker then continues, citing Aristotle in The Nicomachean Ethics, Bk 8 and alluding to Justinian’s synthesis of Roman Law in Corpus Juris Civilis that also brings these same thoughts to bear:] as namely, That because we would take no harm, we must therefore do none; That since we would not be in any thing extremely dealt with, we must ourselves avoid all extremity in our dealings; That from all violence and wrong we are utterly to abstain, with such-like . . . ] [Eccl. Polity,preface, Bk I, “ch.” 8, p.80, cf. here. Emphasis added.]

    We may elaborate on Paule, Locke, Hooker and Aristotle, laying out several manifestly evident and historically widely acknowledged core moral principles for which the attempted denial is instantly and patently absurd for most people — that is, they are arguably self-evident moral truths. For instance:

    1] The first self evident moral truth is that we are inescapably under the government of ought.

    (This is manifest in even an objector’s implication in the questions, challenges and arguments that s/he would advance, that we are in the wrong and there is something to be avoided about that. That is, even the objector inadvertently implies that we OUGHT to do, think, aim for and say the right. Not even the hyperskeptical objector can escape this truth. Patent absurdity on attempted denial.)

    2] Second self evident truth, we discern that some things are right and others are wrong by a compass-sense we term conscience which guides our thought. (Again, objectors depend on a sense of guilt/ urgency to be right not wrong on our part to give their points persuasive force. See what would be undermined should conscience be deadened or dismissed universally? Sawing off the branch on which we all must sit.)

    3] Third, were this sense of conscience and linked sense that we can make responsibly free, rational decisions to be a delusion, we would at once descend into a status of grand delusion in which there is no good ground for confidence in our self-understanding. That is, we look at an infinite regress of Plato’s cave worlds: once such a principle of grand global delusion is injected, there is no firewall so the perception of level one delusion is subject to the same issue, and this level two perception too, ad infinitum; landing in patent absurdity.

    4] Fourth, we are objectively under obligation of OUGHT. That is, despite any particular person’s (or group’s or august council’s or majority’s) wishes or claims to the contrary, such obligation credibly holds to moral certainty. That is, it would be irresponsible, foolish and unwise for us to act and try to live otherwise.

    5] Fifth, this cumulative framework of moral government under OUGHT is the basis for the manifest core principles of the natural moral law under which we find ourselves obligated to the right the good, the true etc. Where also, patently, we struggle to live up to what we acknowledge or imply we ought to do.

    6] Sixth, this means we live in a world in which being under core, generally understood principles of natural moral law is coherent and factually adequate, thus calling for a world in which OUGHT is properly grounded at root level. (Thus worldviews that can soundly meet this test are the only truly viable ones. if a worldview does not have in it a world-root level IS that can simultaneously ground OUGHT, it fails decisively.*)

    7] Seventh, in light of the above, even the weakest and most voiceless of us thus has a natural right to life, liberty, the pursuit of fulfillment of one’s sense of what s/he ought to be (“happiness”). This includes the young child, the unborn and more. (We see here the concept that rights are binding moral expectations of others to provide respect in regards to us because of our inherent status as human beings, members of the community of valuable neighbours. Where also who is my neighbour was forever answered by the parable of the Good Samaritan. Likewise, there can be no right to demand of or compel my neighbour that s/he upholds me and enables me in the wrong — including under false colour of law through lawfare. To justly claim a right, one must first be in the right.)

    8] Eighth, like unto the seventh, such may only be circumscribed or limited for good cause. Such as, reciprocal obligation to cherish and not harm neighbour of equal, equally valuable nature in community and in the wider world of the common brotherhood of humanity.

    9] Ninth, this is the context in which it becomes self evidently wrong, wicked and evil to kidnap, sexually torture and murder a young child or the like as concrete cases in point that show that might and/or manipulation do not make ‘right,’ ‘truth,’ ‘worth,’ ‘justice,’ ‘fairness,’ ‘law’ etc. That is, anything that expresses or implies the nihilist’s credo is morally absurd.

    10] Tenth, this entails that in civil society with government, justice is a principal task of legitimate government. Thus also,

    11] Eleventh, that government is and ought to be subject to audit, reformation and if necessary replacement should it fail sufficiently badly and incorrigibly.

    12] Twelfth, the attempt to deny or dismiss such a general framework of moral governance invariably lands in shipwreck of incoherence and absurdity. But that does not mean that the attempt is not going to be made, so there is a mutual obligation of frank and fair correction and restraint of evil.
    _________________

    * F/N: After centuries of debates and assessment of alternatives per comparative difficulties, there is in fact just one serious candidate to be such a grounding IS: the inherently good creator God, a necessary and maximally great being worthy of ultimate loyalty and the reasonable responsible service of doing the good in accord with our manifestly evident nature. (And instantly, such generic ethical theism answers also to the accusation oh this is “religion”; that term being used as a dirty word — no, this is philosophy. If you doubt this, simply put forth a different candidate that meets the required criteria and passes the comparative difficulties test: _________ . Likewise, an inherently good, maximally great being will not be arbitrary or deceitful etc, that is why such is fully worthy of ultimate loyalty and the reasonable, responsible service of doing the good in accord with our manifestly evident nature. As a serious candidate necessary being, such would be eternal and embedded in the frame for a world to exist at all. Thus such a candidate is either impossible as a square circle is impossible due to mutual ruin of core characteristics, or else it is actual. For simple instance no world is possible without two-ness in it, a necessary basis for distinct identity inter alia>>
    _______________

    The evidence is, you are not addressing it because you cannot do so cogently.

    KF

  249. 249
    daveS says:

    KF,

    Did you devise this list yourself?

    I mean several, for example #11:

    11] Eleventh, that government is and ought to be subject to audit, reformation and if necessary replacement should it fail sufficiently badly and incorrigibly.

    seem quite reasonable, but how do we know this is a self-evident moral truth?

  250. 250
    Andre says:

    Clown fish is certain that objective morals exist as sure as he is about his own existence. How can we know this? The very first injustice he suffers will open him up to claim that he wants justice! That is how you know and so does he!

  251. 251
    clown fish says:

    KairosFocus: “Here is what you have yet to cogently engage — and this is not personal disagreement it is a matter of warrant:

    1] The first self evident moral truth is that we are inescapably under the government of ought.

    (This is manifest in even an objector’s implication in the questions, challenges and arguments that s/he would advance, that we are in the wrong and there is something to be avoided about that. That is, even the objector inadvertently implies that we OUGHT to do, think, aim for and say the right. Not even the hyperskeptical objector can escape this truth. Patent absurdity on attempted denial.)”

    Yup, that last sentence gives me confidence that any response I provide will be addressed seriously. And that was only the first “self evident truth”.

    By the way. I addressed your first self evident truth that would be patently absurd to deny. And you have never addressed my response except to say that I refuse to address your self evident truths. Given this, why should I take anything you say seriously? Why should anybody?

  252. 252
    kairosfocus says:

    DS, try this — power tends to corrupt, absolute (unaccountable power) corrupts absolutely. KF

  253. 253
    kairosfocus says:

    CF,

    Kindly try to object to no 1 without falling afoul of the absurdity described. As in:

    TRUTH CLAIM: 1] The first self evident moral truth is that we are inescapably under the government of ought.

    PROBLEM WITH OBJECTION: This is manifest in even an objector’s implication in the questions, challenges and arguments that s/he would advance, that we are in the wrong and there is something to be avoided about that.

    MEANING OF THIS PROBLEM: That is, even the objector inadvertently implies that we OUGHT to do, think, aim for and say the right.

    UNIVERSALITY: Not even the hyperskeptical objector can escape this truth.

    THE ABSURDITY: Patent absurdity on attempted denial.

    So now, break the chain of reasoning, by objecting without assuming or implying what is indicated.

    KF

  254. 254
    daveS says:

    KF,

    Well, yes, but if I had suggested this principle, I suspect I would be told it’s just my “preference”. Probably comparisons to Hitler and Pol Pot would follow. 🙂

    Is there any way for me to know it’s self-evidently true?

  255. 255
    clown fish says:

    KairosFocus: “Kindly try to object to no 1 without falling afoul of the absurdity described.

    When you have pre-determined that any objection would be absurd, please explain to me how this would be possible? But, regardless, one of us has to act like a mature adult. Please read one of the responses that I have already made with respect to this “self evident moral truth” and explain to me how it does not address your claim. Failure to do so will be interpreted as your concession to the valididity of my previously made argument, or your lack of making any effort to understand my previously made argument.

  256. 256
    specter13 says:

    I’d be lying if I said I’d read all 250+ comments but I have had this discussion before with atheist lawyers I know who are Ivy League educated. They love to pontificate about the law, truth, justice etc.. eventually it comes to a point where I ask them if they are just legal mercenaries for whatever popular opinion is at the time, and guess what they fall back on for the underlying basis for moral right and wrong in nature?! EVOLUTION!!!

    Someone really ought to create a triangle of absurdity…

  257. 257
    clown fish says:

    Specter13: “Someone really ought to create a triangle of absurdity.”

    I think Pythagorus already did this. The sum of the squares of StephenB’s and Andre’s absurdity equals the square of KairosFocus’ absurdity.

  258. 258
    vividbleau says:

    Clown
    “Vividbleau, on a personal note. I do appreciate the fact that you are willing to discuss this as if I am not the devil incarnate.”

    Thanks, I thank you as well.

    Perhaps it might be helpful to isolate your objections to objectivism. Correct me if I am mistaken but one of your major objections seems to be that there are different moral values expressed over time? Is this a fair observation?

    Vivid

  259. 259
    vividbleau says:

    Clown

    Also if you would could you direct me to the relevant answer that you gave to KF RE 253.

    Vivid

  260. 260
    clown fish says:

    Vividbleu: “Correct me if I am mistaken but one of your major objections seems to be that there are different moral values expressed over time? Is this a fair observation?”

    I think that is a fair assessment. For example, if morals are objective, presumably from day one, why did it take until part way through the last century for women to be considered the equal of men? For a self-evident objective moral truth, it sure took long enough for this truth to be recognized. The question really has to to be asked, why did God take this long to extent these self-evident, objective values (rights) to half of the world’s population? How does he explain this lapse in equality? And, more importantly, how does he explain this inequality to the billions of women who lived and died before this was “addressed”? It seems like cruelty to me.

  261. 261
    vividbleau says:

    Clown RE 260

    WJM addressed this in his response to Clad

    Clad “Can we show any part of it is agreed upon by all?”

    WJM “Can we show anything that all humans agree upon, whether objective or subjective in nature? I don’t understand this hyperskeptical requirement that keeps popping up where objective morality needs to be perfectly understood by everyone or else it cannot be objective in nature. Think of morality like a spiritual set of “laws” that are analogous to physical laws. That all humans cannot immediately understand them or agree on them doesn’t make morality non-objective in nature.

    There are, however, self-evidently true moral statements that all sane people would agree with: such as cruelty is wrong and love is good.

    Not all true moral principles or rules are self-evident. Self-evident truths, such as “I exist” and “X=X” are truths we reason from. They allow us to prove other things; they themselves cannot be proven – they are assumed. There are few self-evident truths – which means, the very concept of a thing would fail if the self-evident truth was wrong. Morality is absurd if love is evil, or if cruelty is good. This is one reason moral subjectivism, if true, renders morality an absurd proposition: anything can be good or evil, and is made good or evil by the subjective views of the individual.

    Some moral truths are logically necessary extensions or extrapolations of self-evident truths; some are conditionally true, some generally true. As with any human endeavor, ego, error and corruption can creep in and harm one’s moral perception and reasoning and produce disastrous results.

    Which is why both command authority objective morality, and moral subjectivism, are so dangerous.”

    Do you find this objectionable ?

    Vivid

  262. 262
    clown fish says:

    Vividbleu, I don’t find objective morality or objective truth objectionable at all. In fact, I think it is fair to say that we would all prefer it. But wishing it to be true and it actually being true are not the same thing.

    Saying that cruelty is objectively bad simply does not jive with centuries of slavery, child labour, debtors prison, etc. We both agree that, from today’s standards, these are bad things. But that was not always the case. So, is our understanding of objective morality better now than it was then? And how would we know?

  263. 263
    vividbleau says:

    Clown

    “I don’t find objective morality or objective truth objectionable at all. In fact, I think it is fair to say that we would all prefer it. But wishing it to be true and it actually being true are not the same thing.”

    Agreed.

    “Saying that cruelty is objectively bad simply does not jive with centuries of slavery, child labour, debtors prison, etc”

    This is like saying that the earth is objectively round simply does not jive with centuries of the past when it was considered flat. I don’t get the reasoning here.

    “. We both agree that, from today’s standards, these are bad things.”

    Maybe for you but today’s standards have nothing to do with the fact that they were bad in the past and will be so in the future.

    Vivid

  264. 264
    Andre says:

    Clown fish

    So if you suffer an injustice you won’t require justice?

  265. 265
    kairosfocus says:

    CF,

    did you not see that in both your last objections your essential objections were based on a perceived unfairness in the first principle.

    That is, on the evidence you accept the principle and are in fact unable to object to it as stated without appealing to it, i.e. the implicit but telling fact of moral obligation?

    (Did you ever wonder why it is that when we quarrel, we so persistently try to show others in the wrong, by way of error or unfairness or the like, and why it is that as a rule there is not a reaction: shut up you little frog, you is my lunch and you must just slide down de throat nicely. [There used to be a popular drawing of a heron of some type swallowing a frog, but it was trying to throttle the bird.])

    Your objection to and distaste for the term absurdity is of course irrelevant: the point of the term is that when something is self evident, it has an inescapable quality to it such that in trying to deny it, one ends up in depending on it, confirming it, contradicting oneself logically [as in reductio ad absurdum], or by playing both sides of the field or the like.

    That is just what happened to you, and it will predictably happen to others also.

    Not because we are unfair [!] or are tilting the field [!] or are playing rhetorical tricks [!] or are showing disrespect [!] etc, but because of the inherent nature of the claim.

    Notice, again, the structure of the first manifestly evident core principle of the natural moral law:

    TRUTH CLAIM: 1] The first self evident moral truth is that we are inescapably under the government of ought.

    PROBLEM WITH OBJECTION: This is manifest in even an objector’s implication in the questions, challenges and arguments that s/he would advance, that we are in the wrong and there is something to be avoided about that.

    MEANING OF THIS PROBLEM: That is, even the objector inadvertently implies that we OUGHT to do, think, aim for and say the right.

    UNIVERSALITY: Not even the hyperskeptical objector can escape this truth.

    THE ABSURDITY: Patent absurdity on attempted denial.

    That is, self evidence.

    Which I know, I know, is not usually discussed in College classes much less high school ones these days.

    Not to mention, concepts such as moral certainty.

    And objective truth is typically mentioned only to be sneered at — indeed it is likely that we will instead hear about “absolute truth” (or even more likely those testosterone addled fundy, right wing would be theocratic inquisitors and absolutist throwbacks to the dark ages: ignorant, stupid, insane or wicked to a man . . . ), typically to set it up as a strawman and knock it over. Too often, by way of caricatures of “absolutists” and long litanies of the sins of the absolutists — as a rule, of the sins of Christendom. (And don’t expect to hear lists of the blessings of Christendom — victory always has a hundred claimed fathers but defeat is an orphan. In this case, the appropriation and well poisoning are leading to undermining the stabilising supports of our civilisation by way of march of folly.)

    A few pointers:

    Basic concept 1: truth says of what is, that it is; and of what is not, that it is not. (That is, accurate reference to reality, the state of affairs in the world.) Aristotle, Metaphysics, 1011b.

    BC 2: Objective truth is that truth which is independent of the perceptions of a given individual or group etc, i.e. it is capable of some degree of warrant or grounding that establishes the claims as credible and reliable and open to [highly likely, successful] onward test. It does not actually imply certainty beyond possibility of correction, but entails that the claims are well founded and sufficiently reliable to be worked with with high confidence.

    BC 3: Absolute truth is the ideal — the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. That is, the full material truth on a matter, undiluted, untainted, without extras. The description matches the reality in all relevant aspects for decision and action. In practical matters we deal with objective truth and seek to approach absolute truth but face the challenge of bounded rationality, trade-off of alternatives and their risks, and especially the cost of undue delay tantamount to bad decisions that may be ruinous or at least painful. (Cf here Boyd’s OODA loop, in the full, multiple feedback form.)

    BC 4: Knowledge is warranted, credibly true (and so also, reliable) belief. Again, not an absolute claim, this corresponds to objective truth and in effect is a certificate of successful testing and objective foundation for truth claims. (No wonder so many ideologues are tempted to usurp the label knowledge.)

    BC 5: Moral certainty is a degree of confidence in a truth claim or the like, that holds that the degree of warrant is such that one would be irresponsible to dismiss or fail to act on a truth claim or knowledge claim or the like, given the state of the art and circumstances.

    BC 6: Evidence is what tends to (or at outset of investigation is admissible as potentially able to) credibly support a claim. For instance, the ancient documents rule of jurisprudence holds that record that is fair on the face [bears no clear marks of fraud] and comes from good chain of custody or repository is good evidence . . . which holds even if there are difficulties.

    BC 7: Proof is in the strict sense a successful test for fact and logic sufficient to establish objective truth to a degree of certainty that its being overthrown is deemed abstractly possible but utterly unlikely. (E.g. post Godel, Mathematics of sufficient complexity to enfold “arithmetic” is such that it is necessarily incomplete on pain of incoherence and there is no constructive procedure that guarantees coherence.)

    BC 8: A fact is something that is known to be true or to have occurred, especially as being observed and reported or recorded by reliable means or witnesses. This is the basis of statistics and of sound information systems. Notice, this is not a matter of “inter-subjective agreement” among the guild of scholars or conventional wisdom of an institution or society etc after whatever political dust-up has occurred, it is a question of credible truth worthy of trust even if unpopular with the powers that be.

    BC 9: an empirical fact is a fact of observation of the world of experience.

    BC 10: a self evident truth is something that is true, and on actually understanding what is being claimed is seen as necessarily so on pain of patent absurdity. That is, the rejection or dismissal of a SET comes at a price of surrendering rational discussion on a matter. SETs are not proved, they are examined, explained and understood . . . made sense of . . . as the start-points of proof or investigation. Sometimes, they are termed first principles.

    BC 11: Distinct identity is the start point of reasoning, i.e. we mark some A (say a bright red ball on a table) as distinct from the rest of the world that is not A, ~A; W = { A | ~ A }. Instantly, A is A (as opposed to not A), any x in W cannot be A AND ~A in the same sense and circumstances, and any y in W is A or ~A but not both or neither . . . and yes I am using the full exclusive or. These are the three classic laws of thought: identity, non-contradiction, excluded middle. (These three are self evident, indeed we cannot prove them as to try to prove them we implicitly must already rely on them — even, to just talk about them we must use distinct thoughts, symbols, glyphs, sounds etc. Instead we come to recognise and understand them, and to see their significance and utter trustworthiness beyond any reasonable, responsible doubt. Similar things obtain for how a conscious being is undeniably and incorrigibly aware of its consciousness, and for something like error exists.)

    BC 12: In this context, moral SETs hold as first core principles of moral governance of responsibly and rationally free individuals that are so, are seen to be so on insightful reflection i/l/o our existing base of experience of our world, and are seen to be necessarily or undeniably so on pain of absurdity. The attempted denial undermines itself in some significant way that shows that this is an utterly reliable start point for moral reflection on the world of OUGHT. In the case above, attempted denial will invariably reflect reliance on the premise that we OUGHT to seek the truth, the right, the fair etc.

    A point of beginnings . . .

    KF

  266. 266
    kairosfocus says:

    Vivid,

    actually since Eratosthenes and Aristotle the educated in our civilisation have understood the earth to be round and have had a reasonably accurate value for the circumference. The debate with Columbus was about his considerable under-estimate and his objectors were right; just he did have a means to sail out and back (the trade winds system) and evidence of something out there in sailing reach.

    But you are quite right to highlight the irrelevance of the objection CF made.

    He has yet to recognise that it was the invention of printing, publishing the Bible in the vernacular, emergence of widespread literacy, cheap enough books, pamphlets, broadsides, bills and newspapers that opened the door for moving from oligarchy to stabilised, gradual democratisation, which thus enabled reforms from oligarchic domination. And the ideas had to be drawn forth from natural law, from history, from phil, from Scripture and theology and hammered out into a feasible form. Generations of scholarship and building of deep public understanding — what we now so lightly disregard and sneer at then toss away.

    The implicit timeline there points to 1400 – 1700 as the baseline.

    So c 1700 was the first time in history that the sort of project of reformed government as discussed in the US DoI of 1776 was feasible and sufficiently credible to be tried. Notice, the British/American revolution is 1775 and the French one, 1789, a sign that a threshold was crossed c. 1750 – 70. With of course the earlier stages in the late 1500’s and 1600s. The Dutch DoI 1581 is particularly relevant.

    Let me excerpt this little-known but pivotal state document:

    . . . a prince is constituted by God to be ruler of a people, to defend them from oppression and violence as the shepherd his sheep; and whereas God did not create the people slaves to their prince, to obey his commands, whether right or wrong, but rather the prince for the sake of the subjects (without which he could be no prince), to govern them according to equity, to love and support them as a father his children or a shepherd his flock, and even at the hazard of life to defend and preserve them. And when he does not behave thus, but, on the contrary, oppresses them, seeking opportunities to infringe their ancient customs and privileges . . . then he is no longer a prince, but a tyrant, and the subjects are to consider him in no other view . . . This is the only method left for subjects whose humble petitions and remonstrances could never soften their prince or dissuade him from his tyrannical proceedings; and this is what the law of nature dictates for the defense of liberty, which we ought to transmit to posterity, even at the hazard of our lives. . . . . So, having no hope of reconciliation, and finding no other remedy, we have, agreeable to the law of nature in our own defense, and for maintaining the rights, privileges, and liberties of our countrymen, wives, and children, and latest posterity from being enslaved by the Spaniards, been constrained to renounce allegiance to the King of Spain, and pursue such methods as appear to us most likely to secure our ancient liberties and privileges.

    All onward major political developments trace to the revolutions of the 1770’s and 80’s.

    Notice how the last great calvinist statesman, Abraham Kuyper of the Netherlands, counselled the USA in the 1898 L P Stone Lectures:

    The three great revolutions in the Calvinistic world left untouched the glory of God, nay, they even proceeded from the acknowledgement of His majesty. Every one will admit this of our [Dutch] rebellion against Spain, under William the Silent. Nor has it even been doubted of the “glorious Revolution,” which was crowned by the arrival of William III of Orange and the overthrow of the Stuarts. But it is equally true of your own Revolution. It is expressed in so many words in the Declaration of Independence, by John Hancock, that the Americans asserted themselves by virtue –“of the law of nature and of nature’s God”; that they acted –“as endowed by the Creator with certain unalienable rights”; that they appealed to “the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of their intention”;3 and that they sent forth their “declaration of Independence” –“With a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence.”4 in the “Articles of Confederation” it is confessed in the preamble, –“that it hath pleased the great Governor of the world to incline the hearts of the legislators.”5 It is also declared in the preamble of the Constitution of many of the States: –“Grateful to Almighty God for the civil, political and religious liberty, which He has so long permitted us to enjoy and looking unto Him, for a blessing upon our endeavors.”6 God is there honored as “the Sovereign Ruler,”7 and the “Legislator of the Universe”8 and it is there specifically admitted, that from God alone the people received “the right to choose their own form of government.”9 In one of the meetings of the Convention, Franklin proposed, in a moment of supreme anxiety, that they should ask wisdom from God in prayer. And if any one should still doubt whether or not the American revolution was homogeneous with that of Paris, this doubt is fully set at rest by the bitter fight in 1793 between Jefferson and Hamilton. Therefore it remains as the German historian Von Holtz stated it: “Es ware Thorheit zu sagen dass die Rousseauschen Schriften einen Einfluss auf die Entwicklung in America ausgeubt haben.”10 (“Mere madness would it be to say that the American revolution borrowed its impelling energy from Rousseau and his writings.”) Or as Hamilton himself expressed it, that he considered “the French Revolution to be no more akin to the American Revolution than the faithless wife in a French novel is like the Puritan matron in New England.”11

    The French Revolution is in principle distinct from all these national revolutions, which were undertaken with praying lips and with trust in the help of God. The French Revolution ignores God. It opposes God. It refuses to recognize a deeper ground of political life than that which is found in nature, that is, in this instance, in man himself. Here the first article of the confession of the most absolute infidelity is “ni Dieu ni maitre.” The sovereign God is dethroned and man with his free will is placed on the vacant seat. It is the will of man which determines all things. All power, all authority proceeds from man. Thus one comes from the individual man to the many men; and in those many men conceived as the people, there is thus hidden the deepest fountain of all sovereignty . . . It is a sovereignty of the people therefore, which is perfectly identical with atheism. And herein lies its self-abasement. In the sphere of Calvinism, as also in your Declaration, the knee is bowed to God, while over against man the head is proudly lifted up. But here, from the standpoint of the sovereignty of the people, the fist is defiantly clenched against God, while man grovels before his fellowmen, tinseling over this self-abasement by the ludicrous fiction that, thousands of years ago, men, of whom no one has any remembrance, concluded a political contract, or, as they called it, “Contrat Social.” Now, do you ask for the result? Then, let History tell you how the rebellion of the Netherlands, the “glorious Revolution” of England and your own rebellion against the British Crown have brought liberty to honor; and answer for yourself the question: Has the French Revolution resulted in anything else but the shackling of liberty in the irons of State-omnipotence? Indeed, no country in our 19th century has had a sadder State history than France.

    In the next 100 years we see emergence of the first generally successful large scale modern constitutional democracy, the rise of civil rights reform movements riding on the wings of the Wesley-Whitefield led revival and the first serious parliamentary spokesman for reform, Wilberforce.

    Go on a further 100 years and we see the mounting up of a great wave of reforms based on cumulative transformation, then the rise of modern evolutionary materialist scientism, with as a parallel development (actually dating to c 1789) radical intensely anticlerical revolutionism and skepticism.

    History across C20 and into C21, has not been kind to the radical secularists, but they have such dominance of organs of influence that such inconvenient facts as the 100 – 200 million victims of radical atheistical and/or skeptical-neopagan regimes is not a key datum of reference. Nor the utterly appalling ongoing abortion holocaust.

    It also seems to be the case that we have largely forgotten or dismissed key, hard bought lessons of history and seem literally hell bent on a march of folly with our civilisation.

    Somehow, it does not seem to register as evident truth rooted in history that for all its benefits democracy is inherently unstable and prone to self destruct. So, it must be stabilised and carefully guarded. But those protections (unsurprisingly on the history) are rooted in the blessings of Christendom, the much derided and despised Christendom that radical secularists are so wont to dismiss.

    As one of these, the relevance of the natural moral law and its credible root in the inherently good creator God, a necessary and maximally great being worthy of loyalty and the reasonable service of doing the good in accord with our evident nature, is too often derided and dismissed. Without serious consideration. As to the complementary role of scripture that is anchored in the salvific passion, death and resurrection of the Christ with 500 witnesses, that is regarded as utterly beyond the pale.

    Isiah, prince of the prophets, had us dialled in 2800 years ago:

    Isa 5: 11
    Woe to those who rise early in the morning,
    that they may run after strong drink,
    who tarry late into the evening
    as wine inflames them!
    12
    They have lyre and harp,
    tambourine and flute and wine at their feasts,
    but they do not regard the deeds of the Lord,
    or see the work of his hands.

    13
    Therefore my people go into exile
    for lack of knowledge . . . .

    18
    Woe to those who draw iniquity with cords of falsehood,
    who draw sin as with cart ropes,
    19
    who say: “Let him be quick,
    let him speed his work
    that we may see it;
    let the counsel of the Holy One of Israel draw near,
    and let it come, that we may know it!”
    20
    Woe to those who call evil good
    and good evil,
    who put darkness for light
    and light for darkness,
    who put bitter for sweet
    and sweet for bitter!
    21
    Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes,
    and shrewd in their own sight!
    22
    Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine,
    and valiant men in mixing strong drink,
    23
    who acquit the guilty for a bribe,
    and deprive the innocent of his right!

    24
    Therefore, as the tongue of fire devours the stubble,
    and as dry grass sinks down in the flame,
    so their root will be as rottenness,
    and their blossom go up like dust;
    for they have rejected the law of the Lord of hosts,
    and have despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.
    25
    Therefore the anger of the Lord was kindled against his people,
    and he stretched out his hand against them and struck them,
    and the mountains quaked;
    and their corpses were as refuse
    in the midst of the streets.
    For all this his anger has not turned away,
    and his hand is stretched out still.

    26
    He will raise a signal for nations far away,
    and whistle for them from the ends of the earth;
    and behold, quickly, speedily they come!
    27
    None is weary, none stumbles,
    none slumbers or sleeps,
    not a waistband is loose,
    not a sandal strap broken;
    28
    their arrows are sharp,
    all their bows bent,
    their horses’ hoofs seem like flint,
    and their wheels like the whirlwind.
    29
    Their roaring is like a lion,
    like young lions they roar;
    they growl and seize their prey;
    they carry it off, and none can rescue. [ESV]

    Yes, an utterly corrupt civilisation will become geostrategically incompetent and will go down to defeat.

    If we keep on the current march of folly, posterity, for cause, will rise up and call us an accursed generation.

    KF

  267. 267

    CF said

    For example, if morals are objective, presumably from day one, why did it take until part way through the last century for women to be considered the equal of men?

    If the physical world objectively exists, why has it taken us so long to figure out what we are still today figuring out? Once again, the hypocritical double-standard is applied.

    For a self-evident objective moral truth, it sure took long enough for this truth to be recognized.

    Who said it was a self-evident moral truth? You seem to think that all moral truths are self-evident; nobody has said they are. Do you understand the difference between a self-evident truth, and an objective moral truth? There are lots of objective facts about the physical world that are not self-evident and which we still do not understand and about which there is still widespread disagreement. Do you understand how you are applying a double-standard here?

    The question really has to to be asked, why did God take this long to extent these self-evident, objective values (rights) to half of the world’s population?

    That is a theological question that has nothing whatsoever to do with whether or not morality should be accepted as an objective commodity. That question only “has to be asked” if one is attempting to find an excuse to dismiss the idea of objective morality on emotional or theological grounds.

    How does he explain this lapse in equality? And, more importantly, how does he explain this inequality to the billions of women who lived and died before this was “addressed”? It seems like cruelty to me.

    CF is reduced to emotional pleading based upon the old “If I were god, I’d make everything candy and unicorns” caricature of theological philosophy in an attempt to gain favorable sentiment for his moral subjectivist worldview.

    IOW, having been shown how logically empty and problematic moral subjectivism is, CF points at his rather childish concept of theology-based morality and says “but god didn’t make everyone perfectly understand moral laws so he’s cruel!!”

    Which, I think, gets to the essence of why moral subjectivists are willing accept an absurd, logically indefensible position (moral subjectivism)rather than accept moral objectivism: they know it logically leads to theism, and they are emotionally committed against theism no matter the cost.

    CF: there are far more sophisticated and diverse concepts of god that are imagined in your sentimental, ill-informed perspective. A theological world-view requires much more understanding and difficult, abstract thinking than “If I were god, I would ….(fill in blank) so nyahh, nyahh, there can’t be a god and if there were, since he doesn’t act like I would, it’s not worth considering!!!”

  268. 268

    vividbleau @263:

    It’s bizarre how these subjectivists seem to be immune to understanding certain points repeatedly raised. They keep insisting that morality cannot be objective if people in different cultures and times disagree, even though the same thing can be said of what the subjectivists consider to be objective physical facts. That seems to be their main objection to the idea of objective morality and it’s easily demonstrated to be an empty, inane objection.

    I think the problem here is that on this point they are emotionally committed against the idea that morality is objective in nature essentially because it is “unfair” that everyone doesn’t have a perfect understanding of what is moral and what is not. Hence, they keep coming back to the same empty objection even though it’s already been thoroughly rebutted time and again.

    IOW, it is their unspoken premise that morality should be an entirely fair system (fair as they see it) for all people at all times that leads them to have a different standard for determining that morality is objective in nature. They just don’t really understand why they are objecting to it, but it is revealed in comments like CF’s above about god.

    Thus, based on their (IMO unsophisticated) sentiment about how god should have installed morality in the world and humans, they cannot accept morality as objective unless it is perfectly apparent to all humans at all times what the correct moral choice is. Then they flounder around to find some reasonable objection and keep returning to the “but different cultures in different times ….” mantra.

    As they operate from this unspoken sentimental rejection of objective morality, it leads them into defending the absurd and apparently simply not seeing certain points because it would cause too much cognitive dissonance. Mr. Arrington, I believe, has rightly called it an anti-theistic derangement syndrome.

  269. 269

    Pointing out that morality is not perfectly understood at all times by all people, or that at different times and in different cultures there are wildly different moral views is not a valid objection to the view that morality refers to an objective commodity, because the same objection can be raised about commodities which subjectivist rightly consider to be objective in nature.

    That objection is not valid. What other rational objection is there to the view that conscience is a sensory faculty that is receiving moral information from a moral landscape?

  270. 270

    Thinking about conscience, it’s very easy to see how it mirrors other sensory capacities and not subjective preferences or emotions. There are situations where conscience forces us to act, even though we may not otherwise want to, and even though it may not otherwise be in what we think is our personal best interest. Not doing what our sense of conscience indicates can leave us feeling harmed or scarred for the rest of our life, enduring consuming regret and guilt. This is very similar to doing something stupid and which one knows better and ending up enduring physical pain and scars for it the rest of one’s life.

    In many cases, our conscience competes against our emotions – against sentiment and empathy because the right thing to do can be a sentimental and emotional nightmare – even though there is no guarantee about the outcome, and even if the outcome appears to be dire, there are moral situations that dictate we proceed even still.

    We will put our lives on the line and imperil our friends and family for the sake of a strong enough moral truth because we know somehow that something of the utmost importance is being harmed if we do not obey that clarion call of conscience. We sense that there is simply no coming back from some choices and we must make them even if it means our own death.

    These are not the hallmarks of subjective emotions and personal preference (unless one is insane); these are the hallmarks of responding to objectively valid information we know to be true on some level that necessitates proper choices, as surely as driving up to the brink of a cliff necessitates a turn back, or saving a child in a fire necessitates putting one’s own life at risk by going in and attempting the rescue.

    Anyone that thinks conscience is in the same categorical ballpark as subjective empathy, emotion and personal preference is simply, IMO, not being honest with themselves.

  271. 271
    clown fish says:

    Vividbleu:”Maybe for you but today’s standards have nothing to do with the fact that they were bad in the past and will be so in the future.”

    Does this mean that our current standards (moral values) are the correct ones? My question is, how do we know? And how arrogant do we have to be to actually believe this?

  272. 272
    clown fish says:

    Andre: “So if you suffer an injustice you won’t require justice?”

    Nobody requires justice. They expect justice.

    And, yes, I would expect justice for violation of any of my society established rights.

  273. 273
    kairosfocus says:

    CF:

    They expect justice

    Do you see the lesson in that?

    KF

  274. 274
    clown fish says:

    KairosFocus: “Do you see the lesson in that?”

    Yes. People expect justice for violations of the rights that society grants them. When someone is stalking you, don’t you expect justice? When someone trespasses on your property, don’t you expect justice? When someone slanders you, don’t you expect justice? All of these acts violate man-made, subjective laws.

  275. 275
    kairosfocus says:

    CF, you don’t know history. People will fight and die for justice in respect of rights that society’s power brokers will not recognise. Others, will champion genuine reforms at high personal cost up to and including peaceful martyrdom; a point literally written into my name. And of course on relativism, the reformer or resister is by definition immoral . . . yet another absurdity that shows the pivotal importance of manifestly evident core principles of the natural moral law as a system above and beyond what may be in civil codes etc; higher, more inherently just law that we did not enact and cannot repeal . . . indeed this is the pivot of both the Dutch DoI of 1581 and the US DoI of 1776. KF

  276. 276
    StephenB says:

    Clown Fish

    For example, if morals are objective, presumably from day one, why did it take until part way through the last century for women to be considered the equal of men? For a self-evident objective moral truth, it sure took long enough for this truth to be recognized.

    Since you will not address my refutations of your position, I will move on to other subjects. (Clown Fish is quick to scrutinize but unwilling to be scrutinized).

    So, we move on.

    For example, if morals are objective, presumably from day one, why did it take until part way through the last century for women to be considered the equal of men?

    The natural moral law must be learned through the application of reason. Only it’s most primitive elements, which are very few, are self evident. The fact that it exists, is, indeed, self-evident, but the practical truths that are derived from it are not self-evident. There is no such thing as a self evident conclusion.

    Just because self-evident truths are understood doesn’t mean that they will be acknowledged. Everyone knows that murder, adultery, theft, dishonesty etc. are wrong–and they have always known it. However, murderers, adulterers, theives, and liars do not typically admit that they know they are doing wrong.

    Accordingly, everyone, including you, knows that objective morality exists. It is impossible not to know it. Its just that you would prefer not to admit it. It’s really very simple.

    The natural moral law exists and everyone (except those who have been seriously harmed or who have harmed themselves) knows it.

    Humans become selfish and violate the moral law that they know to be true.

    Through repeated immoral acts, humans develop bad habits, become enslaved to their unruly appetites and passions, and lose control of themselves.

    Having lost control of themselves, humans then proceed to rationalize their bad behavior and disavow the same law they know to be true.

    In other words, all moral subjectivists are lying (either to others or to themselves) in order to salve their conscience. Its much easier than reforming their behavior and returning to sanity. A man will either conform his behavior to the objective moral code, or else he will find a subjective moral code that conforms to his behavior.

  277. 277
    vividbleau says:

    KF
    “actually since Eratosthenes and Aristotle the educated in our civilisation have understood the earth to be round and have had a reasonably accurate value for the circumference. The debate with Columbus was about his considerable under-estimate and his objectors were right; just he did have a means to sail out and back (the trade winds system) and evidence of something out there in sailing reach.”

    Yes I know, in fact there was an OP posted on this site a few months ago pointing that out.

    Vivid

  278. 278
    clown fish says:

    Kairosfocus: “CF, you don’t know history. People will fight and die for justice in respect of rights that society’s power brokers will not recognise.”

    They will fight and die for what they perceive to be justice. How does this prove that there are objective morals? People will fight and die for many things. Some that we would consider admirable by today’s standards (e.g., fight to end slavery, protecting Jews during the war), and some will seem stupid (e.g., Crusades, French religious wars, etc.). How is this proof that objective morals exist? People fighting and dying for moral values seems very subjective to me.

  279. 279
    vividbleau says:

    Clown

    “Does this mean that our current standards (moral values) are the correct ones?

    Whose current standards? Certainly the community of ISIS has standards that are different to the community of the US and the West in general.

    “My question is, how do we know? ”

    How do you know that the holocaust was an atrocity and immoral?

    “And how arrogant do we have to be to actually believe this?”

    Where is the arrogance in believing that all people are endowed with certain inalienable rights? Where is the arrogance in believing that the holocaust is immoral irrespective of law or societies implicit and complicit imprimatur ?

    Vivid

  280. 280
    clown fish says:

    StephenB::

    Since you will not address my refutations of your position, I will move on to other subjects. (Clown Fish is quick to scrutinize but unwilling to be scrutinized).

    I apologize. I must admit that I do not read every comment. If you re-iterate it, or indicate the comment number, I will attempt to address it.

    CF: For example, if morals are objective, presumably from day one, why did it take until part way through the last century for women to be considered the equal of men?

    SB: The natural moral law must be learned through the application of reason. Only it’s most primitive elements, which are very few, are self evident.

    Are you suggesting that it took until the mid 20th century for man to reason out the objectively moral truth that women are the equal of men? Men must have been really stupid before that if they could not figure out this moral truth.

    Just because self-evident truths are understood doesn’t mean that they will be acknowledged.

    If they are clearly understood, why wouldn’t they be acknowledged? Or might the better explanation be that their are no objective moral truths and that the morals we have are the result of rational thought, abstract thinking, indoctrination, learning, experience, etc.?

    Accordingly, everyone, including you, knows that objective morality exists.

    You are a mind reader now?

  281. 281
    Phinehas says:

    cf:

    Does this mean that our current standards (moral values) are the correct ones? My question is, how do we know? And how arrogant do we have to be to actually believe this?

    How do we know that our current science is correct? How arrogant do we have to be to actually believe the Theory of Relativity? Or Quantum Theory? After all, we got it wrong for such a long time.

    That our understanding may be deficient or our knowledge provisional in no way denies the objective nature of what we are looking to understand, whether physics or morality. This has been explained several times, so why do you keep bringing it up as though it must be an issue for morality but not for physics?

    Whence the double-standard, then? Perhaps some are reluctant to consider the objective nature of morality because the origin of such then becomes an awkward sticking point. It then must join the growing list of things whose origin random chance seems entirely inadequate to explain.

    – Information
    – Matter
    – Laws of nature
    – Fine-tuned constants
    – Life
    – Consciousness
    – Morality

    But hey, at least we’ve been able to scratch “Species” from the list. Maybe. And don’t we all feel so intellectually fulfilled about that?

  282. 282
    kairosfocus says:

    CF, do you understand what happens if you reduce so large a part of our senses and rationality to perceptions, shadow shows and delusions? There are no firewalls, grand delusion is let loose and the life of the mind falls under absurdity. This too is a case of the absurdities spoken of above. And BTW, the linked account on the 1831 uprising in Jamaica is replete with matters of patent justice, just in the first chapter. Is it perceived or real oppression that a man would lash a slave woman for the crime of walking on a path next to a cane field with a piece of cane in her hand on presumption that the cane was “stolen”? That, on dragging her home, her husband then (on his refusal) her brother or another close relative would be demanded to strip her and lash her with a whip? That an enslaved blacksmith, taken by insurrectionists with his hands bound and forced under compulsion of being shot to repair a gun lock would then be tried as an insurrectionist with the mock trial carefully concealing the circumstances of the kidnapping and compulsion so that he would be hanged? And more? Do, let us know if this is empty perception of injustice or actually accurately perceived injustice. Do. KF

  283. 283
    StephenB says:

    Clown Fish,

    I apologize. I must admit that I do not read every comment. If you re-iterate it, or indicate the comment number, I will attempt to address it.

    Very well. Let’s start with these two:

    First, you claim to base your morality on the basis of “who is harmed.” Then you immediately make it clear that your standard doesn’t apply to unborn children, who are harmed (and then some) when the abortionist slices them up or scalds them to death.

    Second, you write,

    Accept the fact that morality is subjective and society driven. And do our best to ensure that we work together to have a society that we can all enjoy, knowing that there will be mis-steps along the way, some of them very serious.”

    Obviously, you don’t recognize all the naive assumptions that clutter your idea. Without an objective standard, there is no way to know which policies are “mis-steps,” let alone which mis-steps are “serious.” Under subjectivism, there are no “serious mis-steps.” There are only steps, none of which can be judged or evaluated–except to say that you like some and dislike others.

    For example, if morals are objective, presumably from day one, why did it take until part way through the last century for women to be considered the equal of men?

    Because the natural moral law does not presume to answer every moral question in detail or in the absence of applied reason. It is also incomplete in the sense that sometimes, though rarely, revealed truths are needed to inform the natural moral law. In either case, though, terms must be defined and reason must be applied to our basic knowledge of we already know about right and wrong.

    So, first we have the question, “In what way” are women equal to men. They are definitely inferior with respect to physical strength. On the moral front, though, which is the only one that counts, women are equal to men because, like men, they have been endowed with the spiritual faculties of intellect and will, which means that they can be legitimate moral agents and pursue the reason for their existence.

    Without the proper knowledge base, however, this calculation cannot be made. Thus, as a subjectivist, you cannot make that determination. You are reduced to saying that we ought to consider women the equal of men, but you don’t know why or in what respect.

    SB: The natural moral law must be learned through the application of reason. Only it’s most primitive elements, which are very few, are self evident.

    Are you suggesting that it took until the mid 20th century for man to reason out the objectively moral truth that women are the equal of men? Men must have been really stupid before that if they could not figure out this moral truth.

    Even at this late date, you haven’t figured it out because you don’t even believe that moral truths exist? (*Yet another contradiction). In effect, you are calling yourself stupid. But to answer your question, no, it didn't take until the mid-twentieth century for man to reason it out. It is one thing, however, to know the truth, which is a function of the intellect, and quite another thing to follow it, which is a function of the will.

    If they are clearly understood, why wouldn’t they be acknowledged?

    Because it is easier to rationalize immoral acts if you pretend not to know the difference between right and wrong.

    Or might the better explanation be that their are no objective moral truths and that the morals we have are the result of rational thought, abstract thinking, indoctrination, learning, experience, etc.?

    No. That is not a reasonable answer. Society cannot provide me with even one good reason why I should believe or follow its arbitrary and changing moral codes, especially when that same society says that there is no such thing as a moral code.

    SBL Accordingly, everyone, including you, knows that objective morality exists.

    You are a mind reader now?

    It is simply matter of understanding the psychology of rationalization.

  284. 284
    clown fish says:

    StephenB:

    First, you claim to base your morality on the basis of “who is harmed.”.

    Actually, I think that was Aleta. I have been saying that i base mine on experience, indoctrination, etc. But harm is definitely in that list.

    Then you immediately make it clear that your standard doesn’t apply to unborn children, who are harmed (and then some) when the abortionist slices them up or scalds them to death.

    I thought that I had replied to that, but possibly not as clearly as you expected. I don’t consider early stage fetuses to be children. However, I am in favour of limitations to abortion, based on stage of pregnancy.

    Obviously, you don’t recognize all the naive assumptions that clutter your idea.

    I wouldn’t call them naive, just unsettling. But unsettling does not mean un-true.

    Without an objective standard, there is no way to know which policies are “mis-steps,” let alone which mis-steps are “serious.”

    The same way we do now. Hindsight is always 20/20.

    Under subjectivism, there are no “serious mis-steps.”

    Sure there can be. If one of the standards is to do no harm, and the policy does harm, that is obviously a mis-step.

  285. 285
    zeroseven says:

    WJM@268 (and others who raise the same point).

    The main reason our view of the physical world changes (eg realising the sun doesn’t orbit the earth) is that we develop new technology that enables us to make measurements we otherwise couldn’t. We thought illnesses were caused by gods until we invented the microscope.

    How does that apply to morality? What technology or tools were we lacking 100 years ago to enable us to realise that women were the equals of men and entitled to the same rights to vote?

  286. 286
    StephenB says:

    Clown Fish:

    I wouldn’t call them naive, just unsettling. But unsettling does not mean un-true.

    Without an objective standard, there is no way to know which policies are “mis-steps,” let alone which mis-steps are “serious.” Under subjectivism, there are no “serious mis-steps.” There are only steps, none of which can be judged or evaluated–except to say that you like some and dislike others.

    The same way we do now. Hindsight is always 20/20.

    Bad logic. If you have no standard for defining a serious mis-step, then hindsight is useless. Hindsight can only help you if you have a moral standard for defining past and present events. You have no way of knowing which things are getting better or worse. Thus, you have no standard for defining a mis-step, let alone a serious mis-step.

    Also, you seem to have nothing more to say concerning your claim that equality between the sexes is a “moral truth,” even though you say that there is no such thing as moral truth. Which part of that contradiction would you care to retract?

    Sure there can be. (serious mis-steps under subjectivism) If one of the standards is to do no harm, and the policy does harm, that is obviously a mis-step.

    But you think harming an unborn child (or, if you like, the fetus) can be justified. So, it would appear that “harm” is not your standard. (Never mind that it is a new standard, since you say that it came from Aleta and bears no resemblance to your old standard). Would you like to propose another standard?

    I don’t consider early stage fetuses to be children.

    You mean that a zygote has less of a right to live than a eight week-old fetus, which in turn, has less of a right to live than a seven month old fetus? What is your standard for making that calculation. Why does the right to live increase with age? Does a ten-year-old child have more of a right to live than a one-month-old baby?

  287. 287
    Phinehas says:

    07:

    The main reason our view of the physical world changes (eg realising the sun doesn’t orbit the earth) is that we develop new technology that enables us to make measurements we otherwise couldn’t. We thought illnesses were caused by gods until we invented the microscope.

    How does that apply to morality? What technology or tools were we lacking 100 years ago to enable us to realise that women were the equals of men and entitled to the same rights to vote?

    I don’t think anyone has claimed that morality is exactly like the physical world nor that our view on each would change for the same reasons.

    The argument was made that our view on morality has changed, and that, therefore, it must be a subjective thing. This is obviously wrong, since our views on things that are not subjective in the physical world have also changed, and we recognize this doesn’t undermine in any way their objective nature. This is sufficient to address the argument and demonstrate that it is fallacious.

    Having said that, progress toward better moral understanding, though a completely separate issue, may still be an interesting topic of conversation. But it is also one that has been touched on, at least tangentially, by WJM, KF and SB in their discussion of the effects of the Enlightenment, advances in reason, advances in governance, advances in philosophy, and the spread of the gospel. In a sense, someone like MLK can be seen as analogous to a microscope on the issue of racial segregation.

  288. 288
    zeroseven says:

    Hi Phinehas,

    I don’t think the argument works though, for the reason that we do know what causes our opinions to change about the natural world. Unless you can identify an analogous reason why our opinions change about morality, I don’t see how you can compare the situations.

  289. 289
    clown fish says:

    StephenB: “no standard for defining a serious mis-step, then hindsight is useless. Hindsight can only help you if you have a moral standard for defining past and present events. You have no way of knowing which things are getting better or worse. Thus, you have no standard for defining a mis-step, let alone a serious mis-step.”

    Sure we do. Using the bathroom bills as an example. The goal is to extend rights and dignity to transgendered people while doing no harm to others. If we find that this has led to an increased frequency of bathroom assaults, then we would conclude that it was s mis-step.

    Also, you seem to have nothing more to say concerning your claim that equality between the sexes is a “moral truth,” even though you say that there is no such thing as moral truth. Which part of that contradiction would you care to retract?”

    Where did I say that equality of the sexes was an objective truth? It is, however, a moral value that most in the western world, myself included, hold.

    You mean that a zygote has less of a right to live than a eight week-old fetus, which in turn, has less of a right to live than a seven month old fetus?”

    That is determined by society. I have my own rationale for where I would draw the line, and others may have different rationale.

  290. 290
    StephenB says:

    StephenB: “no standard for defining a serious mis-step, then hindsight is useless. Hindsight can only help you if you have a moral standard for defining past and present events. You have no way of knowing which things are getting better or worse. Thus, you have no standard for defining a mis-step, let alone a serious mis-step.”

    Clown Fish

    Sure we do. Using the bathroom bills as an example. The goal is to extend rights and dignity to transgendered people while doing no harm to others.

    So are you saying that society can grant dignity? Or, are you saying that dignity is inherent in being human? If so, where does that dignity come from? Do you even know what you are saying?

    Also, I have already explained that it is impossible to grant any group or person a right without harming another person or group by taking away a right. In this case, the right taken away is the right for women to kick a man out of a woman’s rest room.

    If we find that this has led to an increased frequency of bathroom assaults, then we would conclude that it was s mis-step.

    How can you say that it is a mis-step if you can’t say that bathroom assaults are objectively immoral? If an Islamic society can pass laws that justify sexual assaults on women, in or out of the bathroom, what is your argument against it?

    “Also, you seem to have nothing more to say concerning your claim that equality between the sexes is a “moral truth,” even though you say that there is no such thing as moral truth. Which part of that contradiction would you care to retract?”

    Where did I say that equality of the sexes was an objective truth? It is, however, a moral value that most in the western world, myself included, hold.

    You said that it was a “moral truth.” Perhaps you meant to say that it was a societal norm in some places. perhaps you don’t know the difference. Notice that it was you, not me, that injected the word “objective” into the discussion. Even without my help, you know that moral truth = objective truth, and you did use the word “moral truth,” as is shown in your quote above. Yet, you now don’t want to be held accountable for using that very same phrase. Let’s just assume that you really meant to say “societal norms” are the standard of what should be allowed and not be allowed. Under those circumstances, if an Islamic society justifies and writes into law the right to assault women, we can safely assume that you are fine with that. Right?

    SB: “You mean that a zygote has less of a right to live than a eight week-old fetus, which in turn, has less of a right to live than a seven month old child. (What is your rationale?)

    That is determined by society. I have my own rationale for where I would draw the line, and others may have different rationale.

    Interesting. I ask you to articulate your rationale and you respond by saying that you have a rationale–and then you say that society determines the rationale– or perhaps you would like to revert back to “harm” as your rationale, or is your rationale whatever you can think of to say in the moment?

  291. 291
    kairosfocus says:

    Ghost of the past: Right to LIFE is determined by society, Herr Fuehrer.

  292. 292
    Andre says:

    Sience has proven that life starts at the moment of conception. I find it very amusing that the supposed champions of science ignore this very important truth to make a claim that an 8 week old fetus is not a life. You are as a matter of fact the science denier.

    No right to life means no rights at all do our interlocutors understand this fundamental self evident truth?

  293. 293
    kairosfocus says:

    Andre, you gotta be alive first to claim a right. KF

  294. 294
    vividbleau says:

    WJM
    “As they operate from this unspoken sentimental rejection of objective morality, it leads them into defending the absurd and apparently simply not seeing certain points because it would cause too much cognitive dissonance. ”

    Keep in mind for the subjectivist to accept just one objective truth would result in the entire edifice tumbling down.

    Listen things are going their way ,what they don’t seem to realize is that at some point it may not always be so. I keep repeating this to no avail, ideas have consequences, ideas will inevitably go to their logical extreme if left unchecked. I know you ,KF and others keep ringing the alarm bells for that I am thankful.

    If history has taught us anything it has taught us this, tyranny is the norm not an aberration . It’s arrival usually comes through some event ( think economic event or war), when it comes it happens swiftly. We are always 48 hours away from chaos. That’s how long the inventory on the shelves are stocked for, the same is true for the gas stored in the pumps.

    Vivid

  295. 295
    kairosfocus says:

    07:

    The main reason our view of the physical world changes (eg realising the sun doesn’t orbit the earth) is that we develop new technology that enables us to make measurements we otherwise couldn’t.

    Actually, the technology used by Brahe was pre-telescopic. It was a careful analysis of the data (esp. for Mars) that led Kepler to his three laws.

    That is not the issue at hand, the self-evident core moral principles — cf. here (BTW, you need to respond substantially) — have long since been manifest to all, and their import is well known; just politically not correct. The repeated consequences of attempted denial are also plain: absurdities.

    The problem at hand is an ancient self-falsifying and amoral philosophy, evolutionary materialism, has dressed itself up in a lab coat and has been ceded power to control science. Falsity being set up as the yardstick, contrary actual truth is predetermined to fail the test of conforming to the false.

    This will not end well.

    KF

  296. 296
    kairosfocus says:

    Vivid:

    To accept just one objective truth would result in the entire edifice tumbling down.

    Listen things are going their way ,what they don’t seem to realize is that at some point it may not always be so. I keep repeating this to no avail, ideas have consequences, ideas will inevitably go to their logical extreme if left unchecked. I know you ,KF and others keep ringing the alarm bells for that I am thankful.

    If history has taught us anything it has taught us this, tyranny is the norm not an aberration . . .

    That is why they seem forced to insist on conformity to a false yardstick, which allows them to reject the one thing that will never conform to the false: the truth.

    So, the trick is to find a plausible, seemingly credible falsity and embed it as yardstick backed up by politically correct socio-psychological forces.

    2 Thess 2:9 The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, 10 and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, 12 in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. [ESV]

    Sobering warning.

    KF

    PS: Try a dozen objective moral truths: http://www.uncommondescent.com.....al-truths/

  297. 297
    Andre says:

    KF

    Indeed but do people like clown fish understand this fundamental self evident truth? I can argue from his writings that he does not understand it.

  298. 298
    kairosfocus says:

    Andre, what I just sent to Vivid is relevant. We can be blinded to even patent truth through key misunderstandings or through setting up falsity as a yardstick and clinging to politically correct indoctrination never mind the absurdities. If one imagines might/manipulation — aka social consensus — makes ‘right’ and figures s/he is on the “winning side” then one may imagine one is okay. The Caribbean proverb is that the same knife that sticks the sheep can stick the goat too. But in the same 1831 uprising where a slave blacksmith kidnapped by insurrectionists and on threat of being instantly shot by same fixed a gunlock, then was kangaroo courted and hanged (the fact of acting under threat being artfully suppressed), a militia colonel whose cowardice caused events to spiral out of control had his court martial abort incomplete . . . likely with complicity. KF

  299. 299

    zeroseven said:

    The main reason our view of the physical world changes (eg realising the sun doesn’t orbit the earth) is that we develop new technology that enables us to make measurements we otherwise couldn’t.

    I could challenge zeroseven to back up his claim that “the main reason our view of the physical changes” is due to the development of measuring technology, but of course he cannot. Oh, sure, there are a lot of examples where invented technology did change our “view of the world”, but it is hardly the case that in every or even most cases did our understanding of a thing depend on newly invented technology.

    Zeroseven has cherry-picked a way in which morality is not like some other physical commodities and has simply asserted that this is “the main way” in an attempt to put distance between morality and objective commodities.

    Often (if not in most cases) our understanding of a thing was furthered via observation and rational analysis. For example, our understanding of raising crops, cross-breeding and selective breeding, for thousands of years, did not require any technological breakthroughs; it only required observation and rational analysis. Human capacity to engineer and build great marvels did not require any technological breakthroughs, but rather keen mathematical and observational intellect and a knowledge of materials and how they behaved.

    What new technology did Newton require to develop his theory of gravitation? What new technology did Darwin require to come up with the theory of evolution? How many advances in our understanding of human history were acquired simply by digging things up or carefully observing and noting behaviors in concert with others doing the same thing?

    How about advancements in mathematics and how that has revolutionized our understanding of the world in so many ways, especially when it comes to engineering, measuring and predicting? What technological advances were required to further mathematics along every step of the way?

    What kind of technology is required for the understanding that a tree bark (aspirin) reduces pain? Or that some natural remedies alleviated other kinds of physical ailments? Did we require telescopes to figure out the progression of the seasons and microscopes to figure out when to plant and harvest and that we needed to store food for the winter? Did we require a particle accelerator to figure out how to use fire to cook food, melt and temper metal?

    Then we get to other physical capacities to interact with the objective world, such as our senses of smell, taste, and touch. We know there are people with amazingly refined senses in these areas, people that can individually identify thousands of aromas or identify subtle, complex ingredients by smell or taste alone. Technology is not required to accomplish this, nor to figure out how to combine tastes and preparation techniques to create a delicous new food.

    Furthermore, we recognize those individuals who have great ability to taste and smell with great accuracy, and those who have developed mathematics or logic in order to advance our understanding of the objective world; we also recognize and revere historical figures who have advanced our moral understanding of ourselves and the world around us.

    As has already been pointed out, it was never claimed that morality was like every other physical commodity or that conscience was like every other physical sense, or that moral rules could be proven in the same manner as a scientific theory. The point that was made is that expecting everyone to perfectly understand moral laws as an objection to it being an objective commodity is a hypocritical notion.

    This is not an argument that morality is in fact an objective commodity, and that conscience is in fact a sensory capacity like out other senses; it is a rebuttal of the hypocritical double-standard subjectivists here use to insist that it cannot be so. All zeroseven has done is double-down on the hypocrisy by cherry-picking some aspects of some physical commodities which we already know morality is not like and has insisted that we must bridge that particular gap in order to make the case.

    But, that’s not the case being made here. Not all physical commodities and our capacity to recognize them are the same, nor do they share all features. Also, it is not being claimed that conscience and morality are physical commodities, only that we argue and act as if morality is an objective commodity and as if conscience is a sensory capacity. We do not act as if morality is subjective and as if conscience is a subjective matter of personal feeling and preference.

    Objections to the premise that morality could be an objective commodity are not good faith objections; they are hypocritical, hyperskeptical, cherry-picked manifestations of an a priori ideology firmly committed against the idea that morality could be an objective commodity and that conscience could be a sensory capacity that senses the moral landscape.

    So, once the objection that “perfect universal understanding” is rebutted as an obviously hypocritical double-standard, another objection is trotted out, that conscience doesn’t any technological advancements to increase it’s ability like a conscience-scope or a morality-meter, as if such technologies are required or even possible in every aspect of objective-world interaction, and as if anyone was claiming in the first place that morality was a physical commodity that could be pursued in the same manner as looking through a telescope or a microscope.

    This is the kind of ongoing avoidance of serious debate arriving into the absurd one gets when one’s only guiding principle is that X must never be admitted, agreed to or allowed as an implication – in this case, X being “objective morality”. They clutch at ill-conceived and ridiculous straw to throw at the argument without any rational consideration about what they are saying, insisting that others do the work for them and force them to understand a thing they are committed to not understanding via any limp objection they can voice or put in writing.

    Argument cannot overcome emotionally-committed denial.

  300. 300
    Seversky says:

    kairosfocus @ 51

    F/N: I cannot but note that Cf et al have yet again failed to cogently address the following, so lest it be lost in the stream of comments, I again draw attention to it, as addressing the pivotal underlying issue, the objectivity of our being under moral government and of key moral principles.

    You appear to be laboring under false impression that we are either unwilling or unable to rebut the points you make below. Allow me to disabuse you of that notion. I will pass over the history lesson and address the list of self-evident moral truths set out below.

    We may elaborate on Paul, Locke, Hooker and Aristotle, laying out several manifestly evident and historically widely acknowledged core moral principles for which the attempted denial is instantly and patently absurd for most people — that is, they are arguably self-evident moral truths. For instance:

    1] The first self evident moral truth is that we are inescapably under the government of ought.

    The first problem with this is the concept of self-evidence.

    Observational data only becomes evidence in the context of an explanatory framework for which it arguably provides support. Without such an explanation it is not evidence for anything. For example, a smoking gun on its own is just that and nothing more. It is not evidence for anything save perhaps its own existence. Discovered in the hand of someone standing over the body of another who lies dead from a gunshot wound, however, it becomes evidence for the claim or proposition that the survivor shot the victim.

    The second problem is that of truth.

    One of the most common concepts of truth is the correspondence theory in which a claim or proposition about some aspect of the observable world is held to be true to the extent that it can be observed to correspond to the aspect that it purports to describe or explain.

    The reason why both of the above are problems is that moral propositions are not descriptions or explanations about some aspect of the natural world. They are prescriptions or injunctions or directives about how people should behave towards one another in society. They are not about ‘is’ but about ‘ought’. On that understanding, they are neither self-evident nor true nor false.

    2] Second self evident truth, we discern that some things are right and others are wrong by a compass-sense we term conscience which guides our thought.

    If we are raised with a clear understanding of how others expect us to behave then failing to live up to those expectations can induce a sense of guilt about having let ourselves and others down. If that is all you mean by conscience then I would agree. It is not a self-evident moral truth, however, for the reasons given before.

    4] Fourth, we are objectively under obligation of OUGHT. That is, despite any particular person’s (or group’s or august council’s or majority’s) wishes or claims to the contrary, such obligation credibly holds to moral certainty. That is, it would be irresponsible, foolish and unwise for us to act and try to live otherwise.

    If by being “under obligation of OUGHT” you mean that human beings, when congregating in societies, tend to develop self-imposed rules of behavior which promote social cohesion then I would agree. The key phrase here, though, is “self-imposed”. They are adopted through a process of negotiation or inter-subjective agreement rather than being imposed by some mythical force or being from outside, although some may appeal to such a force or being as warrant for believing their particular morality is intrinsically superior to all others.

    5] Fifth, this cumulative framework of moral government under OUGHT is the basis for the manifest core principles of the natural moral law under which we find ourselves obligated to the right the good, the true etc. Where also, patently, we struggle to live up to what we acknowledge or imply we ought to do.

    Yes, we set standards for ourselves which, being fallible creatures, we often fail to meet. That is an observation not a moral truth.

    6] Sixth, this means we live in a world in which being under core, generally understood principles of natural moral law is coherent and factually adequate, thus calling for a world in which OUGHT is properly grounded at root level. (Thus worldviews that can soundly meet this test are the only truly viable ones. if a worldview does not have in it a world-root level IS that can simultaneously ground OUGHT, it fails decisively.*)

    You have not shown how OUGHT can be grounded in IS at all or that the natural law concept is coherent or factually adequate.

    Broadly speaking, law is understood as having two meanings:

    1. the system of rules that a particular country or community recognizes as regulating the actions of its members and may enforce by the imposition of penalties.
    “they were taken to court for breaking the law”

    2. a statement of fact, deduced from observation, to the effect that a particular natural or scientific phenomenon always occurs if certain conditions are present.
    “the second law of thermodynamics”

    So-called natural law is neither of these things. It is not the statute or even common law of a democratic society deriving its authority from being the enacted will of the governed, neither is it an observed regularity in the natural order of the observable world.

    Again, while we might all agree that a peaceful and lawful democratic society is a desirable state of affairs, that does not make it a self-evident moral truth.

    7] Seventh, in light of the above, even the weakest and most voiceless of us thus has a natural right to life, liberty, the pursuit of fulfillment of one’s sense of what s/he ought to be (“happiness”). This includes the young child, the unborn and more. (We see here the concept that rights are binding moral expectations of others to provide respect in regards to us because of our inherent status as human beings, members of the community of valuable neighbours. Where also who is my neighbour was forever answered by the parable of the Good Samaritan. Likewise, there can be no right to demand of or compel my neighbour that s/he upholds me and enables me in the wrong — including under false colour of law through lawfare. To justly claim a right, one must first be in the right.)

    Rights are privileges or entitlements granted by human societies to their eligible members. They do not exist outside that domain. A human being may be granted the right to life but other animals are not so privileged unless, at some point, human beings decide that they should be.

    Again, we might all agree that there are a set of rights that should be the basic entitlement of all human beings but that is our choice. It is not a self-evident moral truth.

    8] Eighth, like unto the seventh, such may only be circumscribed or limited for good cause. Such as, reciprocal obligation to cherish and not harm neighbour of equal, equally valuable nature in community and in the wider world of the common brotherhood of humanity.

    This is simply a corollary of the above. We can agree that it is a good way to behave on the grounds of empathy but it is not a self-evident moral truth.

    9] Ninth, this is the context in which it becomes self evidently wrong, wicked and evil to kidnap, sexually torture and murder a young child or the like as concrete cases in point that show that might and/or manipulation do not make ‘right,’ ‘truth,’ ‘worth,’ ‘justice,’ ‘fairness,’ ‘law’ etc. That is, anything that expresses or implies the nihilist’s credo is morally absurd.

    As human beings, we can all agree that the torture and murder of children is wrong just on the grounds of empathy. We understand the pain and suffering of the child and its family, we would not want our children or ourselves to experience such suffering and, by extension, we do not want others to experience it either.

    However, we can envisage an alien species that does not reproduce as we do or feel any attachment to its young. Perhaps, this culture of this species has developed a stoic credo, something like the Vulcans in Star Trek, which denies or lacks human emotions. They might look on the torture and killing of a human child as a curiosity of human behavior but nothing more. They would not see a self-evident moral truth.

    10] Tenth, this entails that in civil society with government, justice is a principal task of legitimate government. Thus also,

    11] Eleventh, that government is and ought to be subject to audit, reformation and if necessary replacement should it fail sufficiently badly and incorrigibly.

    12] Twelfth, the attempt to deny or dismiss such a general framework of moral governance invariably lands in shipwreck of incoherence and absurdity. But that does not mean that the attempt is not going to be made, so there is a mutual obligation of frank and fair correction and restraint of evil.

    Again, in a democratic society the government derives its legitimacy and authority from being the embodiment and enactment of the will of the people. It needs no more nor should it claim more. There should be no appeal to some sort of warrant deriving from divine authority or natural law because they are not necessary and are susceptible to corruption.

    Once again, we have decided that this is what is best for us on the grounds of our communal interests. That we can agree on it does not make it a self-evident moral truth.

  301. 301
  302. 302
    clown fish says:

    I see that KairosFocus has posted another comments off FYI-FTR OP. I should be flattered by this one. It is written for the sole purpose of ridiculing me. I especially like the following statement:

    But the underlying incoherence, absurdity and polarising projections of subjectivism (arrogance etc — as in you ought not to be arrogant . . . ), relativism and nominalism are clearly demonstrated.

    At no point did CF seem to realise that he implicitly relied on the objectivity of and inescapability of our being under moral government of binding ought, to try to object to it. The resulting incoherence and absurdities are clear.

    I find these statements hilarious, given the OP that he wrote and the comments that I have made about the ought-is issue. At no time have I claimed that we were not under the government of ought. Where I disagreed was on what the source of the moral values that ought relies on.

    Now, Kairosfocus, since you have demonstrated that you are very adept at searching through past comments, why don’t you find the comments where I talk about this and address those comments rather than continue to lie about me not addressing the issue.

  303. 303
    daveS says:

    KF,

    Have you considered efforts by some to derive objective morality using game theory? I see the topic has come up here a few times, but haven’t found any threads which discuss this in detail.

  304. 304

    Seversky attempts to respond:

    The first problem with this is the concept of self-evidence.

    Has seversky not been paying attention? It has been pointed out repeatedly that a self-evident truth is not something one can prove or gather evidence about; it is a proposition that must be accepted as true or else the system it is the founding premise of collapses into absurdity. A self-evident truth is that which we argue from and that with which we prove other things, such as “I exist” or “A=A” or “1+1=2” or “Cruelty is immoral”.

    Seversky then goes on to demonstrate his utter lack of understanding about what “self-evidently true” means by comparing it to evidence that is gathered to support a propostion or theory.

    This primary misunderstanding drives hes next mistake:

    The reason why both of the above are problems is that moral propositions are not descriptions or explanations about some aspect of the natural world. They are prescriptions or injunctions or directives about how people should behave towards one another in society. They are not about ‘is’ but about ‘ought’. On that understanding, they are neither self-evident nor true nor false.

    Truths are not only about “the natural world” (if by that he means the physical world); they are also valid wrt abstract concepts. In fact, the ability to formulate truths about the natural or physical world depends upon several abstract or conceptual self-evident truths, such as the principles of logic and the fundamentals of math.

    Seversky makes a rather serious blunder here, mistaking the evidence and process towards verifying theories about the physical world (gathering evidence towards generating factual statements) for the self-evident truths required in order to be able to accomplish any of that in the first place, and for it to be considered valid in the second place.

    IOW, without the self-evidently true conceptual foundations of self-existence, free will, logic and math to proceed from and in accordance with, there is no such thing as gathering valid evidence in to propose a meaningful theory.

    You have not shown how OUGHT can be grounded in IS at all or that the natural law concept is coherent or factually adequate.

    If existence is generated for a purpose by the creator root of existence, then the oughtness of that existence is part of its existential nature – a matter of objective fact, not subjective preferences and variance.

    Seversky continues to demonstrate his lack of understanding about the terms being employed:

    So-called natural law is neither of these things. It is not the statute or even common law of a democratic society deriving its authority from being the enacted will of the governed, neither is it an observed regularity in the natural order of the observable world.

    By the above argument bout what “Natural Law” should pertain to, then whatever the majority decides as a law is fine – slavery, executing homosexuals, treating women and children as property, etc., because there is no premised objective arbiter of the scope, parameters, limitations and necessary elements of any enacted laws.

    Natural Law is premised as the objective, binding set of responsibilities and obligations and limitations that should exist for any legal system to be considered just or moral. It is at the root of the US legal system. It is why minorities are protected, why we have presumed inviolable rights, and why certain principles should be upheld regardless of what the “consent of the governed” agree to.

    Once again, Seversky seems to be unable to distinguish the premise that makes what follows valid from what the premise has generated – which is why he needs to check his moral privilege; his process of a just and moral law only proceeds from the assumption of a valid natural law which dictates certain protections and obligations regardless of the will of the majority.

    Again, we might all agree that there are a set of rights that should be the basic entitlement of all human beings but that is our choice. It is not a self-evident moral truth.

    Easy to say having been born and raised in the comfort of a civilization entirely built up on the concept of theistic, natural moral law. Apparently, seversky would be just fine living in and going along with a society that offers no so-called individual “rights” or protections, or one which beheads homosexuals or treats women like property.

    IOW, for Seversky, “morality” is just whatever humans happen to think and do, and in principle cruelty is just as moral as love. Under that premise, logically speaking, morality is really nothing more than a manipulative, rhetorical term used to get people to do what you prefer.

    But then, Seversky attempts to have it both ways:

    As human beings, we can all agree that the torture and murder of children is wrong just on the grounds of empathy. We understand the pain and suffering of the child and its family, we would not want our children or ourselves to experience such suffering and, by extension, we do not want others to experience it either.

    Except when people do not agree to this expressed sentiment or its particular narrative, as evidenced by a human history of not restricting one’s actions based on empathy or the desire to not experience what one is delivering unto others. And, if one chooses some other emotion, such a s hate or some other perspective, like greed or self-pleasure, upon which to base their moral narrative, then by Seversky’s principle of subjective morality empathy need not be considered at all. We can freely harm those we hate and steal for our own benefit and it will factually be as good and as moral as what anyone else does and however they individually justify it and call it “moral”.

    IOW, logically, under Seversky’s subjective morality, the Holocaust was factually as moral as Gandhi or feeding the hungry or sheltering the homeless. It’s just a matter of personal preference and subjective feelings.

    Again, in a democratic society the government derives its legitimacy and authority from being the embodiment and enactment of the will of the people.

    I don’t know where you live, but in the USA we live in a representational republic under constitutional authority. That’s not the same thing as a government that operates from the “will of the people” via a democratic majority. The difference is that the power of the majority is held in check by metaphysical principles assumed to be objectie valid beyond the capacity of the majority or of those in political power to change. It is from this concept of natural laws and rights that we broke ties with England and established a rational legitimacy that carried weight for other countries to recognize our right to do so under that articulated concept of natural law (Declaration of Independence)

    It needs no more nor should it claim more.

    Says a guy living in the tower of civilization built with that material and engineered via those principles.

    There should be no appeal to some sort of warrant deriving from divine authority or natural law because they are not necessary and are susceptible to corruption.

    Everything is susceptible to corruption, so that’s hardly an argument. What a good argument requires is a sound premise and logic that leads to justifiable inferences. You have zero rational reason to assume that western civilization could have been built without a deeply embedded premise of divine natural law. That’s just groundless posturing.

    One wonders, by what authority would Seversky disagree with or refuse to obey laws implemented by the authority of the masses? Obviously, since “democracy” is not any more moral a form of government than any other under moral subjectivism, why should he or anyone concern themselves with what the majority wishes or agrees to? Essentially, then, Seversky is logically committed to moral anarchism – do what you want, justify it however you feel like, gang up with others if you wish and force as many as you can to do what you want them to do. One side is just as factually moral as another, one way as good as another.

    And that premise and the logical inferences thereof is the material and principle by which Seversky insists Western civilization could have been built.

    Once again, we have decided that this is what is best for us on the grounds of our communal interests. That we can agree on it does not make it a self-evident moral truth.

    It’s almost like Seversky is a communist hippie from back in the 60’s or 70’s. He thinks we can be anarchists and all just get along happily and peacefully.

    What an absurd narrative his objective-morality derangement syndrome has concocted for his imagination to cling to. As if those “communal interests” he enjoys would exist as they do without his living in the comfort of a society founded upon the concept of self-evident and objective moral truths and having those concepts baked into the culture.

    Seversky, like many others, takes so utterly for granted what the premise of objective moral truth has generated for our civilization he fantasizes that the same or an even better civilization could be generated without it. He thinks the goodness of people within that civilization and their capacity to generate sustainable “communal agreements” doesn’t depend whatsoever on them keeping themselves in check against moral goods the consider to be objectively binding. He ignorantly wants to let loose the genie of full-out moral anarchism without any spiritual bearings whatsoever.

    It’s like Seversky has no idea at all what goes on in the rest of the world, and has no idea what history has shown humans capable of without a sound moral grounding rooted in the idea of inviolable human rights, self-determination, liberty and metaphysical equality.

  305. 305

    DaveS said:

    Have you considered efforts by some to derive objective morality using game theory? I see the topic has come up here a few times, but haven’t found any threads which discuss this in detail.

    Game theory requires a goal. Under subjective morality, what is the goal, and how does one justify it?

  306. 306
    daveS says:

    WMJ,

    Just to clarify, I’m suggesting to KF to consider using game theory in support of objective morality. Perhaps it would result in a more streamlined, convincing argument.

    On the other hand, perhaps it could be shown that even when everyone acts in his/her own selfish interests, certain “moral” behaviors emerge naturally, so to speak.

    To sum up, I don’t know whether game theory would end up supporting or denying objective morality.

  307. 307
    kairosfocus says:

    Seversky,

    I respond point by point:

    >>KF, 51 F/N: I cannot but note that Cf et al have yet again failed to cogently address the following, so lest it be lost in the stream of comments, I again draw attention to it, as addressing the pivotal underlying issue, the objectivity of our being under moral government and of key moral principles.

    S: You appear to be laboring under false impression that we are either unwilling or unable to rebut the points you make below. Allow me to disabuse you of that notion. I will pass over the history lesson and address the list of self-evident moral truths set out below.>>

    1 –> Let us see, step by step.

    >>KF: We may elaborate on Paul, Locke, Hooker and Aristotle, laying out several manifestly evident and historically widely acknowledged core moral principles for which the attempted denial is instantly and patently absurd for most people — that is, they are arguably self-evident moral truths. For instance:

    1] The first self evident moral truth is that we are inescapably under the government of ought.

    S: The first problem with this is the concept of self-evidence.>>

    2 –> Self-evidence, per se is not a problem, truths that accurately describe relevant aspects of reality, that are seen on understanding to not be merely contingent but necessary, and necessary on pain of patent absurdity.

    3 –> Of course, one may reject a SET, but will be forced to cling to or deny blatantly or dismiss the absurdities.

    >> S: Observational data only becomes evidence in the context of an explanatory framework for which it arguably provides support. Without such an explanation it is not evidence for anything.>>

    4 –> SETs are in many cases prior to specific observation, and an explanation promoting understanding does not undermine the self evident character as described.

    5 –> For instance, cf the three key laws of thought, I excerpt from 265 above:

    Distinct identity is the start point of reasoning, i.e. we mark some A (say a bright red ball on a table) as distinct from the rest of the world that is not A, ~A; W = { A | ~ A }. Instantly, A is A (as opposed to not A), any x in W cannot be A AND ~A in the same sense and circumstances, and any y in W is A or ~A but not both or neither . . . and yes I am using the full exclusive or. These are the three classic laws of thought: identity, non-contradiction, excluded middle. (These three are self evident, indeed we cannot prove them as to try to prove them we implicitly must already rely on them — even, to just talk about them we must use distinct thoughts, symbols, glyphs, sounds etc. Instead we come to recognise and understand them, and to see their significance and utter trustworthiness beyond any reasonable, responsible doubt. Similar things obtain for how a conscious being is undeniably and incorrigibly aware of its consciousness, and for something like error exists.)

    6 –> For moral SETs, I immediately noted:

    In this context, moral SETs hold as first core principles of moral governance of responsibly and rationally free individuals that are so, are seen to be so on insightful reflection i/l/o our existing base of experience of our world, and are seen to be necessarily or undeniably so on pain of absurdity. The attempted denial undermines itself in some significant way that shows that this is an utterly reliable start point for moral reflection on the world of OUGHT. In the case above, attempted denial will invariably reflect reliance on the premise that we OUGHT to seek the truth, the right, the fair etc.

    >> S: For example, a smoking gun on its own is just that and nothing more. It is not evidence for anything save perhaps its own existence. Discovered in the hand of someone standing over the body of another who lies dead from a gunshot wound, however, it becomes evidence for the claim or proposition that the survivor shot the victim.>>

    7 –> A smoking gun is a contingent circumstance, it is not a SET. This is a tangential discussion that sets up and tries to knock over a strawman.

    >>The second problem is that of truth.>>

    8 –> The best understanding of which is, that which says of what is that it is, and of what is not that it is not, Ari Met 1011b.

    >> S: One of the most common concepts of truth is the correspondence theory in which a claim or proposition about some aspect of the observable world is held to be true to the extent that it can be observed to correspond to the aspect that it purports to describe or explain.>>

    9 –> Another miss, you here convert a metaphysical definition on states of affairs and accurate reference to an epistemological challenge of observation. The two are every different in core sense. Many truths are about non-observables, abstract entities. And explanations are often empirically equivalent but very different.

    >>S: The reason why both of the above are problems is that moral propositions are not descriptions or explanations about some aspect of the natural world.>>

    10 –> The tangents and knocked over strawmen and changing of focus come home to roost.

    11 –> In addition, an equivocation, natural world here suggests material world equated to reality. That is enormously problematic in metaphysics and in addressing the nature of responsibly free and rational, morally governed beings.

    12 –> The relevant sense of nature and laws of nature for moral government has to reckon with the force of responsible freedom and rationality, where evolutionary materialism self-falsifies and is inescapably amoral, it has no resources to cogently address reason and responsibility, it cannot bridge the IS-OUGHT gap.

    13 –> A classic historically pivotal statement from a Judaeo-Christian, ethical theism view is Blackstone in his 1765 Commentaries on the Laws of England, building on Locke, Rutherford and those before them all the way to Justinian’s Corpus Juris Civilis, is:

    Man, considered as a creature, must necessarily be subject to the laws of his creator, for he is entirely a dependent being . . . consequently, as man depends absolutely upon his maker for every thing, it is necessary that he should in all points conform to his maker’s will. This will of his maker is called the law of nature. For as God, when he created matter, and endued it with a principle of mobility, established certain rules for the perpetual direction of that motion; so, when he created man, and endued him with freewill to conduct himself in all parts of life, he laid down certain immutable laws of human nature, whereby that freewill is in some degree regulated and restrained, and gave him also the faculty of reason to discover the purport of those laws . . . These are the eternal, immutable laws of good and evil, to which the creator himself in all his dispensations conforms; and which he has enabled human reason to discover, so far as they are necessary for the conduct of human actions. Such among others are these principles: that we should live honestly [NB: cf. Exod. 20:15 – 16], should hurt nobody [NB: cf. Rom 13:8 – 10], and should render to every one his due [NB: cf. Rom 13:6 – 7 & Exod. 20:15]; to which three general precepts Justinian[1: a Juris praecepta sunt hace, honeste vivere. alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere. Inst, 1. 1. 3] has reduced the whole doctrine of law [and, Corpus Juris, Justinian’s Christianised precis and pruning of perhaps 1,000 years of Roman jurisprudence, in turn is the foundation of law for much of Europe].

    14 –> This is a pivotal view and should be faced and addressed cogently.

    >> [S:] They are prescriptions or injunctions or directives about how people should behave towards one another in society. They are not about ‘is’ but about ‘ought’. On that understanding, they are neither self-evident nor true nor false.>>

    15 –> An attempt to impose a naturalistic view, which already fails at outset as above.

    16 –> The basic problem here is it manifestly can be true — absent imposition of evolutionary materialism and/or fellow travellers — that, objectively, we OUGHT to do the just, fair, good, speak truth etc.

    17 –> That needs to be resolved at worldview roots level, not imposed in effect, rhetorically.

    >> [KF:] 2] Second self evident truth, we discern that some things are right and others are wrong by a compass-sense we term conscience which guides our thought.

    [S:] If we are raised with a clear understanding of how others expect us to behave then failing to live up to those expectations can induce a sense of guilt about having let ourselves and others down. If that is all you mean by conscience then I would agree. >>

    18 –> imposition of relativism, subjectivism and nominalism without resolving underlying worldview foundation issues.

    >> S:It is not a self-evident moral truth, however, for the reasons given before.>>

    19 –> Which fail, as outlined.

    >> KF [note skipping over in the list]: 4] Fourth, we are objectively under obligation of OUGHT. That is, despite any particular person’s (or group’s or august council’s or majority’s) wishes or claims to the contrary, such obligation credibly holds to moral certainty. That is, it would be irresponsible, foolish and unwise for us to act and try to live otherwise.

    S: If by being “under obligation of OUGHT” you mean that human beings, when congregating in societies, tend to develop self-imposed rules of behavior which promote social cohesion then I would agree.>>

    20 –> Attempted imposition of relativism, subjectivism, nominalism.

    21 –> When core truths are evident, societies, families and individuals can recognise and teach them. Observe here Locke in 2nd Treatise of Civil Govt, ch 2, citing Hooker in Ecclesiastical polity on this:

    . . . if I cannot but wish to receive good, even as much at every man’s hands, as any man can wish unto his own soul, how should I look to have any part of my desire herein satisfied, unless myself be careful to satisfy the like desire which is undoubtedly in other men . . . my desire, therefore, to be loved of my equals in Nature, as much as possible may be, imposeth upon me a natural duty of bearing to themward fully the like affection. From which relation of equality between ourselves and them that are as ourselves, what several rules and canons natural reason hath drawn for direction of life no man is ignorant . . . [[Hooker then continues, citing Aristotle in The Nicomachean Ethics, Bk 8:] as namely, That because we would take no harm, we must therefore do none; That since we would not be in any thing extremely dealt with, we must ourselves avoid all extremity in our dealings; That from all violence and wrong we are utterly to abstain, with such-like . . . ] [[Eccl. Polity,preface, Bk I, “ch.” 8, p.80]

    22 –> In short, that families and communities do recognise and pass on core moral points is a reflection of manifest evident nature, not a basis for pushing in relativism, subjectivism, nominalism.

    >> [S:] The key phrase here, though, is “self-imposed”. They are adopted through a process of negotiation or inter-subjective agreement rather than being imposed by some mythical force or being from outside,>>

    23 –> when we disagree and quarrel, there is a strong general pattern of appealing to an essentially universal sense of ought to be fair, just, truthful etc. This is a testimony to the objectivity, not oh we play might/manipulation make ‘right’ ‘truth’ etc and that’s the game.

    24 –> The implicit nihilism should give serious pause.

    25 –> The dismissive attempt to rule out the possibility that we are under moral government of manifestly evident core principles of natural moral law because we come from the inherently good creator God, a necessary and maximally great being, the root of reality worthy of our respect, loyalty and reasonable service of doing the good in accord with our evident nature is duly noted for what it is. Question begging and rhetorical intimidation.

    >>[S:] although some may appeal to such a force or being as warrant for believing their particular morality is intrinsically superior to all others.>>

    26 –> The projections begin.

    >> [KF:] 5] Fifth, this cumulative framework of moral government under OUGHT is the basis for the manifest core principles of the natural moral law under which we find ourselves obligated to the right the good, the true etc. Where also, patently, we struggle to live up to what we acknowledge or imply we ought to do.

    [S:] Yes, we set standards for ourselves which, being fallible creatures, we often fail to meet. That is an observation not a moral truth.>>

    27 –> Of course, the fact of moral failure is a fact, not a SET.

    28 –> The repetition of imposition of relativism, subjectivism and nominalism, as well as the implied nihilism are noted. (Do you realise that in effect you and others of like ilk are trying to impose YOUR moral vision?)

    >>[KF:] 6] Sixth, this means we live in a world in which being under core, generally understood principles of natural moral law is coherent and factually adequate, thus calling for a world in which OUGHT is properly grounded at root level. (Thus worldviews that can soundly meet this test are the only truly viable ones. if a worldview does not have in it a world-root level IS that can simultaneously ground OUGHT, it fails decisively.*)

    [S:] You have not shown how OUGHT can be grounded in IS at all or that the natural law concept is coherent or factually adequate.>>

    29 –> Notice the asterisk? It points to this, which point onward to a world of discussion:

    *PS: After centuries of debates and assessment of alternatives per comparative difficulties, there is in fact just one serious candidate to be such a grounding IS [ –> that adequately bears the weight of OUGHT] : the inherently good creator God, a necessary and maximally great being worthy of ultimate loyalty and the reasonable responsible service of doing the good in accord with our manifestly evident nature. (And instantly, such generic ethical theism answers also to the accusation oh this is “religion”; that term being used as a dirty word — no, this is philosophy. If you doubt this, simply put forth a different candidate that meets the required criteria and passes the comparative difficulties test: _________ . Likewise, an inherently good, maximally great being will not be arbitrary or deceitful etc, that is why such is fully worthy of ultimate loyalty and the reasonable, responsible service of doing the good in accord with our manifestly evident nature. As a serious candidate necessary being, such would be eternal and embedded in the frame for a world to exist at all. Thus such a candidate is either impossible as a square circle is impossible due to mutual ruin of core characteristics, or else it is actual. For simple instance no world is possible without two-ness in it, a necessary basis for distinct identity inter alia.)

    >> [S:] Broadly speaking, law is understood as having two meanings:

    1. the system of rules that a particular country or community recognizes as regulating the actions of its members and may enforce by the imposition of penalties.
    “they were taken to court for breaking the law”

    2. a statement of fact, deduced from observation, to the effect that a particular natural or scientific phenomenon always occurs if certain conditions are present.
    “the second law of thermodynamics”

    So-called natural law is neither of these things.>>

    30 –> You have simply omitted the historic, crucial usage as I exemplified from Blackstone, Locke and Hooker. Vastly much more can be given.

    31 –> The natural moral law is in fact the underlying framework in which law, just government and reformation can proceed safely.

    >> [S;} It is not the statute or even common law of a democratic society>>

    32 –> Common law is in fact deeply rooted in the natural law, and it is further rooted in the Judaeo-Christian tradition, starting with the opening of King Alfred of the West Saxons in his Book of Dooms which literally begins with the decalogue. The Judaeo-Christian scriptural tradition endorses the natural law.

    33 –> Statute law either reflects the law of our nature or it usurps the sword of justice to impose somebody’s nihilistic will to power under false colour of law.

    >> [S:] deriving its authority from being the enacted will of the governed, neither is it an observed regularity in the natural order of the observable world.>>

    34 –> The tyranny of a majority or domineering mob in defiance of natural justice is a classic problem of democracy. That is why the US DoI starts from the laws of nature and of nature’s God, outlining several self evident core moral principles, THEN speaks to how government exists to uphold such justice, deriving its just powers from the consent of the governed.

    35 –> This is a red warning flag issue.

    36 –> Again you advert to inadequate definition, already corrected.

    >> [S;}Again, while we might all agree that a peaceful and lawful democratic society is a desirable state of affairs, that does not make it a self-evident moral truth.>>

    37 –> Nowhere did I or any other party argue that a specifically democratic small-c constitution is a principle of the natural moral law. Indeed in pointing out its instabilities, historic failues and the stage of development that makes a stabilised representative based Constitutional democracy possible, I have argued the opposite.

    >> [KF} 7] Seventh, in light of the above, even the weakest and most voiceless of us thus has a natural right to life, liberty, the pursuit of fulfillment of one’s sense of what s/he ought to be (“happiness”). This includes the young child, the unborn and more. (We see here the concept that rights are binding moral expectations of others to provide respect in regards to us because of our inherent status as human beings, members of the community of valuable neighbours. Where also who is my neighbour was forever answered by the parable of the Good Samaritan. Likewise, there can be no right to demand of or compel my neighbour that s/he upholds me and enables me in the wrong — including under false colour of law through lawfare. To justly claim a right, one must first be in the right.)

    [S:] Rights are privileges or entitlements granted by human societies to their eligible members. They do not exist outside that domain.>>

    38 –> Jawol, mein fuehrer. (In short, this is a statement of nihilism and targeted disenfranchisement of the excluded, starting with right to LIFE.)

    39 –> Thus lies inadvertently exposed the utter bankruptcy of the framework behind the ongoing abortion holocaust.

    40 –> In addition, recall that, above, I outlined a cas from the incidents that helped trigger the 1831 slave uprising in Jamaica:

    the linked account on the 1831 uprising in Jamaica is replete with matters of patent justice, just in the first chapter. Is it perceived or real oppression that a man would lash a slave woman for the crime of walking on a path next to a cane field with a piece of cane in her hand on presumption that the cane was “stolen”? That, on dragging her home, her husband then (on his refusal) her brother or another close relative would be demanded to strip her and lash her with a whip? That an enslaved blacksmith, taken by insurrectionists with his hands bound and forced under compulsion of being shot to repair a gun lock would then be tried as an insurrectionist with the mock trial carefully concealing the circumstances of the kidnapping and compulsion so that he would be hanged? And more? Do, let us know if this is empty perception of injustice or actually accurately perceived injustice. Do.

    >> [S:] A human being may be granted the right to life but other animals are not so privileged unless, at some point, human beings decide that they should be.>>

    41 –> a man is apig is a rat is a worm. S has here been forced by his view to forfeit the recognisiton of the unique responsible freedom and rational capacity of the human being.

    >> [S:] Again, we might all agree that there are a set of rights that should be the basic entitlement of all human beings but that is our choice. It is not a self-evident moral truth.>>

    42 –> Core rights are not entitlements, but instead binding moral expectations to be respected in certain pivotal ways: life, liberty, fulfillment of one’s sense of potential and destiny i/l/o one’s evident nature, etc.

    43 –> They become important and their natural moral law, natural justice defence becomes pivotal in precisely the context where some would trample these rights or refuse to recognise them.

    >> [KF:] 8] Eighth, like unto the seventh, such may only be circumscribed or limited for good cause. Such as, reciprocal obligation to cherish and not harm neighbour of equal, equally valuable nature in community and in the wider world of the common brotherhood of humanity.

    >> [S:] This is simply a corollary of the above. We can agree that it is a good way to behave on the grounds of empathy but it is not a self-evident moral truth.>>

    44 –> I have argued on the premise of equality of worth thus reciprocity of duties, S tries to turn this into empathy, which is exactly what is missing in cases as I just again clipped. The absurdity becomes patent. So yes we here face a moral SET.

    >> [KF:] 9] Ninth, this is the context in which it becomes self evidently wrong, wicked and evil to kidnap, sexually torture and murder a young child or the like as concrete cases in point that show that might and/or manipulation do not make ‘right,’ ‘truth,’ ‘worth,’ ‘justice,’ ‘fairness,’ ‘law’ etc. That is, anything that expresses or implies the nihilist’s credo is morally absurd.

    [S:] As human beings, we can all agree that the torture and murder of children is wrong just on the grounds of empathy. We understand the pain and suffering of the child and its family, we would not want our children or ourselves to experience such suffering and, by extension, we do not want others to experience it either.>>

    45 –> Notice, the empathy gambit again, and the failure to address the point that the child is incapable of acting with strength or eloquence in its defence.

    >> [S:] However, we can envisage an alien species that does not reproduce as we do or feel any attachment to its young. Perhaps, this culture of this species has developed a stoic credo, something like the Vulcans in Star Trek, which denies or lacks human emotions. They might look on the torture and killing of a human child as a curiosity of human behavior but nothing more. They would not see a self-evident moral truth.>>

    46 –> The sci fi scenario pivots on dismissing responsible rational freedom.

    >> [KF:] 10] Tenth, this entails that in civil society with government, justice is a principal task of legitimate government. Thus also,

    11] Eleventh, that government is and ought to be subject to audit, reformation and if necessary replacement should it fail sufficiently badly and incorrigibly.

    12] Twelfth, the attempt to deny or dismiss such a general framework of moral governance invariably lands in shipwreck of incoherence and absurdity. But that does not mean that the attempt is not going to be made, so there is a mutual obligation of frank and fair correction and restraint of evil.

    [S:] Again, in a democratic society the government derives its legitimacy and authority from being the embodiment and enactment of the will of the people. It needs no more nor should it claim more.>>

    47 –> repeats the error that was already corrected.

    48 –> This cluster, first sets the context of government and the actual legitimising consent of the governed. Justice is its remit, and to imply the opposite is absurd.

    49 –> I finally underscored the clinging to absuridty problem in the face of the general consequence of denial of mor4al SETs leading to absurdities. The above und=fortunately illustrates the point.

    >> [S:] There should be no appeal to some sort of warrant deriving from divine authority or natural law because they are not necessary and are susceptible to corruption.

    Once again, we have decided that this is what is best for us on the grounds of our communal interests. That we can agree on it does not make it a self-evident moral truth.>>

    50 –> More repetition, the correctives are above already.

    KF

  308. 308
    kairosfocus says:

    CF, you are trying to project a motive. In fact the obvious reason is to highlight a pattern of discussion pivotal tot he future of our civilisation. I intend to continue highlighting such exchanges. And you do in fact fall into the absurdities as pointed out, painful though that obviously is to see. But such is the nature of SETs. KF

  309. 309
    clown fish says:

    KairosFocus, does this mean that you refuse to address the detailed responses I have made with regard to your first SET? Good to know.

  310. 310
    kairosfocus says:

    DS, game theory can be used in morally informed decision making, especially multiturn games with opportunities for counter-moves. But those in turn depend on values frameworks and are thus dependent and contingent on foundational grounding. That is what is on the table, and I have no illusions about what is already beginning to happen in a civilisational house divided. Remember my discussion of walking a watershed ridge line and sliding off on mutually opposed slippery slopes so time is not on our side and of Machiavelli’s political hectic fever. By the time we agree it may be too late. KF

  311. 311
    daveS says:

    KF,

    DS, game theory can be used in morally informed decision making, especially multiturn games with opportunities for counter-moves. But those in turn depend on values frameworks and are thus dependent and contingent on foundational grounding.

    Yes, I just thought that approach might be useful in clarifying foundations and/or perhaps simplifying your argument (perhaps by reducing the number of premises needed).

  312. 312
    kairosfocus says:

    CF, did you read the responses made long since above? It is actually headlined: http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ruth-no-1/ — the oh you have not responded gambit you seem to like to use fails and exposes its lack of factual foundation. KF

  313. 313
    Phinehas says:

    WJM:

    It’s like Seversky has no idea at all what goes on in the rest of the world, and has no idea what history has shown humans capable of without a sound moral grounding rooted in the idea of inviolable human rights, self-determination, liberty and metaphysical equality.

    I think many have this vague notion that we are in the process of somehow progressing beyond tyranny. But they seem to have no concept of where any actual progress originated or had its roots. It appears that they attribute it to some humanistic principle, perhaps even tied to the notion that we are evolving upward as a human race. On this view, history isn’t really that important, because it is the story of what humans used to be like, and not what we are like now.

    From my perspective, this is a view steeped in blind faith and ignorance, which could help explain why it comes naturally enough to Darwinists.

  314. 314

    DaveS said;

    On the other hand, perhaps it could be shown that even when everyone acts in his/her own selfish interests, certain “moral” behaviors emerge naturally, so to speak.

    Let’s take a longer view here; let’s say that how people have actually behaved throughout history, how they have actually come to whatever moral beliefs and forms of government they have come to has been via the mechanism of subjective self-interest even when it masquerades or self-deludes as if it were objective morality.

    What we have, then, is that out of every actual form of government and moral code that has generated tribes and societies on Earth, the consensus best moral code and form of government and social structure (in I assume our personal opinion) is one where actual subjective self-interest has generated a sort of society-wide delusion that such things as objective morals exist granting imagined inviolable rights and freedoms beyond the authority of the majority and government, and imagined metaphysical equality, free will and responsible liberty to the citizens.

    It seems to be your argument or idea that the same thing, or something even better, could be generated if we instead disabuse everyone from their delusion by promulgating the “fact” that there is no objective morality, no necessary consequences or obligations, and that it’s all a matter of subjective self-interest and personal justification.

    Well, the question would be, then, if moral anarchism was capable of generating such a society as we have now, or even a better one, why did social evolution adopt the memes that it did in order to get here? If social anarchism is the better route, how is it that a delusion seeing the moral world as the exact opposite of moral anarchy got us here?

    If you believe that the material world, evolutionary progress and social evolution are in fact the physical, brute equivalents of “game theory” being played out in the real world, then we know what kind of worldview perspective can create and maintain the kind of society we have been living in and enjoying.

    That worldview is theistic natural law objective morality where humans are presumed to have metaphysical, inviolable rights, have metaphysical equality, and where we have free will and moral obligations beyond the power of government or majority to decree otherwise.

    But, here you think you know better than physical reality how to get to a good, just society and maintain that society; you think you can take out the main ingredients that are unique to that very society and replace those ingredients with their conceptual opposite and get the same, or a better, product, when there is simply no good reason for you to think this other than finding those ingredients ideologically unacceptable.

    Whether true or not, DaveS, theistic, objective, natural moral law is indeed what got us here, and it is what has given you an ivory tower to live in largely removed from what “moral anarchism” actually plays out like in the real world so that you can fantasize that moral anarchism will result in an even better world.

    This reminds me of people that think they would like going back in time and living a simpler or “more authentic” or more “natural” life. No, you would not. Trust me. It’s a fantasy devoid of all actual, real-life consequences and implications and devoid of any real thought about what living in such conditions would actually be like.

    Moral anarchism is, and always ends up, with some form of might makes right. Always. It is only the ivory tower of objective morality comfort that allows anyone to fantasize otherwise.

  315. 315
    Andre says:

    I can’t help but ask where did these people come to their bad logic and woeful reasoning? Television? School? parents? Teachers? I am not ashamed to say their lack of understanding scares the crap out of me.

  316. 316

    Andre: It’s that evolutionary perspective; they think anything can be built by chance interactions of haphazardly arranged individual parts. Thus, you can build a spaceship without a plan or a blueprint or any objectively verifiable knowledge; you can get a living organism from haphazardly interacting inert matter; you can get a stable, just, moral society by the haphazard interactions of self-interested individuals justifying whatever they do however they feel like.

  317. 317
    kairosfocus says:

    Andre, we see the dominant worldviews and agendas of our civilisation at work. And you see why I have been taking the stances I have been taking, on the whole we simply do not realise the matches we are playing with, or the geostrategic situation we face — I put that little bit up here, separately: http://kairosfocus.blogspot.co.....dirty.html and note ALL the big players are nuke or threshold nuke. Think a little about what EMP may do. March of folly. Do go mild on language, they will use any opportunity as a wedge. KF

  318. 318
    kairosfocus says:

    When you make falsity your yardstick the pivotal truth is the one thing you guarantee to lock out.

  319. 319
    clown fish says:

    KairosFocus: “CF, did you read the responses made long since above? It is actually headlined: http://www.uncommondescent.com…..ruth-no-1/”

    No. Does anybody read those things?

    — the oh you have not responded gambit you seem to like to use fails and exposes its lack of factual foundation. KF”

    Are you referring to the gambit suggested by your comments below:

    I cannot but note that Cf et al have yet again failed to cogently address the following,

    CF, again you are asserting when something you have consistently refused to address is on the table.

    You have in fact failed to substantially address the first matter . . . objectivity of moral SET’s.

    Again, after 50 and more comments you have failed to address the core substance — vindicating my comment this morning:

    CF, you are now at the threshold of outright vulgarity in a context of persistent failure — nay, refusal backed up by now hurling of insults — to cogently address substance.

    Let me again put on the table what the relativists evidently will do and say anything but address:

    CF, you are the one using borderline vulgar language and insults rather than address substance.

    Meanwhile, you are still not addressing the substantial issues on the table in any cogent fashion.

    I have responded to this matter many times, here and on other threads. You argue that we are governed by ought. Other than the way you use the term “self-evident”, I agree with you. We all feel that we ought to behave in a certain way, governed by our moral values and conscience. We all think that others ought to behave in a similar fashion. Where we disagree is on where these moral values come from. You argue for objective morals, I argue for subjective morals.

    Subjective morals are derived from instinct, learning, experience, the ability to think, the ability to predict the outcome of actions, etc. Many of these are almost universal (e.g., killing, stealing, etc.). But these can easily be the result of the fact that we live in societies. Nothing you have said has convinced me otherwise. And these subjective morals, because they are established early in life, can become very deeply held. That does not make them objective.

  320. 320
    daveS says:

    WJM,

    Let’s take a longer view here; let’s say that how people have actually behaved throughout history, how they have actually come to whatever moral beliefs and forms of government they have come to has been via the mechanism of subjective self-interest even when it masquerades or self-deludes as if it were objective morality.

    Let me make a correction/clarification to my post #306. I’m actually not sure that these moral beliefs arising out of self interest would not objective. In other words, the categories “arising out of self interest” and “objective” are not obviously (to me) mutually exclusive.

    However, I think most on the objective side don’t accept that pursuit of narrow self-interest would lead to much, if any of their own moral behavior.

    It seems to be your argument or idea that the same thing, or something even better, could be generated if we instead disabuse everyone from their delusion by promulgating the “fact” that there is no objective morality, no necessary consequences or obligations, and that it’s all a matter of subjective self-interest and personal justification.

    No, I’m not making that argument at all.

    But, here you think you know better than physical reality how to get to a good, just society and maintain that society; you think you can take out the main ingredients that are unique to that very society and replace those ingredients with their conceptual opposite and get the same, or a better, product, when there is simply no good reason for you to think this other than finding those ingredients ideologically unacceptable.

    Um, no. Kindly don’t tell me what I think.

    Whether true or not, DaveS, theistic, objective, natural moral law is indeed what got us here, and it is what has given you an ivory tower to live in largely removed from what “moral anarchism” actually plays out like in the real world so that you can fantasize that moral anarchism will result in an even better world.

    Take it easy. I’m just suggesting that some of our apparently moral behaviors might arise from our pursuit of our own self-interest, in a somewhat non-obvious fashion. It’s certainly not an idea original to me. Furthermore, I would be interested to see a moral realist (I guess that’s what the objective morality position is called) try using game theory to support his/her position, as it seems more common for the “subjectivists” to take that approach.

  321. 321
    kairosfocus says:

    CF,

    Apparently it has not registered that if you do not read the response you cannot responsibly say there has been no answer (and that holds for the further cases you have tried to snip and snipe over in a turnabout gambit).

    Let’s roll the tape from 265:

    265 kairosfocus May 25, 2016 at 3:50 am

    CF,

    did you not see that in both your last objections your essential objections were based on a perceived unfairness in the first principle.

    That is, on the evidence you accept the principle and are in fact unable to object to it as stated without appealing to it, i.e. the implicit but telling fact of moral obligation?

    (Did you ever wonder why it is that when we quarrel, we so persistently try to show others in the wrong, by way of error or unfairness or the like, and why it is that as a rule there is not a reaction: shut up you little frog, you is my lunch and you must just slide down de throat nicely. [There used to be a popular drawing of a heron of some type swallowing a frog, but it was trying to throttle the bird.])

    Your objection to and distaste for the term absurdity is of course irrelevant: the point of the term is that when something is self evident, it has an inescapable quality to it such that in trying to deny it, one ends up in depending on it, confirming it, contradicting oneself logically [as in reductio ad absurdum], or by playing both sides of the field or the like.

    That is just what happened to you, and it will predictably happen to others also.

    Not because we are unfair [!] or are tilting the field [!] or are playing rhetorical tricks [!] or are showing disrespect [!] etc, but because of the inherent nature of the claim.

    Notice, again, the structure of the first manifestly evident core principle of the natural moral law:

    TRUTH CLAIM: 1] The first self evident moral truth is that we are inescapably under the government of ought.

    PROBLEM WITH OBJECTION: This is manifest in even an objector’s implication in the questions, challenges and arguments that s/he would advance, that we are in the wrong and there is something to be avoided about that.

    MEANING OF THIS PROBLEM: That is, even the objector inadvertently implies that we OUGHT to do, think, aim for and say the right.

    UNIVERSALITY: Not even the hyperskeptical objector can escape this truth.

    THE ABSURDITY: Patent absurdity on attempted denial.

    That is, self evidence.

    Which I know, I know, is not usually discussed in College classes much less high school ones these days.

    Not to mention, concepts such as moral certainty.

    And objective truth is typically mentioned only to be sneered at — indeed it is likely that we will instead hear about “absolute truth” (or even more likely those testosterone addled fundy, right wing would be theocratic inquisitors and absolutist throwbacks to the dark ages: ignorant, stupid, insane or wicked to a man . . . ), typically to set it up as a strawman and knock it over. Too often, by way of caricatures of “absolutists” and long litanies of the sins of the absolutists — as a rule, of the sins of Christendom. (And don’t expect to hear lists of the blessings of Christendom — victory always has a hundred claimed fathers but defeat is an orphan. In this case, the appropriation and well poisoning are leading to undermining the stabilising supports of our civilisation by way of march of folly.)

    A few pointers:

    Basic concept 1: truth says of what is, that it is; and of what is not, that it is not. (That is, accurate reference to reality, the state of affairs in the world.) Aristotle, Metaphysics, 1011b.

    BC 2: Objective truth is that truth which is independent of the perceptions of a given individual or group etc, i.e. it is capable of some degree of warrant or grounding that establishes the claims as credible and reliable and open to [highly likely, successful] onward test. It does not actually imply certainty beyond possibility of correction, but entails that the claims are well founded and sufficiently reliable to be worked with with high confidence.

    BC 3: Absolute truth is the ideal — the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. That is, the full material truth on a matter, undiluted, untainted, without extras. The description matches the reality in all relevant aspects for decision and action. In practical matters we deal with objective truth and seek to approach absolute truth but face the challenge of bounded rationality, trade-off of alternatives and their risks, and especially the cost of undue delay tantamount to bad decisions that may be ruinous or at least painful. (Cf here Boyd’s OODA loop, in the full, multiple feedback form.)

    BC 4: Knowledge is warranted, credibly true (and so also, reliable) belief. Again, not an absolute claim, this corresponds to objective truth and in effect is a certificate of successful testing and objective foundation for truth claims. (No wonder so many ideologues are tempted to usurp the label knowledge.)

    BC 5: Moral certainty is a degree of confidence in a truth claim or the like, that holds that the degree of warrant is such that one would be irresponsible to dismiss or fail to act on a truth claim or knowledge claim or the like, given the state of the art and circumstances.

    BC 6: Evidence is what tends to (or at outset of investigation is admissible as potentially able to) credibly support a claim. For instance, the ancient documents rule of jurisprudence holds that record that is fair on the face [bears no clear marks of fraud] and comes from good chain of custody or repository is good evidence . . . which holds even if there are difficulties.

    BC 7: Proof is in the strict sense a successful test for fact and logic sufficient to establish objective truth to a degree of certainty that its being overthrown is deemed abstractly possible but utterly unlikely. (E.g. post Godel, Mathematics of sufficient complexity to enfold “arithmetic” is such that it is necessarily incomplete on pain of incoherence and there is no constructive procedure that guarantees coherence.)

    BC 8: A fact is something that is known to be true or to have occurred, especially as being observed and reported or recorded by reliable means or witnesses. This is the basis of statistics and of sound information systems. Notice, this is not a matter of “inter-subjective agreement” among the guild of scholars or conventional wisdom of an institution or society etc after whatever political dust-up has occurred, it is a question of credible truth worthy of trust even if unpopular with the powers that be.

    BC 9: an empirical fact is a fact of observation of the world of experience.

    BC 10: a self evident truth is something that is true, and on actually understanding what is being claimed is seen as necessarily so on pain of patent absurdity. That is, the rejection or dismissal of a SET comes at a price of surrendering rational discussion on a matter. SETs are not proved, they are examined, explained and understood . . . made sense of . . . as the start-points of proof or investigation. Sometimes, they are termed first principles.

    BC 11: Distinct identity is the start point of reasoning, i.e. we mark some A (say a bright red ball on a table) as distinct from the rest of the world that is not A, ~A; W = { A | ~ A }. Instantly, A is A (as opposed to not A), any x in W cannot be A AND ~A in the same sense and circumstances, and any y in W is A or ~A but not both or neither . . . and yes I am using the full exclusive or. These are the three classic laws of thought: identity, non-contradiction, excluded middle. (These three are self evident, indeed we cannot prove them as to try to prove them we implicitly must already rely on them — even, to just talk about them we must use distinct thoughts, symbols, glyphs, sounds etc. Instead we come to recognise and understand them, and to see their significance and utter trustworthiness beyond any reasonable, responsible doubt. Similar things obtain for how a conscious being is undeniably and incorrigibly aware of its consciousness, and for something like error exists.)

    BC 12: In this context, moral SETs hold as first core principles of moral governance of responsibly and rationally free individuals that are so, are seen to be so on insightful reflection i/l/o our existing base of experience of our world, and are seen to be necessarily or undeniably so on pain of absurdity. The attempted denial undermines itself in some significant way that shows that this is an utterly reliable start point for moral reflection on the world of OUGHT. In the case above, attempted denial will invariably reflect reliance on the premise that we OUGHT to seek the truth, the right, the fair etc.

    A point of beginnings . . .

    KF

    So, answered.

    Just it does not seem rhetorically convenient to you to acknowledge that such was given.

    KF

    PS: If I were not satisfied that there is reason, I would not headline FTR.

  322. 322
    vividbleau says:

    WJM

    “I don’t know where you live, but in the USA we live in a representational republic under constitutional authority. That’s not the same thing as a government that operates from the “will of the people” via a democratic majority. ”

    This is another big problem for those of us who live in the US, for the most part Americans don’t know what form of government we have. Ask a high school student to articulate what form of government we have and they stare into space as they take a selfie.Heck ask anyone whatever the age ( which I do often) and most of the time the answer will be “We have a democracy” No No No democracies lead to tyranny. We have a constitutional republic, big difference.

    Vivid

  323. 323
    clown fish says:

    Kairosfocus: “So, answered.”

    How does any of that respond to my argument that morals are subjective and established as the result of instinct, indoctrination, learning, experience, thinking, predicting consequences of actions, etc.? And that these, because they are established early in life and supported through repetition and feedback, become very deeply entrenched in our minds?

    I have stated that even subjectivists act as if our morals are objectively provided. But acting as if something is A does not make that something A.

  324. 324
    kairosfocus says:

    CF, you will see that the answer is that your objection to the moral SET 1 (the substantial matter on the table) fails as it necessarily appeals to what it rejects. All the relevant factors on how we experience or interact with morals do not then make such only subjective. We find ourselves inevitably AND INESCAPABLY under the government of ought, precisely as the presented truth 1 states. Indeed, your objections again just now imply an appeal to just this governance of ought. KF

    PS: Of course Moral SET 1 as presented does a very limited job, it just shows that we find ourselves under moral governance and cannot escape it. There are 11 more to go, which bring to bear much more. For instance, in sequence following:

    2] Second self evident truth, we discern that some things are right and others are wrong by a compass-sense we term conscience which guides our thought. (Again, objectors depend on a sense of guilt/ urgency to be right not wrong on our part to give their points persuasive force. See what would be undermined should conscience be deadened or dismissed universally? Sawing off the branch on which we all must sit.)

    3] Third, were this sense of conscience and linked sense that we can make responsibly free, rational decisions to be a delusion, we would at once descend into a status of grand delusion in which there is no good ground for confidence in our self-understanding. That is, we look at an infinite regress of Plato’s cave worlds: once such a principle of grand global delusion is injected, there is no firewall so the perception of level one delusion is subject to the same issue, and this level two perception too, ad infinitum; landing in patent absurdity.

    4] Fourth, we are objectively under obligation of OUGHT. That is, despite any particular person’s (or group’s or august council’s or majority’s) wishes or claims to the contrary, such obligation credibly holds to moral certainty. That is, it would be irresponsible, foolish and unwise for us to act and try to live otherwise.

    5] Fifth, this cumulative framework of moral government under OUGHT is the basis for the manifest core principles of the natural moral law under which we find ourselves obligated to the right the good, the true etc. Where also, patently, we struggle to live up to what we acknowledge or imply we ought to do . . . [ETC]

  325. 325
    clown fish says:

    Kairosfocus: “We find ourselves inevitably AND INESCAPABLY under the government of ought, precisely as the presented truth 1 states. Indeed, your objections again just now imply an appeal to just this governance of ought. KF”

    I hate to have to repeat myself, but where have I said that we are not under the government of ought?

    2] Second self evident truth, we discern that some things are right and others are wrong by a compass-sense we term conscience which guides our thought. “

    I agree that it is evident that most of us have a conscience. But that does not mean that the morality that our conscience acts on is objective. Guilt is not a sign of objectivity. It is a sign that we feel that we are doing something that runs counter to one of our moral values. Moral values that can easily be explained by subjectivity. Before the 60s and 70s, many white people in the south would feel guilt at dating a black person.

    3] Third, were this sense of conscience and linked sense that we can make responsibly free, rational decisions to be a delusion, we would at once descend into a status of grand delusion in which there is no good ground for confidence in our self-understanding. “

    Could you repeat this in English. Are you suggesting that if anything that is subjective is the result of delusion? If that is the case, then you are simply wrong. If I have misinterpreted what you are trying to say, please clarify.

    4] Fourth, we are objectively under obligation of OUGHT. That is, despite any particular person’s (or group’s or august council’s or majority’s) wishes or claims to the contrary, such obligation credibly holds to moral certainty. That is, it would be irresponsible, foolish and unwise for us to act and try to live otherwise.”

    Yes, we act according to our established moral values. We both agree on this. We disagree on whether these moral values are objective. You have still not provided any rationale as to why these moral values must be objective.

    5] Fifth, this cumulative framework of moral government under OUGHT is the basis for the manifest core principles of the natural moral law under which we find ourselves obligated to the right the good, the true etc. Where also, patently, we struggle to live up to what we acknowledge or imply we ought to do . . . [ETC]”

    Natural moral law is a philosophical and religious construct. This does not make it an actual law.

    But rather than using old dead philosophers to try to defend your case, why don’t you use your own words and do something as simple as explain why objective morality is fact when societal moral values vary dramatically from one culture to another, and within the same culture over time. If we are so objectively under obligation of OUGHT, and if objective morality is necessary for this, why is/was it possible for civilizations to have such vastly different moral values? Are they all deluding themselves and the only one with the absolute certainty of what these objective values are is you?Or is it more likely that the moral assemblage in any society is the result of indoctrination, instinct, learning, experience, rational thought, the ability to predict the outcome of actions, etc.?

  326. 326
    zeroseven says:

    WJM @299:

    Fair enough. I don’t disagree with most of what you say. I agree we behave as if morals are objective. But I don’t agree that this is because they are objective.

    In the common law (I am a lawyer) there is a theory you learn at law school that “the law” in its perfect form already exists, and in creating the common law, the judges are just excavating it. Over time we get closer and closer to this true and real vein of perfect law, that, as I said, is regarded as pre-existing.

    That’s all very well as a theory, and its nice to think of the law in this way, but of course its crap. Judges are obviously just human beings trying to interpret legislation and previous judicial decisions in the context of their own values, biases etc.

    I see the argument of objective morals in the same way. Its a nice way to look at a human process for making decisions about the world. But of course its a pure fiction.

  327. 327
    kairosfocus says:

    CG, even your attempt to deny the point just now shows just how inescapable the government of OUGHT is. KF

  328. 328
    Dionisio says:

    WJM, Andre, KF

    My mother-in-law told me that when she was 11, in the occupied Poland, on the first day of classes, as she walked to the school, she asked another Polish girl -in Polish language- something about the class schedules. A German girl who was walking nearby, reacted angrily asking:
    Has Du Nicht German gelernt? (haven’t you learned German?) and slapped my mother-in-law’s face.
    A few years later many German women were raped by soviet troops.
    What moral codes were observed by those different groups of people and by individuals in those separate cases?
    In every case, the offender(s) acted according to what was understood as “correct” and their victims were wrong.
    Welcome to this world!

  329. 329
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: remember, we can roll the tape as to the actual exchange: http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ruth-no-1/ KF

  330. 330
    clown fish says:

    KairosFocus: “F/N: remember, we can roll the tape as to the actual exchange.”

    All of which took place long after I had originally responded, and you ignored it.

    If you have anything substantial to say about the fact that all of human history has rolled out as if morals are subjective, not objective, be my guest.

  331. 331
    kairosfocus says:

    CF, you full well know that the response has long been on the table and that your very tone of taking umbrage underscores the force of Moral SET 1, that we are inescapably under the binding force of ought, of moral government. This alone suffices to decisively overturn any rhetoric to the effect that as views of different people and times have varied, morality is only subjective. Where also, it is separately self evidently and undeniably true that error exists, so it should be no surprise in a world of finite, fallible, morally struggling and sometimes ill-willed people, there will be morally freighted opinions and behaviours that conflict. But the point of something like this is that it shows that we are not locked up to radical relativism, subjectivism, nominalism and their implication that might and manipulation make ‘right,’ truth,’ ‘value,’ ‘meaning’ etc, — nihilism — but instead we can find a reasonable and responsible basis for moral views and values. Which opens the door to responsible reform rather than a bloody winner takes all fight — cf here the career of Wilberforce as a capital example; contrast the so often repeated pattern of radical revolutions and the likely outcome of resorts to lawfare. And, FYI, that is where nihilism ends up. KF

  332. 332
    clown fish says:

    KairosFocus, so, I assume that I can take it that you have nothing substantial to say about the fact that all of human history has rolled out as if morals are subjective, not objective.

  333. 333
    kairosfocus says:

    CF, empty repetition of the already corrected. I will take up the attempted counters to the onward points later. Enough was done today as a time when a rack full of shoes are dropping locally. KF

  334. 334
    clown fish says:

    KairosFocus: “CF, empty repetition of the already corrected.”

    Finally, you are admitting that your repeated accusations are empty repetition of the already corrected. I would never have thought that you would admit this. I have underestimated you. I commend you.

  335. 335
    vividbleau says:

    Clown
    Your major objection about the objectivity of morality revolves around the observation that societal moral values differ from one culture to another,etc. WJM responded to this objection here

    “Pointing out that morality is not perfectly understood at all times by all people, or that at different times and in different cultures there are wildly different moral views is not a valid objection to the view that morality refers to an objective commodity, because the same objection can be raised about commodities which subjectivist rightly consider to be objective in nature.

    That objection is not valid. What other rational objection is there to the view that conscience is a sensory faculty that is receiving moral information from a moral landscape?”

    Did I miss your response? Also, putting aside morals, is there anything that exists objectively in nature?

    Vivid

  336. 336
    Dionisio says:

    clown fish @332

    “[…] all of human history has rolled out as if morals are subjective, not objective.”

    What do you mean by that?

    Can you relate it to the examples @328?

  337. 337
    kairosfocus says:

    CF:

    While there are some fairly serious developments on my plate here, I will take time to answer to a series of your points, step by step of thought. And yes, this will be inevitably long (so long that I will do it in at least two parts), that is necessary to be responsible.

    First, let us address MSET 1:

    KF, Moral SET 1: >>1] The first self evident moral truth is that we are inescapably under the government of ought.

    (This is manifest in even your implication in your question, challenge and argument, that we are in the wrong and there is something to be avoided about that. That is, you imply we OUGHT to do and say the right. Not even you can escape this truth.

    Patent absurdity on attempted denial.)>>

    CF, 251: >>KairosFocus: “Here is what you have yet to cogently engage — and this is not personal disagreement it is a matter of warrant:

    1] The first self evident moral truth is that we are inescapably under the government of ought.

    (This is manifest in even an objector’s implication in the questions, challenges and arguments that s/he would advance, that we are in the wrong and there is something to be avoided about that. That is, even the objector inadvertently implies that we OUGHT to do, think, aim for and say the right. Not even the hyperskeptical objector can escape this truth. Patent absurdity on attempted denial.)”

    [CF:] Yup, that last sentence gives me confidence that any response I provide will be addressed seriously. And that was only the first “self evident truth”.

    By the way. I addressed your first self evident truth that would be patently absurd to deny. And you have never addressed my response except to say that I refuse to address your self evident truths. Given this, why should I take anything you say seriously? Why should anybody?>>

    KF, 265 [in part]: >> . . . did you not see that in both your last objections your essential objections were based on a perceived unfairness in the first principle.

    That is, on the evidence you accept the principle and are in fact unable to object to it as stated without appealing to it, i.e. the implicit but telling fact of moral obligation?

    (Did you ever wonder why it is that when we quarrel, we so persistently try to show others in the wrong, by way of error or unfairness or the like, and why it is that as a rule there is not a reaction: shut up you little frog, you is my lunch and you must just slide down de throat nicely. [There used to be a popular drawing of a heron of some type swallowing a frog, but it was trying to throttle the bird.])

    Your objection to and distaste for the term absurdity is of course irrelevant: the point of the term is that when something is self evident, it has an inescapable quality to it such that in trying to deny it, one ends up in depending on it, confirming it, contradicting oneself logically [as in reductio ad absurdum], or by playing both sides of the field or the like.

    That is just what happened to you, and it will predictably happen to others also.

    Not because we are unfair [!] or are tilting the field [!] or are playing rhetorical tricks [!] or are showing disrespect [!] etc, but because of the inherent nature of the claim.

    Notice, again, the structure of the first manifestly evident core principle of the natural moral law:

    TRUTH CLAIM: 1] The first self evident moral truth is that we are inescapably under the government of ought.

    PROBLEM WITH OBJECTION: This is manifest in even an objector’s implication in the questions, challenges and arguments that s/he would advance, that we are in the wrong and there is something to be avoided about that.

    MEANING OF THIS PROBLEM: That is, even the objector inadvertently implies that we OUGHT to do, think, aim for and say the right.

    UNIVERSALITY: Not even the hyperskeptical objector can escape this truth.

    THE ABSURDITY: Patent absurdity on attempted denial.

    That is, self evidence . . . >>

    CF, 323 (as typical): >>Kairosfocus: “So, answered.”

    [CF:] How does any of that respond to my argument that morals are subjective and established as the result of instinct, indoctrination, learning, experience, thinking, predicting consequences of actions, etc.? And that these, because they are established early in life and supported through repetition and feedback, become very deeply entrenched in our minds?

    I have stated that even subjectivists act as if our morals are objectively provided. But acting as if something is A does not make that something A.>>

    1 –> It must be noted, again, that this pattern of argument by CF is based on the premise that I am in error and in the wrong, and OUGHT not to be such. That is, again we see the obvious confirmation of the first MSET, that we are inescapably under moral government.

    2 –> This obtains, even in cases where the objector professes otherwise. (That is, we expect others to acknowledge and sense that they are under moral obligation, and we too experience the same perception and cannot escape it.)

    3 –> Indeed this points onwards to other MSETs, i.e. conscience is real and presents itself as a morality compass governing our behaviour [we must do the right, fair, etc] and thought world [we must shun error and move to the truth insofar as able]. If we reject such as fundamentally delusional — a necessary import of radical relativism, subjectivism and nominalism as touching the moral world — the implication is that grand delusion is let loose in our whole world of responsible, rational behaviour as there are no firewalls.

    4 –> That is, we see a main faculty . . . conscience . . . which purports to perceive moral obligation in regards to thought, feelings, attitudes [you BIGOT, you HATER, you moral equivalent of a KKK RACIST, etc], behaviour and speech. But if we are not actually under such real obligation, it is delusional, and if so, a major aspect of our inner life is utterly untrustworthy, in a context where this touches and would taint our whole inner life, reducing us to an infinite regress of Plato’s cave shadow show worlds.

    5 –> That is, if level 1 perceptions are grandly delusional, then the perception that level 1 is delusional will also be suspect of being materially delusional, and then level 2, 3, 4, etc. The whole life of the mind and of serious discussion collapses in a cascade of successive delusions.

    6 –> Patent absurdity.

    7 –> But what about the fact that people, communities and civilisations across time and space differ on moral matters, doesn’t that somehow prove that morality is only subjective?

    8 –> The instant problem, of course, is as I pointed out in 331 above:

    CF, you full well know that the response has long been on the table and that your very tone of taking umbrage underscores the force of Moral SET 1, that we are inescapably under the binding force of ought, of moral government. This alone suffices to decisively overturn any rhetoric to the effect that as views of different people and times have varied, morality is only subjective. Where also, it is separately self evidently and undeniably true that error exists, so it should be no surprise in a world of finite, fallible, morally struggling and sometimes ill-willed people, there will be morally freighted opinions and behaviours that conflict. But the point of something like this is that it shows that we are not locked up to radical relativism, subjectivism, nominalism and their implication that might and manipulation make ‘right,’ truth,’ ‘value,’ ‘meaning’ etc, — nihilism — but instead we can find a reasonable and responsible basis for moral views and values. Which opens the door to responsible reform rather than a bloody winner takes all fight — cf here the career of Wilberforce as a capital example; contrast the so often repeated pattern of radical revolutions and the likely outcome of resorts to lawfare. And, FYI, that is where nihilism ends up.

    9 –> What was your answer, CF? Let’s roll the tape from 332, just four minutes later on the timestamps:

    KairosFocus, so, I assume that I can take it that you have nothing substantial to say about the fact that all of human history has rolled out as if morals are subjective, not objective.

    10 –> But obviously, I had just said something VERY substantial about this [as cited and bolded just above], so the evidence is that you have not read with understanding and responded cogently . . . which is exactly what I have had to point out over and over.

    11 –> But, don’t people . . . subjects by definition . . . learn morality from their surroundings, and end up with wildly different views on any number of subject, proving that their morality is only subjective?

    12 –> In fact, were that so, it would not bring down just morality, it would bring down the whole house of rational, responsible behaviour in a cascade of grand delusion — a reductio ad absurdum.

    13 –> But, it is patently not so.

    14 –> For instance, C S Lewis, in his justly famous Mere Christianity, points out a pivotal fact about several of the core MSETs, the principle of moral governance in light of reciprocal duties and rights attested to by the moral compass, conscience:

    Every one has heard people quarrelling.

    Sometimes it sounds funny and sometimes it sounds merely unpleasant; but however it sounds, I believe we can learn something very important from listening to the kind of things they say. They say things like this: “How’d you like it if anyone did the same to you?”—”That’s my seat, I was there first”—”Leave him alone, he isn’t doing you any harm”— “Why should you shove in first?”—”Give me a bit of your orange, I gave you a bit of mine”—”Come on, you promised.” People say things like that every day, educated people as well as uneducated, and children as well as grown-ups.

    Now what interests me about all these remarks is that the man who makes them is not merely saying that the other man’s behaviour does not happen to please him. He is appealing to some kind of standard of behaviour which he expects the other man to know about. And the other man very seldom replies: “To hell with your standard.” Nearly always he tries to make out that what he has been doing does not really go against the standard, or that if it does there is some special excuse . . .

    15 –> This is much the same as this from the Apostle Paul’s analysis in Rom 2 (which is likely in Lewis’ background, though he is a considerable classicist and philosopher in his own right):

    Rom 2:1 . . . you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. 2 We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. 3 Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God? . . . .

    14 . . . when Gentiles . . . 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 16 on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus. [ESV]

    16 –> This is of course a key and foundational example of the Christian endorsement of the principle that the natural moral law is generally evident and comes out in how we behave with one another, especially our hypocritical expectations that others live up to standards we perceive but do not ourselves consistently keep. Where by our inner nature as morally governed beings, we find conscience as the compass pointing to a law of our nature, the moral law.

    17 –> Notice, Paul’s theological point about how this law condemns us: we point the moral finger at others (when we or those we care about are harmed or seem to be harmed or are threatened) but we then act to our own advantage in violation of the law we attest to in our own declared expectations.

    18 –> Francis Schaeffer sometimes would speak in the metaphor of a tape recorder around our necks: every time we make a moral, principled judgement of others, God pushes the button and records it . . . or at any rate the recording angel. Then, come That Day of eternal reckoning, he rolls the tape of our lives and at the appropriate point plays the tape of our own moral code for others spoken out of our own mouth. Not a one of us would stand that test, we will damn ourselves in the true and proper sense from our own mouths.

    19 –> Thus, we see that we know we are under a moral law of our nature as equally morally governed, equally valuable creatures [ –> the NT witness is that we each are of quasi-infinite worth, the value of one human soul exceeds the worth of the resources of a planet]. But, we too often not only falter, stumble and fail, but find ourselves the hypocrite.

    20 –> In short, we know ourselves to be guilty sinners.

    21 –> Yes, I dare speak that ever so unpopular word: SIN.

    22 –> Out of or own mouths and consciences we stand self-condemned as knowingly under a moral law of our nature that we condemn others for violation, but we ourselves are ever so prone to violate it too.

    23 –> So, not only per Christian scriptural teachings but the world of our own experience the real primary moral issue is forgiveness and moral transformation, not oh we are in the right and we are making such good progress never mind those bigots over there.

    24 –> In part, I have to say this, as it seems so evident that by and large we do not understand the Judaeo-Christian tradition on such matters, and are ever so prone to erect and knock over strawman caricatures.

    25 –> But Lewis does not stop there, he goes on to speak to the astonishing core agreement on core morality:

    It looks, in fact, very much as if both parties had in mind some kind of Law or Rule of fair play or decent behaviour or morality or whatever you like to call it, about which they really agreed. And they have. If they had not, they might, of course, fight like animals, but they could not quarrel in the human sense of the word. Quarrelling means trying to show that the other man is in the wrong. And there would be no sense in trying to do that unless you and he had some sort of agreement as to what Right and Wrong are; just as there would be no sense in saying that a footballer had committed a foul unless there was some agreement about the rules of football.

    Now this Law or Rule about Right and Wrong used to be called the Law of Nature. Nowadays, when we talk of the “laws of nature” we usually mean things like gravitation, or heredity, or the laws of chemistry. But when the older thinkers called the Law of Right and Wrong “the Law of Nature,” they really meant the Law of Human Nature. The idea was that, just as all bodies are governed by the law of gravitation and organisms by biological laws, so the creature called man also had his law—with this great difference, that a body could not choose whether it obeyed the law of gravitation or not, but a man could choose either to obey the Law of Human Nature or to disobey it . . . .

    This law was called the Law of Nature because people thought that every one knew it by nature and did not need to be taught it. [–> by implication, in the absolute core parts] They did not mean, of course, that you might not find an odd individual here and there who did not know it, just as you find a few people who are colour-blind or have no ear for a tune. But taking the race as a whole, they thought that the human idea of decent behaviour was obvious to every one. And I believe they were right. If they were not, then all the things we said about the war were nonsense [–> this was originally a series of BBC broadcasts during the early years of WW II]. What was the sense in saying the enemy were in the wrong unless Right is a real thing which the Nazis at bottom knew as well as we did and ought to have practised? [–> Despite what hey were being taught by their government, and despite what was being demanded of them, cf here the White Rose Movement] If they had had no notion of what we mean by right, then, though we might still have had to fight them, we could no more have blamed them for that than for the colour of their hair . . .

    26 –> In other words, we find a strong core consensus on first principles of morality, whatever differences and disagreements may happen later on or whatever specifics we have to hammer out across time. So, there is good reason to hold this as objective, however we may acquire the knowledge. Arithmetic is objective, never mind that we have to be taught it in major part, and that there are quite different approaches to solving types of problems, especially division.

    27 –> Where, just as there are errors of Arithmetic, there are errors of morality, but they are much harder to recognise, acknowledge and fix so moral progress in the genuine sense takes time, sometimes centuries.

    28 –> Indeed, I have argued that though it is inherently unstable and has to be stabilised in the context of a public that is properly literate, well informed and educated, historically democratic constitutions offer the best approach to a long term project of reform.

    29 –> But for such to work, one of the chief props is commitment to manifestly evident first principles of the natural moral law [which are undergirded by the Judaeo-Christian tradition . . . hence that famous little remark by Geo Washington on the subject], or else nihilistic might and manipulation take over leading to a march of folly and ruin.

    30 –> Which is exactly what is going on now across our civilisation.

    31 –> Lewis has more:

    I know that some people say the idea of a Law of Nature or decent behaviour known to all men is unsound, because different civilisations and different ages have had quite different moralities.

    But this is not true. There have been differences between their moralities, but these have never amounted to anything like a total difference. If anyone will take the trouble to compare the moral teaching of, say, the ancient Egyptians, Babylonians, Hindus, Chinese, Greeks and Romans, what will really strike him will be how very like they are to each other and to our own. Some of the evidence for this I have put together in the appendix of another book called The Abolition of Man; but for our present purpose I need only ask the reader to think what a totally different morality would mean. Think of a country where people were admired for running away in battle, or where a man felt proud of double-crossing all the people who had been kindest to him. [–> Think of Don Richardson’s The Peace Child here, on a case of a culture in New Guinea that for many things admired conning, betraying, murdering and EATING another man. When the Sawi needed to make real peace, they used this mechanism, and the betrayal of a peace child was the most awful of crimes.]

    You might just as well try to imagine a country where two and two made five. Men have differed as regards what people you ought to be unselfish to—whether it was only your own family, or your fellow countrymen, or everyone. But they have always agreed that you ought not to put yourself first. Selfishness has never been admired. Men have differed as to whether you should have one wife or four. But they have always agreed that you must not simply have any woman you liked.

    But the most remarkable thing is this. Whenever you find a man who says he does not believe in a real Right and Wrong, you will find the same man going back on this a moment later. He may break his promise to you, but if you try breaking one to him he will be complaining “It’s not fair” before you can say Jack Robinson. A nation may say treaties do not matter, but then, next minute, they spoil their case by saying that the particular treaty they want to break was an unfair one. But if treaties do not matter, and if there is no such thing as Right and Wrong— in other words, if there is no Law of Nature—what is the difference between a fair treaty and an unfair one? Have they not let the cat out of the bag and shown that, whatever they say, they really know the Law of Nature just like anyone else?

    32 –> In other words, we do find ourselves generally and inescapably under moral government of OUGHT.

    33 –> Where if this be delusional, it would set loose grand delusion across our whole inner life, wrecking it in a cascade of delusions. So, we acknowledge the objectivity of moral government attested to by a sense we have every right and need to trust in general — conscience, on a self evident basis; on pain of collapse into absurdity.

    34 –> Not even the objector is able to escape the force of this. As was repeatedly seen.

    More, following . . .

    KF

  338. 338

    CF admits:

    I have stated that even subjectivists act as if our morals are objectively provided. But acting as if something is A does not make that something A.

    .. then claims that it is a:

    … fact that all of human history has rolled out as if morals are subjective, not objective.

    That’s an interesting juxtaposition of ideas. First, that all people act as if morality is objective in nature, and second, in apparent contradiction, that human history has played out as if morality is subjective in nature.

    Hmm. If human interaction is governed by behavior necessarily corresponding to the premise that morality is objective in nature (we all act as if morality is objective), how could the history of human interaction factually correspond to the premise that morality is subjective in nature?

    CF seems to think that there is some historical support for the idea that morality is subjective in nature. We’ve already established that just because different cultures or individuals disagree on a thing doesn’t mean that thing is subjective in nature because individuals and cultures disagree and have disagreed on things we all agree are objective in nature.

    CF claims it is a fact that the history of human interaction has unfolded as if morality is subjective even though he agrees that humans interact as if morality is objective. I’d like to see him make that case.

  339. 339
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: I have added WJM at 338 and 3 in the new thread, to the FTR: http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ruth-no-1/ KF

  340. 340
    clown fish says:

    WJM: “CF claims it is a fact that the history of human interaction has unfolded as if morality is subjective even though he agrees that humans interact as if morality is objective. I’d like to see him make that case.”

    It’s simple. We all think that our morals are the right ones and that everyone should comply with them. They are deeply entrenched in our minds. As such, we act as if they were objective. But since everyone acts in this fashion, and everyone’s morals are different, they can’t be objective. In short, our feeling that they are objective is a delusion.

  341. 341
    kairosfocus says:

    CF, no. There is such a thing as moral reasoning, there is such a thing as moral learning, there is such a thing as moral growth (which implies moral error can be corrected) and not by might and manipulation make ‘right’ etc. Nihilism is its own refutation. As for letting grand delusion loose on our inner life, that is patent absurdity. KF

  342. 342
    clown fish says:

    Kairosfocus: “As for letting grand delusion loose on our inner life, that is patent absurdity. KF”

    I agree. That is why I keep arguing that there is no objective morality. Why keep deluding yourself when the evidence is there for all to see?

  343. 343

    CF explains how “it’s a fact” that history has proceeded as if morality is subjective in nature:

    It’s simple. We all think that our morals are the right ones and that everyone should comply with them. They are deeply entrenched in our minds. As such, we act as if they were objective. But since everyone acts in this fashion, and everyone’s morals are different, they can’t be objective. In short, our feeling that they are objective is a delusion.

    Well, CF, your “case” is fatally flawed on several fronts, but we’ll just focus on something already pointed out and is painfully obvious: simply because people have different views about what the truth about morality is doesn’t logically necessitate that morality itself is subective in nature.

    Different cultures have believed all sorts of things about physically objective causes, commodities and effects; just because they believe(d) differently about what the truth of those things is (like whether the sun revolved around the earth or vice versa, or that a god pulled the sun through the sky on a chariot, or that there were four basic elements that comprised the whole world, or that the world was a few thousand, or a few hundred thousand, or a few million, or a few billion years old, or how illness was spread, or what caused the weather etc., etc.) does not logically dictate that (1) those things are subjective in nature, or that (2) the actual history of the world proceeded in a fashion corresponding to the idea that those things were subjective in nature.

    Let’s replace morality with some objectively-existent commodity in CF’s answer and rephrase just a bit to clear up his confusion wrt epistemology and ontology:

    “It’s simple. We all think that our view of how humans came to be is the right one and that everyone should agree with that view. These views are deeply entrenched in our minds. As such, we act as if those views are objectively true. But since everyone acts in this fashion, and everyone’s idea of how humans came to be is different (various cultures past and present), such ideas can’t actually be about something that is an objective fact. In short, our feeling that there is an objective fact about how humans came to exist is a delusion.”

    I think what is going on here is that CF deeply believes that it is an objective fact that morality is a subjective commodity and is so entrenched in that assumption that he cannot imagine the history of the world progressing in a way that doesn’t correspond to that “actual fact”. IOW, the idea of subjective morality is so entrenched in CF’s mind that he myopically insists that the history of human interaction must have proceeded according to that objective fact (how could it do otherwise?), even though CF simultaneously agrees that humans actually behave as if morality is objective in nature.

    His “evidence” that history proceeded accordingly could be used to make the same case about all sorts of objective commodities.

  344. 344
    kairosfocus says:

    CF, fail. An initial explanation on how grand delusion is let loose leading to absurdity of relativism, subjectivism and nominalism are already given above [Cf here for more] — I trust you are digesting instead of dismissing. Gotta go for now. KF

  345. 345
    Phinehas says:

    WJM:

    It is a testament to the paucity of arguments against objective morality that its detractors should continue to cling to one so soundly refuted some 70 posts back.

  346. 346
    vividbleau says:

    Clown

    “But since everyone acts in this fashion, and everyone’s morals are different, they can’t be objective.”

    You keep saying this as if you repeat it enough times it becomes a valid argument. This objection in all its many forms has been addressed, obviously not to your satisfaction .What you have not done is defend the position itself. See 335

    Also here

    WJM ” simply because people have different views about what the truth about morality is doesn’t logically necessitate that morality itself is subective in nature.”

    To repeat over and over again ,in one form or another, the same objection without telling us why this is a valid objection is sort of pointless don’t you think?

    Vivid

  347. 347
    kairosfocus says:

    CF,

    I follow up, using 325 for convenience:

    >>KF: “2] Second self evident truth, we discern that some things are right and others are wrong by a compass-sense we term conscience which guides our thought. “

    CF: I agree that it is evident that most of us have a conscience. But that does not mean that the morality that our conscience acts on is objective. Guilt is not a sign of objectivity. It is a sign that we feel that we are doing something that runs counter to one of our moral values. Moral values that can easily be explained by subjectivity. Before the 60s and 70s, many white people in the south would feel guilt at dating a black person.>>

    35 –> Conscience is a compass needle, it points to the fact of moral governance, and though it can sometimes go wrong, it is in that regard no different from sight, hearing, touch or taste.

    36 –> What is self evident is that this sense exists and it points, guiding thoughts, attitudes, feelings, behaviours.

    37 –> It would be passing strange were we to have a sense that had no proper object, so it serves only to delude and manipulate.

    >> KF: “3] Third, were this sense of conscience and linked sense that we can make responsibly free, rational decisions to be a delusion, we would at once descend into a status of grand delusion in which there is no good ground for confidence in our self-understanding. “

    CF: Could you repeat this in English. Are you suggesting that if anything that is subjective is the result of delusion? If that is the case, then you are simply wrong. If I have misinterpreted what you are trying to say, please clarify.>>

    38 –> The English is there and it is clear enough. We sense ourselves to be guided by conscience, and we experience ourselves in that context as responsibly free. Were these a delusion, this would taint our whole inner life, as was already discussed and linked onwards.

    >> KF: “4] Fourth, we are objectively under obligation of OUGHT. That is, despite any particular person’s (or group’s or august council’s or majority’s) wishes or claims to the contrary, such obligation credibly holds to moral certainty. That is, it would be irresponsible, foolish and unwise for us to act and try to live otherwise.”

    CF: Yes, we act according to our established moral values. We both agree on this. We disagree on whether these moral values are objective. You have still not provided any rationale as to why these moral values must be objective.>>

    39 –> The point here is that morality is an in common, rationally accessible matter, which holds to such a degree of certainty that ignoring or recklessly manipulating it is dubious behaviour.

    40 –> Many good reasons for objectivity have been laid out, not least the one already just outlined, that to assign major intellectual faculties to delusion is self defeating for the life of the mind. In short your position boils down to embracing the undermining of rationality.

    >>KF: “5] Fifth, this cumulative framework of moral government under OUGHT is the basis for the manifest core principles of the natural moral law under which we find ourselves obligated to the right the good, the true etc. Where also, patently, we struggle to live up to what we acknowledge or imply we ought to do . . . [ETC]”

    CF: Natural moral law is a philosophical and religious construct. This does not make it an actual law.

    But rather than using old dead philosophers to try to defend your case, why don’t you use your own words and do something as simple as explain why objective morality is fact when societal moral values vary dramatically from one culture to another, and within the same culture over time. If we are so objectively under obligation of OUGHT, and if objective morality is necessary for this, why is/was it possible for civilizations to have such vastly different moral values? Are they all deluding themselves and the only one with the absolute certainty of what these objective values are is you?Or is it more likely that the moral assemblage in any society is the result of indoctrination, instinct, learning, experience, rational thought, the ability to predict the outcome of actions, etc.?>>

    41 –> In fact, we do not tell the truth by the clock or by the fashions of the day. The old dead philosophers may well be manifestly right, and today’s fashionable opinion leaders wrong.

    42 –> In turn phil is the foundational intellectual discipline, which deals with the met issues for other disciplines in addition to general issues of the life of the mind. This makes it actually even more important than those disciplines on foundational matters.

    43 –> Your dismissal of the natural moral law amounts to little more than you do not like the terms.

    44 –> A classic statement of a case is often one of the best statements we can find, often reflecting generations of thought by minds at the top of our civilisation. The case is not oh blindly kowtow to these, but these have made a case that should be considered carefully.

    45 –> The upshot of all this is, the rejection of objectivity of core morality comes at a stiff price for our whole life as responsible and rational beings, but the import of objective laws of our nature is such that many will cling to what can be shown absurd as they will not willingly accept that being under law suggests a Lawgiver, God.

    46 –> Nor am I the only one to have noticed such.

    KF

  348. 348
    kairosfocus says:

    Q: Is not a compass a sign of a magnetic field, a mechanism of orientation with a North-seeking pole that detects and aligns with the field, and thus of a North pole to which it points? (Where, there is an associated discipline of mapping, including of the local declination of compasses relative to true North. And at night Polaris . . . which one has to learn how to find . . . gives a reasonably good index of the north celestial pole and of the latitude one is at.)

  349. 349
    Seversky says:

    kairosfocus @ 307

    Seversky,

    I respond point by point:

    […]

    >>KF: We may elaborate on Paul, Locke, Hooker and Aristotle, laying out several manifestly evident and historically widely acknowledged core moral principles for which the attempted denial is instantly and patently absurd for most people — that is, they are arguably self-evident moral truths. For instance:

    Yes, there are core moral principles which have been recognized and asserted over the centuries but it is also arguable that is because they reflect basic human needs and interests that have been unchanged for millennia. We have observational evidence of the universality of those needs, which it would be absurd to deny, but there is no reason to think that the core moral principles which we have codified to protect those needs are anything other than rules our own creation.

    1] The first self evident moral truth is that we are inescapably under the government of ought.

    No, we observe that most, if not all, human societies develop rules to regulate how their members behave towards one another. They choose to be under “the government of ought” probably because it promotes social cohesion and security. If it is a truth, it is under the correspondence theory rather than a declaration of SET by fiat.

    S: The first problem with this is the concept of self-evidence.>>

    2 –> Self-evidence, per se is not a problem, truths that accurately describe relevant aspects of reality, that are seen on understanding to not be merely contingent but necessary, and necessary on pain of patent absurdity.

    Truths describe, morals prescribe. They do not perform the same function, they are not the same thing.

    3 –> Of course, one may reject a SET, but will be forced to cling to or deny blatantly or dismiss the absurdities.

    We can also reject a claim of SET because it is neither self-evident nor true.

    >> S: Observational data only becomes evidence in the context of an explanatory framework for which it arguably provides support. Without such an explanation it is not evidence for anything.>>

    4 –> SETs are in many cases prior to specific observation, and an explanation promoting understanding does not undermine the self evident character as described.

    I would argue that, if they are claims about the nature of objective reality, there can be no SETs prior to observation. How can you say that something is self-evidently true if you have no knowledge of the referent?

    5 –> For instance, cf the three key laws of thought, I excerpt from 265 above:

    The laws of thought are true by definition within the formal system of logic but even they are arguably derived from observation of the natural world. We never observe a tomato to be a volcano at the same. That and other observations can be generalized into those principles.

    >> S: For example, a smoking gun on its own is just that and nothing more. It is not evidence for anything save perhaps its own existence. Discovered in the hand of someone standing over the body of another who lies dead from a gunshot wound, however, it becomes evidence for the claim or proposition that the survivor shot the victim.>>

    7 –> A smoking gun is a contingent circumstance, it is not a SET. This is a tangential discussion that sets up and tries to knock over a strawman.

    No, it simply illustrates the point that data only becomes evidence in the context of an explanation. This is true of evidence in law or science. If you have a different definition, feel free to present it.

    >>The second problem is that of truth.>>

    8 –> The best understanding of which is, that which says of what is that it is, and of what is not that it is not, Ari Met 1011b.

    >> S: One of the most common concepts of truth is the correspondence theory in which a claim or proposition about some aspect of the observable world is held to be true to the extent that it can be observed to correspond to the aspect that it purports to describe or explain.>>

    9 –> Another miss, you here convert a metaphysical definition on states of affairs and accurate reference to an epistemological challenge of observation. The two are every different in core sense. Many truths are about non-observables, abstract entities. And explanations are often empirically equivalent but very different.

    There are statements that are true by definition and there are statements that are true to the extent that they correspond with what we can observe. What truths do you have in mind which do not fall into either of those categories?

    >>S: The reason why both of the above are problems is that moral propositions are not descriptions or explanations about some aspect of the natural world.>>

    10 –> The tangents and knocked over strawmen and changing of focus come home to roost.

    In other words, you agree with what I wrote?

    11 –> In addition, an equivocation, natural world here suggests material world equated to reality. That is enormously problematic in metaphysics and in addressing the nature of responsibly free and rational, morally governed beings.

    I have called myself a materialist v2.0 which equates to the more modern concept of physicalism. The objective natural world is what we are able to observe around us and is both everything that is both us and everything that is not us. It is composed of what we describe as matter and energy which are essentially the same thing but in various different forms or phases. The nature of this matter/energy, its origins, how and why it behaves as it does are still not clearly understood. We don’t know if there are other universes beyond this one or other domains of existence. All I can say is that I have yet to see any observations or arguments that would lead me to think that morality exists anywhere but in the subjective consciousness of beings such as ourselves.

    12 –> The relevant sense of nature and laws of nature for moral government has to reckon with the force of responsible freedom and rationality, where evolutionary materialism self-falsifies and is inescapably amoral, it has no resources to cogently address reason and responsibility, it cannot bridge the IS-OUGHT gap.

    Evolutionary materialism, like any other claim, is true to the extent we observe it corresponds to what it purports to describe and we do observe some correspondence. It is amoral because it does not – nor was ever intended – to address moral issues. It is a claim about what is not what ought to be and, as such, cannot be a foundation for any morality. We need to find other grounds for those.

    >> [S:] They are prescriptions or injunctions or directives about how people should behave towards one another in society. They are not about ‘is’ but about ‘ought’. On that understanding, they are neither self-evident nor true nor false.>>

    15 –> An attempt to impose a naturalistic view, which already fails at outset as above.

    I write from a naturalistic perspective and argue that my position follows logically from my understanding of truth, evidence and morality. I have read nothing here that shows how it fails.

    16 –> The basic problem here is it manifestly can be true — absent imposition of evolutionary materialism and/or fellow travellers — that, objectively, we OUGHT to do the just, fair, good, speak truth etc.

    I agree that is how we ought to behave towards one another but I don’t believe that such a view is – or even needs to be – founded on the assumption that morality has any objective existence.

    [S:] If we are raised with a clear understanding of how others expect us to behave then failing to live up to those expectations can induce a sense of guilt about having let ourselves and others down. If that is all you mean by conscience then I would agree. >>

    18 –> imposition of relativism, subjectivism and nominalism without resolving underlying worldview foundation issues.

    How does that answer my point?

    >> KF [note skipping over in the list]: 4] Fourth, we are objectively under obligation of OUGHT. That is, despite any particular person’s (or group’s or august council’s or majority’s) wishes or claims to the contrary, such obligation credibly holds to moral certainty. That is, it would be irresponsible, foolish and unwise for us to act and try to live otherwise.

    S: If by being “under obligation of OUGHT” you mean that human beings, when congregating in societies, tend to develop self-imposed rules of behavior which promote social cohesion then I would agree.>>

    20 –> Attempted imposition of relativism, subjectivism, nominalism.

    As above, dismissively reciting a list of “isms” does not offer a counter-argument.

    >> [S:] The key phrase here, though, is “self-imposed”. They are adopted through a process of negotiation or inter-subjective agreement rather than being imposed by some mythical force or being from outside,>>

    23 –> when we disagree and quarrel, there is a strong general pattern of appealing to an essentially universal sense of ought to be fair, just, truthful etc. This is a testimony to the objectivity, not oh we play might/manipulation make ‘right’ ‘truth’ etc and that’s the game.

    That we share concepts of fairness and justice is not, of itself, sufficient reason to think that they exist anywhere other than in our consciousness, just that we appear to share the same subjective beliefs and experiences. For example, we have reason to believe that when human beings with normal color vision look at a red car they see a car that is red. Yet physics tells us that what is happening is that the paint on the car is reflecting light of certain very narrow band of wavelengths. The only thing that distinguishes that radiation from any other in the spectrum is the wavelength. The ‘redness’ we perceive is a property of our internal mental model of that world not the world itself. The curious thing is why we all perceive the same color and why is that color perception ‘assigned’ to those wavelengths of light. That aside, just like color, for a subjectivist, morality subsists in our mental model of the world, not the world itself.

    25 –> The dismissive attempt to rule out the possibility that we are under moral government of manifestly evident core principles of natural moral law because we come from the inherently good creator God, a necessary and maximally great being, the root of reality worthy of our respect, loyalty and reasonable service of doing the good in accord with our evident nature is duly noted for what it is. Question begging and rhetorical intimidation.

    Once again, simple questions: are you saying that you would not know right from wrong, good from evil, unless you had been told what they are by your God? Are you saying that you – and, by extension, the rest of us – are incapable of working these things out for ourselves?

    >>[S:] although some may appeal to such a force or being as warrant for believing their particular morality is intrinsically superior to all others.>>

    26 –> The projections begin.

    I have made no claim for the superiority of my moral views. I am rejecting your claim for the superiority of yours on the grounds that they are in some way objective, that they are the final word of some supreme arbiter of moral issues and are, consequently, beyond question.

    [S:] Yes, we set standards for ourselves which, being fallible creatures, we often fail to meet. That is an observation not a moral truth.>>

    27 –> Of course, the fact of moral failure is a fact, not a SET.

    We hold up always telling the truth as a moral imperative yet the evidence suggests that we all lie to a lesser or greater degree at some time in our lives. It is a fact, by any reasonable definition of the word, that we all fall short of achieving that ideal. Moral failure is a fact not an SET.

    28 –> The repetition of imposition of relativism, subjectivism and nominalism, as well as the implied nihilism are noted. (Do you realise that in effect you and others of like ilk are trying to impose YOUR moral vision?)

    I’m not trying to impose any particular morality. I’m denying the special claims for the supremacy of their particular moralities made by the followers of various faiths which, historically, some have sought to impose on the rest of us, by fire and sword where necessary.

    >> [S:] Broadly speaking, law is understood as having two meanings:

    1. the system of rules that a particular country or community recognizes as regulating the actions of its members and may enforce by the imposition of penalties.
    “they were taken to court for breaking the law”

    2. a statement of fact, deduced from observation, to the effect that a particular natural or scientific phenomenon always occurs if certain conditions are present.
    “the second law of thermodynamics”

    So-called natural law is neither of these things.>>

    30 –> You have simply omitted the historic, crucial usage as I exemplified from Blackstone, Locke and Hooker. Vastly much more can be given.

    31 –> The natural moral law is in fact the underlying framework in which law, just government and reformation can proceed safely.

    The ontological status of natural moral law is no more certain that that of The Force in Star Wars. It would be great if they existed but there is no evidence to suggest that they do. Hardly a sound foundation for law, just government, etc.

    34 –> The tyranny of a majority or domineering mob in defiance of natural justice is a classic problem of democracy. That is why the US DoI starts from the laws of nature and of nature’s God, outlining several self evident core moral principles, THEN speaks to how government exists to uphold such justice, deriving its just powers from the consent of the governed.

    I entirely agree that the “tyranny of the majority” can threaten the rights of minorities. I agree the US DoI is a model of how such a threat should be forestalled. But I also argue that just as criminal and civil law ultimately derives its authority and powers from the consent of the governed then so do moral laws.

    [S:] Rights are privileges or entitlements granted by human societies to their eligible members. They do not exist outside that domain.>>

    38 –> Jawol, mein fuehrer. (In short, this is a statement of nihilism and targeted disenfranchisement of the excluded, starting with right to LIFE.)

    You allude to the Nazi Holocaust as an example of where a large minority of a population was not only disenfranchised, denied what we now recognize as a basic human rights and, ultimately, nearly exterminated. In reply, I will point once more to accounts from the Old Testament where the Israelites subjected whole populations to similar atrocities, apparently with the approval and on the authority of their God.

    39 –> Thus lies inadvertently exposed the utter bankruptcy of the framework behind the ongoing abortion holocaust.

    I agree that abortion should be ended on the grounds that the right to life should be extended to the unborn period of an individual human beings whole lifespan. But to do this in a democracy requires persuading a majority of the population and their elected representatives that this should be asserted in law.

    >> [S:] A human being may be granted the right to life but other animals are not so privileged unless, at some point, human beings decide that they should be.>>

    41 –> a man is apig is a rat is a worm. S has here been forced by his view to forfeit the recognisiton of the unique responsible freedom and rational capacity of the human being.

    That does not follow. The point I was making is that rights are in the gift of human societies and granted to their members. I highlighted the claim by pointing out that we do not accord similar rights to animals of other species, not yet at least. Yes, I would agree we are responsible and rational beings, more so than the other creatures we share this planet with, but my answer to the Christian’s dogma of human exceptionalism is a line from Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home where, at one point, the character of Dr Gillian Taylor, in response to comment from a colleague implying that whales are a lesser species says ” I don’t know about you, but my compassion for someone is not limited to my estimate of their intelligence.”

    >> [S:] Again, we might all agree that there are a set of rights that should be the basic entitlement of all human beings but that is our choice. It is not a self-evident moral truth.>>

    42 –> Core rights are not entitlements, but instead binding moral expectations to be respected in certain pivotal ways: life, liberty, fulfillment of one’s sense of potential and destiny i/l/o one’s evident nature, etc.

    They are presumed to apply to human beings but not other animals. They are human entitlements because human beings are entitled to them but not other creatures.

    >> [KF:] 8] Eighth, like unto the seventh, such may only be circumscribed or limited for good cause. Such as, reciprocal obligation to cherish and not harm neighbour of equal, equally valuable nature in community and in the wider world of the common brotherhood of humanity.

    >> [S:] This is simply a corollary of the above. We can agree that it is a good way to behave on the grounds of empathy but it is not a self-evident moral truth.>>

    44 –> I have argued on the premise of equality of worth thus reciprocity of duties, S tries to turn this into empathy, which is exactly what is missing in cases as I just again clipped. The absurdity becomes patent. So yes we here face a moral SET.

    The fact that empathy has failed or been ignored on occasions is not an argument against it as grounds for morality. I would argue that it is one of the most important of our mental capacities. How many of the atrocities of the past would have been carried out if the perpetrators had been able to experience the sufferings of their victims in excruciating detail?

    >> [KF:] 9] Ninth, this is the context in which it becomes self evidently wrong, wicked and evil to kidnap, sexually torture and murder a young child or the like as concrete cases in point that show that might and/or manipulation do not make ‘right,’ ‘truth,’ ‘worth,’ ‘justice,’ ‘fairness,’ ‘law’ etc. That is, anything that expresses or implies the nihilist’s credo is morally absurd.

    [S:] As human beings, we can all agree that the torture and murder of children is wrong just on the grounds of empathy. We understand the pain and suffering of the child and its family, we would not want our children or ourselves to experience such suffering and, by extension, we do not want others to experience it either.>>

    45 –> Notice, the empathy gambit again, and the failure to address the point that the child is incapable of acting with strength or eloquence in its defence.

    Are you saying that there something wrong with empathy? And if a child is “incapable of acting with strength or eloquence in its defence” what better protection could it have than that others could not bear the thought of the suffering it might undergo.

    >> [S:] However, we can envisage an alien species that does not reproduce as we do or feel any attachment to its young. Perhaps, this culture of this species has developed a stoic credo, something like the Vulcans in Star Trek, which denies or lacks human emotions. They might look on the torture and killing of a human child as a curiosity of human behavior but nothing more. They would not see a self-evident moral truth.>>

    46 –> The sci fi scenario pivots on dismissing responsible rational freedom.

    Not at all. They would just be reasoning from a different set of premises.

    12] Twelfth, the attempt to deny or dismiss such a general framework of moral governance invariably lands in shipwreck of incoherence and absurdity. But that does not mean that the attempt is not going to be made, so there is a mutual obligation of frank and fair correction and restraint of evil.

    It is not moral governance that is being rejected, only the special pleading for your particular version of it.

    [S:] Again, in a democratic society the government derives its legitimacy and authority from being the embodiment and enactment of the will of the people. It needs no more nor should it claim more.>>

    47 –> repeats the error that was already corrected.

    So you’re saying that in a democratic society the government does not derive its authority from the consent of the governed?

    >> [S:] There should be no appeal to some sort of warrant deriving from divine authority or natural law because they are not necessary and are susceptible to corruption.

    Once again, we have decided that this is what is best for us on the grounds of our communal interests. That we can agree on it does not make it a self-evident moral truth.>>

    50 –> More repetition, the correctives are above already.

    I couldn’t have put it better myself.

  350. 350
    kairosfocus says:

    Seversky:

    I just noticed a response. I will go to a first key issue then follow up later.

    This, captures the heart of your problem:

    there are core moral principles which have been recognized and asserted over the centuries but it is also arguable that is because they reflect basic human needs and interests that have been unchanged for millennia. We have observational evidence of the universality of those needs, which it would be absurd to deny, but there is no reason to think that the core moral principles which we have codified to protect those needs are anything other than rules our own creation.

    In short, you recognise that here are circumstances that draw out principles of response from morally governed creatures, that do appear consistently. But, the answer is, must ever be it seems, we have made up a myth from our own imaginations, so there.

    Really?

    What you have done is to resort to grand delusion, i.e. our acknowledged sense of being under binding moral obligation of oughtness in respect of justice etc, is founded on imagination only. But the nature of this is that that oughtness pervades our life of the mind, ought-to truth, ought -to the right, ought-to the respect for the other, etc etc.

    So, we see the cost price for the assignment of that sense of being under law to delusion.

    Grand delusion, spreading into all of our inner life and thought, without firewalls.

    Let me for convenience excerpt from here:

    We may now carry this forward, to briefly address the vexed problem of the fairly common attempt to reduce morality to subjective or otherwise relative perceptions imposed by persuasion or force. For this, it is perhaps best to start with a very concrete case, one which is unfortunately not just theoretical:

    ASSERTION: it is self-evidently wrong, bad and evil to kidnap, torture, sexually violate and murder a young child. Likewise, by corollary: if we come across such a case in progress, it is our duty to try to intervene to save the child from such a monster.

    Almost all people will agree that such a case is horrible, and to be deplored. So also, they wil agree that a duty of rescue obtains, or at least succor for someone left half dead. Thus, we see the significance of the Good Samaritan as a paradigm of neighbourliness across racial, religious, political and other dividing-lines or even outright enmity . . . .

    in the view of too many today, we are left to the feelings of revulsion and the community consensus backed up by police and courts on this.

    Not so.

    Compare a fish, that we lure to bite on a hook, then land, kill and eat for lunch without compunction. And even for those who object, they will do so by extension of the protective sense we have about say the young child — not the other way around. But, unless there is a material difference between a young child and a fish, that sense of wrong is frankly delusional, it is just a disguised preference, one that we are simply willing to back up with force.

    So, already, once we let radical relativism and subjectivism loose, we are looking at the absurdity and chaos of the nihilist abyss, might (and manipulation) makes for ‘right.’

    Oops.

    At the pivot of the skeptical objections to objective moral truth, notwithstanding persistent reduction to absurdity, is the pose that since we may err and since famously there are disagreements on morality, we can reduce moral feelings to subjective perceptions tastes and preferences, dismissing any and all claims of objectivity much less self evidence.

    So, the objector triumphantly announces: there is an unbridgeable IS-OUGHT gap, game over.

    Not so fast, as there is no better reason to imagine that we live in a moral Plato’s Cave world, than that we live in a physical or intellectual Plato’s Cave world.

    That is, we consider the imagined world of Plato where the denizens, having been imprisoned from childhood, all imagine that the shadow shows portrayed for their benefit are reality. Until, one is loosed, sees the apparatus of manipulation, then is led outside and learns of the reality that is there to be discovered. Then he tries to rescue his fellows, only to be ridiculed and attacked . . . .

    Now, the skeptical question is, do we live in such a delusional world (maybe in another form such as the brains in vats or the Matrix’s pods . . . ), and can we reliably tell the difference?

    The best answer to such is, that such a scenario implies general delusion and the general un-trustworthiness of our senses and reasoning powers.

    So, it undercuts itself in a turtles all the way down chain of possible delusions — an infinite regress of Plato’s cave delusions.

    Common good sense then tells us that the skeptic has caught himself up in his own web, his argument is self referentially incoherent.

    In other words, we have a pretty direct implication of reduction to patent absurdity. Moral hyperskepicism is no more helpful than epistemological hyperskepticism, both instantly reduce to futility.

    And, we see as well that we face the utter absurdity of looking at the young kidnapped child and trying to justify the claim that oh the sense of urgency to intervene to stop cruelty, abuse and murder is just a delusional feeling, there is nothing more to it than our imaginations, individually and collectively. Apart from might and manipulation make ‘right,’ ‘truth,’ ‘dignity,’ ‘worth’ ‘duty, etc.

    Nihilism, in one ugly word.

    Subjectivism, relativism, nominalism and the like massively fail as an attempt to explain away moral government.

    With grand delusion in the stakes, we have no more reason to reject the objectivity of our moral-compass sense, conscience, than of sight, hearing, and common sense rationality.

    Never mind the lab coats that dress up the underlying evolutionary materialism and its fellow traveller ideologies. We see yet again the self-falsifying incoherence and amorality emerging.

    Dead end, futility.

    It seems we must think again.

    Based on the alternative, that moral government is rooted in objective truth, the truth of moral obligation. And we then follow that to where it leads, including to what sort of world properly grounds such.

    KF

  351. 351
    kairosfocus says:

    Seversky, 349:

    I will pick up points that strike my attention, bearing in mind the just above on the alternatives.

    >> we observe that most, if not all, human societies develop rules to regulate how their members behave towards one another. They choose to be under “the government of ought” probably because it promotes social cohesion and security.>>

    1 –> This skirts with might and manipulation make ‘right’ and ‘truth’ etc, once objectivity is scanted.

    2 –> Such incipient nihilism opens the door to injustice.

    >>If it is a truth, it is under the correspondence theory rather than a declaration of SET by fiat. >>

    3 –> The immediate context of my statement outlining MSET 1 to 07 laid out the reason why we see this to be necessarily so on pain of patent absurdity, so “fiat” is a loaded strawman caricature.

    4 –> Note, how I expanded to CF by way of slight decompression of the logic:

    Notice, again, the structure of the first manifestly evident core principle of the natural moral law:

    TRUTH CLAIM: 1] The first self evident moral truth is that we are inescapably under the government of ought.

    PROBLEM WITH OBJECTION: This is manifest in even an objector’s implication in the questions, challenges and arguments that s/he would advance, that we are in the wrong and there is something to be avoided about that.

    MEANING OF THIS PROBLEM: That is, even the objector inadvertently implies that we OUGHT to do, think, aim for and say the right.

    UNIVERSALITY: Not even the hyperskeptical objector can escape this truth.

    THE ABSURDITY: Patent absurdity on attempted denial.

    That is, self evidence . . .

    5 –> Your own objection, flawed as it is, is replete with OUGHTs. It exemplifies the point, pervasiveness of ought and perception of ought in a context of implicit acknowledgement of its binding nature in our thought and action.

    6 –> Such is strong evidence of not only correspondence with reality but of inescapable truth; to try to deny implies inadvertent support, contradicting the denial.

    >>Truths describe, morals prescribe. They do not perform the same function, they are not the same thing.>>

    7 –> Again, it can be and evidently is an accurate description of reality that we find ourselves undeniably under moral obligation.

    8 –> That is, one may accurately describe an existing state of affairs where certain beings are morally governed and are subject to particular principles which are true to reality.

    9 –> In short, is and ought cannot be so easily dismissed as incapable of unification. (Which points to the IS-OUGHT gap and the only place in the world where they may be unified, the root level of reality.)

    10 –> Of course on the implicit assumption of evolutionary materialism such cannot be effected, but the truth of this view is open to challenge. It is self-falsifying and inherently amoral, thus irretrievably falsified.

    11 –> But by dressing such up in a lab coat many have been tempted to set up such falsity as a yardstick for truth, crippling their ability to discern contrary truth.

    12 –> For, at the crux, the accurate description of reality will always disagree with the falsity; but if truth be measured by falsity, darkness is given power to lock out light.

    13 –> This is a big part of the ongoing agenda: divide, polarise and ruin our civilisation.

    >>We can also reject a claim of SET because it is neither self-evident nor true . . . . I would argue that, if they are claims about the nature of objective reality, there can be no SETs prior to observation. How can you say that something is self-evidently true if you have no knowledge of the referent? . . . . The laws of thought are true by definition within the formal system of logic but even they are arguably derived from observation of the natural world. We never observe a tomato to be a volcano at the same. That and other observations can be generalized into those principles.>>

    14 –> I of course spoke of specific observation.

    15 –> In order to understand a discussion, concepts etc, one needs to have a sufficiently mature experience of the world, capability of insights and due reflection upon such.

    16 –> SETs come in when we address the difference between what is contingently so and what is necessarily so [and this on pain of patent absurdity not arduous demonstration], given reasonable background. It is noteworthy how the specific discussion was skipped over in haste to dismiss:

    BC 9: an empirical fact is a fact of observation of the world of experience.

    BC 10: a self evident truth is something that is true, and on actually understanding what is being claimed is seen as necessarily so on pain of patent absurdity. That is, the rejection or dismissal of a SET comes at a price of surrendering rational discussion on a matter. SETs are not proved, they are examined, explained and understood . . . made sense of . . . as the start-points of proof or investigation. Sometimes, they are termed first principles.

    BC 11: Distinct identity is the start point of reasoning, i.e. we mark some A (say a bright red ball on a table) as distinct from the rest of the world that is not A, ~A; W = { A | ~ A }. Instantly, A is A (as opposed to not A), any x in W cannot be A AND ~A in the same sense and circumstances, and any y in W is A or ~A but not both or neither . . . and yes I am using the full exclusive or. These are the three classic laws of thought: identity, non-contradiction, excluded middle. (These three are self evident, indeed we cannot prove them as to try to prove them we implicitly must already rely on them — even, to just talk about them we must use distinct thoughts, symbols, glyphs, sounds etc. Instead we come to recognise and understand them, and to see their significance and utter trustworthiness beyond any reasonable, responsible doubt. Similar things obtain for how a conscious being is undeniably and incorrigibly aware of its consciousness, and for something like error exists.)

    BC 12: In this context, moral SETs hold as first core principles of moral governance of responsibly and rationally free individuals that are so, are seen to be so on insightful reflection i/l/o our existing base of experience of our world, and are seen to be necessarily or undeniably so on pain of absurdity. The attempted denial undermines itself in some significant way that shows that this is an utterly reliable start point for moral reflection on the world of OUGHT. In the case above [MSET 1], attempted denial will invariably reflect reliance on the premise that we OUGHT to seek the truth, the right, the fair etc.

    >> S: For example, a smoking gun on its own is just that and nothing more. It is not evidence for anything save perhaps its own existence. Discovered in the hand of someone standing over the body of another who lies dead from a gunshot wound, however, it becomes evidence for the claim or proposition that the survivor shot the victim.

    KF: 7 –> A smoking gun is a contingent circumstance, it is not a SET. This is a tangential discussion that sets up and tries to knock over a strawman.

    S: No, it simply illustrates the point that data only becomes evidence in the context of an explanation. This is true of evidence in law or science. If you have a different definition, feel free to present it.>>

    17 –> Empirical data is evidence in the context of an UNDERSTANDING of the world and of particular circumstances, which may require evaluating alternative views, assumptions, arguments and explanations. In short, explanation is being over-loaded with all sorts of distinct and material issues.

    18 –> The strawmannish character comes up in suggesting that only empirical circumstances are in view, that the observer and reflect-er on such is tabula rasa in effect. But in fact seeing is seeing-as. So, the inner conceptual world must be bridged to the external one in the first instance.

    19 –> On this F H Bradley’s retort to Kant et al, that the man who imagines that there is an unbridgeable gulch between the inner and outer worlds is asserting a knowledge claim taken for fact about that outer world, brings out a key point. That is, abstract analysis and logical factors are part of reality and of understanding, not just rules of a game called logic.

    20 –> It is in that context of bridging that the significance of SETs comes out. Certain things about reality are not merely observed and could readily have been otherwise, but are necessary and unavoidable to the point where attempted denial lands instantly in patent absurdity. To deny that error exists entails meaning it is an error to assert that error exists.

    21 –> And likewise, to reason at all, observe at all etc, we must accept distinct identity. Such can be seen as directly entailing the LOI, LNC and LEM to the point that we cannot act rationally without implying acceptance of these three. Such is not an arbitrary cluster of theorems, no logically and dynamically coherent, feasible world is possible in which they do not hold.

    22 –> In short, basic rationality is in the stakes.

    >>There are statements that are true by definition and there are statements that are true to the extent that they correspond with what we can observe. What truths do you have in mind which do not fall into either of those categories?>>

    23 –> Is this claim held true by fiat of definition or is it true as empirical observation and presumably generalisation?

    24 –> If the former, question-begging.

    25 –> If the latter, hasty and faulty generalisation that fails to recognise that there are truths of understanding that may be recognised i/l/o experience and insight but which are necessary. Necessary on pain of patent absurdity on attempted denial, as was already exemplified.

    26 –> As was already highlighted, such are self-evident. So, the question was cogently answered before it was asked.

    >>I have called myself a materialist v2.0 which equates to the more modern concept of physicalism. The objective natural world is what we are able to observe around us and is both everything that is both us and everything that is not us. [–> materialism] It is composed of what we describe as matter and energy which are essentially the same thing but in various different forms or phases. The nature of this matter/energy, its origins [–> that which begins has a cause], how and why it behaves as it does are still not clearly understood. We don’t know if there are other universes beyond this one or other domains of existence. All I can say is that I have yet to see any observations or arguments that would lead me to think that morality exists anywhere but in the subjective consciousness of beings such as ourselves [–> the ugly gulch in action, materialist form] . . . .

    Evolutionary materialism, like any other claim, is true to the extent we observe it corresponds to what it purports to describe and we do observe some correspondence. It is amoral because it does not – nor was ever intended – to address moral issues. It is a claim about what is [–> an assertion that all that is is material, mass-energy, space-time] not what ought to be and, as such, cannot be a foundation for any morality. We need to find other grounds for those.>>

    27 –> As already observed: “[t]he relevant sense of nature and laws of nature for moral government has to reckon with the force of responsible freedom and rationality, where evolutionary materialism self-falsifies and is inescapably amoral [–> a discussion on this is yet again linked], it has no resources to cogently address reason and responsibility, it cannot bridge the IS-OUGHT gap.”

    28 –> In other words . . . and I must acknowledge and respect the admission . . . implicit agreement. The import of such implicit amorality, unfortunately, is that the door is now opened for the practice of the credo of nihilism — might and manipulation make ‘right,’ ‘truth,’ ‘meaning,’ ‘value,’ ‘rights/duties,’ ‘justice’ etc etc. With bloodily grim track record over 2400 years and especially the past 100.

    29 –> Reduction to absurdity and the ongoing pattern of divide, polarise and ruin that haunts our civilisation.

    30 –> The rest of my concerns follow immediately on that, and the significance of the point that rejecting MSETs leads to clinging to absurdity is underscored.

    31 –> The argument based on disagreement is over. The issue is to find a sound alternative to absurdity, amorality, nihilism and a road to ruin.

    32 –> That requires worldviews analysis, informed by comparative difficulties and assessing first plausibles.

    Later . . .

    KF

  352. 352
    clown fish says:

    KAirosfocus,

    Does putting a number in front of every sentence make your points more valid? I don’t think so, but I am willing to follow your example.

    1 –> I think that Seversky has made some very good points and observations at 349.

    2 –> Most of your SETs are wishful thinking.

    3 –> Subjectively derived truths, not self-evident truths.

    4 –> Most people have morals and a conscience.

    5 –> This can be considered a truth based on extensive observation but not as a SET.

    6 –> If we were alone on a desert island, how would we know that other people have moral values and a conscience; this can only be known by observation.

    7 –> We are indoctrinated from an early age with rules, whether from church, parents, teachers, etc.

    8 –> Violations of any of these results in negative consequences to us, therefore, reinforcing our core morals.

    9 –> By observing the negative consequences of (hopefully) minor infractions of these core moral values, this reinforces those that we have not violated; in the same way that it requires observation to discern the truth that not everyone has the same hair colour.

    10 –> Experience, observation, critical thinking and the ability to predict the consequences of actions further reinforce our core moral values as well as establishing new ones.

    11 –> Some of the moral values established through critical thinking and the ability to predict consequences will start out as being less strongly held but could become more deeply entrenched with further observation and experience.

    12 –> You will notice that none of this requires objective moral values.

  353. 353
    clown fish says:

    Just an update on SSM in Canada. The Conservative party convention has now voted to change their policy position in favour of supporting SSM. That means that all three parties in Canada (four if you include the one member from the Greens) fully support same sex marriage.

    That cliff is getting closer and closer every day.

  354. 354
    kairosfocus says:

    CF,

    Steps of thought allow reasonably easy reference, why would you imagine and project like that? Could it be that you think such may be unfair? As in We OUGHT to be fair?

    As for the points made, the implications of radical relativisation of morality, subjectivism and nominalism have already been highlighted.

    They still stand.

    Later.

    KF

  355. 355
    clown fish says:

    Kairosfocus: “Steps of thought allow reasonably easy reference, why would you imagine and project like that? Could it be that you think such may be unfair?”

    Supercilious and inane, yes. Unfair, no.

    As in We OUGHT to be fair?”

    You OUGHT to do whatever you want in this respect. In fact, it is much to my benefit for you to not discuss issues openly and fairly with me. It is the surest way to demonstrate the weakness of your side of the argument.

    As for the points made, the implications of radical relativisation of morality, subjectivism and nominalism have already been highlighted.”

    Calling subjective morality “radical” is just meaningless hyperbole if you can’t provide evidence for objective morality. That would be like talking about radical heliocentrism or radical germ theory.

    Sure, there are implications of moral values not being objective. So what? Calling them objective does not seem to have made any difference to civilizations over time. The evidence, throughout history, and amongst cultures, is that if objective morality exists, it must be completely beyond our understanding. And if it is, then it is indistinguishable from subjective morality. And since there has been no historic agreement on what these objective moral values are, it would be the hight of arrogance to think that we understand them now.

  356. 356
    kairosfocus says:

    CF,

    the implications of the view you are enabling are as follows, manifested through 2400 years of history:

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

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

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

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

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

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

    KF

    PS: The no evidence hyperskeptical gambit also fails, as evidence was provided up to and including demonstrating the reductio ad absurdum.

  357. 357
    clown fish says:

    KairosFocus: “the implications of the view you are enabling are as follows, manifested through 2400 years of history:”

    You can’t enable reality, you can only observe it, acknowledge it and try to work within it. To do otherwise is to bury your head in the sand and delude yourself into believing something that does not exist.

    PS: The no evidence hyperskeptical gambit also fails, as evidence was provided up to and including demonstrating the reductio ad absurdum.”

    I’m afraid that philisophical and theological mumbo-jumbo cannot over-rule cold hard facts.

    1 –> Slavery was considered to be morally acceptable for much of human history.

    2 –> Slavery is now considered morally unacceptable for most human cultures.

    3 –> The lack of equality of women was considered morally acceptable for much of human history.

    4 –> Equality of women is now considered a moral value amongst the same cultures.

    5 –> Homosexuality was considered morally unacceptable for much of human history (in the Judeo-Christian culture).

    6 –> Homosexuality was considered morally acceptable for much of human history (in the Hindu and American Indian cultures).

    7 –> Child and other human sacrifices were considered morally acceptable for some pre-Columbian MesoAmerican cultures.

    8 –> Child and human sacrifices are considered morally unacceptable in Judeo-Christian cultures.

    9 –Suicide was considered morally acceptable, and the honourable thing to do, in pre WWII Japanese culture.

    10 –> Suicide is considered morally unacceptable in Judeo-Christian cultures.

    11 –> Cannibalism is considered morally unacceptable in most human cultures.

    12 –> Cannibalism was considered morally acceptable in many human cultures throughout history.

    The only arguments that I have ever heard from objectivists with regard to the hundreds and thousands of glaring variations in moral values is that it is the result of free will, or WKM’s response that “simply because people have different views about what the truth about morality is doesn’t logically necessitate that morality itself is subective in nature.” But if people’s beliefs about moral truths vary so dramatically between cultures and over time within each culture, how is this any different than subjective morality? And how do we know that the “objective moral values” that you currently believe in, are the correct ones? As I have said before, that would appear to be the height of arrogance to think that your moral values (or WJM’s or mine) are the correct ones and that those of the thousands of societies and cultures that predate ours were inferior.

    The most you can say is that you think that your current moral values (or WJM’s or mine) are the best for the society we currently find ourselves. If ours differ from the bulk of the society we live in, we can try to convince others that they are wrong (difficult, but history is full of examples), move to a society that better reflect your moral values (people have done this by the thousands throughout history) or accept that that there are differences and hope that it doesn’t lead over a cliff towards a broken back.

    Frankly, I am very optimistic about scoiety.

  358. 358
    vividbleau says:

    Clown

    ” or WKM’s response that “simply because people have different views about what the truth about morality is doesn’t logically necessitate that morality itself is subective in nature”

    Clown would you like to logically demonstrate simply because people have different views about what the truth about morality is DOES logically necessitate that morality itself is subjective in nature?

    Vivid

  359. 359
    clown fish says:

    Vividbleu: “Clown would you like to logically demonstrate simply because people have different views about what the truth about morality is DOES logically necessitate that morality itself is subjective in nature?”

    Hi Vivid, happy Memorial Day.

    I never said that it necessitates subjective morality. I just said that it is strong evidence for it (or against objective morality).

    You must admit, there appears to be a double standard at work here. The same people who say that evolutionists are irrational for continuing to support the theory when there are some observations that appear to conflict with it, are the same ones who see nothing wrong with supporting objective morality when there is absolutely no evidence supporting it.

  360. 360
    zeroseven says:

    Vivid, I think the point is that there is no practical difference between an objective moral code that is not written down anywhere and just has to be guessed at, and a subjective morality.

    Let’s say I say suicide is objectively morally right. You say its wrong. How do we resolve our difference of opinion? We can’t. We just have to accept we have a different position on that particular moral question. If there is an objective answer its of no use to us as we can’t go and look it up or see it or hear it etc.

  361. 361
    kairosfocus says:

    CF,

    as a quick note, difference of views in a world in which error exists is irrelevant to objectivity of moral truths, e.g. principles of justice.

    As was long since pointed out.

    What you seem to consistently fail to address is the implications of the general testimony of conscience regarding core morality being delusional, in a context where conscience calls us to the right, the prudent, the true, the sound and this is inextricably involved in our whole inner life: grand delusion.

    The price tag for clinging to subjectivism, radical root level[ relativism and linked extreme nominalism [effectively only particles have natures] is the undermining of confidence in our whole life of the mind. Besides the import of amorality and might/manipulation makes right nihilism. That is, self-referential delusion across the life of the mind, utter incoherence and irrationality.

    As has been pointed out already, just it was rhetorically brushed aside.

    We can safely dismiss any system that ends in grand delusion and so we have every good reason to trust that conscience on the whole aptly responds to an objective, binding, moral state of affairs.

    KF

  362. 362
    kairosfocus says:

    07, the core principles of morality are not things that have to be guessed at. They are well known, powerful and applicable. You already have demanded a list of such principles then have been in the main absent once such were given with indicators of why the attempted denial ends in absurdity. And suicide is wrong is not in the list; though robbing oneself of life is dubious and a culture in which “right” to die is put up soon becomes one of duty to die for the convenience of others. Thence eugenics, euthanasia and genocide as the sacredness of life is progressively undermined. And yes that is a real slippery slope with unfortunately a lot of historical warrant. Think about a world in which doctors are murderers and an elderly patient with property can never be sure that the medication or treatment on offer is to restore health or conveniently accelerate death . . . and then you will see some of the why behind the Hippocratic Oath. KF

  363. 363
    clown fish says:

    07, a very good example. Is suicide morally wrong, morally right, or morally indifferent? My feeling is that it really comes down to who owns the life. A theist would argue that it is a gift from God and, therefore, would be immoral to throw it away. An atheist might argue that it is the individual’s life to throw away When and where they want.

    I must admit that I would try to talk a loved one out of committing suicide, but how would I be able to argue that my opposition is not for selfish reasons? The only thing I know for certain is that if I was dying of cancer, and suffering, I would fight anyone who said that I could not make that choice for myself. Not that I would take that choice, but as far as I am concerned, it is nobody else’s choice to make for me.

  364. 364
    kairosfocus says:

    CF,

    notice the matches you are playing with:

    And suicide is wrong is not in the list; though robbing oneself of life is dubious and a culture in which “right” to die is put up soon becomes one of duty to die for the convenience of others. Thence eugenics, euthanasia and genocide as the sacredness of life is progressively undermined. And yes that is a real slippery slope with unfortunately a lot of historical warrant. Think about a world in which doctors are murderers and an elderly patient with property can never be sure that the medication or treatment on offer is to restore health or conveniently accelerate death . . . and then you will see some of the why behind the Hippocratic Oath.

    KF

  365. 365
    StephenB says:

    Clown Fish

    I’m afraid that philisophical and theological mumbo-jumbo cannot over-rule cold hard facts.

    Slavery was considered to be morally acceptable for much of human history.

    Bad logic:

    [a] Just because society engages in a practice doesn’t mean that it considers such behavior morally justified. People do bad things all the time and pretend to now know they are bad. Alcoholics get drunk every day even though they know they shouldn’t do it.

    [b] There are many kinds of slavery. Some are immoral; some are moral. The problem is that subjectivists can’t make that distinction. Because they have no standard, they cannot make moral calculations. For them, indentured servitude is the same as chattel slavery. It isn’t.

    [c] Everyone has always known that chattel slavery is wrong, but many wouldn’t admit it publicly, because they wanted to do something immoral, and privately, because denial salved their conscience. To know what is right is not necessarily to do what is right.

    All you other examples are based on the same error.

  366. 366
    zeroseven says:

    KF seems to say its morally indifferent. But I don’t know how he knows that, and how he can authoritatively say “its not on the list”. As if there is an actual list somewhere.

  367. 367
    clown fish says:

    KairosFocus: “The price tag for clinging to subjectivism, radical root level[ relativism and linked extreme nominalism…”

    If you are going to characterize everything anyone says who disagrees with you as “radical” and “extreme”, why should we put in any effort to explain our views? Please grow up and discuss issues as mature adults do.

    as a quick note, difference of views in a world in which error exists is irrelevant to objectivity of moral truths, e.g. principles of justice.”

    I agree. When the errors are on the order of five or ten percent, you have a point. But when the errors range from human sacrifice is morally acceptable to human sacrifice is morally unacceptable (multiplied by thousands of similar examples), we are not talking about experimental or observational error. We are talking about fundamental differences in fundamental moral values. Where is the objectivity in this?

  368. 368
    StephenB says:

    zeroseven

    Let’s say I say suicide is objectively morally right. You say its wrong. How do we resolve our difference of opinion? We can’t. We just have to accept we have a different position on that particular moral question. If there is an objective answer its of no use to us as we can’t go and look it up or see it or hear it etc.

    Have you never heard of the Ten Commandments? Have you never heard of the Tao, which is basically the same thing in non-religious form, i.e., the Natural Moral Law. Are you not capable of applying reason to these general moral laws in order to analyze the morality of any specific moral question?

    Let’s take your example: Thou Shalt Not Murder. Apply reason: Thou Shalt Not Also Murder Thyself. Therefore, suicide is wrong. What is so difficult about that?

  369. 369
    clown fish says:

    StephenB: “Let’s take your example: Thou Shalt Not Murder. Apply reason: Thou Shalt Not Also Murder Thyself. Therefore, suicide is wrong. What is so difficult about that?”

    Thank you for admitting that your argument for objective morality is religiously based. It is very refreshing to see this on This site.

  370. 370
    zeroseven says:

    Hi StephenB:

    Well KF disagrees with you on that. He says it not on the list. You make my point.

  371. 371
    kairosfocus says:

    07,

    the list of principles that are held self evident that I provided in answer to your rhetorical demand:

    >> normally responsive people will at least grudgingly respect the following summary of such core, conscience attested morality from the pen of Paul:

    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 . . . .

    Rom 13:8 Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong [NIV, “harm”] to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. [ESV]

    Where, John Locke, in grounding modern liberty and what would become democratic self-government of a free people premised on upholding the civil peace of justice, in Ch 2 Sec. 5 of his second treatise on civil Government [c. 1690] cites “the judicious [Anglican canon, Richard] Hooker” from his classic Ecclesiastical Polity of 1594 on, as he explains how the principles of neighbour-love are inscribed in our hearts, becoming evident to the eye of common good sense and reasonableness:

    . . . if I cannot but wish to receive good, even as much at every man’s hands, as any man can wish unto his own soul, how should I look to have any part of my desire herein satisfied, unless myself be careful to satisfy the like desire which is undoubtedly in other men . . . my desire, therefore, to be loved of my equals in Nature, as much as possible may be, imposeth upon me a natural duty of bearing to themward fully the like affection. From which relation of equality between ourselves and them that are as ourselves, what several rules and canons natural reason hath drawn for direction of life no man is ignorant . . . [Hooker then continues, citing Aristotle in The Nicomachean Ethics, Bk 8 and alluding to Justinian’s synthesis of Roman Law in Corpus Juris Civilis that also brings these same thoughts to bear:] as namely, That because we would take no harm, we must therefore do none; That since we would not be in any thing extremely dealt with, we must ourselves avoid all extremity in our dealings; That from all violence and wrong we are utterly to abstain, with such-like . . . ] [Eccl. Polity,preface, Bk I, “ch.” 8, p.80, cf. here. Emphasis added.]

    We may elaborate on Paul, Locke, Hooker and Aristotle, laying out several manifestly evident and historically widely acknowledged core moral principles for which the attempted denial is instantly and patently absurd for most people — that is, they are arguably self-evident moral truths. For instance:

    1] The first self evident moral truth is that we are inescapably under the government of ought.

    (This is manifest in even an objector’s implication in the questions, challenges and arguments that s/he would advance, that we are in the wrong and there is something to be avoided about that. That is, even the objector inadvertently implies that we OUGHT to do, think, aim for and say the right. Not even the hyperskeptical objector can escape this truth. Patent absurdity on attempted denial.)

    2] Second self evident truth, we discern that some things are right and others are wrong by a compass-sense we term conscience which guides our thought. (Again, objectors depend on a sense of guilt/ urgency to be right not wrong on our part to give their points persuasive force. See what would be undermined should conscience be deadened or dismissed universally? Sawing off the branch on which we all must sit.)

    3] Third, were this sense of conscience and linked sense that we can make responsibly free, rational decisions to be a delusion, we would at once descend into a status of grand delusion in which there is no good ground for confidence in our self-understanding. That is, we look at an infinite regress of Plato’s cave worlds: once such a principle of grand global delusion is injected, there is no firewall so the perception of level one delusion is subject to the same issue, and this level two perception too, ad infinitum; landing in patent absurdity.

    4] Fourth, we are objectively under obligation of OUGHT. That is, despite any particular person’s (or group’s or august council’s or majority’s) wishes or claims to the contrary, such obligation credibly holds to moral certainty. That is, it would be irresponsible, foolish and unwise for us to act and try to live otherwise.

    5] Fifth, this cumulative framework of moral government under OUGHT is the basis for the manifest core principles of the natural moral law under which we find ourselves obligated to the right the good, the true etc. Where also, patently, we struggle to live up to what we acknowledge or imply we ought to do.

    6] Sixth, this means we live in a world in which being under core, generally understood principles of natural moral law is coherent and factually adequate, thus calling for a world in which OUGHT is properly grounded at root level. (Thus worldviews that can soundly meet this test are the only truly viable ones. if a worldview does not have in it a world-root level IS that can simultaneously ground OUGHT, it fails decisively.*)

    7] Seventh, in light of the above, even the weakest and most voiceless of us thus has a natural right to life, liberty, the pursuit of fulfillment of one’s sense of what s/he ought to be (“happiness”). This includes the young child, the unborn and more. (We see here the concept that rights are binding moral expectations of others to provide respect in regards to us because of our inherent status as human beings, members of the community of valuable neighbours. Where also who is my neighbour was forever answered by the parable of the Good Samaritan. Likewise, there can be no right to demand of or compel my neighbour that s/he upholds me and enables me in the wrong — including under false colour of law through lawfare. To justly claim a right, one must first be in the right.)

    8] Eighth, like unto the seventh, such may only be circumscribed or limited for good cause. Such as, reciprocal obligation to cherish and not harm neighbour of equal, equally valuable nature in community and in the wider world of the common brotherhood of humanity.

    9] Ninth, this is the context in which it becomes self evidently wrong, wicked and evil to kidnap, sexually torture and murder a young child or the like as concrete cases in point that show that might and/or manipulation do not make ‘right,’ ‘truth,’ ‘worth,’ ‘justice,’ ‘fairness,’ ‘law’ etc. That is, anything that expresses or implies the nihilist’s credo is morally absurd.

    10] Tenth, this entails that in civil society with government, justice is a principal task of legitimate government. Thus also,

    11] Eleventh, that government is and ought to be subject to audit, reformation and if necessary replacement should it fail sufficiently badly and incorrigibly.

    12] Twelfth, the attempt to deny or dismiss such a general framework of moral governance invariably lands in shipwreck of incoherence and absurdity. But that does not mean that the attempt is not going to be made, so there is a mutual obligation of frank and fair correction and restraint of evil.
    _________________

    * F/N: After centuries of debates and assessment of alternatives per comparative difficulties, there is in fact just one serious candidate to be such a grounding IS: the inherently good creator God, a necessary and maximally great being worthy of ultimate loyalty and the reasonable responsible service of doing the good in accord with our manifestly evident nature. (And instantly, such generic ethical theism answers also to the accusation oh this is “religion”; that term being used as a dirty word — no, this is philosophy. If you doubt this, simply put forth a different candidate that meets the required criteria and passes the comparative difficulties test: _________ . Likewise, an inherently good, maximally great being will not be arbitrary or deceitful etc, that is why such is fully worthy of ultimate loyalty and the reasonable, responsible service of doing the good in accord with our manifestly evident nature. As a serious candidate necessary being, such would be eternal and embedded in the frame for a world to exist at all. Thus such a candidate is either impossible as a square circle is impossible due to mutual ruin of core characteristics, or else it is actual. For simple instance no world is possible without two-ness in it, a necessary basis for distinct identity inter alia.>>
    _________________

    It is clear that there is no cogent relativist response to the objectivity or the grounding of moral governance. Indeed, it looks a lot like animosity motivates attempts to undermine what they do not like, while trying to manipulate then through lawfare to usurp the sword of justice and impose will to power.

    Long, grim history paid for in blood and tears serves as a warning, if we will heed it,

    Many objective truths are not self evident nor is this list exhaustive. But this list lays out a material core relevant to sound community life.

    Things that on current track are going to come back to haunt our civilisation as it knocks out the supports that have stabilised democracy, preventing it from its strong tendency to either race off into mob rule and chaos snapping back to the demand for safety and order or else to directly decline into manipulated oligarchy.

    KF

    PS: Right to life, thus thou shalt not murder (a historic reference to common law foundations BTW and to the great principle of civil law) IMPLIES including thyself, but though objective it is not in itself self evident; esp given clouding issues liable to come up. Your attempt to wedge SB and KF apart rhetorically fails. Ditto for tag and dismiss as “religious” with the typical overtones present in such a reference.

  372. 372
    zeroseven says:

    Another good example is the death penalty. By your standard it is morally wrong because its a form of murder. I would happen to agree with that. But many don’t. How do we find out what the objective position is?

  373. 373
    clown fish says:

    KairosFocus: “notice the matches you are playing with:”

    Yes. I live in a country where there is absolutely no restrictions on abortion. Where same sex marriage has been legal for over a decade. Where the most Conservative party in our country is now endorsing SSM. Where Doctor assisted suicide will be the law of the land. Where the last bank failure occurred before the 1929 depression.

    Yet, we continue to be at or near the top of the list for any rating of best countries to live in. That must really hurt.

  374. 374
    StephenB says:

    Clown Fish

    StephenB: “Let’s take your example: Thou Shalt Not Murder. Apply reason: Thou Shalt Not Also Murder Thyself. Therefore, suicide is wrong. What is so difficult about that?”

    Thank you for admitting that your argument for objective morality is religiously based. It is very refreshing to see this on This site.

    As usual, you are very confused. As I pointed out, the Ten Commandments are simply the explicit manifestation of what was already known as the Tao, which is the natural moral law. Also, not everything in the Bible is a religious argument. There are plenty of philosophical and ethical arguments that stand on their own.

  375. 375
    kairosfocus says:

    07 & CF, the death penalty (though something we may object to on other grounds) is not in any reasonable sense murder, and the attempt to equate the two is quite telling. Judicial murder is possible, but such is by abuse of law, a very different matter. The list of fashionable lawfare initiatives that will come back to haunt our civilisation speaks volumes about sliding faster and faster down the slippery slope. It’s not the slide that is normally the big problem it is the hard hit at rock bottom. KF

  376. 376
    zeroseven says:

    KF, so do you agree with StephenB that suicide is a form of murder?

  377. 377
    kairosfocus says:

    CF, I was a sixth former when I wrote an essay on the subject, the murderer and the victim are the same. I have already pointed to wider consequences of undermining value of and right to life. Ignorance of relevant issues, history and dynamics is going to come back to haunt our civilisation bigtime. KF

  378. 378
    StephenB says:

    zeroseven

    Another good example is the death penalty. By your standard it is morally wrong because its a form of murder. I would happen to agree with that. But many don’t. How do we find out what the objective position is?

    Even though moral principles never change, their application can change over time, just as our understanding can become increasingly fine tuned. Justification of the death penalty, for example, is based primarily on the principle of self defense, which of course, is not murder. If society has no other way of defending itself from murderers except to execute them, then the death penalty is justifiable under those circumstances. If society has other means to protect itself, then it would be much harder to justify.

  379. 379
    zeroseven says:

    StephenB:

    Right, I would agree with that. And as there is always another way for society to defend itself from murderers (unless they stop building jails), and as the death penalty is ineffective in preventing murder in any case, then we have to conclude it is never justified.

  380. 380
    kairosfocus says:

    07, you are implicitly assuming current circumstances in societies that are historically exceptionally well off and are the heirs of centuries of the judaeo-christian moral heritage — which they increasingly despise. I am not convinced these conditions are sustainable in even the most advanced societies. And several boatloads of dead pirates will never raid another village again . . . where, such villages could in no wise sustain a system of incarceration; other would be raiders will get the message. (Go read the history of the Viking era.) KF

  381. 381
    clown fish says:

    KairosFocus: “07 & CF, the death penalty (though something we may object to on other grounds) is not in any reasonable sense murder, and the attempt to equate the two is quite telling.”

    The fact that two atheists are trying to convince a Christian that the death penalty is murder is even more telling. Two subjective, atheist, nominalistic, evolutionist, Darwinists explaining to a devout Christian that killing is wrong. Am I the only one who sees the irony in this?

  382. 382
    vividbleau says:

    Zeroseven

    “Vivid, I think the point is that there is no practical difference between an objective moral code that is not written down anywhere and just has to be guessed at, and a subjective morality.”

    Obviously we disagree here. Before I give a practical example I need to know if I take the other side of this point that you agree one of us is absolutely wrong? That is another way of asking do you agree that A can never be non A at the same time and in the same relationship?

    Vivid

  383. 383
    clown fish says:

    Vividbleu: “Obviously we disagree here. Before I give a practical example I need to know if I take the other side of this point that you agree one of us is absolutely wrong?”

    Obviously, 07 will answer for him/her self, but I thought that I would put my two nickels in here (we no longer have pennies).

    I would agree that one of us may be absolutely wrong on the more universal moral values (eg. Killing, stealing), but there are enough real examples where this has been condoned (glorified) to call this into question. But it is in the less obvious “objective moral values” (eg., homosexuality, sex before marriage, same sex marriage,) where the debate will get heated.

  384. 384
    kairosfocus says:

    CF, see what happens to the coherence of the community as the current agendas take over. Then remember that you were warned. KF

  385. 385
    vividbleau says:

    Clown

    “I would agree that one of us may be absolutely wrong …”

    Is that an absolute “may be” ? To say may be absolutely wrong is to say ” might be” which was not my question.

    Vivid

  386. 386
    StephenB says:

    Zeroseven

    StephenB:

    Right, I would agree with that. And as there is always another way for society to defend itself from murderers (unless they stop building jails), and as the death penalty is ineffective in preventing murder in any case, then we have to conclude it is never justified.

    In these days, at least, with penal systems well established, there is really no way to justify the death penalty. However, we must keep in mind that this form of punishment is not intrinsically evil, which is the same as saying that it is not always unjustified. Whether it is a deterrent or not seems to depend on how swiftly and how faithfully the sentence is carried out. In any case, capital punishment is conditionally evil, that is, it is evil when the conditions that could justify it are not present. Murder, on the other hand, is intrinsically evil. It can never be justified, regardless of conditions.

    Killing, on the other hand, is not intrinsically evil; there are circumstances under which it can be morally justified, as when a soldier slays someone on the battlefront, or when an individual must kill an aggressor in order to save his own life.

  387. 387
    clown fish says:

    Kairosfocus: “CF, see what happens to the coherence of the community as the current agendas take over. Then remember that you were warned. KF

    Fine. I can live with it. Actually, I welcome it. Because your warnings are pure scare mongering hyperbole.

    You have to stop being a “glass half empty” sort of guy. Infant mortality has been decreasing for decades. Vaccines have eliminated many horrendous diseases. Standard of living have increase for decades. Girls now have a much better chance of success than they ever had (unless you classify success as baby making machines). Violent crimes have been decreasing for decades. Water and air quality has been improving for decades. Tolerance of homosexuals and transgendered has dramatically increased (oops, I forgot. That is not an improvement in your mind).

  388. 388
    clown fish says:

    Vividbleu: “Is that an absolute “may be” ? “

    Of course. Have I not always admitted that I may be wrong? Unlike a certain person named Mullings that we both know?

    Anybody who doesn’t admit that they may be wrong is an absolute moron.

  389. 389
    vividbleau says:

    Clown

    Yes you have always admitted you may be wrong what I am asking is agreement that it is impossible that both of us could be right, there is no possibility that one of us is not wrong. To put it another way it is impossible for A to be A and non A at the same time in the same relationship, agree?

    Vivid

  390. 390
    clown fish says:

    Vividbleu: “To put it another way it is impossible for A to be A and non A at the same time in the same relationship, agree?”

    Vivid, please don’t try to play those stupid logical traps that KairosFocus uses rather than trying to have an honest discussion. You are much better than that, and than KairosFocus.

    We both admit that we could be wrong. But we also both know that right and wrong is not always as black and white as people like Kairosfocus would like to believe.

    Why don’t you simply ask me the question that you want to ask me? You know that I have always tried to put up a good argument, but you also know that I have never tried to lead you on with loaded questions.

  391. 391
    zeroseven says:

    Hi Vivid, I’m not much of a logician. Just give your practical example and we can explore it.

  392. 392
    vividbleau says:

    Clown

    “Vivid, please don’t try to play those stupid logical traps that KairosFocus uses rather than trying to have an honest discussion. You are much better than that, and than KairosFocus.”

    Clown I am not setting a trap nor is my intent a gotcha question.

    “Why don’t you simply ask me the question that you want to ask me? ”

    I did and you think I’m trapping you.

    Vivid

  393. 393
    clown fish says:

    OK Vivid. Fair enough. I don’t think that morals can be objective and subjective at the same time.

  394. 394
    vividbleau says:

    Clown

    Thanks at least we can agree on at least one thing. The reason I asked Zeroseven is because if we cannot agree that something is true, regardless of what either one of us think is true, then what’s the point?

    Vivid

  395. 395
    clown fish says:

    Vividbleu: “Thanks at least we can agree on at least one thing.”

    I suspect that we agree on many things. For example, even though we disagree on objective morality and evolution, I think that we respect each other’s opinions (sometimes grudgingly). Unfortunately, there are a few here who view people with differing opinions as the enemy. Frankly, I think they are sad individuals who deserve our pity.

  396. 396
    zeroseven says:

    Sorry Vivid, I am not sure what you’re driving at. You are saying that if there really are objective morals, when I think I am forming my moral positions subjectively, I am wrong?

    If that’s what you are saying I’m not sure if I agree. It’s possible some people can access the moral code and some can’t, and therefore those that can’t have to form morals subjectively. I think WJM may believe something like this.

    But the point I have been making is that if even if there really are objective morals, no one seems to have any idea about how to access or discover them. And therefore this objective moral code is irrelevant as no one ever knows what it is and just has to make guesses about what it might be.

  397. 397
    clown fish says:

    Vividbleu, as a follow up, I think that there are many things that are true. That humans have moral values is true. That we have a conscience that is affected by our moral values is true. But I don’t think that we can say that they are self evident truths. I think that we require experience and observation to draw these conclusions.

    The same with moral values. Our intuition tells us that they are objective. But our intuition also tells us that the earth is flat and that the sun and stars revolve around it. It is our observations and critical thinking that suggest otherwise.

  398. 398
    vividbleau says:

    Zeroseven
    “Sorry Vivid, I am not sure what you’re driving at. You are saying that if there really are objective morals, when I think I am forming my moral positions subjectively, I am wrong?”

    No what I am saying is we have two opposite positions 1) morals are objective 2) morals are subjective. Irrespective of our positions one of those positions are true and one is not. One accurately corresponds to the way things are factually and one does not.

    Vivid

  399. 399
    clown fish says:

    Vividbleu and zeroseven, I would love to continue this interesting discussion, but you must live in a different time zone. I must get to bed. I have to work in the morning.

  400. 400
    vividbleau says:

    Clown
    Goodnight.

    Vivid

  401. 401
    kairosfocus says:

    CF,

    First, self-evident truth is not a logical trap, nor is it stupid.

    That itself shows that MSETs 1 – 3 are at work, you are appealing to the compass-sense of conscience that calls us to truth and right. But you are manipulating the sense, through use of dismissive labelling.

    However, just as was announced, you are unable to escape the force of the points, in denying and dismissing, you only manage to confirm that you can but only appeal to what you would dismiss.

    In short the self-evidence is trying to teach you something.

    Something which you obviously resent deeply and find yourself resorting to lashing out rhetorically over.

    Let us list MSETs 1 – 3 again, as a reminder of what you are lashing out at:

    1] The first self evident moral truth is that we are inescapably under the government of ought.

    (This is manifest in even an objector’s implication in the questions, challenges and arguments that s/he would advance, that we are in the wrong and there is something to be avoided about that. That is, even the objector inadvertently implies that we OUGHT to do, think, aim for and say the right. Not even the hyperskeptical objector can escape this truth. Patent absurdity on attempted denial.)

    2] Second self evident truth, we discern that some things are right and others are wrong by a compass-sense we term conscience which guides our thought. (Again, objectors depend on a sense of guilt/ urgency to be right not wrong on our part to give their points persuasive force. See what would be undermined should conscience be deadened or dismissed universally? Sawing off the branch on which we all must sit.)

    3] Third, were this sense of conscience and linked sense that we can make responsibly free, rational decisions to be a delusion, we would at once descend into a status of grand delusion in which there is no good ground for confidence in our self-understanding. That is, we look at an infinite regress of Plato’s cave worlds: once such a principle of grand global delusion is injected, there is no firewall so the perception of level one delusion is subject to the same issue, and this level two perception too, ad infinitum; landing in patent absurdity . . .

    I suggest there is nothing in that that should so trigger hostility and lashing out. Nor, for that matter in the other nine that follow. The reaction is disproportionate, and suggests much more is at work than mere differences of opinion.

    As for oh you can live with sliding ever faster down moral slippery slopes, the problem is the hard landing at rock bottom as nihilism and ruthless factionalism working through agit prop and lawfare utterly take over.

    As is patently in progress across or civilisation.

    With a long and painful history paid for in blood and tears that we neglect at peril.

    I suggest that it is time to think again.

    KF

  402. 402
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: A reminder of just what is triggering the sort of reactions we see above:

    >> normally responsive people will at least grudgingly respect the following summary of such core, conscience attested morality from the pen of Paul:

    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 . . . .

    Rom 13:8 Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong [NIV, “harm”] to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. [ESV]

    Where, John Locke, in grounding modern liberty and what would become democratic self-government of a free people premised on upholding the civil peace of justice, in Ch 2 Sec. 5 of his second treatise on civil Government [c. 1690] cites “the judicious [Anglican canon, Richard] Hooker” from his classic Ecclesiastical Polity of 1594 on, as he explains how the principles of neighbour-love are inscribed in our hearts, becoming evident to the eye of common good sense and reasonableness:

    . . . if I cannot but wish to receive good, even as much at every man’s hands, as any man can wish unto his own soul, how should I look to have any part of my desire herein satisfied, unless myself be careful to satisfy the like desire which is undoubtedly in other men . . . my desire, therefore, to be loved of my equals in Nature, as much as possible may be, imposeth upon me a natural duty of bearing to themward fully the like affection. From which relation of equality between ourselves and them that are as ourselves, what several rules and canons natural reason hath drawn for direction of life no man is ignorant . . . [Hooker then continues, citing Aristotle in The Nicomachean Ethics, Bk 8 and alluding to Justinian’s synthesis of Roman Law in Corpus Juris Civilis that also brings these same thoughts to bear:] as namely, That because we would take no harm, we must therefore do none; That since we would not be in any thing extremely dealt with, we must ourselves avoid all extremity in our dealings; That from all violence and wrong we are utterly to abstain, with such-like . . . ] [Eccl. Polity,preface, Bk I, “ch.” 8, p.80, cf. here. Emphasis added.]

    We may elaborate on Paul, Locke, Hooker and Aristotle, laying out several manifestly evident and historically widely acknowledged core moral principles for which the attempted denial is instantly and patently absurd for most people — that is, they are arguably self-evident moral truths. For instance:

    1] The first self evident moral truth is that we are inescapably under the government of ought.

    (This is manifest in even an objector’s implication in the questions, challenges and arguments that s/he would advance, that we are in the wrong and there is something to be avoided about that. That is, even the objector inadvertently implies that we OUGHT to do, think, aim for and say the right. Not even the hyperskeptical objector can escape this truth. Patent absurdity on attempted denial.)

    2] Second self evident truth, we discern that some things are right and others are wrong by a compass-sense we term conscience which guides our thought. (Again, objectors depend on a sense of guilt/ urgency to be right not wrong on our part to give their points persuasive force. See what would be undermined should conscience be deadened or dismissed universally? Sawing off the branch on which we all must sit.)

    3] Third, were this sense of conscience and linked sense that we can make responsibly free, rational decisions to be a delusion, we would at once descend into a status of grand delusion in which there is no good ground for confidence in our self-understanding. That is, we look at an infinite regress of Plato’s cave worlds: once such a principle of grand global delusion is injected, there is no firewall so the perception of level one delusion is subject to the same issue, and this level two perception too, ad infinitum; landing in patent absurdity.

    4] Fourth, we are objectively under obligation of OUGHT. That is, despite any particular person’s (or group’s or august council’s or majority’s) wishes or claims to the contrary, such obligation credibly holds to moral certainty. That is, it would be irresponsible, foolish and unwise for us to act and try to live otherwise.

    5] Fifth, this cumulative framework of moral government under OUGHT is the basis for the manifest core principles of the natural moral law under which we find ourselves obligated to the right the good, the true etc. Where also, patently, we struggle to live up to what we acknowledge or imply we ought to do.

    6] Sixth, this means we live in a world in which being under core, generally understood principles of natural moral law is coherent and factually adequate, thus calling for a world in which OUGHT is properly grounded at root level. (Thus worldviews that can soundly meet this test are the only truly viable ones. if a worldview does not have in it a world-root level IS that can simultaneously ground OUGHT, it fails decisively.*)

    7] Seventh, in light of the above, even the weakest and most voiceless of us thus has a natural right to life, liberty, the pursuit of fulfillment of one’s sense of what s/he ought to be (“happiness”). This includes the young child, the unborn and more. (We see here the concept that rights are binding moral expectations of others to provide respect in regards to us because of our inherent status as human beings, members of the community of valuable neighbours. Where also who is my neighbour was forever answered by the parable of the Good Samaritan. Likewise, there can be no right to demand of or compel my neighbour that s/he upholds me and enables me in the wrong — including under false colour of law through lawfare. To justly claim a right, one must first be in the right.)

    8] Eighth, like unto the seventh, such may only be circumscribed or limited for good cause. Such as, reciprocal obligation to cherish and not harm neighbour of equal, equally valuable nature in community and in the wider world of the common brotherhood of humanity.

    9] Ninth, this is the context in which it becomes self evidently wrong, wicked and evil to kidnap, sexually torture and murder a young child or the like as concrete cases in point that show that might and/or manipulation do not make ‘right,’ ‘truth,’ ‘worth,’ ‘justice,’ ‘fairness,’ ‘law’ etc. That is, anything that expresses or implies the nihilist’s credo is morally absurd.

    10] Tenth, this entails that in civil society with government, justice is a principal task of legitimate government. Thus also,

    11] Eleventh, that government is and ought to be subject to audit, reformation and if necessary replacement should it fail sufficiently badly and incorrigibly.

    12] Twelfth, the attempt to deny or dismiss such a general framework of moral governance invariably lands in shipwreck of incoherence and absurdity. But that does not mean that the attempt is not going to be made, so there is a mutual obligation of frank and fair correction and restraint of evil.
    _________________

    * F/N: After centuries of debates and assessment of alternatives per comparative difficulties, there is in fact just one serious candidate to be such a grounding IS: the inherently good creator God, a necessary and maximally great being worthy of ultimate loyalty and the reasonable responsible service of doing the good in accord with our manifestly evident nature. (And instantly, such generic ethical theism answers also to the accusation oh this is “religion”; that term being used as a dirty word — no, this is philosophy. If you doubt this, simply put forth a different candidate that meets the required criteria and passes the comparative difficulties test: _________ . Likewise, an inherently good, maximally great being will not be arbitrary or deceitful etc, that is why such is fully worthy of ultimate loyalty and the reasonable, responsible service of doing the good in accord with our manifestly evident nature. As a serious candidate necessary being, such would be eternal and embedded in the frame for a world to exist at all. Thus such a candidate is either impossible as a square circle is impossible due to mutual ruin of core characteristics, or else it is actual. For simple instance no world is possible without two-ness in it, a necessary basis for distinct identity inter alia.>>

  403. 403
    kairosfocus says:

    PPS: Lessons of history, most recently administered over the past 100 years with over 100 million victims, and many hundreds of millions more as a result of the ongoing global abortion holocaust:

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

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

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

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

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

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

  404. 404
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Observe the specific “logical trap” that CF so stringently lashes out over:

    Vividbleu: “To put it another way it is impossible for A to be A and non A at the same time in the same relationship, agree?”

    [CF:] Vivid, please don’t try to play those stupid logical traps that KairosFocus uses rather than trying to have an honest di