Culture Off Topic

Is it still wrong if another culture says it is right? A teacher’s surprising discovery

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Here.

Anderson recounts what happened when he tried to show students what can happen to women in a culture with no tradition of treating women as if they were fellow human beings with men:

The picture is horrific. Aisha’s beautiful eyes stare hauntingly back at you above the mangled hole that was once her nose. Some of my students could not even raise their eyes to look at it. I could see that many were experiencing deep emotions.

But I was not prepared for their reaction.

I had expected strong aversion; but that’s not what I got. Instead, they became confused. They seemed not to know what to think. They spoke timorously, afraid to make any moral judgment at all. They were unwilling to criticize any situation originating in a different culture.

They said, “Well, we might not like it, but maybe over there it’s okay.”

More.

51 Replies to “Is it still wrong if another culture says it is right? A teacher’s surprising discovery

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    Very nice article Ms. O’Leary!

  2. 2
    NickMatzke_UD says:

    I suspect this essay is telling us more about the teacher’s preconceptions than the students’. The teacher looks like they came into this with a very strong “relativism is taking over our culture, multiculturalism education is the problem!” narrative already predefined and ready-to-go. Confront some innocent high-school students with some emotionally-fraught horror, get confused reactions along the lines of “why would anyone do this?”, and a teacher with a preexisting strong ideological narrative will interpret it accordingly.

  3. 3
    APM says:

    Your suspicion is hypothetically possible. People often misinterpret the words of others because of a predetermined grid they’ve constructed for themselves.

    That said, there is no evidence for your accusation in this case. Based on the teacher’s words – which is all we have to work with here – it was actually the opposite. The teacher expected one reaction and got another. The teacher even tells us precisely what the students said, which was that the violence may have been acceptable in their culture and therefore ok.

  4. 4
    NickMatzke_UD says:

    “The teacher even tells us precisely what the students said, which was that the violence may have been acceptable in their culture and therefore ok.”

    Yeah, but I can imagine myself saying such a thing, simply as an anthropological-like comment explaining why another culture exhibits such behavior and considers it OK, without it being intended in any way as an *endorsement* of such behavior. The odds of high-schoolers being able to successfully convey that kind of nuance, especially to a teacher who also does not show much aptitude for nuance, are somewhat low.

  5. 5
    NickMatzke_UD says:

    LOL — this confirms that this guy wasn’t just some random philosopher teacher, going along through his day, who was then shocked and surprised to discover that his students were all floppy relativists:

    Dr. Stephen L. Anderson
    teaches at A.B.Lucas S.S. in District 11, Thames Valley. In 2010, he completed his PhD thesis on the Character Education movement

    It’s clear that someone who got a Ph.D. in 2010 must have been studying the Character Education curricula for years before that, and had undoubtedly developed some detailed opinions on it.

    And that’s all well and good, but don’t try to tell me that we’ve got raw unfiltered observation from the field with his observations on his class here. For all we know, students were just arguing with him for the hell of it, precisely because the students sniffed out that the teacher was more than usually opinionated on this topic, and arguing about things for the hell of it is what you do in senior philosophy class. Especially if you have a few default contrarians, which you always will in such a class (full disclosure: I was one).

  6. 6
    tragic mishap says:

    And of course Nick Matzke is the epitome of objectivity himself. He would never have anything invested in believing that a society can maintain a moral standard without religion.

  7. 7
    NickMatzke_UD says:

    And here I thought I was going to be accused of defending relativism…

  8. 8
    kairosfocus says:

    Onlookers:

    Red herring, led away to a strawman caricature.

    The confused and/or intimidated reaction of students in the face of patent abuse, and the talking points that then come up CLEARLY show the impact of the deliberate and radical relativisation of moral judgements in our civilisation, often done in the name of science [i.e. evolutionary materialism presented as unquestionable fact sanctioned by the last institution deeply respected in our civilisation].

    Instead, the reaction News has documented shows just how corrosive evolutionary materialism-driven amorality is for our civilisation. For, bad ideas have sobering consequences — in this case, pointed out as long ago as 360 BC, by Plato, in The Laws, Bk X.

    In short, this sort of utter moral confusion is nothing new, and its roots — as the sudden appearance of an apologist for just such materialism underscores — are not exactly a secret.

    Let us cite Provine in his notorious Darwin Day keynote speech, in U Tenn, 1998; to further underscore the point:

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

    The first 4 implications are so obvious to modern naturalistic evolutionists that I will spend little time defending them. Human free will, however, is another matter. Even evolutionists have trouble swallowing that implication. I will argue that humans are locally determined systems that make choices. They have, however, no free will . . .

    If we have no free, responsible choice, we can have nothing more than programming by genes and memes or the like: nature and nurture pushing us around like clay. And so, the heart and mind are confused and benumbed, leading to the loss of confidence in ability to stand up in the face of any sufficiently strong theme pushed by sufficiently powerful manipulators.

    The confusion that can look in the face of a lovely young lady willfully and horribly disfigured and not see that this MUST be wrong, is itself a mark of widespread serious deception and confusion, as well as a subtext of politically incorrect intimidation such that those who know better usually know that to speak their minds in the face today’s evil day and age of radical political correctness is most imprudent.

    This state of confusion is of course exactly what is being exploited to create and promote the notion that, say, the definition, durability and importance of marriage are subjects for manipulation by clever rhetoric, as though there are not serious and patently deleterious consequences that stem from playing around with so foundational an institution in a civilisation.

    (For those who came in late, I just made an allusion to the Kantian Categorical Imperative, as a useful test for evil: if a rule of action were to spread far and wide in society, what would its consequences be? If destructive, then it is wrong. Cf. for instance how, if lying were to become the norm, communication would break down, destroying society in a chaos of mistrust and broken promises. [Cf discussion here, which ties the ethics of the CI to sustainability going one way, and to the roots of the golden rule the other way.])

    Similarly, that state of moral confusion and intimidation has been exploited to create the patently self-refuting view that there is indeed a moral absolute: thou shalt not judge morally in ways that cut across the politically correct agendas that promote certain classes, views, behaviours etc as sacrosanct — especially if you are a member of one of the designated scapegoat classes. On pain of being hounded by a hornet’s nest of vicious attack, and/or subjected to the politics of personal destruction. (As just became quite evident in the US’s Republican Party primary races.)

    And, that is the underlying reason why the students found it so hard to make (or in some cases, doubtless, to express) a cross-cultural judgement on what should have been patent: nothing can morally justify disfiguring abuse of a young miss, just as nothing can justify a case where a young miss is blamed for being raped and gaoled, being subject to pardon and release on the condition of marrying the rapist. At least, it would have been patent, absent such conditioning and background messages on the groups not to be challenged on pain of serious consequences for being politically incorrect.

    But, the prudent man keeps quiet in an evil day.

    The one who speaks out in the teeth of the agendas of the power brokers invites vicious attack. (As will predictably happen to me in the anti-UD hate sites for this post; I cannot forget how one of the first vicious personal attacks against the undersigned came in response to a post elsewhere on the horrific consequences of Web porn, including how it is reportedly implicated in over half of current divorces.)

    And, we have a massive promotion of an inescapably amoral worldview, in the name of that which is so often held to be the gold standard of fact and truth and logic, “science.” (which is being ideologised by various politically correct agendas, precisely because it is seen as the arbiter of truth and right).

    That old, “imprudent” prophet reportedly pushed in a hollow log and sawn to death for speaking out inconveniently, Isaiah, has our civilisation in its current state pegged:

    Is 5: 18 Woe to those who draw sin along with cords of deceit,
    and wickedness as with cart ropes . . .

    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 clever in their own sight.

    A perfect and bitter storm is brewing, and we are in for rough seas ahead.

    But, given that we were warned by Isaiah, Amos and Plato etc thousands of years ago, we can hardly say we were not warned.

    But, “whose report will we believe [in good time to act wisely] . . . ”

    GEM of TKI

  9. 9
    tjguy says:

    Wow! How scary!

    This is what evolution can easily lead too. Without God, there is no foundation for morality and these kids are actually right – if there is no God. No one has any right to judge anyone else. In the ultimate sense, there can be no real right and wrong – only what people decide is right and wrong. And in that case, then others can decide something different and who is to judge?

  10. 10
    bornagain77 says:

    notes:

    Top Ten Reasons We Know the New Testament is True – Frank Turek – video – November 2011
    (41:00 minute mark – Despite what is commonly believed, both Mother Teresa and Hitler fall short of the moral perfection required to meet God’s objective moral code)
    http://saddleback.com/mc/m/5e22f/

    Objective Morality – The Objections – Frank Turek – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N5MWBsPf5pg

    Poem and Song:

    Ten Foot Tall and Bulletproof:

    Ten foot tall and bulletproof
    He lived by the bloody swords edge
    Ten foot tall and bulletproof
    with the manners of a sledge
    To take by force, to have it all
    Were his only creed and call
    Ten foot tall and bulletproof
    My Oh my how hard they fall
    No love for life, no love to be
    Save the love he had for he
    Ten foot tall and bulletproof
    My Oh my he could not see
    Any need for God, any need for Jesus
    Despite his mother’s plea
    Survival of the fittest, and dog eat dog
    Or so he thought, thought he
    Thus, Ten foot tall and bulletproof
    Came to meet his fateful day
    With no clue of the fate
    For all of the hate
    That he had called his play
    Yes, Ten foot tall and bulletproof
    Without any slight delay
    Soon found that the cost
    For all that he had lost
    Was not in his strength to pay
    Yes, Ten foot tall and bulletproof
    Despite his mighty strength to prevail
    Soon found out without any slight doubt
    That he was in the mouth of hell!
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ivh4Chvi0dL3UjBbqTknjFkn6hUvpTYaN0BZaVX0RUg/edit?hl=en_US

    Heather Williams – Hallelujah – Lyrics
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OX2uM0L3Y1A

  11. 11
    wgbutler says:

    This story appears to have struck a nerve with you. Is it safe to say that you are not on board with moral relativism and all choices leading to equal outcomes?

    I’ll go ahead and go on the record as saying that what was done to this woman is flat out evil and any culture that would endorse such activity is reprobate, primitive, and inferior to a culture based on Christian values and ethics.

  12. 12
    NickMatzke_UD says:

    ba77 — I get why you post lists of links, sort of, but what’s with the videos and songs you add on? You might as well add the sports scores to each post. Oh well, it’s your time to waste I guess…

  13. 13
    bornagain77 says:

    Sports scores???;

    Theists – Infinity

    vs.

    Atheists – 0

    verse and music

    Proverbs 21:30
    There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the LORD.

    Addison Road – Fight Another Day-
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HsM2eFJO8J0

    a song just for you Nick: the Atheists’ theme song

    Winning – a Song by Charlie Sheen
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9QS0q3mGPGg

  14. 14
    goodusername says:

    The confused and/or intimidated reaction of students in the face of patent abuse, and the talking points that then come up CLEARLY show the impact of the deliberate and radical relativisation of moral judgements in our civilisation, often done in the name of science [i.e. evolutionary materialism presented as unquestionable fact sanctioned by the last institution deeply respected in our civilisation].

    I couldn’t make heads or tails of most of your post. But I notice that according to the professor the students felt empathy towards the woman and were horrified by it – they could barely look at her. Perhaps they don’t feel that empathy and reason are grounds for morality. Who teaches that? “Evolutionary materialists”, by and large, claim that empathy and reason are grounds for morality.

    I’d be surprised if even the people that disfigured her didn’t feel empathy toward her. Unfortunately, the moral outrage that they themselves probably felt, generated by empathy, is probably dismissed by them as “warm fuzzies” .

    Let’s hope that the people who did this to her someday become “confused” – and actually start to THINK about what’s moral, instead of “knowing” what’s moral since it’s already been long “established” according to their religion by “the Creator”.

  15. 15
    NickMatzke_UD says:

    Clever. In reply:

    I Am Legend 2: Awakening – official Trailer [HD]
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8qe6V_P6olA

  16. 16
    MrDunsapy says:

    It is true ‘evolution’ does bring with it no accountability, and no hope of better conditions.
    God is the link from one man to all others. But today we see a world where many say there is no God. We also have thousands of religions, all declaring their own God. That brings with it other problems. And is just as destructive as as saying no God.
    The only bottom line is, all serving one God. That also means there would be no religions, but just away of life.
    Man has had his time to go his own way. We see the results. All types of governments have been tried, all types of religions have been tried and even the scientists way has been tried.
    The evidence tells us man does not have the ability to rule himself. Man rules man to his own injury.
    God has to step in, before man ruins the earth as well as himself. So our own actions demands this.
    So why should this be surprising that God said he would do that?

  17. 17
    bornagain77 says:

    Nick; that song keeps turning up in weird places with you atheists;

    What was Sam Harris doing on his Mac?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ABkDDRmI0c

    further notes;

    The Knock-Down Argument Against Atheist Sam Harris’ moral landscape – William Lane Craig – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tvDyLs_cReE

    Stephen Meyer – Morality Presupposes Theism (1 of 4) – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uSpdh1b0X_M

    Hitler & Darwin, pt. 2: Richard Weikart on Evolutionary Ethics – podcast – November 2011
    http://intelligentdesign.podom.....3_04-08_00

    The following interview is sadly comical as a evolutionary psychologist realizes that neo-Darwinism can offer no guarantee that our faculties of reasoning will correspond to the truth, not even for the truth he is giving in the interview, (which begs the question of how was he able to come to that particular truthful realization, in the first place, if neo-Darwinian evolution were actually true?);

    Evolutionary guru: Don’t believe everything you think – October 2011
    Interviewer: You could be deceiving yourself about that.(?)
    Evolutionary Psychologist: Absolutely.
    http://www.newscientist.com/ar.....think.html

    “Atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning…”
    CS Lewis – Mere Christianity

    “But then with me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey’s mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?” – Charles Darwin – Letter To William Graham – July 3, 1881

    “It seems to me immensely unlikely that mind is a mere by-product of matter. For if my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true. They may be sound chemically, but that does not make them sound logically. And hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms.” J. B. S. Haldane [“When I am dead,” in Possible Worlds: And Other Essays [1927], Chatto and Windus: London, 1932, reprint, p.209.

    Verse and Music:

    Isaiah 6:3
    And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.”

    Oceanlab – Miracle
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ZHGMbQhmIM

  18. 18
    bpragmatic says:

    Thanks for posting the videos.

  19. 19
    kairosfocus says:

    GUN:

    Unfortunately your response just above inadvertently but aptly illustrates the point of my earlier comment; an instinctive empathetic response on intuitive identification with the other as a person in her own right, cut off into a chaos due to political correctness in the culture, leading to a patently absurd result.

    Pause for definition:

    confused [k?n?fju?zd]
    adj
    1. feeling or exhibiting an inability to understand; bewildered; perplexed
    2. in a disordered state; mixed up; jumbled
    3. (Social Welfare) lacking sufficient mental abilities for independent living, esp through old age
    confusedly [k?n?fju?z?dl? -?fju?zd-] adv
    confusedness n

    Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003

    Now, in fact, evolutionary materialists — as I cited above with Provine as an illustrative case — imply, assume or outright state that morality is only subjective, and thus a matter of tastes or preferences inculcated through culture and relative thereto.

    This is exactly what appears in the students’ response, as cited in the original post:

    I had expected strong aversion; but that’s not what I got. Instead, they became confused. They seemed not to know what to think. They spoke timorously, afraid to make any moral judgment at all. They were unwilling to criticize any situation originating in a different culture.

    They said, “Well, we might not like it, but maybe over there it’s okay.”

    The radical cultural relativism cutting off sound moral intuition is clear. Do I need to recast this cultural relativism as say a response to cases of slavery, or [near-]genocide [let’s just use the 1914- Rape of Belgium, through Nietzschean thought of the German militarists, to get fresh thinking going . . . ], to get the point home?

    In short, we have here a case of patent reduction of the evolutionary materialist cultural relativism to absurdity.

    Do you see how a false doctrine of evolutionary materialism — it is clearly self-refuting — imposed by power centres in our civilisation has led to an inability to think coherently and clearly on morality? To confusion, in short?

    That problem of an amoral worldview imposition leading to radical relativism and onwards to chaos in thought, life and community is also just what Plato explicitly traced from evolutionary materialist philosophy, c. 400 BC, in his The Laws, Bk X. (Note, this was linked above — did you follow the link and see what Plato had to say, before attempting a dismissive rebuttal on what looks a lot like the now standard talking point that I am incomprehensible so can be brushed aside?)

    Citing from the linked above:

    [[The avant garde philosophers, teachers and artists c. 400 BC] say . . . The elements are severally moved by chance and some inherent force according to certain affinities among them-of hot with cold, or of dry with moist, or of soft with hard, and according to all the other accidental admixtures of opposites which have been formed by necessity. After this fashion and in this manner the whole heaven has been created, and 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 [–> note the evolutionary materialistic philosophy] . . . .

    [[T]hese people would say that the Gods exist not by nature, but by art, and by the laws of states, which are different in different places, according to the agreement of those who make them; and that the honourable is one thing by nature and another thing by law, and 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. (Cf. here for Locke’s views and sources on a very different base for grounding liberty as opposed to license and resulting anarchistic “every man does what is right in his own eyes” chaos leading to tyranny.)] 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 leads to the promotion of amorality], 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; cf. dramatisation here], these philosophers inviting them to lead a true life according to nature, that is, to live in real dominion over others [[such amoral factions, if they gain power, “naturally” tend towards ruthless tyranny; here, too, Plato hints at the career of Alcibiades], and not in legal subjection to them . . .

    The above shows precisely why the proper response on the other logically equivalent form of the Categorical Imperative was cut off through radical relativism.

    Namely, that another human being must be viewed and treated as an end in him-/her-self, not as a mere object or tool to be used to one’s own ends.

    (Here, BTW, on the underlying case we see some of the saddening consequences of a shame/honour culture that objectifies women. And, we see an example of a moral premise that is transcultural and an illustration of the law of human nature that lies in us as the voice of conscience.)

    In short, here we see a cross-cultural problem with moral reasoning:

    (i) the islamists, who follow a patently defective and wrong law, and

    (ii) the students, who in today’s relativistic, evolutionary materialism-dominated politically correct culture, have also been crippled from thinking clearly on moral issues.

    We need to address both, not use (i) to distract from the concern on (ii), which the original post highlighted.

    And, as for the attempt to dismiss the appeal to the inherently good Creator God as the grounds of morality — the only credible IS that can ground ought, you need to be aware that it is precisely the clash between what core moral principles would inculcate, and what is being done that highlights what has gone wrong in this case. The right is not right because it is alleged Holy Writ or theocratic law — the actual case in view for (i) — but because there are underlying rational principles rooted in the inherent goodness of the Creator. (Cf. here the actual non-quotemined text of the current pope’s Regensberg lecture.)

    Indeed, it is the incoherence and patent absurdity of wrongful behaviour rooted in a misunderstanding of God and what he wants, that allows us to see that something has gone wrong with a particular tradition and needs to be fixed through reformation.

    Kindly, listen again to Isaiah in that light:

    Is 5: 18 Woe to those who draw sin along with cords of deceit,
    and wickedness as with cart ropes . . .

    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 clever in their own sight.

    In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus built on just this point:

    Matt 6: 22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

    See how powerfully such words cut across even the misuse of the name of God to put darkness for light?

    GEM of TKI

    PS: For a backgrounder on morality and ethics, I suggest a glance here. Do notice the context for the course session.

  20. 20
    kairosfocus says:

    PPS: Let me observe here on what happens in an increasingly radically secularised, individualistic, morally endarkened and benumbed culture that also improperly objectifies women.

  21. 21
    Bruce David says:

    I’d like to know how many of you who are outraged by the treatment that young woman received are ok with the two wars initiated by the Bush administration, when anyone with the least knowledge of history knows that when you start a war, killing and maiming like that woman received and worse will inevitably be visited on innocent people as a result? How many of you feel that it is in fact a moral duty to participate in such a war if called upon by “your country” to do so?

    I contend that morality in the real, messy world is seldom clear cut, and not in the final analysis, objective. What is regarded as absolute morality, justified by whatever sect of whatever religion you happen to hold allegiance to, changes over time. Many acts that were immoral one hundred and fifty years ago in a given religion are not so today (eg, women showing any part of their bodies below the neck or above their feet in public) and vice versa (eg, corporal punishment of children).

    Morality also varies according to religious belief and even by sect within a given religion, and even in some cases within a given sect itself (witness the major divide within the Episcopal church engendered by the ordination of an openly gay cleric recently). Morality, my friends, is a movable feast.

    Here’s an interesting idea: there is actually no such thing as morally right and wrong. There is only what works and what doesn’t work, given what you want to be, do, and have.

  22. 22
    kairosfocus says:

    BD:

    Sorry, the hard case does not undermine the simple straightforward one.

    That war is horrible, but we may arguably have a choice between a bad war now and a worse one later, does not undermine that no young lady should ever be deliberately mutilated like this.

    FYI, it was exactly the horrible memory of the Great War and its slaughter that held back the great powers from taking decisive action with Hitler in the mid 1930’s. “Peace in our time!”

    The end result was that they simply postponed the war to Hitler’s advantage, costing 60 millions their lives.

    You may want to debate whether Bush was right to respond to acts of war [the 9/11 attacks etc] and persistent, growing armistice violations [Iraq] by going to war, but that has nothing to do with the patent wrong of willfully mutilating this young woman as an act of punishment for some alleged violation of questionable claims to family or community “honour.”

    If we are to learn how to think clearly and carefully on big and difficult moral questions, we have to first practice on simpler ones and be in the habit of getting them right.

    GEM of TKI

  23. 23
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: I think this 101 on mores, morality and ethics could help clear up various issues such as manner of dress etc. Let’s just say that love respects and does right by neighbour, and leads to attitudes, behaviour and speech that build up rather than tear down or stumble.

  24. 24
    goodusername says:

    KairosFocus,

    Unfortunately your response just above inadvertently but aptly illustrates the point of my earlier comment; an instinctive empathetic response on intuitive identification with the other as a person in her own right, cut off into a chaos due to political correctness in the culture, leading to a patently absurd result.

    Unfortunately you’re making even less sense than usual to me today. Are you trying to say that the reason I feel moral outrage when seeing what happened to the woman is because it is actually immoral? Cause I feel a moral outrage on just about every other page when reading the Old Testament (and sometimes in the New Testament).

    Now, in fact, evolutionary materialists — as I cited above with Provine as an illustrative case…

    You think Provine is an “illustrative case”? Really? 🙂

    In short, we have here a case of patent reduction of the evolutionary materialist cultural relativism to absurdity

    I’ve read a lot of works by leading “evolutionary materialists”, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen an argument in favor of cultural or moral relativism. In fact, when the subject comes up, they’ve always argued sternly against it “Show me a cultural relativist at 30,000 feet and I’ll show you a hypocrite” –Dawkins.
    Similar thoughts can be found from Dennett, Hitchens, Sam Harris, Gould, etc. I’ve taken anthropology courses and the subject of cultural relativism came up (rarely), and even then it was always made clear that it was merely a methodological tool.

    And, as for the attempt to dismiss the appeal to the inherently good Creator God as the grounds of morality — the only credible IS that can ground ought

    There’s a grounding of “ought” as long as there are personal “goals”. If God exists, “ought” we obey Him? Why “ought” we care about God’s purpose for us? One “ought” to obey Him if one believes that it will be best for them and their loved ones. So morality still comes down to empathy and reason.

    Ironically, if I were convinced that you were right about the grounding of morality – that the only grounding can come from a Creator and His purpose for us – than my reaction to seeing what occurred to the woman would then match the reaction of the students (or how it’s being characterized at least). I would turn my head away and not judge what happened to the woman. After all, maybe the morality of those people came from God and is “objectively” correct? On what basis could I say they are wrong? What they are doing may “feel” wrong, but that doesn’t matter –after all, I don’t want to be a relativist. So, I would have to consider that maybe they’re right.

  25. 25
    kairosfocus says:

    GUN:

    Please take time to work through here.

    I suspect what is happening is your underlying worldview commitments run cross-ways to the reasoning and evidence above, step by step.

    That is a call to comparative difficulties, not to brush off what sits in your personal latitude of rejection reinforced by certain dominant schools of thought.

    A good simple test: if one cannot see that this young lady is a case that is clearly, objectively — not merely subjectively — wrong simply because she is a fellow human being and has equal inherent dignity and value as an end in herself not a means to one’s ends, one is locked in a system that is putting darkness for light, and light for darkness.

    This is a case that is straightforward, and we should not allow our thinking on it to be beclouded by schemes that lead us into moral incoherence. Indeed, I dare to say that if any system of moral thought cannot pass this 2 + 3 = 5 case, then we have no reason to trust such schemes with the equivalent of complex partial differential equations.

    BTW, personal goals are subjective targets driven by one’s values, they cannot ground objective morality. “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

    Values — personal, institutional and cultural — are themselves subject to objective moral judgements.

    On the morrow, DV, more details.

    But for now, let’s straighten out a key point of testing.

    GEM of TKI

  26. 26
    goodusername says:

    I read the link you gave. But I’m not sure why you posted it. It doesn’t seem to address any of my objections or questions, such as:
    “If God exists, “ought” we obey Him? Why “ought” we care about God’s purpose for us? One “ought” to obey Him if one believes that it will be best for them and their loved ones. So morality still comes down to empathy and reason.”

    if one cannot see that this young lady is a case that is clearly, objectively — not merely subjectively — wrong…”

    I absolutely believe that what happened to the woman is wrong. I’m not sure if I’d say it’s “objectively” wrong, but only because, in the case of morality, I’m not sure what “objective” means (and, for the same reason, I wouldn’t say it ISN’T objectively wrong). What happened to the woman is certainly disgusting, but no more so than many things sanctioned in the Bible IMO.

    I’m also not sure how God’s existence would make morality “objective”, as many claim. It certainly puts some “Might” behind morality, but that would be an argument for “Might makes Right” (which, ironically, Christians often argue morality boils down to under atheism).

    As I said, the only thing that would cause me to question the “wrongness” of what happened to her would be if I were convinced that morality must come from purpose from a Creator.

    BTW, personal goals are subjective targets driven by one’s values, they cannot ground objective morality. “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

    What does “ground objective morality”? I often see that “purpose” from a Creator makes morality objective, although I’m not sure how, and again, I’m not sure what that even means. What if God made us for the “purpose” of watching us kill each other for his amusement and commanded us to do so? Would we be “wrong” morally in some “objective” sense for refusing to take part? It might annoy God that we’re not taking part in His plan, but I don’t know what that has to do with “morality” or its “objectiveness”.

    There’s “relativism” in the Golden Rule: “do to others what you would have them do to YOU”. And yet, it works. Why? Because we’re pretty similar. If we were all drastically different, the Golden Rule wouldn’t work – but we don’t have that problem. So, yeah, I think morality is personal – and yet, universal (or very nearly so).

  27. 27
    Brent says:

    Thanks, Tragic. Saved me a post.

  28. 28
    Bruce David says:

    Re 10.1:

    You misapprehend my point, which was not that the hard cases undermine the easy ones. Rather, it was that all morality is subjective. The “hard” cases demonstrate this. When a country begins a war, it commits to a course of action that will result in thousands of innocent people being killed or maimed, crippled for life, horribly mutilated, etc. Is this immoral? Your own post demonstrates the subjectivity of the decision. People who share the same basic moral perspective, the same source of moral understanding, will come to different conclusions. Another example: is it moral to take a life for a life? Is it moral to execute someone who has murdered? Some will say yes, some no. Another: is morally acceptable to use lethal force to protect one’s property? Most people in our culture would say yes, I suspect, but there are plenty who interpret Christian moral teaching as a prohibition in that situation.

    The case in point, the woman who was mutilated, is “easy” for our culture, and I suspect for most people anywhere in the world, because we all respond with horror and compassion to the poor woman’s plight. But it’s still subjective. The vast majority of us simply come to the same moral judgment about it.

  29. 29
    Bruce David says:

    It’s interesting that you should bring this up. I proposed in my original post that there is no such thing as morally right and morally wrong. Rather, I postulated, there is only what works and what doesn’t work depending on what you (individually and collectively) want to be, do, and have.

    So here’s what I say about love: If what you want is a life filled with love, one that is satisfying and deeply rewarding, one that is most consistent with your True Nature, and one in which you make a real difference in the world, and if you want to be able to love yourself without reservation, then what works is to live every moment of your life in the open question, “What would Love do now?”

    I do not regard this as morality, since to me morality consists of rules for behavior. (In such and such a situation, do this or don’t do that.) This imperative is open, since no two moments are ever the same, and what love would do in one case might be the exact opposite of what love would do in another, even if the situations appear to be similar. “What would Love do now?” is open ended and allows for spontaneity and creativity of response. It’s alive, and in living that way, one is always living on the edge.

  30. 30
    Robert Byers says:

    North america was founded by people determined there was right and wrong and truth and untruth.
    Ever since people have believed this here.
    today the establishment is simply saying foreigners of low or lower civilizations are not inferior morally or intellectually.
    Yet they are.
    So tests like this are a tell tale flaw in the establishments agenda.
    Multiculturalism is simply foreign cultures that failed over there coming here in what is actually a single culture here.
    Its just nurturing the pride of determined segregated immigrant identities however long they have been living in a English Protestant civilization.

  31. 31
    kairosfocus says:

    GUN:

    Pardon, but I am a foundations up thinker.

    In that context, I think we need to get the equivalent of 2 + 3 = 5 right first, before trying to tackle partial differential equations. Plainly, if we try to do this the other way around, we can get nowhere but into a morass of confusion and misunderstanding — fast.

    Now, we live in an era where we don’t tend to want to reason back to the roots of our worldviews, and then forward again to see the network of branches and fruit across the world of ideas and of action. One reason why this is often neglected or even discouraged is that it is hard work, but another is that this is exactly what exposes incoherence, often by exposure of circularities in the roots, or by bringing out absurdities. (Here on is a summary of that worldview building process at 101 level.)

    That principle of reduction of the systematically wrong to absurdity is why the case on the table — and not the million and one side questions that may be raised — is so pivotal. But, as Jesus — cited here as a seminal moral thinker giving a crucial insight — pointed out in the Sermon on the Mount, there is a subtlety in deception [a darkness for light switcheroo that renders our eyes bad], for it twists our very ability to see aright, inviting us into the fallacy of the willfully closed, deceptively indoctrinated, ideologically steeped, conscience- benumbed, endarkened, often hostile, blinded, incorrigible mind:

    Matt 6:22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

    So, we have to make a determined decision to examine our thinking, and to face the implications of the absurdity of looking at young, horrifically mutilated Aisha and not being able to speak coherently, firmly and clearly in response, as the original post so plainly sums up.

    Let’s focus: is it or is it not right for young Aisha to have been deliberately mutilated by having her nose cut off, for some alleged offence against the senisibilities of her family or village or whatever?

    In short, does she or does she not have a right to the integrity of her face, and her body, and her person?

    If so, that immediately means that we are up against the objective reality of obligation: as the previously linked discusses (did you really reads it all, it does discuss God, divine commands and morality in its about 8 pp . . . ), a right is a binding moral claim we each have on others, in light of our inherent dignity as a person, an end in her-/him-self not to be turned into an object and used by others as they would.

    That is what was violated here.

    Of course, some may deny that we can or do have rights, above and beyond what we or our reference group have the power to negotiate and back up with, in the end, force.

    In short, we see here the amoral, nihilistic “might makes ‘right'” concept that Plato rightly treated as a point of reduction to absurdity and exposure of the utter bankruptcy of the evolutionary materialistic scheme of thought.

    For just one point, it is precisely the weak and powerless who most need protection of their rights. Just ask the rape victim, or the like. (And this mutilation is the full immoral equivalent of rape.)

    So, the pivotal question is whether we have rights, and what this entails: that we have duties to others, to respect their rights.

    Once that is so, we are under moral government. We are under the force of OUGHT, and the only worldviews worth considering are those that have in them a foundational IS that can ground OUGHT.

    There is obviously no such is in evolutionary materialism, which is why it is inherently, inescapably amoral. Matter, energy, chance and necessity acting blindly across space and time can provide no is that grounds ought, beyond might makes ‘right.’

    Cutting to the chase scene, the only serious worldview family on the table that can bridge the IS-OUGHT gap, is one in which there is a foundational IS that is in itself grounds for ought.

    The best answer for that is the inherently Good God, who is our Creator, and who makes all things good, fit for purpose. And in that context, we have rights to those things that make us fit to fulfill our purpose as made in his image, implying also a duty to respect others who are our equals by dint of creation, being made with the same dignity and purposefulness. Further to this, evil now appears as that which is a perversion or privation of the good, a twisting of that which is good, contrary to purpose. So, if it is harmful and thus wrong to treat me that way in a situation, it is wrong to treat you that way too — the key force of the Golden Rule.

    Let me cite it in Paul, as he connects the principle to both commands and to the do no harm principle of ethics:

    Rom 13:8 Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. 9 The commandments, “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do not covet,”[a] and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”[b] 10 Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

    Love does no harm, and love is the principal and root divine commandment. Evils will manifest themselves by refusing to carry out the continual obligation and debt we owe one another to love.

    Of which this shocking example of facial mutilation is an obvious case in point.

    And, in this context too, Paul highlights the Christian teaching that the un-benumbed conscience is implanted in us as the Lord’s candle, prodding andguiding us to the right and the good — as well he knew from his own experience of kicking against the pricks of conscience by zealously imagining he had a duty to seize and put to death those who were simply serving God based on what they knew about he Messiah who had been among them:

    Rom 2:14 (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, 15 since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.)

    John Locke, echoing this sort of thinking, gives us an apt summary, in Sect 5 of the introduction to his essay on human understanding:

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

    Obviously, those who did this horrific thing to Aisha should have listened to the pricking voice of conscience, that flickering candle within, guiding us aright — if we will but listen and think through to clarify our moral frame of thought and action. Instead, sadly, they allowed a tradition that is manifestly wrong on this point to lead them into wrongdoing, misusing the name of God. But, we know that that which God genuinely commands will be “for thy GOOD.”

    In this context, we can address the various theories of ethics, inter alia setting the duty of obedience to the good and reasonable God in context. Let me clip Arthur Holmes and Thomas Morris from the already linked lecture:

    Holmes: If we admit that we all equally have the right to be treated as persons, then it follows that we have the duty to respect one another accordingly. Rights bring correlative duties: my rights . . . imply that you ought to respect these rights.

    Morris (in summary): virtue-based ethics captures and renders coherent the insights of the various Consequence-focused [teleological], Natural Law, Divine Command, Duty-based [deontological], Social Contract, Utilitarian etc. approaches, whilst avoiding their fatal flaws. In sum, the sociobioloogists are looking at commonalities of human nature in the context of the natural and human environment [natural law and/or sociobiological approaches], which in turn promote social consensus on what is right [social contract], and would lead to a favourable overall balance of benefits as against costs and harm – at the society-wide level [utilitarian]. In turn this arguably reflects the nature we have been endowed with by our Creator, whose commands are “for our own good” [Cf. Deut. 10:12 – 13] – i.e. Divine Command ethics. Virtue based ethics, as briefly discussed above, seeks to build the settled habit/character of thinking, valuing, deciding and acting in ways that are well-aligned to sound insight into the realities of the world in which we live.

    It is worth drawing out the point that the commands of God will be for our own good: they will thus fit us for purpose, and protect us for purpose, respecting us as ends in ourselves. That means that we can detect evils by the perversion and/or privation that is its root, and which leads to warped or destructive outcome, especially when projected from the individual to the society. E.g. we may occasionally get away with some lying, but if lying were to become the rule not the exception, society would break down in a tidal wave of broken promises and breakdown of trust. In short, evils thrive by parasiting off the fact that society as a whole, if it is to survive, will not act like that. (This is of course the Kantian Categorical Imperative in action.)

    I trust this sets the framework up sufficiently, that we can take this test case as a pivot to re-assess the soundness or otherwise of worldviews and ideologies that leave us unable to discern and appropriately respond here.

    Next (and later), let us look at particular points . . .

    GEM of TKI

  32. 32
    Deuce says:

    No need to “accuse” you of what you’ve outright stated before.

  33. 33
    Deuce says:

    Hey now, just because somebody has some ideological interest in the case they’re trying to make doesn’t automatically invalidate it! You have to consider their arguments on their own, and see how consistent they are with their own premises…

    Oh, wait, the idea that ideological interest automatically invalidates an argument *is* Nick’s central operating premise? Never mind.

  34. 34
    KRock says:

    GUN:

    “There’s “relativism” in the Golden Rule: “do to others what you would have them do to YOU”. And yet, it works. Why? Because we’re pretty similar. If we were all drastically different, the Golden Rule wouldn’t work – but we don’t have that problem. So, yeah, I think morality is personal – and yet, universal (or very nearly so)”

    Just wondering where the relativism is in the golden rule? “do to others what you would have them do to YOU”. I don’t see it, so I’m simply curious, that’s all.

    I would see the golden rule being relative if some people liked having say, “boiling hot water” thrown in their face, while others preferred to be treated with indignity rather than dignity or people preferred to be hated, rather than loved. I would also add that this is only a golden rule to morality, if it objectively true. If it isn’t, then it doesn’t matter and would thus become relative. You are right though, we are similar, because as human being’s, we prefer things such as love over hatred and dignity over indignity. Not because we’ve come to view morality this way, but because the sense of what is morally right and wrong transcend us.

  35. 35
    goodusername says:

    As the Golden Rule says “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” – as in YOU, personally (which is the very definition of “relative”).

    In my post I mentioned that in the case of morality, I’m not sure what “objective” means. From what you’re saying it sounds like you’re equating objective with universal. In the case of morality, that may be the way to look at it. But I don’t think that that’s what most people mean when they say that morality is objective.

    Or, conversely, perhaps you mean that it’s universal because it’s objective. That’s possible. I believe the universal nature of morality comes from our empathy. If I see boiling water thrown in someone’s face – it’s as if (in a small sense) it happened to me; I would grimace in pain even though I wasn’t directly injured in any way.

  36. 36
    goodusername says:

    Pardon, but I am a foundations up thinker.

    As am I. That’s actually the problem I’m having here. A question like “if one cannot see that this young lady is a case that is clearly, objectively — not merely subjectively — wrong…” doesn’t mean anything without defining what “objective” means in the case of morality.

    I’ve read countless claims about morality from theological sources, but they always skip the foundations and neglect defining terms. It thus ends up just being a bunch of words without saying anything. For example: What does “objective” morality even mean? What about God’s existence would cause morality to be objective? etc

    I certainly feel that what happened to her is wrong. The only way I could imagine anyone not viewing it as wrong is if someone doesn’t feel that empathy is relevant to morality; perhaps because of local religious beliefs.

    “a right is a binding moral claim we each have on others, in light of our inherent dignity as a person, an end in her-/him-self not to be turned into an object and used by others as they would.” – is this only true if God exists? If so, why?

    Cutting to the chase scene, the only serious worldview family on the table that can bridge the IS-OUGHT gap, is one in which there is a foundational IS that is in itself grounds for ought.
    The best answer for that is the inherently Good God, who is our Creator, and who makes all things good, fit for purpose. And in that context, we have rights to those things that make us fit to fulfill our purpose as made in his image, implying also a duty to respect others who are our equals by dint of creation, being made with the same dignity and purposefulness.

    That isn’t my idea of starting with “foundations”, this is building castles in the sky.
    What do you mean by “inherently Good”? How does a “purpose” from God ground “ought”? That would be assuming that we “ought” to care about the “purpose”. (Do we even know what the “purpose” is?)

    Obviously, those who did this horrific thing to Aisha should have listened to the pricking voice of conscience, that flickering candle within, guiding us aright — if we will but listen and think through to clarify our moral frame of thought and action. Instead, sadly, they allowed a tradition that is manifestly wrong on this point to lead them into wrongdoing, misusing the name of God. But, we know that that which God genuinely commands will be “for thy GOOD.”

    Would you say that a “tradition” that says that a rape victim must marry the rapist is “manifestly wrong”?

    You seem to be arguing that we can use our conscience as a general guide to judging whether theologies/traditions are wrong. But if that’s the case, the Bible wouldn’t pass IMO.

  37. 37
    KRock says:

    I see what you mean. But correct if I am wrong here though. What would be relative about the “golden rule” if we all prefer that people, not murder us? Would that not be objective in the sense that, no sane person, at any time would prefer someone murdered them because that’s what “they” desire as an individual. I am not aware of to many people that go around saying “I like to murder people, because that’s exactly what I want people to do to me”. Now if people did, I would see the golden rule as being relative. I would see this golden rule as relative if we were all different in what we prefer to have done to us as individuals. I see strong evidence that suggests we are more similar and I am not sure what would be relative about that.

    I’m sure I’ve made this clear as mud and apologize if I have.

  38. 38
    KRock says:

    “I believe the universal nature of morality comes from our empathy.”

    It’s Possible, but what about people (such as Hitler) who don’t empathize with others, as he did with the Jewish race. Was Hitler devoid of any universal morality? Better yet, if he did have empathy but chose not to express it, was he right or wrong for not doing so?

    “If I see boiling water thrown in someone’s face – it’s as if (in a small sense) it happened to me; I would grimace in pain even though I wasn’t directly injured in any way.”

    For me, it would make more sense to posit our morality not in one’s ability to empathize, but in one’s ability to distinguish something to be inherently wrong or right.

    Sorry for the back to back responses, I’m just not able to get it all in, in one sit down.

  39. 39
    goodusername says:

    I think we’re pretty much in full agreement. My example was in response to common argument that without an outside lawgiver that there could be no real morality because it would all be subjective. I was simply making the point that, even if it is subjective, what we all subjectively desire in this case is pretty much the same. And even the most cherished piece of moral advice – the Golden Rule – has subjectivity built right in to it – and yet, it works, because we are similar.

    I just realized that in the past couple posts when I’ve said “relative” what I actually meant to say was “subjective”, which isn’t quite the same thing. So sorry about any confusion there.

  40. 40
    goodusername says:

    “It’s Possible, but what about people (such as Hitler) who don’t empathize with others, as he did with the Jewish race.”

    –I think that highlights the danger of “dehumanizing”. I don’t think Hitler saw Jews as quite “human”, or at least not “human” in the same sense that he was. In such cases people may cease to empathize with certain groups of people.

    “For me, it would make more sense to posit our morality not in one’s ability to empathize, but in one’s ability to distinguish something to be inherently wrong or right.”

    –IMO, empathy gives us the ability to distinguish certain actions as inherently right or wrong. Without empathy, we wouldn’t recognize that others feel the same as we do – and so I don’t think it would occur to us that it’s wrong to treat others in certain ways.

  41. 41
    kairosfocus says:

    GUN:

    I follow up, and since I am going to have to deal with some potentially hot-button issues, let me first off be explicit: I appreciate the fact that you are willing to dialogue, and that you seem to have an interest in the question of morality. (I will leave it to the informed and fair-minded onlooker to see whether or no I am so utterly obscure and unclear that I can be branded as incomprehensible and dismissed. Let’s just say that since I am actually following a main line of ethical thought championed by leading lights of our civilisation for centuries and more, I doubt that I am really incomprehensible; but what I am summarising cuts across what is now commonly championed by the materialist magisterium, intelligentsia and nomenklatura, and so disagreement and loaded but fundamentally fallacious talking points will create a fog of polarised disagreement that may well lead to the perception of incomprehensibility. So, the many who are caught up in that fog, will find it hard to follow. But, please, let us take it step by step.)

    So, we may as well face hot button no 1: do you notice how your comments above rush off on a multitude of poisonously loaded tangential issues?

    Pardon, that is symptomatic as I just summarised, and easily explains a lack of understanding: you have been immersed in an environment that is hostile to objective morality, and has all sorts of talking points designed to distract and stir hostility. This is not an atmosphere in which coherent thinking on serious and in parts difficult issues, is likely to be fruitful. Suffice to say that, for generations, serious people have thought through and written soberly and solidly on the themes you have raised.

    But, H-B 2: since the proper question is the grounding of objective morality, I will not here deal with most of your side-issues and talking points.

    Let us focus on the case in the original post as a key, revealing case study, one that has clearly hit a raw nerve. First things first then, as the flak is a sign that one is near the main target, etc.

    In particular, let us focus the comment by the teacher:

    . . . I was not prepared for their reaction.

    I had expected strong aversion; but that’s not what I got. Instead, they became confused. They seemed not to know what to think. They spoke timorously, afraid to make any moral judgment at all. They were unwilling to criticize any situation originating in a different culture.

    They said, “Well, we might not like it, but maybe over there it’s okay.”

    In steps of thought:

    1 –> We see a clear atmosphere of politically correct, radically relativist intimidation suppressing the natural response — a cognitive judgement that rests on the implicit recognition of human dignity, leading to a feeling of revulsion and outrage over wrong done to the innocent, or against “punishment” in utter disproportion to anything that could have provoked it — that his should not have happened.

    2 –> So, we see a clash between the almost instinctive recognition that we have rights, in the face of massive violation of rights — the full equivalent of rape . . . — and the sort of multiculturalist steeping in radical relativism, backed up by the implicit power of the current establishment.

    3 –> Note, as well, that our feeling of revulsion here, is driven by a cognitive judgement and an implicit, almost instinctive worldview perception of the moral significance of the human individual [the point of the clip above from Paul in Rom 2], one that has been encouraged in our civilisation over many centuries by the Judaeo-Christian tradition and many reformers who have stood solidly in that tradition, open Bible in hand.

    4 –> But, the new magisterium, for 2 – 300 years, has been assiduously labouring to knock that scripture-driven enlightenment out of our minds, hearts and consciences. That is why our current climate of discussion is so saturated with litanies of stoked-up outrage and angry out of context misreadings, that would push the God of the Bible, the scriptures, and those who take them seriously in the dock, the agenda being revealed by the striking lack of balance and refusal to recognise the sterling contribution made by adherents of that same tradition for thousands of years.

    5 –> There is a name for that: scapegoating, in service to bigotry. However, that is not the main focus, so we note it and put it to one side. (Onlookers, you may want to start here and here, to begin to put this issue in balance.)

    6 –> Let us focus the main matter, by looking at what our intuitive recognition that something has gone seriously wrong here is telling us: this young miss has rights, even is she has been wayward, and those rights have been massively violated, tantamount to rape — multiplied by the fact that the destructive mutilation of her face is visible for life.
    ________________
    (F/N: I don’t know if it may be possible to support or if necessary start a plastic surgery fund to restore such faces [to the extent possible], and the bodies of those scarred with sulphuric acid by Taliban Terrorists for the crime of going to school etc, and a similar fund to begin to do something to help respond to the gynaecological problems faced by the girls seriously harmed by so-called female circumcision. Let me pass this one to an Aid Agency specialising in that part of the world. The teacher and his class would be a good point to begin.)

    7 –> So, we come to the issue that we have an instinctive, intuitive reaction that tells us that people have inherent rights tracing to our dignity as equals with moral worth. But is this simply a subjective perception inculcated by cultural and historical accident, without warrant on evident facts and reasoning? That is, is it objective? (Where, since we are subjects, ALL human experience is, almost by definition, subject-IVE. But equally, we subjects can and do know many things on warrant, that makes these things objective, not merely empty and delusional perceptions.)

    8 –> Now, in grounding rights as a platform for liberty and justice in government, John Locke answers this from a theistic perspective by citing “the judicious [Richard] Hooker” in his Ecclesiastical Polity, 1594+, as I cite in the IOSE:

    . . . 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, cf. here. Emphasis added.]

    9 –> Notice, how this crucially pivots on the instinctive understanding of one’s moral worth, and on the linked recognition of the equality of the other as just as much made in God’s image; from which all else follows on serious reflection. The US Declaration of Independence of 1776 (echoing the earlier Dutch DOI under William the Silent of Orange, 1581) draws this out to the level of a polity, clarifying the issue of rights (and their Creational roots) and the balance of just powers of Government based on the informed consent of the governed:

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, [cf Rom 1:18 – 21, 2:14 – 15], 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. 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 . . .

    10 –> The pivotal concept here is self-evidence: things that are so, are necessarily so, and are seen to be patently such on pain of absurdity, once one understands clearly what is being discussed. Here, once one is willing to acknowledge the moral dignity and equality of people, on their Creation by God, all else plainly follows and leads on to the right of reformation of bad government, or if necessarily its replacement and correction if it is stubborn in wrong and abuse.

    11 –> So, the issue of rights and thus of objective morality finally rests on our being made with a certain moral worth by our inherently good Creator. Indeed, “rights” may then be defined/summarised as: binding moral claims for respect that we make on one another, rooted in our fundamental equality, dignity and worth as human beings. (Such is prior to any negotiated entitlements we may make, premised on the principles that we have such rights.)

    12 –> This is of course a hot button point.

    13 –> For, in the name of “science” and in the linked name of separation of church and state, with a one-sided litany of real and imagined complaints on theocracy and bomb throwing terrorism or tyranny and torture or witch-hunting tossed in, we are being programmed to red flag reference to anything that smells like a Divine Foot in the door of our public square.

    (And, don’t you dare point to the track record of regimes driven by amoral scientism in atheistical or neo-pagan forms over the past 100 years. Don’t you dare raise the issues of racism, the Aryan man highest evolved race myth, elite classism, social darwinism, the eugenics movement initiated by Darwin’s cousin Galton and led by his son Leonard, or the push for abortion, infanticide and euthanasia, or the Gulags, mass slaughters and the holocaust. Don’t you dare ever point out the historic lines of descent from Darwin through Haeckel and co and on to the Prussian/German Militarists and the Rape of Belgium in WW I, then to the holocaust under a soldier (now turned dictator for life) who — surprise (not) — had served in that area, a generation later. Don’t you dare ever point out Heine’s grimly prophetic warning from the 1830’s premised on how once the subduing talisman of the cross was ever shattered in GERMANY through the skeptical speculative and natural philosophers, the ancient demonically irrational berserker battle lust and fury would rise again and wreak havoc across a continent and beyond. Don’t you dare ever point out how H G Wells — a student of Huxley, Darwin’s bulldog — wrote a whole series of science fiction novels that warned of the way science out of moral control could lead to serious abuses. Don’t ever, ever ever point to the key passages in Chs 5 – 7 of Darwin’s Descent of man, including his cool prediction of genocide that was not immediately balanced by a response to the moral hazard he identified. No, no, no, evolutionary materialist secularism and its fellow neopagan and apostate Christian travellers are sacred cows, not to be touched. No, no, no, you must shut up and stop your ears to the moans of over 100 million ghosts from the regimes of the past 100 years.)

    14 –> But, Plato, 2,350 years ago, put his finger on the root problem, in The Laws, Bk X [and I see over many, many months that you and others from your position have not responded to this in any serious way above]:

    [[The avant garde philosophers, teachers and artists c. 400 BC] say . . . The elements are severally moved by chance and some inherent force according to certain affinities among them-of hot with cold, or of dry with moist, or of soft with hard, and according to all the other accidental admixtures of opposites which have been formed by necessity. After this fashion and in this manner the whole heaven has been created, and 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 [–> note the evolutionary materialistic philosophy] . . . .

    [[T]hese people would say that the Gods exist not by nature, but by art, and by the laws of states, which are different in different places, according to the agreement of those who make them; and that the honourable is one thing by nature and another thing by law, and 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. (Cf. here for Locke’s views and sources on a very different base for grounding liberty as opposed to license and resulting anarchistic “every man does what is right in his own eyes” chaos leading to tyranny.)] 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 leads to the promotion of amorality], 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; cf. dramatisation here], these philosophers inviting them to lead a true life according to nature, that is, to live in real dominion over others [[such amoral factions, if they gain power, “naturally” tend towards ruthless tyranny; here, too, Plato hints at the career of Alcibiades], and not in legal subjection to them . . .

    15 –> In short, evolutionary materialism is a longstanding philosophy on the nature of reality and how it has come to be, which is inherently utterly amoral and radically relativist, leading directly to the absurdity that “the highest right is might,” when we all know that the right is often not on the side of the might.

    [ . . . ]

  42. 42
    kairosfocus says:

    16 –> This reduction to patent moral absurdity is a big part of the reason why evolutionary materialism was rejected in classical times, even though paganism was not much of an improvement. (NB: In the earlier part of his remarks, not quoted above, Plato — ever mindful of what had happened to Socrates, subtly distances himself from that paganism and hints at his own distinctive idealism. In the linked above, you can also see how after the part clipped above, he goes on to argue to the creation of the world by a good power through a cosmological design inference.)

    17 –> What has happened in our time, is that in the name of science, such evolutionary materialism has donned the holy lab coat, and thus draws cultural power from the prestige of science. It is even trying to question-beggingly redefine what science is, in its own image, through so-called methodological naturalism. never mind, that such ideologisation of science would decisively undercut the credibility of science as an objective, evidence led, empirical search for the truth about our world.

    18 –> But, as Provine documented in the infamous Darwin Day address at U of Tenn, 1998, this is what is lurking just beneath the apparently calm surface:

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

    The first 4 implications are so obvious to modern naturalistic evolutionists that I will spend little time defending them. Human free will, however, is another matter. Even evolutionists have trouble swallowing that implication. I will argue that humans are locally determined systems that make choices. They have, however, no free will . . .

    19 –> The key reduction to absurdity lies in point 5. If we are not significantly free to decide and choose responsibly, we can neither think rationally nor decide and act ethically, we are playthings of genes, memes and other forms of conditioning. So also, the scientific and cultural elites dressed in the holy lab coats, philosopher’s academic gowns, and the suits of statesmen, are just as enmeshed in the spider’s web of irrationality, and so rationality, science, and responsibility collapse in a mare’s nest of self-referential contradictions.

    20 –> Such evolutionary materialist thought is inescapably incoherent, absurd and necessarily false. We need to begin again to build a worldview on sounder grounds, and here is a 101 on how to do that.

    21 –> Now, we can return to the issue of the objectivity of right and wrong, with that major distraction off the table.

    22 –> We can notice, from simply how we quarrel, that we instinctively and by consensus, recognise that we are under moral government. For, we do not generally refuse to admit that we have definite moral obligations, we appeal to them and try to shift blame, or excuse ourselves etc. As C S Lewis points out in the opening argument and opening words of his well known Mere Christianity:

    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.
    He pretends there is some special reason in this particular case why the person who took the seat first should not keep it, or that things were quite different when he was given the bit of orange, or that something has turned up which lets him off keeping his promise.

    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.

    23 –> In short, here we have a nigh-universal consent that comes out in our most heated moments, when our guard is down, that we live under common moral government that pivots on our inherent moral worth and equality, so there is a general rule of fair play that we should all respect.

    24 –> Why on earth should we not take this consensus as pointing to an objective reality, just as we have a universal consensus that nonsense is nonsense and 2 + 3 = 5, not just in particular cases, but on pain of absurdity, always and necessarily?

    25 –> The answer is of course that we are caught up in the poisonous fog of evolutionary materialist amorality, in a context where we tend to confuse the philosophy of materialism dressed up in a lab coat, for science.

    26 –> But, for 2,350 years and more we have had excellent reason to know that the very obvious absurdity and chaos flowing from such amorality is good reason to reject that pretender out of hand, and that the very orderliness and careful organisation of our evidently contingent cosmos points to its source in a designer that lies beyond it.

    27 –> And in our time, the evidence of a definite beginning and of fine tuning that sets the observed — the only observed — cosmos to a carefully balanced operating point set up to facilitate C-chemistry, cell based life underscores the soundness of that longstanding judgement.

    28 –> So, the reasonable man or woman will accept the force of the consensus that we are under moral government as a testimony of fact, and will then see that the only serious worldview that can provide an IS that can ground OUGHT as an objective duty, would be an inherently good and wise God and Creator. (Indeed, that careful balance is the proper answer to the modern attempts to resurrect the Euthyphro dilemma, so-called as an objection to ethical theism, cf here for details.)

    29 –> So we have a serious worldview option capable of working with the actual scientific evidence — as opposed to the atheism dressed up in a lab coat that would establish itself as today’s equivalent of a theocracy, an atheocracy, even trying to question-beggingly redefine science itself in that pursuit — that grounds morality objectively, as being rooted in our inherent nature as morally valuable, created beings endowed by our common wise and good Creator with certain unalienable rights, such as life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, as well as to our dignity, persons, innocent reputation, property etc.

    30 –> On the strength of that view, we can then see that this case in view, the mutilation of Aisha, is a straightforward one of violation of the dignity of a person, which is plainly and objectively wrong and inexcusable. Just as gang raping and/or torturing her — actually this is a case of torture and is fully equivalent to gang rape — would be blatantly wrong.

    31 –> The tradition and culture that sponsors such egregious wrong has much to answer for, and should therefore be drastically reformed.

    32 –> And, with these foundational principles firmly in place, we can then proceed to deal with more complicated and difficult cases, such as what happens when, in a world where evil doers can gain horrendous power and set out on destruction and oppression, we may have to face the challenge that for all the horrors that inevitably accompany a war, a relatively small war now is better than a much bigger and hard to win one later, to contain or stop the rising wave of evil. As opposed to, a war is “good.”

    33 –> And that is the context for the longstanding Judaeo-Christian ethical view that there is such a thing as a good reason why the civil magistrate is armed with the sword in defence of the civil peace of justice, never mind the temptation that that poses for such to turn tyrant.

    34 –> In short, when for six weeks in summer, your nation’s manpower has been locked up in the teeth of an invading army, and the champion Goliath stands forth, there is a reason for a 16 year old lad to stand forth with a sling shot in his back pocket and five stones. (Goliath had four brothers, and evildoers like that are almost always liars, so he was ready for them too.)

    ________

    I trust this begins to clarify the matter; at least, for the willing onlooker.

    GEM of TKI

  43. 43
    ScottAndrews2 says:

    Dehumanizing is bad enough, but it’s a stretch to say that Hitler didn’t view the Jews as fully human. I wouldn’t believe it even if he said it. He knew they were people. He just hated them. He used propaganda to dehumanize them because it produced the result he desired.
    That he knew what they were and convinced himself and others to treat them as something else is part of what made him so evil. He wasn’t ignorant of what he was doing.

  44. 44
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: I have put up a main post on this here.

  45. 45
    kairosfocus says:

    BD:

    Let me clip my course reading cite from David Clarke and Robert Rakestraw on the issue of descriptive ethics, normative ethics and metaethics. I trust this will help you see where the issue of warrant applies, given also the remarks above to GUN:

    Principles are broad general guidelines that all persons ought to follow. Morality is the dimension of life related to right conduct. It includes virtuous character and honorable intentions as well as the decisions and actions that grow out of them. Ethics on the other hand, is the [philosophical and theological] study of morality . . . [that is,] a higher order discipline that examines moral living in all its facets . . . . on three levels. The first level, descriptive ethics, simply portrays moral actions or virtues. A second level, normative ethics (also called prescriptive ethics), examines the first level, evaluating actions or virtues as morally right or wrong. A third level, metaethics, analyses the second . . . It clarifies the meaning of ethical terms and assesses the principles of ethical argument . . . . Some think, without reflecting on it, that . . . what people actually do is the standard of what is morally right . . . [But, what] actually happens and what ought to happen are quite different . . . . A half century ago, defenders of positivism routinely argued that descriptive statements are meaningful, but prescriptive statements (including all moral claims) are meaningless . . . In other words, ethical claims give no information about the world; they only reveal something about the emotions of the speaker . . . . Yet ethical statements do seem to say something about the realities to which they point. “That’s unfair!” encourages us to attend to circumstances, events, actions, or relationships in the world. We look for a certain quality in the world (not just the speaker’s mind) that we could properly call unfair.

    Hope this helps, as a first sep to untangling issues and points.

    GEM of TKI

  46. 46
    kairosfocus says:

    Please note: the Golden Rule is a principle, it is not intended to stand in isolation. When isolated and force-fitted into subjectivism, absurdity results. It rests on the context that humans have intrinsic moral worth and dignity, so there is a normal standard of treatment with respect.

    So, apply a little imagination: if you were in Aisha’s shoes would you want to be kept with animals and treated like an animal? If you ran away in defense of your dignity as a human being, would you want your own family to hunt you down like an animal and then cut off your nose and ears?

    No sane person will answer yes.

    And, the way Aisha should have been treated under the GR is therefore obvious.

    And, remember, THAT is the precise context for the discussion in this thread, which highlights what those who want to play around with definitions and is morality objective, etc, need to realise they are enabling.

    GEM of TKI

  47. 47
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: From Koukl, relevant to the thread:

    The presence of evil in the world is considered by some to be solid evidence against the existence of God. I think it proves just the opposite. The entire objection hinges on the observation that true evil exists “out there” as an objective feature of the world. Therein lies the problem for the atheist.

    To say something is evil is to make a moral judgment, and moral judgments make no sense outside of the context of a moral standard. Evil as a value judgment marks a departure from that standard of morality. If there is no standard, there is no departure.

    Evil can’t be real if morals are relative. Evil is real, though. That’s why people object to it. Therefore, objective moral standards must exist as well. This discovery invites certain questions. Where do morals come from and why do they seem to apply only to human beings? Are they the product of chance? What world view makes sense out of morality? . . . .

    The first thing we observe about moral rules is that, though they exist, they are not physical because they don’t seem to have physical properties. We won’t bump into them in the dark. They don’t extend into space. They have no weight. They have no chemical characteristics. Instead, they are immaterial things we discover through the process of thought, introspection, and reflection without the aid of our five senses.

    This is a profound realization. We have, with a high degree of certainty, stumbled upon something real. Yet it’s something that can’t be proven empirically or described in terms of natural laws. This teaches us there’s more to the world than just the physical universe. If non-physical things–like moral rules–truly exist, then materialism as a world view is false

    There seem to be many other things that populate the world, things like propositions, numbers, and the laws of logic. Values like happiness, friendship, and faithfulness are there, too, along with meanings and language. There may even be persons–souls, angels, and other divine beings.

    Our discovery also tells us some things really exist that science has no access to, even in principle. Some things are not governed by natural laws. Science, therefore, is not the only discipline giving us true information about the world. It follows, then, that naturalism as a world view is also false.

    Our discovery of moral rules forces us to expand our understanding of the nature of reality and open our minds to the possibility of a host of new things that populate the world in the invisible realm.

    Second, moral rules are a kind of communication. They are propositions: intelligent statements of meaning conveyed from one mind to another. The propositions are in the form of imperatives, commands. A command only makes sense when there are two minds involved, one giving the command and one receiving it.

    There’s a third thing we notice when we reflect on moral rules. They have a force we can actually feel prior to any behavior. This is called the incumbency of moral rules, the “oughtness” of morality we discussed earlier. It appeals to a person’s will, compelling him to act in a certain way, though he often disregards its force and chooses to disobey.[1]

    Finally, there is a deep discomfort that is felt when we violate clear and weighty moral rules, an ethical pain, making us aware that we have done something wrong and are deserving of punishment. This sense of guilt carries with it not just the uncomfortable awareness of wrong-doing, but also the dread of having to answer for our deed . . . .

    Our options are limited to three. One: Morality is simply an illusion. Two: Moral rules exist, but are mere accidents, the product of chance. Three: Moral rules are not accidents, but instead are the product of intelligence. Which option makes most sense given our four observations about morality?

    Some want to argue that morals just don’t exist. They’re nothing but illusions, useful fictions that help us to live in harmony. This is the relativist’s answer. This view is not an option for those who raise the problem of evil . . . .

    Some take a second route. They admit that objective moral laws must exist, but contend they are just accidents. We discover them as part of the furniture of the universe, so to speak, but they have no explanation, nor do they need one. This won’t do for a good reason: Moral rules that have no ground or justification need not be obeyed . . . . Commands are communications between two minds. Chance might conceivably create the appearance of a moral rule, but there can be no command if no one is speaking. Since this phrase is accidental, it can safely be ignored. Even if a person is behind the communication, one could ignore the command if it isn’t backed by appropriate authority . . . .

    Only one answer remains as a possible source of morality. If morality is not an illusion and not the product of chance, then morals must be the result of an intelligent designer. Universal moral laws that have genuine incumbency require an author whose proper domain is the universe, who has the moral authority to enforce his laws, and the power to ultimately mete out perfect justice.

    What is the best explanation for the existence of morality? A personal God whose character provides an absolute standard of goodness is the best answer. An impersonal force won’t do because a moral rule is both a proposition and a command, and these are features of minds. Ethicist Richard Taylor explains:

    A duty is something that is owed….but something can be owed only to some person or persons. There can be no such thing as a duty in isolation….The concept of moral obligation [is] unintelligible apart from the idea of God. The words remain, but their meaning is gone.[3]

    Only one option makes sense of each observation about morality: a personal God, who is the creator of both the material and the immaterial domain. Moral laws suggest a moral law giver. His laws are a communication of his desires, imperatives expected to be obeyed. [More]

    Then, please take a moment to reflect on the real life case of Aisha we are dealing with: forced into marriage, treated like an animal, kept with animals, run away in defense of dignity, hunted down by one’s own family and having ears and nose cut off, left to die in the mountains.

    Then, look us all in the eye and tell us that moral judgement that this is wrong, is utterly evil and wicked, is merely and only subjective.

    Know this, that if you dare to do so, you will have identified yourself as a menace to decency for all to see.

    Good day.

    GEM of TKI

  48. 48
    goodusername says:

    I will leave it to the informed and fair-minded onlooker to see whether or not I am so utterly obscure and unclear that I can be branded as incomprehensible and dismissed.

    I didn’t brand you as incomprehensible. I said that I was having trouble understanding you. There are any number of reasons why that could be. Regardless of how “unjustified” you may think it is, it’s true, and IMO would be more “uncivil” to not say anything. (If someone responded to a long post of mine but couldn’t comprehend much of it, I would appreciate them saying so up front.)

    Why on earth should we not take this consensus as pointing to an objective reality, just as we have a universal consensus that nonsense is nonsense and 2 + 3 = 5, not just in particular cases, but on pain of absurdity, always and necessarily?

    So you’re defining “objective morality” as a “consensus”? With that definition, we’re in agreement that morality is objective. I already mentioned previously that the reason that the Golden Rule works is that morality is, in general, universal.

    But, if that is what you mean by morality being “objective”, than why say that morality isn’t objective if evolutionary materialism is true?

    If (somehow) “evolutionary materialism” were proven tomorrow, that isn’t going to change the fact that there is a consensus on morality.

    There can be a follow-up argument on WHY morality is objective (IMO it’s because we’re all pretty similar and have empathy), but your original argument that there is no objective morality without a purpose from God is plainly refuted by your own definition.

  49. 49
    kairosfocus says:

    GUN:

    Pardon, but we are in a heavily poisoned environment, with a lot of it coming from those on your presumed side. So, what looks like a blanket dismissal on a sweeping assertion is going to be heard as a rhetorical gambit, not a serious dialogue point.

    I suggest that some specifics would greatly help in clarifying.

    Let us start with the point where you refer to my remark on consensus above:

    So you’re defining “objective morality” as a “consensus”? . . .

    In fact, at points 23 – 5 (notice, your suppression of numbers makes it hard to follow context), this is what I said, in response to Lewis’ opening argument in Mere Christianity, on how we quarrel in general by appealing to an acknowledged principle of fairness:

    23 –> In short, here [from Lewis’s apt observation] we have a nigh-universal consent that comes out in our most heated moments, when our guard is down, that we live under common moral government that pivots on our inherent moral worth and equality, so there is a general rule of fair play that we should all respect.

    24 –> Why on earth should we not take this consensus as pointing to an objective reality, just as we have a universal consensus that nonsense is nonsense and 2 + 3 = 5, not just in particular cases, but on pain of absurdity, always and necessarily?

    25 –> The answer is of course that we are caught up in the poisonous fog of evolutionary materialist amorality, in a context where we tend to confuse the philosophy of materialism dressed up in a lab coat, for science . . .

    Notice, there is a warrant based on an observation of commonplace fact, and a highlighting of its significance: “we have a nigh-universal consent that comes out in our most heated moments, when our guard is down, that we live under common moral government that pivots on our inherent moral worth and equality, so there is a general rule of fair play that we should all respect.”

    This is not mere agreement among people, in the context of the most intense disagreement, there is a striking and unaffected, implicit, general acknowledgement of OUGHTNESS as a fundamental reality we face. If this were not so, quarrels would much more often run like: shut up and go down nicely, you are lunch, not my equal.

    But, those who live like that, are monsters. Cf here, herr Schiclkegruber’s notorious remark that cats have no empathy for mice.

    And indeed, that is exactly what the Bibi Aisha case shows: the monstrous deed is that she was horribly and abusively “punished” for the “crime” of “dishonouring” her in-laws who had been beating her and treating her like an animal, by running away from being a hostage child bride. That is, we can see a concrete example of the significance of the general acknowledgement of the moral worth of the human being — thus that we have rights, and what happens when it is brushed aside or dismissed.

    Rights, I took time to identify as binding OUGHTNESS claims we make on one another based on the respect for our dignity and moral worth as human beings. If I have a right to my life, liberty, property, reputation etc, it is because you have a duty to respect these, and that is not just a matter that I can back up my claims by force, there is an oughtness here.

    And, as well, I took time to show the root of this, by citing and augmenting Locke’s clip from Hooker when he set out to ground principles of liberty in the community and state:

    . . . 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.]

    In short the only worldviews worth considering are those that have in them a foundational IS that, on good reason, grounds OUGHT. I — and many others — argue that only the inherently good and wise Creator God fills this bill. In particular, ever since Plato, 2350 years ago, evolutionary materialism stands exposed as inherently amoral and destructive of mutual respect and the peace of justice in the community.

    So, now, just what is it in this that is so hard to understand — as opposed to, perhaps, disagree with?

    Let us start afresh from this cluster of points. If we can have mutual understanding here, the rest will follow.

    GEM of TKI

  50. 50
    goodusername says:

    Then, look us all in the eye and tell us that moral judgement that this is wrong, is utterly evil and wicked, is merely and only subjective.

    Know this, that if you dare to do so, you will have identified yourself as a menace to decency for all to see.

    The love a parent has for their child is “subjective”, but it would never occur to me to describe such subjectivity as “merely and only”; as if such feelings aren’t real or are meaningless.

    I think a bigger menace to society is someone that one would always have to worry about having a crisis of faith someday, losing their religion, and thus deciding that life (theirs and others) has no meaning. That’s someone I’d be nervous to have as a neighbor.

  51. 51
    Timbo says:

    It’s ironic (not that it hasn’t already been pointed out) that the people who did this were acting under their perception of an objective moral imperative. Yet KF and others seem to think this example can somehow be used in support of the concept of an objective morality. It’s the people who believe in objective morals that we have to worry about as their morality is uncoupled from humanity (as this example shows).

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