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At Mind Matters News: Researchers: If we tell folks more about science, they trust less

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Part 3: The researchers argue that doubts about science arise from conflict with beliefs. The many COVID-19 debacles suggest other causes…

“It may not be researchers’ fault that “the science” was grievously misrepresented by others. But they still have a lot of ground to make up with the thoughtful proportion of the public. And the next insight shared is hardly going to help: “Counterintuitively, increasing someone’s general scientific literacy can actually backfire, because it provides the skill to better bolster their pre-existing beliefs. Increasing scientific reasoning and media literacy skills, prebunking, or inoculating people against misinformation are advised instead, as is framing information in line with what matters to your audience and using relatable personal experiences. – Tessa Koumondoros, “These 4 Factors Can Explain Why So Many People Are Rejecting Science” at Sciencealert (July 16, 2022) The paper requires a fee or subscription.”

This sounds so much like: Don’t rely on telling people how to think about science; try “inoculating people against misinformation” which, in the context, sounds like: Come up with more convincing propaganda.

The trouble is, the COVID pandemic was practically a laboratory experiment in watching claims about science self-destruct. People who noticed probably won’t forget. And their science literacy may well have increased in a way no one anticipated: a much deeper agnosticism about claims made in science’s name.

News, “Researchers: If we tell folks more about science, they trust less” at Mind Matters News (July 20, 2022)

Takehome: Generally, the remedy for loss of trust after widespread failures is reform of the system, not reform of its doubters. Post-COVID, scientists should take heed.

Note: The paper itself, which requires a subscription, is “Why are people antiscience, and what can we do about it?” by Aviva Philipp-Muller, Spike W. S. Lee, and Richard E. Petty, July 12, 2022, PNAS 119 (30) e2120755119

Here are Parts 1 and 2:

Why many now reject science… do you really want to know? COVID demonstrated — as nothing else could — that the “science” was all over the map and didn’t help people avoid panic. As the panic receded, the government started setting up a disinformation board to target NON-government sources of panic, thus deepening loss of trust.


Researchers: Distrust of science is due to tribal loyalty. In Part 2 of 4, we look at a claim arising from a recent study: We blindly believe those we identify with, ignoring the wisdom of science. There seems to be no recognition that researchers, however fiercely competitive among themselves, also have a tribal loyalty that skews their judgment.

68 Replies to “At Mind Matters News: Researchers: If we tell folks more about science, they trust less

  1. 1
    Belfast says:

    When I read, “ This sounds so much like: “Don’t rely on telling people how to think about science; try “inoculating people against misinformation” which, in the context, sounds like: Come up with more convincing propaganda,” I immediately thought, “Hello, that’s O’Leary talking.”
    Fáilte ar ais, Denise.

  2. 2
    AaronS1978 says:

    Yeah the article pretty much for the most part says teaching people about science allows them to think more for themselves and that’s bad

  3. 3
    Belfast says:

    It says nothing of the kind.
    And it’s just one of a growing perception and real understanding of Richard Feyman’s dictum that outside their particular field a scientist is just the same as another person.
    To which is added that a scientist-administrator has forgotten all principles os the science he/she learned when young.
    If “inoculating against misinformation” isn’t commo-speech nothing is.

  4. 4
    AaronS1978 says:

    I’m talking about this article

    The one being critiqued
    A portion of it says that’s it bad that people that have a better understanding of science can better defend their own beliefs

    “Counterintuitively, increasing someone’s general scientific literacy can actually backfire, because it provides the skill to better bolster their pre-existing beliefs.“

    Or at least that’s what I’m getting from it
    But so far they are blaming everyone else but them selves for the issue even as far as saying being a deductive thinker because of science could back fire because you can better reason your own beliefs

    Comically apply that EXACT SAME logic to our science enlightened atheists

  5. 5
    asauber says:

    “Come up with more convincing propaganda.”

    Yes. Lie to them if you have to.


  6. 6
  7. 7
    asauber says:


    They’ve moved past the lies. Onto masks again!


  8. 8
    relatd says:

    Andrew at 7,

    Get over it. I wear a mask at work daily and when I go shopping. I’ve had experience dealing with patients in quarantine. This is no different. If people think they can go without and they get infected, words are not going to help them.

  9. 9
    asauber says:

    “words are not going to help them”

    Maybe the masks won’t either.

    Or the “vaccines” and “boosters”.


  10. 10
    relatd says:

    Andrew at 9,

    You don’t get it. I’m not letting this go. You are talking like a fanatic as opposed to a rational person. A fanatic believes what he believes. And what do you believe? Vaccines will kill you? Make you sterile? Where did you hear that? From Bob Nobody on the internet?

    And if you do what you want, I will tell you what I know. People I know have gotten the vaccine and the booster. And lived. So watch what you say. You might mislead someone.

  11. 11
    asauber says:

    “People I know have gotten the vaccine and the booster. And lived.”


    A member of my wife’s family was vaccinated. Got COVID anyway and died from it allegedly.

    I don’t know what the “vaccines” do, and neither do you. That’s why a lot of people won’t get them.


  12. 12
    asauber says:


    Didn’t you watch the video AaronS1978 linked?


  13. 13
    relatd says:

    Andrew at 11,

    You want to believe what you want to believe. Too bad. You think ‘they’ are out to get you? Fine. But don’t tell other people what to do. Don’t tell others to not trust doctors. Unless, of course, you can tell me – and others – exactly where you get this nonsense. I took the vaccine. I’m fine. Nothing happened. I know people who have gotten the virus. I work with evidence. Facts. That’s what people need right now. If there is a Conspiracy – go ahead, provide the details.

    “a lot of people won’t get them”? How do you know this? An image in your head? What are YOU talking about? Hundreds? Thousands won’t get the vaccine? And no one – absolutely no one is at risk?

  14. 14
    relatd says:

    Andrew at 12,

    I could care less about “videos.” I could dress like a doctor, say a bunch of complicated things and follow that with “vaccines bad – don’t take them.” I talk to real, actual people – in person. I don’t waste my time with videos.

  15. 15
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Tennessee House Hearing Room – Dr. Ryan Cole and Dr John Latell

    30:29 once the data came in after one month of Pfizer data and we saw 1200 deaths in one month we knew right away that something was gravely wrong.
    When a vaccine has 25 to 50 deaths, it’s pulled off the market. When Pfizer had 1200 in one month it should have been pulled off the market.

  16. 16
    asauber says:


    If you watch the video AaronS1978 links, you’ll see Pres Biden stating that you won’t get COVID if you get the vaccinations, which is an obvious lie. If the Pres of the USA lies to you about what the vaccine does, so are the many other people who say the same thing. I don’t know about you, but I tend not to do what liars say. You might be different. God help you, then.


  17. 17
    asauber says:

    “I could care less about “videos.” I could dress like a doctor”


    It wasn’t a doctor, it was the President.


  18. 18
    relatd says:

    Andrew at 16,

    Guess what? You still haven’t explained anything, really. Whatever may have happened with the Pfizer vaccine happened. If true, and I doubt it, fine. You seem to think that a magic/imaginary bubble protects you from exposure. As I wrote earlier, I’ve actually dealt with patients in quarantine. I wish you the best.

  19. 19
    asauber says:

    “You seem to think that a magic/imaginary bubble protects you from exposure.”


    I don’t think that, for the record. I take reasonable precautions against exposing myself to diseases.


  20. 20
    relatd says:

    Andrew at 19,

    In the case of “the virus,” what is that exactly? You don’t like masks. Vaccines are right out. So, what do you do?

  21. 21
    asauber says:

    “In the case of “the virus,” what is that exactly? You don’t like masks. Vaccines are right out. So, what do you do?”


    There are many viruses, so you are under a misunderstanding. I wear a mask if asked to. I don’t hang out with sick people. I wash my hands frequently. I eat healthy and exercise. My philosophy is don’t take unnecessary drugs. Is the COVID vaccine necessary? Haven’t seen any evidence that it is. Just a lot of talk from liars.


  22. 22
    relatd says:

    Andrwe at 21,

    Why are they lying to you? Why? So they can kill you? Inject a microchip – not like your cell phone already has built-in tracking so ‘they’ can know when you go to the gas station, and other secret things.

  23. 23
    asauber says:

    “Why are they lying to you?”


    Don’t know. Don’t need to know. Ask the liars if you want to know.


  24. 24
    relatd says:

    Andrew at 23,

    A sad reply. You can’t be bothered. Fine. Too bad.

  25. 25
    AaronS1978 says:

    @22 Nah, make lots of money off of you, see if you will do as they say, experiment with you, maybe sterilize you, but honestly I think it’s money and obedience. I mean really it was the Democrats it that pushed the hell out of the vaccine more than anything and called everybody stupid for not getting it

    And Biden has lied multiple times from no we’re not going to mandate the vaccine to months later after elected “we’re mandating the vaccine”

    And what happened is it crunched our economy and wrecked jobs

    So if it just so happens to be that you have a socialistic agenda and you want something that might actually wreck the economy enough to have to implement your special brand of economics to save it, mandating a shitty ass vaccine, and taking advantage of a mediocre pandemic is a good way to do it

  26. 26
    relatd says:

    AS1978 at 25,

    Obey the Masters? Seriously? And from where does this thought arise? Long before “the virus,” people submitted to various vaccines in order to travel. Kids in school got vaccinated. In the early 1960s, in school, I was sent to a room with the rest of my class. Injection guns were suspended from the ceiling, attached to coiled hoses. It was pressed against my shoulder and fired.

    Not made sterile. Didn’t die. Didn’t pay for it.

  27. 27
    AaronS1978 says:

    I didn’t say submit to the master I just said see you if you’d be obedient

    No need to overdramatize that

    And good for you I’m glad that you had no awful side effects from a vaccine. I had multiple friends have many issues with the Covid vaccine, one had to go to the hospital because she got really sick, the other one had a immediate relapse with her MS, that was really awful, Another one had a serious heart condition and he was in the hospital for a week. All of my friends the got that CV still got Covid and still got pretty ill

    So I’m happy you didn’t have any side effects

    I understand that you probably got the polio vaccine when it was mandated and I will tell you that is an entirely different time than what we are dealing with today, the leader ship back then versus the leader ship of today are completely different and have completely different agendas

    I understand your comparison but can you really trust the government that we are dealing with right now and if you are as conservative as I’ve seen you on your post I know what your answer really is

  28. 28
    asauber says:

    “Not made sterile. Didn’t die. Didn’t pay for it”

    Me neither, Relatd.


  29. 29
    relatd says:

    AS1978 at 27,

    You didn’t mean something when, in fact, you did. “be obedient” to who? That means nothing if there is no person or entity a person is “being obedient” to. That’s my point.

    Please, and I mean this politely, my answer will always be what it “really is.”

    In the 1960s, the United States was more cohesive. We were told by the government about our Judeo-Christian Heritage. I would see commercials encouraging all of us to go to Church or Synagogue. We were on our way to the moon. The London Times was pessimistic about our chances of getting there by the end of the decade.

    However, in 1945, a fire hose was let loose. Babies were appearing at an “alarming” rate. By the end of the 1940s, builders had built cookie-cutter neighborhoods all over the U.S. Somehow, this Baby Boom reached an arbitrary end in 1964. What happened in 1964?

    By 1952, pornographers were getting the results they were looking for. By 1957, another milestone was reached. Perverting normal human sexuality was the goal. As a boy, I was surrounded by all ages. I saw how the process worked but was only dimly aware of some details, as I should have been. By the time I was a young adult, those details came into sharper focus. I was off to college, a job and possible marriage just like the generation before me. But others who hated normal life were waiting in the wings. Waiting for their chance to tear it down.

    1960 – The FDA approves the birth control pill. Most women do not want or need it but some felt the need to slow the flow of babies. It’s only available by prescription.

    1965 – The U.S. Supreme Court rules for the use of contraception in Griswold v. Connecticut. The case involved a Connecticut “Comstock law” that prohibited any person from using “any drug, medicinal article or instrument for the purpose of preventing conception”. The court held that the statute was unconstitutional, and that its effect was “to deny disadvantaged citizens … access to medical assistance and up-to-date information in respect to proper methods of birth control.”

    Medical assistance? In the 1950s, the average number of kids in my neighborhood was 2 not 10. Somehow, married couples knew something that artificial birth control would NOT give them ‘assistance’ with. The goal was to slow the flow of babies into the population.

    1967 – Time magazine runs a cover story about The Pill. At the top of the page: Contraception: Freedom From Fear. Fear of what? Babies. A lie. Because if it were true then women would stop giving birth? Does that make sense? Of course not.

    1968 – The National Association for the Repeal Of Abortion Laws is founded. They lied to the American people and the press.

    1973 – The U.S. Supreme Court stabs the entire country in the back by legalizing permissive abortion. But Jane Roe in Roe v Wade never got an abortion. Her real name was Norma McCorvey. She became pro-life. But for those who wanted this – a great victory had been achieved. The ultimate form of birth control was now law.

    Meanwhile, so-called Adult Bookstores appear everywhere selling graphic images of sexual activity. The worst was a thick magazine containing ads with nude and partly nude photos of women looking for no strings attached sex and their contact information.

    WHO allowed this? Made it legal?

  30. 30
    AaronS1978 says:

    First of all saying that I meant something because you said so does it mean that I meant it, please refrain from doing that.

    Second of all again
    Your comment of “obey the masters” was simply to mock my original comment and an attempt to make it seem silly, this overdramatizing what I said

    Psychologists study obedience all the time without being anybody’s “master”

    Now I’m not quite exactly sure where you’re going with your last post but my answer is “who is the government for 500 Trebek”

    I mean what you posted kind of makes it seem like I’m right the government does screw around with you and they’re screwing around with us right now

    Are you saying that we can’t really trust them but we can trust them with our health? Why would they be so dishonest with absolutely everything that you posted from pornography to baby murder and then be 100% honest with mandating vaccines and our bodily Health?
    Maybe I’m just not quite picking up what you are putting down

    And nothing you posted invalidates my comment that it’s a completely different era with a totally different government that is very liberal and they’re the ones pushing most of the nonsense with this pandemic

    By the way I agree with most of what you said at 29 I’m just not sure really what it has to do with what I originally posted about the government using a pandemic to screw with us

  31. 31
    relatd says:

    AS1978 at 30,

    “… the government using a pandemic to screw with us” Pretty vague, don’t you think? I think for the benefit of everyone reading, a point by point breakdown of how the government is screwing with us is in order. Otherwise it’s just vague grumbling.

    My previous post laid the groundwork for this response.

    As you can see by that post, normal human life in the West was the target. Normal human sexuality was the target. The birth control pill was introduced to give women the idea that sex was mostly about pleasure as opposed to mostly about babies.

    In the late 1960s, lesbians, gays and bisexuals began looking for permissions.

    1973 – The American Psychiatric Association removes Homosexuality from their Diagnostic and Statistical Manual by vote. By vote?

    Allies included Marxists who were backing various causes, including radical Feminism brought out in the 1970s as well.

    The Democratic Party was the party of President Kennedy. A much loved President from a much loved family. The goal of the Marxists-Communists was to infiltrate and destroy what the Democratic Party stood for in the 1960s.

    To introduce death by abortion, by the killing of the aged and others with certain medical conditions. The latter was called by its founder/instigator a “reform.” Those same people have infiltrated the government and the media, controlling almost all aspects. They’ve infiltrated schools at every level. To indoctrinate children and young adults to believe their lies, in Marxist class warfare and to become the new Marxists, minus the title/name, for now.

    It is unclear to me exactly what some people are afraid of. Aside from some specific incidents mentioned here, none of the people I know suffered any negative health effects from the two vaccines most widely available. Taking the journalist perspective, based on my research, which goes beyond the so-called “mainstream” media, it is not clear what is going on. That those with a great deal of money have capitalized on the current health crisis is true beyond a doubt, but other details remain unconfirmed. If there is an ongoing plot against the people it cannot be proved in a court of law, again, based on my research.

    This is not a “different era.” We are seeing the end result of a gradual spread of Marxist-Communist teaching coming through most media and taught in most schools. The government of the United States was infiltrated by Marxists and they are in control of one party. I cannot trust that party since they are consistent about what they stand for.

    To put it another way, the future does not just appear one day. It was built slowly, over time, until it revealed its current form. It was always there but held back until now.

  32. 32
    asauber says:

    “It is unclear to me exactly what some people are afraid of.”

    On the other hand, I’d like to know what measurable effect a COVID vaccine will have on me, specifically, since I haven’t decided to abdicate my judgement to Joe Biden.


  33. 33
    relatd says:

    Andrew at 32,

    Is your mind controlled by Joe Biden? Is anybody’s?

    I don’t have your medical history in front of me so I have no answer.

  34. 34
    asauber says:

    “Is your mind controlled by Joe Biden? Is anybody’s?”


    It’s not a question of mind control. It’s a matter of doing what he says. Like a servant of sorts.


  35. 35
    AaronS1978 says:

    I don’t think I’m being vague more so that I just don’t wanna repeat myself

  36. 36
    JHolo says:

    Relatd: WHO allowed this [pornography]? Made it legal?

    Your founding fathers, when they drafted the first amendment.

  37. 37
    relatd says:

    JH at 36,

    A stupid reply. There were protests by parents afterwards for allowing filth in their neighborhood.

    In the 1960s, a neighbor dropped a box of Playboys next to his trash cans. The moms got together and disposed of them by means unknown.

  38. 38
    JHolo says:

    Relatd: A stupid reply.

    No, a truthful one. If you truly believe in freedom of speech then you have to defend pornography. You can put age restrictions on it, and pass laws against the use of coercion against the people involved (“actors”), but you can’t make it illegal without amending your constitution.

  39. 39
    relatd says:

    JH at 38,

    I believe in censorship. Pornography is not “I know it when I see it,” it’s an intrinsic evil. What you call truth I call permission. Permission for sexual perverts to run amok. To pollute entire neighborhoods with their filthy lifestyles. To distort, and exploit, the truth about feminine beauty.

    And those behind this? Nameless, and faceless for the most part. And like cockroaches, they prefer to hide in dark corners. For all reading, let’s get a few things straight. Here is how words and terms are changed to make them only seem different from what they really are.

    Stripper – not Exotic Dancer.

    Prostitute – not Sex Worker.

    SLAVERY – not Human Trafficking or Sex Trafficking.

  40. 40
    JHolo says:

    Relatd@39, then amend your constitution.

  41. 41
    relatd says:

    JH at 40,

    Back to ‘the legal.’ I don’t live in your worldview. Pornography needs to be banned. Just like my mom and other moms got rid of those Playboys in the 1960s. One moment, that box was there and in the next, it disappeared.

  42. 42
    JHolo says:

    Relatd: Pornography needs to be banned..

    On what grounds?

  43. 43
    relatd says:

    JH at 42,

    Intrinsic evil.

  44. 44
    JHolo says:

    Relatd: Intrinsic evil.

    If consenting adults want to record their sexual acts and distribute them to other consenting adults, what is intrinsically evil about this? It is not my cup of tea, but I don’t see any valid reason to ban it.

  45. 45
    relatd says:

    JH at 44,

    Let’s now turn to the “consenting.” Normal people did not demand Adult Bookstores in their neighborhoods in the 1970s. Our consent was obviously not required. So, in that context, consent just means permission, again.

    In the 1950s and 1960s, private sexual activity was never a topic of conversation among normal, moral people. I’m sure it was among those who practiced immoral sexual lifestyles. So, Adult Bookstores were opened everywhere to see how many normal people they could bring in. Sad.

  46. 46
    JHolo says:

    Relatd: So, in that context, consent just means permission, again.

    Which is the foundation of freedom. Permitting something is not the same as condoning or advocating. We permit white supremists to voice their views. But the vast majority of us do not condone them or advocate for them.

  47. 47
    relatd says:

    JH at 46,

    WE, meaning normal people, did not demand Adult Bookstores in our neighborhoods in the 1970s. After they appeared, we protested. But those involved had the money and lawyers to keep normal people away from their businesses that marketed moral poison. Who made this legal?

    Freedom? No, not at all. Slavery to the flesh was their purpose.

  48. 48
    kairosfocus says:

    JH, twisted silliness. One is not free to shout fire without cause in a crowded theatre, nor to defame [though US law is notoriously bad], or to commit fraud etc etc. Promoters of the notion that sexual exploitation for vicarious prostitution and human trafficking [= sex slavery] are free speech should pay the price of being enablers of destructive abuse. You need to be aware of the true story of the exploited woman known as Linda Lovelace in the 1970’s. KF

    PS, and yet again you are found dragging a thread off track into the sewer. That says something, and enough is enough.

    PPS, this sounds far too much like pushing party line indoctrination, from OP:

    “Counterintuitively, increasing someone’s general scientific literacy can actually backfire, because it provides the skill to better bolster their pre-existing beliefs. [–> which may not fit the approved narrative, often, for cause] Increasing scientific reasoning and media literacy skills, prebunking, or inoculating people against misinformation [–> notice, loaded language, typically used in circumstances where the preferred narrative is lacking in actual warrant] are advised instead, as is framing information [–> = twisting, which eventually exposes one as unreliable or deceitful] in line with what matters to your audience and using relatable personal experiences.

  49. 49
    JHolo says:

    KF: Promoters of the notion that sexual exploitation for vicarious prostitution and human trafficking [= sex slavery] are free speech should pay the price of being enablers of destructive abuse.

    Where did I suggest that they were?

    You need to be aware of the true story of the exploited woman known as Linda Lovelace in the 1970’s. KF

    I am well aware of it. And, if true, what was done to her was illegal then and is illegal now. But we are talking about consenting adults permitting depictions of their sexual acts (pictures and videos) being distributed to other consenting adults. We are not talking about the morality of this, we are talking about whether or not it is protected by the 1st amendment. Obscenity is not protected by the 1st, but obscenity is a subjective determination. That is why the SCOTUS has had problems applying porn rulings based on this.

  50. 50
    relatd says:

    JH at 49,

    The “gosh, we don’t know what it is” approach? Seriously? Not credible.

    Consenting immorality is still immoral. It lowers community standards.

  51. 51
    JHolo says:

    Relatd: Consenting immorality is still immoral.

    Since morality is subjective, they are not behaving immorally based on their moral values.

  52. 52
    kairosfocus says:

    JH, you are in denial about what has been going on for decades. Abuse and human trafficking are not freedom, they undermine it. The real story of the woman known as Linda Lovelace is a first point of truth on the matter. KF

  53. 53
    kairosfocus says:

    PS, you know that morality is not subjective, which is a self-refuting, incoherent view. Start with, you deny and disapprove as imagined false, the raising of objective standards. In short, as usual, you cannot but appeal to first duties of reason even as you try to overthrow them; inadvertently revealing their pervasive, first principle character. Go on to the implications of “they are not behaving immorally based on their moral values”: were the investigators, prosecutors and judges who framed, put up a show trial and judicially murdered Milada Horakova and others just by their own lights so they were not profoundly and catastrophically unjust? I think the people of the Czech Republic would like to have a word with you. So would the father and family of an eight year old kidnapped, sexually tortured and murdered by a monster.

  54. 54
    Seversky says:

    If you cannot derive “ought” from “is” then morality is inevitably subjective, even if your source is God. That the vast majority of us would find a show trial held to provide a veneer of legitimacy for the murder of a political opponent to be completely immoral or would be appalled at the murder of a child does not make that any the less a collection of individual subjective opinions. What is significant is that the vast majority would agree and that consensus is the foundation of our morals.

    One problem for the objective moralists is whether the Ten Commandments or the Bill of Rights in the US Constitution is the primary source of morality because they are in conflict in several areas.

  55. 55
    kairosfocus says:

    Sev, you forget, there is the possibility of an is that inherently embraces ought. Further to that, we have the evidence of your own attempted objection, that in trying to overturn first duties to truth, right reason, warrant etc, you cannot but appeal to same. That gives us good reason to see that the rational, responsible freedom required for credibility of mind and its products, entails that we can know to self evidence that we are morally governed. This constrains candidate roots of reality as only there can is and ought be bridged. The root, then, will be inherently good and utterly wise as well as powerful source of worlds. KF

    PS, your disguised admission that you have no appeal beyond opinion on the judicial murder of Milada Horakova or the kidnapping, sexual torture and murder of a child, speaks telling volumes on the bankruptcy of evolutionary materialistic scientism. A view that, indeed, has in it no root level is that inherently embraces ought..

  56. 56
    kairosfocus says:

    PPS, First the imagined conflict is readily resolved by the do no harm to neighbour premise of justice. But secondly, neither is a framing of first moral principles. On its own terms, the Bill of Rights is a yardstick enumeration on what the Federal state must respect, growing in Common Law soil that traces to Alfred’s Book of Dooms, which literally begins with a paraphrase of the Decalogue cast in C8 Anglo Saxon terms. So, one of your alleged opponents starts from the premise of the other. Secondly, going to first duties, we may readily recognise that Cicero put his finger on something in identifying what we may summarise as first, pervasive, branch on which we all sit duties. To wit:

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

    Those who attempt to deny in fact inevitably appeal to what they would overturn.

    PPPS, of course, duty to neighbour, through do no harm not only leads to fairness and justice, due balance of rights, freedoms, duties, but it is actually stated in the scriptures you would dismiss, that neighbour love, with its do no harm import, undergirds the sorts of specific commands in the decalogue or in the context of Lev 19:9 – 18, lays out yardsticks for community and court. Try “You shall not oppress your neighbor or rob him. The wages of a hired worker shall not remain with you all night until the morning. You shall not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block before the blind” and “You shall do no injustice in court. You shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great, but in righteousness shall you judge your neighbor.”

  57. 57
    JHolo says:

    KF: JH, you are in denial about what has been going on for decades. Abuse and human trafficking are not freedom, they undermine it.

    You are assuming that all women involved in porn have a similar story to LL. This simply is not true. I am sure that many regret their decisions later in life, but that doesn’t mean that they should be banned from making these decisions. There are some decisions I made early in life that I now regret, but part of freedom is the freedom to make bad decisions. It is not the government’s job to protect us from all bad decisions, only to protect us from bad decisions made by others that will harm us or others.

  58. 58
    JHolo says:

    KF: PS, you know that morality is not subjective, which is a self-refuting, incoherent view.

    In spite of the fact that there is no evidence that objective moral values exist.

    Start with, you deny and disapprove as imagined false, the raising of objective standards.

    I have no problem with the raising of subjective values based on objective evidence. There is objective evidence that violence and stealing conflict with the stable functioning of society. Therefore we subjectively raise the standards that violence and stealing are not acceptable. That does not make them objective standards.

    Perhaps a real world example will help. One of the stereotypes that the early Europeans to North America concluded about the indigenous peoples was that they were thieves. And there was plenty of evidence to support this. But the indigenous people did not have the same concept of personal property that the Europeans had. The indigenous concept worked well in their society and the European concept worked well in their’s. So, which one is objectively correct.

  59. 59
    kairosfocus says:

    JH, I hardly need to but note how your no evidence dismissal and assertion that in effect reduction to vicarious prostitution, sex trafficking etc claim that I fail duties to truth, right reason, warrant and wider prudence etc. You are willfully blind to pervasive first duties and as a direct result are trapped in selectively hyperskeptical, crooked yardstick thinking. KF

    PS, not all slave masters were abusive. Not all were white, either. (At emancipation in Jamaica 1/4 of slaves it seems were owned by non white people, as shown from the GBP 20 million govt buyout of the slaves in the Caribbean, to emancipate them.) I hope you see the direct parallel on sex trafficking and for that matter drugs trafficking. What is inherently disordered and corrupt needs to be reformed, regardless of whether some do not experience the full force of said corruption.

  60. 60
    kairosfocus says:

    PPS, I may pick up further points later, such as that the chaotic nature of evils is a sign of that character. For the moment, Vaughn on subjectivism, relativism and emotivism:

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

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

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

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

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

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

    PPPS, on objective, knowable moral truth in general, as a first proof that refutes your assertions, with help of a light dusting of Algebra:

    Objective, so know-able moral truth is widely denied in our day, for many it isn’t even a remotely plausible possibility. And yet, as we will shortly see, it is undeniably true; as is so for other reasonably identifiable fields of discussion. This marginalisation of moral knowledge, in extreme form, is a key thesis of the nihilism that haunts our civilisation, which we must detect, expose to the light of day, correct and dispel, in defence of civilisation and human dignity.

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

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

    [ NB: Plato, The Laws, Bk X, c 360 BC, in the voice of Athenian Stranger: “[Thus, the Sophists and other opinion leaders etc — c 430 BC on, hold] that the principles of justice have no existence at all in nature, but that mankind are always disputing about them and altering them; and that the alterations which are made by art and by law have no basis in nature, but are of authority for the moment and at the time at which they are made.” This IMPLIES the Cultural Relativism Thesis, by highlighting disputes (among an error-prone and quarrelsome race!), changing/varied opinions, suggesting that dominance of a view in a place/time is a matter of balance of factions/rulings, and denying that there is an intelligible, warranted natural law. Of course, subjectivism then reduces the scale of “community” to one individual. He continues, “These, my friends, are the sayings of wise men, poets and prose writers, which find a way into the minds of youth. They are told by them that the highest right is might . . . ” [–> door opened to nihilistic factionalism]]

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

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

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

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

    A first step.

  61. 61
    relatd says:

    JH at 51,

    A poor attempt. Really bad. “Man invents himself.” He invents his own morality. He invents his body. He invents his identity. ‘Today, I am a man, woman, none of the above.’ That’s your rule? Your standard?

    The majority is in charge – always. But not because they have “power’ – that ugly word, but because they have the truth. There are only so many mix and match combinations of things man can do. No more.

    Community standards exist. For you to say otherwise ignores that and ignores the truth. In the 1950s and 1960s, those who wanted to have sex with whoever did whatever in private. By the end of the 1960s, the Bad Examples were in our neighborhoods living and behaving badly.

  62. 62
    relatd says:

    Seversky at 54,

    When did you become a Bible scholar? You seem to see only what you want to see.

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

    Where did these “self-evident” truths come from? The Creator mentioned was not space aliens.

  63. 63
    relatd says:

    JH at 57,

    Do you – or anyone reading – need the Government involved in every decision you make? I’ll answer: NO – rarely.

    Pornography is always bad. There’s no excuse for it. None. I’ve read about young women who got involved in porn, were badly treated, put on or were already involved with illegal drugs and used and abused. They regretted all of it. Too bad? Right?

    Young women need guidance – good and rational guidance. Not ‘porn is no big deal’ or ‘just another job.’ You know, something to be indifferent about. Those women are our neighbors not individual, impersonal units. They are human beings. If the words dignity and respect mean anything then porn is the exact opposite. It’s wrong. Always.

  64. 64
    relatd says:

    JH at 58,

    Are you trying to convince yourself? Of what? Whenever anyone tells you that there are moral values and where they come from, you appear to shrug and say or imply that ‘I’ll just go my merry way’ while promoting what I believe you know to be deviant sexual behavior.

    You can’t say no to this and yes to something else.

  65. 65
    JHolo says:

    I notice that KF and Relatd are not capable of answering the question I posed at 58. There are examples of two systems that were in existence for centuries with incompatible moral values around personal property. Which one is objectively true? And why?

    Your refusal to answer speaks volumes.

  66. 66
    relatd says:

    JH at 58,

    You belong to a tribal group. That’s right. There are certain groups of people that are on pedestals right now because of that group. Indigenous people. Black people. And the most recent addition, Asians, who aren’t working out as well as Black people.

    Indigenous people just popped into existence from nowhere one day? I need to bring that up because in North America, there is some evidence that they migrated to the Continent from Asia.

    They, being indigenous, means they are pure and not at all like White Europeans. That they had certain concepts of property that differed from Europeans was partly due to their nomadic lives. They were just as intelligent as White Europeans, they just lacked many manufactured items.

    And what does that have to do with morality? How I handle my personal property is not a moral problem unless I actually steal what is not mine.

  67. 67
    Silver Asiatic says:


    If you cannot derive “ought” from “is” then morality is inevitably subjective, even if your source is God.

    Objective moral values begin with an adherence to the truth.
    This is a value you insist upon and which you expect of others. But more importantly, it is not subjective. It’s an objective moral value that cannot be denied or overturned. It comes with its own rewards and punishments.

  68. 68
    kairosfocus says:

    JH, there is a real world and answers will come to reasonable issues in due time. on moral government as on matters of any hard question, a race of the finite, fallible, morally struggling and too often ill willed, stubborn and quarrelsome will have different opinions. That does not mean there are no objective first duties and principles, nor that there are no knowable, objective moral truths. Such was shown above, just side stepped as usual by the same ones unmoved by the exposure of fatal flaws of evolutionary materialistic scientism, relativism, subjectivism and emotivism. As for debates over thine and mine c C17 – 19, both cultures had flaws. Both, had to be corrected over slavery. That power, fraud or cleverness should be used at will to seize from the other is clearly unsupportable and unsustainable; it creates a war of all against all, undermining civil society; modified only by clans bonding together. So, reforms were indicated and “worked well” is tendentious nonsense intended simply to discredit the despised other. KF

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