Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

FFT: The worldviews level challenge — what the objectors to design thought are running away from

Share
Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Flipboard
Print
Email

It is almost — almost — amusing but then quite sad to see how objectors to design theory play with logic and worldviews issues, then run away when the substantial issues are taken up.

Let me clip from the FFT, AJ vs Charles thread to pick up these matters, but to avoid making this utterly too long, let me point here on for the underlying questions of worldviews, first plausibles and self-evident plumb-line truths such as the first principles of right reason.

While we are at it, let us observe from the diagram on the right, how worldviews issues influence everything we do as a civilisation, and how the issue arises, on whether business as usual is a march of folly and needs to be turned from to move to a more sustainable, more sound alternative.

In our day, it is pretty clear that evolutionary materialistic scientism and its fellow travellers rule the roost, but that such is inescapably incoherent, self-refuting, self-falsifying and amoral, opening the door to ruthless nihilist factionalism.

So, it is a service not only to the ID community but the civilisation to say what is not politically corrupt today, the unmentionable fact that A is A.

So, now, let us proceed by clipping some posts in the relevant thread:

153: >>April 10, 2017 at 5:22 pm

FFT5: The implications of the familiar extraordinary.

In this thread, there are arguments [posted] that . . . as an observable phenomenon . . . show that we are capable of significant choice and reasoning, i.e. we are responsibly, rationally, significantly free, conscious, en-conscienced, morally governed, communicating creatures. (Indeed, those trying to object are operating on the implicit premise that we are urged by conscience toward the truth and the right; and if we were not, this world would descend into a dark, chaotic ruin in short order. It is a good thing that something urges us on to the truth and the right.)

Locke, in Sec 5 of his essay on human understanding (and yes, I add scriptural references i/l/o his cites and allusions), aptly comments:

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.]

All of that is in the context of rebuking a lazy, sneeringly supercilious selective hyperskepticism that will scorn more than adequate warrant for ethical theism, because it shuns the premise of moral government: accountability on plainly recognisable duty, before our Maker, Lord, Governor and utterly just Judge.

But, that is a bit quick off the mark.

Let’s start with computational substrates, whether mechanically or electrically analogue or digital or neural network. For instance a ball and disk integrator as was used in tide table machines or naval gunlaying computers is clearly a cause-effect, blindly mechanical system. If it has a fault or is badly programmed, it will err, and it cares not, it is just like Monadology’s Mill-Wheels grinding away blindly. Leibniz:

[P]erception, and that which depends upon it, are inexplicable by mechanical causes, that is to say, by figures and motions. Supposing that there were a machine whose structure produced thought, sensation, and perception, we could conceive of it as increased in size with the same proportions until one was able to enter into its interior, as he would into a mill. Now, on going into it he would find only pieces working upon one another, but never would he find anything to explain perception.

There is no recognition of meaning, no perception, no purpose, just blind cause-effect chains externally arranged to yield the solution to certain differential equations. GIGO, and all that. Likewise, the old Pentium chip neither knew nor understood nor cared about the wired in errors that led to the early recall. And, a neural network is not in principle any different. (BTW this points to serious design inferences on the relevant hardware and software in bio-cybernetics systems, but that is a secondary point.)

The primary point has been highlighted by Reppert:

. . . let us suppose that brain state A, which is token identical to the thought that all men are mortal, and brain state B, which is token identical to the thought that Socrates is a man, together cause the belief that Socrates is mortal. It isn’t enough for rational inference that these events be those beliefs, it is also necessary that the causal transaction be in virtue of the content of those thoughts . . . [But] if naturalism is true, then the propositional content is irrelevant to the causal transaction that produces the conclusion, and [so] we do not have a case of rational inference. In rational inference, as [C S] Lewis puts it, one thought causes another thought not by being, but by being seen to be, the ground for it. But causal transactions in the brain occur in virtue of the brain’s being in a particular type of state that is relevant to physical causal transactions.

In short, a physicalist account of mindedness (much less, guidance by light of conscience) faces an ugly, impassable gulch.

In effect, rocks — even refined and carefully organised rocks — have no dreams; computation is not intentional contemplation.

At this point, evolutionary materialism and its fellow travellers — and nope you cannot properly, conveniently open up rhetorical daylight between some vague agnosticism and full-blown evo mat to deflect this — face an impassable gulch.

One, that brings out what was already highlighted: mindedness, consciousness, reasoned inference and conscience’s compass-pointing alike are all reduced to grand delusion on evo mat premises.

Grand delusion would collapse responsible, rational freedom and so falls into irretrievable incoherence and absurdity. Thence, the necessary falsity Pearcey and others have pointed to.

But in reality, rational, responsible, conscience-compass bearing consciousness is our first undeniable empirical fact. The fact through which we perceive all others.

This is the familiar extraordinary phenomenon, the pivot on which the project of building a sound worldview turns. In effect, unless a worldview is compatible with our being responsible, reasonable, conscience-guided and significantly free beings, it cannot even sit to the table for a discussion of comparative difficulties. It is silenced by being inconsistent with rationality. It is patently, irretrievably absurd and necessarily false. (Evo mat and fellow traveller ideologies, I am looking straight at you.)>>

So, we have to first face mindedness and the limitations of computational substrates.

178, >>

FFT6A: Last evening, in FFT5, we looked at the familiar extraordinary; it is almost amusing to see how this has been almost studiously pushed aside. One hopes that the latest focus for hyperskeptical dismissiveness, heptades, will now settle down.

At this point, we have to deal with a key conclusion in 153:

. . . a physicalist account of mindedness (much less, guidance by light of conscience) faces an ugly, impassable gulch.

In effect, rocks — even refined and carefully organised rocks — have no dreams; computation is not intentional contemplation.

At this point, evolutionary materialism and its fellow travellers — and nope you cannot properly, conveniently open up rhetorical daylight between some vague agnosticism and full-blown evo mat to deflect this — face an impassable gulch.

One, that brings out what was already highlighted: mindedness, consciousness, reasoned inference and conscience’s compass-pointing alike are all reduced to grand delusion on evo mat premises.

Grand delusion would collapse responsible, rational freedom and so falls into irretrievable incoherence and absurdity. Thence, the necessary falsity Pearcey and others have pointed to.

But in reality, rational, responsible, conscience-compass bearing consciousness is our first undeniable empirical fact. The fact through which we perceive all others.

This is the familiar extraordinary phenomenon, the pivot on which the project of building a sound worldview turns. In effect, unless a worldview is compatible with our being responsible, reasonable, conscience-guided and significantly free beings, it cannot even sit to the table for a discussion of comparative difficulties. It is silenced by being inconsistent with rationality. It is patently, irretrievably absurd and necessarily false. (Evo mat and fellow traveller ideologies, I am looking straight at you.)

What sort of world do we have to live in for there to be creatures like us?

That’s rather like a point R W Hamming made in addressing a thought exercise that counter-balances one of the mythical paradigm cases of empirical investigation, the dropping of a musket-ball and a cannon-ball from the famous leaning tower of Pisa. And yes, the very same News who so many hyperskeptics sneer at brought this to attention:

Let us next consider Galileo. Not too long ago I was trying to put myself in Galileo’s shoes, as it were, so that I might feel how he came to discover the law of falling bodies. I try to do this kind of thing so that I can learn to think like the masters did-I deliberately try to think as they might have done.

Well, Galileo was a well-educated man and a master of scholastic arguments. He well knew how to argue the number of angels on the head of a pin [–> which is actually about location vs extension], how to argue both sides of any question. He was trained in these arts far better than any of us these days. I picture him sitting one day with a light and a heavy ball, one in each hand, and tossing them gently. He says, hefting them, “It is obvious to anyone that heavy objects fall faster than light ones-and, anyway, Aristotle says so.” “But suppose,” he says to himself, having that kind of a mind, “that in falling the body broke into two pieces. Of course the two pieces would immediately slow down to their appropriate speeds. But suppose further that one piece happened to touch the other one. Would they now be one piece and both speed up? Suppose I tied the two pieces together. How tightly must I do it to make them one piece? A light string? A rope? Glue? When are two pieces one?”

The more he thought about it-and the more you think about it-the more unreasonable becomes the question of when two bodies are one. There is simply no reasonable answer to the question of how a body knows how heavy it is-if it is one piece, or two, or many. Since falling bodies do something, the only possible thing is that they all fall at the same speed-unless interfered with by other forces. There’s nothing else they can do. He may have later made some experiments, but I strongly suspect that something like what I imagined actually happened. I later found a similar story in a book by Polya [7. G. Polya, Mathematical Methods in Science, MAA, 1963, pp. 83-85.]. Galileo found his law not by experimenting but by simple, plain thinking, by scholastic reasoning.

I know that the textbooks often present the falling body law as an experimental observation; I am claiming that it is a logical law, a consequence of how we tend to think . . .

Coherence, factual adequacy and elegantly balanced explanatory power are far more powerful tools than, often, we are wont to believe. Indeed, the thought experiment was a favourite analytical tool for Einstein, and it was pivotal to the rise of Relativity. As in, taking a ride on a beam of light.

This ties back to the view that mathematics is substantially the logic of structure and quantity, which we may freely explore because we are responsibly and rationally significantly free.>>

Again: What sort of world do we have to live in for there to be creatures like us?

219, >>April 12, 2017 at 9:23 pm

FFT6B: At 178 above, we looked at a key question for comparative difficulties analysis:

What sort of world do we have to live in for there to be creatures like us?

This surfaces a key issue, that two truths x and y must be such that we never have y = NOT-x; that is in a coherent world all true statements — those that accurately describe facets of reality — will be mutually compatible. I note this, fully recognising that for many, this is actually quite a difficult point today; as, various ideologies have led to a conflation of truth with perception or opinion. Hence, a conversation I had today that turned on the concept, “my truth.” Language decay is an old problem, and Orwell pointed out what could be done through new-speak and double-talk. How many are two plus two, Mr Smith?

My answer was and is, that we already have perfectly adequate words for opinions and perceptions; so, there is no need to corrupt the meaning of the precious or even vital word, truth. The truth — as Ari noted long ago in Metaphysics 1011b — says of what is that it is, and of what is not that it is not.

This in turn brings us to the question of being and non-being, of possible and impossible being, of contingent and necessary being. Thus, of causal roots of the world, of reality. And it points to the issue of possible worlds: comprehensive enough descriptions of how things could be or are.

Impossible beings such as a square circle cannot exist in any possible world. As, core characteristics stand in mutual contradiction and cannot hold of the same thing, X, under the same circumstances. Here, squarishness and circularity.

By contrast, possible beings could exist in at least one possible world. Contingent ones would not do so in all possible worlds but would exist in at least one. I think, in 100 years there will be unicorns, as biotech will be there and people will be willing to pay to have one. Just as we seem to be seeing ever more miniature sized horses already.

Necessary beings must exist in any possible world, as they are frameworking requisites of a world existing. For instance, two-ness or distinct identity (equivalent) must be there for a distinct world to be. This is non-trivial, as distinct identity has three immediate corollaries: Law of Identity, Law of Excluded Middle, Law of Non-Contradiction.

That is, core logic is built into any possible world; including of course the logic of structure and quantity, i.e. mathematical realities. (NB: We already see here, a key reason for the awesome power of Mathematics in our world and especially in scientific work. [So much for the sneer that this thread has little or no relevance to Science.])

Back to us, as being able to significantly freely discuss our concerns responsibly and rationally, and having an inner compass-sense that insistently points to the truth and the right — conscience.

What sort of world must this be to allow such. and what must be in its frameworking structure?

First, we already saw that the denial of responsible, rational, significant freedom lets grand delusion loose and instantly ends in absurdity. Self-evidently, this is a world in which responsibly rational and significantly free, morally governed creatures are possible and in fact actual.

That’s already a huge result and it sweeps away all worldviews — their name is legion — that are incompatible with such creatures. This of course includes evolutionary materialistic scientism, its fellow travellers, radical subjectivism and radical relativism. (Cf. the chain of comments here on, above.)

Next, we face the implication of the IS-OUGHT gap, on many levels. A world with moral government has to be such that OUGHT is well-rooted in the fabric and framework of reality. Post Hume et al and post Euthyphro et al, that can only be in the very root of reality, i.e. there must be a necessary being that so fuses IS-ness and OUGHT-ness, that they are inextricably entangled in the roots of reality.

What sort of being is capable of such?

The answer is utterly challenging, and I have long thought it is best posed in light of comparative difficulties and worldview level inference to the best candidate explanation.

We need to look at serious candidates (as opposed to something like a flying spaghetti monster, which will not be a necessary being — made up from bits and pieces, i.e. composite.)

There is just one serious candidate, after centuries of debate: the inherently good Creator God, a necessary and maximally great being, worthy of loyalty and the responsible, reasonable service of doing the good in accord with our evident nature (thus, the law of our nature).

This is not an arbitrary imposition, if you doubt, simply put up a viable alternative: ________ (this is after all comparative difficulties analysis).

Prediction: hard to do.

This also has a further highly relevant implication. For a serious candidate necessary being will either be impossible as a square circle is, or else it will be possible thus would exist in at least one world. And, as it would be a frameworking reality, it would be present in every possible world, including our own — an actual world. (And yes, I am not saying THE actual world.)

The God of ethical theism as described, is a serious candidate [e.g. NB’s have no beginning or end, are eternal]. This means that God is either impossible as a square circle is impossible, or he is actual. And decades ago, the problem of evils used to be trotted out to make that argument, but that option is effectively dead post-Plantinga and in fact post Boethius.

Then, too, if one claims to be an atheist or agnostic, s/he implies knowing good reason to doubt or dismiss the God of ethical theism as impossible even as a square circle is impossible. It would be interesting to hear what such a reason is: _______ (esp. post, problem of evils as a serious view as opposed to a handy piece of intimidatory rhetoric).

So, now, we are at a very important threshold, the God of ethical theism is on the table as a serious candidate necessary being, root of reality that grounds a world in which responsibly and rationally free creatures such as ourselves are possible and indeed actual.

That is a momentous turning-point, and it would be interesting to see if we will hear of the viable alternatives, including reasons why such a God is an impossible being.>>

Of course, these two blanks were never ever filled in cogently. So:

234, >>April 14, 2017 at 2:02 am

FFT6C: It is worth noting the unresponsiveness to 219 and 178 above, especially at the points where objectors were directly invited to put up alternatives.

We can take it to the bank that UD is obsessively monitored by denizens of a penumbra of hostile sites. Denizens, more than willing to pounce when they see opportunity.

In short, the above blanks left unanswered speak to yet another hovering ghost or three in the room.

Here, first, the point that there is no necessary appeal to design inferences and debates to build a case for ethical theism adequate to ground commitment to such.

Second, that the atheistical objectors and their fellow travellers have no cogent answer to the need for a necessary being root to reality, nor to the point that the God of ethical theism is a serious candidate to be such (by utter contrast with the cartoonish flying spaghetti monster etc), nor to the onward point that such a serious candidate will be either ontologically impossible [as a square circle is impossible] or else will be actual.

Third, they have no cogent answer to the significance of the point that just to have a real discussion, we must implicitly accept that we are responsible, reasonable, significantly free and intelligent beings under moral government. Not least, conscience is the compass within pointing to the truth, the right and our duties of care towards such. Undermining this dimension of conscious mindedness by implying it is delusional lets grand delusion loose in our minds, ending in shipwreck.

So, we can see that the evo mat scientism picture of the world falls apart, and that there is no need to go out of our way to accommodate it. It is self-referentially incoherent and so self-falsifying.

Nor, should we yield to the trend to corrupt the concept, truth. (That, too, is part of the benumbing and warping of conscience, as say Orwell brought out so forcefully in his 1984.)

The astute onlooker will also note that we have had a worldviews discussion, not one pivoting on parsing Bible texts. Though, I have noted that this analysis is compatible with at least one key summary argument in Scripture, one that points to this sort of analysis as valid on the whole if soundly done.

Let me clip:

Rom 1:18 For [God does not overlook sin and] the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who in their wickedness suppress and stifle the truth, 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them [in their inner consciousness], for God made it evident to them.

20 For ever since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through His workmanship [all His creation, the wonderful things that He has made], so that they [who fail to believe and trust in Him] are without excuse and without defense.

21 For even though [d]they knew God [as the Creator], they did not [e]honor Him as God or give thanks [for His wondrous creation]. On the contrary, they became worthless in their thinking [godless, with pointless reasonings, and silly speculations], and their foolish heart was darkened.

22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory and majesty and excellence of the immortal God for [f]an image [worthless idols] in the shape of mortal man and birds and four-footed animals and reptiles.

24 Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their own hearts to [sexual] impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them [abandoning them to the degrading power of sin], 25 because [by choice] they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen . . . .

28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God or consider Him worth knowing [as their Creator], God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do things which are improper and repulsive, 29 until they were filled (permeated, saturated) with every kind of unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice and mean-spiritedness. They are gossips [spreading rumors], 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors [of new forms] of evil, disobedient and disrespectful to parents, 31 without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful [without pity]. [AMP]

The passage goes on to highlight how the warping of mind and conscience ends up in a topsy-turvy world that approves evil and by implication disapproves the good. That alludes subtly to another text, from the prophet Isaiah:

Isa 5:18 Woe (judgment is coming) to those who drag along wickedness with cords of falsehood,
And sin as if with cart ropes [towing their own punishment];
19 Who say, “Let Him move speedily, let Him expedite His work [His promised vengeance], so that we may see it;
And let the purpose of the Holy One of Israel approach
And come to pass, so that we may know it!”

20 Woe (judgment is coming) to those who call evil good, and good evil;
Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness;
Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!
21 Woe (judgment is coming) to those who are wise in their own eyes
And clever and shrewd in their own sight! [AMP]

This summary rings all too sadly true as we look out across the moral wasteland of our largely apostate civilisation that has so often deliberately turned its back on the truth and has refused to endure sound instruction. Instead, we have ever so often chosen to go out in the ways of cleverly constructed errors, leading many astray into ruin.

Given an onward exchange, I think I should note from Eta Linnemann on the undermining of theology:

Theology as it is taught in universities all over the world . . . is based on the historical-critical method . . . . [which] is not just the foundation for the exegetical disciplines. It also decides what the systematician can say . . . It determines procedure in Christian education, homiletics and ethics . . . . Research is conducted ut si Deus non daretur (“as if there were no God”). That means the reality of God is excluded from consideration from the start . . . Statements in Scripture regarding place, time, sequences of events and persons are accepted only insofar as they fit in with established assumptions and theories . . . .

Since other religions have their scriptures, one cannot assume the Bible is somehow unique and superior to them . . . . It is taken for granted that the words of the Bible and God’s word are not identical . . . the New Testament is pitted against the Old Testament, assuming that the God of the New Testament is different from that of the Old, since Jesus is said to have introduced a new concept of God . . . . Since the inspiration of Scripture is not accepted, neither can it be assumed that the individual books of Scripture complement each other. Using this procedure one finds in the Bible only a handful of unrelated literary creations . . . . Since the content of biblical writings is seen as merely the creation of theological writers, any given verse is nothing more than a non-binding, human theological utterance.

For historical-critical theology, critical reason decides what is reality in the Bible and what cannot be reality; and this decision is made on the basis of the everyday experience accessible to every person [i.e. the miraculous aspect of Scripture, and modern reports of miracles — regardless of claimed attestation — are dismissed as essentially impossible to verify and/or as merely “popular religious drivel”] . . . . . Due to the presuppositions that are adopted, critical reason loses sight of the fact that the Lord, our God, the Almighty, reigns. [Historical Criticism of the Bible: Methodology or Ideology? (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1993), pp. 83 – 88 as excerpted.]

There is nothing in historical-critical theology that has not already made its appearance in philosophy. Bacon (1561 – 1626), Hobbes (1588 – 1679), Descartes (1596 – 1650), and Hume (1711 – 1776) laid the foundations: inductive thought as the only source of knowledge; denial of revelation; monistic worldview; separation of faith and reason; doubt as the foundation of knowledge. Hobbes and Hume established a thoroughgoing criticism of miracles; Spinoza (1632 – 1677) also helped lay the basis for biblical criticism of both Old and New Testaments. Lessing (1729 – 1781) invented the synoptic problem. Kant’s (1724 – 1804) critique of reason became the basic norm for historical-critical theology. Hegel (1770 – 1831) furnished the means for the process of demythologizing that Rudolph Bultmann (1884 – 1976) would effectively implement a century later – after the way had been prepared by Martin Kähler (1835 – 1912).

Kierkegaard (1813 – 1855) . . . reduced faith to a leap that left rationality behind. He cemented the separation of faith and reason and laid the groundwork for theology’s departure from biblical moorings . . . . by writing such criticism off as benign . . . .

Heidegger (1889 – 1976) laid the groundwork for reducing Christian faith to a possibility of self-understanding; he also had considerable influence on Bultmann’s theology. From Karl Marx . . . came theology of hope, theology of revolution, theology of liberation. [Biblical Criticism on Trial (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel, 2001), pp. 178 – 9.]

Another text has haunted me for months as I have pondered the path of our all too patently willfully perverse civilisation:

1 John 2:15 Do not love the world [of sin that opposes God and His precepts], nor the things that are in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the lust and sensual craving of the flesh and the lust and longing of the eyes and the boastful pride of life [pretentious confidence in one’s resources or in the stability of earthly things]—these do not come from the Father, but are from the world. 17 The world is passing away, and with it its lusts [the shameful pursuits and ungodly longings]; but the one who does the will of God and carries out His purposes lives forever.

18 Children, it is the last hour [the end of this age]; and just as you heard that the antichrist is coming [the one who will oppose Christ and attempt to replace Him], even now many antichrists (false teachers) have appeared, which confirms our belief that it is the last hour.

19 They went out from us [seeming at first to be Christians], but they were not really of us [because they were not truly born again and spiritually transformed]; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out [teaching false doctrine], so that it would be clearly shown that none of them are of us.

20 But you have an anointing from the Holy One [you have been set apart, specially gifted and prepared by the Holy Spirit], and all of you know [the truth because He teaches us, illuminates our minds, and guards us from error]. 21 I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it, and because no lie [nothing false, no deception] is of the truth.

22 Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed)?

This is the antichrist [the enemy and antagonist of Christ], the one who denies and consistently refuses to acknowledge the Father and the Son. 23 Whoever denies and repudiates the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses and acknowledges the Son has the Father also.

24 As for you, let that remain in you [keeping in your hearts that message of salvation] which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning remains in you, you too will remain in the Son and in the Father [forever].

25 This is the promise which He Himself promised us—eternal life.

26 These things I have written to you with reference to those who are trying to deceive you [seducing you and leading you away from the truth and sound doctrine]. 27 As for you, the anointing [the special gift, the preparation] which you received from Him remains [permanently] in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you. But just as His anointing teaches you [giving you insight through the presence of the Holy Spirit] about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as His anointing has taught you, [c]you must remain in Him [being rooted in Him, knit to Him]. [AMP]

In the end, that is the diagnosis, and the answer to the spirit of our age.>>

Now, why should we reject these diagnostic notes, given something like this from Plato 2350+ years past in The Laws, Bk X:

247, >>Plato, on the warping of the moral compass and where it leads a community i/l/o the collapse of Athens:

Ath [in The Laws, Bk X 2,350+ ya]. . . .[The avant garde philosophers and poets, c. 360 BC] say that fire and water, and earth and air [i.e the classical “material” elements of the cosmos], all exist by nature and chance, and none of them by art . . . [such that] all that is in the heaven, as well as animals and all plants, and all the seasons come from these elements, not by the action of mind, as they say, or of any God, or from art, but as I was saying, by nature and chance only [ –> that is, evolutionary materialism is ancient and would trace all things to blind chance and mechanical necessity] . . . .

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

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

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

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

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

But isn’t all this just an excuse to dress up right-wing fundy theocratic Christofascist totalitarianism in a cheap tuxedo?

No.

252, >>April 15, 2017 at 2:59 am

Of Lemmings, marches of folly and cliffs of self-falsifying absurdity . . .

FFT7: But, isn’t the whole exercise of a pretended ID science an attempt to dress up dubious religion in scientific clothes, with intent to impose onward some sort of right-wing Christofascist theocratic tyranny that for instance robs women of their “rights” to their own bodies — and maybe would gaol them for even a miscarriage? Etc?

I am of course outlining a summary of trends of strawman caricature argument commonly encountered over the years.

A serious-minded glance above will rapidly demonstrate that the main discussion I have made so far under the FFT theme, has been PHILOSOPHICAL, not theological, first and foremost setting the worldviews comparative difficulties context for discussion. It is in that context that I then proceeded to show why evolutionary materialistic scientism and fellow travellers have been tried and found wanting as inherently incoherent, self-falsifying, necessarily false views. They cannot get us to a responsibly, rationally free, morally governed, warranting, knowing mind. So they fail the test of our being able to have a rationally guided discussion.

It will be quite evident above, that active objectors and those lurking from the penumbra of attack sites, have no real answer to this. That’s not new, I have seen that for years at UD and for decades elsewhere. Before me, the point traces back to the likes of Plantinga, C S Lewis and even leading evolutionary theorist J B S Haldane.

He aptly says:

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

I invite the reasonable onlooker to scan above and see for himself, if there is a cogent answer forthcoming from the usual objectors or their backers across the Internet.

The truth will be evident, there is no non-incoherent evolutionary materialistic account of mindedness.

As for the associated amorality, radical relativism and reduction to nihilistic might and manipulation make ‘truth’ ‘right’ etc, that unanswered problem has been on record for 2350+ years, from Plato’s reflections i/l/o the collapse of Athens. If you want to see an example of the sort of misleadership that that toxic brew spews up, try Alcibiades as case study no. 1.

Resemblance to recent history is no coincidence, try out his parable of the mutinous ship of state.

Look above, to see if you can find a serious-minded grappling with such momentous issues and their implications. Try out the penumbra of attack sites. You will soon see why I have long been concerned about a civilisation-level march of ruinous folly that manipulates the public and democratic institutions only to lead us over the cliff. Luke’s real-world ship of state microcosm in Ac 27 should — should! — give us pause.

As one simple example I note that the right to life is the first, foremost, gateway right and so a civilisation that systematically dehumanises its posterity in the womb and warps medicine, nursing, pharmacy, law, law enforcement, government, education, media and more to promote and protect the holocaust of 800+ millions in 40+ years (and mounting up at a million per week now), is corrupting its soul through blood guilt, is utterly warping conscience to do so, and is wrecking the ability to even simply think straight and live by the truth and the right. It is setting itself up to be a plague upon the earth that morally taints the land, which will vomit us out.

If we do not repent of our bloody, soul-wrecking folly as a civilisation, we will ruin ourselves. And, whatever emerges from the bloody chaos and dark age to follow, will not see freedom as an important value, as liberty turned to libertinism and wicked, blood-guilty licence.

Yes, I am out and out saying we have become the enemies of sustainable liberty under just law that duly balances rights, freedoms and responsibilities.

If you want a personal motive, there it is. I come from a nation that wrecked its prospects for generations through irresponsible, wicked misleadership, agit prop, media shadow shows and blood shed. That includes a murdered auntie.

I know the hard way, that the lessons of sound history wee bought with blood and tears. Those who refuse to heed them doom themselves to pay the same coin over and over again in their futile folly.

(I have said as much, many times, but no. Those hell-bent on folly have to project garish caricatures unto those who dare stand athwart the path heading over the cliff and cry out, no.)

Anyway, the reader will simply not find a sober-minded response to such concerns.

After this, I set about a sounder foundation, several days ago now, which was of course studiously ignored. This was elaborated through pondering what sort of world has to be here for there to be creatures like us, then followed up.

All, studiously ignored in a rush to set up and knock over conveniently loaded straw men.

Let me clip key points from the last, FFT6C:

It is worth noting the unresponsiveness to 219 and 178 above, especially at the points where objectors were directly invited to put up alternatives.

We can take it to the bank that UD is obsessively monitored by denizens of a penumbra of hostile sites. Denizens, more than willing to pounce when they see opportunity.

In short, the above blanks left unanswered speak to yet another hovering ghost or three in the room.

Here, first, the point that there is no necessary appeal to design inferences and debates to build a case for ethical theism adequate to ground commitment to such.

Second, that the atheistical objectors and their fellow travellers have no cogent answer to the need for a necessary being root to reality, nor to the point that the God of ethical theism is a serious candidate to be such (by utter contrast with the cartoonish flying spaghetti monster etc), nor to the onward point that such a serious candidate will be either ontologically impossible [as a square circle is impossible] or else will be actual.

Third, they have no cogent answer to the significance of the point that just to have a real discussion, we must implicitly accept that we are responsible, reasonable, significantly free and intelligent beings under moral government. Not least, conscience is the compass within pointing to the truth, the right and our duties of care towards such. Undermining this dimension of conscious mindedness by implying it is delusional lets grand delusion loose in our minds, ending in shipwreck.

So, we can see that the evo mat scientism picture of the world falls apart, and that there is no need to go out of our way to accommodate it. It is self-referentially incoherent and so self-falsifying.

Nor, should we yield to the trend to corrupt the concept, truth. (That, too, is part of the benumbing and warping of conscience, as say Orwell brought out so forcefully in his 1984.)

The astute onlooker will also note that we have had a worldviews discussion, not one pivoting on parsing Bible texts . . .

It will then be no surprise to see that the grounding of ethical theism as a responsible worldview (by utter contrast with the radically self-falsifying and amoral evolutionary materialistic scientism and fellow travellers) does not turn on design inferences on empirical signs such as FSCO/I.

Evo mat scientism and fellow travellers are utterly incompatible with the responsible, rational freedom required to have a serious, fact and logic guided discussion seeking understanding of the truth. It rules itself out so soon as we must have a serious discussion.

We then address on comparative difficulties, how can we have a world with beings such as we are.

That takes us through the IS-OUGHT gap to issues of being and non-being and rootedness of a world with moral government. Which, repeat, is a condition of serious discussion.

That points to the only serious candidate for such a root, after centuries of debate. Candidate X was duly laid out, and the open invitation was given to put forth a comparable candidate Y that does not instantly collapse.

Silence.

Silence, for good reason: something like the flying spaghetti monster is simply not serious, never mind its appallingly common rhetorical use by those who should know a lot better.

Then, a second invitation to comparative difficulties discussion was given: part of X’s bill of requisites is necessary being. A serious candidate NB either is impossible (as a square circle is impossible) or it is actual.

The challenge was given, break X’s candidacy.

Silence, again.

So — as X = the inherently good creator God of ethical theism, a necessary and maximally great being worthy of loyalty and the reasonable, responsible service of doing the good in accord with our evident nature — it is clear that there is a very good warrant to adhere to ethical theism as a worldview.

Without even engaging design theory debates.

A point that needed to be put up on the table and warranted.

Which, it has.

That’s why at 220 and henceforth, I could freely write:

you will see the stage of argument in FFT6B just above. I wonder what our well-informed skeptical interlocutors will put up as alternatives? Especially, noting that THERE IS NO DESIGN INFERENCE in the argument to date, i.e. the design inference as such is demonstrably not an inherent, inextricable part of an argument to God as root of reality. Where, note, the case I am arguing here is not based in Scripture though it is compatible with it — truths will be compatible the one with the other. And of course, contrary to the talking points I heard today, the God of ethical theism is not automatically the devil, the author of evils and confusions.

Why then has there been such a hot debate over design, and why has it been laced with accusations about creationism in a cheap tuxedo and the like?

Simple: evolutionary materialistic scientism, from the outset in modern times [this is demonstrable historic fact], has tried to come up with a designer substitute that would plausibly put the creator-God out of a job. The idea is that if the world of life and onward the physical cosmos can be explained on naturalistic grounds, the perception of design can be dismissed while wearing the holy lab coat, and belief in God can eventually be made to seem to be the resort of the ignorant, stupid, insane or wicked.

That rhetorical stratagem has worked and has become institutionalised.

But at a terrible price.

First, it is ill-founded and credibly false, erecting falsity as the yardstick for judging truth. Where, science first and foremost must seek to discover the empirically grounded truth about our world.

Ill-founded, as there are credible, empirically warranted signs of design, which are copiously found in the world of life and in the structure of the cosmos.

Design theory is the empirically and analytically grounded scientific investigation of such signs, which in fact are not too hard to find. Start with the algorithmically functional text in DNA and the execution machinery of the cell that puts it to work. (This points to OOL and OO body plans. Design is evident in the tree of life from the roots up.)

Likewise, the corruption of science from definitions and outlines of its methods on up makes blatant falsity into the yardstick to judge truth by. Truth cannot pass the test of agreement with relevant falsity, and so the ideological imposition of evolutionary materialistic scientism inherently corrupts a pivotal institution of our civilisation.

So, those who hope to build a sound future will be found on the side of needed reformation of tainted science.

In that context, freed science can then return to its true path.

Such is being ruthlessly resisted because it threatens entrenched worldviews and power interests in many institutions. But, the only way to defend institutionalised and fairly obvious falsity is by means that cannot stand the cold light of truth, facts and logic. That is why we find the distortions, strawman tactics, stalking, stereotyping and scapegoating.

All of which are utterly corrosive to liberty, not just academic freedom.

And so, the time has come to find where one stands, why, even as our civilisation descends into chaos, confusion, folly, bizarre agendas and outright blood guilt all around us.

We stand at kairos.>>

We are at kairos, in the face of a civilisation hell-bent on a march of folly. It is time to think again, soberly. END

Comments
F/N: I have responded on points here: https://uncommondescent.com/atheism/fft-charles-unmasks-the-anti-id-trollish-tactic-of-attacking-god-christian-values-and-worldview-themes/#comment-632103 KFkairosfocus
May 21, 2017
May
05
May
21
21
2017
08:56 AM
8
08
56
AM
PST
I understand that you, and others in the past (Plato, Cicero, et al) believe that morality has an objective core. I also think we agree that human beings act morally, and often care about improving the world. Where we disagree, as I repeat in order to focus the discussion, is that I don't believe the root-level of reality contains an objective core of OUGHT: my belief is that our moral sense is part of our localized humanity and is up to us to exercise through our choices. And the really key issue I want you to address is that I don't believe the worldview I am describing is incoherent and self-refuting. I accept that a theistic worldview is a logical possibility, and is affirmed by millions of people (although in many different forms). I claim an IS without an OUGHT, is also a logical possibility as an explanation for our world and the human condition.jdk
May 20, 2017
May
05
May
20
20
2017
05:43 AM
5
05
43
AM
PST
JDK, here is a 101 level discussion as to why I hold that. Notice, how I start with a yardstick, self-evident truth case. Once there are such truths, morality has an objective core, period. KF PS: Notice the young Cicero in his De Legibus, where justice is inherently a moral issue implying that the foundations of law are moral:
—Marcus [in de Legibus, introductory remarks,. C1 BC]: . . . the subject of our present discussion . . . comprehends the universal principles of equity and law. In such a discussion therefore on the great moral law of nature, the practice of the civil law can occupy but an insignificant and subordinate station. For according to our idea, we shall have to explain the true nature of moral justice, which is congenial and correspondent [36]with the true nature of man. We shall have to examine those principles of legislation by which all political states should be governed. And last of all, shall we have to speak of those laws and customs which are framed for the use and convenience of particular peoples, which regulate the civic and municipal affairs of the citizens, and which are known by the title of civil laws. Quintus. —You take a noble view of the subject, my brother, and go to the fountain–head of moral truth, in order to throw light on the whole science of jurisprudence: while those who confine their legal studies to the civil law too often grow less familiar with the arts of justice than with those of litigation. Marcus. —Your observation, my Quintus, is not quite correct. It is not so much the science of law that produces litigation, as the ignorance of it, (potius ignoratio juris litigiosa est quam scientia) . . . . With respect to the true principle of justice, many learned men have maintained that it springs from Law. I hardly know if their opinion be not correct, at least, according to their own definition; for “Law (say they) is the highest reason, implanted in nature, which prescribes those things which ought to be done, and forbids the contrary.” This, they think, is apparent from the converse of the proposition; because this same reason, when it [37]is confirmed and established in men’s minds, is the law of all their actions. They therefore conceive that the voice of conscience is a law, that moral prudence is a law, whose operation is to urge us to good actions, and restrain us from evil ones. They think, too, that the Greek name for law (NOMOS), which is derived from NEMO, to distribute, implies the very nature of the thing, that is, to give every man his due. [--> this implies a definition of justice as the due balance of rights, freedoms and responsibilities] For my part, I imagine that the moral essence of law is better expressed by its Latin name, (lex), which conveys the idea of selection or discrimination. According to the Greeks, therefore, the name of law implies an equitable distribution of goods: according to the Romans, an equitable discrimination between good and evil. The true definition of law should, however, include both these characteristics. And this being granted as an almost self–evident proposition, the origin of justice is to be sought in the divine law of eternal and immutable morality. This indeed is the true energy of nature, the very soul and essence of wisdom, the test of virtue and vice.
PPS: Please note, I am speaking to the dimension of our conscious, minded, self-moved existence that we term conscience. I am not implying that every impulse is right (moral error patently exists), but that on the whole, as responsibly and rationally free creatures, our moral sense in core aspects is detecting and responding to truths tied to the value of those who are as we are, and our fellow creatures and world, thus our individual and collective stewardship. PPPS: As I find time, I will comment on your worldview thoughts. So, pardon, later, I am multitasking.kairosfocus
May 20, 2017
May
05
May
20
20
2017
01:50 AM
1
01
50
AM
PST
Eugen writes,
This is more of a thought experiment but I’m curious how would you attempt engaged approach if you were to meet cannibal tribe?
This is really too hypothetical to consider. One random Western man such as me isn't going to go in and have any influence on a cannibal tribe. But just today I read this out of Isabella Bird's book on Japan. She had just spent a week or so living with very primitive people, the Ainu, who she liked because they were warm, calm, good-natured, respectful, and otherwise pleasant people. However, their religion, which was vague and animistic, involved continually drinking the alcoholic beverage sake as part of their daily religious rituals. Isabella was a Christian and daughter of a preacher, but was very non-judgmental when travelling in foreign lands. However, the constant drinking bothered her. So, right before leaving,
“I inveighed to the assembled Ainos against the practice and consequences of sake-drinking, and was met with the reply, "We must drink to the gods, or we shall die;" but Pipichari [one of the few Ainu who didn't drink] said, "You say that which is good; let us give sake to the gods, but not drink it," for which bold speech he was severely rebuked by Benri [the chief].” So, she saw behavior that she considered immoral in people she liked and cared for. She let them know her thoughts, but was not really in any position to have much of an impact, as the behavior in question was absolutely central to important aspects of the Ainu culture. Excerpt From: Isabella L. Bird. “Unbeaten Tracks in Japan.” iBooks.
Also, more importantly, you write,
Also, if I remember correctly you are a taoist. I think taoist allows things to go their way or unfold naturally. I don’t see taoist as judgemental person.
This is not my understanding of Taoism. Living in harmony with the state of affairs is a goal of Taoist living, but that means that sometimes one must act decisively, and sometimes not: unfolding naturally does not preclude either decisive action or judgment, because sometimes that is what needs to unfold. My understanding of Taoism, which I have explained is idiosyncratic and not formal in any way, coupled with my existentialistic bent, is that one adjusts one's actions to the needs of a situation, constantly choosing and balancing multiple perspectives. My understanding of Taoism is that it is definitely not a laissez faire, que sera sera, philosophy.jdk
May 19, 2017
May
05
May
19
19
2017
08:05 PM
8
08
05
PM
PST
Jdk Anthropology and linguistics are interesting to me but unfortunately I don't have time to study it :-( This is more of a thought experiment but I'm curious how would you attempt engaged approach if you were to meet cannibal tribe? Also, if I remember correctly you are a taoist. I think taoist allows things to go their way or unfold naturally. I don't see taoist as judgemental person.Eugen
May 19, 2017
May
05
May
19
19
2017
07:00 PM
7
07
00
PM
PST
kf writes,
That (a sense of outghtness)is a commonplace of human experience. It is significant that you seem to struggle with such a commonplace of experience. KF
If is significant to me that you seem to struggle with the fact that I have acknowledged, numerous times, that I very much accept the sense of oughtness as a "commonplace of human experience". What I don't accept that this implies an OUGHT at the metaphysical root-level of reality. All you have to do is read the first part of 301 above to see that. Do you actually read my posts?jdk
May 19, 2017
May
05
May
19
19
2017
03:21 PM
3
03
21
PM
PST
JDK, the sense of oughtness clearly points to duties and tugs us back from going off track. The sense is that we face an obligation, and to do otherwise is a breach. That is a commonplace of human experience. It is significant that you seem to struggle with such a commonplace of experience. KF PS: It is entirely appropriate to cite case studies showing that fairly prominent intellectuals do in fact openly state or imply that our sense of being morally governed is delusional.kairosfocus
May 19, 2017
May
05
May
19
19
2017
02:59 PM
2
02
59
PM
PST
First, kf, I responded to your comment in the other thread. Second, you write,
It is indisputable fact that our reasonings, decisions and actions are haunted by the consideration of oughtness. Indeed, underlying your own argument is, that you expect us to be bound by the oughtness of truth etc. Now, that sense tells us plainly, we are under law.
I agree with your first paragraph, as I have said a number of times. I disagree with your second sentence. This sense of "ought" does NOT tell me plainly we are "under law." I have explained a number of times that I believe that making and living by normative beliefs, moral and otherwise, is a part of our social and psychological nature. This does not mean that there is some outside source, rooted in the fundamentals of the universe, that relates in any way to our normative nature. That is where we disagree. I have also pointed out that your black-and-white view that either one believes in a root level OUGHT or one is delusional is wrong, and I have presented my view (see 178) as an alternative which I don't believe is delusional. You write,
If you doubt this, simply put up another candidate and show that it does not lead to an incoherent, self-defeating picture. Where, anything that implies that our sense of moral government is delusional will be so burdened.
I have put up another candidate. Your ability to assess my position is nullified by your dichotomous and circular position that any denial of a root-level OUGHT is delusional, incoherent, and self-defeating. However, your reason for that judgment is simply that any other position denies the assumption upon which your judgment is based. The position I outline in 178 is a valid alternative to theism. I don't expect you, of course, to agree with it, but I don't think you can dismiss it as delusional. (And please don't bother to quote Wilson and Ruse to me. I don't agree with them and am not arguing for a position such as theirs, so their thoughts are irrelevant to my position.)jdk
May 19, 2017
May
05
May
19
19
2017
07:12 AM
7
07
12
AM
PST
Thanks for the reply, Eugen. FWIW, my original college degree was in cultural anthropology, so I have a long-time interest in the diversity of human cultures. You write,
Cannibal tribe has certain way of life established because they decided as a group what’s right and wrong. Therefore in their eyes they are doing just fine. Now we bring an outsider who can evaluate tribe’s behavior and perhaps decide it’s wrong. If outsider is a moral relativist how can he evaluate somebody’s behavior? In his view society of cannibals made collective decision that it’s just fine to kill and eat humans. Who are we to judge?
I think the two sentences I've bolded are the heart of the matter. I think I've made it clear that I believe that we can judge others. Just as I make choices about the principles I wish to live by (that is, judgments about my actions), I choose to evaluate the actions of others around me. My position is not a laissez faire approach to human interaction (or what you have called a "moral relativist" approach). My approach is an engaged approach, whereby I (this is my chosen attitude) owe it to the collective well-being of the world around me to judge the moral positions of others. I then choose at times to either support or oppose certain ones which I consider important enough, and for which I have the means to be effective. This should be clear: there is a vast range of moral issues, of varying importance, and so we all adopt a "live and let live" attitude towards some things and an "I can't accept that" attitude towards others. We are all judges. Making judgments is at the heart of what it is to be an actively engaged human being. This is one of the principles of the existentialism that I listed back at 286 when I made an effort to lablel and describe myself.jdk
May 19, 2017
May
05
May
19
19
2017
06:47 AM
6
06
47
AM
PST
JDK, It is noteworthy that we have had a significant and reasonable exchange, now across several threads. However, it seems to me that you are struggling with the logic of reductio, and the concept of self-evidence also by extension. No, it is not a matter of assumption begging the question at stake. it is indisputable fact that our reasonings, decisions and actions are haunted by the consideration of oughtness. Indeed, underlying your own argument is, that you expect us to be bound by the oughtness of truth etc. Now, that sense tells us plainly, we are under law, as say the young Cicero so eloquently outlined. (Cf 283 above.) This is a truth claim, i.e. it implies that there is an objective state of the world in which we are under genuine moral law suitable to the government of responsibly and rationally free creatures. Indeed, to be able to reason and argue, we need to e so governed, or else that is already a case of delusion at work, delusion that then spreads across our whole mental life, as we are then confronted with evidence of our thought life being tainted by delusion in such a way as to influence the whole course of thought, decision and action. So, to treat the moral gogernment of our responsible, rational conduct as delusional instantly has catastroiphic consequences. Nor it this just a matter of some IDiot commenter off in cyberspace. here is for example the inadvertent admission of Ruse and Wilson:
The time has come to take seriously the fact [--> This is a gross error at the outset, as macro-evolution is a theory (an explanation) about the unobserved past of origins and so cannot be a fact on the level of the observed roundness of the earth or the orbiting of planets around the sun etc.] that we humans are modified monkeys, not the favored Creation of a Benevolent God on the Sixth Day . . . We must think again especially about our so-called ‘ethical principles.’ The question is not whether biology—specifically, our evolution—is connected with ethics, but how. As evolutionists, we see that no justification of the traditional kind is possible. Morality, or more strictly our belief in morality, is merely an adaptation put in place to further our reproductive ends. Hence the basis of ethics does not lie in God’s will … In an important sense, ethics as we understand it is an illusion fobbed off on us by our genes to get us to cooperate. It is without external grounding… Ethics is illusory inasmuch as it persuades us that it has an objective reference. This is the crux of the biological position. Once it is grasped, everything falls into place.
[ --> And everything instantly falls apart as this would set grand delusion loose in our mental lives. Even logical reasoning is guided by the conscience-driven urge to truth, right and justice, so once such a grand delusion is let loose it undermines the general credibility of conscious mindedness, setting up a cascade of shadow-show worlds. The skeptical spider has enmeshed himself in his own web. Thus, any such scheme should be set aside as self-refuting.]
[Michael Ruse & E. O. Wilson, “The Evolution of Ethics,” Religion and the Natural Sciences: The Range of Engagement, , ed. J. E. Hutchingson, Orlando, Fl.:Harcourt and Brace, 1991. (NB: Cf. a separate discussion on the grounding of worldviews and ethics here on, which includes a specific discussion of the grounding of ethics and goes on to Biblical theism; having first addressed the roots of the modern evolutionary materialist mindset and its pretensions to the mantle of science. Also cf. here on for Plato's warning in The Laws, Bk X, on social consequences of the rise of such a view as the philosophy of the avant garde in a community.]
The reductio is real and it is not just on evo mat terms, anything that reduces moral governance to a delusion faces the same collapse. The alrternaticve is to accept ex falso quodlibet, and to say that the fact that we cannot but live as responsibly and rationally free creatures is itself evidence that is decisive that we are under moral government. This is the context in which we then ask, what sort of world must we inhabit for that to be the case? The sobering answer post-Hume is that here is only one place where such can be founded: the root of reality. That is we need a world-root IS capable of bearing the weight of OUGHT. For which there is after centuries of debates but one serious candidate, the inherently good creator God, a necessary and maximally great being, worthy of loyalty and the reasonable, responsible service of doing the good in accord with our evident nature. If you doubt this, simply put up another candidate and show that it does not lead to an incoherent, self-defeating picture. Where, anything that implies that our sense of moral government is delusional will be so burdened. Of course, "delusional" is a strong word, but it is the right one -- euphemisms as even Ruse and Wilson resorted to, will not do. KF PS: You may find Don Richardson's Peace Child a useful discussion of dealing with real cannibal cultures and finding a way of redemption and reform. Eugen's case is not hypothetical.kairosfocus
May 19, 2017
May
05
May
19
19
2017
01:29 AM
1
01
29
AM
PST
Hi jdk Kairos and others covered this before and in much better way...... cannibal tribe has certain way of life established because they decided as a group what's right and wrong. Therefore in their eyes they are doing just fine. Now we bring an outsider who can evaluate tribe's behavior and perhaps decide it's wrong. If outsider is a moral relativist how can he evaluate somebody's behavior? In his view society of cannibals made collective decision that it's just fine to kill and eat humans. Who are we to judge? I appreciate your anti war efforts, every little action helps but reality today is that many nations are still at war. I don't know what's the solution for that. You may appreciate our anti abortion efforts but in a similar way we don't know how much of this mess can we repair. I never read about Isabella Bird and her meeting with Ainu. They were not cannibals so that made it easier for her :-) I watched this documentary about meeting of different cultures by anthropologist Jean Pierre Dutilleux https://youtu.be/xd0I1xAICOcEugen
May 19, 2017
May
05
May
19
19
2017
12:37 AM
12
12
37
AM
PST
Hi Eugen. I think that would be dangerous! And that's a crusade I'be unlikely to take on, as one solitary man would be very unlikely to have any effect even if he tried. However, I have read some fascinating stories about explorers in Africa in the mid 1800's who tackled this problem. More seriously, large scale culture change is hard. It takes the effort of lots of people over time. Witness, to take a clear and non-controversial subject, segregation and the civil rights movements of the 60's, or, more controversially, the Vietnamese anti-war movement of the 60's. As a young man I became convinced that both those things were wrong. I had little opportunity to do anything about segregation in the town I lived in, but I played a somewhat larger role about the war in college, writing a long paper on the war, speaking on panels, teaching a Free University course, etc.. Those were tools I could bear on trying to influence people to either see something as wrong, or to up their level of concern enough that they to would work to change the situation. This type of constant interplay among people, with people expressing their moral choices through words and actions, and likewise expressing their judgments of other people's moral choices, creates a social dynamic that is sometimes quite stable (I am right now reading about Isabella Bird's visit to the Ainu people in northern Japan in the 1878, for whom everything is quite proscribed and hadn't changed for ages) and sometimes quite volatile (such as concerning LGBT issues in the US today.) So reform happens through dynamic sociological processes. All each one of us can do is both try to make the moral judgments we want to live by, and try to pick and choose the issues that we think we perhaps can have impact in changing. So to return to the cannibals. There are many things in the word that I think are morally appalling but for which I have little to no chance of having any impact. There are others closer to home that I can influence. For instance, I am very involved in raising my grandchildren, and I was a public school teacher for 35 years. In both cases I teach, through words and actions, various morals and character traits that I think are important: honesty, responsibility, respect for others, politeness, initiative, perseverance, and so on. In this way I am playing the cultural role that almost all of us play, raising the next generation to have a moral foundation upon which to build as they move towards getting old enough to take responsibility for their own choices as an adult.jdk
May 18, 2017
May
05
May
18
18
2017
08:12 PM
8
08
12
PM
PST
Jdk "The reformer who judges that the commonly accepted community views are wrong can work to change other people," Just wondering, would you go into cannibal tribe and try to convince them that their community views on killing and eating humans are wrong. How would you change them and somehow not end up in a stew swimming with potatoes and carrots?Eugen
May 18, 2017
May
05
May
18
18
2017
07:38 PM
7
07
38
PM
PST
Thanks, kf, for some short points to respond to. You write,
If the inner compass does not speak truly, we are in grand delusion, and the whole project of responsible rational discussion etc collapses.
Your black-and-white view presupposes your belief that moral truth objectively exists. However, if it does not, and I am arguing it doesn't, then this black-and-white dichotomy doesn't exist. It is a standard point in logical argument that not liking the supposed consequences of something is not evidence for that something. If objective moral truth doesn't exist, then we are left with the type of moral truth I am arguing for, which is not a delusion and does not negate the possibility of responsible rational discussion. We are not left with nihilism, and I've written quite a bit about why not. You write,
Notice, you cannot even argue without appealing to implied duties of care to truth, right, etc. that should be telling you something, never mind trying to brush it away as “standard talking points,” etc.
I have clearly explained that I accept that we have a moral sense. What we disagree about is the nature and source of that moral sense. I am not "brushing this away," and I don't think my "talking points" are any more "standard" than yours are. I won't repeat my points here, but 293, 290, and 286 have some short paragraphs my views on this. You write,
we in effect reduce morality to individual or community or cultural views, the would be reformer is either a would be tyrant or else automatically in the wrong, as going against what defines morality: the community dominant view.
No, I have addressed this. People, individually or in groups, can judge that they do not accept other's moral judgments. The reformer who judges that the commonly accepted community views are wrong can work to change other people, and the culture, in many peaceful and rational ways: no tyranny necessary. Of course, sometimes people do resort to violence. But I have also said, part of taking responsibility for one actions, including moral judgments, is being willing to take responsibility for the consequence. Civil disobedience is an example: people sometimes feel strongly enough about what they are trying to change that they willingly break the law, and accept that they will be punished for that. You write,,
I think it is time for you to re-think.
I think that condescension is not an appropriate way to treat others, and is not conducive to civil discourse.jdk
May 18, 2017
May
05
May
18
18
2017
04:27 PM
4
04
27
PM
PST
JDK, If the inner compass does not speak truly, we are in grand delusion, and the whole project of responsible rational discussion etc collapses. Notice, you cannot even argue without appealing to implied duties of care to truth, right, etc. that should be telling you something, never mind trying to brush it away as "standard talking points," etc. Next, when one deals with a Stalin etc, or when one is a young child in the grips of a monster intent on rape and murder for his own sick satisfaction, our ability to fight is exactly the issue. Similarly, if we in effect reduce morality to individual or community or cultural views, the would be reformer is either a would be tyrant or else automatically in the wrong, as going against what defines morality: the community dominant view. We fight, without a basis for justice is just a nicer way of saying might makes right, i.e. soft nihilism. And the like. I think it is time for you to re-think. KFkairosfocus
May 18, 2017
May
05
May
18
18
2017
12:12 PM
12
12
12
PM
PST
I'll note that you make all your standard points, but that you don't actually address some of the responses I've made to them above. I'll summarize 1. I don't deny that we have an "inner voice of morality". I just disagree about where it comes from and how it is populated with content. For instance, at 290, I wrote,
As both the Golden Rule and the Categorical Imperative state, expecting a common adherence to norms for both ourselves and others in society is necessary. ... So, yes, we have to choose [our morals]. I can choose to pay attention to my humanity–my compassion, my empathy, my love–and try to chose accordingly. The source of my morals is not empty speculative logic, it is a deep involvement in my human nature and the collective wisdom of humans that have come before me.
This doesn't lead inexorably to nothing but "might makes right." It leads to morals that can be rooted deeply in both the compassionate nature of our being and in our rational understanding of what behaviors best further everyones interests.
One of the objections to this idea is that devolves to “might makes right”. But for the most part people influence each other’s morals by other means, such as compassion and love, rational discussion, serving as a role model and showing the benefits of virtuous living, and so on. Yes, sometimes fights happen, but there are many reasons other than disagreement about morals that are behind them.
You write,
Likewise, what about “jerks” with power beyond effective social consequences, such as Stalin, Hitler, Mao and even today’s third generation king of North Korea?
I had written,
If your choices are excessively unacceptable to me, I will do what I can to change them, including cooperating with others who agree with me.
So my answer is we fight against such people in whatever ways are necessary. As I said to wjm, it is not a contradiction to believe that each person is existentially responsible for their own choices, including their moral values, and to believe that we also can choose to judge that other's choices are unacceptable, and act accordingly. So, instead of your standard annotated quote of Plato and your invocation of Hitler, perhaps you would address what I've actually written.jdk
May 18, 2017
May
05
May
18
18
2017
06:51 AM
6
06
51
AM
PST
JDK:
each person, from an existential point of view, chooses their morals, values, and meaning. I believe each person can choose to support, or not, other people’s choices
Soft nihilism. If you doubt me, compare what Plato had to say about the rise of evolutionary materialism, radical relativism and outright might makes right thinking in his time:
Ath [in The Laws, Bk X 2,350+ ya]. . . .[The avant garde philosophers and poets, c. 360 BC] say that fire and water, and earth and air [i.e the classical "material" elements of the cosmos], all exist by nature and chance, and none of them by art . . . [such that] all that is in the heaven, as well as animals and all plants, and all the seasons come from these elements, not by the action of mind, as they say, or of any God, or from art, but as I was saying, by nature and chance only [ --> that is, evolutionary materialism is ancient and would trace all things to blind chance and mechanical necessity] . . . . [Thus, they hold] that the principles of justice have no existence at all in nature, but that mankind are always disputing about them and altering them; and that the alterations which are made by art and by law have no basis in nature, but are of authority for the moment and at the time at which they are made.-
[ --> Relativism, too, is not new; complete with its radical amorality rooted in a worldview that has no foundational IS that can ground OUGHT, leading to an effectively arbitrary foundation only for morality, ethics and law: accident of personal preference, the ebbs and flows of power politics, accidents of history and and the shifting sands of manipulated community opinion driven by "winds and waves of doctrine and the cunning craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming . . . " cf a video on Plato's parable of the cave; from the perspective of pondering who set up the manipulative shadow-shows, why.]
These, my friends, are the sayings of wise men, poets and prose writers, which find a way into the minds of youth. They are told by them that the highest right is might,
[ --> Evolutionary materialism -- having no IS that can properly ground OUGHT -- leads to the promotion of amorality on which the only basis for "OUGHT" is seen to be might (and manipulation: might in "spin") . . . ]
and in this way the young fall into impieties, under the idea that the Gods are not such as the law bids them imagine; and hence arise factions [ --> Evolutionary materialism-motivated amorality "naturally" leads to continual contentions and power struggles influenced by that amorality at the hands of ruthless power hungry nihilistic agendas], these philosophers inviting them to lead a true life according to nature, that is,to live in real dominion over others [ --> such amoral and/or nihilistic factions, if they gain power, "naturally" tend towards ruthless abuse and arbitrariness . . . they have not learned the habits nor accepted the principles of mutual respect, justice, fairness and keeping the civil peace of justice, so they will want to deceive, manipulate and crush -- as the consistent history of radical revolutions over the past 250 years so plainly shows again and again], and not in legal subjection to them [--> nihilistic will to power not the spirit of justice and lawfulness].
Likewise, what about "jerks" with power beyond effective social consequences, such as Stalin, Hitler, Mao and even today's third generation king of North Korea? I suggest you think again. KF PS: And that's before we get to the problem that the inner voice of moral government is pervasive in all we think, say or do. So if that voice is in effect a delusion that we are under law when in fact we simply choose our values however we want, then it sets grand delusion loose on mindedness, like a proverbial bull in a china shop. PPS: By his own admission, WJM is a former real nihilist.kairosfocus
May 17, 2017
May
05
May
17
17
2017
10:45 PM
10
10
45
PM
PST
Let's put this another way: You write,
IOW, “People should choose for themselves their own morals, values and meaning.” is in contradiction with “People should not choose to torture other people, and if they do I will do what I can to stop them.”
I believe each person, from an existential point of view, chooses their morals, values, and meaning. I believe each person can choose to support, or not, other people's choices. There is no contradiction here. Everyone reacts to other people. One can choose to act like a jerk, but then one may have to live with the consequences of other people treating him like a jerk. I can decide that lying to my wife is OK, but then I might have to live with the consequence of her leaving me. We choose our actions, and we are responsible for living with the consequences. We all impinge upon each other. As I said before, it is messy and imperfect, but it is the human condition.jdk
May 15, 2017
May
05
May
15
15
2017
06:56 PM
6
06
56
PM
PST
Hi William. It doesn't surprise that you showed up to comment, since you have strong opinions about this issue. Each of us are interdependent with others, and we need each other to fulfill our full humanity, As both the Golden Rule and the Categorical Imperative state, expecting a common adherence to norms for both ourselves and others in society is necessary. I make my choices. You make your choices. If your choices are excessively unacceptable to me, I will do what I can to change them, including cooperating with others who agree with me. On the other hand, I also have to live with people doing things that I don't think should be done, so I have to choose which issues are worth my investment in trying to change, although a great deal is out of each person's individual control. So, yes, we have to choose. I can choose to pay attention to my humanity–my compassion, my empathy, my love–and try to chose accordingly. The source of my morals is not empty speculative logic, it is a deep involvement in my human nature and the collective wisdom of humans that have come before me. One of the objections to this idea is that devolves to "might makes right". But for the most part people influence each other's morals by other means, such as compassion and love, rational discussion, serving as a role model and showing the benefits of virtuous living, and so on. Yes, sometimes fights happen, but there are many reasons other than disagreement about morals that are behind them. So my challenge to those who believe in libertarian free will is to have the courage of your convictions and take full responsibility for your actions. The existentialist view is that there is no god-like being providing guidelines or rules how to act, so we have to exercise both our freedom and rationality to assess the nature of the world, including ourselves, other people, and society in general, and decide how to act. There are no easy answers, at times, and the world of choices that people make will always be messy and imperfect, but that's the way it is. Either choose to accept it, or find refuge in stories which let you escape some of the responsibility for being truly free.,jdk
May 15, 2017
May
05
May
15
15
2017
06:23 PM
6
06
23
PM
PST
jdk @288 said:
No. I don’t believe the things you say. I don’t believe that one should torture anyone, and to the extent I have the power to stop torture, I would do so. (But I have very little power, as unfortunately people get tortured and otherwise hurt by purposeful violence all over the world every day.)
Then I suggest your beliefs are in contradiction to each other. If you believe that each human is truly free to choose for themselves their own morals, meaning and value, you cannot also believe that no one should torture anyone because your "shoulds" can only apply to yourself. IOW, "People should choose for themselves their own morals, values and meaning." is in contradiction with "People should not choose to torture other people, and if they do I will do what I can to stop them."William J Murray
May 15, 2017
May
05
May
15
15
2017
05:51 PM
5
05
51
PM
PST
No. I don't believe the things you say. I don't believe that one should torture anyone, and to the extent I have the power to stop torture, I would do so. (But I have very little power, as unfortunately people get tortured and otherwise hurt by purposeful violence all over the world every day.)jdk
May 15, 2017
May
05
May
15
15
2017
05:40 PM
5
05
40
PM
PST
jdk said at 286:
existentialist – we are truly free to choose, and the responsibility for creating meaning, value, and morals lies with us, both collectively and individually.
So, if a person believes it is good to torture innocent children for fun, it is in fact (inasmuch as any moral position can be a "fact") good, and you would have no problem with nor would you intervene given a society that let people decide for themselves what was and was not moral? IOW, if it was legal to torture children for fun, you wouldn't have a problem with other people doing it, nor would you intervene?William J Murray
May 15, 2017
May
05
May
15
15
2017
05:36 PM
5
05
36
PM
PST
Believe it or not, I've decided to respond to 282. First, as I've repeated several times, I am not attempting to offer a materialistic view, so all the "wetware" comments are irrelevant to this discussion. You write,
As has been pointed out several times, our rationality is pervaded with responsibility and requires genuine freedom, on pain of reduction to absurdity.
I accept that humans are free and rational, but I believe the sense of responsibility comes from us, not from the IS of the universe. At 83, I wrote,
But I can easily imagine a coherent and possible world where a supreme being created our universe, with all the qualities necessary to produce the physics, chemistry, and biology that we see (that is, is the ground of IS), but who is supremely indifferent to the details of how the world goes, including the actions of the life forms within it (that is, is supremely indifferent to OUGHT). I see no incoherent impossibility, no self-refutation, in believing, or at least being able to imagine, that this is the type of supreme IS-ness that underlies the world.
Later someplace, I further wrote that what this means is that we are truly free to figure out out to best live, with ourselves and others, in ways that are in harmony with both our natures and the nature of the world we live in. You write,
Indeed, your own arguments just now directly imply appeals to our persistent sense of a duty of care towards the truth and the right, including coherence.
True: I am committed to these things as freely chosen principles, but not because they are manifestations of any aspect of the IS of being. Caring for these things is something humans do, but that doesn't mean the universe cares. I've resisted labeling my views, especially since I believe that we can't really know the truth about metaphysics, but I'll do so now in order to summarize. I might consider myself a: *** strong agnostic - we can't really know the truth about the roots of reality. All of our metaphysical speculations are stories that we invent to structure our understanding, but they are never "true" in any literal sense. *** atheist - despite the above paragraph, I believe it is a rational, considered conclusion that all beliefs about non-material beings which conscious and willfully relate to us ("gods" of all sorts) are false. Santayana called such religious beliefs "sacred literature", embodying key elements of a culture's worldview, but nevertheless stories, and not literally true. *** Taoist - there is an effable IS (the Tao) beyond/behind/before the universe we experience that provides an underlying, pervasive creative impulse to the world, making possible all the fine-tuning we see, and making possible the consolidation and localization of consciousness, rationality, and true freedom, in various degrees, in living things. Thus, as human beings, we are able to use those qualities to choose and act. *** existentialist - we are truly free to choose, and the responsibility for creating meaning, value, and morals lies with us, both collectively and individually. *** humanist - our freedom, rationality, and consciousness are part of our larger biological nature, including our social nature, our emotions, our curiosity, our creative use of language, and so on. Being human means creating a life that is in harmony with both our natures and the nature of the world we live in. That's my offered alternative to theism.jdk
May 15, 2017
May
05
May
15
15
2017
02:08 PM
2
02
08
PM
PST
kj, I just saw these last two posts of your. I'll point out as I just did in the Charles thread that I have described some of my thoughts on Taoism at https://uncommondescent.com/atheism/fft-seversky-and-the-is-ought-gap/#comment-631072.jdk
May 15, 2017
May
05
May
15
15
2017
12:37 PM
12
12
37
PM
PST
Notice, as predicted.kairosfocus
May 12, 2017
May
05
May
12
12
2017
04:51 PM
4
04
51
PM
PST
F/N: Here, again, is the young Cicero on the subject:
—Marcus [in de Legibus, introductory remarks,. C1 BC]: . . . the subject of our present discussion . . . comprehends the universal principles of equity and law. In such a discussion therefore on the great moral law of nature, the practice of the civil law can occupy but an insignificant and subordinate station. For according to our idea, we shall have to explain the true nature of moral justice, which is congenial and correspondent [36]with the true nature of man. We shall have to examine those principles of legislation by which all political states should be governed. And last of all, shall we have to speak of those laws and customs which are framed for the use and convenience of particular peoples, which regulate the civic and municipal affairs of the citizens, and which are known by the title of civil laws. Quintus. —You take a noble view of the subject, my brother, and go to the fountain–head of moral truth, in order to throw light on the whole science of jurisprudence: while those who confine their legal studies to the civil law too often grow less familiar with the arts of justice than with those of litigation. Marcus. —Your observation, my Quintus, is not quite correct. It is not so much the science of law that produces litigation, as the ignorance of it, (potius ignoratio juris litigiosa est quam scientia) . . . . With respect to the true principle of justice, many learned men have maintained that it springs from Law. I hardly know if their opinion be not correct, at least, according to their own definition; for “Law (say they) is the highest reason, implanted in nature, which prescribes those things which ought to be done, and forbids the contrary.” This, they think, is apparent from the converse of the proposition; because this same reason, when it [37]is confirmed and established in men’s minds, is the law of all their actions. They therefore conceive that the voice of conscience is a law, that moral prudence is a law, whose operation is to urge us to good actions, and restrain us from evil ones. They think, too, that the Greek name for law (NOMOS), which is derived from NEMO, to distribute, implies the very nature of the thing, that is, to give every man his due. For my part, I imagine that the moral essence of law is better expressed by its Latin name, (lex), which conveys the idea of selection or discrimination. According to the Greeks, therefore, the name of law implies an equitable distribution of goods: according to the Romans, an equitable discrimination between good and evil. The true definition of law should, however, include both these characteristics. And this being granted as an almost self–evident proposition, the origin of justice is to be sought in the divine law of eternal and immutable morality. This indeed is the true energy of nature, the very soul and essence of wisdom, the test of virtue and vice.
Food for thought. From a pagan Roman rhetor and one of the all time greatest lawyer-politicians. KFkairosfocus
May 12, 2017
May
05
May
12
12
2017
01:05 AM
1
01
05
AM
PST
JDK, In re:
my origical purpose in claiming that there is no logical reason why the root-level IS should contain any OUGHTS
On the contrary, there is excellent reason to see why the world-root will ground ought. As has been pointed out several times, our rationality is pervaded with responsibility and requires genuine freedom, on pain of reduction to absurdity. Indeed, your own arguments just now directly imply appeals to our persistent sense of a duty of care towards the truth and the right, including coherence. As does the sustained reasoning process -- any sustained reasoning process, e.g. mathematical, legal, scientific, managerial, philosophical, economic, political, relational, moral, etc. Even, in works of fiction, failure to sustain this duty produces clangers not worth the time to read. Where, common experience and knowledge recognise in this the voice of conscience, a testimony to our being under moral government. For the moment, consider with Ruse and Wilson, as one of many cases in point, that this sense is delusional, somehow triggered by our evolutionary programming running on wetware in our brains and CNS more generally:
The time has come to take seriously the fact [--> This is a gross error at the outset, as macro-evolution is a theory (an explanation) about the unobserved past of origins and so cannot be a fact on the level of the observed roundness of the earth or the orbiting of planets around the sun etc.] that we humans are modified monkeys, not the favored Creation of a Benevolent God on the Sixth Day . . . We must think again especially about our so-called ‘ethical principles.’ The question is not whether biology—specifically, our evolution—is connected with ethics, but how. As evolutionists, we see that no justification of the traditional kind is possible. Morality, or more strictly our belief in morality, is merely an adaptation put in place to further our reproductive ends. Hence the basis of ethics does not lie in God’s will … In an important sense, ethics as we understand it is an illusion fobbed off on us by our genes to get us to cooperate. It is without external grounding… Ethics is illusory inasmuch as it persuades us that it has an objective reference. This is the crux of the biological position. Once it is grasped, everything falls into place.
[ --> And everything instantly falls apart as this would set grand delusion loose in our mental lives. Even logical reasoning is guided by the conscience-driven urge to truth, right and justice, so once such a grand delusion is let loose it undermines the general credibility of conscious mindedness, setting up a cascade of shadow-show worlds. The skeptical spider has enmeshed himself in his own web. Thus, any such scheme should be set aside as self-refuting.]
[Michael Ruse & E. O. Wilson, “The Evolution of Ethics,” Religion and the Natural Sciences: The Range of Engagement, , ed. J. E. Hutchingson, Orlando, Fl.:Harcourt and Brace, 1991. (NB: Cf. a separate discussion on the grounding of worldviews and ethics here on, which includes a specific discussion of the grounding of ethics and goes on to Biblical theism; having first addressed the roots of the modern evolutionary materialist mindset and its pretensions to the mantle of science. Also cf. here on for Plato's warning in The Laws, Bk X, on social consequences of the rise of such a view as the philosophy of the avant garde in a community.]
Once grand delusion like that is let loose in our mindedness, there are no fire-walls, the conflagration takes it all down with it in a cascade of self-referential absurdities that undermines reasoning itself. So, on pain of incoherence and utterly undermining responsible, rational discussion, we are back to our in fact being objectively under moral government. Which instantly demands an adequate world-root IS capable of grounding OUGHT. This immediately requires that world-root to be of intrinsically moral character, inextricably intertwined and fused with its core existence. That is, the moral must be an essential part of the necessary being roots of reality, once responsibly free and rational creatures exist in an actual world. Which we do. This then confronts us with the issue of serious candidacy, where necessary being of adequate capability to frame a world in which such creatures as us come to be is a stringent constraint. Also, where a serious candidate -- things like flying spaghetti monsters need not apply (no composite or essentially material entity need apply) -- will either prove to be an impossible being or else will be inherent to the framework of any possible world. A square circle is impossible due to mutual ruin of required characteristics, squarishness and circularity. But, a world without distinct identity is impossible, there will always be the two-ness involved in A and ~A; even in a world with no material entities. The challenge is, that there is but one serious candidate, after centuries of debate: the inherently good creator-God, a necessary and maximally great being, worthy of loyalty and the reasonable, responsible service of doing the good in accord with our evident nature. If you doubt, simply propose a good alternative under comparative difficulties: _________ (For years, none has been forthcoming.) KFkairosfocus
May 12, 2017
May
05
May
12
12
2017
12:50 AM
12
12
50
AM
PST
Hi HeKs. I hadn't forgotten your last post, and I appreciate your effort in fleshing out your ideas for the empirical evidence for a root-level of reality that cares, and that has essential,mortal properties. I have some fundamental disagreements with your conclusions–that will come as no surprise, I imagine–for a couple of reasons, both of which are probably reasons to bring this discussion to an end. First, my original purpose was to establish the logical possibility of an alternate metaphysics in which the root-level of reality had no specific care for or involvement with beings such as us, not to discuss whether one or the other metaphysics is more likely to be true. I have two somewhat different perspectives about this alternate metaphysics. The first is that, as a strong agnostic, I don't believe we can actually know anything about the root of reality. In fact, William J Murry expressed my view well in a post this morning:
But to imply that god must either be an inanimate thing or a personal agent is, IMO, the false dichotomy of a person trying to reconcile logic with certain a priori ideological beliefs. ... I think ascribing to god any of the terms we use to describe subjective personhood as if those terms can mean the same thing about god is a category error. I will say this: If god is truly the O3 root of all of existence, god cannot be a personal agent like when we think of individual personhood. It’s a logical contradiction. Individual personhood has contextual requirements that are simply not available to an O3 root of all existence. That’s doesn’t make god a “thing” or an “inanimate object” like Craig implies; it makes god something else entirely.
However, people do try to describe what they think the root of reality is like. WJM calls this "a priori ideological beliefs". I think the reasons are deeper than that. Short version: because of our abstract thinking skills, we can ask more questions than we can answer. And due to our dependence on learning and our socialization within a culture, we, culturally and individually, make up stories to try to give structure to our understandings. At the heart, much of what we consider religion, metaphysics and a great deal more are literary inventions that enable to live with ourself and others in ways that meet our individual and social needs. They are stories that we choose to live by: stories which gain their truth from our commitment to affirm their meaning and purpose, not from their literal connection to any reality that we could confirm objectively through any empirical observation. With that said, I personally find the alternate metaphysics that I have presented here a better fit with my "intuitions" than a theistic one. I think the idea that intelligence and creativity and consciousness, as we experience them, are localized manifestations of diffuse, pervasive properties that underlie our universe in ways which we can't possible describe or envision. I like wjm's statement that "Individual personhood has contextual requirements that are simply not available to an O3 root of all existence." I think all gods, including the most rarified versions of a personal root of all reality that has moral positions, cares about humans, intervenes in the world in specific actions, etc. are anthropomorphic personifications of our experience of human personhood, and I don't think they could possibly be true. But this is not something to debate with anyone based on "empirical evidence" because so much of it goes beyond anything we can empirically experience: our commitment to our metaphysical stories (aka "a priori ideological beliefs") will shape the nature of our conclusions to too great a degree. I enjoy describing my "beliefs" about metaphysics to people who are interested in my perceptions, and have some sense of resonance with their own, with the hope that I might add something for them to think about and perhaps incorporate into their understanding, but I would never think that I can convince anyone that I am right (or that they are wrong.) So, to return to your post: I do have a few things to say about what I disagree with you about, for the sake of making our differences clear. First, from #178 you quote a summary of some issues:
To begin with, the initial conditions for the origin of our own universe appear to have been very finely-tuned to allow for a specific outcome, namely the arrival of intelligent life. I and many others here would say that further fine-tuning took place at the level of our solar system and planet for the same purpose, and at all these levels to make the universe scientifically discoverable to the intelligent life that would ultimately come to exist here. We also see some manner of intervention in the origin of life and at various other points on the path to intelligent human life.
I agree, and have from the beginning, that the existence of the properties of the universe that make possible the physical, chemical, and biological entities we see around us point to a root-level of reality that has creative and intelligent powers. However, I've also posited that those powers are, as I mentioned above, diffuse, pervasive, and underlie our universe in ways which we can't possible describe or envision, but do not coalesce into a personal being. I disagree that further fine-tuning arguments about our planet are significant. Yes, our planet supports life, and if things were different it wouldn't. But we know virtually nothing about the rest of the universe. We do not know if other types of life might exist, formed of different elements and capable of living in different environments. Also, there are about 10^22 stars in the universe, so even if a very small fraction could support some type of life, there are likely to still be a very vast numbers of places where life could exist. And, we really don't know if we, as a life form, are all that special. Looking at the big picture over time and space (if "someone" could do so), creatures like human beings might be a common step towards a much different type of being, or perhaps a dead-end that has no chance of existing for very long. We really don't know: But to think that we are a species or Earth as a planet have been singled out by the root of reality for special treatment seems preposterous to me. If the properties which make life not only possible, but an actuality, including life like us, are part of the bed-rock fine-tuning of the universe, then it seems to me that such life would arise all over the universe without instances of such being especially singled out. I also disagree with the statement that, "We also see some manner of intervention in the origin of life and at various other points on the path to intelligent human life." My intuition of how intelligence and creativity underlie the world is that there is no special interventions, because, for one thing, there is no personal "one" to do the intervening. I can't possible claim to know how intelligence and creativity manifest their results in the world, but my intuition is, again, that they impinges upon the world, arising from below the most fundamental root-level of the material world that we experience, so to speak, to bring into existence various patterns and features, including life, Another point: you write,
6) The rational intelligent mind as we experience it seems utterly incapable of being reduced to the purely physical mechanisms of the brain.
I haven't questioned this. From the beginning I've posited a root-level of reality in which non-material aspects of reality might, in ways we can't possibly understand, interface with the physical, and which consolidate in livings things in order to provide an experience of a rational, free mind. You also discuss some "powerful intuitions" people have about morals and moral reality, and the need to act in accordance with moral beliefs. I've described my thoughts on this several times: that our moral nature comes from our rational, emotional, and biological needs, both personal and social; that we invent moral and other normative systems in order to meet those needs; and that we, ultimately, are metaphysically free to affirm and live by whatever morals and other principles we choose to live by. Many people have intuitions of a deep level of moral reality, as live in a primarily theistic culture, but others don't, and for all the reasons I've discussed above, I don't think those intuitions are evidence for the actual nature of the root-level of reality. You say,
There are very few people who REALLY don’t believe in objective morality and REALLY are not governed in any way by intuitions about their existence, and we typically call those people psychopaths and/or sociopaths. In my experience, if you spend long enough talking to someone who claims to reject objective morality they will eventually passionately express some concept they insist we ought to adhere to or course of action we ought to take that is literally incoherent if objective morality doesn’t exist. These are moments when those powerful moral intuitions manage to overcome their intellectual denials
Well, I can't agree with all that. I am not a pyschopath, for instance. I think the key issue is not whether people have deep moral intuitions, but rather where those intuitions come from. I think they come from a different source than the root-level of reality. The root-level of reality doesn't care, but people care. You write,
If we look back to the first couple [of your points], about producing a physical reality that required very precise fine-tuning and intervention at multiple levels in order to make intelligent life first possible and then actual, that, by definition, indicates interest and care in the outcome of intelligent life. A being that produces, sustains, precisely fine-tunes and intervenes in a situation to ensure the viability of an outcome, cares about and assigns importance to that outcome by definition. Any being that produced a universe like ours cares about and values the existence of life as an outcome according to any way would define that concept.
I know this is getting repetitive, so I'll bring this to an end. I don't believe that "interventions" have been necessary. (Thinking that such are even possibly presupposes that type of personal being that you are arguing for.) I think we have virtually no idea to what extent life exists throughout the universe, or whether life such as us has any special place in the overall catalog of what is, or might come to be, in the universe. The universe exists, along with human beings with rational minds and the ability to choose and direct their beliefs and actions. As I said way at the beginning of this discussion, it very well could be that the "essential position" of the root-level of reality is for those creatures with free, rational minds to be truly free to decide how to live life in ways that best fit their broader needs as biological, social and culturally embedded creatures. This is probably all I have to say about all this. As I said in the beginning, we have gone way past my origical purpose in claiming that there is no logical reason why the root-level IS should contain any OUGHTS. I've enjoyed your well-written descriptions of your beliefs and why you think they are true, but, also as I've said before, all I think we can do here is exchange personally meaningful stories, so to speak. So thanks for the discussion.jdk
May 7, 2017
May
05
May
7
07
2017
09:16 AM
9
09
16
AM
PST
CR, until you get first principles right there is no basis for a reasonable discussion. That is why I again point out: “you have been unable to comment in this thread without relying on distinct identity and its immediate corollaries, LOI, LEM, LNC. That should be a clue. These are not on trial, you are.” I have no onward time to waste on trying to have a reasonable discussion with one who rejects the first principles of right reason, hopelessly contradicts himself then tries to proceed as though nothing has seriously gone wrong. KF PS: On April 3, 2015 here at UD, WJM rightly put the matter this way:
If you do not assume the law of non-contradiction, you have nothing to argue about. If you do not assume the principles of sound reason, you have nothing to argue with. If logic is not assumed to be a causally independent, authoritative arbiter of true statements, there’s no reason to apply it. If you do not assume libertarian free will, you have no one to argue against. If you do not assume morality to be an objective commodity, you have no reason to argue in the first place. If you do not assume mind is primary, there is no “you” to make any argument at all.
To attempt to have a reasonable discussion under those circumstances is a futile task. PPS: Just for one, inductive arguments support their conclusions per evidence. In the case of abduction (much used in science), observations O1 to On are puzzling, but explanation Ei coherently implies them and predicts p1 . . . pk, pl . . . where on tests to k so far it correctly predicts. In addition it is superior to other candidates. Ei is the best current explanation and as p_k grows, may prove highly reliable. The pattern SUPPORTS Ei as best current and empirically reliable explanation, open to correction on some prediction Pr failing. This is simply not the same as the fallacy of affirming the consequent. In a primitive form, this reasoning is found in say Newton's Opticks, query 31.kairosfocus
May 4, 2017
May
05
May
4
04
2017
01:15 PM
1
01
15
PM
PST
@KF
Furthermore, you keep providing concrete examples of criticizing the very things you claim are immune to criticism by selecting identity, etc. as examples of supposed self-evident truths. Again, if this does not represent criticism, the what is it?
Still waiting.critical rationalist
May 4, 2017
May
05
May
4
04
2017
09:00 AM
9
09
00
AM
PST
1 2 3 11

Leave a Reply