Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

FYI-FTR: SS’s red herring –> strawman abuse of the Golden Rule vs the needed World-Root IS that grounds OUGHT


For some weeks now, in the teeth of repeated correction, SS [attn, LH, DK etc] has been abusing the Golden Rule by dragging it as a red herring across the track of the issue of grounding OUGHT in a world-root level IS, and then setting up a strawman argument on how reciprocity adequately founds moral government of responsibly free agents.

He has done it yet again in the ongoing DK -Euthyphro dilemma thread, and so, it is now necessary to headline(and augment)  a corrective for record:


>>SS, 130,

I have addressed the world-root level grounding question on this thread and other places and times on UD, as well as extensive comments about the so-called OUGHT-IS gap (bridged by reciprocity and/or the Golden Rule.)

My comments have not swayed you; that is true. But those comments prove that I have addressed these matters.

Not so.

In fact, consistently, you have switched focus from the issue of needing a world-root or foundation level IS that bridges to OUGHT in order to provide a proper basis for moral government (without collapsing our inner life into grand delusion). In short, you have tried to set up a red herring, drag it across the track of dealing with the main issue and have led such across to a distractive strawman.

You have actually been doing so for several weeks, trying to drag thread after thread off-track.

Now, you want to pretend that such properly addresses the underlying issue.

No-one disputes that — for those willing to listen to the inner voice that tells them they are owed duties of care and recognise that others are as themselves — the Golden Rule/Categorical Imperative [GR/CI] will teach a lot on core morality and on lawfulness in community.

(See the strawman caricature substituted for what is actually on the table?)

That is why I took time again and again to cite from Locke’s use of Hooker in Ch 2 of his 2nd treatise of civil govt, which historically was pivotal in the rise of modern, limited govt democracy. But, you latched on to it to try to divert it into what it is not. So, I have added some markups to draw out your errors — of course, unheeded and now we see a bit of piling on by LH glad to find talking points to serve his agenda:

. . . if I cannot but wish [–> accurately perceiving my own moral worth and so my rights] to receive good, even as much at every man’s hands, as any man can wish unto his own soul, how should I look to have any part of my desire herein satisfied, unless myself be careful to satisfy the like desire which is undoubtedly in other men [–> accurately perceiving that here are others of like nature] . . . my desire, therefore, to be loved of my equals in Nature, as much as possible may be, imposeth upon me a natural duty of bearing to themward fully the like affection. [–> notice, imposes, by the sense of my own moral state and the perception of others who are as I am, I have reciprocity of duties of care in community] From which relation of equality between ourselves and them that are as ourselves, what several rules and canons natural reason hath drawn for direction of life no man is ignorant

[–> these teach us so that we come to knowledge of morality: warranted, credibly true beliefs; of course, this is not the basis for that warrant, that lies in a world-foundational, world-root, world-source IS that inherently grounds OUGHT. And therein lieth a deep root of hyperskepticism on this, for if we are inherently — by patent facts of our nature as responsibly free and rational, valuable beings — under moral government and moral law, it points straight to a world root level Lawgiver and Governor. That is, to the inherently good Creator God, a necessary and maximally great being worthy of ultimate loyalty and the reasonable service of doing the good in accord with our nature]

. . . [Hooker then continues, citing Aristotle in The Nicomachean Ethics, Bk 8:] as namely, That because we would take no harm, we must therefore do none; That since we would not be in any thing extremely dealt with, we must ourselves avoid all extremity in our dealings; That from all violence and wrong we are utterly to abstain, with such-like [–> being core principles of law derived from reciprocity and my sense of my own worth and quite evident to such as Aristotle] . . . [Eccl. Polity, preface, Bk I, “ch.” 8, p.80]

The GR/CI can and does teach the willing, that is not in dispute . . . indeed, I have consistently brought it to the table for just that purpose. However, as the disputes on the focal issue for this thread — with the ongoing holocaust of the unborn as context — show, a pivotal issue is that many are going to be unwilling to accord equality of nature and of worth to those they target for destruction.

In this case the unborn boys and girls being slaughtered to order so their parts can be cut up and organs taken for Mengele-like ghoulishly tainted “research.” For cold cash, in at least one case, with the hoped for buying of a US$ 1/4 mn or thereabouts car on the table.

Yes, the pretence is that they are not persons worthy of the full protection of the law.

Shades of untermensch and lebensunwertes leben.

Shades of Jim Crow belt magnolia trees bearing awful fruit with lawless hooded mobs around them rejoicing in imposing lynch-justice, so called, with complicit communities enabling reigns of terror on despised marginalised racial minorities.

We face might/manipulation of law, medicine, science, public opinion, the media etc making ongoing awful wrong seem like ‘right.’

Further to this, many popular schemes of thought and agendas do boil down to the nihilist credo, might/manipulation makes ‘right,’ which should give pause, sobering pause, to any well-intentioned person.

In that context, DK has played the twisted rhetorical card that God is the ultimate case of might makes right.

That has been answered in the OP, but along you come dancing in with your red herring . . . .

I know, I know, how dare you rebuke me.

Because, SS, you have more than earned it by your stubborn and willful distractions sustained for several weeks in the teeth of correction and in the face of a sobering, ongoing global atrocity, the worst holocaust in history.

The war against posterity.

Yes, war against our own helpless children in the womb.

The most dangerous place to be in today’s world.

I put it to you, again, that an epistemic path of learning and even being disciplined by recognising that we are under moral government and share the same quasi-infinite worth, so that if I have rights so do my neighbours who are as I am by their nature, is not ontologically prior to the world-root level grounding of rights.

That is a long ways around way to say that the GR/CI may teach us about morality but cannot ground it.

Hume is right in this, we too often argue is-is, then switch to ought-ought without adequate grounding.

Nothing contingent, and nothing that does not take in the full span of reality can bridge that gap.

Thus, we need to go to necessary being root of reality to answer to the real challenge.

And we must do so in a way that is not a mere further level of might makes right.

Our confusions and blindness run deep.

Our peril is acute.

We need a world-root IS that adequately grounds ought, a proper fusion of the ontologically prior and the good and just as a part of the good, that can serve at once as root of reality and as the safe and reasonable basis of moral government of responsibly free rational creatures in our world or any credibly possible world.

If that last part is not taken in, a whole world of arguments can be pushed in that would question whether we are in a world in which ought is properly founded.

For, many are looking for a way to evade moral government, not a way to properly ground it. They want libertinism and licence, not liberty framed by the civil peace of justice that properly balances rights, freedoms and responsibilities. (And yes, I have to go to 1828 to get a substantial, clean, clear definition.)

They want every man does what is right in his own eyes anarchy (especially in sexual matters) under false colours of freedom, not realising that the resulting chaos and mob mentality will ruin government and governance, leading to the panic that will welcome the strong man to restore some semblance of order.

Yes, the cube of governance factors and forces is back on the table, eternal vigilance is ever the price of stabilising liberty:

U/d b for clarity, nb Nil
U/d b for clarity, nb Nil

We have been so distracted by fallacy-riddled ideological debates over polarised left and right wings that we have forgotten the lessons of how tyrannies come about. Often, to restore order in a chaos so intense that people despair of freedom.

While relevant as a discussion of consequences of our march of bloody folly, that is not a world root issue.

Back on focus: plainly, a necessary being is the only class of being that can be adequate [to ground OUGHT], not only as such is required as unconditioned root of reality, but as necessary being is integral to and inextricably intertwined with the roots of any possible world.

For simple case in point, it is impossible for any world to exist that two-ness is not a part of. (And yes, that is a gateway to yet another foundational issue, the problem of the one and the many in a coherent cosmos.)

Likewise, only the utterly good can be an adequate foundation for a world in which we are under binding moral government of ought that grounds the civil peace of justice etc. On pain of dissolving our inner life of thinking, valuing, choosing and acting into a chaos of grand delusion and self referential incoherence.

We need the necessary being root of good that founds the right as our reasonable, responsible service.

Remember, again, there is an ongoing holocaust already in progress that we need solid moral footing to address in a day where many have been deluded to imagine that morality is merely subjective, illusory perceptions imposed by blind forces of survival of the fittest or the like, enforced by the might/manipulation that builds agitprop message dominance-driven opinion cascades and imposes its consensus, pushing opponents to the scapegoated fringes.

We have forgotten Plato’s warning in The Laws, Bk X, on where that sort of sophistry and march of folly predictably end:

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

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

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

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

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

and in this way the young fall into impieties, under the idea that the Gods are not such as the law bids them imagine; and hence arise factions,

[ –> Evolutionary materialism-motivated amorality “naturally” leads to continual contentions and power struggles influenced by that amorality at the hands of ruthless power hungry nihilistic agendas]

these philosophers inviting them to lead a true life according to nature, that is,to live in real dominion over others,

[ –> such amoral and/or nihilistic factions, if they gain power, “naturally” tend towards ruthless abuse and arbitrariness . . . they have not learned the habits nor accepted the principles of mutual respect, justice, fairness and keeping the civil peace of justice, so they will want to deceive, manipulate and crush — as the consistent history of radical revolutions over the past 250 years so plainly shows again and again]

and not in legal subjection to them.

If our civilisation is to be saved in the face of a rapidly rising floodtide of mass bloodguilt, we have to go back to the roots, the radix.

Yes, we need genuinely radic-al rethinking.

Back to the roots, back to the foundations. If these are undermined, how can we stand?

We cannot.

That takes us back to the key issues in the OP above, firstly:

. . . we are looking at comparative difficulties across main foundational alternatives, on factual adequacy, coherence and balanced explanatory power (vs. ad hoc patchworks or simplistic force-fitting).

And yes, we are looking at worldview roots and philosophical issues and approaches.

Just what a world dominated by [ideologically imposed evolutionary materialist] scientism is wont to despise, disregard, dismiss.

Ill-advisedly, not least as the notion that all serious knowledge is scientific is a self-refuting philosophical claim.

We are back to: how can we bridge the IS-OUGHT gap?

For which, the only sound answer is, we must find a world-root IS properly capable of bearing the weight of OUGHT, grounding a world of responsibly free, morally governed creatures who genuinely have a claim to justice as they have rights that go beyond might/manipulation and ‘rights’ as convenient rhetorical clubs.

That takes us to matters ontological as well as moral, as that is what IS and OUGHT demand.

So, in a nutshell, first, the world we experience is rooted in necessary being. For non-being has no causal powers and if there ever were an utter nothing such would therefore forever obtain. Something is unconditioned and primary, tied inextricably to the existence of a world.

There is a world-root IS.

Is it an infinite regress or a circular, self-causing entity? The latter instantly collapses as something must exist in order to have effects. The former simply postpones the problem, and introduces the super-problem of counting down from infinity to reach an origin for our observed world, in finite successive causal steps:

minus-infinity –> minus infinity less one –> minus infinity less two –> [and yes, I know this is absurd, that is precisely the point] . . .

– 2, – 1, 0 [origin of our world], +1, + 2, . . .

+ us here today [say at 0-point + 13.7 BY] –> . . .

We can call this, the getting to zero problem.

(Or, equivalently, the leaving minus infinity problem. [Hint: In Mathematics, infinities are either pointed to as in principle present but not feasible of reaching in finite steps, or are manifested by subdivision/implication of the continuum such as a line segment, or are presented all at once as a Set such as N, Z, R or C.] )

The way to bet is, a finitely remote world-root IS.

How can such an IS bridge to OUGHT?

Only by being in itself inherently moral, and particularly morally good.

In short — as I have noted here at UD ever so many times — the only serious candidate IS to root the world and bridge to/bear the weight of OUGHT is: the inherently good Creator God, a necessary and maximally great world-root being, worthy of ultimate loyalty and our reasonable service of doing the good in light of our evident nature.

If you doubt or dismiss, kindly provide and justify a serious alternative: ________________ . . .

(Predictably, setting distractors, patently non-serious candidates and side-tracks aside, there will be none.)

It is fair, well justified and richly deserved comment and even rebuke, SS, that you have again put up a side-tracking distraction.

One that was adequately answered already, but you seem to be in the business of serial diversion not serious discussion. And now, doubling down and projection.

FYI, this thread is a place for dialectic, not rhetoric.

For focus on first things in the face of a civilisational crisis of a rising floodtide of bloodguilt, confusion, deception, polarisation, marginalisation of the right and scapegoating/targetting of those who stand up for it, manipulation, wrongdoing and enabling of evil that threatens to overwhelm us.

That is why world-roots and matters ontological and modal as well as moral are openly on the table.

Admittedly, at 101 level.

We must creep before we can walk or run.

We have a holocaust in progress backed by mass deception and manipulation to address before our civilisation is overwhelmed by a floodtide of bloodguilt.

This is not a time for rhetorical games that enable mass bloodguilt.

Or rather, this is a time to expose such for what they are:

The enabling of utterly unspeakable evil that if unstopped dooms our civilisation and in the literal and proper sense, will damn our souls.

And, already, the signs of reprobate minds, darkened and hardened hearts as well as utterly calloused benumbed consciences are evident on every hand.

Our civilisation, heedless of warning signs and literally satanically hell bent on a bloody march of wicked nihilistic folly, is headed straight over the cliff into the abyss.

change_challWe need redemption, regeneration, renewal and transformation that addresses Wallnau’s seven mountains and the four R’s of reformation and redemptive transformation.

seven_mountains_fulness_visionThat is itself a long story in its own right.

But, there is another issue that is much more central to the OP. For that, we need to clip onwards from the OP:

How can such answer Euthyphro’s dilemma?

By first noting that such a [necessary, inherently good, maximally great] being is radically different from ourselves [ finite, fallible, morally struggling, too often ill-willed and/or stubbornly blind and endarkened while imagining ourselves enlightened, etc.] and from the sort of nihilistic supermen gods projected unto Mt Olympus or wherever.

Next, we see that good and God are inextricably mutually involved, so the project of separating good from God collapses.

A conceptual failure to understand what God inherently is.

Nor is God simply imposing arbitrary will and power, as his creatures with natures that manifest evident value, dignity and purpose, we owe and are owed mutual duties of justice, both to one another and to our Creator.

Hence, the too often repeated project of trying to pretend that the tail of a sheep is a leg and demanding that such must now be treated as a leg collapses for the same reason that we cannot create a new primary colour, such is not in our remit. We are not God, and the inherent natures of tails and legs so diverge that a sheep’s tail simply will not work as a leg.

Might/manipulation do not and cannot make ‘right.’

And, as a bonus, we see why a doctrine of eternal audit/judgement makes sense — God owes us the duty of justice and a final hearing.

Which, we most assuredly will face by the same eternal justice that is a part of that inherent goodness of God.

So, we can now see how we get to roots of moral government, and why the issue of ontological roots is properly prior to the question of using the GR/CI to identify principles and rules or at least to validate such.

We have serious matters to address, a holocaust backed by deception and corruption of institutions is already in progress.

Behold, the frog march of the people of Nuremberg past the piled up victims at Buchenwald:


vs the truth about abortion today that the complicit media will not allow us to face squarely:


(And yes, sorry for these two ugly images but we need to be shocked and outraged to wake us up to the truth, and to stop shooting at the messenger who bears bad news that is utterly unwelcome.)

And, time is not on our side in the face of a floodtide of bloodguilt tied to the ongoing biggest holocaust in history, already many hundreds of millions and counting.

The war against posterity.>>


I know such is shocking, and maybe you feel outraged, but please pause and ask yourself, do I feel outraged about the ongoing holocaust of hundreds and hundreds of millions, excused under false colour of rights and through twisted laws and courts etc?

Which outrage should come first?

And, if I am in so endarkened a moral condition that I displace outrage from facing a holocaust and our civilisaiton-wide guilt to shooting at messengers who bear unwelcome news, what does that say about my ability to think straight on moral matters?

Here is the Apostle Paul, speaking in warning to church and civilisation alike, c 61 AD:

Eph 4:17 Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds.

18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. 19 They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity.

20 But that is not the way you learned Christ!— 21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22 to put off your old self,[f] which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. [ESV]

Finally, this is a FYI-FTR, headlining an in thread comment. Accordingly, the discussion will be entertained there. END