Home » Climate change, Global Warming » Sarah Palin: Just say NO … to Copenhagen

Sarah Palin: Just say NO … to Copenhagen

From Sarah Palin’s Facebook page:

Mr. President: Boycott Copenhagen; Investigate Your Climate Change “Experts”

The president’s decision to attend the international climate conference in Copenhagen needs to be reconsidered in light of the unfolding Climategate scandal. The leaked e-mails involved in Climategate expose the unscientific behavior of leading climate scientists who deliberately destroyed records to block information requests, manipulated data to “hide the decline” in global temperatures, and conspired to silence the critics of man-made global warming. I support Senator James Inhofe’s call for a full investigation into this scandal. Because it involves many of the same personalities and entities behind the Copenhagen conference, Climategate calls into question many of the proposals being pushed there, including anything that would lead to a cap and tax plan.

Policy should be based on sound science, not snake oil. I took a stand against such snake oil science when I sued the federal government over its decision to list the polar bear as an endangered species despite the fact that the polar bear population has increased. I’ve never denied the reality of climate change; in fact, I was the first governor to create a subcabinet position to deal specifically with the issue. I saw the impact of changing weather patterns firsthand while serving as governor of our only Arctic state. But while we recognize the effects of changing water levels, erosion patterns, and glacial ice melt, we cannot primarily blame man’s activities for the earth’s cyclical weather changes. The drastic economic measures being pushed by dogmatic environmentalists won’t change the weather, but will dramatically change our economy for the worse.

Policy decisions require real science and real solutions, not junk science and doomsday scare tactics pushed by an environmental priesthood that capitalizes on the public’s worry and makes them feel that owning an SUV is a “sin” against the planet. In his inaugural address, President Obama declared his intention to “restore science to its rightful place.” Boycotting Copenhagen while this scandal is thoroughly investigated would send a strong message that the United States government will not be a party to fraudulent scientific practices. Saying no to Copenhagen and cap and tax are first steps in “restoring science to its rightful place.”

- Sarah Palin

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168 Responses to Sarah Palin: Just say NO … to Copenhagen

  1. This is the Sarah Palin whose concern for the environment is expressed thus

    Governor Palin is an active promoter of Alaska’s aerial hunting program whereby wolves and bears are shot from the air or chased by airplanes to the point of exhaustion before the pilot lands the plane and a gunner shoots the animals point blank.

    Palin offered a $150 bounty for wolves to entice hunters to kill more wolves in certain parts of the state, with hunters having to present a wolf’s foreleg to collect the bounty.

    She actively opposed a ballot measure campaign seeking to end the aerial hunting of wolves by private hunters and approved a $400,000 state-funded campaign aimed at swaying people’s votes on the issue.

    She also introduced legislation to make it easier to kill wolves and bears and which would have also removed the aerial hunting initiative from the ballot and block the ability of citizens to vote on the issue.

    The Board of Game, which she appoints, has approved the killing of black bear sows with cubs as part of the program and expanded the aerial control programs.

    The media is currently looking into reports that state officials implementing one of the aerial wolf killing programs illegally killed five-week old wolf pups just outside their dens.

    This is the Sarah Palin whose concern for the environment is expressed thus

    Governor Sarah Palin has an extreme anti-conservation record on issues ranging from global warming, energy and drilling to wildlife and habitat protection.
    Aerial hunting of wolves and bears

    Governor Palin is an active promoter of Alaska’s aerial hunting program whereby wolves and bears are shot from the air or chased by airplanes to the point of exhaustion before the pilot lands the plane and a gunner shoots the animals point blank.

    Palin offered a $150 bounty for wolves to entice hunters to kill more wolves in certain parts of the state, with hunters having to present a wolf’s foreleg to collect the bounty.

    She actively opposed a ballot measure campaign seeking to end the aerial hunting of wolves by private hunters and approved a $400,000 state-funded campaign aimed at swaying people’s votes on the issue.

    She also introduced legislation to make it easier to kill wolves and bears and which would have also removed the aerial hunting initiative from the ballot and block the ability of citizens to vote on the issue.

    The Board of Game, which she appoints, has approved the killing of black bear sows with cubs as part of the program and expanded the aerial control programs.

    The media is currently looking into reports that state officials implementing one of the aerial wolf killing programs illegally killed five-week old wolf pups just outside their dens.

    and whose mastery of foreign policy issues was expressed, in an interview with Charlie Gibson, thus

    GIBSON: What insight into Russian actions, particularly in the last couple of weeks, does the proximity of the state give you?

    PALIN: They’re our next door neighbors and you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska, from an island in Alaska.

  2. “whose mastery of foreign policy issues was expressed, in an interview with Charlie Gibson”

    The same Charlie Gibson who asked a question condescendingly about the Bush Doctrine and then proceeded to explain it incorrectly when Sarah Pallin indicated she didn’t know what he was talking about. It turns out it was he didn’t know what he was talking about.

    Drill Baby Drill.

  3. —-GIBSON: What insight into Russian actions, particularly in the last couple of weeks, does the proximity of the state give you?

    —-PALIN: They’re our next door neighbors and you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska, from an island in Alaska.

    It was Gibson who used the word, “proximity.” For Darwinists, that means “closeness.” In that context, the answer makes perfect sense. In addition to Gibson’s confusion about context, he probably has never seen a curved world map. You CAN see Russia from Alaska, since it is much less than fifty miles away. Liberals are not conspicuous for their knowledge of geography.

    —-“whose mastery of foreign policy issues was expressed, in an interview with Charlie Gibson.”

    Obviously, Gibson did not know that there are several aspects to the Bush doctrine, including the justification of pre-emptive wars, the conviction that the U.S. should spread democracy at the end of a sword, and a multitude of other considerations. Palin asked exactly the right question. Gibson was too uninformed to understand its significance.

  4. I heart Sarah

  5. Sarah Palin has a humble heart and sees the need for Godly counsel. A lot of the American people will take that rather than the UN blueprint to impose global government described by Lord Monckton, especially now that climategate has exploded the smoking polar bear of truth under the “retreating glacier” of deception. And both Russia and icebergs are visible from Alaska so Sarah Palin has insight into foreign policy and climate.

  6. Liberals are not conspicuous for their knowledge of geography.

    So, Sarah Palin gets an A for geography. Too bad it was a foreign policy question.

  7. Sometimes its really sad to see the depths which some will sink to slander another person. Usually it ends up saying more about the slanderer, then the one being slandered.

    I will be the first to admit that Sarah Palin is not a scholar at the Ivy League professorship level. Few people are and quite frankly, most people at professorial level usually make horrible executives. She is hardly a dummy though either, having fought a political battle against an entrenched corrupt machine and won – even though the corruption was in her own party.

    But to slander her as you did in your post is contemptible. If you actually watched the interview for body language, and actually read the unedited portion, you would realize that she made that comment as an off hand remark leading to a much longer answer that was cut by ABC.

    To claim that she offered the fact that you could see Russia from Alaska as a complete justification for foreign policy experience is to make up something as ridiculous as believing that VP Joe Biden thinks JOBS has three letters ( even though he said it during the campaign ) or the President Obama thinks we have more than 57 states ( as he also stated during an interview ).

    Selective editing of a piece to slander an individual is very easy to do. All you need is a willing media, and a group of people willing to be duped by the media.

    Seversky, I don’t really know if you think that the last comment you recorded in your post discredits the Governor or not. I hope you are smart enough to see its irrelevance to the issue of global warming or to judging her ability to effectively assume a leadership position. If you can’t see that, you are being willingly duped.

  8. Quoting Sarah Palin on UD?

    Really? Really????

  9. —hummus man: “So, Sarah Palin gets an A for geography. Too bad it was a foreign policy question.”

    Explain that to Charles Gibson who framed a foreign policy question in terms of Alaska’s proximity to the Soviet Union, obviously unaware of the fact that the two countries almost touch, a strategic reality that shouldn’t need any further explanations. It is almost 6,000 miles from Chicago to Moscow. It is only about 35 miles from the Alaskan border to the Russian border. See how that works?

  10. Any criticisms of Sarah Pallin relevant to her experience should apply more so to Barach Obama as he had less experience than Pallin did when he was elected. Granted he is now getting a fantastic experience on what it takes to run the country but coming in he was an almost complete amateur.

    I often laughed at the criticism of my Obama supporting friends who said she was only a couple heart beats away from the presidency while supporting a guy who was to be given the top job and had no relevant experience. We might have been better off with Chauncey Gardner.

  11. 11

    A slightly off topic question – where can I find Dave Scott blogging on this topic?

  12. Investigate Your Climate Change “Experts”. . .conspired to silence the critics of man-made global warming.. . . Policy should be based on sound science, not snake oil. . . . “restore science to its rightful place.”

    The major issues relating to UD are the particularly the abuse of science and tribalism of Darwinists and their seeking to exclude everything except naturalistic materialism. We need to restore integrity to origins science as with climate science.

  13. Leftist, secular political correctness has poisoned the humanities for decades in the academy. Just look at the sociology, psychology, history, English and other departments in the humanities to see what has happened. I was once there in the the 1970s, and even then I was indoctrinated with moral relativism, Marxism, and hatred of traditional Christian values — at taxpayer expense.

    But something much more nefarious and destructive has recently taken place: The physical sciences, which were the last bastion of objective research, have now been poisoned by political correctness, so that no one can have any further faith in the objectivity of any pronouncement from the academy.

    I now automatically assume that any paper coming out of any publicly funded university is probably tainted by philosophical bias and corrupted by leftist, secular ideology.

  14. 14

    The islands that Palin is referring to are the Diomedes in the Berring Straight. Little Diomede (in Alaska) is approximately 2.5 miles from Big Diomede (In Siberia)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diomede_Islands

  15. Evidently, Seversky has gulped the kool-aid, and thinks that Palin’s just a rube, a joke, a hick with gapped teeth. Sorry, that dog won’t hunt.

    http://apnews.myway.com/articl.....HPGG2.html

    Oh, I almost forgot. Gee, thanks so much, Seversky, for your part in putting BO and Plugs in the White House. How’s that hope and change workin’ for ya?

  16. The conspiracy that Palin refers to sounds a lot like the wedge strategy.

  17. jerry,

    “Being There” is one of my all-time favs!

    But I wonder who else will get the “Chauncey Gardner” ref?

  18. 18

    Chauncey Gardner? Peter Sellers at is best.

  19. Palin is right on here.

  20. The proximity to Russia question was aimed at exposing her complete ignorance of the world outside the US. I think at that stage she didn’t even have a passport. The completely febrile claim that she knew something about Russia because it is close to Alaska is what this question exposed. Let’s not forget she could not name one newspaper she reads. She later claimed she couldn’t think of one because she wasn’t expecting the question and got nervous….She is a joke. Unfortunately a dangerous joke if people are still listening to her.

  21. StephenB:

    Explain that to Charles Gibson who framed a foreign policy question in terms of Alaska’s proximity to the Soviet Union, obviously unaware of the fact that the two countries almost touch, a strategic reality that shouldn’t need any further explanations.

    Gibson was obviously unaware of the proximity of Alaska to Russia when he framed the question in terms of the proximity of Alaska to Russia? You want to take another crack at that one, Stephen, because as stated it doesn’t make any sense?

    But, let’s go to the tape, shall we?

    GIBSON: What insight into Russian actions, particularly in the last couple of weeks, does the proximity of the state give you?

    PALIN: They’re our next door neighbors and you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska, from an island in Alaska.

    GIBSON: What insight does that give you into what they’re doing in Georgia?

    PALIN: Well, I’m giving you that perspective of how small our world is and how important it is that we work with our allies to keep good relation with all of these countries, especially Russia. We will not repeat a Cold War. We must have good relationship with our allies, pressuring, also, helping us to remind Russia that it’s in their benefit, also, a mutually beneficial relationship for us all to be getting along.

    We cannot repeat the Cold War. We are thankful that, under Reagan, we won the Cold War, without a shot fired, also. We’ve learned lessons from that in our relationship with Russia, previously the Soviet Union.

    We will not repeat a Cold War. We must have good relationship with our allies, pressuring, also, helping us to remind Russia that it’s in their benefit, also, a mutually beneficial relationship for us all to be getting along.

    Now, I won’t argue with the truthfulness of what she said, each sentence on it’s own is fine, though facile and uninsightful. I’d hope that someone who aspires to the second most powerful position on earth to have a firmer grasp of foreign policy than that. And while each sentence is, on it’s own, coherent, they are strung together into a depressing Jamesian pastiche.

  22. where can I find Dave Scott blogging on this topic?

    look Here at your own risk!

  23. Sev @1

    Palin offered a $150 bounty for wolves to entice hunters to kill more wolves in certain parts of the state, with hunters having to present a wolf’s foreleg to collect the bounty.

    Good for her. Wolves that were introduced into Northwestern states have exploded in population in a few short years — the deer-elk populations have been hit hard, and the Fish & Game are having to shoot wolves at a completely unexpected rate, even with hunting seasoned opned to wolves.

    Unlike you, Sev, real environmentalists understand ecological balance and know that wolves aren’t plush toys.

  24. hummus

    And while each sentence is, on it’s own, coherent, they are strung together into a depressing Jamesian pastiche.

    Thanks for the adjective-laced elitist bloviating resulting in no information of value. Did you clink your cocktail glass after posting it?

  25. Thanks for the adjective-laced elitist bloviating resulting in no information of value. Did you clink your cocktail glass after posting it?

    Actually I was sipping a Leinenkugel’s Creamy Dark Lager. But, if it makes you feel better,I was drinking it out of a glass. But, I will neither confirm nor deny that my pinkie was extended.

  26. zeroseven,

    Let’s not forget she could not name one newspaper she reads. She later claimed she couldn’t think of one because she wasn’t expecting the question and got nervous….She is a joke. Unfortunately a dangerous joke if people are still listening to her.

    Just keep listening to the news papers and you’ll be fine. (sarcasm) ;)

  27. “She is a joke. Unfortunately a dangerous joke if people are still listening to her.”

    Unfortunately, we elected a much bigger joke to be president. A man so unqualified for the job that it is a wonder that anyone would vote for such a light weight. What could have possessed the American public to waste their right to vote in such a way.

  28. —-hummus man: “Now, I won’t argue with the truthfulness of what she said, each sentence on it’s own is fine, though facile and uninsightful. I’d hope that someone who aspires to the second most powerful position on earth to have a firmer grasp of foreign policy than that. And while each sentence is, on it’s own, coherent, they are strung together into a depressing Jamesian pastiche.”

    Did you perform that same methodology on any one of Joe Biden’s inventory of truly idiotic statements. Try this one: “If you listen to me and follow what I’m suggesting we can fix this. When the stock market crashed Franklin Roosevelt got on television and didn’t just talk about the you know the pictures of greed he’s look this is what happened.”

    The sentence is, like, you know what I’m saying man, incoherent. Also, you might be interested to know that Roosevelt was not the President and television had not yet been invented.

    This man IS the Vice President of the United States, a perpetual gaffe machine that makes Sarah Palin look like Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher rolled into one.

  29. This man IS the Vice President of the United States, a perpetual gaffe machine

    Sure, but I bet he never put food on his family.

  30. hummus @25

    Actually I was sipping a Leinenkugel’s Creamy Dark Lager.

    While you still haven’t provided any meaningful content after three posts, it does verify that (unlike Tiger) alcohol was involved.

  31. JDH @ 7

    To claim that she offered the fact that you could see Russia from Alaska as a complete justification for foreign policy experience is to make up something as ridiculous as believing that VP Joe Biden thinks JOBS has three letters ( even though he said it during the campaign ) or the President Obama thinks we have more than 57 states ( as he also stated during an interview ).

    Everybody stumbles once in a while, that is not a problem, unless it it is habitual rather than occasional.

    Need I remind you of another of her episodes of foot-in-mouth:

    “We believe that the best of America is not all in Washington, D.C. We believe” — here the audience interrupted Palin with applause and cheers — “We believe that the best of America is in these small towns that we get to visit, and in these wonderful little pockets of what I call the real America, being here with all of you hard working very patriotic, um, very, um, pro-America areas of this great nation. This is where we find the kindness and the goodness and the courage of everyday Americans. Those who are running our factories and teaching our kids and growing our food and are fighting our wars for us. Those who are protecting us in uniform. Those who are protecting the virtues of freedom.”

    Not only did she manage to give offense to the large numbers of Americans who do not live in small towns by implying that they are not truly pro-American or patriotic but she was also apparently oblivious to the irony of talking about patriotism while being married to a man who had been a member of the secessionist Alaskan Independence Party. Just how patriotic is that?

    She had even sent them a message urging them to keep up the good work. Presumably that meant working towards separating Alaska from the country reviled by the party’s founder:

    The founder of the AIP was a man named Joe Vogler. Here’s what he had to say in a 1991 interview, only a few years before Palin attended its convention: “The fires of hell are frozen glaciers compared to my hatred for the American government.”

    He also said this: “And I won’t be buried under their damn flag. I’ll be buried in Dawson. And when Alaska is an independent nation they can bring my bones home.”

    Vogler has also said: “I’m an Alaskan, not an American. I’ve got no use for America or her damned institutions.”

    Speaking of irony

    Seversky, I don’t really know if you think that the last comment you recorded in your post discredits the Governor or not. I hope you are smart enough to see its irrelevance to the issue of global warming or to judging her ability to effectively assume a leadership position. If you can’t see that, you are being willingly duped.

    Yes, we are talking about some one who is being seriously considered by some as a future occupant of the White House.

    The Founding Fathers of this country are rightly considered to be great mean. The men who drafted the Declaration of Independence and drew up the US Constitution were not fools. They were well-educated, highly intelligent and of great experience. Some of the country’s greatest presidents – Washington, Adams, Jefferson – were drawn from their ranks. Nor should we forget the likes of Lincoln or Roosevelt or Kennedy.

    And you seriously think Sarah Palin is a worthy successor to such people? That is the best the Republican Party has to offer? I can only think of John McEnroe’s famous exclamation: “You cannot be serious!”

    Actually, no, that’s not quite right. I am also reminded of the Mencken quote that was used against George W Bush:

    As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.

  32. Seversky,

    You are truly desperate. We could go on and on about the stupidity of people especially our current president and his vice president who have made all number of gaffes but never gets played up in the press. Remember when Obama said the 57 states of America or the way to solve the gasoline price problem was to inflate your tires properly.

    “The Mencken quote that was used against George W Bush:”

    George Bush had higher test scores than both Al Gore and John Kerry and flew jet fighters which is one of the highest skill occupations in the world. I would bet he had much higher scores than Obama who will not release a single line of his academic history.

    So get a life and maybe you will say something coherent some time. As I said you tend to be desperate in everything you say.

  33. Seversky,

    Jerry is right. Obama wrote two memoirs, but never anything of substance about constitutional law. Your quote:

    As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron

    Is absurd elitist claptrap. The “plain folks of the land” are nothing to belittle. This is what our Republic was intended to be, a government of the people. It is elitist absurdity that would equate “plain folks of the land” with voting-in a moron. The plain folks of the land voted for every single one of our presidents. Andrew Jackson comes to mind, in which the elite thought that he was the epitome of the unwashed masses and that the White House had been adorned by a moron. But they were wrong. Just as they were wrong about Bush. You know, Seversky, on a personal note, you, quite frankly, epitomize everything that I think is wrong with our current culture. I engage you because I want to help you. But, I’m not sure if it’s just a lost cause, because almost everything you write I think is wrong, and demonstrably wrong.

  34. 34

    I think it’s important to understand that nobody is accusing Sarah Palin of being stupid because she actually is stupid. They are accusing her of being stupid because she’s a threat to their sense of intellectual superiority. In my book, that’s the opposite of stupid.

    Generally if you want to know who is the biggest threat to a group of people, all you have to do is find out who they hate the most.

  35. If the press had researched Obama, a power-hungry ideologue who lusted after the world’s most prestigious job, with the same rigor that it researched Bristol Palin, who was running for nothing and just wanted to be left the hell alone, Obama would not be president.

  36. They are accusing her of being stupid because she’s a threat to their sense of intellectual superiority

    Well, I will say that her grip on foreign policy is better than mine. After all, even when I lived in Upstate New York it was usually too hazy to see Canada across Lake Ontario.

  37. If the press had researched Obama, a power-hungry ideologue who lusted after the world’s most prestigious job, with the same rigor that it researched Bristol Palin, who was running for nothing and just wanted to be left the hell alone, Obama would not be president.

    Accusing someone of running for President of being arrogant and power-hungry is like accusing water of being wet. It pretty much requires a touch of megalomania to even contemplate taking on a job of that enormity.

  38. —-hummus man: “Accusing someone of running for President of being arrogant and power-hungry is like accusing water of being wet. It pretty much requires a touch of megalomania to even contemplate taking on a job of that enormity.”

    Agreed. And now back to my point @35, which you conveniently ignored. It’s called tuning in to the periphery while tuning out from the main argument.

  39. And now back to my point @35, which you conveniently ignored. It’s called tuning in to the periphery while tuning out from the main argument.

    Well, my apologies. I didn’t realize I was obligated to respond to everything you say. I thought we were just joking around in good humor. But, since you seem intent on being unpleasant and confrontational, allow me to rebut your point in 35 by asking what rock you were living under last year?

    All through the Democratic primaries and the Presidential campaign, you couldn’t pick up a newspaper, turn on the TV, or browse the internet without being bombarded with William Ayers, Jeremiah Wright, community activisim, long form birth certificates, that Obama attended an Indonesian madrassas as Barry Soetero, that his middle name is Hussien, that he had some sweetheart real estate deal in Chicago. Heck, the media even gave airtime to some nutjob that said he smoked crack and had gay relations with Obama in the back of a limousine. The only think the media didn’t dig into (mercifully) was whether he wore boxers or briefs.

    All this, and more, was out there day after day after day from February through November. And yet none of it stuck, individually or in toto. So, I am not really sure one more article about the Woods Fund would have tipped the balance.

  40. 40

    #39

    Newswriters across the nation quietly smile.

    (fooled another one…easy)

  41. —hummus man: “Well, my apologies. I didn’t realize I was obligated to respond to everything you say. I thought we were just joking around in good humor. But, since you seem intent on being unpleasant and confrontational, allow me to rebut your point in 35 by asking what rock you were living under last year?”

    Sorry, I didn’t mean to get your dander up. I am all for good humor, and I hate to be a spoil sport. However, the fact that the press chose to help get Obama elected and also chose to savage Sarah Palin is not exactly a peripheral issue. Have you forgotten that the Palin bashing began again, in earnest, on this thread?

    —-”All through the Democratic primaries and the Presidential campaign, you couldn’t pick up a newspaper, turn on the TV, or browse the internet without being bombarded with William Ayers, Jeremiah Wright, community activisim, long form birth certificates, that Obama attended an Indonesian madrassas as Barry Soetero, that his middle name is Hussien, that he had some sweetheart real estate deal in Chicago. Heck, the media even gave airtime to some nutjob that said he smoked crack and had gay relations with Obama in the back of a limousine. The only think the media didn’t dig into (mercifully) was whether he wore boxers or briefs.”

    The “mainstream media” completely ignored Obama’s academic record, made nothing of his lack of executive experience, covered up Ayers and Wright, and did nothing to hold Obama accountable for his training in the techiques of Saul Alinsky. All his pals are either Marxists or Liberation theologians, which is another name for Marxists who use Christianity as a cover.

    Objective studies have been conducted which show that quantitatively, there were far more pro-Obama, more “Joe just being Joe” broadcasts [everytime he said something monumentally stupid that escaped their protective cucoon], than negative, as opposed to the reverse trend for McCain and Palin, and, qualitatively, it has been shown that broadcast journalits loved Obama and wouldn’t dream of holding him accountable for anything. Chris Matthews said Obama gave him a “thrill up his leg.” When Katie Couric interviewed Biden, she gave him pass after pass, even though his comments were, at time, unbelievably naive. In that same context, she probed Palin for every weakness imaginable and seized on every perceived opportunity.

    If you are intersted in the facts, check out “A Slobbering Love Affair,” by Bernard Goldberg. Or, if you want evidence from the other side, read, “A long time coming,” from Newsweek’s editor, Evan Thomas. The title of the book speaks for itself.

    Then again, there is my original point. Why was Bristol Palin an issue at all? Never mind, I will answer the question for you. The idea was to hurt, and to continue hurting, anyone who challenges the liberal orthodoxy, the same bunch that you claim vetted Obama, which they obviously did not. We still don’t even know if Obama is a United States Citizen, but we certainly know who fathered Sara Palin’s grandchild. How’s that for getting our priorities straight?

  42. StephenB:

    We still don’t even know if Obama is a United States Citizen, but we certainly know who fathered Sara Palin’s grandchild.

    Wow, I didn’t know this. I assume you are serious, so I ask you:

    What evidence do you need to know that Obama is a US citizen?

    How do you know who is the father of Sara Palin’s grandchild?

  43. Correction @41: Evan Thomas, Obama supporter and the author of “A Long Time Coming, is a staff member for Newsweek. The editor, John Meacham, wrote the prologue.

  44. —-IrynaB: “What evidence do you need to know that Obama is a US citizen?”

    I would settle for a birth certificate.

    —-How do you know who is the father of Sara Palin’s grandchild?

    Because Sarah, Bristol, the father himself, and David Letterman all testify to his identity.

  45. StephenB:

    I would settle for a birth certificate.

    But how would you know it’s real?

    Because Sarah, Bristol, the father himself, and David Letterman all testify to his identity.

    But the testimony of Obama and his relatives, and David Letterman, that he was born in the US is not enough? It seems like you have a double standard.

  46. But the testimony of Obama and his relatives, and David Letterman, that he was born in the US is not enough?

    Iryna, I would add that the Linda Lingle, the Republican governor of Hawaii (also an active Bush 2004 and McCain 2008 campaigner), has stated unequivocally that Obama was born in Hawaii. But, I am willing to bet that will be insufficient for our friend Stephen.

  47. Obama was never able to present a legit proof of his US birth because one does not exist. Almost any person born in the US could present proof of their birth if they were being sworn in as president. So the bottom line is Obama was not born in the US and he is a fraud. It is not my opinion but it is just the best inference form the evidence. And the fact that the supreme court did not oppose him on this issue is outrageous. It prove what i have always said about even the conservative justices- which is they, like Obama, are more about themselves than what it is right. The constitution is clear that you cannot be president unless you were born in the US. And quite frankly the fruits of Obama’s presidency so far have only confirmed his inadequacy. He is pushing a ridiculous commitment to reducing US greenhouse gasses in the face of the fact that the science does not show that man’s emissions contribute in any significant degree to climate change- and he is pushing for a death care bill which will not only overrun the already overrun hospitals but will force people who cant find a job to buy healthcare- which is completely and totally unconstitutional- and furthermore he is spending the US into a hole of debt so deep that it will not take too much more to spiral the US into a currency crises- that could result in a dictatorship- or fascistic result- similar to what happened in Russia and Germany.

    Obama is totally unqualified and illegitimate. This is not my personal opinion, it is just an honest inference from the abundance of facts of only his first year as president.

    And everyone should be concerned and outraged by what his administration wants to do to the model responsible in large part for the most successful county in history of the world.

    And as they meet now to discuss the political “consensus” that greenhouse gasses need to be regulated– we need to call out these politicians and special interests as the LIARS that they are; the DISCUSTING liars that they are. And Obama is just a total fraud to support this treaty in the face of all the facts now released about the phony computer models and the “behind the scenes” truth about politics and interests which are the REAL support for the AGW theory. These truths are the same ones that the AGW skeptics have been claiming for years only now totally and completely confirmed by smoking gun evidence.

  48. —-IrynaB: “But the testimony of Obama and his relatives, and David Letterman, that he was born in the US is not enough? It seems like you have a double standard.”

    Not really. I, and millions of others, have good reason to believe that Obama has no birth cirtificate and that he is not a United States citizen. On the other hand, I, nor anyone else, has any good reason for believing that Levi Johnston is not the father of Bristol Palin’s child.

    Further, the import of the first point is, oh, say, a million times more important that the import of the second point. Further still, the press cares not a whit about the first point, which, again, is of major consequence, while it obsesses endlessly over the second point, which shouldn’t matter at all. Why is that? Clearly, it is because the media’s roster is filled with news-making, career busting, career bolstering partisans who love Barak Obama and hate Sarah Palin.

  49. 49

    StephenB-
    Can you go back to your comment #3 and explain how Palin’s answer “makes perfect sense”?

    —-GIBSON: What insight into Russian actions, particularly in the last couple of weeks, does the proximity of the state give you?

    —-PALIN: They’re our next door neighbors and you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska, from an island in Alaska.

    It was Gibson who used the word, “proximity.” For Darwinists, that means “closeness.” In that context, the answer makes perfect sense. In addition to Gibson’s confusion about context, he probably has never seen a curved world map. You CAN see Russia from Alaska, since it is much less than fifty miles away.

    At the time, some supporters of Governor Palin were making the ridiculous argument that the fact that Russia is close to Alaska gave the Governor some foreign policy expertise. Gibson asked her what insight that closeness gave her into Russia’s actions in Georgia. Instead of making a sensible answer, which would be to say “Well, it’s not the proximity Charlie, it’s my experience with Russian trade and diplomatic missions, my study of the history of our close neighbors, etc. that gives me the following insights . . . “, she said [the proximity gives me the insight that] “you can see Russia from Alaska.”

    You think that aswer makes perfect sense? I suppose you also think that a perfectly sensible answer to the question “what newspapers and magazines do you read?” is “all of them.”

  50. —-Walter Kloover: “Gibson asked her what insight that closeness gave her into Russia’s actions in Georgia.”

    Alaska has military bases and Palin is undoubtedly aware of any security issues in her purview, which would include Russian border issues.

    Clearly, that doesn’t rise to the level of face to face interactions with the Kremlin, but it is not nothing. Obama, on the other hand, had no foreign policy experience in any context, no executive experience, and as far as I know, has never even had a real job. So, if you are embarrassed by Palin’s executive experience and limited foreign policy experience, you should be much more embarrassed by Obama’s total lack of both.

    From what I can tell, Obama has been given unearned privileges all throughout his career, beginning with an undeserved admission to the Harvard Law School, which he clearly did not earn, to his privileged inclusion into Chicago politics. Sarah Palin, on the other hand, had to work her way up the hard way. She even had to explain to the press why she once received a low grade in macro economics. No one has ever asked Obama to explain his mediocre performance in college [he didn't even receive honors] and why it entitled him to attend the most prestigious university in the United States. Can you explain it?

    —”I suppose you also think that a perfectly sensible answer to the question “what newspapers and magazines do you read?” is “all of them.”

    No, I don’t like that answer.

    What do you think of Joe Biden’s foray into public speaking where he asked a man in a wheelchair to stand up and take a bow?

  51. Obama got into Harvard through his Black Muslim connections.

  52. Frost:

    furthermore he is spending the US into a hole of debt so deep that it will not take too much more to spiral the US into a currency crises-

    So, what is the best inference from this evidence?

  53. Stephen:

    beginning with an undeserved admission to the Harvard Law School

    Was his being elected editor of the Harvard Law Review another freebie tossed his way? His magna cum laude graduation? Was he filling a quota when he taught constitutional law at one of the best law schools in the nation for 12 years?

  54. “So, what is the best inference from this evidence?”

    That we were on the way to a balanced budget till we got a Democrat congress in 2006.

    The Republican congress forced spending restraints on Clinton. That along with the reduction in defense spending and the incredible income from the dot com bubble gave us a temporary surplus. Then a recession hit in 2000 as the bubble popped and slowed the economy down. Capital gains revenues dropped dramatically. Then came 9/11 which froze the economy for a while and which then added additional military spending. We were headed to another budget surplus when the sub prime mess hit.

  55. “Was his being elected editor of the Harvard Law Review another freebie tossed his way?”

    Probably. He never wrote anything for the Law Review, one of the few ever in history.

  56. —hummas man: “Was his being elected editor of the Harvard Law Review another freebie tossed his way? His magna cum laude graduation? Was he filling a quota when he taught constitutional law at one of the best law schools in the nation for 12 years?”

    Yes, I suspect that all of it can be attributed to affirmative action. Why do you think he never speaks of his experiences at Harvard?

    Harvard Law School was the first to initiate the use of affirmative action in selecting candidates for law review selection. Also, it has different law review admissions based on race. Between grade inflation, the lobbying efforts of his comrades, and what may have been total insulation from any “white” competition, my guess is that his Magna Cum Laude means nothing.

  57. Hummas all that evidence shows is that the deficit began before Bush at the end of Clintons era- and the end of the tech bubble which grew the economy vastly and produced great tax revenue. Then Bush got in and the recession hit about at the time he started- before he did anything- and the deficit grew regardless- and yes after Bush went to war (wars I personally think were worthy) the deficit grew even more despite the economic growth that was spurred by Bush’s tax cuts. Coupled with the fact that Bush and the republicans did nothing to lower government spending the deficit grew-

    However with an already obvious imminent and expanding budget crises the US people lead by a pathetic education establishment, apparently,. and a TOALLY corrupt mainstream media- (which still is as CBS did a story tonight on how the science proves that AGW is definetly happening) proven by things like Dan Rather’s forged evidence of Bush skipping military service- resulted in the election of the biggest and most irresponsible spender in US history.

    You chart only shows up to 2006 where the deficit was apparently about 250 billion then- but now after Obama we are up to about 10 Trillion.

    Good grief.

  58. Frost122585 –

    You chart only shows up to 2006 where the deficit was apparently about 250 billion then- but now after Obama we are up to about 10 Trillion.

    This is a remarkable – 40-fold if I have my figures correct – increase, although I haven’t seen it presented anywhere else. If true this is appalling. Do you have a source?

  59. Frost:

    You chart only shows up to 2006 where the deficit was apparently about 250 billion then- but now after Obama we are up to about 10 Trillion.

    The chart was yearly deficits, not cumulative. Try again.

    As for others, why is it a recession is an excuse for deficits under Bush (which is true), but not Obama.

    As for Steven, you are probably the first person ever to argue that a Harvard Law degree is meaningless. You are truly a groundbreaker.

  60. By the way, Steven, you do realize that magna cum laude is presented to the top 10% of a class, so you may want to clarify what you mean by grade inflation. Were grades only inflated for the minority students, leaving the poor white kids to fend for themselves?

    Also, do you have any actual evidence that Harvard Law School (and apparently the University of Chicago Law School) are rife with political correctness run amok, or are you starting from your conclusion that Obama is unqualified and working backwards?

  61. What is funny about your link Hummus is that you can see how Bush’s tax cuts actually stimulated revenues for a short period- helping to cut the national debt from about 425b to 250b- a very significant 59%.

    At the time in 2006 or so there were some big stories on how the tax cuts through economic growth caused a startling INCREASE in tax revenues. But the Communist News Network (CNN) and PMSNBC and all the toilet papers only mentioned it for about a couple days- even though it was a HUGE story as it pertained to the US economy and economic theory in general.

  62. and Pardon my logic there Hummus- I was up late and tired- the trend is the same just not the exponent obviously- you are right that your little graph shows yearly deficits- and I am right that under Bush they eventually began to retrench- but here is the graph you SHOULD have shown from the same source I think-

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/3015.....960present

    as we can see the Obama deal is heading back the other way- and quite frankly I think this chart is biased in his favor- as almost ever other stat I have heard or seen shows an even worse projection under Obama.

    And for the shocking difference in the TOTAL budget debt go to this page

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.....ublic_debt

    under the section ” Calculating and projecting the debt”

    you will see in 2005 the projected debt was about 2.3 trillion- but now Obama’s own people are projecting a hockey stick to 20 trillion by only 2015.

    And what is Obama’s plan to fix this bottomless pit? Spend more. He is even trying to take the tarp money that is being paid back and spend it now.

    I don’t let Bush or Obama off the hook- both allowed terrible spending- and Bush fell for all this bum rush bail out hysteria- but now that Obama is in it is on him and he is just proving his ineptitude.

    And one last note- even with all this stupidly spent stimulus and bailouts- the markets are not even improving- it is morel like they are on life support than actually rebounding- proven by the falling again stock market and the unemployment rate that refuses to budge. Oh and how does Obama plan to help those who cannot find a job to get medical care? He is going to FORCE them to pay about 3k per year of money they do not have to buy health insurance they may not need- and if hey do not they will face government punishment- something right out Stalin’s hand book.

  63. Read what I worte- and dont you forget it – it is the truth.

  64. What is funny about your link Hummus is that you can see how Bush’s tax cuts actually stimulated revenues for a short period

    Ah, Frosty, I see the trees. But, I don’t think you see the forest. Try again and this time look at the trends associated with each administration. Then associate party affiliation. See it now?

    Democrats (which I am not) may be “tax and spend”, but I can only conclude that Republicans are “borrow and spend.”

  65. —hummas man: “By the way, Steven, you do realize that magna cum laude is presented to the top 10% of a class, so you may want to clarify what you mean by grade inflation. Were grades only inflated for the minority students, leaving the poor white kids to fend for themselves?”

    Yes, I am aware of that fact. You will recall that I have reason to believe Harvard provided Obama with special treatment.

    —”Also, do you have any actual evidence that Harvard Law School (and apparently the University of Chicago Law School) are rife with political correctness run amok, or are you starting from your conclusion that Obama is unqualified and working backwards?”

    I feel no need to prove that Harvard is a stronghold of political correctness. They pioneered it and defined it. Obamas SAT scores are a secret and so are the facts of his performance, except for those awards that you mention. Here are a few things to think about:

    Occidental College records – Not released

    Columbia College
    records – Not released

    Columbia Thesis paper – “not available”

    Harvard College records – Not released

    Selective Service Registration – Not released

    Medical records – Not released

    Illinois State Senate records – “not available”

    Illinois State Senate schedule – “not available”

    Law practice client list – Not released

    Certified Copy of original Birth certificate – Not released

    Embossed, signed paper Certification of Live Birth – Not released

    Harvard Law Review articles published – None

    University of Chicago scholarly articles – None

    Is this what he means by “transparency?”

    On the other hand, maybe he really did pull it off. I have no way of knowing for sure, so I can only go by four pieces of evidence which are at variance with one other [A] He has always been given special treatment, [B] His defining records are a secret, [C] Harvard awarded him Magna Cum Laude, [D] If [C] means anything, why are all his other academic records a secret and why didn’t he publish anything worth reading?

  66. why are all his other academic records a secret and why didn’t he publish anything worth reading?

    Probably for the same reason that Sarah Palin doesn’t release any medical records proving that Trig is really her child. For the record, I don’t believe (contra Sullivan) any of the rumors that Trig isn’t her child. I believe he is, but that isn’t my point.

    So, to wrap this up, you do believe that Obama got into Harvard, elected on the The Review, and graduated in the top 10% of his class not because of any merit, but solely because of Affirmative Action. Okay, fair enough. One question though. Do you feel similarly about programs at Ivy League schools that award legacy admission to children of wealthy and powerful alums?

  67. Hummus at 65,

    You make no argument and no point. I see the trees and the forest- and made my point.

    Yes republicans barrow and spend- but Dems have BARROWED a lot more.

  68. You make no argument and no point. I see the trees and the forest- and made my point.

    Actually that whistling sound you heard wasn’t the tea kettle, it was my point passing right by. So, in light of this being the season of holiday travel and reveries, I’ll dispense with the Socratic Method and just show you what you are missing. Let’s look at the deficit trends over the course of each administration:

    Kennedy – constant and essentially zero

    Johnson – constant and essentially zero

    Nixon – constant and essentially zero

    Ford – increased deficits

    Carter – constant

    Reagan – increased deficits

    Bush 41 – increased deficits

    Clinton – decreasing deficits and surplus

    Bush 43 – increased deficits

    So, given this, it isn’t clear to me how you could ever come to the conclusion that Democrats borrow more.

    Yes republicans barrow and spend- but Dems have BARROWED a lot more.

    Clever play on words. I was thinking you didn’t have a sense of humor, but I am glad to see I am wrong. Reminds me of the joke about how you define an honest politician as one who, once bought, stays bought.

  69. —-hummas man: “So, to wrap this up, you do believe that Obama got into Harvard, elected on the The Review, and graduated in the top 10% of his class not because of any merit, but solely because of Affirmative Action. Okay, fair enough. One question though. Do you feel similarly about programs at Ivy League schools that award legacy admission to children of wealthy and powerful alums?”

    You bet! I doubt very much if George Bush [Yale] or Ted Kennedy [Harvard] would have been allowed to fail a course or even get a scandalously low grade. Indeed, I suspect that both of those men rank very, very low as compared with the average student in both institutions. They were allowed in only because they are members of the privileged class. We end on a solid note of agreement.

    Also, I must allow for the possibility that, in spite of my protests to the contrary, Obama really did do a turn around and accomplish that which he was given credit for. If he didn’t have talent, his supporters would not have groomed him for bigger things. Also, talented people sometimes don’t get their fire lit until late in the game, which would explain the lower scores in undergraduate school.

    Still, I would have expected something concrete in the form of a thesis or some other written artifact to seal the deal. Anyone who is truly a member of the top 10% of an institution that typically rejects probably over 90% of the applicants, should really have something on the ball. In such cases, the scholarship oozes out of them. You don’t have to go looking for proof of their capacity to perform.

  70. Clive Hayden @ 33

    Your quote:

    As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron

    Is absurd elitist claptrap. The “plain folks of the land” are nothing to belittle. This is what our Republic was intended to be, a government of the people. It is elitist absurdity that would equate “plain folks of the land” with voting-in a moron.

    Mencken was lamenting the fact that then, as now, politicians who wanted to win had to pander to the lowest common denominator in their electorate and the logical extension of that process would be a moron in the White House.

    Hardly surprising when a large part of that electorate will have graduated from schools where being popular and good at sports is considered far more important than any scholastic achievement.

    The plain folks of the land voted for every single one of our presidents. Andrew Jackson comes to mind, in which the elite thought that he was the epitome of the unwashed masses and that the White House had been adorned by a moron.

    The plain folks who followed the Founding Fathers and elected those first presidents were people who would buy and devour the latest densely-written political tracts hot off the press. They could actually follow and understand them, too. They were interested in the ideas and the arguments. They would stand for hours just listening to the oratory of the great speakers of the period.

    How many modern voters do you think would have the patience or the interest or the intellectual capacity to do that?

    Jackson was a great soldier and a great president, although his reputation is tarnished by his treatment of the Indians. He was smart, tough-minded, determined and, if it wouldn’t have been ungentlemanly to do so, would have squashed a Sarah Palin like a bug if she had been foolish enough to get in his way.

    The sad thing is that most of the Founding Fathers and early presidents would today be seen as members of the sort of elite you, Sarah Palin and small-town America despise and would hence be almost unelectable.

    You know, Seversky, on a personal note, you, quite frankly, epitomize everything that I think is wrong with our current culture. I engage you because I want to help you. But, I’m not sure if it’s just a lost cause, because almost everything you write I think is wrong, and demonstrably wrong.

    Actually, I was thinking much the same thing.

    I know I am a “moral monster” and “rabid atheist” but would you like to be more specific about where exactly I am going wrong?

  71. Jackson was a great soldier and a great president, although his reputation is tarnished by his treatment of the Indians.

    He also was wrong about the central bank and, by virtue of his veto of it’s 1832 recharter and the subsequent withdrawal of government money from the Bank, managed to precipitate a significant and long lasting economic downturn.

    I know I am a “moral monster” and “rabid atheist” but would you like to be more specific about where exactly I am going wrong?

    Well, I would guess it is because you don’t accept Clive’s assertion of an objective moral code. I would surmise that even if Clive was to actually codify his objective moral code and you were found to live your life by that code without exception, he would still look at you disapprovingly because you didn’t accept that God was the source of that moral code. Faith, works, you know the deal.

  72. Mr Seversky,

    How many modern voters do you think would have the patience or the interest or the intellectual capacity to do that?

    That would depend on what was on TV, or if they had just downloaded that new game, or if the battery of their iPod needed recharging, or if they had to stop texting while standing there listening. Politics as entertainment has not kept up with the alternatives.

    We used to worry about sound bites, but now the message has to fit in 150 characters!

    Intellectual capacity? We have it, even if we use it for something else. Vocabulary? A different question, though 19th century politics had a much sloganeering and mud slinging as today, if not more.

  73. Seversky,

    I know I am a “moral monster” and “rabid atheist” but would you like to be more specific about where exactly I am going wrong?

    Both “moral” and “monster” imply a standard. A standard which you reject. You might think you’re moral, but you also think that morality doesn’t actually exist outside of your thinking. “Monster” implies that there is a type of being that “shouldn’t” be the way it is. But on the premise of evolution, there is no being that “should” or “shouldn’t” be. On that premise, we are all, quite literally, mutated space dust. There is no fixed being that is approximated to, to even begin to constitute another being as monstrous by comparison. On the premise of evolution’s endless and aimless becoming, all are from the same natural source. You may as well say that the wind “should” blow east, but since it blew west, it is a “monstrous” wind.

    And on the premise of the evolution of morality, you have admitted that torturing babies to death for fun is good and moral in principle, if evolution decreed it as so. And all dictates that you impose, such as “mutual interest” and “reciprocal altruism” and “survival” all hinge on the premise that they “should” be sought as a moral “duty”, and thus your system begins with what you maintain doesn’t really exist objectively. It begs the question. In the end, you cannot provide a real system of values for why any of your dictates should be followed, for they all rely on the premise that says that they just “should” be followed. But you cut off the branch you are sitting on when you make those fundamentals subjective. You have no basis for it; you cannot provide an “is” for your “ought,” though you claim to be able to. This is why you are wrong, and demonstrably so.

  74. #74

    Both “moral” and “monster” imply a standard.

    And what do we judge the standard by?

  75. 76

    Mr. Frank, there is nothing to judge the standard by; for it is the standard by which we are judged. Your question is meaningless, quite literally nonsense.

  76. BarryA:

    Mr. Frank, there is nothing to judge the standard by; for it is the standard by which we are judged. Your question is meaningless, quite literally nonsense.

    I find Mark’s question intelligible. There is an unanswered difficulty with “absolute standards” to which it speaks:

    How does one discern whether one is in possession of absolute standards, or rather have embraced more ordinary standards, of human devising, that include the content “these are absolute standards?”

  77. 78

    Voice Coil. I understand your position and could not disagree more. As Jay Budziszewski has eloquently stated, some things you can’t not know. Those things are the standard, or, as Lewis called it, the Tao. Your and Mr. Frank’s statements imply that that we cannot be sure that the prescriptions of the Tao really are transcendent. Rubbish. Lewis again: Can you even imagine a world in which men who run away in battle are applauded or where men who betray and kill those who have loved them best are admired? Neither can I. Another example from Lewis: In some societies you can have one wife; in others five, but there is no society in which the men can take any woman they please. There is room to debate on the edges of the Tao, but its core is absolute. What’s more, I am not telling you something you don’t already know, deep down, no matter how many times you may deny it.

  78. Clive:

    Seversky,

    I know I am a “moral monster” and “rabid atheist” but would you like to be more specific about where exactly I am going wrong?

    Both “moral” and “monster” imply a standard. A standard which you reject. You might think you’re moral, but you also think that morality doesn’t actually exist outside of your thinking.

    Seversky, told ya so.

  79. BarryA:

    Thank you for your response. I don’t see an answer for my question therein, however, other than “one just knows,” which I find a very weak basis for the claim of absolute objectivity. After all, you are describing a subjective experience (of “just knowing”), make the inherently unsupportable claim that it is universal, and announce your decision to ignore evidence to the contrary (denials of that experience.)

    So this remains an “unanswered difficulty” for me.

  80. hummus man,

    Seversky, told ya so.

    If you will not contribute anything substantive, I will delete your comments.

  81. —Voice Call to Barry A: “After all, you are describing a subjective experience (of “just knowing”), make the inherently unsupportable claim that it is universal, and announce your decision to ignore evidence to the contrary (denials of that experience.)

    —”So this remains an “unanswered difficulty” for me.”

    Evidence does not lead to the self-evident truths contained in law of non-contradiction and the law of causality, it is dependent upon and proceeds forth from them. We don’t reason our way to them; we reason our way from them. Without them, all rationality, all science, and all meaningful discourse stop. Indeed, you cannot even think without assuming the law of non contradiction.

    The history of those who deny these first principles is a history of those who, offended at the prospect of objective moral truths and the demands that it might place on them, would prefer to live in an irrational world in which no truths exist at all. It’s as simple as that.

  82. The law of morality is just as obvious as the law of causality and the law of non-contradiction.

  83. StephenB,

    The history of those who deny these first principles is a history of those who, offended at the prospect of objective moral truths and the demands that it might place on them, would prefer to live in an irrational world in which no truths exist at all. It’s as simple as that.

    That has been my experience when dealing with them as well. Well said.

  84. #76 [Barry] and related comments

    Barry

    You say the question is meaningless. Let me rephrase it slightly. According to Clive it is impossible to evaluate something as good (or bad) without comparing to a standard.

    My question is simply – is the standard itself good? Is this meaningless?

  85. StephenB, Clive:

    I still don’t see a response to my question other than “one just knows,” accompanied by the usual unflattering psychologizing vis those who don’t share your convictions.

    How does one discern whether one is in possession of absolute standards, or rather in the grip of ordinary standards, of human devising, that include the content “these are obvious, absolute standards” – particularly given that evidence is not involved?

  86. Barry Arrington @ 78:

    “Can you even imagine a world in which men who run away in battle are applauded …”

    This is a somewhat unfortunate example of universal moral standards. In fact, In Europe soldiers who defected from the Nazi army are regarded as highly moral persons.

  87. —Voice Call: “How does one discern whether one is in possession of absolute standards, or rather in the grip of ordinary standards, of human devising, that include the content “these are obvious, absolute standards” – particularly given that evidence is not involved?”

    The first way is through intellectual intuition,.which is more than mere assumption. We grasp many things by apprehending their truth directly without any empirical evidence at all. The second way confirms the first and it works like this: One does a simple reductio ad absurdum: If the law of non-contradtion is not true, I could be both dead and alive; If the law of causality is not true, walls could just pop up in front of your moving car; if the law of morality is not true, you would not be here arguing on behalf of skepticism on the grounds that it is unfair to posit objective morality without evidence. If, down deep, you didn’t believe in objective, transcendent morality and fairness, you wouldn’t care one way or the other nor, for that matter, would you ever try to redress any moral problem at all.

  88. Clive, thanks for the kind words.

  89. 90

    StephenB at 88,

    if the law of morality is not true, you would not be here arguing on behalf of skepticism on the grounds that it is unfair to posit objective morality without evidence

    I don’t see Voice Coil arguing anything about unfairness. My understanding of his questions is that they are about evidence, logic, and reason. Saying “I just know it’s an absolute standard” is not particularly compelling and certainly doesn’t answer his question.

    How can one objectively determine whether or not a moral standard is absolute?

  90. —Mark Frank: “My question is simply – is the standard itself good? Is this meaningless?”

    The standard is a measure of and evidence for the good. Something is “good” if it operates the way it was designed and intended to operate. A good can opener opens cans; a good pencil writes well. If someone takes a pencil and tries to open a can with it, he will not only fail to open the can, but he will destroy the pencil in the process. That is because a pencil is not a “good” can opener.

    A good human being is one that operates according to the way he was designed, namely to practices virtue and pursue that end for which he was made. If he denies his humanity and decides to act like an animal, he will, like the pencil, fail to achieve his end and, because of his nature, will not be happy. If there is no design, or no end, then there is no such thing as the good or bad because there is no created standard to meet or violate. Without design, there can be no morality.

  91. —-Mustela Nivalis: “I don’t see Voice Coil arguing anything about unfairness.”

    But he is arguing about fairness, and so are you by implying that I did not give his point a fair hearing. Why should you care? Why do you care?

    It will not do to say that you are concerned only about “accuracy,” because you must explain why you care about that as well. By what standard do you insist that I should not misrepresent what Voice Call said? It is a moral standard, plain and simple. If you didn’t know that some moral principle was at stake, you would not have bothered with any of it. You are trying to redress what you perceive as a wrong act.

  92. 93

    StephenB at 92,

    You are trying to redress what you perceive as a wrong act.

    Actually, I’m genuinely interested in the question from a purely epistemological point of view. How do we know what we know, in general? How do you know that your moral standard is absolute, in particular? If someone else has a different moral standard that he claims is absolute, how do we determine who is correct?

  93. StephenB:

    if the law of morality is not true, you would not be here arguing on behalf of skepticism on the grounds that it is unfair to posit objective morality without evidence. If, down deep, you didn’t believe in objective, transcendent morality and fairness, you wouldn’t care one way or the other nor, for that matter, would you ever try to redress any moral problem at all.

    This doesn’t appear to answer my question.

    My question can be addressed sensibly only to persons who advocate objective morality, such as yourself. It would make no sense to address it to one who denies that there is an objective morality.

    Given that, my question to you is: how do YOU make the discernment referenced in my question? Given that you’ve already stated that one doesn’t come to knowledge of objective morality by means of evidence, the questions posed and moral concerns displayed by persons like me (which can serve as evidence, at best, for you) have no bearing upon your own discernment. I asking what does.

    So far as I can tell you are left with your own intuitive conviction that objective standards of morality exist. Which is no different (so far as I can tell) than a claim that you “just know,” which I find very weak.

  94. —Voice Call: “So far as I can tell you are left with your own intuitive conviction that objective standards of morality exist. Which is no different (so far as I can tell) than a claim that you “just know,” which I find very weak.”

    The fundamental tools of reason are all based on intiuitive knowledge, which is the most compelling and dependable knowledge of all. Evidence can be persuasive, but it is always based on probabilities and totally dependent on reason’s principles. In keeping with that point, the notion that we should take evidence more seriously than the intuitive knowledge on which it is based is misguided and stems largely from a postmodernist disdain for reason itself.

    Indeed, evidence is valuable and comprehensible only in the context of having already accepted reason’s first principles. Data, for example, can only be meaningfully interpreted within the context of the law of causality and the principle of non-contradiction. If we abandoned those laws, we could not draw reasonable conclusions from evidence. What has happened in our culture is this: Due to our worship of science, which has, indeed, provided us with many wonderful benefits, we have forgotten about the first principles of reason on which science is based, such as the law of non-contradiction, the law of causality, and the law of morality.

    The law of morality is no less intuitive, no less compelling, and no less true, than the law of non-contradiction. These first principles are more important, more necessary, and more illuminating, than the evidence they interpret. Of course, this intuitive knowledge can be compromised in a number of ways.

    Religious [and secularist] fanatics can brainwash individuals into rejecting the certain knowledge of reason’s principles and deaden their consciences. Similary, anyone who has acquired a large inventory of bad habits and moral vices, can brainwash themselves into believing that objective morality does not exist. It happens every day. The irony is that these poor souls often abandon any hope for improvement by questioning or denying the very moral standards that could make them better.

  95. Mustela Nivalis: “Actually, I’m genuinely interested in the question from a purely epistemological point of view. How do we know what we know, in general? How do you know that your moral standard is absolute, in particular? If someone else has a different moral standard that he claims is absolute, how do we determine who is correct?”

    If you answer the four questions that I asked you @92, you will have your answer.

  96. 97

    StephenB at 96,

    If you answer the four questions that I asked you @92, you will have your answer.

    No, I won’t, because your questions presume that my question is about morality when, in fact, it is about epistemology.

    Allow me to repeat the two core questions that arise from your position:

    1) How do you know that your moral standard is absolute? (By “absolute” I assume you mean “objective” and by “know” I mean “justified true belief” which is by no means the same as “I just know.”)

    2) If someone else has a different moral standard that he claims is absolute, how do we determine who is correct?

    A direct answer would be appreciated.

  97. StephenB:

    …The fundamental tools of reason are all based on intiuitive knowledge, which is the most compelling and dependable knowledge of all…

    Thank you for your articulate post. However, it leaves me with the unmodified reaction that you are reporting intuitive (and hence inherently subjective) convictions as a basis for a claim regarding that which is objective and transcendent. No different than a claim that you “just know” (accompanied by contentless intensifiers – e.g. “compelling” and “no less true”- that report the degree of your conviction, only), which I find very weak.

  98. Hummus man @ 69…

    First of all you have no point as you go on to further display VERY poor reasoning with your chart of presidents and their relationships to debt.

    First for one major problem- a President does not decide all by himself what and how much is spent by his administration- and secondly the deficit is not just about how much is spent but about how much money is taken in.

    The reason why deficits went up under Reagan was because the Democrats spent us into oblivion and that IS WHY Reagan was elected. The reason why under Reagan’s administration the debt went up is because when a government spends the debt lags the actual allocation until it is properly quantified. So Reagan’s debt largely came from the terrible social programs of his democrat predecessors- like Lynden Johnson’s not great society.

    Likewise Clinton’s surplus was the result of the Regan and BUSH 1 years- Reagan’s cuts of the government helped to stimulated a massive business cycle which EVENTUALLY spurred economic growth which in turn grew us out of a deteriorating budget.

    Clinton had his hands tied when he was in office because the Republicans lead by Gingrich operated under the contract with America which was about less spending. Clinton and his Wife tried to spend more on healthcare but it was still born because of REPUBLICAN leadership.

    So get your history straight.

    And the whole discussion is totally pointless because since 2006 we have had a Democrat senate and House and 2006 to now have been the worst years in a third of a century. And to further point out the pathetic Democrat leadership on the economy and balanced budgets you now have Obama who is on tract to spend in his first term more than ALL other presidents in US history combined. So get stop it with your fallacious argumentation and poor attempts at witticism- Dems BARROW more- and their programs are designed to GROW as the population grows- unlike a certain finite allocation to say a defense budget. That is why we could get a republican in and he could not spend any more than his democrat predecessor and yet the budge deficit could increase on a republicans watch.

    I can assure you if Reagan could have cut the size of government by as least a 3rd he WOULD have don’t it. If you study him you know that- but because of the remaining power of the democrats who under his administration controlled at least a large part of congress- Reagan could only do so much.

    But I certainly agree that Bush II spend to much- and while his father’s tax hikes probably came at the wrong time- you can thank him for the more balanced budget that Clinton dishonestly takes credit for.

  99. —-Voice Call: “However, it leaves me with the unmodified reaction that you are reporting intuitive (and hence inherently subjective) convictions as a basis for a claim regarding that which is objective and transcendent. No different than a claim that you “just know” (accompanied by contentless intensifiers – e.g. “compelling” and “no less true”- that report the degree of your conviction, only), which I find very weak.”

    What if I were to make the same claim about the law of non-contradiction. I can’t prove it, because it is the standard by which other proofs are established. On the other hand, I know that it is true because it is self evidently true. Would you accept the law of non-contradiction as a self evident truth that cannot be proven.

    There really are very few self evident truths. The list isn’t very long, so accepting them as true does not do violence to the intellect. On the other hand, rejecting them does indeed do violence to the intellect.

  100. 1) How do you know that your moral standard is absolute? (By “absolute” I assume you mean “objective” and by “know” I mean “justified true belief” which is by no means the same as “I just know.”)

    It is both inate and self evident, just as knowledge of the law of non-contradiction is inate and self-evident. Of course, we can be brainwashed out of it by fanaticism or we can brainwash ourselves out of it by behaving badly and looking for moral loopholes.

    2) If someone else has a different moral standard that he claims is absolute, how do we determine who is correct?

    We put it to the test of reason. All moral truths are reasonable if properly understood.

  101. @101 if for Mustela Nivalis.

  102. 103

    StephenB at 101,

    Thanks for the very direct and clear response. Unfortunately, I’m still confused. ;-)

    You say that you know your moral standard is absolute because “It is both inate and self evident, just as knowledge of the law of non-contradiction is inate and self-evident.” That really just boils down to “I believe it is absolute.” You don’t know it in the sense of being able to prove or logically defend it.

    However, when in response to my question of how to resolve disagreements over moral standards, you say “We put it to the test of reason. All moral truths are reasonable if properly understood.” which suggests that you believe you can logically prove or defend you moral standard.

    Which is it?

  103. 104

    StephenB at 101,

    I’d like to address one of your points separately, if I may. About your absolute moral standard you said:

    It is both inate and self evident, just as knowledge of the law of non-contradiction is inate and self-evident.

    I would contend that the law of non-contradiction is not in the same category as moral standards. The LoNC is a required assumption for the application of logic. It is possible to have a set of axioms that don’t include it, but such systems don’t lead to useful results.

    Moral standards are not so objective. Simply asserting that they are is not compelling.

  104. StephenB:

    What if I were to make the same claim about the law of non-contradiction. I can’t prove it, because it is the standard by which other proofs are established. On the other hand, I know that it is true because it is self evidently true. Would you accept the law of non-contradiction as a self evident truth that cannot be proven.

    I understand that you are analogizing the dependency of logical reasoning upon the unprovable law of non-contradiction and the dependency of moral reasoning upon an unprovable “law of morality.”

    Accepting (arguendo) your characterization of the law of contradiction as an instance of a “self-evident truth” and the subsequent dependency of logic upon that law, it follows only that there can be such a thing (a self-evident truth), not that “the law of morality” is necessarily a member of that class of self-evident truths. The latter is your primary claim, one that remains to be demonstrated, and you haven’t done so.

    It certainly does not follow from the the fact that you can construct an analogy (LNC : logical reasoning :: moral law : further moral reasoning) that the second term of your analogy is necessarily true. In fact, one may claim the opposite: moral reasoning absent an objective, transcendent “law of morality” is not only possible, it is the only such reasoning that is available to human beings, because there are no such absolute moral laws. Indeed, it may be claimed that your moral reasoning is also of this kind, although because you are in the grip of a moral system of human devising that includes the content “this moral system is transcendent and absolute,” you don’t know it.

    I know you don’t agree, and respect your disagreement. And that is the challenge of my original question: how do you demonstrate for yourself that the characterization of the above paragraph is false? So far I see nothing more than your assertion that you “just know” it to be so, now augmented with the additional argument that there are other things we can “just know.” However, even granting that additional point arguendo, it doesn’t follow that a “moral law” is in fact among those things “just known,” and are self-evident. That requires further demonstration, which I don’t see.

  105. Mustela Nivalis,

    Moral standards are not so objective. Simply asserting that they are is not compelling.

    Nor is asserting that they aren’t. What would be compelling would be if someone began torturing your family to death for fun, then you would have a lived dialectic.

  106. 107

    Clive Hayden at 106,

    The burden of proof is on the one making the claim. So far the only support anyone has provided for the assertion that moral standards are absolute or objective is “I just know it.”

    Now, I think that it might be possible to derive objective moral standards. I am not opposed to the idea in principle. However, they would have to be based on something logically stronger than intuition.

  107. Mustela,

    The burden of proof is on the one making the claim. So far the only support anyone has provided for the assertion that moral standards are absolute or objective is “I just know it.”

    Morals are premises, some things just have to be premises, otherwise you cannot have a conclusion. All arguments of morality presuppose them, if you do not presuppose them, no argument can bring you to them. There is nothing illogical about this, you have to have first principles, or else you can do no reasoning. The same is true for morality. And like I said, you yourself would be asserting objective morality in the right circumstances, regardless of whether anyone agreed with you or not, such as when, God forbid, your family were being tortured to death for fun. Some things we just know, and cannot be dismissed because they cannot provide an “is” for their “ought”.

  108. —Mustela Nivalis: “Moral standards are not so objective. Simply asserting that they are is not compelling.

    The only way I know to convince someone that certain truths are self evident is to suggest that they come to see it for themsevles, which was why I asked you those four questions back @91. Once we realize that we all have that motive of setting things right for moral reasons, we come to see that such a quality is inate. I submit that you continue to dialogue with me because your apprehension of objective moralily, either actively recognized or not, prompts you, and all of us for that matter, to challenge those whom we believe to be in error. If you really do go through the exercise, that is, if you answer the “why’s,” you will recognize the objecive moral component inhernet in the answers that you come up with.

  109. —Voice Call: “And that is the challenge of my original question: how do you demonstrate for yourself that the characterization of the above paragraph is false?”

    Yes, that is precisely the problem. How does one demonstrate a self evident truth? One cannot. On the other hand, one can come to recognize it for himself. Forgive me for the repetition [I asked this of another blogger], but ask yourself why you care so much about this subject. Why do you challenge my assertions except to guard against the possibility that I might be propogating error? And why would you care if, in fact, that is what I am doing? It can only be because that you feel a moral obligation to call attention to the fact, courteously of course, that I am dispensing inaccurate and potentially harmful information. You are challenging me for moral reasons and I am trying to answer those challenges for moral reasons.

  110. Clive:

    What would be compelling would be if someone began torturing your family to death for fun, then you would have a lived dialectic.

    The very powerful course of action this might prompt, including, under some circumstances, killing the perpetrators to protect one’s family from those acts, requires in no way sanction or motivation from an “objective morality,” a concern that would be remote for both you and me in that circumstance. Rather, your scenario exemplifies an instance in which an incomparable strength of conviction and action might be motivated by quite local and relative feeling and reasoning that needs no assistance whatsoever from objective standards, nor any explanation or justification vis such abstractions.

  111. —-Mustela: Thanks for the question. You write:

    “However, when in response to my question of how to resolve disagreements over moral standards, you say “We put it to the test of reason. All moral truths are reasonable if properly understood.” which suggests that you believe you can logically prove or defend you moral standard.

    Which is it?”

    Keep in mind that I was trying to answer the question about how one can discern from among competing and potentially contradictory moralities, which is a little different than trying to prove that morality is objective.

  112. —Voice Call: “It certainly does not follow from the the fact that you can construct an analogy (LNC : logical reasoning :: moral law : further moral reasoning) that the second term of your analogy is necessarily true.”

    Just as reason depends on the existence of objective truth, morality depends on the existence of objective moral truth. IF there is no truth, there is no destination for the vehicle of reason to take us. Reason would be a faculty all dressed up with no place to go. Similarly, if there is no objective moral truth, then there is no way to meet a standard that doesn’t exist and no way to be moral. Further objective morality can only exist in a rational universe, and a rational universe can exist only if it is also a moral universe. An irrational universe cannot be moral, and an amoral universe cannot be rational.

  113. StephenB:

    Why do you challenge my assertions except to guard against the possibility that I might be propogating error? And why would you care if, in fact, that is what I am doing?

    So far, you’ve posited two explanations:

    Earlier:

    The history of those who deny these first principles is a history of those who, offended at the prospect of objective moral truths and the demands that it might place on them, would prefer to live in an irrational world in which no truths exist at all. It’s as simple as that.

    And now:

    It can only be because that you feel a moral obligation to call attention to the fact, courteously of course, that I am dispensing inaccurate and potentially harmful information. You are challenging me for moral reasons and I am trying to answer those challenges for moral reasons.

    Those are wildly at odds: You’ve interpreted arguments such as mine as evidence both of a desire for continued immorality and as evidence of (unrecognized) knowledge of an absolute standard of morality. Not so simple, after all.

  114. —-Voice Call: Looking for conradictions in my comments:

    I wrote, “The history of those who deny these first principles is a history of those who, offended at the prospect of objective moral truths and the demands that it might place on them, would prefer to live in an irrational world in which no truths exist at all. It’s as simple as that.”

    Yes, that’s right.

    And now:

    —-”It can only be because that you feel a moral obligation to call attention to the fact, courteously of course, that I am dispensing inaccurate and potentially harmful information. You are challenging me for moral reasons and I am trying to answer those challenges for moral reasons.”

    Where’s the problem? You refuse to acknowledge that which you instinctively know to be the case, even if that knowledge is buried or has been made inactive through choice.

    Some, on the other hand, have acquired so many bad habits that they have killed their consience and have lost their ability to perceive that which was once obvious to them. I would prefer not to attribute that to anyone personally.

    In any case, the relative strengths of our positions is obvious from the fact that I answer all of your questions, even if not to your satisfaction, and you anser none of mine.

    Further, it requires no intellectual exertion whatsoever to simply repeat the mantra, “I’m not convinced, I’m not convinced, I’m not convinced.” The skeptic can do that in his sleep but it doesn’t mean that he has probed the depths of the subject matter.

  115. —Voice Call: “You’ve interpreted arguments such as mine as evidence both of a desire for continued immorality and as evidence of (unrecognized) knowledge of an absolute standard of morality. Not so simple, after all.”

    It isn’t all that complicated. As one gets deeper and deeper into vice, it becomes more difficult for him to perceive those same moral truths he once belived because they are now a reproach on the way he lives. However, he unconsiously knows the truth, that is why he starts rationalizing, saying there is no moral law after all, whistling past the graveyard and eventually trying to drag others down with him by arguing against the truth. Misery loves company.

    There is a way back, but very few find it. About the only person I know of personally is Bernard Nathason. He performed almost 60,000 abortions, and his conscience was all but dead. Killing babies became easier and easier, even routine. Yet, for some unknown reason, he beat all the odds and made it back. Most don’t.

  116. StephenB:

    The skeptic can do that in his sleep.

    OK. Its off to bed. Have a great weekend. (Really).

  117. Voice Call, thanks for keeping your sense of humor.

  118. “Voice Call?” (just noticing).

    Well, at least it isn’t “Vice Coil.”

  119. Voice Coil,

    Rather, your scenario exemplifies an instance in which an incomparable strength of conviction and action might be motivated by quite local and relative feeling and reasoning that needs no assistance whatsoever from objective standards, nor any explanation or justification vis such abstractions.

    Or it might not, on the premise of relativism, have any conviction whatsoever. But it does have conviction, and it will have conviction, and the conviction comes from the objective fact that those actions would be wrong. If they were not wrong, all relative feeling could range from joy to elation to horror, with no basis for comparing any relative feeling to which feeling should be correct in the circumstances. You take it for granted that there would follow a conviction that those actions were wrong, but on the premise of relative morality, you cannot take it for granted, the opposite reaction and conviction could and would be just as valid.

  120. Ciive:

    Or it might not, on the premise of relativism, have any conviction whatsoever…

    Clive, your position requires us to imagine that, upon encountering your family being sadistically tortured and killed, you would quickly consult an objective standard of moral behavior to determine whether what you were observing was wrong. Absent guidance from such a standard, you wouldn’t know what to feel, might remain indifferent to those actions, or even experience joy and elation.

    (Fred entered the room just as his son’s decapitation was completed. His wife and daughter were next. Ever mindful of eternal truths he quickly concluded, “why that’s just WRONG!” and therefore swung into action, confident in the validity of the measures to follow!

    Later, he was thankful for his upbringing. “Why,” he mused, “if I was one of those relativists I wouldn’t have known WHAT to feel.”)

  121. —Voice Coil: “Well, at least it isn’t “Vice Coil.”

    Oops, I got your handle wrong every time, didn’t I.

  122. —Voice Coil: “Later, he was thankful for his upbringing. “Why,” he mused, “if I was one of those relativists I wouldn’t have known WHAT to feel.”)”

    But isn’t that the point. Everyone, except those who have lost their mind or their consience, knows what to feel without consulting any standard, because the standard is built in to their human nature and in nature itself. That includes the skeptic who claims to be a moral relativism, but who doesn’t really live that way when the chips are down, as when his family has been murdered. Indeed, the moral relativist refutes himself by even posting here, claiming in the name of moral truth, that no such thing as moral truth exists. Can’t you see the humor and the irony?

  123. “Oops, that should read, “the skeptic who claims to be a moral relativist”……

  124. Good grief, that should read, “those who have lost their mind or their conscience”…

  125. In case it’s of interest:

    From Paul Nelson at Evolution News:

    Marc Hauser’s Surprising Thesis: If You’re Human, You Are Built to Understand Right and Wrong

    For some weeks, I’ve had a note in my calendar to wrap up a piece of unfinished business from my coverage of the University of Chicago Darwin conference – i.e., to say something about Marc Hauser’s fascinating plenary lecture on the origins of morality. Hauser argued that moral behavior is largely insensitive to gender, education, cultural background, class, or even religious belief. Rather, humans seem to be hard-wired (biologically) with a moral sense. Find a member of the species Homo sapiens, Hauser argued, and you’ve located an organism that knows some actions are right, and others, wrong.

    Here is how Hauser put his case in a recent essay:

    “Recent discoveries suggest that all humans, young and old, male and female, conservative and liberal, living in Sydney, San Francisco and Seoul, growing up as atheists, Buddhists, Catholics and Jews, with high school, university or professional degrees, are endowed with a gift from nature, a biological code for living a moral life.

    This code, a universal moral grammar, provides us with an unconscious suite of principles for judging what is morally right and wrong. It is an impartial, rational and unemotional capacity. It doesn’t dictate who we should help or who we are licensed to harm. Rather, it provides an abstract set of rules for how to intuitively understand when helping another is obligatory and when harming another is forbidden.”

    Read the rest.

  126. StephenB:

    Everyone, except those who have lost their mind or their consience, knows what to feel without consulting any standard, because the standard is built in to their human nature and in nature itself.

    That doesn’t seem to be what Clive is saying.

    That includes the skeptic who claims to be a moral relativism, but who doesn’t really live that way when the chips are down, as when his family has been murdered. Indeed, the moral relativist refutes himself by even posting here, claiming in the name of moral truth, that no such thing as moral truth exists. Can’t you see the humor and the irony?

    Fortunately, I make my arguments in the name of fickle whim and spineless relativism, and am untouched by your irony rays.

  127. Voice Coil,

    (Fred entered the room just as his son’s decapitation was completed. His wife and daughter were next. Ever mindful of eternal truths he quickly concluded, “why that’s just WRONG!” and therefore swung into action, confident in the validity of the measures to follow!

    Later, he was thankful for his upbringing. “Why,” he mused, “if I was one of those relativists I wouldn’t have known WHAT to feel.”)

    Indeed indeed, there is no defense against it on your assumption of relativism, any assertion to the contrary is smuggled-in objectivism.

  128. Clive:

    Indeed indeed, there is no defense against it on your assumption of relativism, any assertion to the contrary is smuggled-in objectivism.

    OK.

    How do YOU discern whether you are in possession of absolute standards, or rather have embraced more ordinary standards, of human devising, that include the content “these are absolute standards?”

  129. The concept of objective morality is incoherent and this can easily be demonstrated using reductio ad absurdum: An objective morality would exist even if there was no subject to contemplate it.

    This is obviously nonsensical.

    fG

  130. I agree with Faded Glory. The concept of objective morality is incoherent both for the reason he gives and on the grounds that they are prescriptions for the behavior of social animals which can only originate from an intelligent agent. The only alternative, that they are created by an inanimate and purposeless Nature, is nonsensical as I think we all agree.

    Objectivity is not necessary as a justification either. It is more than sufficient that morals are based on the collective recognition and assertion of individual rights based on common interests.

    If anything, the appeal to objective morality is an attempt to smuggle in a presumption of the existence of God since it is argued that only He could be the author of any objective morality. My response to that has always been to ask what reason do we have for assuming that such a divine morality is better than our own?

  131. Voice Coil,

    How do YOU discern whether you are in possession of absolute standards, or rather have embraced more ordinary standards, of human devising, that include the content “these are absolute standards?”

    By discerning that relativism of human devising is wrong and not in accord with human nature.

  132. 133

    StephenB at 112,

    Please excuse the delay in replying — I could get used to these off-line weekends.

    —-Mustela: Thanks for the question. You write:

    “However, when in response to my question of how to resolve disagreements over moral standards, you say “We put it to the test of reason. All moral truths are reasonable if properly understood.” which suggests that you believe you can logically prove or defend you moral standard.

    Which is it?”

    Keep in mind that I was trying to answer the question about how one can discern from among competing and potentially contradictory moralities, which is a little different than trying to prove that morality is objective.

    That’s a fair distinction. However, I think the question is still valid. Since you would use reason to decide between two moral systems, each of which claims to be absolute and objective, it seems that, by the same argument, one could demonstrate that a particular moral system is absolute. That would be much more compelling than the argument from intuition.

    Am I misunderstanding your position?

  133. Clive:

    By discerning that relativism of human devising is wrong and not in accord with human nature.

    This is a rehearsal of the content of your moral system. But that doesn’t answer my question. It doesn’t follow from the postulate that “relativism of human devising is wrong and not in accord with human nature” that your moral system is not itself of human devising.

    Reciting, “these values are absolute and not of relativistic human devising” doesn’t help, because that content itself may be of human devising. How do YOU ascertain that it is not?

  134. Voice Coil,

    How do YOU ascertain that it is not?

    How do I know that freedom has to be a concept that over-arches all involved? Easily, I think about it, and realize that if it were anything that anyone devised and subjected others to, it wouldn’t be real freedom. The standard has to be transcendental, otherwise there can be no real standard between the two. That’s the definition of a standard in ethics, is that it is something extrinsic to both, otherwise it is convention of one, or both, or all. But we know that it isn’t convention. Two can only agree when there is a third reference point of which the two can recognize, external to their own preferences, otherwise it is one’s convention. But if it is a convention, than in principle it could be the exact opposite, and freedom could be slavery. Also, I would recommend reading On Ethics, The Poison of Subjectivism, The Abolition of Man, and De Futilitate from C.S. Lewis.

  135. Clive:

    That’s the definition of a standard in ethics, is that it is something extrinsic to both, otherwise it is convention of one, or both, or all.

    Do you really want to respond that you know that your ethical standards are objective because standards in ethics are by definition objective?

    Two can only agree when there is a third reference point of which the two can recognize, external to their own preferences, otherwise it is one’s convention.

    And when the parties differ over which external reference is truly an objective standard?

  136. —Voice Coil: “Since you would use reason to decide between two moral systems, each of which claims to be absolute and objective, it seems that, by the same argument, one could demonstrate that a particular moral system is absolute.”

    I will hearken back to a point I made to another blogger some time ago. The moral standard is a measure of and evidence for the “good.” Something is good if it operates the way it was designed and intended to operate. A good can opener opens cans; a good pencil writes well. If someone takes a pencil and tries to open a can with it, he will not only fail to open the can, but he will destroy the pencil in the process. That is because a pencil is not a “good” can opener.

    A good human being is one that operates according to the way he was designed, namely to practice virtue and pursue that end for which he was made. If he denies his humanity and decides to act like an animal, he will, like the pencil, fail to achieve his end and, because of his nature, will not be happy. If there is no design, or no end, then there is no such thing as good or bad because there is no created standard to meet or violate. Without design, there can be no morality.

    One must either believe in an objective morality that leads us toward the good, or one cannot logically believe in any morality at all. Oh sure, some can claim to “create” their own morality, or “work one out,” but such positions make no sense. If, in a positive sense, humans have no destiny to reach or no inherent dignity uphold, or, in a negative sense, if they have no destiny to lose or no nature to corrupt, then there can be no such thing as good or bad behavior and, therefore, no such thing as morality.

    Either objective morality exists or no morality at all exists. Those are our only two choices. Morality is much like rationality. One either accepts the fact that we live in a rational and moral universe or one does not. We can establish several corollaries, all of which are essential. A rational universe can exist only if it is also a moral universe; a moral universe can exist only if it is a rational universe. In keeping with that point, reason is meaningful only if truth exists, and morality is reasonable only if the good exists. Similarly, truth is possible only if the good exists, and the good is possible only if truth exists. By contrast, if truth doesn’t exist, goodness cannot exist; if goodness doesn’t exist; truth cannot exist.

    Further, unity, truth, beauty, goodness, and life must all exist as a whole; none can exist without the other four. To uphold one is to uphold the other four; to do violence to one is to do violence to the other four. Where lies reign, death, ugliness, division, and immorality also reign. Where truth reigns. beauty, life, unity, and goodness reign.

  137. StephenB:

    Your quote should be attributed to Mustela Nivalis.

  138. 139

    StephenB at 137,

    A good human being is one that operates according to the way he was designed, namely to practice virtue and pursue that end for which he was made.

    This assumes that human beings were designed. Unless you have some objective, empirical evidence for that claim, it is no more convincing than the assertion that an absolute moral standard exists.

    I’m still interested in understanding exactly how you would resolve a disagreement between two people who each claim to have absolute moral standards. How can reason be applied to positions that are held intuitively rather than logically?

    (By the way, as I mentioned to another participant, I am not opposed to the idea of an objective moral standard in principle, and I believe that such a standard would relate to human nature. I simply don’t see how to defend such a standard purely from intuition.)

  139. Voice Coil,

    Do you really want to respond that you know that your ethical standards are objective because standards in ethics are by definition objective?

    I am showing you that the standard is extrinsic first, meaning not conventional, and objective, not subjective and could be opposite what they are with just as much validity as they claim in any position.

  140. I am showing you that the standard is extrinsic first…

    OK. But stating that (to paraphrase) “moral standards must be extrinsic, otherwise they wouldn’t be moral standards” is simply to repeat your particular definition of moral standard. One doesn’t establish anything “by definition.”

  141. Try it this way:

    Clive:

    I am showing you that the standard is extrinsic first…

    OK. But stating that (to paraphrase) “moral standards must be extrinsic, otherwise they wouldn’t be moral standards” is simply to repeat your particular definition of moral standard. One doesn’t establish anything “by definition.”

  142. A good human being is one that operates according to the way he was designed, namely to practice virtue and pursue that end for which he was made.

    —”Mustela Nivalis: “This assumes that human beings were designed. Unless you have some objective, empirical evidence for that claim, it is no more convincing than the assertion that an absolute moral standard exists.”

    That statement was not designed to show that objective morality exists but rather to show that if there is no objective moraltiy, there can be no morality at all. You will notice that I have carefully defined morality so that we would both know what I am talking about. Subjective morality cannot exist; it is an illusion.

    —”I’m still interested in understanding exactly how you would resolve a disagreement between two people who each claim to have absolute moral standards. How can reason be applied to positions that are held intuitively rather than logically?”

    Give me an example, and I will try to demonstrate. Meanwhile, I will give you one of my own. Remember, morality cannot exist without reason, and reason cannot exist without morality. Consider the commandment, Thou Shalt Not Kill, [which should be translated as “Murder,”), meaning that one cannot take the life of another person without a very good reason. At the one extreme is pacifism, which forbids even self defense, and at the other extreme is reckless homicide. Both extremes are unreasonable, are they not? All dogmatic assertions about morality, or anything, for that matter, must pass the test of reason. All religious doctrines must pass the test of reason. Truth and Goodness are inseparable as I tried to show earlier. That is why, by the way, that those who question the standards for objective moraltiy also tend to question the standards of reason itself. It happens everyday on this site.

    —-”(By the way, as I mentioned to another participant, I am not opposed to the idea of an objective moral standard in principle, and I believe that such a standard would relate to human nature. I simply don’t see how to defend such a standard purely from intuition.”

    Well, remember, intuition is not exactly the same thing as perception or subjective interpretation. The natural moral law is written both “in nature,” and in “the human heart.” We “perceive” something that is really there; we don’t just “conceive” it. That is what we call conscience. Nevertheless, it is inate, that is, it is built in to our human nature as a faculty of knowing, much like the mind is a built in faculty for knowing.

    It is also primative and incomplete. It needs instruction and development, and, it can be compromised and even deadened, but it is there nevertheless. Can you imagine, in the name of epistemological clarity, walking up to a nightengale and asking, “Where did you learn that song?”

  143. —Voice Call: “But stating that (to paraphrase) “moral standards must be extrinsic, otherwise they wouldn’t be moral standards” is simply to repeat your particular definition of moral standard. One doesn’t establish anything “by definition.”

    IT is to state that which must be stated for intellectual clarity. The true meaning of morality must be emphasized to dramtatize the irrationality of those who claim allegiance to it’s name even as they declare that it can also be something else, —that it can be subjective or —or that it can be created—or that it can be worked out, none of which are logically possible. Many come to this site insisting that one can be moral while questioning the existence of the very objective moral standards that define morality. If the moral standard doesn’t exist, then obviously they cannot conform to it, which means that they can’t be moral.

  144. StephenB,

    Here’s a gem I found from GK Chesterton’s book What’s Wrong With The World on morality as seen by evolutionists:

    It will be said that not the wildest evolutionist really asks that we should become in any way unhuman or copy any other animal. Pardon me, that is exactly what not merely the wildest evolutionists urge, but some of the tamest evolutionists too. There has risen high in recent history an important cultus which bids fair to be the religion of the future–which means the religion of those few weak-minded people who live in the future. It is typical of our time that it has to look for its god through a microscope; and our time has marked a definite adoration of the insect. Like most things we call new, of course, it is not at all new as an idea; it is only new as an idolatry. Virgil takes bees seriously but I doubt if he would have kept bees as carefully as he wrote about them. The wise king told the sluggard to watch the ant, a charming occupation–for a sluggard. But in our own time has appeared a very different tone, and more than one great man, as well as numberless intelligent men, have in our time seriously suggested that we should study the insect because we are his inferiors. The old moralists merely took the virtues of man and distributed them quite decoratively and arbitrarily among the animals. The ant was an almost heraldic symbol of industry, as the lion was of courage, or, for the matter of that, the pelican of charity. But if the mediaevals had been convinced that a lion was not courageous, they would have dropped the lion and kept the courage; if the pelican is not charitable, they would say, so much the worse for the pelican. The old moralists, I say, permitted the ant to enforce and typify man’s morality; they never allowed the ant to upset it. They used the ant for industry as the lark for punctuality; they looked up at the flapping birds and down at the crawling insects for a homely lesson. But we have lived to see a sect that does not look down at the insects, but looks up at the insects, that asks us essentially to bow down and worship beetles, like ancient Egyptians.

  145. StephenB:

    IT is to state that which must be stated for intellectual clarity. The true meaning of morality…

    I find it an exercise devoid of content to state that the “true meaning of morality” includes reference to an external standard, and then conclude thereby that no system of values that omits reference to an external standard can be morality, by definition. Your definition is essentially a statement of your position. It is an empty exercise assert the correctness of that definition in support of your position. In so doing you have simply asserted your position again.

    None of the above, however carefully crafted, provides answers to my original question that go beyond “one just knows” and now, “it is true by (my very strongly held) definition.”

    We’ll convert disparaging remarks vis the rationality of persons who don’t find these formulae convincing into further intensifiers, also empty of content.

  146. Very interesting Clive, and, yes, that man could write. Your snippet reminds me about the time that Chesterton was invited to join a group of celebrated intellectuals to analyze the subject, “What is wrong with the world?” After most of the other commentators had provided their answers in the form of a long lecture, Chesterton offered his own account of what was wrong with the world—–he said, “ME!”

  147. —-Voice Coil: “I find it an exercise devoid of content to state that the “true meaning of morality” includes reference to an external standard, and then conclude thereby that no system of values that omits reference to an external standard can be morality, by definition. Your definition is essentially a statement of your position. It is an empty exercise assert the correctness of that definition in support of your position. In so doing you have simply asserted your position again.”

    That is like saying that someone is very tall or that someone is very short, but the means for measuring height need not be objective. One can assess or measure morality only if morality is objective. If morality is not objective, then one cannot be more or less moral. That should be evident.

  148. StephenB;

    That is like saying that someone is very tall or that someone is very short, but the means for measuring height need not be objective. One can assess or measure morality only if morality is objective. If morality is not objective, then one cannot be more or less moral. That should be evident.

    I top 6 foot 3 inches, relatively tall. Except amongst my NBA teammates. There I’m relatively short.*

    *not really for either.

  149. Perhaps those who run this blog would like to explain the reasoning behind placing this ad on their site.

    http://hopenhagen.org/home/map

  150. —-Voice Coil: “I top 6 foot 3 inches, relatively tall. Except amongst my NBA teammates. There I’m relatively short.*

    The point is that measurements which decide relative height can be established only by objective standards. The measuring stick must be outside of you. The same objective standard that makes you shorter than Shaq makes me shorter than you. Without that objective standard, one cannot use the words “tall” or “short” in any meaningful way. Similarly, without an objective standard of morality, one cannot logically speak of being more or less moral. Just as height is meaningful only with respect to an objective standard of measurement, morality is meaningful only with respect to an objective standard of goodness. Subjective morality is a logical impossibility.

  151. StephenB:

    The point is that measurements which decide relative height can be established only by objective standards…Without that objective standard, one cannot use the words “tall” or “short” in any meaningful way.

    I can determine “taller” versus “shorter” without a stick, however, and need no outside measure to decide that Shaq is taller than you. I just stand you side by side, learn something that is quite meaningful, and can certainly use the words “taller” and “shorter.”

    Now say I now run a carnival ride that has been throwing people out of their seats on the back turn. I note that all the victims are short people, so I tell my partner, “Only tall people on this ride.” He rightly asks, “what do you mean by tall?” I think again about the victims, recall the tallest victim, guestimate his height, and draw a chalk line on the wall. “This tall,” says I. My partner thinks about the lawsuits, to which he is more adverse than I, so he holds out two fingers and says, “Add this much to play it safe.” We agree, I erase my line, and draw a new one.

    Here we have an objective standard, to be sure, one that enables my partner and I to use the words “tall” and “short” meaningfully for our purposes. An objective standard of human devising, arrived at through negotiation, useful in a specific context.

    Subjective morality is a logical impossibility.

    Only once you’ve defined morality in a specific, narrow way. Hence you’re back to reciting your definition of morality in support of your definition of morality.

  152. Stephen, the measure of length is actually a very nice example of an inter-subjective yardstick. There is nothing absolute or objective about the meter or the inch, they are arbitrary units of measurement, invented by people at certain times and places and over time more and more universally adopted through cultural and social developments. Very similar to moral codes, I think.

    fG

  153. To illustrate that, if you told an ancient Roman that the Colosseum is 189 meters long (don’t you just love the internet :) ) it would mean as little to him as telling him that slavery is wrong. To us, today, both statements have meaning.

    fG

  154. Clive, as you are probably aware, I bungled the quote at 147. To the question, “What is wrong with the world,” Chesterton answered, “I am.”

  155. —Voice Coil: “I can determine “taller” versus “shorter” without a stick, however, and need no outside measure to decide that Shaq is taller than you. I just stand you side by side, learn something that is quite meaningful, and can certainly use the words “taller” and “shorter.”

    You are using an objective measurement when you place us side by side. The yardstick simply uses numbers to express the reality. It the difference wasn’t objective, then I could simply say that the differences are merely your perception.

    Indeed, let’s go with that. Though I am under six-feet tall, and although my vertical leap is (well, let’s not go there) I can, nevertheless, dunk the ball better than Shaq, and if some objectivist says differently, that is merely his perception. In fact, it is my firm subjective conviction that I can dunk over Shaq, and it is just as valid as your opinion that I cannot. Fair enough?

  156. —faded glory: “To illustrate that, if you told an ancient Roman that the Colosseum is 189 meters long (don’t you just love the internet ) it would mean as little to him as telling him that slavery is wrong. To us, today, both statements have meaning.”

    If you told him that the Colosseaum is no larger than his one room hut on the grounds that no one has yet heard of the word “meter,” he would protest on the grounds that it really is larger as measured by whatever objective standard they were using at the time. The one thing he would not do is say that the Romans can conduct their games and entertain their audiences inside his living room because the apparent differences in dimensions were mere subjective opinions.

  157. There are two different categories here, one is the objective reality that we can all perceive to a greater or lesser extent, things like Colosseums and Roman huts, and the other is the inter-subjective description and valuation of that reality that may vary over times and places and is a function of our nature as individual human beings existing within various cultures and social structures. I don’t know of many who would think that these are all one and the same thing. I certainly don’t and therefore your comments don’t really seem to apply to me.

    fG

  158. To clarify: We seem to agree that two categories exist, but I think you put morality in the first class of things, whereas I put it in the second.

    fG

  159. StephenB:

    You are using an objective measurement when you place us side by side. The yardstick simply uses numbers to express the reality.

    As I illustrated above with my carnival chalk-line, objective standards can be of human devising. We agreed on a definition of tall and employed an external standard (the chalk line) to decide who is tall and who is short, for our purposes. Similarly, yardsticks and even the current definition of a meter (the distance traveled by light in free space in 1/299,792,458 second) are standards of human devising, attained by means of human consensus.

    It does not follow that my chalk line reflects a definition of “tall” that is transcendent or of other than human devising. Similarly, the definition of meter is neither transcendent nor something of other than human devising. Both are useful in making objective decisions regarding heights and lengths; both are of human devising, reflecting human consensus; neither are transcendent.

    Your claim for “objective morality” is much stronger. Your claim is that there are knowable standards of morality that are objective in the sense of transcendent and not of human devising. Your analogies vis measurement of height trade on more ordinary examples of “objectivity” that reflect non-transcedent standards and procedures of human devising. Hence they don’t speak to the central assertion of your claim, with which we are taking issue.

  160. 161

    StephenB at 143,

    Other people are discussing the issue of your definition of morality, so I’ll stick to this issue:

    “I’m still interested in understanding exactly how you would resolve a disagreement between two people who each claim to have absolute moral standards. How can reason be applied to positions that are held intuitively rather than logically?”

    Give me an example, and I will try to demonstrate.

    The first one that leaps to mind is the morality of Islamic terrorists. These individuals, whether the zealots who fly airplanes into buildings or those who organize them, truly believe that what they are doing is moral, by an absolute standard. Those of us they are attacking disagree.

    How would you resolve the disagreement between such a person and, say, a Buddhist monk who holds a different view of absolute morality?

    All religious doctrines must pass the test of reason.

    Here, again, you appeal to reason rather than intuition. On which do you base your view of absolute morality and why?

  161. —-Mustela Nivalis: “How would you resolve the disagreement between such a person [Islamic Terrorist] and, say, a Buddhist monk who holds a different view of absolute morality?”

    Reason first recognizes the natural moral law and then concludes that all human beings have “inherent dignity.” Since radical Islam Buddhism, and Darwinism all reject the inherent dignity of the human person, all are, to that extent, unreasonable and incapable of explaining why wanton murder is an evil act. If humans have no inherent dignity, then there is no reason, in principle, why they cannot be murdered. That is not to say that all Muslims, Buddhists, or Darwinists support murder. The point is that they can provide no moral justification for condemning it.

    —”Here, again, you appeal to reason rather than intuition. On which do you base your view of absolute morality and why?”

    You first asked me “how” we know about the natural moral law, to which I tried to explain that, through intuition, we have the innate ability to use our reason to apprehend it. I am not putting reason against intuition, I am simply answering a specific question that you asked in a specific context.

    One good way to test these propositions is to simply perform a reductio ad adsurdum. Assume that humans do not have inherent dignity. If follows, then, that they have no objective grounds for claiming that they deserve to be treated with respect. At best, they can tell the tyrant only that they “prefer” to be treated well, to which the tyrant can say, “I prefer not to treat you well. By your own definition of morality, one preference is as good as another, which means that your preferences are no more valid than my preferences. Since I have more power than you, I choose my own morality which assures me that you should be my slave.

    Follow the logic of subjectivism, skepticism, and relativism all the way through. There are only two options available: The objective moral law or might makes right. Thus, anyone who questions the former accepts the latter by default.

    Another way to test these propositions is to try defining morality yourself. I have already provided my definition and expounded on it. If you do go through this exercise, you will find that only two options are available: Objective morality or personal preference.

    Another way to test it is to go through the other exercise that I recommended. Explain why you care about this matter at all. Again, you will find that your concerns have a moral base.

  162. —-Mustela Nivalis: “How would you resolve the disagreement between such a person [Islamic Terrorist] and, say, a Buddhist monk who holds a different view of absolute morality?”

    Reason first recognizes the natural moral law and concludes that all human beings have “inherent dignity.” Since radical Islam Buddhism, and Darwinism all reject the inherent dignity of the human person, all are, to that extent, unreasonable and incapable of explaining why wanton murder is an evil act. If humans have no inherent dignity, then there is no reason, in principle, why they cannot be murdered. That is not to say that all Muslims, Buddhists, or Darwinists support murder. The point is that they can provide no moral justification for condemning it.

    —”Here, again, you appeal to reason rather than intuition. On which do you base your view of absolute morality and why?”

    You first asked me “how” we know about the natural moral law, to which I tried to explain that, through intuition, we have the innate ability to use our reason to apprehend it. I am not putting reason against intuition, I am simply answering a specific question that you asked in a specific context.

    One good way to test these propositions is to simply perform a reductio ad adsurdum. Assume that humans do not have inherent dignity. If follows, then, that they have no objective grounds for claiming that they deserve to be treated with respect. At best, they can tell the tyrant only that they “prefer” to be treated well, to which the tyrant can say, “I prefer not to treat you well. By your own definition of morality, one preference is as good as another, which means that your preferences are no more valid than my preferences. Since I have more power than you, I choose my own morality which assures me that you should be my slave.

    Follow the logic of subjectivism, skepticism, and relativism all the way through. There are only two options available: The objective moral law or might makes right. Thus, anyone who questions the former accepts the latter by default.

    Another way to test these propositions is to try defining morality itself. If you do go through this exercise, you will find that there are only two options: Objective morality or personal preference. The latter always leads to might makes right.

    Yet another way to test these propositions is to ask yourself why you even care about this discussion. If you think it through carefully, you will find that your concerns have a moral base that goes beyond personal preferences.

  163. 164

    StephenB at 162,

    Since radical Islam Buddhism, and Darwinism all reject the inherent dignity of the human person, all are, to that extent, unreasonable and incapable of explaining why wanton murder is an evil act.

    Many Buddhists would disagree strongly with you, since a major precept of Buddhism is the sanctity of all living creatures.

    Further, “Darwinism” or, more accurately, modern evolutionary theory, is a scientific explanation of empirical observations, not a moral system. As Sesame Street says, one of these things is not like the others.

    I’ve read your post several times and I still don’t see that you’ve explained how to resolve the differences between these two “absolute” standards of morality.

    At best, they can tell the tyrant only that they “prefer” to be treated well, to which the tyrant can say, “I prefer not to treat you well. By your own definition of morality, one preference is as good as another, which means that your preferences are no more valid than my preferences. Since I have more power than you, I choose my own morality which assures me that you should be my slave.

    The other conversation that could be had would end similarly: “Since I have more power than you, I conclude that my moral standard is the true absolute so you shall be my slave.”

    Follow the logic of subjectivism, skepticism, and relativism all the way through. There are only two options available: The objective moral law or might makes right. Thus, anyone who questions the former accepts the latter by default.

    Another way to test these propositions is to try defining morality yourself. I have already provided my definition and expounded on it. If you do go through this exercise, you will find that only two options are available: Objective morality or personal preference.

    That is a false dichotomy; many philosophers have defined systems of morality that are not objective or absolute in the sense of existing independent of human minds but that nonetheless are not mere personal preference.

    Be that as it may, the core problem with this defense of the existence of an absolute moral standard is that the consequences of not having one, even if they are as dire as you claim, have no bearing on whether or not one exists. We need positive evidence or arguments for its existence.

  164. —-Mustela Nivalis: “The other conversation that could be had would end similarly: “Since I have more power than you, I conclude that my moral standard is the true absolute so you shall be my slave.”

    A conversation informed by the natural moral law could not end that way. Only fanaticism uninformed by reason, and the notion that morality doesn’t exist, promotes that kind of response.

    Only two possibilities exist: Objective morality or “might makes right.”

    —-“That is a false dichotomy; many philosophers have defined systems of morality that are not objective or absolute in the sense of existing independent of human minds but that nonetheless are not mere personal preference.”

    Which philosophers did you have in mind? Describe their “system of morality.” Why was it not based on their personal preference?

    —-“Be that as it may, the core problem with this defense of the existence of an absolute moral standard is that the consequences of not having one, even if they are as dire as you claim, have no bearing on whether or not one exists. We need positive evidence or arguments for its existence.

    Evidence doesn’t lead to the self evident principles of right reason; evidence is interpreted in their light.

    Are you prepared to answer my other two questions: What is your definition of morality? Why do you care about this discussion?

  165. Sorry, that should read: Only two possibilities exist: Objective morality or personal preferences, and the latter always leads to “might makes right.” So, ultimately, its Objective morality vs. “Might makes right.”

  166. 167

    StephenB at 165,

    Mustela Nivalis: “The other conversation that could be had would end similarly: “Since I have more power than you, I conclude that my moral standard is the true absolute so you shall be my slave.”

    A conversation informed by the natural moral law could not end that way. Only fanaticism uninformed by reason, and the notion that morality doesn’t exist, promotes that kind of response.

    Is “natural moral law” a synonym for “absolute moral standard”? You still haven’t demonstrated how to resolve disagreements over the nature of this moral law or standard. I cannot distinguish between your position and the more simply stated “This is what I believe.”

    That’s fine that you believe it, and I probably even share most of your moral standards, but that doesn’t make them absolute. Further, even if they are absolute, you haven’t shown how to demonstrate that.

    Evidence doesn’t lead to the self evident principles of right reason; evidence is interpreted in their light.

    How do you know that the principles you perceive to be self evident are actually right? If you can’t articulate your position rationally, it really does come down to “This is what I believe.” That’s not a compelling argument.

    Are you prepared to answer my other two questions: What is your definition of morality? Why do you care about this discussion?

    If by “definition” you mean my moral standard, it’s something I’m working on being able to articulate, hence my participation in discussions like this one. Thank you for sharing my path for a little while.

    I find this discussion interesting from a purely intellectual level because I genuinely don’t understand your position and I would like to.

  167. —Mustela Nivalis: “If by “definition” you mean my moral standard, it’s something I’m working on being able to articulate, hence my participation in discussions like this one. Thank you for sharing my path for a little while.”

    Peace!

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