Home » Intelligent Design » On Self Evident Moral Truth [Updated]

On Self Evident Moral Truth [Updated]

Some years ago I posted an excerpt from Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov in which Ivan Karamazov brings his indictment against God to his brother Alyosha.  In it he describes a number of atrocities based on real life stories.  (Warning:  Not for the faint of heart): 

People talk sometimes of bestial cruelty, but that’s a great injustice and insult to the beasts; a beast can never be so cruel as a man, so artistically cruel. The tiger only tears and gnaws, that’s all he can do. He would never think of nailing people by the ears, even if he were able to do it. These Turks took a pleasure in torturing children, too; cutting the unborn child from the mother’s womb, and tossing babies up in the air and catching them on the points of their bayonets before their mother’s eyes. Doing it before the mother’s eyes was what gave zest to the amusement. Here is another scene that I thought very interesting. Imagine a trembling mother with her baby in her arms, a circle of invading Turks around her. They’ve planned a diversion; they pet the baby, laugh to make it laugh. They succeed, the baby laughs. At that moment a Turk points a pistol four inches from the baby’s face. The baby laughs with glee, holds out its little hands to the pistol, and he pulls the trigger in the baby’s face and blows out its brains. Artistic, wasn’t it? By the way, Turks are particularly fond of sweet things, they say.

 I asked our materialist friends whether it is self-evidently true that torturing young children for fun is morally evil in all places at all times even if everyone believes otherwise for whatever reason.  I got a lot of hand waving and attempts to change the subject.  I did not get any unequivocal answers from our materialist interlocutors.   

Let’s try again.  I say two things:  (1) Torturing young children for fun is self-evidently morally evil; and (2) this is true at all times and in all places and in all cultures and under all circumstances even if everyone in a particular place and time were to disagree with me. 

I challenge materialists everywhere.  Come onto this website and start your answer with the following:   

Response to proposition one:  True or False

Response to proposition two:  True or False 

Then defend your position. 

All attempts to evade the question or change the subject (such as bringing up specious discussions of obscure Old Testament texts) will be ruthlessly deleted, so don’t waste our time trying to put them in the combox.   

Do you have the courage to face the questions head on?  In my experience, some materialists do but most do not.  We’ll see.

UPDATE: This post has been up three days now.  Only two materialists have had the courage to answer the questions.  There have been several attempts to obfuscate, confuse and change the subject, all of which, as promised, have been ruthlessly deleted.  Come on materialists.  You’re letting your side down.  Have the courage to come in here and defend your views. 

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108 Responses to On Self Evident Moral Truth [Updated]

  1. 1

    Materialists, start your equivocation engines!

  2. Maus: Sadly, the examples cited by BA are unfortunately all too credibly real. And so to point to the possibility and to say that there is and can be no warrant for such behaviour, is not only true but necessarily true on pain of immediate and patent absurdity on its denial is a very legitimate move. If you or others wish to dispute this, it is up to you to provide a counter-instance where it is morally reasonable to torture innocent children for profit and/or pleasure. Remember, we have a case in hand of a Downs syndrome girl of 11 years being beaten by a crowd and being put in gaol on a charge that carries a death penalty, and a boy of 12 years who was kidnapped, cut up like a fish while still alive and burned almost beyond recognition. As current [non-?] news. KF

  3. BA:

    Pardon, let me restructure and respond directly: YES, YES.

    Why:

    1: So long as we inescapably recognise that we have rights — “you unfair me” [which is exactly what the whining against UD often boils down to . . . often unwarranted, sometimes we indeed stumble and need to correct] — we acknowledge the objectivity of morals.

    2: But, a right is a morally grounded demand to be treated based on our inherent worth as human beings.

    3: A child or baby is recognisably just such a human being.

    4: To torture such — inflict great pain — or otherwise abuse without reasonable justification is patently wrong. (I am not saying that all infliction of pain is wrong, but e.g. an emergency appendectomy to save life in absence of adequate anesthesia is based on the premise that pain is a lesser evil than death under the circumstances).

    5: We recognise this from our own demand for fairness.

    6: Of course any number of objections can and will be made.

    7: But all of these founder on the contradiction that the objectors cannot live consistent with their implied views, especially when they are on the receiving end of the real or perceived abuse.

    8: So, I hold that this is reductio ad absurdum, patent absurdum too.

    9: Unfortunately, it is evident that there are any number out there willing to cling to absurdity because of commitment to an agenda, and to cluster in mutually supportive factions that will fight to the rhetorical death to defend their imagined right to be absurd.

    10: And, as studies show, only about 1 adult in 3 at best can follow an abstract case. So, the absurd can only be apealed to in defence of self-evidence if it is obvious on pretty concrete cases.

    11: The torturing innocent babies case is just such.

    So in the end We can only look on and gently expose the nonsense, calling it what it is.

    Gradually, more and more people will see the nonsense for what it is and will see the misbehaviour of the factions for what t=it is, and social support will erode bit by bit, never mind the bitter enders. Then, one day — I presently project a decade out if we stand firm — a tipping point will be reached and the Berlin Wall will come down.

    Cartago delenda est!

    KF

  4. Carthago delenda est. Sigh . . .

  5. The main problem is not atheism itself in the classical sense, as for instance Bertrand Russell (who had six children of his own) was an atheist; but the problem is utilitarianism.

    The forerunner of utilitarianism was David Hume who said that it cannot be rationally proven why it is bad or good, for example, a man being a parricide (killing his own father), because — he said — what is considered whether good or bad depends upon a singular pleasure or displeasure of a concrete individual. He wrote: “I do not know why it is rationally preferable getting a wound in my finger than getting the whole world destroyed”.

    David Hume inverted the ideological relation between “just” and “useful”. Before him, the common-sense would say that “it is useful because it is just” (and “justice” did not then mean “equality”). After Hume, at the least the political elites began saying “it is just because it is useful”.

    Carl Menger (and the Marginalists) went even far: he wrote: “The prayer is useful to the holy man as well as crime is useful for the criminal man”.

    Then we got the Objectivism of Ayn Rand. And Hayek himself adopted David Hume’s moral skepticism.

    The individual wishes and desires were put at the center of ethics. The result of this ideological “evolution”, throughout the 20th century, is Peter Singer who clearly and irrevocably stands for infanticide.

  6. Semi OT: I was recently, very angrily (hatefully?), accused of being a hateful, intolerant, bigoted, Christian for questioning why someone else thought is was morally OK for gays to get married. i.e. What is you moral justification for gay marriage I wanted to know. Basically he could provide no moral foundation for why he believed it was OK for gays to be married other than to angrily accuse me of being a hateful, intolerant, and bigoted Christian for opposing his opinion on the matter. Apparently intolerance only applies to those who hold differing opinions to his on the matter.,,, Consistency in argumentation was not his strong suit. :) Anyways, that is why this following article I stumbled across this morning was refreshing

    I am a Hate-Filled Christian – August 24, 2012
    Excerpt: Now, I no longer resist the argument. I’m willing to confess. I am a Christian — a conservative evangelical Christian to boot — and there are many things I hate. I am hate-filled.
    I hate that I fall short of the imitation of Christ. I hate the sin that threatens to consume me, and hate that I so often take for granted the grace that refuses to allow me to be consumed. I hate my pride and I hate the fact that I have hurt people.,,,
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/p.....christian/

  7. 7
    CentralScrutinizer

    Barry A: CentralScrutinizer…You don’t have the courage to answer the questions.

    Well, yes, I do have the courage to answer:

    1. true
    2. true

    But I didn’t bother answering before because, as I said, I’m not a materialist. Thus not a target of your questions.

    Having said that, the “self-evident” thing needs a little elaboration. I was raised in a Christian home with Christian morality in a basically Christian society instilled in my brain. I don’t know how “self-evident” your propositions 1 and 2 would be had I been raised otherwise. I don’t know how much of the “self-evident”-ness of it is due to the natural wiring of my brain and the cultural conditioning thereof. The old nature vs nurture thing.

    Assuming it’s all nature, a none of nurture, the “self-evident”-ness of your propositions would be due to whoever and/or whatever “programmed” by brain to see them as self-evident. I happen to think the Designer programmed my brain that way.

  8. Maus,

    You can answer the question just fine, if you will.

    But, I would really like to know how anyone could even define morality in subjective terms. Morality entails the meaning of ought from an outside source. As soon as you turn the source inward we are no longer talking morality. Maybe high ideals in some sense (whatever “high” means), but not morality.

  9. –Central Scrutinizer: “Having said that, the “self-evident” thing needs a little elaboration. I was raised in a Christian home with Christian morality in a basically Christian society instilled in my brain.”

    Self evident truths, such as the Natural Moral Law, can be apprehended apart from Christian formation. It is precisely that dynamic that Barry is referring to. In the middle of the night, even the untutored barbarian knows that something is wrong with his behavior.

    –”I don’t know how much of the “self-evident”-ness of it is due to the natural wiring of my brain and the cultural conditioning thereof. The old nature vs nurture thing.”

    Nature provides the reasoning capacity to instinctively grasp the self evident truth in its primitive form while the nurturing component can fine-tune it into a more sophisticated, more easily articulated, moral code.

    –”Assuming it’s all nature, a none of nurture, the “self-evident”-ness of your propositions would be due to whoever and/or whatever “programmed” by brain to see them as self-evident. I happen to think the Designer programmed my brain that way.”

    That is a different issue. Clearly, God is the cause of the capacity to recognize a self-evident truth. The question on the table is whether materialists, who deny both moral truth and their capacity to know it, can, without equivocating, make that case in the context of Barry’s concrete example.

  10. Maus:

    Answer this, please: what is a self-evident truth?

    Can we reason without reference to them, starting with the first principles of right reason?

    What happens when we try to deny such?

    Turning to morality, the claim is that a certain moral claim is self-evident.

    If so, the result of an attempt to deny it will be patently obvious to someone who can reason at concrete operations level, with a minimum of abstractions. That is, by reference to concrete consequences it will reduce to absurdity.

    And so, contrary to your suggestion, I am making no assumptions, I am simply calling for those who would deny the self evident status to provide a counter example to the absurdities — in moral cases, most notably by blatant hypocrisy — that obtain.

    Next, perhaps it has not dawned on you that I am a protestant, and would agree that the Spanish Inquisition was a capital case of corruptions of power masquerading in religious guise. And as I am not an interested party, I can speak on the behalf of the Catholic tradition without fear of being deemed and dismissed as an apologist.

    So, I note to you that the two leading exemplars of Catholic spirituality in Spain at the time of Torquemada, objected to it. Similarly, the named inquisitor had to be guarded by a troop at all times, i.e. he faced the decided objection of the public. Nor can what that man did find any justification in the ethics taught by Jesus and his apostles, starting with that the civil authority is God’s servant — so, accountable to him! — to do us good.

    (I would suggest that any successful spiritual movement, no matter how noble its principles, will face periods of abuse by the powerful. The Borgias are no exemplars for anyone, but when he passed on I publicly called John Paul II, The Great. And, I still say when our generation’s history is written, he will be one of the shining mountain peaks.)

    I cited the cases in Pakistan to show concrete examples of innocent children abused. Trying to suggest that others have been abusive does not answer to the problem. It only shows a red herring.

    The challenge to show how denial of the claimed self evident truth fails to lead to absurdity, still stands.

    Let’s start here.

    Had one of those Turks in the novel based on real incidents had his baby treated that way he would have been incensed and would have felt justified to kill the one who did that.

    And, they knew this, so the behaviour (sadly, based on real incidents) was indefensible.

    Similarly, had a girl of the majority in Pakistan or a boy been treated like that, there would have been not a protest march but a major riot.

    In short, it is clear that these behaviours and the like are indefensible and are KNOWN to be indefensible. Those who do them would react with extreme rage and violence probably if they were the victims’ families.

    And so we are right back to what John Locke turned to when in Ch 2 of the 2nd Essay on Civil Govt, he wished to ground democracy as we know it. For he cited “the judicious [Anglican Canon Richard] Hooker” in his 1594+ Ecclesiastical polity:

    . . . if I cannot but wish to receive good, even as much at every man’s hands, as any man can wish unto his own soul, how should I look to have any part of my desire herein satisfied, unless myself be careful to satisfy the like desire which is undoubtedly in other men . . . my desire, therefore, to be loved of my equals in Nature, as much as possible may be, imposeth upon me a natural duty of bearing to themward fully the like affection. From which relation of equality between ourselves and them that are as ourselves, what several rules and canons natural reason hath drawn for direction of life no man is ignorant . . . [[Hooker then continues, citing Aristotle in The Nicomachean Ethics, Bk 8:] as namely, That because we would take no harm, we must therefore do none; That since we would not be in any thing extremely dealt with, we must ourselves avoid all extremity in our dealings; That from all violence and wrong we are utterly to abstain, with such-like . . . ] [[Eccl. Polity,preface, Bk I, "ch." 8, p.80]

    The evidence is, that the goodly canon is right.

    And, I assert that one cannot deny this without ending up in an absurd welter of hypocrisies, obfuscations, distractions and evasions that will at once make it clear that one is in the wrong, and deep down knows it.

    If you think not, then let me know why.

    Which is also what Barry A has asked for.

    KF

  11. F/N to save a side-track, here is a 101 level discussion on first principles of right reason and what is linked to them. KF

  12. Recently uploaded William Lane Craig video

    “Can We Be Good Without God?” William Lane Craig Lecture – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jzlEnrJfDBc

  13. 13

    @Maus:

    Barry Arrington insulted you by calling you a coward and that you have no right to be taken seriously. You can cry about how mean the internet is, … or you can man up and answer the damn questions, you’ve been asked to answer at the beginning of this thread.

    What will it be?

    Tobi.

  14. 14

    To the materialists on here:

    Weren’t the turks just demonstrating ‘survival of the fittest’? The strong dominate the ‘weak’ and nothing is immoral because it’s all just ‘nature’ at the laws of physics (like lightning striking someone)? Especially if we take as ‘fact’ the belief we have no free will…”no more than a bowl of sugar” according to Anthony Cashmore in PNAS

    Morality NEEDS an ultimate moral authority, which is GOD. Without Him we’re just accidental chemicals at the mercy of physics and not superior to, or more special than any other living organism (according to atheist Ruse)

  15. What’s so hard about typing “false”. Barry is asking for YOUR position. It’s that simple.

  16. It’s funny, Maus, because you are painting Barry as disingenuous for being too black and white, when in actuality you ripped out the part that showed he wasn’t in fact doing so.

  17. 17
    CentralScrutinizer

    UD Editors have removed this poster’s attempt to redirect the questions to consideration of obscure Old Testament texts. The following remains:

    I give a solid “true, true” to both of Barry’s questions.

  18. 18

    Yes, the easiest way to avoid facing the fact that one’s beliefs are obviously erroneous is to complicate simple questions that cast a glaring light on them.

    If there are no objectively valid moral truths, then the resulting logical conclusion is that for someone, somewhere, it’s possible that it is okay to torture a child for fun.

    It’s really that simple. If you cannot live with that, you must give up the idea that morality is relative and accept the logical consequences of all that entails.

    To paraphrase the Robert Duvall character in Secondhand Lions: There are some things a man must believe whether they are true or not.

  19. 19

    @sergiomendes:

    It’s conserend with science, philophy and theology. This is a culture war and must be fought on all fronts.

    Tobi.

  20. 20

    AG: “I don’t think Barry would set up the problem like this, so what does he mean by self-evident? Self evident to who?”

    To you. The question is about your beliefs. If you were on the outside of a culture looking in, and they considered it good to torture children, would you consider it good for them to torture children? Would you say, “well, it’s okay for them”? Or would you hold their actions as morally wrong and either try to talk them out of it, or try and stop them, or if they asked you to participate, would you refuse on the grounds that it was morally wrong?

    AG: “True. But if that’s so, then we have to deal with it, however unpleasant it is.”

    Until and unless we know (if that is even possible), we have to decide what to believe about it.

  21. It appears that one materialist has penned a response to your challenge, Barry. See here.

  22. 22

    Dr. Torley @ 36. The mental contortions to which some people will resort to avoid the conclusions compelled by their own premises is nothing short of astonishing.

  23. 23
    CentralScrutinizer

    Barry @37,

    Could you unpack you statement please?

    What particular conclusion is Mark avoiding?

    What contortions is he employing?

    Thanks

  24. UD Editors: Maus is no longer with us.

  25. 25
    CentralScrutinizer

    StephenB: The question on the table is whether materialists, who deny both moral truth and their capacity to know it, can, without equivocating, make that case in the context of Barry’s concrete example.

    If we approach the subject in an agnostic fashion, what is inconsistent or evasive with a materialist objecting to baby torture simply on the subjective grounds that it is repugnant to him? What’s the point of pursuing it further? Pressing with, “why is it repugnant to you?”, doesn’t appear to have an practical relevance. Whether God or Evolution writ-large wired our brains that way, the effect is the same, is it not? Nearly all humans are appalled by baby torture, Christian, Jew, Moslem, Zoroastrian, Wiccan, and atheist.

    As for those few sick souls out there who actually would condone and even derive pleasure from torturing babies, they would probably tell you to go f*ck off if you dared broach the question of “morality” to them. The conversation would be a non-starter.

    So what’s the point here? Just to harass materialists?

  26. No Maus! No Maus!

  27. –Central Scrutinzer: “If we approach the subject in an agnostic fashion, what is inconsistent or evasive with a materialist objecting to baby torture simply on the subjective grounds that it is repugnant to him? What’s the point of pursuing it further? Pressing with, “why is it repugnant to you?”, doesn’t appear to have an practical relevance.”

    Moral relativism doesn’t just militate against truth, it also gets people killed. In the United States alone, over 50,000,000 babies have been tortured and killed in the womb since 1973 because cowardly enablers say, “I find abortion personally repugnant, but I can’t really say for sure that it is wrong.”

  28. barry arrington,

    pardon, intention of yours of seeing materialists submit statements first? then i submit in improper turn? statement of mine seen equal to materialist statement? unaware of Maus and Mung of thought materialist, guessed of them I D supporters.

    sergio

  29. AG: “I don’t think Barry would set up the problem like this, so what does he mean by self-evident? Self evident to who?”

    To you. The question is about your beliefs.

    Fair enough. For me, torturing young children for fun is morally wrong, but I don’t think I’d describe this as “self-evident” – I think one needs a moral compass to start thinking about moral questions, and this takes some development. So it might be self-evident given a specific set of moral principles, but are these principles self-evident? I’m not sure.

    Given that I think torturing young children for fun is morally wrong, I think it would be morally wrong (according to my morals) when and wherever it occurred, regardless of the ideas of the people involved.

  30. Barry-

    There may be a flaw in your argument. Ya see materialists are not self-aware so it follows that not very much is self-evident to them.

    Just sayin’…

  31. Barry Arrington posted this:

    I say two things: (1) Torturing young children for fun is self-evidently morally evil; and (2) this is true at all times and in all places and in all cultures and under all circumstances even if everyone in a particular place and time were to disagree with me.

    I am an atheist and a materialist in matters of science and personal belief. I say that proposition 1 is true, assuming we are talking about human children.

    I also say that proposition 2 is true, assuming we are talking about human children.

    However, I would note one part of proposition 1 (my emphasis added):

    (1) Torturing young children for fun is self-evidently morally evil;

    Why did Barry include the “for fun” part? Would the question be so easily answered if it had been left out? We would then have to specify the word “torture”.

    Example 1: children raised in the Christian tradition are taught that they are tainted by a sin committed by a far-distant ancestor. I think that form of thought-crime fits the definition of torture.

    Example 2: children raised in some religious traditions (the Plymouth Brethren, for instance), who choose to leave their community of belief are routinely cut off by their kin from any human contact. I think that form of thought-crime fits the definition of torture.

  32. 32
    CentralScrutinizer

    StephenB: …because cowardly enablers say, “I find abortion personally repugnant, but I can’t really say for sure that it is wrong.”

    How do you know they are cowards and not merely honest? Maybe it’s not self-evident to them that the rights of the fetus take precedence over the rights of the woman to terminate. Maybe their self-evident sense of justice tips their actions to favor the woman instead of the fetus.

    Are they cowards merely because they don’t agree with you?

  33. Timothya says:

    Example 1: children raised in the Christian tradition are taught that they are tainted by a sin committed by a far-distant ancestor. I think that form of thought-crime fits the definition of torture.

    Example 2: children raised in some religious traditions (the Plymouth Brethren, for instance), who choose to leave their community of belief are routinely cut off by their kin from any human contact. I think that form of thought-crime fits the definition of torture.”

    And Timothya, if all morality is relative, why should your opinion matter to me?

    I would say that when atheists teach their kids that that they are nothing more than bags of chemicals, that objective morality doesn’t exist, and that their existence is accidental, I think this is a form of child abuse. You are leading your children away from their only hope of salvation, teaching them that sin doesn’t matter, and that it in fact does not even exist. You are robbing them of true meaning and purpose in life.

    But what does that matter to you? Whether it is true or not, you are free to do as you see fit because all morality is relative.

  34. Tjguy posted this:

    I would say that when atheists teach their kids that that they are nothing more than bags of chemicals, that objective morality doesn’t exist, and that their existence is accidental, I think this is a form of child abuse.

    So you would say, but that is certainly not what I taught my child. In detail:

    1. A human is not a bag of chemicals, but it is important to understand how biochemistry affects human behaviour. For example, someone suffering from schizophrenia or clinical depression is actually experiencing a malfunction in their underlying, really-existing bag of chemicals, not some religiously moral defect.

    2. Projecting the rationale for a specific moral code onto an unobservable sky pixie is actually an excuse for not taking personal responsibility for working out how you should behave.

    3. The existence of any particular human being is actually an accident. The ratio of male sperm to female eggs is in the range of 10 million to one. Do the maths to work out the improbability of your actual existence.

    I do note that you did not address the forms of “not for fun” child torture that some religious organisations indulge in. Funny about that – Big Tent indeed.

  35. 35

    TA says: “2. Projecting the rationale for a specific moral code onto an unobservable sky pixie is actually an excuse for not taking personal responsibility for working out how you should behave.”

    Note how the lack of coherent rational basis and reconciliation of beliefs to fundamental first principles always generates hypocritical, self-contradictory statements. If one is supposed to assume their personal responsibility (free will?) for working out how they behave, and they do so by adopting a specific moral code they believe comes from an unobservable sky pixie, who are you to tell them such a subjective moral perspective is wrong (“an excuse for not taking personal responsibility”)?

    Even as you try to claim the moral high ground via relativism, you argue and present your case as if there are objectively right and wrong ways to go about it. As I’ve already said: we simply cannot live as if moral relativism is true. If we did, we wouldn’t teach our kids anything about “what it is their moral responsibility” to do, or not do, except to manipulate them to do what we want – and we’d accept that as what we are doing.

    You can huff and puff all day long about moral relativism, but you cannot argue or act as if it is true, because there’d be nothing (about morality) to argue or act in accordance with. You’d set aside claims of morality or ethics and just say “you do what you do because you want to”, and leave it at that.

  36. 36

    tjguy said: “And Timothya, if all morality is relative, why should your opinion matter to me?”

    For that matter, why does he even argue his case here? Is he pursuing the “truth” about what morality is, and making a casse for the “truth” about what anyone should believe about it? Why? To get people to behave more morally? How can that be?

    If not, then can we just label his argument as rhetoric and sophistry?

  37. timothya you claim:

    3. The existence of any particular human being is actually an accident. The ratio of male sperm to female eggs is in the range of 10 million to one. Do the maths to work out the improbability of your actual existence.

    So improbability against any particular sperm joining a egg is conclusive scientific proof for you that humans are accidental??? But along the same line of reasoning, why are not the calculations against humans even existing in the first place, which vastly outstrip the ‘natural’ probabilistic resources of the universe, not scientific proof for you to believe that humans are not an accident? Are do probabilities only count for you when they support your desired conclusion?

    Indeed, math is not kind to Darwinism in the least when considering the probability of humans ‘randomly’ evolving:

    In Barrow and Tippler’s book The Anthropic Cosmological Principle, they list ten steps necessary in the course of human evolution, each of which, is so improbable that if left to happen by chance alone, the sun would have ceased to be a main sequence star and would have incinerated the earth. They estimate that the odds of the evolution (by chance) of the human genome is somewhere between 4 to the negative 180th power, to the 110,000th power, and 4 to the negative 360th power, to the 110,000th power. Therefore, if evolution did occur, it literally would have been a miracle and evidence for the existence of God. William Lane Craig

    William Lane Craig – If Human Evolution Did Occur It Was A Miracle – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GUxm8dXLRpA

    Along that same line:

    Darwin and the Mathematicians – David Berlinski
    “The formation within geological time of a human body by the laws of physics (or any other laws of similar nature), starting from a random distribution of elementary particles and the field, is as unlikely as the separation by chance of the atmosphere into its components.”
    Kurt Gödel, a close friend of Einstein, was a preeminent logician who is considered one of the greatest to have ever lived. Of Note: Godel was a Christian Theist!
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....cians.html

    “Darwin’s theory is easily the dumbest idea ever taken seriously by science.”
    Granville Sewell – Professor Of Mathematics – University Of Texas – El Paso

    Mathematician Alexander Tsiaras on Human Development: “It’s a Mystery, It’s Magic, It’s Divinity” – March 2012
    Excerpt: ‘The magic of the mechanisms inside each genetic structure saying exactly where that nerve cell should go, the complexity of these, the mathematical models on how these things are indeed done, are beyond human comprehension. Even though I am a mathematician, I look at this with the marvel of how do these instruction sets not make these mistakes as they build what is us. It’s a mystery, it’s magic, it’s divinity.’
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....57741.html

    HISTORY OF EVOLUTIONARY THEORY – WISTAR DESTROYS EVOLUTION
    Excerpt: A number of mathematicians, familiar with the biological problems, spoke at that 1966 Wistar Institute,, For example, Murray Eden showed that it would be impossible for even a single ordered pair of genes to be produced by DNA mutations in the bacteria, E. coli,—with 5 billion years in which to produce it! His estimate was based on 5 trillion tons of the bacteria covering the planet to a depth of nearly an inch during that 5 billion years. He then explained that the genes of E. coli contain over a trillion (10^12) bits of data. That is the number 10 followed by 12 zeros. *Eden then showed the mathematical impossibility of protein forming by chance.
    http://www.pathlights.com/ce_e.....hist12.htm

    timothya, perhaps you should like to establish a proper empirical basis for your materialistic presuppositions before you go making unsupportable claims for your atheistic beliefs? Seeing as quantum mechanics has, for all practical purposes, destroyed such a hope for materialists such as you, perhaps you should just accept that you are wrong?

  38. William J Murray posted this:

    Note how the lack of coherent rational basis and reconciliation of beliefs to fundamental first principles always generates hypocritical, self-contradictory statements.

    I agree with you that a lack of coherent rationality leads to hypocritical, self-contradictory statements.

    There is no coherent rational basis for believing that a sky pixie exists. Attempting to construct moral codes on such a belief generates hypocritical, self-contradictory statements. The doctrine of original sin is an example of such a phenomenon.

  39. timothya you dogmatically claim:

    There is no coherent rational basis for believing that a sky pixie exists

    OK, to support you dogmatic claim, exactly where is your empirical evidence supporting such certainty on your part that God does not exist? I have seen no evidence! Moreover the subjective personal preference of the rebellious hearts of atheists is certainly not evidence! On the other hand, here are a few arguments that lay out a rational basis for belief in God:

    Theist Arguments – William Lane Craig – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SeJVXl-PJUw

    TWO DOZEN (OR SO) THEISTIC ARGUMENTS – Lecture Notes by Alvin Plantinga – Professor of Philosophy Notre Dame
    http://philofreligion.homestea.....ments.html

  40. 40

    TA said: “There is no coherent rational basis for believing that a sky pixie exists.”

    Please present your argument for that claim.

    TA said: “Attempting to construct moral codes on such a belief generates hypocritical, self-contradictory statements”.

    Please present your case that this is so.

    TA said:”The doctrine of original sin is an example of such a phenomenon.”

    I don’t know of any literature or culture has a moral code based on any “sky pixie”, much less such a moral code including “original sin”. Please present your case about the how such a belief necessarily generates hypocritical, self-contradictory beliefs.

  41. 41

    IOW: TA teaches his children what he thinks is right and how he thinks they should come to their moral decisions (and how they shouldn’t).

    (1) TA either believes he is teaching his children truths about morality, or

    (2) TA knows he is just subjectively programming his children to think the way he wants them to.

    Since TA is a moral relativist, the answer cannot be (1), so the answer must be 2. So, how is what TA is teaching his children any different than what (under his perspective) anyone else is teaching their children? If morality is subjective, then whatever you feel like teaching your children for whatever reason is just as good as what anyone else is doing.

    Yet here TA is, arguing for his particular moral system, and against that of others.

  42. Projecting the rationale for a specific moral code onto an unobservable sky pixie is actually an excuse for not taking personal responsibility for working out how you should behave.

    Stop using our words, please. Thank you.

  43. 43

    William J. Murray, @ 31 timothya said three things:

    (1) “I am an atheist and a materialist.”

    (2) “Torturing young children for fun is self-evidently morally evil.”

    (3) “Statement (2) is true at all times and in all places and in all cultures and under all circumstances even if everyone in a particular place and time were to disagree with me.”

    A materialist can do many things. But one of the things he cannot do is affirm the existence of an objective transcendent moral standard, because if materialism is true there is nothing upon which to base such a standard.

    Once again we have an atheist materialist who refuses to accept the logical consequences of his own materialism. Instead, he rejects those consequences and pays the price of logical incoherence.

  44. UD Editors: LarTanner, you have answered the first question “true.” If you answer the second question then you can ask a question of your own.

  45. Then I answer true on the second one, too.

    Any chance you can release my question as I wrote it? I think it goes directly to why one cannot answer anything but true to the two questions, no matter their stance on morality and moral truths.

    With thanks,

    LT

  46. OK, here’s my question:

    [part 1] Is it morally wrong to slice off the foreskin of an eight-day-old male’s penis? Is it morally wrong to ritually circumcise a female child?

    [part 2] Does your answer to part 1 hold at all times and in all places and in all cultures and under all circumstances even if everyone in a particular place and time were to disagree with you?

    I ask for two reasons. (1) I think it helps to have a more specific, real-world example to use. (2) The word “torture” is morally wrong by definition.

    “Torture” comes from the Latin for twisting or tormenting. As a verb, its definitions from Dictionary.com include:

    6. to subject to torture.
    7. to afflict with severe pain of body or mind.
    8. to force or extort by torture.
    9. to twist, force, or bring into some unnatural position or form.
    10. to distort or pervert (language, meaning, etc.).

    So, to use the word torture is to describe something that is already morally wrong whenever, wherever, and however it occurs. Thus, there’s no way for anyone to affirm the moral rightness of torture, even where one may find it to be a legitimate method of information gathering: “It’s wrong but we’ll do it anyway to achieve an end that we think takes precedence.”

    Words, therefore, are important, and we need to be careful with them. If the first question in the OP concerns a child of 17 years and 11 months who also happens to be an experienced terrorist with psychopathic tendencies, and who also has declared to have a live bomb about to go off somewhere in the city–I wonder if the original questioner and others (including myself) will want to modify their answers at all.

  47. 47

    LT: You forgot to include the most significant aspect of any moral question: what is the intent? (This is why the “for fun” was used as a qualifier in the original question.)

    But, I can still answer: I don’t see how either act could be justified on any moral grounds. There might be other intentions/grounds for doing such things, but I don’t see how they would be moral reasonings.

  48. Timothya:
    “I also say that proposition 2 is true, assuming we are talking about human children.”

    So, torturing animal babies/cubs for fun is totally okay? Seriously?

    “However, I would note one part of proposition 1 (my emphasis added):
    (1) Torturing young children for fun is self-evidently morally evil;
    Why did Barry include the “for fun” part? Would the question be so easily answered if it had been left out? We would then have to specify the word “torture”.”

    Yes, I believe the question would be as easily answered.

    “Example 1: children raised in the Christian tradition are taught that they are tainted by a sin committed by a far-distant ancestor. I think that form of thought-crime fits the definition of torture.”

    I think that you are projecting here. Being taught that you are a sinner is not a thought crime. Children routinely suffer birth defects from their parents; should their parents be charged with a crime for giving birth to them?

    Your problem here is that you want to believe that you, as an adult atheist human, are faultless. Or at least that’s what you want others to think. You probably are honest and fair with others. But you are not perfect. That is what Christian children are taught—that they are imperfect and thus in need of a mediator between them and perfection, which is God.

    This is most assuredly not torture for anyone with any sense of humility or modesty.

    “Example 2: children raised in some religious traditions (the Plymouth Brethren, for instance), who choose to leave their community of belief are routinely cut off by their kin from any human contact. I think that form of thought-crime fits the definition of torture.”

    You are clearly projecting here. Anyone who chooses to leave a religious community of his or her own free will is not cut off from all human contact, just that of the religious community. Why would this even be a problem, I wonder?

    If the person feels that they are being stifled by following a rigid moral standard, then leave and find other people—atheists, presumably—who don’t follow the same rigid moral standard. Assuming that there are more people who don’t follow the community’s moral standards then there are community members, the person who left should have more friends/relationships then when he/she was in the community.

    Tell me again why this is torture, because it most certainly isn’t.

  49. –CentralScrutinizer: “How do you know they are cowards and not merely honest?”

    I am discussing the attitude of double-minded partisans who influence public policy–pro-choice proponents who seek to rationalize evil. They are cowards because they run for the hills when someone offers to show them the pictures of an aborted fetus or the moving images of a baby fighting for his/her life. When people run away from the truth, they are cowards.

    I don’t want to distract unduly from Barry’s point, however. I was answering your question about the repercussions of materialist rationalization on issues of life and death. While the evil of abortion may not be self-evidently true to all people, the evil of torturing babies for fun is self-evidently true to all people. Do you agree?

    –”Maybe it’s not self-evident to them that the rights of the fetus take precedence over the rights of the woman to terminate.”

    On the subject of abortion, I am not referring to uneducated girls and young women who have been lied to by Planned Parenthood and have had no chance to study the biological facts. I can also make allowances for those who have been brainwashed in postmodernist philosophy, whose capacity to reason has been compromised. Quite often, ignorance, not cowardice, is the issue. However, invincible ignorance soon becomes willful ignorance. I think the materialists who visit this thread fall into the latter category. Insofar as they refuse to answer Barry’s questions about baby torture, they are cowards.

    –Maybe their self-evident sense of justice tips their actions to favor the woman instead of the fetus.”

    You are misusing that term. It is not possible for a self-evident truth to be a falsehood or even a subject for debate. It is possible, however, to lie to one’s self and others on matters that are obvious to all rational people.

    –”Are they cowards merely because they don’t agree with you?”

    No, they are cowards because they refuse to look at the pictures and the images? More importantly, they are cowards because they (the politicians, media pundits, and television executives) refuse to allow these images to be shown, knowing that abortion would likely cease if all people could examine the physical evidence for themselves.

    In any case, do you agree that the evil of torturing babies for fun (at all times and in all place and under all circumstances) is self-evident?

  50. 50
    CentralScrutinizer

    Barry @43: A materialist can do many things. But one of the things he cannot do is affirm the existence of an objective transcendent moral standard, because if materialism is true there is nothing upon which to base such a standard.

    Right. But what practical difference does it make? All high-falutin’ philosophy aside, if somebody is repulsed by baby torture they are most likely going to support banning it and prosecuting the perpetrators, whether they are theists or atheists. I have several atheists friends. They are all resoundly against baby torture. And they would probably fight against it with more vehemence when some of my lukewarm Christian friends.

    What matters is practical action.

    Once again we have an atheist materialist who refuses to accept the logical consequences of his own materialism. Instead, he rejects those consequences and pays the price of logical incoherence.

    But what is the practical consequence? *Everyone’s* philosophy runs into incoherence at some point, all philosophy leads to irrational dead-end, including yours. It has little or nothing to do with torturing babies as a practical matter.

    There are very good atheists and very bad Christians. Their respective navel gazing with regards to all of this is largely irrelevant.

  51. 51
    CentralScrutinizer

    Stephen @49,

    I know Christians who are pro-abortion and I know atheists who are anti-abortion. Being “philosophically correct” about some “transcendent moral law” doesn’t seem to matter to either camps.

    I think the materialists who visit this thread fall into the latter category. Insofar as they refuse to answer Barry’s questions about baby torture, they are cowards.

    I’ll bet 100% of the materialists here are re-soundly against baby torture, and would oppose somebody who tried to do it.

    It is possible, however, to lie to one’s self and others on matters that are obvious to all rational people.

    So everyone who disagrees with you is necessarily a liar and a coward?

    they are cowards because they refuse to look at the pictures and the images? More importantly, they are cowards because they (the politicians, media pundits, and television executives) refuse to allow these images to be shown, knowing that abortion would likely cease if all people could examine the physical evidence for themselves.

    I agree with you there. The facts should not be suppressed. But you’re riding the horse a bit outside the reservation. I’ve seen pictures of many abortions. I am not against abortion up until the time when brain waves begin. Prior to that time I think abortion is benign, since there is no “human there.” Does this make me a liar or coward in your view? There are gray areas. And rational people can disagree without being liars and cowards.

    In any case, do you agree that the evil of torturing babies for fun (at all times and in all place and under all circumstances) is self-evident?

    Yes. But I would define “self-evident” as “utterly repugnant.” It’s not reason and logic that makes me (or anyone else) think it’s evil. It’s the feeling I get when I contemplate the suffering of the victim. It’s empathy that makes it evil. Not logic. That’s why 5 years old kids who know no philosophy would agree that it’s “self-evidently evil” to watch a baby being tortured. It’s programmed into our emotions, not our reason. The reason comes later as we gazed at our navels. The rational justification is an afterthought, and theists and atheists alike generally share the revulsion due to the emotional, pathological programming that makes it horrendously, i.e, “self-evidently”, evil.

  52. –Lar Tanner: “OK, here’s my question:”

    –”Is it morally wrong to slice off the foreskin of an eight-day-old male’s penis? Is it morally wrong to ritually circumcise a female child?”

    There is a difference between something that is self evidently true, such as the immorality of torturing babies for fun, and something that can be discerned only after examining the evidence and applying reason’s rules. Your question is irrelevant because it falls into the second category.

    Still, I will answer:

    With respect to the male child, it is not “self-evidently” wrong, but reason can attempt to calculate the moral nature of the act by weighing possible medical benefits against possible medical problems. It is not wrong at all times and in all places because, as far as we know, some medical benefits exist.

    With respect to the female chile, it is not “self-evidently” wrong, but reason and evidence make the immorality of the act clear. There are no medical benefits and the medical harm is evident. It is, therefore, wrong– at all times, in all places, and for all people.

  53. 1) Torturing young children for fun is self-evidently morally evil

    False. Nothing about moral is self evident.

    (2) this is true at all times and in all places and in all cultures and under all circumstances even if everyone in a particular place and time were to disagree with me.

    False. This statement is contradictory itself. If everyone in a particular place and time disagree with you it can´t be true at all times and in all places.

  54. –“Central Scrutinizer: I’ll bet 100% of the materialists here are re-soundly against baby torture, and would oppose somebody who tried to do it.”

    I suspect that is true or almost true. The issue, though, is whether they can provide a rational justification for that opposition. They cannot.

    [In any case, do you agree that the evil of torturing babies for fun (at all times and in all place and under all circumstances) is self-evident?]

    —”Yes. But I would define “self-evident” as “utterly repugnant.” It’s not reason and logic that makes me (or anyone else) think it’s evil. It’s the feeling I get when I contemplate the suffering of the victim. It’s empathy that makes it evil. Not logic.”

    The knowledge precedes the feeling. You feel outrage because you know instinctively that the act is immoral. The Natural Moral Law really is a Law of reason. Because the act is so obviously unjust, you feel revulsion. In like fashion, you know that murder, theft, and adultery are wrong. The feelings of revulsion are appropriate, but the incoherence of the materialist position is a problem with reason, not emotion.

    –“That’s why 5 years old kids who know no philosophy would agree that it’s “self-evidently evil” to watch a baby being tortured.”

    The whole point about a self-evident truth, logical or moral, is that no evidence or reasoning process is necessary to apprehend it.

    –“ It’s programmed into our emotions, not our reason. The reason comes later as we gazed at our navels. The rational justification is an afterthought, and theists and atheists alike generally share the revulsion due to the emotional, pathological programming that makes it horrendously, i.e, “self-evidently”, evil.”

    It is not programmed into or socialized into the person. Otherwise, those who are not so programmed would not have the knowledge. On the contrary, everyone has the innate capacity to grasp a self-evident truth when they reach the age of reason. Socialization can fine tune it, or harm its development, but the capacity to understand it at the most basic level is already there. Society can enhance or diminish human conscience, but it cannot create it.

    The only recommendation I can make is to suggest that you investigate the natural moral law. The best source I know of is J. Budziszewski.

  55. 55

    Blas writes that nothing about morality is self-evident.

    How do you know that Blas? Did you reason to the position or is it self-evident? If you reasoned to the position, please tell me how you did that. Remember, an assertion is not an argument.

    Blas writes that proposition (2) is contradictory because if everyone in a particular place and time disagrees with one about a moral proposition then it is not true at all times and in all places.

    Blas, you only think it is contradictory because you have failed to examine your own premises. Your reasoning appears to be:

    1. Morality is defined by social consensus
    2. Therefore, it is a contradiction in terms to speak of a moral proposition with which everyone disagrees.

    The problem with your position is that your first premise is false. Let me demonstrate. Let’s assume that all white people except for one in the Jim Crow south believed that forced segregation was moral. That one person would have been right and everyone else would have been wrong.

  56. I’m new here.
    Why do you use materialist as a synonym for atheist?

    UD: Because as a matter of logic, all atheists must be materialists and all materialists must be atheists.

  57. 57
    CentralScrutinizer

    Stephen: I suspect that is true or almost true. The issue, though, is whether they can provide a rational justification for that opposition. They cannot.

    And my point is: who cares? They can give an in-bred emotional reason for it: we’re programmed to feel that way, whatever the source. And that source is more primal and immediate and motivating than any philosophical argument.

    The knowledge precedes the feeling.

    No it doesn’t. Any five year old child will feel revulsion at the torturing of an baby. If you tried to pitch your philosophy to them they would look at you sideways.

    You feel outrage because you know instinctively that the act is immoral. The Natural Moral Law really is a Law of reason.

    Reason may come to see why, or not, but such contemplation is much further down the road. The emotional instinct is there long before any philosophical musings, which may never come.

    Nobody need provide any reason whatsoever why they feel outrage at the torturing of babies except that it’s utterly repulsive. And what really counts to any victim is the actions that follow our repulsed feelings.

  58. 58
    CentralScrutinizer

    Stephen: The whole point about a self-evident truth, logical or moral, is that no evidence or reasoning process is necessary to apprehend it.

    If you substituted “inbred emotional revulsion” instead of “self-evident truth, logical or moral” with regards to torturing babies, your statement would be just as true, and any materialist can agree with it.

  59. “Blas writes that nothing about morality is self-evident.

    How do you know that Blas?”

    For any behavior it is possible to find people that find it morally right or people that find it morally wrong. Then morality is not self evident it is disputed.

    “Let me demonstrate. Let’s assume that all white people except for one in the Jim Crow south believed that forced segregation was moral. That one person would have been right and everyone else would have been wrong.”

    Who is right or wrong in that situation depends o n what you think is morally wrong or morally right. All the white people though they were right and theone wrong. Another exampleof the not self evidence of morality.

  60. CentralScrutinizer,

    Feelings of revulsion can mislead, depending on whether or not they conform to the natural moral law. Self evident truths, both moral and intellectual, cannot mislead precisely because they are true. It is the same with the Laws of logic.

    How you feel about the Laws of Non-Contradiction, Excluded Middle, and Identity, has nothing at all to do with their validity. How you feel about the Ten Commandments has nothing at all to do with their aptness for the human condition. How you feel about adultery has nothing to do with its morally illicit nature

    It is the Natural Moral Law that informs us about whether our revulsion to this or that act is reasonable. At one extreme, Puritans find sex and physical affection disgusting; at the other extreme, libertines find all self-control and chastity disgusting. In both cases, feelings untutored by the natural moral law lead to perversity.

    Feelings serve a noble purpose, but they are not fundamental to understanding moral truth and can, as a matter of fact, get in the way. One cannot build a well-ordered society on feelings.

  61. 61
    CentralScrutinizer

    Stephen: Feelings of revulsion can mislead, depending on whether or not they conform to the natural moral law. Self evident truths, both moral and intellectual, cannot mislead precisely because they are true.

    I would put it this way: “so-called ‘self-evident moral law’ can mislead, depending on whether or not it conforms to the primal feelings of natural pathological programming.”

    You’re off in the weeds. You’re appealing to something that cannot possibly be “self-evidently true.” Your idea of “natural moral law” that is “self-evident” is something derived from some intellectual philosophy that is far from self-evident. If it were, you wouldn’t have to point it out to anyone.

    Anyway, I’m getting bored with the topic. Have a great week.

  62. 62

    Blas: “For any behavior it is possible to find people that find it morally right or people that find it morally wrong. Then morality is not self evident it is disputed.”

    Your error is in assuming that a person cannot be mistaken about self-evident truth. You seem to believe that “self-evident” is the same as “universally agreed.” It is not. It is possible to find a person who would say 9 x 9 is not 81. That person’s disagreement would not make the fact that 9 x 9 = 81 any less self evident.

    In the same way, even if a person sincerely believed that torturing a child for fun was good, he would be wrong and the proposition “torturing a child for fun is evil” would not be any less self-evident.

    Blas writes: “Who is right or wrong in that situation [i.e., whether forced segregation is morally right] depends on what you think is morally wrong or morally right.”

    Now you are blithering nonsense. You are like the person in the example above who makes a mistake at multiplication. It does no good to “argue” for the proposition that 9 x 9 = 81. You either accept it as self-evidently true or you do not. By definition one cannot argue for the truth of self evident propositions. The fact that it is self evident means that there is no argument more basic than the proposition itself. If you refuse to acknowledge a self evident truth, as you just have, you don’t need an argument; you need simple correction. I will now correct you: Holding people in subjugation on the basis of nothing other than the color of their skin is evil. It does not matter how many people disagree. Indeed, if everyone in the world were to disagree with me, everyone else would be wrong and I would be right.

  63. –BarryA: “Holding people in subjugation on the basis of nothing other than the color of their skin is evil. It does not matter how many people disagree. Indeed, if everyone in the world were to disagree with me, everyone else would be wrong and I would be right.”

    Exactly right. Indeed, your observation is not only true, it describes a historical reality. When Martin Luther King said that Americans must stop oppressing blacks, he didn’t based his demand on popular opinion because he recognized that consensus decisions cannot be the final arbiter of justice. Indeed, his was the minority opinion. What mattered was the difference between right and wrong.

    From the inside of a jail, he argued that any human law not rooted in the natural law is an unjust law. The one thing he didn’t say (excuse me CentralScrutinizer) is that he felt repulsed by the whole thing. We don’t change the world by reporting our feelings, but we move mountains when we say, “This isn’t right.”– It must stop.”

  64. 64

    StephenB, exactly. And what I did not say to Blas and perhaps should have is that his view of morality makes moral progress impossible. The very word “progress” implies a progression toward an as yet unmet objective. If Blas is correct, if at any given time the existing societal consensus defines morality, then by definition there is nothing toward which to progress.

  65. @Barry,

    How about a post from the other end of the spectrum? I think it would be quite interesting to ask:

    Do you believe anything to be objectively wrong?

    Example for parents (I think a lot of us are): Is it actually wrong for your children to lie to you?

  66. Your error is in assuming that a person cannot be mistaken about self-evident truth. You seem to believe that “self-evident” is the same as “universally agreed.” It is not. It is possible to find a person who would say 9 x 9 is not 81. That person’s disagreement would not make the fact that 9 x 9 = 81 any less self evident.

    This is why I asked (in a deleted comment) self-evident to whom. If it’s meant as self-evident to me, as William J. Murray suggested, then Bias’s point has force – it is clear that if people take different positions on one moral statement, then it can’t be self-evident what the moral position is. Whilst I think torturing children for fun is morally reprehensible, I wouldn’t want to be arrogant enough to claim to speak for everyone.

    If you meant self-evident to some other group, can you clarify who it is meant to be self-evident to?

  67. Barry Arrington posted this:

    StephenB, exactly. And what I did not say to Blas and perhaps should have is that his view of morality makes moral progress impossible. The very word “progress” implies a progression toward an as yet unmet objective. If Blas is correct, if at any given time the existing societal consensus defines morality, then by definition there is nothing toward which to progress.

    I don’t agree with this reasoning at all. The existing social consensus does in my opinion define “morality”, but it also defines the questions where a consensual moral stance is lacking, and should be addressed.

    To give you an example. Some years ago, the government of my country suggested that it might be a valuable gesture of reconciliation between the dominant (predominantly Anglo-Celtic) population and indigenous people, in the form of a public apology for past actions and neglect. The proposal received significant public majority support, an achievement that would have been unthinkable not many years earlier.

    Whatever the real value of that gesture might be, it is clear that social consensus can in fact progress on moral questions.

  68. “That person’s disagreement would not make the fact that 9 x 9 = 81 any less self evident. ”

    You can make a logical argument that given the definition of numbers and multiplication 9 x 9 can be only 81. Can you make the same with your first proposition or any other moral statement?

  69. 69

    timothya said: “I don’t agree with this reasoning at all. The existing social consensus does in my opinion define “morality”, but it also defines the questions where a consensual moral stance is lacking, and should be addressed.”

    Except when you disagree with the existing social consensus, right? If so, then for you social consensus doesn’t define morality at all, you’re just using that to blow smoke. If you accept existing social consensus as that which defines morality (morality being that which humans ought, and ought not, do), then you accept that whatever society says you ought do is that which you ought do. However, if you disagree with social consensus, if you work to alter it or do not feel compelled to obey it, then you certainly do not hold social consensus as that which “defines morality”.

    timothya said: “Whatever the real value of that gesture might be, it is clear that social consensus can in fact progress on moral questions.”

    Progress towards what? Again, you make these statements as if there is an objective standard towards which society can progress towards. If at one point the social consensus was to not make such a gesture, that was the moral position at the time, and under the logic of your position everyone should accept that social consensus as “what is moral”. If they did so, why would anyone work to change the social viewpoint? And why would anyone call a change in that viewpoint “progress”, as if the change from one to the other indicates a better morality?

    Better by what standard?

    Apparently, you don’t realize that everything you argue about morality implicates that you actually believe there is a standard of morality that is beyond personal views, social consensus or any so-called authority.

    A Gene said: “Whilst I think torturing children for fun is morally reprehensible, I wouldn’t want to be arrogant enough to claim to speak for everyone.”

    Look at it this way; if a group of people believed that the sun revolved around the Earth, would they be wrong? So, in that same sense, if a group of people believed that it was morally good to torture children for fun, would they be wrong?

  70. William J Murray posted this:

    Better by what standard?

    Better because I take responsibility for my moral choices, and I don’t abrogate them to a mythical sky pixie.

    Apparently, you don’t realize that everything you argue about morality implicates that you actually believe there is a standard of morality that is beyond personal views, social consensus or any so-called authority.

    And, no, I don’t believe that that there is a moral standard beyond personal views. Morality as a concept only makes sense if it is instantiated in personal views.

    I believe that morality is constructed by real, actual human beings consciously making decisions about their behaviour in a social structure.

  71. 71

    timothya said: “Better because I take responsibility for my moral choices, and I don’t abrogate them to a mythical sky pixie.”

    By what standard is one better than the other? You’re still begging the question, not answering it.

    timothya said: “The existing social consensus does in my opinion define “morality” …”

    timothya said: “And, no, I don’t believe that that there is a moral standard beyond personal views.”

    As I said, the materialist/atheist view constantly produces self-conflicting, hypocritical statements.

  72. 72

    timothya:

    Also, please educate me what it means to “take responsibility” for your choices, if there is no standard according to which you will be held accountable, and no one or thing outside of yourself to hold you accountable? If morality is whatever you personally think it is, who or what are you being accountable to? Yourself? Really? So when you “take responsibility” for your actions, the only entity you are accountable to is … yourself?

    Hmmm … Jeffrey Dahmer “taking responsibility” for his actions via Jeffrey Dahmer’s personal code of morality doesn’t really seem to me to matter much. Sounds more like someone blowing the smoke of evasive sophistry.

  73. William J Murray posted this:

    By what standard is one better than the other? You’re still begging the question, not answering it.

    What question is being begged? It isn’t clear to me.

  74. 74

    Blas said: “You can make a logical argument that given the definition of numbers and multiplication 9 x 9 can be only 81. Can you make the same with your first proposition or any other moral statement?”

    How will you convince them that logical principles are valid?

    Without accepting that some things are self-evidently true, no meaningful debate is possible. We must accept logical principles as valid or else we cannot make valid statements about anything. You cannot prove logical principles are valid, because without logical principles, there’s nothing to use to make such proofs.

    Can anyone prove that they have free will? No, but we must assume it or else we have no basis to make arguments or moral choices. That, too, must be accepted as a self-evident truth.

    Can I prove that anything actually exists outside of my mind? Nope, we are all trapped in Plato’s cave – but, we must accept it as a self-evident truth that an outside world exists, or we are all confined to solipsism.

    And so, we come to morality; without self-evident truths, we are left with moral solipsism, and have no reason to even argue it. Yet, here you are, and others, arguing about morality as if there is some truth to find, as if it matters, as if some things are actually right, wrong, better, worse, and that there is “progress” towards some standard that can be achieved.

    If we cannot agree that it is self-evidently wrong to torture children for fun, no matter if others accept it a or not, but that it is as wrong as the proposition that A does not equal A, and as wrong as the proposition that we do not have free will but are all just biological automatons barking at each other according to the whim of chemistry and physics, and as wrong as the proposition that everything we experience is a solipsistic delusion … then we have no grounds to debate morality. You might as well debate a solipsist about whether or not other people exist, or debate someone who eschews logic on the topic of exclusionary principles.

    If you cannot agree that it is self-evidently immoral for all people in all cultures to torture children, even if they believe otherwise, then you are a moral solipsist and your arguments about morality are nothing but sophistry.

  75. 75

    TA asks: “What question is being begged? It isn’t clear to me.”

    The question of what standard you are referring to when you say it is ***better*** that you take responsibility for your moral choices instead of abrogating it to a mythical sky pixie. Better by what standard?

  76. The answer should be obvious to you: if I delegate my moral choices to a sky pixie, then I have assume it makes correct decisions about how I should behave.

    But, the only basis I have for understanding the sky pixie’s moral imperatives are what other human beings say about the matter (the Pope, the local megachurch pastor, the ayatollah, you etc etc).

    You do see the problem, don’t you?

  77. “Without accepting that some things are self-evidently true, no meaningful debate is possible. We must accept logical principles as valid or else we cannot make valid statements about anything. You cannot prove logical principles are valid, because without logical principles, there’s nothing to use to make such proofs.”
    Agree
    “Can anyone prove that they have free will? No, but we must assume it or else we have no basis to make arguments or moral choices.
    Agree

    “That, too, must be accepted as a self-evident truth.”
    Well, you have your friends at “Why evolution is true” that do not accept the existance of free will, then it is not a self evident truth. At least for every person. May be you have to clarify what do you mean by “self evident”.

    “And so, we come to morality; without self-evident truths, we are left with moral solipsism, and have no reason to even argue it. Yet, here you are, and others, arguing about morality as if there is some truth to find, as if it matters, as if some things are actually right, wrong, better, worse, and that there is “progress” towards some standard that can be achieved.”
    The lack of progress if self-evident moral truths do not exists do not make self-evident moral truths exist.

    “If we cannot agree that it is self-evidently wrong to torture children for fun, no matter if others accept it a or not, but that it is as wrong as the proposition that A does not equal A, and as wrong as the proposition that we do not have free will but are all just biological automatons barking at each other according to the whim of chemistry and physics, and as wrong as the proposition that everything we experience is a solipsistic delusion … then we have no grounds to debate morality. You might as well debate a solipsist about whether or not other people exist, or debate someone who eschews logic on the topic of exclusionary principles.”
    Do not have grounds to debate morality is possible answer, you have to demostrate that your proposition is a self evident truth. When you deny that A cannot be not-A at the same time you enter in contradiction, you cannot follow an argument. I can say there is not self.evident moral truth a mantain a logical argument. Of course The end of that argument is that moral is a subjective concept and I have to accept the consecuences of that, but that can be a truth.

  78. 78

    timothya:

    I guess you either will not, or cannot, answer the question, because you keep begging the question.

    You have now moved the question from:

    (1) “what standard is used to claim that ‘taking personal responsibility’ is ***better*** than abrogating that responsibility to a sky pixie,

    to the question:

    (2) “what standard is used to claim that ‘taking personal responsibility’ is ***better*** than accepting what other people (whomever I decide) say on the matter”?

    This is standard question-begging, and also hypocritical when you consider that you also said:

    “The existing social consensus does in my opinion define “morality” …”

    Also: are you not going to tell me what “taking personal responsibility” means, and how it is significant? Who or what are you accountable to when you “take personal responsibility”? Is it anything more than empty rhetoric?

    Are you also not going to respond to the self contradiction I pointed out above? Here it is again:

    timothya said: “The existing social consensus does in my opinion define “morality” …”

    timothya said: “And, no, I don’t believe that that there is a moral standard beyond personal views.”

    timothya, I suggest you stop and really consider the problems you are facing here. When this kind of hypocrisy, self-conflict and question-begging pile up, it’s because you have an irrational worldview on the subject at hand.

  79. 79

    Blas said: “you have to demostrate that your proposition is a self evident truth.”

    Do you understand what a self-evident truth is? You cannot demonstrate it is true – that is why it must be accepted as a self-evident truth.

    I think you are mistaking the “self-” part of “self-evidently true” for a person. That is not what it refers to. It means that the statement/principle is itself obviously true. Surely you know people deny and miss the obvious all the time; that doesn’t make what they are denying or missing less obvious – it means there is something wrong with the person who denies it. Whether or not everyone agrees with or sees a self-evident truth has no bearing on whether or not it is self-evidently true.
    I can say there is not self.evident moral truth a mantain a logical argument.

    Blas said: “Of course The end of that argument is that moral is a subjective concept and I have to accept the consecuences of that, but that can be a truth.”

    In addition to the concept of self-evident truths, there are also necessary assumptions (some of which are both). It is a necessary assumption I must make that you are a free will individual with a mind; it is a necessary assumption I must make that the principles of logic ar sound, it is a necessary assumption I must make that I am not having a profound delusion.

    Even if we bypass the idea that the moral statement in question is self-evidently true, in order to rationally debate morality outside of solipsistic sophistry we must assume that it is true that there is an objective standard of some sort that defines the basics of what is good. Also, unless we are sociopaths, we must act in this world as if there is an objective standard of what is good – it is what allows us to judge, condemn, argue, and debate against any arbitrary authority – social consensus, personal desire, religious institutions, scripture, cultural mores, etc.

    We all behave as if there is a standard of morality that is superior to and beyond all so-called material authorities and standards, because we can challenge and question them all, and we all think and talk and argue as if there is such a standard beyond our personal whim and any other supposed authority.

    Yes, it might be true that all morality is subjective; it might also be true that logical principles are invalid, and it might also be true that all of this is my delusion and I’m just a Boltzmann Brain floating free in the cosmos, and it might be true that none of us have free will and are nothing more than biological automatons flinging feces at each other and thinking we’re having a rational debate.

    But there’s no use in arguing from such assumptions, because they destroy the validity, hope and need for any such argument. To make such a case is nothing but useless sophistry. Materialist atheists only make those arguments to avoid that which they do not want to believe.

    If you really believe that morality is entirely subjective, why argue about it other than pure, self-serving sophistry?

  80. 80

    A Gene: “Whilst I think torturing children for fun is morally reprehensible, I wouldn’t want to be arrogant enough to claim to speak for everyone.”

    Would you be arrogant enough to tell Hitler that killing millions of innocent men, women and children is wrong? Or is your only response to the holocaust, “Well, I do not personally prefer holocausts, but who am I to tell the Nazis they are wrong”?

    Say I made a math error and wrote down that 9 x 9 = 80. It would not be arrogance on your part to correct me. In the same way, if someone were to suggest that there might be some instance where torturing a small child for fun is good, it would not be arrogant to correct him.

  81. “Do you understand what a self-evident truth is? You cannot demonstrate it is true – that is why it must be accepted as a self-evident truth.”

    Why “must” be accepted?

    “In addition to the concept of self-evident truths, there are also necessary assumptions (some of which are both). It is a necessary assumption I must make that you are a free will individual with a mind; it is a necessary assumption I must make that the principles of logic ar sound, it is a necessary assumption I must make that I am not having a profound delusion.”

    Why “necessary” assumptions? Your argument is like evolutionist that says you “must” assume materialism to make science.

    “Even if we bypass the idea that the moral statement in question is self-evidently true, in order to rationally debate morality outside of solipsistic sophistry we must assume that it is true that there is an objective standard of some sort that defines the basics of what is good. Also, unless we are sociopaths, we must act in this world as if there is an objective standard of what is good – it is what allows us to judge, condemn, argue, and debate against any arbitrary authority – social consensus, personal desire, religious institutions, scripture, cultural mores, etc.”

    Act like if there is an objective standard do not means that the objective standar exists.

    “We all behave as if there is a standard of morality that is superior to and beyond all so-called material authorities and standards, because we can challenge and question them all, and we all think and talk and argue as if there is such a standard beyond our personal whim and any other supposed authority.”

    Not all. Do you think that Madoff acted as if there is a standard of morality?

    “Yes, it might be true that all morality is subjective; it might also be true that logical principles are invalid, and it might also be true that all of this is my delusion and I’m just a Boltzmann Brain floating free in the cosmos, and it might be true that none of us have free will and are nothing more than biological automatons flinging feces at each other and thinking we’re having a rational debate.
    But there’s no use in arguing from such assumptions, because they destroy the validity, hope and need for any such argument.”

    Agree.

    “To make such a case is nothing but useless sophistry.”

    No, it is just the alternative hypothesis.

    “Materialist atheists only make those arguments to avoid that which they do not want to believe.”

    Probably, I found worst that they live as moral is not subjective, but your argument seems the same to me.

    “If you really believe that morality is entirely subjective, why argue about it other than pure, self-serving sophistry?”

    Between the self-evidence of moral truths and subjectivity of morality there are other options.

  82. 82

    Blas asks: “Why “must” be accepted?”

    Okay, I won’t accept the necessary assumptions (that I’ve outlined above) that form the foundation of our debate.

    I have no reason to continue the debate.

    If you exist outside of my mind, have a “good” day – whatever that means to you.

  83. 83

    Blas said: “No, it is just the alternative hypothesis.”

    Because something is an alternative hypothesis doesn’t remove it from being useless sophistry. The “alternative hypothesis” to “A=A” is useless sophistry.

    But then, that requires accepting necessary assumptions that form the basis of our debate, which you don’t seem compelled to accept (even though everything you post is predicated on accepting those necessary assumptions).

    Until you accept those premises that are required to elevate your contribution here above that of solipsism and sophistry, there is no sense in my continuing to interact with you.

  84. It would not be arrogance on your part to correct me. In the same way, if someone were to suggest that there might be some instance where torturing a small child for fun is good, it would not be arrogant to correct him.

    Just make sure that the person you are trying to correct isn’t armed because anyone who would suggest such a thing wouldn’t have any problem “correcting” you.

    Just sayin’…

  85. Barry A at (currently) 80 –

    A Gene: “Whilst I think torturing children for fun is morally reprehensible, I wouldn’t want to be arrogant enough to claim to speak for everyone.”

    Would you be arrogant enough to tell Hitler that killing millions of innocent men, women and children is wrong? Or is your only response to the holocaust, “Well, I do not personally prefer holocausts, but who am I to tell the Nazis they are wrong”?

    Huh? A false equivalence. I could certainly say that I think that killing millions of innocent men, women and children is wrong, but I wouldn’t want to speak for anyone else (well, unless I was appointed as a spokesgene).

    To give another moral example – would you be prepared to say that it is self-evident that universal healthcare is good?

  86. 86

    Gene, you seem to be saying that while you personally do not prefer to torture children for fun or slaughter millions of innocents, you cannot give any reason why someone else might not have a different preference.

    Moral nihilism like you have just displayed is what makes holocausts possible. As I said to Blas, you either accept these propositions as self-evidently true or you do not. By definition one cannot argue for the truth of self evident propositions. The fact that it is self evident means that there is no argument more basic than the proposition itself. If you refuse to acknowledge self evident truths, as you just have, you don’t need an argument; you need simple correction. I will now correct you: Torturing children for fun is evil and killing millions of innocents is evil. It does not matter how many people disagree. Indeed, if everyone in the world were to disagree with me, everyone else would be wrong and I would be right.

  87. 87

    Blas, your comments have devolved into third grade level Why? Why? Why? to every proposition that is asserted. Continuing to dialogue with you is pointless.

  88. “Moral nihilism like you have just displayed is what makes holocausts possible.”

    “By definition one cannot argue for the truth of self evident propositions. The fact that it is self evident means that there is no argument more basic than the proposition itself. If you refuse to acknowledge self evident truths, as you just have, you don’t need an argument; you need simple correction. I will now correct you: Not beleive in Alá is evil and not killing blasfemers is evil. It does not matter how many people disagree.”

    “By definition one cannot argue for the truth of self evident propositions. The fact that it is self evident means that there is no argument more basic than the proposition itself. If you refuse to acknowledge self evident truths, as you just have, you don’t need an argument; you need simple correction. I will now correct you: Exploitin the superior arian race is evil and not killing millions of guilty jews is evil. It does not matter how many people disagree.”

  89. 89

    Blas, here’s the difference between your “corrections” and mine: Shouting that 9 x 9 = 80 does not make the proposition 9 x 9 = 80 self evident. You see? The fact that someone can assert that a non-self evident (or even false) proposition is in fact self evident simply shows that people can be wrong and even evil. It is not an argument against the existence of self evident propositions.

  90. “Shouting that 9 x 9 = 80 does not make the proposition 9 x 9 = 80 self evident. You see?”

    And how do you know that your proposition is 9 x 9 = 81? They are sure they are saying 9 x 9 = 81 and you 9 x 9 = 80.

  91. Blas:

    This caught my eye:

    one cannot argue for the truth of self evident propositions. The fact that it is self evident means that there is no argument more basic than the proposition itself.

    Actually, no. One property of that which MUST be true, i.e. is necessarily not just contingently true, is that its denial lands one in absurdity. For some things that is hard to see, which makes them not self evident, but int eh case of self-evident truths, the reductio is immediate and patent, concrete enough that he ordinary concrete-minded person can see it. (That is not hard to spot as to why: if it is not like that, then the matter is not self evident!)

    My Truth no 1 is a good case in point.

    “Error exists.”

    Try deny it and watch the absurdity jump out and say boo!

    Similarly, the case of torturing babies for fun, as has unfortunately happened, is a case in point too. Notice, no-one can successfully deny it and escape absurdities.

    But if you willfully swallow an advantageous absurdity, then many will willingly cling to wrong to gain what they think is an advantage. Sort of reminds me of the fish who fools around with a baited hook as he sees an advantage in the bait.

    KF

  92. “one cannot argue for the truth of self evident propositions. The fact that it is self evident means that there is no argument more basic than the proposition itself.”

    This proposition it is not mine.

    “Similarly, the case of torturing babies for fun, as has unfortunately happened, is a case in point too. Notice, no-one can successfully deny it and escape absurdities.”

    I would like to see examples of that absurdities.

  93. look above.

  94. The fish example? How that relates with denying that torture kids for fun is moral evil?

  95. F/N: 9 x 9 = 80

    => 9 +9 + . . . +9 [8 times] = 80

    or, 9 + 9 + . . . + 9 – 9 = 80 – 9 = 72

    . . .

    => 0 = – 1

    Absurd.

    KF

    PS: The examples of where denial of the moral principle leads to absurdity are above and elsewhere. Cf my remark at 10 above, and other cases all above.

  96. PPS: This can be done with physical counters, i.e. it is easily apparent to an ordinary person, even a child.

  97. “Had one of those Turks in the novel based on real incidents had his baby treated that way he would have been incensed and would have felt justified to kill the one who did that.”
    “Similarly, had a girl of the majority in Pakistan or a boy been treated like that, there would have been not a protest march but a major riot.”

    This facts do not make absurd consider not moral evil torture kids for fun, maybe you have to add “be sure do not put yourself in the position that somebody take revenge”.

    “That because we would take no harm, we must therefore do none”

    This neither make absurde denying the self evidence of the first statement. Because I can put me in the position of do not take harm while I doing so.

    The moral question it is not so easy to answer as there are self evident moral truths. People do what many of us think is moral evil and get away with that living better life than us.

  98. Barry A (presently @86) –

    Gene, you seem to be saying that while you personally do not prefer to torture children for fun or slaughter millions of innocents, you cannot give any reason why someone else might not have a different preference.

    No, you’re not understanding me, I’m happy to give reasons why I belive torturing children for fun is wrong. But I’m not arrogant enough to say that everyone thinks this, or give their reasons.

    As I said to Blas, you either accept these propositions as self-evidently true or you do not. By definition one cannot argue for the truth of self evident propositions.

    Really? I would have thought that the truth of anything self-evident should be obvious. Sometimes things are too obvious, so you have to stop to think it through (been there, done that). But if something is self-evidently true the explanation for why it’s true should be clear. If it’s not clear, how can be self-evident?

  99. 99

    Gene, if someone says 9 x 9 is 23 would it be arrogant to say, “no, it’s not 23 it’s 81″?

  100. Barry, we can give reasons for why 9×9=81. It’s also not self-evident (we have to learn our multiplication tables). So the two aren’t comparable.

    BTW, I trust you know that 9×9=23 is correct, even if for a slightly odd reason.

  101. 101

    A Gene @ 100.
    You can’t give reasons that 9×9=81. You can only say the same thing in different words as KF did above.

  102. AG:

    Actually, we learn multiplication tables as a convenience, for speed and accuracy. (I am thinking here, out to 10 x 10 or 12 x 12. Some go on to 25 x 25. And Gen Rommel memorised log tables allowing astonishing mental calculations, I don’t know if that was mandatory in Imperial German Army academies in the pre WWI era. I never heard whether it was to three, four or seven figures.)

    The crucial thing is to understand that multiplication is repeated addition, which then leads to precisely one coherent answer. That answer is not only true but must be so, on pain of direct and obvious absurdity. Of course, there comes a point where the reductio is no longer obvious, which is where the self-evidence will break down.

    Notice, I am not PROVING that 9 x 9 = 81, but showing why any other answer implies an absurdity.

    To make this immediately apparent, I would lay out nine nines on one side vs eight tens. Then, one may rearrange the other side into nines. The deficit will be immediately apparent — on symmetry — to a child of age to understand conservation of quantities on rearrangement; or you can sweep away rows of nine until one side has zero and the other a deficit of one. Piaget suggests, what, a 7 year old or so?

    The practical threshold for the test of self evidence is whether the process of reduction to absurdity requires abstract operations. Only about 1/3 of adults in even advanced countries reach that level.

    Hence the classic test in English law of how something communicates and convinces the man in the Clapham bus stop.

    KF

    PS: Oops on 80 – 9 = 71

  103. F/N: The key matter on morals is of course our essential equality as persons. The astonishing absurdity in being willing to inflict on others over whom we hold power what would be intolerable in ourselves is what is so revealing of absurdity. but, if one is determined to support a self serving absurdity, one will say and do just about anything. The ways Wilberforce’s parliamentary campaign against the slave trade was ducked, diverted, blown off and postponed after just his first speech provide sadly apt illustration.

  104. Gene, Blas,

    After you pay your rent, your landlord gives you a receipt. A week later, he demands payment again. You remind him that you have already paid your debt. He responds as follows: “Yes, its true that you paid your debt, but it is also true that you did not pay your debt, so you still owe me.”

    What do you say?

  105. 105

    for math base of 10, 9×9=81 (eight of 10 + 1).
    for math base of 39, 9×9=23 (two of 39 + 3).
    necessary understand of math base choosen for operating.

    sergio

  106. Kairosfocus posted this:

    F/N: The key matter on morals is of course our essential equality as persons.

    and then posted this:

    The astonishing absurdity in being willing to inflict on others over whom we hold power what would be intolerable in ourselves is what is so revealing of absurdity. but, if one is determined to support a self serving absurdity, one will say and do just about anything. The ways Wilberforce’s parliamentary campaign against the slave trade was ducked, diverted, blown off and postponed after just his first speech provide sadly apt illustration.

    I agree with the first proposition (though I would point out that we may have moral obligations to organisms that are not persons).

    The second collection of words is difficult to comprehend.

    What if I am not willing to inflict on others over whom I hold power what I would be intolerable in myself? This pretty much describes my reality if I understand what you are saying. The reason is that I hold no power over anyone, so consequently, in my reality, your proposed absurdity does not exist for me.

    Since it doesn’t exist (at least for me), I am not determined to support a self serving absurdity.

    What is your point?

  107. “The key matter on morals is of course our essential equality as persons.”

    But the equality of people also as persons it is not self evident then the following isnt true:

    “The astonishing absurdity in being willing to inflict on others over whom we hold power what would be intolerable in ourselves is what is so revealing of absurdity.”

    Because as I am different what the “others” deserve I not necessary desserve.

    “The ways Wilberforce’s parliamentary campaign against the slave trade was ducked, diverted, blown off and postponed after just his first speech provide sadly apt illustration.”

    Slavery was normal not absurd for most of the human history, and still is in some cultures.

  108. Hi Chesterton:

    I am a living proof that we share a common humanity, being of tri-continental ancestry.

    Then, having been raised by my Mom and Dad, the notion that women are inferiors is laughably absurd. As for academic achievement, You may want to take a glance at this, on the education justice implications of what grades are too often really measuring, structural biases and agendas. As for the notion that difference on IQ scores or the like implies differences of intrinsic worth, that too is patently absurd.

    What happens is that the evo mat agenda is inherently about inequality and so adherents are again and again willing to swallow absurdities.

    And slavery in the relevant sense — chattel slavery (not indenture, though that can too often be abusive too) — does pivot on the absurdity of how some are superior and others are inferior and deserve to be enslaved. The results across time speak for themselves. That is why such slavery is now acknowledged as a crime against humanity.

    However what the decades long struggle Wilberforce encountered shows is just how those who cling to an absurdity will fight to the last ditch in defence of manifest evil.

    And the very way those who inflict abuses on others react if they or those they care about who share the same common humanity are the victims, glaringly highlights the absurdity.

    I didn’t say that there are no people willing to live on the advantages of absurdity, I just said that it is absurd.

    KF

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