Euthyphro 2014


Michael Nugent and Leah Libresco talk about the latter’s conversion from atheism to Catholicism, and what moral realism has to do with it.

Comments

  1. Blanche Quizno says

    Sorry, apologists, but when the philosophical system is based, as its foundation, on the belief that supernatural beings exist, count me out. I can’t believe in such nonsense. Might as well believe in Santa Claus (with far less of a down side).

    Any system that promotes irrational belief, magical thinking, and self-destructive behavior is damaging to individuals and to society. It makes no difference how much rhetoric or flowery language or specious casuistry you wrap around it.

    Harmful.

    Put THAT in your Pope and smoke it.

  2. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    No insult intended to you, Ophelia, but I can’t think of something I’d find less interesting and worthwhile than listening to Nugent broker peace accords with the delusional Leah Libresco and her Roman Catholic fetish.

  3. says

    I found that utterly fascinating. Thank you for posting it, Ophelia. I had never heard of Leah Libresco before.

    I think the idea of morality as a person is kinda bonkers, but that seems to be the key error she’s making. I mean, you need a strong interpretation of “morality is a person” to get you to Catholicism, where the Trinity can be recruited to play that role. But she spends a lot of time in the video firmly downplaying the idea, emphasizing a vague, non-literal interpretation, which can do no work. And despite the interviewer’s attempts to draw her attention to this tension, she does not seem to notice.

    The whole thing is a sobering reminder of how easily we can completely befuddle ourselves with bad ideas.

  4. deepak shetty says

    but I can’t think of something I’d find less interesting and worthwhile than listening to Nugent broker peace accords with the delusional Leah Libresco and her Roman Catholic fetish.,/i>
    personally I find it fascinating to see why a (sincere) non-believer might adopt religion.

  5. Daniel Schealler says

    I enjoyed that.

    I disagree with Leah at pretty much every level. But she seems like someone that I could really enjoy disagreeing with. She’s thought about her position to a lot of detail. I get the feeling that if I were to get into discussion with Leah she would be open to having her position microscopically dissected, which is pretty rare.

    Michael did a good job of asking questions that brought out Leah’s thinking without arguing with her or imposing his own views. That’s harder than it looks – don’t think I could have managed it, so well done there too.

  6. equisetum says

    I actually made it through the first two parts of the interview. Yes, Michael did a great job, with much more patience than I could have.
    Two points: First, I don’t see why morality as a person or some kind of platonic ideal makes more sense than morality as an evolved property of social species.
    Second, she actually said “The Catholic Church doesn’t make up rules . . . like mathematicians, it tries to derive accurate rules from the theorems it has.” She gives no examples of these theorems, or the axioms on which they could be based, and I have real doubt that they exist at all. She just wants to pretend that Catholicism is just as valid as mathematics, so she uses the same words.
    This was in a discussion of whether women should be allowed to become priests. Michael asked her then if they should derive a different rule from the theorems it has with regard to women priests. Her response: “Since I haven’t studied the theology of the priesthood, I don’t have a stronger opinion on that than I have on whether the Riemann hypothesis is true.”
    In other words: I just have to take the Pope’s word for it.
    In short, she’s just as nuts as every other catholic. Just with bigger words.

  7. Daniel Schealler says

    This was in a discussion of whether women should be allowed to become priests. Michael asked her then if they should derive a different rule from the theorems it has with regard to women priests. Her response: “Since I haven’t studied the theology of the priesthood, I don’t have a stronger opinion on that than I have on whether the Riemann hypothesis is true.”

    In other words: I just have to take the Pope’s word for it.

    I think you’re being a little harsh there.

    Leah’s general point about not feigning expertise she doesn’t have was a fair one.

    I think that this shouldn’t preclude her from forming or stating a tentative position of her own, so in that sense it was kind of a dodge. Given the context, I can understand why she might have wanted to dodge that particular bullet, so it was a bit disappointing in that sense. 😛

    But even so, I think that was a little too harsh and not entirely fair.

  8. equisetum says

    I can see your point. I understand that this is a theological question, and you’re right, she, of course, has the right to defer. I’m just naturally antagonistic towards requiring expertise in an artificial, male dominated hierarchy before forming an opinion on whether non-male members should be allowed to participate.
    Actually, I’m antagonistic towards the whole idea of theology as the basis for making real world decisions. I think it’s silly on one level, and dangerous on another. And it is in no way comparable to mathematics. I think I was really irritated at her because of that.

  9. says

    “in that sense it was kind of a dodge” I recall reading Leah when her conversion became news and finding a lot of what she wrote about Catholicism and sexuality morality, frankly, dodging. If she’s _still_ dodging these issues several years later, it sounds like her head is telling her Catholic morality is right but her heart isn’t quite into it. P.

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