The knights errant sally forth against the Hitchens dragon, end up toast


Some columnist named James Knight has decided to strike back against New Atheist tyranny by rebutting their major claims, and he’s starting out by picking on Hitchens and Dawkins, who, he says, make terrible arguments.

As you’ll see, Dawkins and Hitchens have ready-made methods for twisting meanings and distorting logic in a way that the more pliant and impressionable individuals don’t seem to notice.

Prepare yourself; that’s from a guy who’s about to launch into a series of theological arguments. Self-aware, he’s not.

Knight has a whole series of excerpts from the Hitch he warbles about, and I’m just going to pick two of the more famous arguments he’s made, and I think that will be enough to see that Knight is all pompous puffery. I’m sure you’re all familiar with Hitchens’ theistic challenge.

Name me an ethical statement made or an action performed by a believer that could not have been made or performed by a non-believer.

Now read Knight’s pratfall:

To me that is the sort of pliable question that sounds intelligent but isn’t really. I think Hitchens’ question shows a lack of understanding of what religious belief entails, and also the overlooking of something that should be trivially obvious. The short answer is, the question is as meaningless as asking whether quenching thirst is better than feeding oneself. It is true in most cases that there is no ‘statement’ or ‘action’ that a theist can make or do that others cannot, but that tells us nothing meaningful about the God debate, because a proper analysis involves much more than just the statement or action – it involves analysing the beliefs, intentions, humility, motive, and other psychological factors that do not come out in a mere action. Naturally we could name good moral actions taken by both religious and non-religious people that have produced the same results, but that does not tell us anything about what is directing the action, or whether the person is living a Godly life, and it certainly has no bearing on whether there is a God.

That’s not a reply, it’s an evasion! We don’t understand what religious belief entails? Then tell us what it does. Throughout his replies, he does this constantly: you just don’t understand, he whines, implying that there is some great deep thought behind his claims, while never illuminating exactly what it is.

But most importantly, it’s an abject concession. He can’t cite anything a believer does that could not be done by a non-believer — there is no special grace granted by faith. We have good moral actions taken by both religious and non-religious people that have produced the same results, is one concession, but this is the bigger one: that does not tell us anything about what is directing the action. Exactly! You cannot discern the presence of a guiding moral force outside of any individual person, and Knight agrees…so how can he talk about a Godly life? How does he know?

It certainly does have bearing on the argument about the existence of gods. I have never debated anyone who doesn’t eventually get around to an argument from consequences: How can you be good without god? Aren’t you worried about Hell? Society will fall apart without god! Yet here is Knight, admitting that there are no moral consequences to disbelief, while also implying that goodness is a Godly life. He wants to simultaneously argue that unbelievers can be morally good, while predicating the standard for moral goodness on a god.

Here’s another famous Hitchism that Knight dislikes:

What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence.

Watch out, here comes the egregious relativism, which sounds like something straight out of Answers in Genesis.

To express fully what is wrong with this statement would take a whole essay in itself. But briefly, it grossly caricatures religious faith to state that it is ‘asserted without evidence’, when, in reality, evidence is in the eye of the beholder, and different people accept and interpret different evidences differently. Maybe some people are too easily seduced by interpretations that shouldn’t ever be offered as reasons for belief in God, but equally there are going to be lots of people whose psychological agitations predispose them to a scepticism that demands too much evidence, or the wrong kind of evidence.

I suspect Christopher Hitchens’ main problem is that he’d never thought through properly what evidence for God actually means, and how it might be different from the more simplistic evidence found in empirical science. Never once did I ever hear Christopher Hitchens tell us what he thinks good evidence is, what makes good evidence good, how belief in God differs from knowledge of the empirical world, and what he thinks would be satisfactory evidence for God.

I really despise the vacuous Well, we just interpret the evidence differently argument — it’s a lie. Over and over, I see it said in order to defend ignoring the bulk of the evidence.

I see a pad of post-it notes next to my keyboard on my desk. This is clearly evidence that tiny invisible elves from 3M climbed up the wall outside my window, translocated extradimensionally through the glass into my office, and left me a present. Or is it evidence that I picked up a pad at the central office and put it in a convenient spot near my phone? You don’t get to say that the existence of this pad is equal evidence for both claims; you have to ignore the consilience of phenomena that provide better explanations. There is a cabinet of these things just down the hall from me; it’s a mundane object with obvious utility; there are torn-off post-it notes with scribbled comments attached to my phonebook. At the same time, 3M elves have no evidence for their existence, have posited powers with no known mechanism, and are arbitrary, ad hoc, bizarre explanations for a perfectly ordinary object. It is not demanding too much evidence to expect some independent corroboration of the mechanisms of the phenomenon that aren’t more simply explained by my ability to walk 50 feet to a collection of supplies.

In the same way, believers like to say they do have evidence for their supernatural phantasm…and then they point to their Bible. Sure, it’s evidence. Evidence backed up by documents and history that over the course of many centuries, human beings collected stories and legends and hectoring homilies and poetry, all written by people, and assembled them into a clumsy compilation, and stamped it all with the imprimatur of religious authority. Meanwhile, you’re trying to tell me this hunk of cellulose and ink was magically transported into the world of Catholicism by the equivalent of invisible elves.

Who actually has evidence for the origin of the object?

Knight’s second paragraph is a complaint that Hitchens’ didn’t tell them what evidence for their god would be acceptable, which is a fair complaint. Or it would be, if there weren’t another problem: define God. I can’t tell you what would be evidence for or against it if you’re not going to settle down and get specific about this god’s properties and nature. Is it an anthropomorphic being with a penis that can impregnate human women? Is it a vast eternal cosmic intelligence that encompasses the entire universe and manipulates matter and energy with its will? Is it benign fluff, a happy feeling of love that permeates us all? I suspect he’d tell us some meaningless noise about a “ground state of being”, which seems to be the universal bafflegab right now to avoid answering the question.

You know, this is the big difference. If you tell a scientist that their evidence doesn’t distinguish between two alternatives, it’s the scientist who thinks hard about the problem, comes up with what would be differing consequences of an experiment if his hypothesis was valid or invalid, and does the work. We actually love this part of theorizing, thinking through the implications of a hypothesis and then testing them. And that’s a process that involves getting specific about the details of our hypothesis.

Theologians, on the other hand, hate that part. We can ask them what the difference would be between a universe that had a god and one that didn’t, between a god that answers prayers and one that doesn’t, between a Christian god and a Muslim god, between a Catholic god and a Protestant god, and they love to tell us that the differences are profound, but not anything specific. And then they yell at us that we haven’t given them the criteria that we could use to discriminate between the alternatives. And then, most aggravatingly, if we go ahead and make some predictions ourselves about what the universe ought to be like if there is or isn’t a god, they yell even more that their god isn’t like that, we used the wrong premises, we didn’t address their idiosyncratic view of a god…which is always conveniently tailored to circumvent whatever test we propose.

Do you theological wankers even realize that as the proponents of hypothesis about the nature of the universe, it is your job to generate testable hypotheses about how it all works? And that we, as agents in opposition to your nonsense, would be overjoyed to have you say something explicit about an implication of your ideas that we could test? Actually, I think you do know, because you so invariably avoid presenting any useful descriptions of what your philosophy entails. We keep waiting. And right now, your silence and the vacuity of what few feeble replies you make are just added to our stockpile of evidence that you’re all farting theology out of your asses.

James Knight ends with what he thinks is an insightful comment about the nature of god debates.

The God one accepts or denies is only likely to be as intellectually tenable as the intellectual tenability of the person holding those ideas.

I will therefore take the lack of intellectual competence of his arguments for gods as evidence of his own, personal intellectual emptiness.

Don’t worry, James. You’re in the company of a great many idiots, so you’ll just blend in.

Comments

  1. says

    I actually think that this is proof of God. It takes a certain supernatural effort to lose a debate to someone that has been dead for almost three years now. A person can not be born this inept. No only the hand of God can explain such an appalling lack of insight.

  2. shallit says

    Why does theism generate the inability to view “evidence” as a mass noun, the way nearly everyone else does?

  3. Wylann says

    That’s not a reply, it’s an evasion! We don’t understand what religious belief entails? Then tell us what it does. Throughout his replies, he does this constantly: “you just don’t understand,” he whines, implying that there is some great deep thought behind his claims, while never illuminating exactly what it is.

    Sophistimicated theology 101.

  4. ryancunningham says

    The “intellectual tenability” of a person? What does that even mean? This guy uses words like a child putting on her mother’s makeup.

  5. Johnny Vector says

    they love to tell us that the differences are profound, but not anything specific

    This reminds me of something. What was it…?

    Oh yes. I see the light! It’s so clear now! God is one of those $7000 audiophile interconnect cables (sorry, “interconnects”) that change the sound in ways that are simultaneously so profound and obvious even to the tinnest ear that you’d be a fool not to buy a pair, and so subtle that of course you can’t detect it with your silly A/B/X testing.

    Or maybe he’s just a green Sharpie.

  6. Nick Gotts says

    I suspect he’d tell us some meaningless noise about a “ground state of being”

    I protest! “Ground state of being” isn’t meaningless at all! I happen to like black pepper on my food. I put the peppercorns in a little gadget I have, then twiddle the top, and this converts some of the peppercorns into a ground state of being, sprinkling the resulting particles over the food.

  7. thebookofdave says

    I wish you had used Keebler, instead of 3M elves for your example. Because cookies! Also, evidence: they’re on TV every day (just like Jesus). On second thought…

  8. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    I suspect Christopher Hitchens’ main problem is that he’d never thought through properly what evidence for God actually means, and how it might be different from the more simplistic evidence found in empirical science.

    Ummm, empirical evidence can be observed, evidence for god, as yet, has not been?

    Or is that too simplistic?

  9. otrame says

    Hitchens’ most effective argument was, in my opinion, meta, that is, he pulled no punches. He did not cater to the sensibilities of his religious opponents. I think may of us liked him in spite of his rather awful political beliefs because he said “You believe in an insane, immoral ideology that causes untold damage to human lives every single day” right to their faces. No non-overlapping shit, just up front “this is pure balderdash”. Very few people have ever done that. It was a pleasure to watch.

    I know that the argument Hitchens made that most impressed me, an atheist for decades at the time, was something I had not thought of: The utter immorality of killing a human to atone for the sins of another. I know it seems ridiculous, but I was raised Christian, I hadn’t noticed. That opened a whole string of thoughts for me including the absurdity that the omnipotent god of the universe is incapable of being around his creations unless they are perfect or have been “washed in the blood of the lamb”. And that latter metaphor? Ewwww.

  10. otrame says

    Ha, hit the submit instead of preview. I wanted to add something about sophistimacated theology myself but see someone beat me to it.

  11. Sastra says

    What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence.

    Personally, I’ve always hated this one as well. It is the very rare theist who claims to be a pure fideist — no evidence, just faith — and it is even rarer to find a fideist who can keep talking and keep it up. The entire gnu atheist case that the existence of “God” is a hypothesis (a failed hypothesis) is based on the fact that the concept is supposed to explain and account for all sorts of things: existence, life, miracles, morals, and so forth. Evidence and experience — it’s empirical, not some thought experiment which makes no difference either way (until and unless that becomes their defense strategy when backed to the wall, that is.)

    Theists do present evidence, all the time: bad evidence.

    As for Hitchen’s challenge (“Name me an ethical statement made or an action performed by a believer that could not have been made or performed by a non-believer.”) the point is actually a very incisive one. The standard for ethics is secular. It’s also humanistic. It undercuts the existence of God by closing off another gap: how do you explain morals without God? Bottom line, even the true believers are forced to recognize and use the humanistic measuring stick — and then stick in God as the “cause.”

  12. Randomfactor says

    The gist of Knight’s reply to Hitchens’ challenge:

    It is true

    All else is commentary.

  13. David Marjanović says

    No only the hand of God can explain such an appalling lack of insight.

    Exodus 8:19 Then the magicians said unto Pharaoh, This is the finger of God: and Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said.

    I protest! “Ground state of being” isn’t meaningless at all! I happen to like black pepper on my food.

    Day saved.

    I know it seems ridiculous, but I was raised Christian, I hadn’t noticed.

    Oh, I know the feeling.

  14. Reginald Selkirk says

    <blockquote
    … it involves analysing the beliefs, intentions, humility, motive, and other psychological factors that do not come out in a mere action.

    Christian humility again. Because what could be more humble than imagining you have a personal relationship with the Creator of the universe, and He has a special place for you in His plan?

  15. David Marjanović says

    *bakes lavender cookies*
    *makes Internet out of them*
    *hands it to Randomfactor*

  16. ChasCPeterson says

    I really despise the vacuous “Well, we just interpret the evidence differently” argument

    yeah.
    And I agree with shallit @#2: it’s even worse when stated with use of the barbarism ‘evidences‘.

  17. Holms says

    The God one accepts or denies is only likely to be as intellectually tenable as the intellectual tenability of the person holding those ideas.

    One of the most vapid statements ever. For one, he appears not to know what tenable means, but mainly because he seems to think that there are some gods that are more objectively justified than others, which is generally a sign that the god he believes in is so nebulously defined as to be ineffable and unassessable by mere mortal logic.

    How bout I reverse his silly deepity: “the illogical proposition one accepts indicates the illogic of the person.”

  18. raven says

    I really despise the vacuous “Well, we just interpret the evidence differently” argument — it’s a lie. Over and over, I see it said in order to defend ignoring the bulk of the evidence.

    Total and common lie of theists.

    1. They ignore the vast majority of the evidence.

    2. And make up a whole lot of what they claim is evidence.

    Another common lie which is related. We have different worldviews.

    They assume there are two worldviews, Oogedy Boogedy primitive superstition AKA fundie xianity and science/atheism.

    The reality is that there isn’t just two worldviews. There are hundreds, thousands, or billions of worldviews, depending on where you draw the lines. It can be said that each person has their own personal “wordview”.

  19. ck says

    @Reginald Selkirk,

    Yes, they’re so humble in their personal mission from God, that they absolutely must talk about at length to anyone within earshot.

  20. peptron says

    The God one accepts or denies is only likely to be as intellectually tenable as the intellectual tenability of the person holding those ideas.

    I’m not sure I follow that sentence. Let’s suppose I deny Huitzilopochtli (which I really do), am I intellectually tenable? And if I also deny Dellingr, am I getting more or less tenable? Would it be better to accept one over the other?

    I also have good reasons to believe that the universe has been created by Beer. Would it be ok to accept it and worship Beer as my own personal God? (Beer has been created 10000 years ago, but the universe has been created 6000 years ago. All there was before the creation of the universe was the creator, which was beer that had been filling the endless void for 4000 years.)

  21. raven says

    The God one accepts or denies is only likely to be as intellectually tenable as the intellectual tenability of the person holding those ideas.

    This isn’t true at all.

    There are thousands of gods, all equally real. So you can mix and match and make up your own pantheons based on personal preferences.

    Lately, mine have been Estre, Gaia, Isis, Athena, and Thor. Fertility and spring, the earth, medicine, knowledge and wisdom, and keeping the Frost Giants out, being cool, and making movies.

  22. says

    Knight’s second paragraph is a complaint that Hitchens’ didn’t tell them what evidence for their god would be acceptable, which is a fair complaint. Or it would be, if there weren’t another problem: define God. I can’t tell you what would be evidence for or against it if you’re not going to settle down and get specific about this god’s properties and nature. Is it an anthropomorphic being with a penis that can impregnate human women? Is it a vast eternal cosmic intelligence that encompasses the entire universe and manipulates matter and energy with its will? Is it benign fluff, a happy feeling of love that permeates us all? I suspect he’d tell us some meaningless noise about a “ground state of being”, which seems to be the universal bafflegab right now to avoid answering the question.

    This is worthy of millions of reiterations. Theists love to ask questions founded on enthymemes about the nature of gods as if their particular definition was universal and assumed. Many of them speak as if the world isn’t flooded with competing god hypotheses. I’ve taken on the task of pulling those premises out from under them whenever I get involved in a thread with one. It’s their god concept and I’ve so far failed to manifest any sort of telepathic ability. So I find nothing unreasonable in asking them to cite a clear definition. There’s no consensus on just what a god is, so my default position is agnostic atheist. I can’t believe in something if I don’t know what it is.

  23. infraredeyes says

    The God one accepts or denies is only likely to be as intellectually tenable as the intellectual tenability of the person holding those ideas.

    If you unpack this, it’s a kind of reverse appeal to authority. I mean, look, we all have intellectual failings of one kind or another. Hitchens certainly did. All Knight thinks he has to do is to point out a mistake or a misjudgment of Hitchens’ and and say “Ha! Gotcha! You were wrong about Iraq so…GOD!”

    As for

    What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence.

    I don’t think Sastra’s objection @12 really holds because bad evidence doesn’t count. I’m sure that when Hitch said “evidence”, he meant “evidence that actually holds up under scrutiny”.

  24. k_machine says

    Part of the disconnect between theists and atheists is that theist see religion as a “good” in itself. Also a problem is that theists see their religious teachings as telling them what is good. Once you reject religious teachings, you must also rethink what is good.

  25. says

    evidence is in the eye of the beholder

    Idiot, idiot, idiot until the CTRL and V keys break down. I’ve grown, studied and worked with a lot of bipeds whose twisted minds worked the same way, and I had to answer to most of them. If thought patterns were visible, this guy would resemble something straight out of Silent Hill. Or Sheldon’s mother.

    Sorry. Pet peeve.

  26. Rey Fox says

    when, in reality, evidence is in the eye of the beholder

    “Truth is relative, Zorak!”
    “Especially when yer LYING!”

    I think may of us liked him in spite of his rather awful political beliefs because he said “You believe in an insane, immoral ideology that causes untold damage to human lives every single day” right to their faces.

    I guess that explains why all the New Atheist Heroes are well-off white men. Anybody else who says that in public tends to get killed.

  27. anteprepro says

    Knight sez:

    To me that is the sort of pliable question that sounds intelligent but isn’t really.

    And then goes onto to give us nothing but a long and drawn out pseudointellectual version of “Nuh Uh!”. Or rather, a pseudointellectual way of admitting that Hitchens was right while pretending he wasn’t, and then a pseudointellectual appeal to absolute relativism in order to throw the entire concept of “evidence” out the window, in the name of God. Sophisticated Theology!

  28. cswella says

    I’m imagining a solitary knight charging the castle, only to trip and fall on his own sword.

  29. raven says

    I suspect Christopher Hitchens’ main problem is that he’d never thought through properly what evidence for God actually means, and how it might be different from the more simplistic evidence found in empirical science.

    In other words, voices in people’s heads. All faith claims reduce down to voices in someone’s head.

    And there are millions of those voices. And they all say different things.

    That other non-empirical evidence doesn’t exist.

  30. says

    @Sastra #12

    What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence.

    Personally, I’ve always hated this one as well.

    The way I see it, it may not be watertight logic but it’s a pretty good rule of thumb, expecially when degbating someone for whom logic is one of the options. One should not try a chess move when the other is playing Risk.
    Or, it makes for a lousy scalpel but it’s a pretty good machete.
    Does anyone know its original source?

  31. Louis says

    The day I let any theist attempt to advocate some twisted notion of humility to me is the day that same theist acknowledges the fact that claiming to have direct access to the (claimed) creator(s) of the universe, and perhaps even the mind of that/those creator(s), is, well, you know, NOT SO FUCKING HUMBLE!

    And on that day Satan will go to work by skiing down freshly snow covered slopes to the tune of “Oooh fuck it’s cold in here”.

    Louis

  32. anteprepro says

    Yeah, I think the “dismissed without evidence” thing is a good rule of thumb as well. It is basically a sloppy but memorable phrasing of the concept of burden of proof and null hypotheses etc. Hitchens’ Razor is the answer to anyone asserting a Russell’s Teapot type scenario.

    Wikipedia:

    It states that the burden of proof (onus) in a debate lies with the claim-maker and if he or she does not meet it then the opponent does not need to argue against the unfounded claim…. It is used, for example, to counter presuppositional apologetics.

    Or, it makes for a lousy scalpel but it’s a pretty good machete.
    Does anyone know its original source?

    Wikipedia:

    Hitchens’s razor is actually a translation of the Latin proverb “Quod gratis asseritur, gratis negatur”,[3] which has been widely used at least since the early 19th century,[4] but Hitchens’s English rendering of the phrase has made it more widely known in the 21st century.

  33. tfkreference says

    To be fair, it would be easier for theists if we didn’t use good arguments.

  34. devnll says

    The God one accepts or denies is only likely to be as intellectually tenable as the intellectual tenability of the person holding those ideas.

    That… really doesn’t mean what you think it means. Pick that apart and think about it. The claim is:

    1) In order to deny a thing you have to be as “intellectually tenable” as the idea itself.

    (I’m going to keep leaving that phrase in quotes, since I have no idea what it is meant to mean in reference to a person. Is Knight claiming that he doesn’t believe Hitchens was real?) Therefore, either or both of:

    2) Hitchens is equally as “intellectually tenable” as the Christian god (which we will assume Knight would take to mean “very.”)

    or:

    3) The Christian god is equally as “intellectually tenable” as Hitchens (which we will assume Knight would take to mean “not at all.”)

  35. Doubting Thomas says

    I simply cannot conceive of what “evidence of god” might be. Anything put forth would have to be subject to testing. Anything that can not be explained would be seen as the result of some not yet understood science and technology. If a person appeared who claimed to be Jesus and had magic powers, what exactly could he do that would prove he was a god and not just someone/something with access to advanced technology?

    Remember Clarke’s Third Law.

  36. David Marjanović says

    Is Knight claiming that he doesn’t believe Hitchens was real?

    + 1

  37. says

    It has already been mentioned, but the use of the term “evidences” seems to be a clear indicator that somebody can safely be ignored. If there are any exceptions to this rule, I have yet to see them. It is only ever creationists and their ilk who use it.

  38. AlanMac says

    …and different people accept and interpret different evidences differently

    Well, first off , that’s a fine example of Dennet’s “deepity” (maybe, I think) But I really object to the rectification of “evidence” . The plural of “evidence” is “evidence”, i.e. “one piece of evidence”, “two pieces of evidence”. “Evidences” is pure apologetics and allows the inclusion of arguments as evidence. “Evidence” is a quality possessed by an object not an object in itself.

    Most people seem to assume that their protagonist is simply semi-illiterate and correct “evidences” to evidence” in their minds as PZ does in his object to:

    “Well, we just interpret the evidence differently”

    when in actual fact you should substitute “evidences” with “arguments” when dealing with an apologist.

  39. Sastra says

    anteprepro #34 wrote:

    Yeah, I think the “dismissed without evidence” thing is a good rule of thumb as well. It is basically a sloppy but memorable phrasing of the concept of burden of proof and null hypotheses etc. Hitchens’ Razor is the answer to anyone asserting a Russell’s Teapot type scenario.

    I’m not disagreeing with Hitchen’s logic. I’m arguing that most Christians (with the exception of pure fideists and presuppositionalists) generally don’t make a point to “assert without evidence.” His rule of thumb then isn’t applicable and it will be dismissed on evidence. They give bad reasons, but reasons nevertheless. He was defending against defenses of the faith, apologetics.

    I also disagree with infraredeye’s helpful suggestion at #32 that Hitchens must have meant ‘bad evidence’ because bad evidence is the same as none at all. Hitchens was very careful with words and there is a parallel construction there. “What is asserted (with bad evidence) can be dismissed (with bad evidence)” just doesn’t seem like the sort of thing he’d say, or think.

    Bad evidence isn’t the same as none at all. If someone tries to prove the Loch Ness monster exists by producing a grainy photo the skeptic needs to explain why this particular evidence is bad and not at all convincing. If they just intone “what is asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence” the Nessian is I think justifiably puzzled.

    I’m not sure of the context of the quote: it could have been aimed at a presuppositionalist argument, but then the presupper isn’t waiting for the atheist to provide evidence either so it would fall flat.

    I suppose there’s another possibility. Perhaps people were donkey enough to try to “witness” to Christopher Hitchens (“I know God exists and I know the Bible is His Word.”) In which case — fair enough (and they’re damn lucky that’s all he said.) But I was assuming this was something he’d bring out in context of debate.

  40. Sastra says

    “Evidences” sounds to me like something that came from the Book of Mormon: needlessly pompous and vaguely archaic-sounding.

    “And it came to pass that evidences were provided.”

  41. says

    For those who don’t know: this is a ‘nym, ie. the Mr. Knight in question is no kin of mine ;-).

    Re “evidences”: I suspect treating certain nouns as enumerable instead of mass is a partially-archaic Britishism. My parents were born in England in 1920, and there was a divider, probably written c.1955, in their filing cabinet which read “INSURANCES”. And they were neither religious nor illiterate. The usages of “employers” vs. “employer” may be a related case.

    Not that that excuses an adult still writing that way 60 years later.

  42. Bicarbonate is back says

    Hey Rey @28,

    I guess that explains why all the New Atheist Heroes are well-off white men. Anybody else who says that in public tends to get killed.

    QFT

  43. chrisdevries says

    As far as aphorisms go, Hitchens’ “what can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence” is fairly sound because it is clear (at least to me) that he means “evidence” as we view it. That is, scientific evidence, either from experiment or observation. Religious believers have virtually none of this, so their assertions are worthless.

    I do prefer a similar but perhaps stronger statement: “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” I do not know where this one originates but I prefer it because claims of a god co-existing with all life and sticking his nose into the business of governing the universe ARE extraordinary. This kind of god would surely leave all kinds of evidence behind for his existence. And yet all the (Christian) believers have is a book of stories compiled over hundreds of years that is clearly written by humans influenced by the mythology of their time (given the similarities the Biblical stories have with preexisting fables), and “personal experiences” (in prayer, strange life coincidences, etc.) that acolytes of hundreds of religions since the dawn of humanity have been ascribing to their particular deity/deities.

    The claims scientists make about the nature of the world in which we live are, to me, extraordinary as well, but the evidence they bring to the table is overwhelming. I love watching the Biblical literalists try to explain away our evidence for an Old Earth (~4.5 billion years old). You know, how God must’ve created an Earth that *looks* old, and accelerated the speed of light during the process of creation 6000 years ago so stars would look as if they had been shining millions of years ago, again, to test our faith. Or maybe it was Satan who scattered the dinosaur fossils around, to try and deceive us so we would not believe in God anymore. People who follow a religion based, at least, on some evidence (which they view as strong) are in the majority, but they aren’t just interpreting the facts in a different way from the atheists. They are systematically ignoring and dismissing scientific consensus, based on millions of observations and thousands of experiments, while believing in a book of myths whose human origin is proven. Their faith evens out the cognitive dissonance.

    Accomodationism is not the answer; we need to highlight just how out of touch with reality they are. Evidence shows that our message IS getting through to them, and that we are chipping away at their majority. Hitchens was the ultimate anti-theist; he fought the good fight and showed the rest of us the path we must follow to increase rationality in our world. The fact that he also behaved irrationally in certain areas of his life should not detract from the success he had in increasing our numbers.

  44. says

    To cut a long story short, it looks to me like he’s replying to Hitchens’ sentence about evidence, with the idea that there is no such thing as “evidence”.

    What the non-existent hell???

  45. jnorris says

    I still do not like having the autoplay advertisements run when I open a topic. I’ll just lease FTB for a day or two and see if it goes away.

  46. Ephiral says

    It is true in most cases that there is no ‘statement’ or ‘action’ that a theist can make or do that others cannot, but that tells us nothing meaningful about the God debate, because a proper analysis involves much more than just the statement or action – it involves analysing the beliefs, intentions, humility, motive, and other psychological factors that do not come out in a mere action.

    Shorter version: Intent! It really is magic!

  47. krooscontrol says

    Hitchens is really gifted at stringing together blustery sounding metaphors , but he’s really an extremist wingnut contrarian and very few of his arguments are defensible. If you see Knight’s piece he tears him a new hole.
    PZ has picked some of Hitchens less ridiculous arguments , but he can’t even defend those.

    1)PZ’s argument is riddled with holes. Just because nonreligious people can do the same actions doesn’t mean they actually do do them with the same degree or frequency. For example ,rom the studies I’ve seen people who do identify as strongly religious and with strong church attendance tend to give more to charity and commit less violent crimes than people who don’t consider themselves strongly religious or consider themselves non-religious.
    This gem
    “He wants to simultaneously argue that unbelievers can be morally good, while predicating the standard for moral goodness on a god.”
    PZ only needs to reverse the statement to see its absurdity
    “Dan Barker acknowledges that Christians can be morally good , but claims the best standard for morality is secular humanism”
    People don’t need to believe in the right source of morality to behave in moral ways. Just as an Atheist can donate to charity without believing in God, a Christian/Muslim can donate to charity without believing in humanism.
    2) I think there are tonnes of good evidence Hitchens has failed to grapple with in his books[1].
    But I think PZ’s misconceptions here are broader though.
    I guess I’m sympathetic to PZs criticism if the theologian is really vague and doesn’t have a self-consistent idea of God , but I think guys like Swinburne , Collins in modern philosophy of religion have done a good job of outlining what God is and what sort of reasons we can have for believiing in him. The mere fact that atheists have actually made arguments like the problem of evil and suffering shows that they do understand what sort of attributes God has and what sort of evidence counts against him.
    I think PZ doesn’t give much weight to the personal and differing interpretation thing either.
    I’m going to trust my experience , just as PZ trusts his , Francis Collins trusts his and the Muslim will trust his and the Christian will trust his , especially if they feel like they’ve experienced God. Sure one is right and the rest are wrong , but who is Hitchens to get in their heads and call them irrational.

    [1]See for example The Blackwell companion to Natural Theology or Swinburne’s Resurrection fo God Incarnate.

  48. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    commit less violent crimes than people who don’t consider themselves strongly religious or consider themselves non-religious.
    This gem

    Hmm…Here and here say you are full of shit. Which means your evidenced screed is dismissed as fuckwittery. Welcome to skepticism.

  49. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Dang, meant to say UNevidenced screed in #50, which is totally is.

  50. krooscontrol says

    @Nerd of Redhead
    lol. Nice try Nerd. Try looking up some of the study reviews that actually take factors like degree of religiousity and regularity of church attendance into account.
    like
    http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10578-007-0093-2

    All the articles you linked above says is that very few of the people in prison want to identify themselves as atheist in the self-reported surveys.

    Tell me if you want to defend any of Hitchens ridiculous totalitarian analogies for religion, his anti-Muslim bigotry or his needless warmongering.

  51. Holms says

    “Needless warmongering” implies that there is such a thing as ‘needful / justified warmongering’.

  52. krooscontrol says

    @Sastra
    I don’t see what you mean about the writer’s point re: God and morality . Could you explain? I don’t think any reasonable people were claiming that people who don’t believe in god are physically incapable of performing moral actions. I feel like Hitchens is setting fire to a massive straw man.

  53. mithrandir says

    Rey Fox @28:

    I guess that explains why all the New Atheist Heroes are well-off white men. Anybody else who says that in public tends to get killed.

    There may be something to that. Someone who’s privileged in most other dimensions has the luxury of abandoning the “member of the majority religion” privilege. Especially when, being well-off, they can afford to move to somewhere where that isn’t much of a loss of privilege at all.

  54. krooscontrol says

    @Holms 53
    point taken
    I do believe there are such things as justified wars , so I suppose if I was encouraging a nation to go to a justified war to eg stop the Holocaust , it would be needful warmongering.

  55. ChasCPeterson says

    ffs Nerd. Neither of those links address the statement, which is about the violence of crimes committed, not the proportion of atheist prisoners. Most prisoners are non-violent drug offenders. (Also, neither is peer-reviewed, your own personal gold standard as we all know.)
    That said, krooscontrol: how about referenceing your claims?

  56. Ephiral says

    Addressing your posts in reverse order, krooscontrol, because #2 is way faster: It’s just a plain no-true-Scotsman, and a bit of attempting to tarnish us with Hitchens’s more reprehensible ideas, which you’ll note PZ repudiating in the article itself. Just because he was right on the points under discussion doesn’t mean he always was.

    Now, going to your first post…

    For example ,rom the studies I’ve seen people who do identify as strongly religious and with strong church attendance tend to give more to charity

    Unless you, like most people here, don’t count “indoctrination in my particular brand of magical thinking” as a charitable cause. Which is fair, since this has no measurable beneficial impact on anyone’s life.

    PZ only needs to reverse the statement to see its absurdity
    “Dan Barker acknowledges that Christians can be morally good , but claims the best standard for morality is secular humanism”

    This fails to engage with any argument made here at all. Nobody has made this assertion – which you yourself admit would be absurd. So the reverse assertion from the religious nutjob? Just as absurd as PZ said. Thanks for proving the point, though!

    2) I think there are tonnes of good evidence Hitchens has failed to grapple with in his books[1].

    So present some! You’re pretending to tear PZ’s post apart, but somehow you missed three entire paragraphs? And no, saying “Go read these books” isn’t presenting evidence, it’s passing the buck. Are you saying that there is not one single cogent point anywhere in those texts that you can in any way summarize or paraphrase?

  57. krooscontrol says

    @Ephiral 59
    I agree , people aren’t right on everything , but the article by Knight is about Hitchens’ views. I think Hitchens had very few worthwhile ideas.

    I think you should carefully read me. I was quoting PZ. PZ was presenting the ideas as if they were in tension , and I reversed them to show that they weren’t.

    And as to Hitchens’ question
    (Of course if God exists, the answer is trivial (eg The 1st commandment). If God doesn’t exist we get into who/which group knows the correct moral standard to judge ethical actions by. I suppose Hitchens will say that he/his particular brand of humanism have the correct moral standard.) Hitchens’ whole argument begs the question.

    As to the evidence I don’t know if it would be too off-topic to present them here. But of course Hitchens never attempted to address the arguments/evidence in his books ,which is teh real point I was making.

  58. Sastra says

    krooscontrol #54 wrote:

    I don’t see what you mean about the writer’s point re: God and morality . Could you explain? I don’t think any reasonable people were claiming that people who don’t believe in god are physically incapable of performing moral actions. I feel like Hitchens is setting fire to a massive straw man.

    No, by asking his question Hitchens wasn’t trying to show that atheists can and do perform moral actions. As you say, few Christians would argue the contrary. I think he was making a larger point: that morality is actually defined in secular terms. The common view that God (or believing in God) provides (or is needed to provide) a fundamental insight into the true nature of morality falls apart. And yet this is a common argument for, if not the existence of God — then the necessity of believing in God. It’s an argument against atheism.

    Consider it this way. There are actually many proposed ethical statements made and actions performed by believers which could not be made or performed by a non-believer. That’s not an empty set at all. Pilgrimages to Mecca. Saying the rosary. Sacrificing to Baal. Praising God. Abstaining from sea food. Praying for absolution. Performing a bris. Getting baptized. Worshiping the Goddess. Taking communion. Fasting for holy days. And on and on and on. All ethical statements and moral actions which make sense ONLY if you are religious. No atheist could or would do them — not sincerely, or with a sincere heart.

    But why aren’t those examples brought up? Why can’t they be brought up?

    Because they wouldn’t count. They’re not moral obligations recognized by all or even most human beings. They don’t meet the understood necessary assumptions of the question not only because they’re sectarian, but because their “moral value” is deeply questionable and, like the gods, a matter of faith. Atheism is the underlying standard we all use when we wish to reach out to what all humans see as right and wrong.

    Is this clearer?

  59. Ephiral says

    @krooscontrol #60
    But… they are in tension. If you cannot be good without god – ie, living a good life is also inherently living a Godly life – then those without God cannot be good. This is basic logic. A ⇒ B. !B, ergo !A.

    An alternative view: Hitchens raises the point that “My magical sky-being says so” lends no weight to a moral argument – and thus we must decide on real, measurable terms, like the visible benefit or damage to people of a course of action (by which standard Hitchens’s writings were often bad). Do note that nobody on my side of the argument claims to have a perfect set of rules – it’s an ongoing process and almost certainly always will be.

    Would it be too off-topic to present any evidence whatsoever for God, in the comments of a post saying, in part, “Please stop saying you have this mysterious evidence and show us some!”? Let’s think about this for a moment.

  60. says

    krooscontrol:
    Do you a link that’s not behind a paywall?

    ) I think there are tonnes of good evidence Hitchens has failed to grapple with in his books

    Such as…?

    Sure one is right and the rest are wrong , but who is Hitchens to get in their heads and call them irrational.

    Hitchens was the guy who didn’t believe in talking snakes.

    Also, this:

    All the articles you linked above says is that very few of the people in prison want to identify themselves as atheist in the self-reported surveys.

    Is not accurate (not to mention misleading).

    From Nerd’s second link (which is to another post by Hemant):

    So… what do we learn from that information?

    Of the prisoners willing to give their religious affiliations (and that’s an important caveat), atheists make up 0.07% of the prison population.

    Not 1%.

    Not even the 0.2% we’ve been using for so long.

    Atheists constitute an even smaller percentage of the prison population than we ever imagined. (That includes prisoners whose affiliations were unknown. If I used Golumbaski’s method, the number would be 0.09%.)

    In addition to that, Protestants make up 28.7% of the prison population; Catholics, 24%; Muslims, 5.5%; American Indians, 3.1%. I’ve put together a bare-bones spreadsheet with these numbers here — feel free to do with that what you will.

    Keep in mind that these numbers only cover prisoners who self-reported their religious identification. They don’t represent all prisoners in the system. We will likely never have perfect numbers… but neither did Rod Swift.

    We’re also only talking about prisoners in the federal prison system — about 218,000 people — not all prisoners in America.

    Prisoners can change religious affiliations, too. We don’t know if these numbers represent what they believed when they committed their crime(s) or what they believed after they went through some personal transformation.

    Finally, it’s also important to note that 17% of prisoners reported no religious preference. They’re not necessarily atheists and may even believe in a higher power. We really don’t know. 3% were “Other” and 3.44% were “Unknown.” We can’t assume these people are atheists or Christian or anything else. However, if you combined the Atheist/No Religious Preference groups and lumped them together as “Nones,” as some sociologists do, you’d get 17% of the prison population… I’m not sure that tells you anything useful, though, because of the murkiness of the labels.

    These results are from prisoners who chose to self-report.

    I guess I’m sympathetic to PZs criticism if the theologian is really vague and doesn’t have a self-consistent idea of God , but I think guys like Swinburne , Collins in modern philosophy of religion have done a good job of outlining what God is and what sort of reasons we can have for believiing in him

    Why do I get the feeling they’re just rehashing tired xtian apologetics?

    Of even greater interest perhaps is the second of these parenthetical arguments, the argument from Religious Experience, which Swinburne treats as a verifying argument for the existence of God, but only under certain conditions in which its veridical force is not strongly challenged. Swinburne sees two operative principles (rooted in Scottish common sense philosophy) at work in the argument from Religious Experience. First, religious experiences are evidentially forceful to the one having them due to the Principle of Credulity, which says “that apparent perceptions ought to be taken at their face value in the absence of positive reason for challenge.” (275) Second, others who do not have religious experiences can still attribute evidential force to them due to the Principle of Testimony, which says that reports are generally trustworthy and that credibility increases as reports increase. (273-274) Therefore, if the existence of God “is not already on other evidence very improbable” (291), the “evidence of religious experience is in that case sufficient to make theism over all probable.” (291) In other words, the argument of Religious Experience is allowed to operate as “scale-tipper” that can push all the evidence toward the establishment of overall probability as long as the evidence is not too strongly opposed to such probability.

    http://people.bu.edu/wwildman/relexp/reviews/review_swinburne01.htm

    Oh, that’s why.
    Because that’s what he does (at least in these two cases): Argument from Personal Experience and Argument From Numbers.

    Tell me if you want to defend any of Hitchens ridiculous totalitarian analogies for religion, his anti-Muslim bigotry or his needless warmongering

    Ah, you must be new around here. Also, see Holms’#53.

  61. krooscontrol says

    “Consider it this way. There are actually many proposed ethical statements made and actions performed by believers which could not be made or performed by a non-believer.”
    I agree with this .I brought it up actually. I think WL Craig has mentioned it as well.

    I think the reason religious people don’t bring it up often is because it wouldn’t be convincing to Hitchens. I think in discussion , people try to argue based on shared ethical beliefs.
    For example I could tell you Jesus is God because the bible says so. It might be convincing to a Christian who shares a belief in the bible , but it won’t be convincing to you , because you don’t believe in the bible.
    If a fellow Christian/Muslim posed that question , they would definitely answer something like “worship God” , because they both share ethical beliefs about God.

  62. says

    krooscontrol:

    For example I could tell you Jesus is God because the bible says so. It might be convincing to a Christian who shares a belief in the bible , but it won’t be convincing to you , because you don’t believe in the bible.

    It shouldn’t be convincing to *anyone* without any evidence to support the claim. Circular reasoning isn’t evidence.
    Also, it’s not so much that atheists don’t believe in the bible (it does exist, after all). What isn’t believed are the truth claims made in the bible. Inerrant and infallible my ass.

  63. krooscontrol says

    What Tony @62 said
    “These results are from prisoners who chose to self-report.”
    What I said
    “All the articles you linked above says is that very few of the people in prison want to identify themselves as atheist in the self-reported surveys.”
    I’m agreeing with you. The results are from prisoners who chose to self-report , and very few of those guys (0.07%) chose to identify themselves as atheist.
    This report does not tell us what percentage of these prisoners were serving sentences for violent crimes,how often those prisoners went to church/mosque/temple before being incarcerated , how involved they were in their church before going to jail and what demographic factors might cause certain groups to be overrepresented in the prison population.
    Look at my original comment and tell me if it addresses anything I said.

  64. Sastra says

    krooscontrol #64 wrote:

    I think the reason religious people don’t bring it up often is because it wouldn’t be convincing to Hitchens. I think in discussion , people try to argue based on shared ethical beliefs.

    But that’s the point: the shared ethical beliefs are not just powerful because they’re convincing to outsiders. They’re powerful because they’re convincing on their own merits. They guide the insiders, too.

    If there is no God then there is no obligation to praise or thank God. But there would still be a moral obligation to appreciate and thank those who have given you good things. All religion can do is build on ideas which already make sense from a secular standpoint — or make up rules which obviously and aggressively do NOT make any reasonable sense at all, but are invented only to demonstrate commitment, obedience — and specialness. Don’t wear purple on Thursdays, because it offends God. And how do those sorts of petty rules stack up against the morals of the common ground?

    I think a thoughtful analysis of Hitchen’s question reveals something which goes much deeper than just the necessities of the forum.

  65. says

    krooscontrol:

    I’m agreeing with you. The results are from prisoners who chose to self-report , and very few of those guys (0.07%) chose to identify themselves as atheist.

    No, you’re not agreeing with me.
    Among the things the report reveals is that there are X number of people in prison who chose not to self-report. It says nothing of the religious beliefs (or lack thereof) of the people who didn’t report. I’m questioning your framing. While the number of atheist prisoners *may* be higher, so too could the number of christians and muslims.

    This report does not tell us what percentage of these prisoners were serving sentences for violent crimes,how often those prisoners went to church/mosque/temple before being incarcerated , how involved they were in their church before going to jail and what demographic factors might cause certain groups to be overrepresented in the prison population

    This is true.
    Again though: do you have a link that isn’t behind a paywall?

  66. Ephiral says

    @krooscontrol 67:

    Are you arguing that only 0.14% of prisoners, at most, are convicted of violent crimes, that the did-not-identify population is disproportionately atheist, or a simple no-true-Scotsman? One of these three has to be the case, and it’s hard to rebut you without knowing which is your actual position. Some grounds for holding your chosen position would be helpful, too.

  67. says

    Ephiral:

    Are you arguing that only 0.14% of prisoners, at most, are convicted of violent crimes, that the did-not-identify population is disproportionately atheist, or a simple no-true-Scotsman? One of these three has to be the case, and it’s hard to rebut you without knowing which is your actual position. Some grounds for holding your chosen position would be helpful, too.

    krooscontrol said @49:

    For example ,rom the studies I’ve seen people who do identify as strongly religious and with strong church attendance tend to give more to charity and commit less violent crimes than people who don’t consider themselves strongly religious or consider themselves non-religious.

    The religious breakdown of prisoners @Nerd’s #50 (and subsequently @ my #63) doesn’t address the point (as Chas noted at his #57)

    krooscontrol’s only link to evidence that supports their claim is behind a paywall.
    (I’ve muddied the waters by getting into the prison info above. Sorry about that.)

  68. krooscontrol says

    @Sastra
    I guess. If that argument was supposed to convince me of something , I don’t think it did.

    I think there are a lot of ethical assumptions we make that are difficult to justify on a materialistic/atheistic basis. Its not morally wrong for a lion to forcibly copulate with a female and kill the cubs of another lion. Why is it wrong for humans to do the same? Stuff like human dignity/rights/equality only really makes sense if you are coming from a view that humans are somehow special and have moral obligations/duties that other animals do not.

  69. Ephiral says

    Tony:
    I did see that, and it does (particularly with his insistence on data about how often people attend church/mosque/temple/what-have-you) appear to be a no-true-Scotsman. Was mainly trying to nail down that point, since two of the possibilities I see (no-true-Scotsman and extremely low violent-crime rates) are blatantly wrong, and the third (atheists are massively unterrepresented in the reporting/overrepresented in the non-reporting population) has no justification. Basically: He’s wrong, the question is how. The bit about charity I already addressed – that’s true only if you count spreading religion as charitable work.

  70. says

    krooscontrol:

    Stuff like human dignity/rights/equality only really makes sense if you are coming from a view that humans are somehow special and have moral obligations/duties that other animals do not.

    I don’t agree with this.

  71. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Stuff like human dignity/rights/equality only really makes sense if you are coming from a view that humans are somehow special and have moral obligations/duties that other animals do not.

    How so?

  72. anteprepro says

    Its not morally wrong for a lion to forcibly copulate with a female and kill the cubs of another lion. Why is it wrong for humans to do the same?

    I feel like there is something amiss in this concept of “moral” here.

  73. Ephiral says

    I think there are a lot of ethical assumptions we make that are difficult to justify on a materialistic/atheistic basis. Its not morally wrong for a lion to forcibly copulate with a female and kill the cubs of another lion. Why is it wrong for humans to do the same? Stuff like human dignity/rights/equality only really makes sense if you are coming from a view that humans are somehow special and have moral obligations/duties that other animals do not.

    Your example absolutely is morally wrong; we just can’t really expect better from lions. By extension, I reject the second premise: My view is just that most animals are really really shitty to most other animals.

  74. anteprepro says

    The mere fact that atheists have actually made arguments like the problem of evil and suffering shows that they do understand what sort of attributes God has and what sort of evidence counts against him.

    Ahahaha. Seriously!? So God isn’t omniscient, omnipotent, and benevolent after all? Yes, us naive atheists, believing what believers say about their beliefs. Oh Sophisticated Theology, what have you wrought!

  75. says

    Ephiral:
    Ok, gotcha.

    The bit about charity I already addressed – that’s true only if you count spreading religion as charitable work.

    I note krooscontrol has not responded to that either.

    ****

    krooscontrol:
    Why can’t we (we being ‘humanity’) decide that dignity/equality/rights (and the moral obligations/duties that grow out of that) are in the best interest of our species?

  76. raven says

    I think there are a lot of ethical assumptions we make that are difficult to justify on a materialistic/atheistic basis.

    This is incredibly stupid!!! If krooscontrol isn’t a xian, they need to join a cult ASAP. This nonthought makes atheists look bad. Hell, it makes dumb xians look bad.

    1. There are a lot more ethical commands that are pure evil justified by religion. It’s Hitchen’s Rule. Religion poisons everything!!!

    2. Some recent examples. Jets flying into the World Trade Center. Suicide bombers. Xian terrorism in the USA. MD Assassins.

    3. Right now there are religious conflicts all over the world. Buddhists and Moslems in Burma, Bangladesh, and Thailand. Sunni and Shiite battles in Syria, Pakistan, and Iraq. Moslems versus Hindus in India. Attacks on xians in Syria and Egypt. Jews and Moslems in Palestine.

    If you look at all the wars going on in the world today, much of it has a religious component to it.

    4. The bible. Death penalties for nonvirgin brides, disobedient children, adulterers, heretics, apostates, atheists, sabbath breakers, witches, false prophets. The Egyptian mass murders of babies, the Canaanite genocide, the Big Boat genocide and on and on.

    Krooscontrol is a reality denier. The facts of religion are common and commonly available. Religion is a source of harm not a benefit. And that is why it is dying out.

  77. krooscontrol says

    @Ephiral
    What I said was
    “For example ,rom the studies I’ve seen people who do identify as strongly religious and with strong church attendance tend to give more to charity and commit less violent crimes than people who don’t consider themselves strongly religious or consider themselves non-religious.”

    The review I rememeber specifically looked at religiousity by measures like church attendance and self-reported measures , and found they corrleated positively with measures like giving to charity and lower rates of violent crime and drug abuse.
    I try not to to make claims about stuff I don’t know about. I don’t know the level of religiousity of those guys in prison.

  78. raven says

    Stuff like human dignity/rights/equality only really makes sense if you are coming from a view that humans are somehow special and have moral obligations/duties that other animals do not.

    This is boring xian gibberish we’ve seen hundrds of times. It’s just dumb. I doubt krooscontrol has ever been outside his religious bubble before.

    1. This reduces down to the question, Where does morality come from?

    2. We know where it doesn’t come from. Not from religion. Anyone living an OT lifestyle today would be doing multiple life sentences in prison. Warren Jeffs tried it and got life + 20 years.

    The bible has no problem with slavery. If you need a few bucks, you can sell your kids as sex slaves. Biblical marriage is however many wives you can round up and as many sex slaves as you can afford.

    Genocide is OK. Killing people for what today aren’t crimes was mandated.

    3. We know roughly where morality comes from. We use our evolutionary programming and our common sense.

    4. Religious people are no better than atheists. The fundie perversion of xianity is statistically worse. Fundie death cultists score low in intelligence and education. They score higher than the general population on any social problems you care to look at. Child sex abuse, divorce, teenage pregnancy,

  79. Sastra says

    krooscontrol #72 wrote:

    I think there are a lot of ethical assumptions we make that are difficult to justify on a materialistic/atheistic basis… Why is it wrong for humans to do the same? Stuff like human dignity/rights/equality only really makes sense if you are coming from a view that humans are somehow special and have moral obligations/duties that other animals do not.

    We are special to ourselves and each other, and human moral reasoning is … human. We are moral animals.

    Keep in mind that any argument which derives our ‘specialness’ from God must assume that God is something we admire, want, and value up front. Establish that first. Involving us into God’s moral system also involves God into ours. And we know ours better — and first.

    But consider the problem you have here. Let us say that you can indeed make a very convincing objective case that there are a lot of ethical assumptions we make which are difficult to justify on a materialist/atheist basis. Let’s assume your examples are good and compelling, universal and obvious. You win.

    What has happened? You just made a rational case which would hold whether God exists or not. Worse, you just made so much reason and sense that it doesn’t even matter whether people believe in God or not. You stood on our ground because that’s what it takes.

    And therefore lost.

  80. Ephiral says

    @krooscontrol

    …which hasn’t stopped you from trying to disqualify the counter-evidence presented on the basis that it doesn’t show if religious prisoners are really religious.

    As for the “giving to charity” bit: Please stop repeating things you know to be untrue until you’ve found a way to rebut their falsification. Once again, that only holds if you count “spreading religion” as charitable work. Given that it doesn’t have meaningful impact on the quality of life of people in need, and given the audience you’re talking to here, I think that’s rather a stretch. In fact, spreading religion can and has been actively harmful to real charity work – there are people in need who would rather go hungry to the brink of starvation than be forced to report for indoctrination to get their meals.

  81. anteprepro says

    I’ll look for stuff. I read that article a long time ago , but this makes similar points
    http://blogs.thearda.com/trend/featured/studies-religion-linked-to-fewer-violent-crimes-being-%E2%80%98spiritual-but-not-religious%E2%80%99-tied-to-increased-risk/

    Hear of these things called confounding variables? Because they do a lot of these studies about religion, just looking at church attendance, and shit like that. And they never seem to control for, or even realize, just how powerful social connections are. And how the amount of social connectivity can fudge the clean little numbers…

    http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/death-love-sex-magic/201212/are-religious-people-happier-non-religious-people

    This article actually deals with children
    http://www.breakpoint.org/component/content/article/71-features/1490-childs-play-from-dawkins

    And that article is biased and overly simplistic.

    No, it isn’t quite as simple as “more religious kid, better behaved”.

    http://www.youthandreligion.org/sites/youthandreligion.org/files/imported/publications/docs/Social_Forces_June_2004.pdf

  82. raven says

    Its not morally wrong for a lion to forcibly copulate with a female and kill the cubs of another lion. Why is it wrong for humans to do the same?

    Humans do far worse than this on a daily basis in the name of religion. I’ve seen it myself and so has just about anyone.

    1. Hardly a day goes by without a suicide bomber killing a few dozen strangers somewhere.

    2. I missed the time when Hindu lions blew up a Moslem lion temple and the riots killed a few hundred other lions

    3. There have been two terrorist attacks near my house. Both of them invovled xian terrorists. In one case, the local xians firebombed the local mosque.

    4. The Aztecs used to cut people’ hearts out to keep the sun going and the rains coming.

    5. Xians do something similar. I’ve seen xian faith healers a lot. Their gruesome human child sacrifice rituals kill around 100 kids a year.

    6. Xians used to fight wars between themselves before we took away their armies and heavy weapons. The last war was a whole 14 years ago in Northern Ireland between Catholics and Protestants. The Reformation wars killed tens of millions and two of the Crusades were against other xians.

    Xianity has left a huge pile of bodies behind and rivers of blook for 2,000 years. Comparing xians to lions is laughable. Lions can’t even imagine the horrors that xians have carried out in the name of god over 2,000 years.

    Hitchens had it right. God is not great. Religion, faith, and belief are not virtues.

  83. Ephiral says

    Important point: The study of children defines “TV watching”, “drinking”, “R-rated movies”, “action video games”, “rebelliousness to parents”, and increasing numbers of sexual partners as negative, and “belief in a stable, absolute morality” as good. Well, yes, if you’re going to take your views on good and bad from deeply fundamentalist churches, then kids deeply involved in their churches are going to look better than those damn dirty heathens.

  84. Ephiral says

    …also, BreakPoint is a Christian evangelism effort founded by Chuck Colson. Because that’s certainly a sign of unbiased, honest, non-politically-motivated reporting that you can trust. Riiiight.

    On the other hand, I suppose he’d have special insight into the religiosity of prisoners…

  85. raven says

    Abortions More Frequent for Private Religious School Students – US …
    www. usnews. com/…/abortions-more-frequent-for-private-religious-scho…‎

    Jun 2, 2009 – Unwed students and young grads are more likely to have abortions than peers … are more likely to have abortions than young women who go to public schools

    Christian Polling Group Finds Atheists Divorce Less Than Christians …
    thenewcivilrightsmovement. com/christian…divorce…christians/…/70328‎

    Jul 2, 2013 – “According to a Barna Research Group report, fundamentalist Christians have the highest divorce rate, followed by Jews and Baptists,”

    Religious school students are more likely to have abortions than public school students. In part this is because they are less likely to use birth control. Because their religion warps their minds.

    Fundie xians have the highest divorce rate. Atheists have the lowest one.

    Fundies also have high rates of child sexual abuse. And teenage pregnancy.

    About all that religious people lead in is their three main sacraments, hate, lies, and hypocrisy.

  86. anteprepro says

    Important point: The study of children defines “TV watching”, “drinking”, “R-rated movies”, “action video games”, “rebelliousness to parents”, and increasing numbers of sexual partners as negative, and “belief in a stable, absolute morality” as good.

    Yeah, that was rather telling. Given the source, (as you also note in 89), I’m not even sure that it was an accurate representation of the study. It’s a book that is one of out of many publications relating to a massive research project, but because the part of it they are referencing is not just a journal article, I can’t easily fact check it in a short time (assuming it is even online somewhere and able to be fact checked without going out and buying it). The final link in my comment at 86 is from that research though, and undermines the characterization of the data they have on Breakpoint. So take that for what you will.

  87. raven says

    Controversial Gay-Parenting Study Is Severely Flawed, Journal’s …
    chronicle .com/ blogs/percolator/…gay…study…flawed-journals…/30255‎

    Jul 26, 2012 – Controversial Gay-Parenting Study Is Severely Flawed, Journal’s Audit Finds … The study’s author, Mark Regnerus, an associate professor of …… Regnerus appears shamelessly to have pulled out of his hat that it would cost …

    If krooscontrol is quoting studies from xian sources, you can assume they are lies. It’s pure bias in the service of their imaginary god.

    They do this all the time. Regnerus was the guy who “proved” that gay parents weren’t very good. That study had so many flaws it takes pages to document them. It has since been withdrawn. And Regnerus himself is a gay hating xian kook and makes no secret of it. It ws thought up by a GOP think tank and paid for by a fundie death cult foundation. Pure fraud start to finish.

  88. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Not surprised Krooscontrol is channeling Xian bullshit. I tried Googling blog.threada and couldn’t find it. I was trying to get a feel for what type of blog it was. But I had to break off my search before I could come to a conclusion, but not finding it by the fifth page was telling….

  89. robster says

    Does the Baby jesus send his devoted minions text messages along the lines of “next time you’re hassling an atheist, ask them what proof they’d need to believe in the holy nonsense”. I ask ‘coz I get that question often when discussing religion and identifying as a non victim. I tell them that an indication of them (believers) living longer, healthier and more prosperous lives than those that don’t believe would convince me of the god, jesus, holy spook stuff being the truth. They often say “they do!”. It’s easy through the magic of Google to disprove that.

  90. raven says

    Oops, looks like we broke the troll.

    This is why we can’t have nice chew toys.

    OTOH, he wasn’t very durable and rather boring. They simply don’t last very long any more.

  91. raven says

    One more for the road. If xians quote studies from xian sources, you can assume they are lies. They do it constantly. A few sources seem to be reliable like Barna but I’m always amazed when that happens. Most of the time when I’ve checked them they’ve been wrong and written by wild eyed religious fanatics not interested in reality and the truth.

    A few recent examples are below.

    Abortions Causes Birth Defects, Says V.A. GOP Senate Candidate
    www. dailykos .com/…/-Abortions-Causes-Birth-Defects-Says-V-A-GOP-S…‎

    Jan 17, 2012 – What makes this fellow the particular target of my ire this morning? … “The number of children who are born subsequent to a first abortion with …. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama …. (this shows how he hates disabled children, gays, and opposes all forms of birth control.

    Mark Regnerus:

    We’re not there just yet but the bridge is being built. If gay marriage is perceived as legitimate by heterosexual women, it will eventually embolden boyfriends everywhere, and not a few husbands, to press for what men have always historically wanted but were rarely allowed: sexual novelty, in the form of permission to stray without jeopardizing their primary relationship. Discussion of openness in sexual partners in straight marriages will become more common, just as the practice of heterosexual anal sex got a big boost from the normalization of gay men’s sexual behavior in both contemporary porn and in the American imagination.

    1. Abortion does not cause birth defects in future children. This is just a lie this clown made up. I looked up the data in the National Library of Medicine. It doesn’t happen.

    2. Regnerus is just babbling. Nothing he said above has the slightest bit of proof or data. It doesn’t even make sense, it’s just nonsequiters strung together. This guy’s mind is so warped by his religion and hate that he can’t function as a sociologist which is what his job supposedly is. If he was a scientist he would have been fired.

  92. says

    Hitchens is really gifted at stringing together blustery sounding metaphors , but he’s really an extremist wingnut

    Do you even know enough about Hitch to know that he’s dead? Use past tense.

    Hitchens was really gifted at language; he could drink a large amount of scotch and still tie Salman Rushdie up in verbal knots. That is no mean feat.

  93. Callinectes says

    As I understand it, something is only evidence for a proposition if it is evidence for that proposition and not evidence for the opposite proposition. If it can genuinely be used for both arguments then it is not evidence, it is simply data.

  94. U Frood says

    “that does not tell us anything about what is directing the action, or whether the person is living a Godly life”

    I assume a “Godly life” by definition requires belief in God. So an atheist cannot live a Godly life. But if you don’t believe morals must come from God, that says nothing about the atheist’s morality.

  95. Alfie Kirk says

    Bloody hell, this guy’s from my area. And here I was thinking Norwich was the least religious city in England.

    Maybe all those left are wingnuts. Or perhaps it’s reactionary behaviour.

  96. says

    I assume a “Godly life” by definition requires belief in God. So an atheist cannot live a Godly life.

    That’s the point. He’s trying to sneak “believing in god” in through the back as a moral value in itself and then use that as an argument for why religion is required for proper moral values. It’s begging the question. He’s simply defining religion as a moral good, when that’s the very thing in dispute.

  97. krooscontrol says

    There’s a lot of bad logic in this thread. People link atheist sources, and then insist that Christian sources are biased and can’t be trusted for no other reason than they do not like the conclusion.
    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the fact that donations to faith based organizations are charity.
    @Marcus
    Hitchens is alive! He’s in a secret hideout with Elvis. Jk
    I knew he was dead. Slip of the tongue.

    @Sastra
    Well if my argument is true, we have reason to believe atheism/materialism is incompatible with objective morality. It depends on what conclusion you draw from that. I believe there are compelling reasons to believe in objective morality and not many compelling reasons to believe in atheism/materialism , so I’d chose objective morality every time.

  98. krooscontrol says

    @Tony 63
    Swinburne is basically looking at general principles we use in everyday reasoning and experience and applying them to the case of religious experience. I think it’s a fine argument (it’s modest and he’d definitely concede that)

  99. krooscontrol says

    Have to ask, how do you guys get usernames with spaces in them? I tried changing my nickname, but the username I signed up with is the only thing that appears when I comment.

  100. Amphiox says

    Re 104;

    We already know that the “general principles we use in everyday reasoning and experience” do not work when dealing with the kind of grand claims that are associated with religious experience. That is why we had to invent science in the first place.

    Re 103;

    There is no compelling reason to believe in objective morality other than a juvenile desire for personal wish fulfillment, and the ethical laziness of wanting easy answers for hard moral questions.

  101. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    then insist that Christian sources are biased and can’t be trusted for no other reason than they do not like the conclusion.

    No, they can’t be trusted as they, like Answers in Genesis, presuppositionally believe in imaginary deities and mythical/fictional holy books being true. Which is why Xian based literature is suspect, along with overly religious authors, who presuppose what they want and find data to match their presuppositions.
    That is why science is trusted, as it just follows the evidence, not the wanted conclusions.

  102. Nick Gotts says

    I believe there are compelling reasons to believe in objective morality – krooscontrol@103

    Such as? I’ve never been able to elicit any such reasons from believers in objective morality – who include atheists as well as theists.

  103. raven says

    krooscontrol lying:

    There’s a lot of bad logic in this thread. People link atheist sources, and then insist that Christian sources are biased and can’t be trusted for no other reason than they do not like the conclusion.
    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the fact that donations to faith based organizations are charity.

    1. Krooscontrol is lying. It never, ever takes them long. It’s one of the xians main sacraments. It’s all they have.

    2. He also didn’t answer most of our points. Because he can’t.

    3. None of the sources I linked to were atheist sources. None. In fact, some of the sources I linked to were…xian sources.

    4. We don’t trust xian sources not because we don’t like the conclusion. We don’t trust them because they are usually biased and lies. And we can show that easily and do so often.

  104. raven says

    Don’t break the troll!!! Don’t break the troll!!!

    There’s a lot of bad logic in this thread.

    Hitchens rule: Assertions without proof and data can be dismissed without data. You are wrong. But we haven’t dismissed it, we’ve shown quite easily why he’s wrong.

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the fact that donations to faith based organizations are charity.

    Giibberish. 88% of church donations go to pay salaries, building, utilities, homeostatsis. Much of the rest goes to the national organization and to convert other xians to The True Cult. Very little is actual charity.And BTW, this info comes from…xian sources!!!

    Don’t break the troll!!! We’ve broken most of them which is why we can’t have nice chew toys.

    I’m done here except for one more point. When they start lying, I get bored. We have heard those xian lies hundreds of times. Krooscontrol must be 15 years old or this is his first time outside the xian mind bubble.

  105. Nick Gotts says

    Stuff like human dignity/rights/equality only really makes sense if you are coming from a view that humans are somehow special and have moral obligations/duties that other animals do not. – krooscontrol

    But we know that humans have cognitive and linguistic capabilties that no other animals have, and that such capabilities are essential to being able to understand moral discource, quite independent of whether there’s a god or not. It makes no sense to attribute moral obligations* to a being without the capability to understand those obligations. That’s why we don’t, if we have any sense, attribute such obligations to human infants, or those with severe cognitive disabilities.

    *Note: I use this formulation because it is neutral as to whether attributing moral obligations implies the existence of objective morality.

  106. Iain Walker says

    krooscontrol (#72):

    I think there are a lot of ethical assumptions we make that are difficult to justify on a materialistic/atheistic basis. Its not morally wrong for a lion to forcibly copulate with a female and kill the cubs of another lion. Why is it wrong for humans to do the same? Stuff like human dignity/rights/equality only really makes sense if you are coming from a view that humans are somehow special and have moral obligations/duties that other animals do not.

    Well, humans are self-aware social agents with a capacity for reasoned reflection on their actions in a way that most other animals are not. That’s the limit of our specialness, and yet it’s all that’s required to establish a moral basis for behaviour. Lions lack the cognitive capacity to place their actions in a universalisable prescriptive framework based on empathy and social instincts, and so we do not hold them morally accountable for their actions. Humans do, and so are held accountable.

    And of course plenty of other species exhibit rudimentary forms of moral behaviour, including altruism and a sense of fairness, so we’re not even that special. We’re just better at it.

    But the real question is, how does adding God to the mix make us any more special in any kind of morally relevant way? The claim that we are “made in God’s image”? If this just means we are self-aware agents with the capacity to reason about our actions, then that’s already covered and adds nothing to our understanding of ourselves a moral beings. If it means something more, then what, and why should it be relevant? And if the idea is that we need God to somehow decide that we are valuable in a way that we wouldn’t be otherwise, then this just shows theism at its most blinkered, most authoritarian worst. As Sastra points out, we are perfectly capable of valuing ourselves and each other for ourselves. Indeed, as agents we cannot do otherwise than create value and purpose in our lives, because that’s what agents – and indeed any system capable of self-modifying, goal-directed behaviour – do. God adds nothing to the moral equation, and indeed detracts from it, by reducing us to servile rule-followers, rather than equal, creative participants in a shared moral community.

  107. raven says

    I believe there are compelling reasons to believe in objective morality – krooscontrol@103

    This is false. No one has been able to prove it either.

    1. It leads to Divine Command Theory. And that is evil and leads to evil.

    2. In practice, everyone uses their evolutionary programming and common sense to come up with morality. Including xians. Which is OK. The one we came up with in the West is far superior to the one in the xian bible.

    3. Natural law doesn’t exist either. It’s just sounds better than, “stuff we made up”.

    4. How do you know your (imaginary) objective morality is good? You don’t. Unless you use your evolved brain and powers of reasoning. And if you do that, god becomes useless at best and just as often an obstacle.

    Much of what the gods commanded in the past and command today around the world we regard as evil. Jets flying into skyscrapers, heretics tortured and killed, suicide bombers, MD assassins and millions dead, rivers of blood.

    Done for now. Krooscontrol isn’t a very good troll so…Don’t break the troll!!! And don’t expect much. KC doesn’t have much.

  108. Nick Gotts says

    If religiosity actually made people more moral, and specifically, less likely to indulge in violent crime, we would expect the world’s least religious societies, such as those in Scandinavia, and Japan, to be hotbeds of violence, compared to the far more religious USA. In fact, as judged by the homicide rate (which is by far the most objective measure, since it is a well-defined category with a very high reporting rate), we find the exact opposite. Of course, correlation is not causation, and a factor can operate in different directions at different scales, but any claim that religion is necessary to low levels of crime and violence is decisively refuted.

  109. Iain Walker says

    krooscontrol (#103):

    Well if my argument is true, we have reason to believe atheism/materialism is incompatible with objective morality. It depends on what conclusion you draw from that. I believe there are compelling reasons to believe in objective morality and not many compelling reasons to believe in atheism/materialism , so I’d chose objective morality every time.

    You’re going to have to define what you mean by “objective morality”, because I’ve seen far too many discussions of this type which bandy about terms from metaethics without any apparent knowledge of the discipline, and which end up so muddled that it’s not even worth stepping in to try and clarify matters. And once you’ve defined it, then maybe you can share with us what these “compelling reasons” are that you think support it.

  110. Anri says

    krooscontrol @ 103:

    People link atheist sources, and then insist that Christian sources are biased and can’t be trusted for no other reason than they do not like the conclusion.

    This was the first noted objection to the study:
    (From Ephiral @ 88)

    Important point: The study of children defines “TV watching”, “drinking”, “R-rated movies”, “action video games”, “rebelliousness to parents”, and increasing numbers of sexual partners as negative, and “belief in a stable, absolute morality” as good. Well, yes, if you’re going to take your views on good and bad from deeply fundamentalist churches, then kids deeply involved in their churches are going to look better than those damn dirty heathens.

    Do you care to address those points?
    Or did you only read the post below them?

    Also – and I hate to put this in such stark terms – if you think that religious apologists can typically be trusted when reporting on their own views of morality, you really need to get out more.
    To put it another way, do you accept the source you cited? If not, why cite it? If so, why disparage other sources with a comparison?

  111. Amphiox says

    Why would a good and benevolent creator god, source of objective morality, CREATE or allow to exist forced copulation and infanticide in lions if such were objectively evil? And if the godhead source of objective morality saw fit to create such a thing, who does krooscontrol think he is to imply that the creator and source of objective morality created or allowed to exist such an evil in the world?

    What is a more reliable indicator of the creator godhead source of objective morality’s intent, a book that we KNOW has been interpreted and edited by imperfect, immoral humans, or the unfiltered creation itself.

    If there is a creator god source of objective morality, how can humans declare ANYTHING that exists are thus was created or allowed to exist BY the ultimate source of objective morality to be wrong?

  112. says

    krooscontrol #103

    I believe there are compelling reasons to believe in objective morality and not many compelling reasons to believe in atheism/materialism

    It matters not how many compelling reasons you find to “believe in” atheism, unless you have more compelling reasons (AKA good evidence) to believe in god(s). How you doing on that score?

  113. Iain Walker says

    krooscontrol (#104):

    Swinburne is basically looking at general principles we use in everyday reasoning and experience and applying them to the case of religious experience. I think it’s a fine argument (it’s modest and he’d definitely concede that)

    There are numerous objections to Swinburne’s Principle of Credulity argument (not least the fact that religious experiences are an area in which we do have plausible reasons to suppose that they can be accounted for by non-veridical mechanisms – i.e., we have good reason to suppose that defeaters apply to the PoC in the case of religious experience), and it’s been quite extensively criticised by Michael Martin, Nicolas Everitt and others.

    Here, for example, is a fairly detailed critique by Richard Gale.

  114. says

    @krooscontrol

    People link atheist sources, and then insist that Christian sources are biased and can’t be trusted for no other reason than they do not like the conclusion

    Bullshit. If you had bothered to read what people wrote, you’d note that the bias of Christian sources is a conclusion, not a starting assumptions. Some people have even given specific arguments for why specific sources weren’t trustworthy. E.g. Raven #96

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the fact that donations to faith based organizations are charity.

    Nice spin, there. The problem people are pointing to isn’t that a certain charities are faith-based, but rather that anything faith-based is automatically regarded as a charity, regardless of whether they actually do anything other than preaching.

    The point is that often a donation will be regarded as charity, even if it’s simply a believer donating to their own church, to cover the costs of their own services. Obviously, that skews the numbers in favor of religious people being very charitable, without actually doing anything that could reasonably be described as “charity”.

    I’m very charitable myself. I pay the rent on a single-occupant shelter for a person who would otherwise be homeless and my donations also pay for his food, clothes and internet connection. The fact that this person happens to be myself is merely a detail.

  115. anteprepro says

    This was the first noted objection to the study:

    Actually, I (sloppily) beat them to it by saying that the source was biased, but I wasn’t nearly as clear about it. Regardless, the very last link in 86 is from the same research that Breakpoint purports to be reporting on, and it doesn’t support their simplistic interpretation at all. So, yeah, “insist that Christian sources are biased and can’t be trusted for no other reason than they do not like the conclusion” indeed.

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the fact that donations to faith based organizations are charity.

    So let me get this straight: you are going to continue to claim that religious people are more charitable, even when you know that their “charity” is basically just the membership fees for their religious organizations? Why should we care about what you have to say again? You obviously don’t give a shit about anything contrary to your foregone conclusions. You accusing us of the same is blatant projection.

    I believe there are compelling reasons to believe in objective morality and not many compelling reasons to believe in atheism/materialism , so I’d chose objective morality every time.

    Good for you. Again, the power of bias. There is no reason to believe in God, so that is compelling reason to believe in atheism. Whining about how you really really want objective morality to be true doesn’t make it so. You lose. And you will always lose until you actually prove that your belief in God is actually grounded in logic and reality, rather than wishful thinking and contrived word play. Good day.

  116. krooscontrol says

    @Nick Gotts 108
    You seem reasonable.
    Have you ever read anything on ethics or moral philosophy? I could probably recommend some stuff. It wierd that you haven’t seen any.

    I think the best reason for me , is basically the fact that it is obvious.
    The answer to why I believe in objective moral values is because I clearly apprehend objective moral values and have no good reason to deny what I clearly perceive.
    Most philosophers in epistemology recognize that there are certain beliefs called properly basic beliefs.These beliefs do not depend for their justification on other beliefs. Examples of properly basic beliefs are the belief that the external universe exists and we’re not just living in the Matrix, the belief that other people have minds,the belief that our memory is reliable and that the universe wasn’t created ten seconds ago. We can accept them as true without appealing to other more basic beliefs to justify them.
    To quote philosopher W.L. Craig
    “This is the same answer we give to the sceptic who says, “How do you know you’re not just a body lying in the Matrix and that all that you see and experience is an illusory, virtual reality?” We have no way to get outside our five senses and prove that they’re veridical. Rather I clearly apprehend a world of people and trees and houses about me, and I have no good reason to doubt what I clearly perceive. Sure, it’s possible that I’m a body in the Matrix. But possibilities come cheap. The mere possibility provides no warrant for denying what I clearly grasp.”
    IMO my clear perception in moral values gives me better reason for belief than any of the arguments against it.
    To quote philosopher Louise Anthony
    ““Any argument for moral scepticism will based upon premises which are less obvious than the existence of objective moral values themselves.”

    I can probably recommend some stuff for further reading if you want

    @Nick Gotts 111
    that’s actually similar to what people like ethicist Peter Singer says. I think when you take that logic to its conclusion , you end up saying its morally permissible to murder certain types of individuals who aren’t as cognitively developed , like mentally challenged individuals , very young children , newborn babies . And he concludes that the interests of certain sentient animals count equally with those of individual humans and killing livestock is the new Holocaust.

    @Nick Gotts
    I think there cultural , sociological and situational difficulties with comparing crime rates in say America and Sweden and attributing them to religiousity rather than other factors.
    I think its more sound to compare similar communities , like the study I referenced did in counties in several states and compare them with each other and see what effects religiousity has.
    I wasn’t defending a claim that ” religion is necessary to low levels of crime and violence “. The main reason I brought the studies I referenced up in my first post was to show the flaw in Hitchens/Myers argument. I’m not interested in the sociological effects of religiousity tbh. I just think its a striking flaw.

  117. krooscontrol says

    Philosopher W.L. Craig has a great story about he was talking to a black college student who believed in moral relativism.The guy was giving lip service to relativism and saying no actions were objectively morally wrong. W.L. Craig is brilliant , so he asked him “Do you believe that racial discrimination is objectively morally wrong?”. The student thought about racial discrimination and realised that he could clearly perceive that racial discrimination was objectively morally wrong. The student realised his moral perceptions were incompatible with his moral philosophy and rejected relativism.

  118. anteprepro says

    By fucking God, is it just me or is Swinburne’s argument for God basically just a really highly polished argumentum ad populum?

  119. Iain Walker says

    krooscontrol (#122):

    The answer to why I believe in objective moral values is because I clearly apprehend objective moral values and have no good reason to deny what I clearly perceive.

    So if you clearly apprehend them, you shouldn’t have any difficulty in describing them, or telling us what you mean by the term. And maybe you can give other people a few tips on clearly apprehending them as well.

  120. Iain Walker says

    Also, more actual arguments and fewer cheap rhetorical anecdotes from Craig would be nice.

  121. krooscontrol says

    I’ll use Craig’s definition
    “To say that there are objective moral values is to say that something is right or wrong independently of whether anybody believes it to be so. It is to say, for example, that Nazi anti-Semitism was morally wrong, even though the Nazis who carried out the Holocaust thought that it was good; and it would still be wrong even if the Nazis had won World War II and succeeded in exterminating or brainwashing everybody who disagreed with them.”
    This seems fine

  122. anteprepro says

    I think the best reason for me , is basically the fact that it is obvious.
    The answer to why I believe in objective moral values is because I clearly apprehend objective moral values and have no good reason to deny what I clearly perceive.

    *slow clap*

    What did someone say earlier?

    “I guess. If that argument was supposed to convince me of something , I don’t think it did.”

    To quote philosopher W.L. Craig

    Oh god, xe’s really bringin’ out the big guns now folks!

    I think when you take that logic to its conclusion , you end up saying its morally permissible to murder certain types of individuals who aren’t as cognitively developed , like mentally challenged individuals , very young children , newborn babies .

    Not holding people to same moral standards due to inability to really reason morally = = = >
    They aren’t really people, so let’s kill them!

    Fauxlosophers are so fucking depressing. No matter how many names and arguments you memorize, it doesn’t matter if you can’t reason worth a shit.

    W.L. Craig is brilliant

    Is this a comedy routine?

  123. says

    The student thought about racial discrimination and realised that he could clearly perceive that racial discrimination was objectively morally wrong

    So, why wasn’t it clear to the slave owners that slavery was objectively wrong? Were they somehow deficient in their moral perceptions? If they could be deficient, couldn’t you also be deficient?

    If it’s so obvious as to not even require any argument, then how come for millenia, nobody noticed this fact? Or are you going to argue that they did notice, but just pretended otherwise?

  124. says

    It is to say, for example, that Nazi anti-Semitism was morally wrong, even though the Nazis who carried out the Holocaust thought that it was good

    So, you’re saying that people can be lacking in moral perception. So, how do we find out who has the correct moral perception?

  125. anteprepro says

    I’ll use Craig’s definition
    “To say that there are objective moral values is to say that something is right or wrong independently of whether anybody believes it to be so. It is to say, for example, that Nazi anti-Semitism was morally wrong, even though the Nazis who carried out the Holocaust thought that it was good; and it would still be wrong even if the Nazis had won World War II and succeeded in exterminating or brainwashing everybody who disagreed with them.”

    And the problem becomes: What are these objective morals and how do we obtain them? If something is moral or immoral regardless of what every single person believes about the subject, HOW DO WE KNOW? What is the method? The people who like to brag about objective morality totally being a thing and totally being obvious are the ones who also claim to KNOW what those morals are. And they tend to be religious Christians, who cite the Bible, despite the fact that they have moral standards from modern society that are above and beyond the scope of the Bible, and they reject some of the moral rules or assumptions made in the Bible, often dismissing it as “oh that’s just the Old Testament” or “that was a product of it’s time” or “God didn’t EXPLICITLY condone that, so…”.

    Basically, no matter how you slice it, objective morality in arguments about theism is just a way for you to bullshit us.

  126. raven says

    Craig is brilliant ,

    WL Craig is an idiot. The guy has no credibiity except in fundie xian circles. He isn’t a philosopher, he is a fundie xian Liar for jesus, an apologist. There are lies and logical fallacies on just about every page he ever wrote.

    Among his greatest mistakes is advocating Divine Command Theory of morality. This has led him to defending genocide, the (mythical) genocide of the Canaanites. In Craig’s dark world, killing babies and children is OK if god commands it. He is also a creationist.

    All you need to know about krooscontrol. Anyone who thinks WL Craig is brilliant has absolutely no idea what they are saying.

  127. anteprepro says

    I think you have it. It’s just [blockquote cite=””] for the beginning tag and [/blockquote cite] for the end. Replace the [ for < and you should get:

    for the beginning and

    Not too hard. It’s slightly harder to embed links!

  128. anteprepro says

    The “cite=” bit doesn’t do anything.

    Wow. I did not know that. And yet I’m still putting cite in as we speak out of force of habit.

  129. says

    WL Craig is an idiot. The guy has no credibiity except in fundie xian circlea

    This. It’s something I don’t think Christians within the apologetics bubble quite realize; for the rest of the world, WLC is either a complete unknown or a laughing stock.

  130. says

    Krooscontrol:
    What are these compelling arguments for objective morality?
    What are examples of bad logic in this thread and what makes the logic bad?
    One of Swinburnes arguments was from numbers. The number of people who believe a claim has no bearing on the truth of that claim. Do you have another example of one of Swinburnes good ideas?

  131. says

    Links are made with standard HTML. <a href=”url here“>link name here</a>

    There’s a limit on links per post. I think it’s a max of two. If you go above that, it goes to automatic moderation and then there’s no telling when it’ll be released.

  132. anteprepro says

    t’s something I don’t think Christians within the apologetics bubble quite realize; for the rest of the world, WLC is either a complete unknown or a laughing stock.

    I swear that it wasn’t so until recently (as in, within the last five or so years), especially in regards to his laughable and odious defense of genocide. But I may not have been paying enough attention!

    One of Swinburnes arguments was from numbers.

    Also an argument from presuming that all religions are basically the same. Also, I feel that there is a sleight of hand going on when using “you can reasonably conclude that x exists if you experience x” in order to prove God’s existence from “experiences” of God.

  133. Sastra says

    krooscontrl #103 wrote:

    @Sastra
    Well if my argument is true, we have reason to believe atheism/materialism is incompatible with objective morality. It depends on what conclusion you draw from that. I believe there are compelling reasons to believe in objective morality and not many compelling reasons to believe in atheism/materialism , so I’d chose objective morality every time.

    I’m going to pass over the argument regarding objective morality for now and focus again on the point I was trying to make in #84 re Hitchen’s challenge, which I think you still miss.

    When a theist uses reason to attack the atheist foundation for morality as inadequate, then they get tangled up into a logical contradiction. If your argument is valid, then it fails. Such attempts are self-refuting because the rational, objective ground on which you must make your case has to be one which the atheists shares. That’s why it’s rational and objective.

    It would be like someone trying to convince you that there is a perfectly understandable statement which you cannot understand. Think about it. Under what circumstances would or could you be given a convincing argument for that? What example could be provided? If you don’t understand the statement, then you will legitimately argue that such a statement simply can’t be said to be “perfectly understandable.” And if you DO understand it — then how are you going to use this to accept the conclusion that there’s a perfectly understandable statement which you don’t understand?

    The more sense a God-based morality makes, then the less important God becomes. If God’s views/essence on right and wrong are perfectly reasonable then God is perfectly dispensable. God and/or belief in God is only going to be necessary for rules or commands which can’t be rationally justified — like “don’t wear purple on Thursdays.” No amount of moral argument or ethical reasoning will ever lead to that conclusion. It has to be introduced outside the system of human values in the world.

    If you can convince us of the truth or value of objective morality, then atheists would already have to have such values in our arsenal. We are already where you are, but quibbling over details.

  134. raven says

    especially in regards to his laughable and odious defense of genocide. But I may not have been paying enough attention!

    You haven’t been paying attention. And you haven’t missed much.

    Reading WL Craig is a trip through an intellectual sewer.

    Among his Dark Sider claims is that animals don’t feel pain. As someone who has had pets most of my life, I was horrified. This is a 19th century idea used to justify all sorts of animal cruelty and long discredited. They do feel pain and that isn’t hard to understand. Anyone who ever had a dog or cat can see it.

  135. Iain Walker says

    krooscontrol (#127), quoting Craig [sighs and rolls eyes]:

    “To say that there are objective moral values is to say that something is right or wrong independently of whether anybody believes it to be so.”

    Not very clear or helpful, but let’s see what we can extract from it.

    Firstly, are we to take it then that you believe moral judgements to be propositions with truth values? And that these truth values are (at least in principle) knowable? I.e., when you speak of objective moral values are you committing to a form of moral cognitivism?

    Secondly, are we to take it that you consider moral judgements to have universal truth values, i.e., their truth values cannot be relativised to cultures or individuals?

    If your answers to these questions are “yes”, then it would seem that you are treating moral judgements as if they were descriptive statements. Where, then, does their prescriptive force come from? And how do you respond to criticisms of moral cognitivism and non-cognitivist analyses of moral language such as R.M. Hare’s presciptivism?

  136. Amphiox says

    The problem with Craig’s definition of objective morality is that it cannot be used to distinguish any particular moral statement as an example of objective morality versus any of the alternatives.

    And since distinguishing things from other things is the primary and perhaps sole purpose of even having definitions, this makes Craig’s definition utterly useless.

    And it is because of vacuously useless reasoning like this that Craig has no intellectual credibility.

    Simply replace “what people believe” with “what the bible says” or “what god says” or even “what I say” and one can see that the definition suddenly turns into a definition for moral relativism.

    Hence, useless intellectual fappery.

  137. anteprepro says

    Among his Dark Sider claims is that animals don’t feel pain.

    I know, I’m a Pharyngula reader too, after all. But this was relatively recent (I think in the same year as the genocide apologetics?) and I don’t think it nearly as much attention outside of this blog as it deserved (because Billy Lane blathers a lot of shit that no-one cares about on his wittle website). What I am wondering is how many people thought of him as a joke in 2007, or 2000, or the 90’s, or the 80’s. He has been around for a while. And he was respected for a while because people didn’t know better. Even the people who really loudly disagreed with him still thought of him as an intellectual. But at some point it became obvious that he is not really a good philosopher: that he is not willing and possibly not even capable of adjusting his arguments or worldview to accurately and honestly reflect contradictory evidence or objections to his views. I feel that he became popular for debates and apologetics towards the end of the 90s, and that he didn’t really grow into such disfavor until about three or four years ago. Again, that’s just my impression. At some point relatively recently, people stopped giving him the benefit of the doubt. And we are better off for that.

  138. Sastra says

    “To say that there are objective moral values is to say that something is right or wrong independently of whether anybody believes it to be so. It is to say, for example, that Nazi anti-Semitism was morally wrong, even though the Nazis who carried out the Holocaust thought that it was good; and it would still be wrong even if the Nazis had won World War II and succeeded in exterminating or brainwashing everybody who disagreed with them.”

    Important question: were the Nazis factually wrong BEFORE they were morally wrong? This may shift the debate.

    In other words, consider the reasons why the Nazis were anti-Semetic. What did they believe about the Jews and the nature of the situation? What were the background facts they used to derive their conclusion: “we must protect ourselves from these dangerous aggressors.” Is self-defense wrong?

    I think many apparent moral disagreements turn out to be factual disagreements, if you follow them down far enough. If you and I agreed with every background assumption about the situation (physical and metaphysical), then we would arrive at the same (or similar) conclusions. All “God” really provides to this mix is perfect knowledge — or rather, the very dark and dangerous ability for its believers to claim a perfect knowledge, one beyond that which reasonable people can justify.

  139. Wylann says

    WLC’s claim of Nazi anti-Semitism, I think, highlights another glaring flaw in the idea of objective or absolute morality. If it’s objective, everyone would know that it’s wrong, yet clearly the Nazi’s (or enough of them) thought it was right.

    I wonder if this relies on (in the religionists’ mind) the other tried and false apologetic of atheists ‘knowing’ that god really exists and denying it.

  140. Iain Walker says

    Wylann (#148):

    If it’s objective, everyone would know that it’s wrong, yet clearly the Nazi’s (or enough of them) thought it was right.

    Not necessarily, since there are many objective facts that many (even most) people have been wrong about (e.g., heliocentrism, evolution etc). What the Nazis highlight is the need for an explanation for how moral error is possible on such a large scale, which in turn requires explanation of how moral knowledge is acquired. So far all krooscontrol seems to be able to offer for the latter is a variant on “I’ve-got-a-feeling”, which doesn’t sound terribly promising as a reliable basis for any kind of objective knowledge.

  141. Nick Gotts says

    krooscontrol@122

    Have you ever read anything on ethics or moral philosophy? I could probably recommend some stuff. It wierd that you haven’t seen any.

    Of course I have. What I said I hadn’t seen was “compelling reasons to believe in objective morality”. That remains the case.

    I think the best reason for me , is basically the fact that it is obvious.

    Hahahhahahaha! Good one!

    Oh, you were being serious? Since many people disagree with the claim, it’s (obviously!) not obvious. Even if it appeared so, that wouldn’t be a “compelling reason”, since it has been “obvious” at various times in the past that witchcraft is real, that the earth is the centre of the universe, that rotting food generates maggots…

    The answer to why I believe in objective moral values is because I clearly apprehend objective moral values and have no good reason to deny what I clearly perceive.

    IOW, you believe in objective moral values because you believe in objective moral values. Not a compelling reason.

    Most philosophers in epistemology recognize that there are certain beliefs called properly basic beliefs. These beliefs do not depend for their justification on other beliefs. Examples of properly basic beliefs are the belief that the external universe exists and we’re not just living in the Matrix, the belief that other people have minds,the belief that our memory is reliable and that the universe wasn’t created ten seconds ago. We can accept them as true without appealing to other more basic beliefs to justify them.

    Whether “most philosophers” believe this, I don’t know, but if they do, they’re wrong. This idea is based on the notion that a person’s beliefs consist of distinct, well-defined propositions that form a multi-level structure in which some (the “basic” ones) are and must remain unquestioned. This notion is false. In fact, beliefs are best analysed as dispositional properties: you find out what someone (including yourself) believes by looking at how they tend to behave. Part of this is how they answer questions, but that’s by no means the whole story: for example, if someone says they believe spiders are harmless, but nevertheless shows an increased heart-rate, sweating, desire to retreat and so on when confronted with a spider, they evidently don’t wholly believe what they say they do. Many of our beliefs are tacit (not verbalizable), and in fact we start life with beliefs implanted in us in the course of evolution, and then acquire many more because those in our social group convey them to us; but there is no need to treat any of these beliefs as beyond question. In fact, no belief can be understood, let alone assessed, except in the context of myriad other beliefs, many of them inchoate. Unless you had made use of thousands of beliefs about specific aspects of the external world, for example, you wouldn’t even be able to understand what it meant to either affirm or deny that it is real; and similarly for other minds (or even your own). In some social settings, some of the supposed “basic beliefs” you instance are not accepted: for example, some schools of Buddhism and Hinduism teach that “all is illusion”. So the supposed distinction between “properly basic beliefs” and other beliefs is unfounded. There certainly appear to be no clear criteria by which we can determine which beliefs are “properly basic” and which are not. I see no reason to think the distinction is anything more than a rhetorical device which attempts to put certain favoured beliefs beyond question.

    IMO my clear perception in moral values gives me better reason for belief than any of the arguments against it.

    But on what do you base that opinion? Other people have had, and indeed still have, “clear perceptions” of moral values very different to yours. What makes you objectively right and them objectively wrong?

    To quote philosopher Louise Anthony
    ““Any argument for moral scepticism will based upon premises which are less obvious than the existence of objective moral values themselves.”

    You seem to be under the illusion that quoting a philosopher who agrees with you constitutes an argument.

    @Nick Gotts 111
    that’s actually similar to what people like ethicist Peter Singer says.

    No, it isn’t similar in the least. You are apparently unable to distinguish between:
    a) Statements of fact about cognitive and linguistic capabilities.
    b) Attributions of moral obligations.
    c) Attributions of moral rights*.

    I think when you take that logic to its conclusion , you end up saying its morally permissible to murder certain types of individuals who aren’t as cognitively developed , like mentally challenged individuals , very young children , newborn babies .

    Then kindly demonstrate the logical chain of inference that leads from what I said to that conclusion.

    I think there cultural , sociological and situational difficulties with comparing crime rates in say America and Sweden and attributing them to religiousity rather than other factors.
    I think its more sound to compare similar communities , like the study I referenced did in counties in several states and compare them with each other and see what effects religiousity has.

    On what grounds do you claim that the communities compared are similar in respects other than religiosity? The differences noted in your own linked article @77 are at least as plausibly interpreted as due to community cohesion as religiosity per se.

    The main reason I brought the studies I referenced up in my first post was to show the flaw in Hitchens/Myers argument.

    What you said was:

    For example ,[f]rom the studies I’ve seen people who do identify as strongly religious and with strong church attendance tend to give more to charity and commit less violent crimes than people who don’t consider themselves strongly religious or consider themselves non-religious.

    But we’ve seen that you count any gift to a religious organization a person belongs to as “giving to charity”, your link to the study of children clearly confounds eithical behaviour with conformism and religiosity, and your link with regard to violent crime dealt with differences between communities with different levels of religiosity, so if it’s actually community religiosity that makes the difference, differences in religiosity at all socio-geographical scales are relevant.

    *Again, I use this formulation because it is neutral with respect to whether “X has moral right Y” is a matter of objective fact.

  142. says

    What the Nazis highlight is the need for an explanation for how moral error is possible on such a large scale, which in turn requires explanation of how moral knowledge is acquired

    Exactly. If we’re going to say that people can be that wrong about these objective moral values, then clearly we need a better method than “it’s obvious” to establish what the correct values are.

  143. Nick Gotts says

    Sastra@147,

    I think many apparent moral disagreements turn out to be factual disagreements, if you follow them down far enough. If you and I agreed with every background assumption about the situation (physical and metaphysical), then we would arrive at the same (or similar) conclusions.

    I agree with the first sentence of this, but not the second. I can’t see how agreement on (say) the balance between the interests of those now living and those of posterity, or those of humans and other sentient animals, could be compelled by factual considerations.

  144. raven says

    To quote philosopher Louise Anthony
    ““Any argument for moral scepticism will based upon premises which are less obvious than the existence of objective moral values themselves.”

    You seem to be under the illusion that quoting a philosopher who agrees with you constitutes an argument.

    Which he doesn’t understand anyway. Louise Anthony is an atheist moral philosopher.

    4. How do you know your (imaginary) objective morality is good? You don’t. Unless you use your evolved brain and powers of reasoning. And if you do that, god becomes useless at best and just as often an obstacle.

    Just a repeat. How do we know objective morality is good? We use our minds. And if we can use our minds for this, why do we need god?

    In practice, that is exactly what xians do. The morality of the bible is obsolete and looked upon today as the record of a barbaric era we are well rid of. These days we don’t stone adulterers, witches, or heretics to death. Mass murder for religious reasons is simple illegal.

  145. busterggi says

    “WLC’s claim of Nazi anti-Semitism, I think, highlights another glaring flaw in the idea of objective or absolute morality. If it’s objective, everyone would know that it’s wrong, yet clearly the Nazi’s (or enough of them) thought it was right.”

    Wait now, WLC says Nazi anti-Semitism was wrong according to god’s objective morality? Really?

    Isn’t Craig aware that the Nazis were just following up on general Christian anti-Semitism as practised by pretty much every Christian church ever since the gospels were written, in fact it was justified in those gospels? Hence centuries of legaized oppression, extermination, torture, forced conversion, theft inflicted on Jews not just condoned by Christianity in general but actually required by it.

    And does this mean Craig is unaware of all those millions of Christians today who support Jews in Israel just because they believe those Jews need to exist so they can be killed for Jesus to return – which seems pretty anti-Semitic to me.

    Two thousand years of divinely inspired inerrant Christian belief still hasn’t made a huge percentage of Christians give up their anti-Semitism from the supposedly objective morals their god supposedly grants them by grace.

  146. says

    IMO my clear perception in moral values gives me better reason for belief than any of the arguments against it.

    Well hey, if clear perceptions were good enough for Descartes, then who are we to disagree?

  147. Sastra says

    Nick Gotts #152 wrote:

    I agree with the first sentence of this, but not the second. I can’t see how agreement on (say) the balance between the interests of those now living and those of posterity, or those of humans and other sentient animals, could be compelled by factual considerations.

    No, my second sentence was supposed to explain the first and apply only to situations where the dispute came down to the background assumptions. That wasn’t clear. Otherwise, as you illustrate, we’ve got value vs. value disputes, in which there may not be any good way to achieve a consensus.

    Even God couldn’t help, since a God which came down against one’s deeply felt convictions here could and would probably be denied. No, that’s not what God’s nature is like. That God is false.

    Or, more likely, “ah, you have failed to understand the objective intrinsic divine moral essence — but I’m capable.” That “resolves” a dispute only in that there is really nothing else left to say. We can measure human concerns and worldly outcomes. Can’t do a damn thing with some damn fool’s God wafting aimlessly above the common ground.

    Unless we persuade them to abandon it, of course — dragging them back by appealing to the common ground God originally came out of. Consensus may still not be achievable, but at least we’re dealing with human beings who think they’re fallible again.

  148. raven says

    IMO my clear perception in moral values gives me better reason for belief than any of the arguments against it.

    This reduces down to the voices in his head.

    As I said above, all faith claims reduce down to voices in someone’s head.

    There are millions of people who claim voices in their heads from the gods. Those voices all say different things!!!

    And the only way theists have even found to determine which voices are True is…to fight wars. At this moment there are over a dozen religious wars just about everywhere, which is also listed above.

  149. says

    Another stray question for krooscontrol, when they come back: Have you ever experienced that this (apparently infallible) moral sense of yours suddenly told you that the right moral action as something completely different that what you’d previously thought?

    Have you ever been taken truly by surprise by this, being forced to completely alter your perspective, not by information gained from other people or arguments mentally processed, but simply by this immediately apprehended moral sense?

    Have you ever found yourself disagreeing with this moral sense? I don’t simply mean that you perceive something to be moral that you’d rather not do (e.g. do the dishes because it’s your turn, even though you’d rather lounge on the couch). I mean that the moral sense told you something was moral when every rational part of you said it wasn’t. Has that ever happened?

    If not, isn’t it an odd coincidence that your moral ideas just happen to be always correct? If this moral perception was truly reliable, wouldn’t you expect to be corrected by it on occasion? Especially since you apparently think that this moral perception is in disagreement with other people’s moral systems. Isn’t it strange that you’re the only one who just always gets it right?

    On the other hand (and in extension of something we’ve already touched on), if you have experienced such a disagreement between your rational ideas and your moral perception, how do you know that the moral perception wasn’t the part that was acting up?

    And following from that, if your moral perception suddenly told you that strangling babies was the right thing to do, would you? If not, then you aren’t really relying on that moral perception after all, but judging it according to some other standard, yes?

  150. Ephiral says

    krooscontrol:

    First, on objecting to Christian sources: It’s not that we don’t like the conclusion. It’s that the assumptions it needs to reach those conclusions are bad. Defining “good behaviour” as “acting like a fundamentalist church expects of you” is working from conclusion to premise, and appears to be unsupported by the actual research cited, to use one example. The fact that it comes from an organization with a vested interest in pushing an evangelical Christian worldview which was founded by and still holds profound respect for a man who was known to lie criminally for his cause is just additional reason to be suspicious.

    Second, on logic: Someone who fails at literally the most basic possible logical statement (again, you failed on A ⇒ B!) does not get to call out others’ bad logic without clear examples.

    Third, on objective morality: The problem is that, no matter how much you call it “objective”, it isn’t. There’s a long history of very bloody battles fought between people who disagree on what is “objectively” right. Hell, to use your very example: The Nazi regime and extermination program were conceived and executed by a Christian who was sure he was doing the right thing, and basing his morals on the exact same objective source you were. Your perception of absolute morality does not equal the existence of absolute morality – our perceptions lie to us all the time about damn near everything.

    Finally: Exactly what argument for “objective morality” is more compelling than the fundamental argument for materialism (ie, that it is demonstrably true?) More specifically: If you think that objective morality exists, what would a world without objective morality look like? How would it differ from the one we’re in now?

  151. David Marjanović says

    krooscontrol, you can change your “display name” by clicking on it where it says “Logged in as”.

    Principle of Credulity? What happened to the principle of parsimony?

    Craig has never heard of evolutionary epistemology. He’s making one long argument from embarrassing ignorance about his own field. :-/

    There’s a limit on links per post. I think it’s a max of two.

    It’s six.

  152. maddog1129 says

    On the point about “religionists give to charity more than atheists do,” as others have pointed out, one problem is “what counts as charity?” What “counts” as “charity” may be both over- and under- inclusive.

    The category of “charity” may be over-inclusive, as others have pointed out:
    Pastor/imam/rabbi salaries and housing, religious buildings, proselytization, publication of religious pamphlets, etc., don’t necessarily do anything beyond supporting a particular religious institution, and may not be “charitable” in the sense of increasing wellbeing of human lives for more people.

    The category of “charity” may be under-inclusive because, when “charity” is defined as increasing the wellbeing of life for more human beings, then things which are provided communally through taxation are excluded. E.g., education, medical care, food or housing subsidies, unemployment compensation, and the like do a great deal to measurably improve the quality of life and the wellbeing of many human beings. Yet, this is not counted as “charity” because it’s not dependent on the whim of private individuals to provide such wellbeing.

  153. Routemaster says

    A brief question for Krooscontrol: could you provide a source for the Louise Antony (not Anthony) quote? I was looking for context and the only source I can find is William Lane Craig.

  154. Amphiox says

    IMO my clear perception in moral values gives me better reason for belief than any of the arguments against it.

    So you admit to using your OWN PERCEPTION in making moral judgments, rather than relying on an objective external source?

    MY clear perception in moral values gives no NO reason for belief.

    So how are you so certain, objectively, that you are right and I am wrong?

  155. Amphiox says

    (Also, that which is determined by perception, clear or otherwise, by definition is SUBJECTIVE, not objective…)

  156. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    links to them, sure.

  157. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Can we post gifs?

    Unless you show a picture of your imaginary deity, why waste a post? Your whole inane argument is presuppositional. Either show your imaginary deity exists, or that your babble is inerrant. Otherwise, your mere opinion is dismissed per Hitchen’s argument….

  158. Akira MacKenzie says

    I’m still waiting for Idiot Control (“…bees on pot, burin’ rubber tires…) to explain why “because my God said so” is any basis for morality, “objective” or otherwise.

  159. maddog1129 says

    Kroos Control @ # 123

    Philosopher W.L. Craig has a great story about he was talking to a black college student who believed in moral relativism.The guy was giving lip service to relativism and saying no actions were objectively morally wrong. W.L. Craig is brilliant , so he asked him “Do you believe that racial discrimination is objectively morally wrong?”. The student thought about racial discrimination and realised that he could clearly perceive that racial discrimination was objectively morally wrong. The student realised his moral perceptions were incompatible with his moral philosophy and rejected relativism.

    If the same question had been asked of a white person in the same circumstances, how sure are you that the answer would be the same, i.e., that the white person (or all white people) would “clearly perceive” that racial discrimination is “objectively” morally wrong?

    If the same question had been asked of a white person 100 years ago, how sure are you that the answer would be the same?

    If the same question had been asked of a black person 100 years ago, how sure are you that the answer would be the same?

    For hundreds of years, many people “clearly perceived” that racial discrimination was NOT “objectively” morally wrong, but believed such discrimination to be “objectively” morally RIGHT. What changed? If it’s all so obvious and objective, why would there ever be any different answers?

    Notably, the Bible says not one single word against slavery, owning another human being as property. How “objectively morally” obvious is it, to you, that slavery is wrong? Why did the Bible authors think slavery was morally right?

  160. Kroos Control says

    I see no-one has been able to refute my argument about us being able to directly perceive objective moral values.
    Remember , only one thing has to be objectively morally wrong , to prove that objective moral values exist.
    Think of the example of the black student.
    When he thought about racial discrimination he realised he could not say racial discrimination was objectively neutral and he clearly perceived it to be objectively wrong.
    Is it objectively wrong for kill babes for fun, or is it objectively neutral?
    Is it objectively wrong for Islamic fundamentalists to blow up the world trade center and kill lots of people?
    Is it objectively wrong for religious fundamentalists to distort science and deceive people?
    Is it objectively wrong for Michael Shermer to rape females or for bigots to deny rights to atheists?
    If you can perceive any of these things to be objectively wrong , then objective moral values exist.

    Now of course , when you make an argument , think about whether it would undercut our other properly basic beliefs. For example someone said that some people disagree about some moral values. Well some people believe there is no external world, but that does not undercut our warrant for believing in the external world. Its true our perceptions of morality are sometimes wrong , but so are our perceptions of the external world. I don’t see anyone using this as an excuse to claim the external world isn’t real.
    @Routemaster 163
    It was from Craig and Anthony’s debate on morality. I’m sure its on youtube. She tried her best but ,as the meme says ….

    @Iain Walker 144
    Yes I have a form of cognitivism.

    @David Gotts
    What epistemology do you hold to?
    How do you justify beliefs such as the belief in the existence of the external world , or belief that the world was not created a few minutes ago and you have false memories?
    Does your epistemology have a way to evaluate the truth value of objective moral facts?
    And sometimes when a philosopher makes a brilliant logical argument and phrases it very well , I find it easier to quote them than to try to paraphrase the argument and lose the force of their wording. I think some guys (William Lane Craig especially) have a gift for putting arguments out in a compelling form.

  161. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Sigh.

    I suppose it has to be done in this thread, doesn’t it. And so, it’s up to me:

    Listen, strange gods burnin’ in bushes and mandatin’ praise is no basis for a system of morality. Supreme moral authority derives from a consensus of the community, not from some farcical ethical engravings.

    …[Y]ou can’t expect to dictate morally universal commands just because some vaporous vision “gave the word” to you.

    Oh but if I went ’round sayin’ I was Law-giver, just because some inaudible elf breathed a secret to me, they’d put me away.

  162. chigau (違う) says

    Why does something need to be “objective” in order to be “moral”?

  163. Kroos Control says

    @Sastra
    I’m going to paraphrase and you can tell me what you disagree with.
    1) Hitchens challenge
    The way I interpreted it: (1) Nonbelievers are physically capable of performing all the same ethical actions as believers.
    I said yes , but (2)I don’t think anyone notable was claiming that believers had some kind of Superpower to perform Super-Ethical actions that other people were physically incapable of performing

    The way Sastra interpreted it
    (3.1) Objective moral facts exist
    (3.2) Humans can use shared ethical intuition and reasoning to gain knowledge of many of these moral facts. (except those facts related to religious customs/traditions).

    I would actually agree with 3.1 and 3.2
    To summarise my responses
    (4.1) (To 3.1) Naturalism/atheism is not compatible with the existence of objective moral facts
    (4.2) Naturalism/atheism would cause skepticism of some of the underlying ethical intuitions we have.. I gave the example of human dignity. I think naturalism would be a defeater (to use an epistemological term) for the truth of those ethical intuitions.

  164. Kroos Control says

    William Lane Craig is a brilliant philospher and he is recognized as on of the foremost Christian intellectuals and philosophers. He has made a number of important contributions to philosophy of religion , philosophy of time andphilosophical theology . He has published in a number of important journals and books and has pwned tonnes of atheists in debate.

  165. Ephiral says

    Kroos Control: The problem here is twofold. One, “objective morality”. I can and will say no to every one of your examples, as you have not demonstrated the existence of objective morality in any way, shape, or form.

    Two, before you even get to “objective morality”, there’s a huge issue with “clearly perceive”. In what way have you controlled for inaccurate perception? Numerous people have shown you examples of people perceiving horrible things as “objectively right”; your only rebuttal is “Yeah, but they were wrong.” How do you know your reasoning is so much better than theirs?

  166. Ephiral says

    William Lane Craig is a brilliant philospher and he is recognized as on of the foremost Christian intellectuals and philosophers. He has made a number of important contributions to philosophy of religion , philosophy of time andphilosophical theology .

    Shorter version: WLC has the best arguments about the cut and colour of the emperor’s robes.

  167. Rob Grigjanis says

    Kroos Control @175:

    William Lane Craig is a brilliant philospher…

    My exposure to his philosophy is limited to reading/hearing his attempts at using physics to support his positions. One of them here. Based on that, and his debate with Sean Carroll, he is either dishonest or incompetent. Haven’t made up my mind, and don’t need to. ‘Dishonest or incompetent’ excludes him from any consideration.

  168. Akira MacKenzie says

    Hmmmmm… Smugly dismissing your opponents responses by falsely claiming that they didn’t answer your response?

    It’s no wonder Idiot Control has such a hard-on for Craig, they’re both lying sack of shit.

  169. Al Dente says

    William Lane Craig has said that genocide, if ordered by a god, is morally good. Even a godsoaked moral objectivist should find that “thinking” to be immoral.

    Sorry, you’re not going to find anyone here who has the least bit of respect for someone who pretends obviously immoral actions to be moral.

  170. Akira MacKenzie says

    Al Dente:

    The apocryphal campaigns of genocide by Moses and Joshua were objectively moral because WLC and Idiot Control’s god tells them so.

    The actual genocide known as the Holocaust was objectively immoral because WLC and Idiot Control’s god tells them so.

    You see! God’s commandments are objectively moral, even after god changes the rules.

  171. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    William Lane Craig is a brilliant philospher and he is recognized as on of the foremost Christian intellectuals and philosophers.

    Which goes two show you two facts: He is a presupopostionalist, and without those presuppositions being true, he is an fuckwitted idjit. And he never, ever, presents solid and conclusive physical evidence for either his imaginary deity existing, or his mythical/fictional babble being inerrant. How brilliant is a proven liar and bullshitter, since his claims are automatically dismissed with physical evidence…,.

  172. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Dang, meant to say #182

    his claims are automatically dismissed without physical evidence…,.

  173. Kroos Control says

    @Rob 178
    What exactly do you find objectionable about his explanation for Special relativity and the twin Paradox?
    Let me be clear in case you didn’t read the link . That stuff isn’t really related to his stuff about Christianity , its related to his philosophical work on philosophy of time and metaphysics (he does other stuff when not arguing about God). He isn’t even really arguing for anything in the post , just explaining the paradox.

    And I read about the Sean carroll. It seemed to me more a difference of opinion. Carroll said after the debatetaht there were other theorists , like Vilenkin , who though the best interpretation of the evidence was that the universe had a beginning. Carrol disagreed and thought there were other valid models without a beginning. People are allowed to disagree.
    Carrol’s is obviously very knowledgeable about cosmology and I learnt a lot from him about there being other models but some of his non-scientific/philosophical arguments were real weaksauce btw.

  174. Kroos Control says

    @nerd
    I could show you why asking for physical evidence for every proposition is untenable and ultimately self refuting, nerd, but I doubt you’d change your mind. Good luck with your self refuting epistemology

  175. maddog1129 says

    @ Kroos Control #171

    I see no-one has been able to refute my argument about us being able to directly perceive objective moral values.
    Remember , only one thing has to be objectively morally wrong , to prove that objective moral values exist.
    Think of the example of the black student.
    When he thought about racial discrimination he realised he could not say racial discrimination was objectively neutral and he clearly perceived it to be objectively wrong.

    You have pointed to or repeated again this anecdote, but you have not shown that it demonstrates what you want it to demonstrate. One person may say “It’s *obvious* to me that racial discrimination is wrong.” Plenty of other people throughout human history have said “It’s *obvious* to me that racial discrimination is right (not wrong).” Your “argument” — i.e., “you can tell just by looking” — has been refuted. Both people purport to “directly perceive” what is morally right. Yet they have different perceptions. By what OTHER criterion are you saying that one perception is correct and the other is not? It can’t be because of “clear perception” of moral principles. Such perceptions are demonstrably “not clear” at all.

    There’s another problem: your importation of the word “objective.” What do you mean by that?

  176. anteprepro says

    I see no-one has been able to refute my argument about us being able to directly perceive objective moral values.

    This is definitely a comedy routine.

    When he thought about racial discrimination he realised he could not say racial discrimination was objectively neutral and he clearly perceived it to be objectively wrong.
    Is it objectively wrong for kill babes for fun, or is it objectively neutral?
    Is it objectively wrong for Islamic fundamentalists to blow up the world trade center and kill lots of people?
    Is it objectively wrong for religious fundamentalists to distort science and deceive people?
    Is it objectively wrong for Michael Shermer to rape females or for bigots to deny rights to atheists?
    If you can perceive any of these things to be objectively wrong , then objective moral values exist.

    If any of those objectively wrong WHERE DO YOU GET THAT KNOWLEDGE FROM. It sure as shit ain’t the Bible.

    How do you justify beliefs such as the belief in the existence of the external world , or belief that the world was not created a few minutes ago and you have false memories?

    Or fuck’s sake, are we going to get into presuppositional wankery a la Sye Ten?

    I think some guys (William Lane Craig especially) have a gift for putting arguments out in a compelling form.

    For fuck’s sake, just marry Billy Lane already. Your uncritical and completely unwarranted level of hero worship is just fucking embarrassing.

    William Lane Craig is a brilliant philospher and he is recognized as on of the foremost Christian intellectuals and philosophers. He has made a number of important contributions to philosophy of religion , philosophy of time andphilosophical theology . He has published in a number of important journals and books and has pwned tonnes of atheists in debate.

    William Lane Craig is a sophist, a one trick pony that is only recognized as a Christian intellectual due to the intellectual poverty of Christianity. He is not well recognized in philosophy, because he is not intellectually honest. Contributing to philosophical theology is hardly a credential worth bragging about. And pwning atheists in debate doesn’t prove anything but the fact that he is good at playing that game called Debate. He is all rhetoric.

  177. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    What exactly do you find objectionable about his explanation for Special relativity and the twin Paradox?

    Why should a non-physicist be listened to, when experts tell the real story, or here too? Which makes your opinion one to be distrusted, as you have no idea of what is real evidence. Hint: your mere opinion never is or will be evidence. Which is why you must cite third party evidence to back your claims. Evidence not presuppositionally based….

  178. says

    Kroos Control

    WLC on genocide:

    So whom does God wrong in commanding the destruction of the Canaanites? Not the Canaanite adults, for they were corrupt and deserving of judgement. Not the children, for they inherit eternal life. So who is wronged? Ironically, I think the most difficult part of this whole debate is the apparent wrong done to the Israeli soldiers themselves. Can you imagine what it would be like to have to break into some house and kill a terrified woman and her children? The brutalizing effect on these Israeli soldiers is disturbing.

    Think of the poor murderers!

    But there’s more:

    But then, again, we’re thinking of this from a Christianized, Western standpoint. For people in the ancient world, life was already brutal. Violence and war were a fact of life for people living in the ancient Near East. Evidence of this fact is that the people who told these stories apparently thought nothing of what the Israeli soldiers were commanded to do (especially if these are founding legends of the nation). No one was wringing his hands over the soldiers’ having to kill the Canaanites; those who did so were national heroes.

    In other words, what was viewed as morally justified once, is no longer viewed as morally justified. Where are your “objective moral standards” here?

  179. anteprepro says

    Carrol disagreed and thought there were other valid models without a beginning. People are allowed to disagree.

    Do you know how logic works? Bill of Craig Lane is saying that science dictates that there is a beginning, ergo ipso facto abracadabra Jesus. Carroll is showing “actually, there are alternative hypotheses. It isn’t conclusive that there is a beginning”. And Laney Craigmeister just continues to appeal to intuition in order to pretend that there must be a beginning, and there must be a Space Ghost Coast to Coast. “People are allowed to disagree” is a patently dishonest way of pretending that a counterexample isn’t a counter to his absolute claim.

  180. Rob Grigjanis says

    Kroos Control @184:

    Let me be clear in case you didn’t read the link

    I’m not in the habit of objecting to the contents of links which I haven’t read. I know what it’s related to, and he isn’t actually explaining anything. He seems to be trying to confuse.

    What I find objectionable about his “Story of the Three Brothers” is that he thinks it proves something about inertial frames of reference. Utter nonsense.

    The issues with Carroll weren’t about a difference of opinion. They were about Craig cherry-picking bits from physics papers while ignoring their real conclusions.

    If you want to pursue this, I’d be happy to oblige, in Thunderdome, tomorrow. In particular, tell me how you think the “Story of the Three Brothers” rebuts the notion that the twins in the “Twin Paradox” are distinguished by the acceleration of one of them. I’ll have my popcorn ready about midday, Toronto time.

  181. anteprepro says

    I could show you why asking for physical evidence for every proposition is untenable and ultimately self refuting,

    Really it doesn’t matter what we ask you for: Evidence of any kind, physical evidence, good evidence, conclusive evidence, a sound argument, a compelling argument, a conclusive case, an honest case. It doesn’t matter what we ask for or what we conditions we give: We always get absolute bullshit.

  182. Kroos Control says

    Tbh I haven’t read any of Dr. Craig’s work in philosophy of time, so I could not do it justice. If you want to debate any of his other arguments there’s a couple I’m willing to defend.

  183. anteprepro says

    BONUS Laney Craigness! Right from the lower bowels of Pharyngula!

    Bonus 1: Consciousness is magic, therefore Jesus.

    God is the best explanation of intentional states of consciousness in the world. Philosophers are puzzled by states of intentionality. Intentionality is the property of being about something or of something. It’s signifies the object directedness of our thoughts.
    For example, I can think about my summer vacation or I can think of my wife. No physical object has this sort of intentionality. A chair or a stone or a glob of tissue like the one like the brain is not about or of something else. Only mental states or states of consciousness are about other things….

    Dr. Rosenberg boldly claims that we never really think about anything. But this seems incredible. Obviously I am thinking about Dr. Rosenberg’s argument. This seems to me to be a reductio ad absurdum of atheism. By contrast, on theism because God is a mind it’s hardly surprising that there should be finite minds. Thus intentional states fit comfortably into a theistic worldview.
    So we may argue:
    1. If God did not exist, [then] intentional states of consciousness would not exist.
    2. But intentional states of consciousness do exist!
    3. Therefore, God exists.

    Bonus two : Animals don’t feel pain, thank you Jesus!

    So Christian theologians of all stripes have to face the challenge posed by animal pain. Here recent studies in biology have provided surprising, new insights into this old problem. In his book Nature Red in Tooth and Claw: Theism and the Problem of Animal Suffering, Michael Murray distinguishes three levels in an ascending pain hierarchy (read from the bottom up):

    Level 3: a second order awareness that one is oneself experiencing (2).

    Level 2: a first order, subjective experience of pain.

    Level 1: information-bearing neural states produced by noxious stimuli resulting in aversive behavior.

    Spiders and insects–the sort of creatures most exhibiting the kinds of behavior mentioned by Ayala–experience (1). But there’s no reason at all to attribute (2) to such creatures. It’s plausible that they aren’t sentient beings at all with some sort of subjective, interior life. That sort of experience plausibly does not arise until one gets to the level of vertebrates in the animal kingdom. But even though animals like dogs, cats, and horses experience pain, nevertheless the evidence is that they do not experience level (3), the awareness that they are in pain. For the awareness that one is oneself in pain requires self-awareness, which is centered in the pre-frontal cortex of the brain–a section of the brain which is missing in all animals except for the humanoid primates. Thus, amazingly, even though animals may experience pain, they are not aware of being in pain. God in His mercy has apparently spared animals the awareness of pain. This is a tremendous comfort to us pet owners. For even though your dog or cat may be in pain, it really isn’t aware of it and so doesn’t suffer as you would if you were in pain.

    That is some hardcore billcraig, right thar.

  184. Kroos Control says

    @nerd
    But Craig is an expert in philosophy of time, so he would be an expert in philosophical interpretations of relativity. Of course I suppose you would just say Philosophy sucks and ignore it.

  185. anteprepro says

    If you want to debate any of his other arguments there’s a couple I’m willing to defend.

    You are not even really defending the ones you are ostensibly already trying to defend!

  186. anteprepro says

    But Craig is an expert in philosophy of time,

    Yeah. An expert. An expert whose understanding of time is inconsistent with relativity. Expert.

  187. Rob Grigjanis says

    @193:

    Tbh I haven’t read any of Dr. Craig’s work in philosophy of time, so I could not do it justice

    @195:

    But Craig is an expert in philosophy of time, so he would be an expert in philosophical interpretations of relativity.

    How do you get from statement 1 to statement 2? Anyway, I’m tired, half-drunk and have better things to do the last couple of hours of this day of Our Lord, so see ya tomorrow or not.

  188. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    But Craig is an expert in philosophy of time, so he would be an expert in philosophical interpretations of relativity. Of course I suppose you would just say Philosophy sucks and ignore it.

    An evidenceless assertion by a presuppotional defender of a presupositionalist. What a fuckwitted idjit you are. And by the way, science is the subset of philosophy that actually works and increases human knowledge. What it the difference between science and sophistry? A reality check, which sophistry, which includes everything WLC says, is missing.

  189. Amphiox says

    Argument by Craig is no different to argument by bible.

    It’s all an appeal to unsupported authority.

    Craig’s christian apologetics is “brilliant” in the same way tin foil is shiny.

    Thin, superficial, and flimsy.

  190. Kroos Control says

    @antepropo

    Do you know how logic works?
    Yes

    “People are allowed to disagree” is a patently dishonest way of pretending that a counterexample isn’t a counter to his absolute claim.
    William Lane Craig never made any absolute claim. Did you even watch the debate? In his opening statement he said he that he knows we cannot be certain of whether the universe had a beginning . However he said he thought the cosmological evidence made it plausible the universe had a beginning (at least more plausible than its negation.)
    You’re doing a great job of straw-manning Craig here.

    And Laney Craigmeister just continues to appeal to intuition in order to pretend that there must be a beginning, and there must be a Space Ghost Coast to Coast.
    Craig never appealed to any kind of intuition at any point to establish that the universe had a beginning. He appealed to intuition to confirm the causal principle at some point , but you’re really dishonestly misrepresenting Craig’s words.

    I’d advise other commenters here to look up the video and see how antepropo is misrepresenting Craig.

  191. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Craig never appealed to any kind of intuition at any point to establish that the universe had a beginning. He appealed to intuition to confirm the causal principle at some point , but you’re really dishonestly misrepresenting Craig’s words.

    I’d advise other commenters here to look up the video and see how antepropo is misrepresenting Craig.

    Craig is presupposing a creator. His imaginary deity. End of story. Presuppositions are fallacious arguments. He cannot and doesn’t present one iota of physical evidence to back up his presuppositions. Which are dismissed as fuckwittery, as they should be. Just as your unevidenced assertions are dismissed as fuckwittery.

  192. Kroos Control says

    So guys were unable to- provide a reason why I shouldn’t trust my moral perception. People disagree about objective facts all the time. Some people think the world is an illusion , or it came to existence 10 minutes ago. Some people hallucinate or are mistaken about what they see in reality.
    However none of these things means we should abandon our properly basic beliefs and stop trusting our perceptions.

    @Daz
    Is genocide objectively immoral?

  193. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    So guys were unable to- provide a reason why I shouldn’t trust my moral perception.

    We did, you don’t accept it. Typical of presuppositional liars and bullhshitters who won’t ever be intellectually honest enough to say “I’m wrong”. For example, if you presuppose your imaginary deity, in order to convince us here you aren’t a delusional fool to be ignored, try providing this level of evidence for your imaginary deity:

    physical evidence that would pass muster with scientists, magicians, and professional debunkers as being of divine, and not natural (scientifically explained), origin.

    Not one godbot in has ever shown such evidence, which is an eternally burning bush or equivalent. Which means they, like you, are all liars and bullshitters.

  194. anteprepro says

    However he said he thought the cosmological evidence made it plausible the universe had a beginning (at least more plausible than its negation.)
    You’re doing a great job of straw-manning Craig here.

    I’m sorry, more plausible that it had a beginning than not runs into the same problem: it blatantly ignores the existence of alternative hypotheses!

    Craig never appealed to any kind of intuition at any point to establish that the universe had a beginning. He appealed to intuition to confirm the causal principle at some point ,

    I…I can’t even begin to imagine why you thought you had a good argument there. I mean…*blinks* I don’t even…

    So guys were unable to- provide a reason why I shouldn’t trust my moral perception.

    You still haven’t proven how we KNOW what is objectively moral? Are you done wanking yet? Do you even have a fucking point anymore? Why are you even fucking here!?

  195. Sastra says

    Kroos Control #174 wrote:

    1) Hitchens challenge
    The way I interpreted it: (1) Nonbelievers are physically capable of performing all the same ethical actions as believers.

    No, I don’t think you’ve interpreted it correctly. “Name me an ethical statement made or an action performed by a believer that could not have been made or performed by a non-believer” doesn’t just involve actions, but ideas — and this is critical. If the moral reasoning makes good sense, then it’s shared. Nonbelievers are capable of holding all the good moral views as believers. “God” has no super powers, nor does it grant any.

    The way Sastra interpreted it
    (3.1) Objective moral facts exist
    (3.2) Humans can use shared ethical intuition and reasoning to gain knowledge of many of these moral facts. (except those facts related to religious customs/traditions).

    Remember, I wasn’t addressing the objective morality question per se, but was only pointing out that if there are objective moral facts, then these hypothetical facts would have to be intersubjectively discoverable regardless of whether someone believes in God … and regardless of whether God exists.

    That second part seems to be giving you some trouble.

    (4.1) (To 3.1) Naturalism/atheism is not compatible with the existence of objective moral facts

    One of the problems here is that there are different meanings of ‘objective.’ You gave this definition: “To say that there are objective moral values is to say that something is right or wrong independently of whether anybody believes it to be so.”

    Independent of whether ANYBODY believes it to be so? Then that would have to include God.

    I think you would be better off with dealing with intersubjectivity, the same from all perspectives. Morals are beliefs. If there are morals out there which are independent of beliefs, then this is incoherent.

    Theism undercuts the idea of ‘objective moral values’ unless there can be a universal consensus on God being Good. And if there CAN be a universal consensus on that, then there can be a consensus on the Good.

    (4.2) Naturalism/atheism would cause skepticism of some of the underlying ethical intuitions we have.. I gave the example of human dignity. I think naturalism would be a defeater (to use an epistemological term) for the truth of those ethical intuitions.

    “Human dignity” rests on the idea that our own individual lives matter, have dignity. Humanism is the view that all human lives share the same rights and obligations within a system which recognizes the basic equality within the human species.

    Introducing a non-human value system is a defeater to any common ethical ground. Either God is included in our system or not. If God is included, then God’s morals are contingent on human nature. But if God is NOT included — now you’ve got chaos. There is not a single one of your beautiful moral insights which could not be thrown out by God, for an authority which is not in any sense equal is a complete wild card.

    “Torturing babies for fun is good.” Thus saith the Lord. In His revised sacred text where He no longer lies for amusement.

    So now where the hell are you? If God says this, is it moral? If this comes direct from God’s moral essence, would you accept it? Or would you instead argue that no, God’s nature CAN’T be like THAT because it’s independent of what you believe? What WE believe. We judge and evaluate God according to what we deem fair and just — or all bets are off.

    You’ve got it backwards. Divine command theory would make any genuinely objective human consensus impossible. Naturalism is the only game in town for every reasonable ethical system — and theism can only piggyback on it.

  196. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @Kroos Control:

    Is genocide objectively immoral?

    No. It is hideously immoral. It is incalculably destructive. It is intergenerationally harmful.

    It is not **objectively** immoral. On what basis would you even say that it was “objectively” immoral? You’re not telling me anything about how objective moral values differ from subjective moral values.

    There’s no test you propose to differentiate between the two – much less from other systems that are philosophically distinct from objective morality *and* from subjective morality. If after thousands of years of philosophy we can’t even get consensus on what type of test would differentiate between sub and ob moralities, it’s a wee bit unbelievable that you “just know” that morality is entirely objective because of the voices in your head.

  197. Kroos Control says

    @Nerd of Redhead
    Craig is not a presuppositionalist and none of his arguments presuppose a creator.

    You keep making repetitive arguments without justifying them
    Assignment

    1)Explain 2 of the 4 arguments WL Craig regularly uses (Kalam , Argument from contingency, argument from fine-tuning, argument from moral facts). Give their premises and conclusion. Show how WL Craig presupposes the existence of God in the premises of these arguments

    2)Answer these questions
    a) Is physical evidence required for belief in every proposition?
    b) If Yes give physical evidence for the proposition “physical evidence required for belief in every proposition”.
    c) If no , explain logically why the proposition “God exists” is an exception , without the use of special pleading or appeal to consequences

    @Nerd of Redhead
    I don’t know if you’re a nice guy in real life , but here you’re simply making a number of unsupported assertions. If you can’t support them , please stop using them and argue about something else.

  198. anteprepro says

    me:

    I’m sorry, more plausible that it had a beginning than not runs into the same problem: it blatantly ignores the existence of alternative hypotheses!

    Correction, it doesn’t exactly ignore as much as dismiss them. Without much justification. With most of that justification being….that Craig’s favored explanations are more intuitive! Yaaaay!

  199. anteprepro says

    You keep making repetitive arguments without justifying them

    More comedy gold! Next xe’s going to start calling us religious, wannabe philosophers, and mindless hero worshippers!

    Ready to tell us how to get to those objective morals yet? Or did Willbo Craggins not teach you that yet in Sunday School?

  200. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    raig is not a presuppositionalist and none of his arguments presuppose a creator.

    You keep making repetitive arguments without justifying them

    I have justified. them. He presupposes a creator, which is his imaginary deity. Without such a presupposition, there is no need to even argue with the physics, which are supported by evidence. What a loser you are.

    Assignment

    Sorry fuckwit, I don’t obey loser sophists, YOUR ASSIGNMENT, is to provide conclusive physical evidence for your imaginary deity, physical evidence that would pass muster with scientists, magicians, and professional debunkers as being of divine, and not natural (scientifically explained), origin. In other words, prove you aren’t a presuppositional liar and bullshitter. You can’t/won’t do it. We both know that. You HAVE NOTHING, as your deity only exists between your ears, and your holy book is mythology/fiction, and can ignored as a source of morality.

  201. chigau (違う) says

    How is

    God is the best explanation of intentional states of consciousness in the world.

    not presupposition?
    and
    which G™od?

  202. anteprepro says

    Also:
    Contingency: Existence, therefore God.
    Moral facts: Morality, therefore God.
    Kalam: Beginning, therefore God.
    Fine-tuning: What’s evolution? Therefore, God.

    If it’s not presuppositional, it at very least ain’t very logical.

  203. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Try pretending your deity doesn’t exist. Everything is explained without needing an imaginary deity. Parsimony in action….

  204. Sastra says

    Ok, this made me laugh:

    God is the best explanation of intentional states of consciousness in the world.

    Explanation? What explanation??

    … because God is a mind it’s hardly surprising that there should be finite minds.

    Oh. Minds come from Mind. Uh huh. I am underwhelmed.

    No understanding of how, no process, no reduction, no history, no evolution, no environment, no development, no nothing. The original mind just … is. For no reason. With no description other than “infinite” — which now makes it incoherent.

    And then it makes “finite” minds … how? I suppose it “grants” them. Donates them. Pops them out with Thought Energy.

    Wait … sorry, getting too detailed. Let’s just keep it at “like comes from like” and try not to contrast that with what explanations look like when you get to science.

    “We get minds from Mind” is not an explanation: it’s a question moved around. “Where do minds come from?” “Yes.”

  205. anteprepro says

    I’m not the one claiming an objective moral framework exists. You and WLC are.

    And apparently objective moralist and prominent Christian superintelligence Dubya Lanekrag thinks that genocide is NOT objectively immoral. And yet his fanborl here seems more focused on just how objective our moral framework with, rather than fretting about whether or not the Christian Super Objective Moral Framework of Mega Cement and Super Steel happens to be letting FUCKING GENOCIDE leak through the cracks. Priorities, ya know.

  206. Ephiral says

    Kroos Control, the reason you cannot trust your moral perception is that you have said that moral perception is untrustowrthy. Not us, you. In response to us pointing out that other people’s moral perception differs from yours, you said that those other people were wrong. Hence, human moral perceptions cannot be trusted. Why is yours in any way special or exceptional in this regard? If you can’t answer that, you’re just sitting on two mutually-contradictory propositions and pretending there’s no conflict.

  207. says

    2)Answer these questions
    a) Is physical evidence required for belief in every proposition?
    b) If Yes give physical evidence for the proposition “physical evidence required for belief in every proposition”.
    c) If no , explain logically why the proposition “God exists” is an exception , without the use of special pleading or appeal to consequences

    The above is presented as an argument to the effect that unsupported arguments are fine an’ dandy.

    It is immediately followed by:

    @Nerd of Redhead
    I don’t know if you’re a nice guy in real life , but here you’re simply making a number of unsupported assertions. If you can’t support them , please stop using them and argue about something else.

    Head→Desk

  208. Al Dente says

    Craig has a fondness for the Kalam argument. The argument runs as follows:

    P1: Everything that begins to exist has a cause.
    P2: The universe has a beginning.
    P3: Therefore the universe must have a cause.

    Craig and other Christian apologists generally do some hand waving and tap dancing to get us to conclude Yahweh created the universe.

    The problem with the argument is the first premise is flawed. In quantum mechanics, things happen that are not caused, such as radioactive decay or when an atom in an excited energy level loses a photon. No cause is evident in the decay of a radioactive nucleus. Craig has said that quantum events are still “caused” just in a non-predetermined manner, what he calls “probabilistic causality.” Craig is thereby admitting that the “cause” in his first premise could be an accidental one, something spontaneous and not predetermined. He therefore destroys his own case for a predetermined creation. Also even if the premise was sound, why would the cause itself not be natural?

    The second premise is also flawed. The argument assumes that the universe has a beginning. Not enough is known about the early stages of the Big Bang or about what existed before the Big Bang. We don’t know what the universe was like before the first 10^−43 seconds after inflation started to say with certainty that the universe had a beginning. Various possibilities exist:

    * Before the expansion started, the universe existed in a stable state eternally.
    * The multiverse could have existed before our universe started.
    * There could have been a Big Crunch with the Big Bang being the rebound.
    * Something else entirely could have existed.

    Even if we assume the universe has a cause, we know nothing about the nature of this cause; certainly not enough to ascribe godhood, let alone godhood with properties such as awareness and intelligence, to it. The cause of the universe may very well lack mind or will. There is no reason to suppose the cause of the universe is Yahweh.

    So Craig is presupposing that his pet god is the cause of the universe. Incidentally, there’s also a bit of special pleading going on. Craig says everything has a cause, except his god.

  209. says

    So guys were unable to- provide a reason why I shouldn’t trust my moral perception. People disagree about objective facts all the time.

    Yes. As a result, we don’t just uncritically trust whatever people think is obvious. We have methods for verifying who’s right. If somebody comes along and asserts something, justifying it with “it’s obvious”, we’re perfectly justified in treating this claim with a bit of skepticism, especially if it’s clearly not “obvious” to everyone else.

    You’re actually asking us to just take your word for it. You’re making that “argument”, while also admitting that people are routinely wrong on this subject.

    Do you really not see the problem here?

  210. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Craig says everything has a cause, except his god.

    The one question that no godbot answers truthfully, is what created their imaginary deity. Usually handwaving about eternal and other tap dancing bullshit is given, which means they have nothing, and they know it. Which is why presuppositional arguments are dismissed. They don’t have the necessary intellectual rigor they expect from science….

  211. Akira MacKenzie says

    Al Dente @ 222

    I take it that Craig got his degree in Quantum Mechanics the same place that Depak Chopra obtained his own (i.e. the University of Rectal Orifice).

  212. Amphiox says

    God is the best explanation of intentional states of consciousness in the world.

    God is not an explanation for intentional states of consciousness in the world at all. (Nor an explanation for anything else either).

    It is simply taking a word, “god”, and using it to replace “I don’t know what” in the above sentence because one is too intellectually cowardly to admit that one does not know and would prefer to PRETEND to have an explanation.

    God does not explain why there are intentional states of consciousness in the world. It does not explain how they came to be in the world. It does not explain what intentional states of consciousness are like.

    It explains nothing.

    If you really want to use God as an explanation for intentional states of consciousness, first you must define (and explain) God. And your definition of God must not, itself, BE an intentional state of consciousness. (So, no awareness, no purpose, no intent)

    Otherwise, all you are saying is “An intentional state of consciousness is the best explanation of intentional states of consciousness in the world.”

    In other words, you have explained nothing.

  213. Amphiox says

    So guys were unable to- provide a reason why I shouldn’t trust my moral perception.

    Trust it if you wish to.

    Just don’t delude yourself into thinking it is in any way objective. It is YOUR perception, which is subjective.

    I mean, that’s the very DEFINITION of the word “subjective”.

    (And best not to be too arrogantly confident about its reliability, either).

  214. woozy says

    2)Answer these questions
    a) Is physical evidence required for belief in every proposition?
    “physical” evidence, for non-physical propositions, no. But “logical” evidence (reason) or consequential evidence is.

    b) If Yes give physical evidence for the proposition “physical evidence required for belief in every proposition”.
    The proposition is a logical one not a physical one so it doesn’t/can not require physical evidence (no more than mathematics can require physical evidence). But it requires logical or consequential evidence and it has it: The validity of a proposition without reason is indistinguishable for a contrary and mutually exclusive proposition and thus can not be assumed with any degree of validity. A physical proposition can not be verified or tested without physical evidence and without verification the validity can not be presumed.

    c) If no , explain logically why the proposition “God exists” is an exception , without the use of special pleading or appeal to consequences

    The proposition is no exception. It requires a reason to believe it. The proposition itself is vague. However if it is to be have any objectivity and valid truth or falsity to the physical world, it should be presumed to have a physical definition. If it isn’t, if it is to have objectivity than it must be a logical objective concept and it must have a logic reason to verify it. If it has no objectivity, well, then it is not a “proposition” in any sense of the word and I, personally, am not interested in it.

  215. vaiyt says

    The Kalam cosmological argument is not an argument for God. It merely states that the Universe has to have a cause. It does NOT let you assume that said cause is Yahweh, as Craig does, because he’s a pressupositionalist.

    The argument from contingency is also not an argument for God. It’s not even an argument, considering one of its premises (that the cause of the universe has to not be contingent itself) is unsupported. The cause of the universe could very well have a cause itself and so on. Again, Craig shoves Yahweh in the role of cause with no reason at all.

    The argument from fine-tuning is the biggest load of crock ever, and just another expression of a common error done by phylosophy wankers. Here’s the gist: to the point of view of the finished product, everything that came before looks finely tuned! That doesn’t mean there’s a conscious force hand-crafting every hole to form mud puddles with just the right shape. Random chance alone determines that things should have SOME state now, and if it wasn’t this one, it would be another, with the same “fine-tuned” appearance.

    The argument from moral facts relies on proof that there is, indeed, an absolute morality, something that isn’t proven. Even if it eventually is, that does NOT follow that Yahweh is the immediate choice for the source – it could as well be Krishna or Yog-Sothoth. Why does Craig assume it to be Yahweh again? Oh yeah, it begins with a P…

    There you go, Kroos. Ball’s in your court now.

  216. woozy says

    b) If Yes give physical evidence for the proposition “physical evidence required for belief in every proposition”.

    There is really a very disingenuous strategy in which the theist tries to bog the debater down in the metalogic of logical systems and then simply hopes the debater will get frustrated and simply give up.

    Physical scientists, historians, and other objectivists, although very logical, tend not be logicians. They take the rules of logic as self-evident and fundamentally true, which they are, and apply them empirically to get valid and correct results. They don’t really like abstract second guessing of the metalogical rules being the logic which they consider abstract wanking and not pertinent to the results, which they usually aren’t. The theist figures by forcing them to re-define the basic metalogic the objectivists will trip themselves up, get confused, or otherwise simply give up.

    Mathematicians, philosophers, and other intuitionists are usually, but not always, more comfortable with abstract metalogic. The theists hope that in dragging them on a tail-chasing rooting of the minutia of the basic axioms and postulates, the intuitionists will fall into an abstract mode were as self-contained logical system the system of supernatural axioms is as internally self consistent as the system of material axioms (which they are) and conclude both are equally valid for the objective world (they aren’t).

    Meanwhile the theist self-delude themselves into believing that because logic can be this subtle (although this subtlety is *very* simple and basic and resolvable) that somehow the subtlety implies mysticism itself.

    Most find these arguments either pointless or simple. Nearly all find them tedious.

  217. seranvali says

    I’ve not read the thread yet but Otrame’s comment at 10 made me recall something a similar realization. I was about twelve at the time and we were visiting the family of a minister friend of my parents. Generally we got on well with his kids (who were several years younger than myself and my sister). His daughters were arguing, however, and their father stepped in and said that if all the kids in the house (myself, my sister, his two daughters and his son) didn’t behave he’d beat his eldest daughter. I didn’t like that one bit. Then he went on to say something like that if God could kill Jesus for the sins of the world he was allowed to punish his daughter for our misbehavior. I went out to find Dad because I felt, even at the tender age if twelve that this was very dubious both theologically and morally and I wanted an explanation, thanks. Then I realized that if God would do the same thing to someone who was by their own definition innocent, then how could I possibly trust God? Somehow the fact that the man who’d made the threat was a minister, with authority over his congregation and widely considered to be a godly man made it. So. Much. Worse.

    To do him justice Dad said that his friend was wrong and that there was no excuse for even threatening to beat his daughter for any reason at all and that using Jesus’ death as a rationale was unacceptable and that he’d talk to his friend about it later.

  218. Nick Gotts says

    Kroos Control@171,

    I see no-one has been able to refute my argument about us being able to directly perceive objective moral values.

    You haven’t made any such argument: you’ve simply asserted that “it’s obvious”. So there’s nothing to refute. You are making the positive claim, that there are objective moral values, so it’s up to you to provide an argument for it.

    Now of course , when you make an argument , think about whether it would undercut our other properly basic beliefs.

    Since there are no such things as properly basic beliefs (see #150), there’s nothing there to think about. But even if there were, you would still have to establish that a belief in objective morality, or in particular moral claims, were properly basic beliefs. Since no criteria for determining this exist, that’s problematic.

    Remember , only one thing has to be objectively morally wrong , to prove that objective moral values exist.
    Think of the example of the black student.
    When he thought about racial discrimination he realised he could not say racial discrimination was objectively neutral and he clearly perceived it to be objectively wrong.
    Is it objectively wrong for kill babes for fun, or is it objectively neutral?
    Is it objectively wrong for Islamic fundamentalists to blow up the world trade center and kill lots of people?
    Is it objectively wrong for religious fundamentalists to distort science and deceive people?
    Is it objectively wrong for Michael Shermer to rape females or for bigots to deny rights to atheists?
    If you can perceive any of these things to be objectively wrong , then objective moral values exist.

    This is a dishonest “gotcha”. It presupposes that there is an objective morality, while attempting to tar anyone who denies that with failing to oppose genocide, rape, etc.. But you don’t need to believe in objective morality to be determined to oppose what empathy and rationality urge you to oppose, such as genocide: your attitude to genocide is to be judged by whether you oppose and condemn it in practice, in all specific instances, not by your metaethical stance. Oddly enough, your hero William Lane Craig does not oppose and condemn genocide in all cases: he thinks it’s just dandy when God orders it.

    @David Gotts
    What epistemology do you hold to?
    How do you justify beliefs such as the belief in the existence of the external world , or belief that the world was not created a few minutes ago and you have false memories?
    Does your epistemology have a way to evaluate the truth value of objective moral facts?
    And sometimes when a philosopher makes a brilliant logical argument and phrases it very well , I find it easier to quote them than to try to paraphrase the argument and lose the force of their wording. I think some guys (William Lane Craig especially) have a gift for putting arguments out in a compelling form.

    Since David Gotts (a cousin of mine) isn’t here and I don’t know his epistemological stance, I’ll answer for myself. You ask how I “justify” belief in the reality of the external world. If by “justify”, you mean fool myself into believing that its reality is beyond question, I don’t. It is indeed logically possible that the universe came into existence last Thursday, or that we live in a simulation (look at Nick Bostrom’s ideas on this). I do, in fact, sometimes discover that what I thought was an external world is actually the product of my own imagination: I sometimes have lucid dreams. So belief in the reality of the external world is certainly not beyond question. Even more fundamentally, it is conceivable that some powerful agent is deceiving us even about the facts of logic and arithmetic. So the first part of my epistemological stance is that I place no belief whatsoever beyond the possibility of revision. (Note that this is a potentially revisable methodological decision, not a claim of certainty that nothing can be established for certain, which would be self-defeating). I can’t, as a matter of psychological fact, help believing in the external world’s reality, but this in no way singles out that belief from many others, such as the belief that there is no largest prime number, that my dog died last year, that I am prone to lower backache if I don’t do my physiotherapy exercises… If you ask me to argue for the reality of the external world, I would instance its apparent self-consistency (in marked contrast to my dreams – it is some inconsistency that often alerts me to the fact that I’m dreaming – and as someone who made a living as a simulation modeller, I know simulations are prone to inconsistencies), and the fact that we can discover we were wrong about aspects of it. These apparent facts about it are what we would expect on the hypothesis that it is real, while we have no reason to expect them on alternative hypotheses such as Last Thursdayism or Bostrom’s simulation hypothesis. But I’m quite ready to admit that neither of these grounds is beyond question, and to revise my belief in its reality if apparently sound arguments for an alternative are presented.

    Kroos Control@195

    But Craig is an expert in philosophy of time, so he would be an expert in philosophical interpretations of relativity. Of course I suppose you would just say Philosophy sucks and ignore it.

    Philosophy that ignores scientific findings is certainly worthless. Craig is ignorant or dismissive of the special and general theories of relativity, which are based on empirical findings showing that his Newtonian view of time is simply wrong.

    Kroos Control@204

    However none of these things means we should abandon our properly basic beliefs and stop trusting our perceptions.

    We know very well that our perceptions are often untrustworthy: any argument based on trusting our perceptions is therefore moot. But at least with sensory perception we often have means to check whether specific perceptions are to be trusted, and can discover that we are in error: we can use other senses, or instruments, and check with other observers (who, it should be noted, do not in general need to agree with our beliefs). In the case of alleged “moral perceptions”, no such checks are available apaprt from appealing to others, and has been pointed out to you several times, believers in objective morality do not, in fact, agree about what is moral. Without systematic ways of discovering you are in error, any claim that you can trust your alleged moral perceptions is simply evidence of arrogance.

  219. Al Dente says

    Objective morality = these things make me feel good so they’re moral, these things make me feel bad so they’re immoral. Disagreeing with me makes me feel bad so people who disagree with me are immoral.

  220. Iain Walker says

    Kroos Control (#171):

    I see no-one has been able to refute my argument about us being able to directly perceive objective moral values.

    You haven’t offered any argument – you have merely asserted it. And apparently you don’t understand the true force of the counter-argument from incompatible moral intuitions, which is: How do you determine which competing intuition is objectively right and which is objectively wrong? In matters of sense experience, or of scientific modelling of natural phenomena, there are ways of checking, of testing, of correcting, ways of demonstrating (within reasonable margins of error) that one experience or model is more correct than another. Yet your appeal to “direct perception” lacks any apparent means for determining the accuracy of said “perception” (oh, and do feel free to stop misappropriating the word “perception” here), either in general and in particular cases.

    (#175):

    William Lane Craig is a brilliant philospher and he is recognized as on [sic] of the foremost Christian intellectuals and philosophers.

    Yet oddly enough, when philosophers talk about those theists amongst their number whom they think provide thought-provoking and interesting contributions to the philosophy of religion, it’s usually people like Swinburne (and occasionally Plantinga) whom they mention. Craig rarely makes the list, except as somebody whose errors, equivocations and non sequiturs can be amusing to dissect in a blog post. Certainly those of us here with a background in philosophy don’t rate him highly. We’ve seen his arguments, we’ve pulled them apart, and have been severely underwhelmed by both his acumen and his intellectual honesty.

    (#204):

    However none of these things means we should abandon our properly basic beliefs and stop trusting our perceptions.

    You have yet to demonstrate that your moral convictions constitute properly basic beliefs. Nor have you addressed Nick Gotts’ general criticism of foundationalism at #150. I’ve also noticed that you haven’t made it clear whether it’s the belief that moral judgements are objective that you consider to be properly basic, or whether it’s the individual beliefs that a given moral judgement is objectively true or false that are properly basic, or both. Because there is a difference.

    However, either way, you face a big problem.

    Firstly, treating individual moral beliefs as properly basic leads either to moral relativism or places you in a position where it is reasonable for us to demand arguments to support them. The point of a belief being properly basic is that it stands in no need of justification by other beliefs, but it is nonetheless rational to believe it. Now, in stronger forms of foundationalism a properly basic belief has to be something indubitable, for which there could be no plausible defeater. But if two moral beliefs are in conflict and both are claimed to be properly basic (because they are “directly perceived” or whatever), then one has no way of deciding between them, because neither is defeatable. And because it is rational to believe something that is properly basic, it can hence be rational for one person to believe that X is morally right, and just as rational for someone else to believe that X is morally wrong. Moral relativism becomes inescapable.

    On the other hand, weaker forms of foundationalism allow a little more leeway in what can count as a properly basic belief, with the proviso that even properly basic beliefs can have defeaters. In other words, although it is still rational to adopt a belief as properly basic, there is an element of provisionality to this, because reasons can still be offered for or against the belief in terms of other beliefs. What’s more, if these supporting reasons become the belief’s primary justification in a person’s epistemic framework, the belief can cease to be properly basic for them. In which case, arguments can be offered (and it is perfectly reasonable to demand such arguments) either for or against a belief which is (initially) held as a properly basic one.

    So either your foundationalism is of the strong form, in which case you seem to have no way of avoiding moral relativism (which contradicts your commitment to the kind of moral objectivism that you espouse), or your foundationalism is of the weak form, in which case it is entirely reasonable for us to demand arguments in support of your particular claims that certain actions are objectively right or wrong. I.e., you cannot simply hide behind claims of proper basicality, because in the weaker form of foundationalism, proper basicality doesn’t really amount to all that much.

    The same problem applies to any claim that belief in moral objectivity in general is properly basic. Either you have no rebuttal to someone who claims that moral subjectivism or moral non-cognitivism is a properly basic belief for them (leading to metaethical relativism), or we can reasonably demand that you defend the claim with supporting arguments.

    To put it another way, in the first case you have left yourself with no means of convincing us of your claims, and in the second case, you have left yourself with no excuse for your ongoing failure to make the attempt.

  221. Anri says

    Al Dente @ 222:

    So Craig is presupposing that his pet god is the cause of the universe. Incidentally, there’s also a bit of special pleading going on. Craig says everything has a cause, except his god.

    “To prove my brilliant and unassailable proof of god, I assert it is an absolute and inflexible rule that all things must have a beginning and a creator. Except for things which don’t.”

    Fortunately, the palm over my face hit the desk before my head.

  222. Kroos Control says

    @Iain Walker

    I’m going to distinguish between moral ontology and moral epistemology. I think you confuse the 2 in your post.
    Moral relativism is an ontological claim about moral truths ie that they do not exist independently human minds and affected by human opinion.
    Moral epistemology is a claim about how we know moral truths.
    My view is that certain moral truth can be perceived directly as true , and are as such properly basic.
    For example the I perceive the statement “it is objectively wrong to kill babies for fun” as true and my belief that it is objectively wrong to kill babies for fun is properly basic.

    I really don’t want to debate problems in moral epistemology about how to debate moral knowledge.
    I really want to try to argue the onotlogical claim that “objective moral facts exist”.
    You’d have to put forward an argument against the existence of moral facts , or show that there is some defeater that means we should not trust our moral perceptions (while not undercutting the reality of our other perceptions)

    Yet oddly enough, when philosophers talk about those theists amongst their number whom they think provide thought-provoking and interesting contributions to the philosophy of religion, it’s usually people like Swinburne (and occasionally Plantinga) whom they mention. Craig rarely makes the list

    Craig is usually on the list when I’ve seen him. He’s published countless peer-reviewed academic books and journal articles in philosophy. I remember reading that in terms of number of articles published in philosophy journals , the Kalam Cosmological Argument (which he revived) is the most debated argument for god in philosophical journals , so I think he is respected in his profession.

    Nor have you addressed Nick Gotts’ general criticism of foundationalism at #150.

    Nick Gotts’ epistemology seems to have difficult providing any kind of warrant for belief in the external world (and not in a self-consistent simulation) and belief in the existence of the past. I have difficulty taking it seriously , until he shows his epistemology has a consistent way of allowing him to have reasonable foundational beliefs.

  223. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I have difficulty taking it seriously , until he shows his epistemology has a consistent way of allowing him to have reasonable foundational beliefs.

    Just as some of us have trouble with presuppositional foundational beliefs, beliefs presumed but not verified with a reality check. As is present in all theological wankery.

  224. says

    Kroos Control

    My view is that certain moral truth can be perceived directly as true , and are as such properly basic.

    Name some, and explain why they are “properly basic.”

    Oh, you do:

    For example the I perceive the statement “it is objectively wrong to kill babies for fun” as true and my belief that it is objectively wrong to kill babies for fun is properly basic.

    I perceive that killing people, whether babies or not, for fun, is immoral. The existence of far too many people who do these things leads me to the belief that this is not a universal belief.

    Nor do you explain how this is objective. You just assert that it is.

    Try again.

  225. Amphiox says

    For example the I perceive the statement “it is objectively wrong to kill babies for fun” as true and my belief

    That very fact that it requires you to PERCEIVE and BELIEVE it means you CANNOT know whether it is objective or subjective.

  226. David Marjanović says

    Comment 232 is on to something.

    @David Gotts
    What epistemology do you hold to?
    How do you justify beliefs such as the belief in the existence of the external world , or belief that the world was not created a few minutes ago and you have false memories?

    Not sure if I was meant, but I’m with comments 150 and 236, funnily enough. :-) Neither solipsism nor Last Thursdayism can be disproved; all I can (and do) make is an argument from parsimony, which is good but is not a proof.

    I’m capable of living with this degree of uncertainty. Some people apparently aren’t; their problem, not mine.

    Does your epistemology have a way to evaluate the truth value of objective moral facts?

    Wait, what? That’s not what epistemology is about.

    ergo ipso facto abracadabra Jesus.

    *steal* :-)

    God is the best explanation of intentional states of consciousness in the world. Philosophers are puzzled by states of intentionality.

    Duh. It’s not their field! This belongs to neurobiology, not to philosophy.

    Intentionality is the property of being about something or of something. It’s signifies the object directedness of our thoughts.
    For example, I can think about my summer vacation or I can think of my wife. No physical object has this sort of intentionality. A chair or a stone or a glob of tissue like the one like the brain is not about or of something else. Only mental states or states of consciousness are about other things….

    Embarrassing word game, ergo ipso facto abracadabra Jesus!!!!!

    Seriously. Craig has managed to confuse “the brain is about” with “the brain thinks about”. *headdesk*

    For the awareness that one is oneself in pain requires self-awareness, which is centered in the pre-frontal cortex of the brain–a section of the brain which is missing in all animals except for the humanoid primates.

    Is it?

    BTW, I don’t know what Craig means by “humanoid primates”, because that’s not a term biologists use.

    But Craig is an expert in philosophy of time, so he would be an expert in philosophical interpretations of relativity.

    …Wow.

    This is the most embarrassing argument from authority I’ve read in a long time.

    As Carroll demonstrated so nicely, Craig hasn’t understood relativity in the first place. So, if he counts as an expert in philosophy of time, then the whole field of philosophy of time is wrong. :-|

    Without systematic ways of discovering you are in error, any claim that you can trust your alleged moral perceptions is simply evidence of arrogance.

    “There are no sects in geometry”, said Voltaire.

  227. Kroos Control says

    @Nick Gotts

    Craig is ignorant or dismissive of the special and general theories of relativity, which are based on empirical findings showing that his Newtonian view of time is simply wrong.

    Please demonstrate this.
    Please expalin the 3 interpretations of special relativity and demonstrate that Craig’s view is inconsistent with all of them. Also demonstrate how empirical findings of general relativity are inconsistent with Craig’s view.

  228. Amphiox says

    I see no-one has been able to refute my argument about us being able to directly perceive objective moral values.

    Just because you refuse to admit it has happened doesn’t mean it hasn’t.

    But in truth the onus is on YOU to demonstrate this “directly” perceive thing.

    Then, the onus is on YOU to demonstrate that what is “directly” perceived is actually “objective”. Since by definition what is perceived, whether direct or indirect, is subjective, and the difference between the objective and the subjective is that the objective remains even if it is NOT perceived by anything.

    Until you do so, the null hypothesis that it is NOT direct nor objective, but filtered subjectively through the human brains and senses we all must use to perceive anything in the world stands unchallenged.

    You have been circling this fundamental point in all your posts, afraid to address it, since you know you cannot. Until you do so you have done nothing repetitively wank on the same old, tired idiocies.

  229. David Marjanović says

    Oh. I forgot to close the second blockquote tag before “Is it?”.

    Just as some of us have trouble with presuppositional foundational beliefs, beliefs presumed but not verified with a reality check. As is present in all theological wankery.

    Uh… Nerd… that’s a tu quoque argument.

  230. Amphiox says

    The Kalam cosmological argument is not an argument for God. It merely states that the Universe has to have a cause.

    If one wishes to, and derives psychological satisfaction in, calling a quantum fluctuation “god” and worshipping it, then by all means do so. If it makes you happy then I am pleased that there is more happiness in the world.

    But don’t presume to impose such attitudes on me, or try to force the implementation of public policies that affect me based on such a belief, or force schools to indoctrinate such a belief in my children.

  231. Sastra says

    Kroos Control #240 wrote:

    For example the I perceive the statement “it is objectively wrong to kill babies for fun” as true and my belief that it is objectively wrong to kill babies for fun is properly basic.

    I’m curious then as to how you might address the hypothetical I brought in at #207. I’ll rephrase it to make it easier to address (and in case you don’t have time to respond to my previous post(s)):

    Assume that you turn out to be correct that God exists, but sorely mistaken concerning what God’s fundamental moral nature entails. God has divinely established that “it is objectively right and proper to kill babies for fun.”

    It seems to me that your options here are limited:

    1.) If this is the divine order, then it is the divine order. You will try assiduously to turn “It is objectively right and proper to kill babies for fun” into your own properly basic moral belief, that you may align yourself with Truth.

    2.) Okay. If this is the case, then God is evil. Your “properly basic belief” that it’s wrong to kill babies for fun must be based then on something OTHER than God because it’s still objectively wrong. Ethical reasoning, perhaps, or common human sense, or something else would be used to fight against a God which fails to fit your preconceptions of “good.”

    3.) No, this hypothetical cannot be entertained without contradiction. A God which goes against MY moral intuitions — which come from God — can’t exist. You cannot conceive of a God which is not made in your image, and agreeing with you.

    Which? Or do you think there is another option? Would it involve abandoning “objective” morality?

    Those last 2, btw, are humanist. Only the first one accepts the consequences of demanding justification for human morality from a source which transcends human beings.

  232. maddog1129 says

    @ Kroos Control #240

    For example the I perceive the statement “it is objectively wrong to kill babies for fun” as true and my belief that it is objectively wrong to kill babies for fun is properly basic.

    What does “for fun” mean? What does it add or detract from the proposition that “It is objectively wrong to kill babies” ?

    WLC, as noted by Daz in post # 189, thinks that God’s command to the Israelite soldiers to kill all the Canaanites, including all the babies, is hunky dory. In fact, Craig worries a little bit, initially, that it might have been emotionally taxing on the soldiers to do so, but then decides, well, maybe not. When you’re regarded as a national hero for killing everyone, including all the babies, — AND you have God’s imprimatur to do so! — then maybe it is RIGHT to “kill babies,” and maybe it IS “fun” to “kill babies.” Look at how much fun people have in combat (killing) games.

  233. says

    You’d have to put forward an argument against the existence of moral facts , or show that there is some defeater that means we should not trust our moral perceptions

    What about the undeniable fact that people don’t agree in their moral “perceptions”? Seems to me a pretty solid counter.

    If two people disagree about what these objective moral values are, that’s a strong indicator that our moral intuitions cannot be accepted uncritically, and since the validity of those moral intuitions is your reason for thinking that there are objective moral values to being with, you’re on very shaky ground.

    Note that I dislike the use of moral perceptions, since you’re clearly trying to equivocate between physical perceptions and moral intuitions. They’re not remotely the same thing, do not relate to the same subjects, are not apprehended in the same manner and are simply not the same category of thing at all.

    I think it would be a good idea to stop using the word “perceptions” for something that clearly isn’t. It’s starting to look as though you’re simply trying to sneak your conclusion in through the back door. I suggest “intuitions” or “conclusions”. Feel free to suggest something else, if you prefer.

    I really want to try to argue the onotlogical claim that “objective moral facts exist”.

    Okay then. Let’s try from the top, with a simple question: What does “objective moral facts” actually mean? How does a fact have prescriptive power? How do you get from an objective fact to a “you should/shouldn’t do X”? No other objective facts work like that.

    And please don’t just say “it’s obvious”, since it clearly isn’t.

  234. Anri says

    Kroos Control @56:

    do believe there are such things as justified wars , so I suppose if I was encouraging a nation to go to a justified war to eg stop the Holocaust , it would be needful warmongering.

    Kroos Control @ 240:

    For example the I perceive the statement “it is objectively wrong to kill babies for fun” as true and my belief that it is objectively wrong to kill babies for fun is properly basic.

    So, you believe bombing cities is only moral if the pilots aren’t enjoying themselves, yes?
    Does a feeling of accomplishment count?
    If they don’t really care – or don’t really know – about the condition of the people in the cities, but are trying to (and get pleasure from) fulfilling their officer’s orders?

    And, as a follow-up, are the dead people in a better situation depending on the mental state of the pilots at the time of the bombing?
    If not, what difference does the ‘for fun’ modifier make?
    Or is your objective morality separate from the fate of the victim?

  235. maddog1129 says

    And Daz again at #242 makes another good observation: couching your statement in terms of “it is objectively wrong to kill babies for fun,” tweaks our noses with the emotional appeal to babies. Is it “objectively wrong to kill human beings for fun,” or is such a categorical statement only available when it’s babies who are involved?

    And, although I pointed out how much fun people have in killing others in combat games and simulations, Daz also notes that plenty of real life people DO think it’s fun to really kill other human beings, not just in games: “The existence of far too many people who do these things leads me to the belief that this is not a universal belief.” IOW, it’s simply not true that it is “objectively” the case that killing other people “for fun” is universally perceived as morally wrong. Some people’s perceptions (subjective!) differ from yours. HOW do you determine who is right? And how would you determine that it is still “objectively morally wrong” to kill others (for fun or otherwise) if you believed that God had commanded you to kill others?

  236. Sastra says

    I have occasionally argued in favor of “objective moral facts,” but in such a way that it doesn’t really get us anywhere specifically useful. That is, I think it is possible to express extremely general principles or moral statements which could be considered “objective” because they entail universal (or close to universal) inter-subjective agreement among members of the human species. All ‘reasonable’ people accept them.

    What sort of “facts?”

    Good is desirable. Evil is not.
    What causes the best things to flourish is good.
    Causing unnecessary harm is evil.
    Being fair is good.
    Cheating is wrong.
    Murder is wrongful killing.

    I warned you not to get your hopes up. Different people or groups can look at these statements, nod, and then interpret them in ways which go all over the place. What sort of harm is “necessary” — and which isn’t? What are the “best things?” Is it really “cheating” if it’s righting a larger wrong? When it is just fine to kill — so that it’s not ‘murder’ at all? Most of these sound suspiciously like tautologies – or definitions. These rather vague, broad, undefined objective ‘facts’ aren’t going to arbitrate disputes.

    But they will I think help establish the common boundaries in which we can hold our disputes. They’re anchored into the fundamental relationships and exchanges between people who need to work together harmoniously. Which is why I think they still have value. Great value, if someone thinks the alternative has just got to be supernatural.

  237. anteprepro says

    Please expalin the 3 interpretations of special relativity and demonstrate that Craig’s view is inconsistent with all of them. Also demonstrate how empirical findings of general relativity are inconsistent with Craig’s view.

    The amazing flying goalposts, ladies and gentlemen! Wasn’t this thread about Hitchens? And Hitchen’s Razor and morality? And some brain-addled apologetics fanborl babbling about how Hitchens really was wrong? Because Billy Lane? Now suddenly we need to write an essay about the various ways Billy Lane fails at physics? To appease a charlatan who has been consistently jumping from one error to the next and dodging any form of criticism that comes their way?

    Sorry, I don’t think you are worth the effort, amusing as it might be to enable more Gish Galloping from you.

  238. anteprepro says

    Also, I love how this jackass keeps commanding us to do homework assignments when they have still yet to explain how you obtain these objective morals. It’s not logic, that’s clear. Is it really as stupid as “gut feelings” or are we going to yet another to nimrod pretending that the Bible somehow told them that child abuse, rape, and slavery are wrong?

    And you’ve been beautifully evasive about C. to the R. to the AIG’s defense of genocide. We have noticed, ya know.

  239. Kroos Control says

    @Sastra
    You’ve proven to be logical so I’ll respond to you.
    (Also don’t take this to mean that I hold the same view as Craig on the subject , I’m still undecided)
    With reference to Craig’s argument from conciousness , Craig has elsewhere distinguished between personal explanation and impersonal explanations.
    Craig believes in free will so personal explanation would be with reference to the choice of an agent and its motivations/reasons . For example the fact “Nicole Simpson is dead” could be explained by “OJ Simpson chose to murder her for X-motivation”.
    Where X-motivation might be anger, hate for Nicole or any of the mother motivation he may have had.
    That’s a perfectly acceptable kind of explanation we use in everyday reasoning.
    And impersonal explanation might be stuff referring to the laws of physics or biochemistry or natural processes, which I think was the sort of explanation you were expecting for consciousness.

    Craigs explanation would probably be “Consciousness exists” because “God chose to create it for X-theological reason”.
    You might insist that consciousness/intentionality should have some kind of naturalistic , impersonal explanation , but I think that begs the question in favor of naturalism. You might claim Craig’s explanation is not a naturalistic or scientific explanation , and Craig would agree. But he would say you are begging the question when you assume non-naturalistic interpretations are invalid.
    IMO it always seemed more plausible to me that consciousness/intentionality came from another mind with intentions as opposed to mindless material via mindless /non-intentional processes.

  240. Al Dente says

    Kroos Control @240

    the Kalam Cosmological Argument (which he revived) is the most debated argument for god in philosophical journals , so I think [Craig] is respected in his profession.

    Apparently you missed my post @222 where I refuted the Kalam argument and showed that Craig uses presupposition and special pleading to attribute the cause of the universe to Yahweh. David Hume refuted the Kalam argument in the 18th Century. Sorry, still not impressed by Billy “genocidal god is moral” Craig.

  241. says

    A thought strikes:

    1) We can reasonably define “doing something for fun” as “doing something because it’s amusing or pleasurable, giving one a sense of gratification”.

    2) We can assume that god is capable of feeling such pleasure or gratification, at least in some fashion, according to whatever divine nature he has (since denying that opens up a shit-ton of problems).

    3) God has a divine plan that includes creating humans and bringing them to heaven, where we can be with him forever.

    4) Therefore, when a person goes to heaven, this must be gratifying to god, as another step in his plan.

    5) Babies go to heaven when they die (as even WLC, the expert philosopher, agrees)

    6) God sometimes takes actions that kill babies or commands such actions to be done.

    7) When god kills a baby (or has a hit put out on one), that baby goes to heaven and god feels gratified about that fact.

    8) Ergo, god kills babies and has fun doing it.

  242. says

    Craigs explanation would probably be “Consciousness exists” because “God chose to create it for X-theological reason”.

    Observe this 50cc moped with the dodgy carburettor, two flat tyres and a fucked-up ignition system.

    Observe the Grand Canyon.

    Watch me, as I leeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaap…

  243. Al Dente says

    Kroos Control @257

    “Craigs explanation would probably be “Consciousness exists” because “God chose to create it for X-theological reason”.”

    The probability of this hinges on several suppositions, chief among them being the existence of gods. Since we don’t accept the existence of any gods, let alone the Christian god, we believe the probability of this supposition to be so low as to effectively be zero.

  244. Kroos Control says

    @Sastra

    I think this is more of an epistemological argument.

    if God exists, then his is by definition , maximally good ,and we conclude objective morals are ground in his nature. That’s the onotological conclusion. That’s what I was arguing.

    I can’t conceive of a world where God would ordain it good to kill babies for fun,.

    But certain moral beliefs and belief in God are considered properly basic in my epistemology. If these beliefs are inconsistent I’d have to revisit my beliefs and see which one I have to reject.
    TBH IDK which one I would actually reject. I revisit my evidence and intuitions on both

  245. Al Dente says

    Kroos Control @257

    I missed this bit of argument from incredulity:

    IMO it always seemed more plausible to me that consciousness/intentionality came from another mind with intentions as opposed to mindless material via mindless /non-intentional processes.

    Just because you think something is more plausible doesn’t mean it’s more likely to be true. As J.B.S. Haldane noted:

    My own suspicion is that the Universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose.

    There’s another problem with your supposition. You’re arguing that your god is intelligent. Who created his intelligence? It’s special pleading for you to say “all intelligence comes from another mind, except for my favorite god’s intelligence.”

    Personally I think that intelligence is a survival trait which evolution selects for. But this is supposition on my part.

  246. Sastra says

    Kroos Control #257 wrote:

    You might claim Craig’s explanation is not a naturalistic or scientific explanation , and Craig would agree. But he would say you are begging the question when you assume non-naturalistic interpretations are invalid.

    Since this interesting topic isn’t really the topic of the post (and you are spreading your army-of-one thinner and thinner over too wide an area), I’ll simply point out again that Craig’s “explanation” is not really an explanation at all. It reduces only to “like comes from like” and it’s a flat statement. This seems “plausible” only because it is very, very easy and very, very simple, with no attempt to provide information which involves any deeper understanding. It leaves the “why” about the Original Mind dangling on nothing.

    If you contrast this with the rigorous, laborious, step-by-step approach to understanding how and why mentality might come from elements which are not mind-like, evolving and shaping against a natural and social environment, the disconnect is jarring. The bar has been raised. Craig’s empty “like comes from like” solution is a stick forever lying on the ground.

  247. Al Dente says

    Kroos Control @262

    if God exists, then his is by definition , maximally good ,and we conclude objective morals are ground in his nature. That’s the onotological conclusion. That’s what I was arguing.

    Your god is a genocidal bully who kills people just because he can. Despite what your buddy Craig says, killing people for because they piss god off is as immoral as killing them for fun. For that matter, explain this bit:

    Every firstborn son in Egypt will die, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh, who sits on the throne, to the firstborn son of the female slave, who is at her hand mill, and all the firstborn of the cattle as well. Exodus 11:5

    Your god is killing CHILDREN because a political leader isn’t doing what a lobbyist wants him to. And why did Pharoah ignore Moses? Let’s see what the Bible says:

    And the LORD said unto Moses, When thou goest to return into Egypt, see that thou do all those wonders before Pharaoh, which I have put in thine hand: but I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go. Exodus 4:21

    And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and multiply my signs and my wonders in the land of Egypt. Exodus 7:3

    And he hardened Pharaoh’s heart, that he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said. Exodus 7:13

    And the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh, and he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had spoken unto Moses. Exodus 9:12

    And the LORD said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh: for I have hardened his heart, and the heart of his servants, that I might shew these my signs before him. Exodus 10:1

    But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, so that he would not let the children of Israel go. Exodus 10:20

    But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he would not let them go. Exodus 10:27

    And Moses and Aaron did all these wonders before Pharaoh: and the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, so that he would not let the children of Israel go out of his land. Exodus 11:10

    According to your own propaganda your god set Pharaoh up to fail. Your god then killed innocent children because your god is an asshole who likes to go on killing rampages. According to your own admission, killing babies for fun is immoral. Guess what your god does.

  248. maddog1129 says

    @ Kroos Control # 257

    IMO it always seemed more plausible to me that consciousness/intentionality came from another mind with intentions as opposed to mindless material via mindless /non-intentional processes.

    I don’t understand why you think that, or why you think that is more “plausible.” The only experience we have of “minds” is that minds are associated with particular kinds of animials with material physical bodies. There is plenty of physical material which does not manifest anything like a mind, but all the minds we have ever had access to are connected to and arise from material physical animals. For billions of years, there was lots of material, and no apparent minds. Minds are a late arrival, and always in the company of physical material animals. No one has ever *seen* a disembodied mind.

  249. maddog1129 says

    @ Kroos Control #262

    if God exists, then h[e] is by definition , maximally good ,and we conclude objective morals are ground in his nature. That’s the onotological conclusion. That’s what I was arguing.

    By what “definition”? It certainly is NOT the case that the God of the Bible is “maximally good.” That particular conception of a God never said a single word against slavery, for example, and has not only condoned but commanded genocide. Those are NOT “good.” If you want to posit a God that is defined as “maximally good,” you have automatically excluded the God of the Bible; you must mean something else. What other attributes does this God who, IF he exists, is “maximally good”? Lay all your definitional cards on the table. THEN show that a god, as so defined, actually exists.

    Also, how are you defining “good,” so as to know whether any entity or being is “maximally good”? Notice that a human understanding of what the word “good” means logically precedes any proposition that “such-and-such is *good*”

  250. Sastra says

    Kroos Control #262 wrote:

    I can’t conceive of a world where God would ordain it good to kill babies for fun,.
    But certain moral beliefs and belief in God are considered properly basic in my epistemology. If these beliefs are inconsistent I’d have to revisit my beliefs and see which one I have to reject.
    TBH IDK (to be honest I don’t know?) which one I would actually reject. I revisit my evidence and intuitions on both

    Please do so, because thought experiments like this help us take apart our ideas and really examine them to discover their foundations.

    When push really comes to shove, which has priority for you? God’s moral nature? Or your moral intuitions about what you believe about that nature? Separate them in order to find out.

    Either way you choose has profound consequences. Not necessarily to your life, but to your understanding of the possibility and/or value of an “objective” morality. If it is anchored outside of humanity — a humanity which includes you — then you need to consider what would happen if you’ve made a mistake.

  251. Rob Grigjanis says

    Kroos Control @245:

    Please expalin the 3 interpretations of special relativity and demonstrate that Craig’s view is inconsistent with all of them.

    Craig doesn’t understand the spacetime (Minkowski) interpretation, or pretends not to, to advance his neo-Lorentzian view.

    What the new story [of the Three Brothers] shows is that the aging of the traveling twin is not due to his absolute motion, much less to his acceleration or deceleration at various points during his journey, for these are entirely eliminated in the story involving three persons who merely pass one another in space.

    Well, yes, it’s the speed which takes the years off, but to return and compare clocks, the travelling twin has to decelerate, thus distinguishing him. All Craig does is choose three inertial frames of reference, with the clocks rigged to duplicate the results of a twin scenario where brother #2 does a sharp turn homeward instead of passing brother #3. It’s transparent nonsense, but to Craig, acceptable nonsense;

    But such a view [Minkowskian], if taken metaphysically seriously, entails a tenseless theory of time which comes with a very high and, I think, unacceptable, price philosophically and theologically.

    Remember what I wrote about ‘dishonest or incompetent’?

  252. Rob Grigjanis says

    By the way, here is a philosophy paper arguing against Craig’s neo-Lorentzianism. I tuned out when I hit ‘ontology of persistence’. Too hifalutin for me, but maybe your cuppa tea.

  253. anteprepro says

    Motley Kroo:

    You’ve proven to be logical so I’ll respond to you.

    If that’s the criteria for response, I wonder why we are responding to you?

    With reference to Craig’s argument from conciousness , Craig has elsewhere distinguished between personal explanation and impersonal explanations.
    Craig believes in free will so personal explanation would be with reference to the choice of an agent and its motivations/reasons

    This seems to be a consistent theme: Craig is absolutely correct and brilliant and insightful…if you assume his bullshit, counterfactual premises to be true. Or if you just give high esteem to blatant word games.

    It’s a bit of a false dichotomy. Is poverty explained by personal, as in someone’s intention, or impersonal explanation, like physics? How about neuroscience? Is the correlation of activation of the amygdala when someone is angry personally explained by anger or impersonally explained by the brain? Is neuroscience even a thing in your and Billy Goats Craig’s world? And given that you believe in a personal God, aren’t all things personally explained? As in, even you guys think your own distinction is bullshit?

    You might insist that consciousness/intentionality should have some kind of naturalistic , impersonal explanation , but I think that begs the question in favor of naturalism.

    Fuck you evidence, and your prejudice against MAGIC.

    You might claim Craig’s explanation is not a naturalistic or scientific explanation , and Craig would agree. But he would say you are begging the question when you assume non-naturalistic interpretations are invalid.

    Which is a poorly esteemed philosopher and masterdebator trusted by barely anyone outside of his evangelical circlejerk.

    IMO it always seemed more plausible to me that consciousness/intentionality came from another mind with intentions as opposed to mindless material via mindless /non-intentional processes.

    That’s great that magic is more intuitive to you. But you are factually wrong. I am sorry that that doesn’t sway you more.

    if God exists, then his is by definition , maximally good ,

    Ahahaha bullshit.

    I can’t conceive of a world where God would ordain it good to kill babies for fun

    Your incredulity proves jackshit.

    If these beliefs are inconsistent I’d have to revisit my beliefs and see which one I have to reject.

    And yet you won’t, because you are lying to yourself and then lying to us.

  254. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Craigs explanation would probably be “Consciousness exists” because “God chose to create it for X-theological reason”.
    You might insist that consciousness/intentionality should have some kind of naturalistic , impersonal explanation , but I think that begs the question in favor of naturalism. You might claim Craig’s explanation is not a naturalistic or scientific explanation , and Craig would agree. But he would say you are begging the question when you assume non-naturalistic interpretations are invalid.

    And, we’re so done. The lifetime achievement award for oblivious projection goes to Kroos Kontrol in care of WLC.

  255. Al Dente says

    Raven will be annoyed. Despite hir warnings, we must have broken the chew toy because xe hasn’t shown up for over two hours.

  256. Akira MacKenzie says

    I can’t conceive of a world where God would ordain it good to kill babies for fun.

    Oh, but I’m sure that you could conceive of a world were God had a good reason to kill babies, couldn’t you?

  257. David Marjanović says

    You’ve proven to be logical so I’ll respond to you.

    Ooooh. Your Grace condescends to give us an answer.

    Shall I taunt you a second time? I promise not to harm any cows in the process… :-)

    Craig believes in free will

    He believes in free will? Not, like, he has concluded that free will exists after taking, say, these arguments (pdf) into account?

    But he would say you are begging the question when you assume non-naturalistic interpretations are invalid.

    They’re not automatically invalid; they’re just unparsimonious – unnecessary.

    And in this particular case, the one he proposes isn’t even an explanation in the first place, as Sastra has explained.

    8) Ergo, god kills babies and has fun doing it.

    …I can’t find any mistake in your logic.

    if God exists, then his is by definition , maximally good ,

    Waaaaaaaait. What? What kind of definition is that? It’s an extremely narrow definition for a god; only Superman has any hopes of fitting it.

    I can’t conceive of a world where God would ordain it good to kill babies for fun,.

    Give me a reason why I shouldn’t consider this an argument from personal incredulity.

    But certain moral beliefs and belief in God are considered properly basic in my epistemology.

    If it contains properly basic beliefs, beliefs it cannot account for, why do you call it an epistemology?

    But such a view [Minkowskian], if taken metaphysically seriously, entails a tenseless theory of time which comes with a very high and, I think, unacceptable, price philosophically and theologically.

    Remember what I wrote about ‘dishonest or incompetent’?

    We probably need to spell it out for Kroos Control:

    No price is unacceptable philosophically, let alone theologically. The very concept is silly – it’s an argument from consequences.

    “Science has taught […] me to be careful how I adopt a view which jumps with my preconceptions, and to require stronger evidence for such belief than for one to which I was previously hostile. My business is to teach my aspirations to conform themselves to fact, not to try and make facts harmonise with my aspirations.”

    “Science seems to me to teach in the highest and strongest manner the great truth which is embodied in the Christian conception of entire surrender to the will of God. Sit down before fact as a little child, be prepared to give up every preconceived notion, follow humbly wherever and to whatever abysses nature leads, or you shall learn nothing. I have only begun to learn content and peace of mind since I have resolved at all risks to do this.”

    Thomas Henry Huxley in a letter of reply to Charles Kingsley, 1860

  258. Amphiox says

    Poor KC probably doesn’t realize that by adding the qualifier “for fun”, in his trabsparently dishonest attempt to evade all those uncomfortable questions about all those times his god killed babies or ordered the killing of babies (and this doesn’t change if one switches gods, either – they’ve ALL killed babies), he is admitting the morality is subjective, not objective.

    The criteria for whether or not it is wrong now comes down to if it was done “for fun”. But “fun” has NO objective measure or existence. It is an ENTIRELY subjective state.

    And thus the morality of the act is subjective.

    Thanks, KC, for conceding the argument.

    You may go away now.

  259. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    And thus the morality of the act is subjective.

    Thanks, KC, for conceding the argument.

    You may go away now.

    I’m just surprised KC didn’t try for the Absolute Morality bullshit, given Xis imaginary deity directing Xis morality, which results in making Xim feel good….

  260. Ephiral says

    Craig is not a presuppositionalist

    if God exists, then his is by definition , maximally good

    So. No presupposition here in what is, at its core, a debate about morality. Except the one where you presuppose that your specific view of God is the definition of morality.

    I think we’re done here.

  261. Sastra says

    … if God exists, then (He) is by definition , maximally good

    According to whom?

    That is such an important question it’s a wonder that it doesn’t seem to occur to these apologists to ask it.

  262. raven says

    Raven will be annoyed. Despite hir warnings, we must have broken the chew toy …

    LOL. Not really.

    They always break. Chew toys are fragile. You have to make a determined effort not to break them too soon.

    This one was fun but not very coherent. I’d be surprised if KC has ever been outside of a fundie xian thought bubble before.

  263. anteprepro says

    I wonder if Kroos Control will sit and ponder and really understand just how subjective their supposed “objective morality” really is.

  264. raven says

    Craig is not a presuppositionalist

    if God exists, then his is by definition , maximally good

    I think we’re done here.

    We’ve just seen a volcano of nonsequiturs, logical fallacies, and assorted assertions without proof. It’s a wonder that Pharyngula hasn’t gone the way of Pompei.

    1. Craig is a pure fundie xian Presuppositionalist. Even a lot of xians don’t agree with him.

    2. If god exists… So much wrong with that statement. Which god? There are thousands at least. A popular idea is that there are many gods and goddesses. At one time in the bible, the OT god was married to the goddess Asherah.

    There is nothing to say that god is good or perfect. He could be a klutz. He could be evil. In fact, the god of the OT isn’t good or perfect. He is an incompetent Sky Monster and says so himself in Isaiah.

    The bible god has been continually evolving. From one among many gods, through the Sky Monster stage, then the god of love, to the one now hiding behind the Big Bang. About what you expect from a human creation.

  265. Ephiral says

    @anteprepro: That would require some self-awareness. Don’t hold your breath.

  266. raven says

    Isaiah 45 KJV

    7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things.

    Besides claiming credit for creating evil, the bible god also created satan and the demons and lets them run around doing whatever they do.

    Hitchens: (The xian) god is not great.

  267. anteprepro says

    @anteprepro: That would require some self-awareness. Don’t hold your breath.

    Don’t you worry, I’m actively betting against them realizing that. I would just be happy to see myself lose that bet. I’m certainly not counting on it. I know how these folks operate (i.e. they don’t).

  268. vaiyt says

    Craigs explanation would probably be “Consciousness exists” because “God chose to create it for X-theological reason”.

    Assumes facts not in evidence liekwhoa. Including, but not limited to,
    -that God exists
    -that God has a consciousness
    -that said Godly consciousness does not need to be created (in that case, why would ours need to be?)
    -that God is indeed Yahweh and follows Christian theological rules.

    IMO it always seemed more plausible to me that consciousness/intentionality came from another mind with intentions as opposed to mindless material via mindless /non-intentional processes.

    This just begs the question of where THAT mind that created minds came from.

    if God exists, then his is by definition , maximally good

    If.

    Again, this argument pressuposes that the creator of the universe HAS to be Yahweh. What if it’s the Demiurge?

  269. raven says

    IMO it always seemed more plausible to me that consciousness/intentionality came from another mind with intentions as opposed to mindless material via mindless /non-intentional processes.

    I assume this is KC channeling WL Craig.

    It’s why I stopped paying much attention to this thread about half way down. It’s painful to see this level of ignorance.

    This is the old Fallacy of argument from ignorance and personal incredulity. That we’ve seen hundreds of times.
    It reduces down to Lack of (my) knowledge = god exists.

    Lack of knowledge really just means lack of knowledge.

    Made worse because we know where minds come from:
    1. They are produced by brains. Dualism died a century ago.

    2. We know where they came from. They evolved. Animals have minds. We don’t understand consciousness very well but it is likely that most or all mammals at least are conscious beings. Anyone who had a dog or cat could see that.

    Contrary to WL Craig’s ignorance, the prefrontal cortex or equivalent is found in all mammals down to rats and mice at least.

  270. David Marjanović says

    all mammals down to rats and mice at least

    “Down”?

    Rodents and primates are quite closely related, closer to each other than to carnivores or whales, let alone marsupials or the monotremes everyone keeps forgetting about.

    “Never say higher or lower”
    – Darwin in the margin of a book, 1844 or so.

  271. anteprepro says

    1. They are produced by brains. Dualism died a century ago.

    I forgot to, but I was going to say something similar at one point!

    Substance dualism is dead. Any theory of mind that ignores the brain is actively denying science. Just as any theory of time that ignores relativity.

    Craig may not be a creationist, but he denies just as much science as one, in the name of Philosophy.

  272. raven says

    wikipedia animal consciousness:

    Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness 2012:

    The absence of a neocortex does not appear to preclude an organism from experiencing affective states. Convergent evidence indicates that

    non-human animals have the neuroanatomical, neurochemical, and neurophysiological substrates of conscious states along with the capacity to exhibit intentional behaviors.

    Consequently, the weight of evidence indicates that humans are not unique in possessing the neurological substrates that generate consciousness. Non-human animals, including all mammals and birds, and many other creatures, including octopuses, also possess these neurological substrates.

    Cambridge University, UK

    FWIW, I only follow consciousness research distantly. It’s such a hard problem that progress is very slow.

    The above seems to summarize the latest from the neurobiologists. It’s interesting that they include all mammals, birds, and cephalopods as probably or possibly conscious.

  273. Kroos Control says

    this interesting topic isn’t really the topic of the post (and you are spreading your army-of-one thinner and thinner over too wide an area), I’ll simply point out again that Craig’s “explanation” is not really an explanation at all. It reduces only to “like comes from like” and it’s a flat statement. This seems “plausible” only because it is very, very easy and very, very simple, with no attempt to provide information which involves any deeper understanding. It leaves the “why” about the Original Mind dangling on nothing

    How is it not an explanation though? I agree its a simple explanation to be sure. But vis-a-vis this principle called Ockham’s razor (you can look it up) we know that simple explanations are more likely to be true than equivalent complex ones.

    And as to the original mind. Craig has said that God by definition is a maximally great being. A maximally great being would have qualities , such as moral perfection, omnipotence ,omniscience and necessary existence.
    So if God exists he would exist by the necessity of his own nature, and not be caused by anything else

  274. says

    Kroos Control 295
    So we can add Occam’s razor to the list of things you don’t understand even a little bit. Occam’s razor says to not multiply causes unnecessarily, or phrased differently that the hypothesis with the fewest assumptions should be the one used. The existence of a material universe is a necessary assumption for any hypothesis involving the origin of minds, as without it there would be no one to have the discussion. Gods are an additional assumption beyond that, which puts the god hypothesis on the wrong side of Occam’s razor.

    None of the gibberish in your second paragraph constitutes an argument for anything, let alone evidence of anything.

  275. Sastra says

    Kroos Control #295 wrote:

    How is it not an explanation though? I agree its a simple explanation to be sure.

    It’s not simple so much as simplistic. Explaining human minds by flatly declaring they came from another Mind (“Like comes from like”) is like explaining that the engine makes the car move by giving it movement. We get life from a Life Force. We get morals from a Moral Essence. Kroos Control came from a Kroos Control source.

    There’s no real information there, no actual content which suggests anyone did anything other than sit back in an armchair and think about what could be derived from the original question. There’s no depth to it, it’s all surface. As I pointed out earlier, if you contrast “like comes from like” with an involved, detailed scientific explanation — heck, even with a serious explanation of anything — you can’t help but note how superficial and empty it is. Craig advancing it as a live alternative to theories in evolution, biology, and neurology has us do that.

    But vis-a-vis this principle called Ockham’s razor (you can look it up) we know that simple explanations are more likely to be true than equivalent complex ones.

    No, that’s a common misunderstanding of Ockham’s razor. After all, we once thought there were only 4 elements (earth, air, fire, and water) and the truth turned out to be much more complicated.

    Ockham’s Razor (or the Principle of Parsimony) is not some theory about the limited nature of reality. It’s a rule of thumb for investigations which helps us reign in our own arrogant propensity to get beyond ourselves. When we complicate an explanation more than we have to, we introduce elements which we haven’t tested.

    And as to the original mind. Craig has said that God by definition is a maximally great being.

    If God is, by definition, “maximally great” — then whose standard of greatness is being used here? If we were to discover that it turned out that God was NOT omnipotent, say — then what would we need to do? Revise our definition of God? Revise our definition of “maximal greatness?” Or deny that this otherwise acceptable Very-Great-Indeed Creator is “God?”

    There are a lot of problems involved with doing investigations regarding the nature of reality while just sitting back and unpacking concepts. I think that adding in subjective measurements and treating them as objective makes it even worse.

  276. says

    Kroos Control:
    Your “maximally good” deity is responsible for genocide, commanded the slaughter of innocents, failed to condone slavery, supports rape, and treats women as chattel. What, pray tell, is good about such an entity (let alone ‘maximally good’)?

  277. says

    Kroos Control

    What happens if/when my conception of a “maximally good” deity is in direct contradiction to yours? (Mine punishes eaters of pork, yours demands that pork be eaten, for instance.)

    Have we just “proved” that both exist, or that neither exist?

  278. maddog1129 says

    You can “define” anything any way you wish. Doesn’t make it true or real or actual.

    Reminds me of a joke:

    A chemist, a physicist and an economist are stranded on a desert island. The only thing they have to eat is some canned goods that washed up on shore with them. The problem is, how to get the cans open?

    The chemist says, “We can build a fire and put the can in it. With the chemical reaction of rapid oxidation, and the increasing movement of the molecules from the heat, the can will explode. We might lose a lot of the contents, but at least we’d have something.”

    The physicist says, “No, no, that’s not it. We can put the can on a big flat rock and get another big rock. Force equals mass times acceleration, so if we get a heavy rock and accelerate it onto the can, we can generate enough force to crush the can. We might lose some juice, but we’d have almost all the contents left.”

    The economist says, “No, no, no. You guys are going about it all wrong. First, assume you have a can opener.”

  279. Rob Grigjanis says

    Anselm: “If God didn’t exist, God wouldn’t be maximally great, so God must exist! Thank you, I’ll be here every Sunday. Try the veal!”

    I love the smell of circular arguments in the afternoon.

  280. Al Dente says

    Kroos Control @295

    Craig has said that God by definition is a maximally great being. A maximally great being would have qualities , such as moral perfection, omnipotence ,omniscience and necessary existence.

    As Rob Grigjanis notes@301, Anselm lives!

    You really need to acquaint yourself with other philosophers besides Lane Craig. One of my favorite philosophers is David Hume. He looked at various “proofs” of god and showed how each of them is fallacious. What you’re attributing to Craig is Anselm’s onotological argument, promulgated in the 12th Century. Here’s a summary:

    P1 Assume God does not exist.
    P2 ‘God’ is defined as “that than which no greater can be conceived”
    P3 “That than which no greater can be conceived” must therefore not exist. (from P1 & P2)
    P4 “That than which no greater can be conceived” exists only in imagination, not in reality. (from P2 & P3)
    P5 If “that than which no greater can be conceived” were to exist in reality as well as in imagination, it would be even “greater”.
    P6 But that would mean “That than which no greater can be conceived” is not “that than which no greater can be conceived”. ( From P4 & P5)
    P7 “That than which no greater can be conceived” must exist in imagination and also exist in reality for it to be the greatest thing conceivable.
    P8 That means ‘God’ both does and does not exist (from P1 & P7).
    C1 P1 cannot be true (reductio ad absurdum from P8)
    C2 ‘God’ exists.

    The argument is fallacious due to several flawed assumptions. The most noticeable of these is the assumption that something which exists in reality and imagination is somehow “greater” than that which exists only in imagination. “Greater” is not defined and it is only the overreaching manner in which the term is applied that allows this argument some semblance of logical appeal.

    Anselm did some sloppy reasoning by assuming that there was a difference between our concept of a god and a god which exists in fact, so that he could elevate the latter case as supreme. But if god can be shown to exist through means other than pure reason (such as by direct observation, or historical veracity), then existence is automatically incorporated into the true concept of god. We can have false concepts of god all we want, but the true concept of god always tracks the status of god in reality, whether he exists or does not. So it is never possible to demonstrate the existence of god purely by juggling our definitions of god and making a word salad, which is what the ontological argument is all about.

    The weakness of “greatness” opens up the argument to further refutations. What happens if two people disagree on what makes something “great”? If a sociopath comes up and says, “maximally great includes maximal hatred for conscious life”, what argument can be presented for that not being an actual quality of greatness? In fact, what argument at all is put forward for how we determine what is greatness? Consider the claim: “something that is maximally great cannot be denied.” The argument suddenly becomes a reductio ad absurdum with the simple addition of that and “I deny god.”

    The argument can be completely broken and made laughable by simply changing “god” to “The Most Perfect Waste Dump”. The argument remains structurally valid (i.e., nothing in the formulation of the argument is incorrect), so we come to the conclusion that “The Most Perfect Waste Dump” must exist. We could also replace “god” with “unicorns” and define unicorns as “that than which no greater horse can be conceived”. We now have an argument for the existence of unicorns, another mythological creature.

  281. says

    Our understanding of a raspberry-flavoured marsh¬mallow asteroid is a marshmallow than which no greater can be conceived.

    The idea of a raspberry-flavoured marshmallow asteroid exists in the mind.

    A marshmallow which exists both in the mind and in reality is greater than a marshmallow that exists only in the mind.

    If a raspberry-flavoured marshmallow asteroid only exists in the mind, then we can conceive of a greater raspberry-flavoured marshmallow asteroid—that which exists in reality.

    We cannot be imagining a marshmallow that is greater than a raspberry-flavoured marshmallow asteroid.

    Therefore, a raspberry-flavoured marshmallow asteroid exists.

  282. Amphiox says

    And as to the original mind. Craig has said that God by definition is a maximally great being. A maximally great being would have qualities , such as moral perfection, omnipotence ,omniscience and necessary existence.
    So if God exists he would exist by the necessity of his own nature, and not be caused by anything else

    We might as well define the universe itself as the maximally great state of existence, consciousness itself as the maximally conscious consciousness, and goodness as the maximally good goodness.

    Each then becomes its own explanation for itself, existing through the necessity of its own nature.

    What use is sticking “god” into it to complicate things and muddy the waters?

    KC’s arguments in a nutshell:

  283. Amphiox says

    By the way, here’s what KC said on the abortion thread:

    I never said it was a punishment? You might consider having a child a punishment , but I don’t necessarily think it is so and some people might differ.

    So much for the direct perception of objective morality.

    Did you think we were stupid, KC? That you could get away with directly contradicting your own argument on one thread while trying to make a blatantly dishonest point on another, and we wouldn’t notice?

  284. Owlmirror says

    @Kroos Control:

    I can’t conceive of a world where God would ordain it good to kill babies for fun,.

    You don’t think that the Bible is the Word of God?

    Psalm 137:8-9

    O daughter of Babylon, who art to be destroyed; happy shall he be, that rewardeth thee as thou hast served us.
    Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones.

    That is, Babylonian babies are ordained to be killed, and those that do the killing should be happy — which is pretty much synonymous with “having fun”. And since God is the arbiter of objective morality, this ordaining of killing babies and having fun while doing so must be good.

    QED

  285. Kroos Control says

    I didn’t want to bring the moral argument I presented here over to another thread.
    There’s this brilliant technique William Lane Craig sometimes when atheists want to deny objective morality. Whenever the atheist states that something is immoral or evil , he calls them out on it and says they are confirming objective morality , even if they give lip service to denying it. William Lane Craig is brilliant at exposing logical inconsistencies and sophistry in the arguments of his opponents. That’s why I think he’s such a good debater.
    I would probably ask something like ” Is it objectively immoral to deny women access to abortion/ deny women their bodily autonomy?” and pull a sort of “Craig gambit” if it was the same thread.
    And of course , as I said multiple times, just because some people disagree , doesn’t mean objective moral facts don’t exist. Some people who believe in various Eastern religions deny the reality of teh external world. Does that mean the external world does not exist?
    And when I asked if “killing babies for fun is wrong” was an objective moral fact, some people tried to deny this someone said that there are sociopaths who may believe the opposite. Of course when a psychologist evaluates these people and sees that their moral perception is faulty , they send them to mental health institutions to get treated. Of course under your worldview , there are no objective moral facts and the sociopath is as right as everyone else who has an opinion. Nice worldview!

    Something funny:
    Pharyngulites: Craig is immoral . He defends genocide.
    Me: Is genocide objectiively immoral ? Is defending genocide objectively immoral?
    *crickets*

    @Sastra
    I agree Craig is not offering a scientific explanation. He never said he was. He is offering a personal explanation in line what personal explanations we use for other everyday phenomena. (See back to my example with OJ for this.) The problem with those other explanation involving life force and other stuff , is teh ad hoc nature of teh suggestion i.e. we have no reason to believe in the “life force” aside from teh phenomena to be explained. But we have several independent reasons to believe in God, so I think its not ad hoc in a the same way teh other hypothesis are .

  286. says

    Whenever the atheist states that something is immoral or evil , he calls them out on it and says they are confirming objective morality , even if they give lip service to denying it. William Lane Craig is brilliant at exposing logical inconsistencies and sophistry in the arguments of his opponents. That’s why I think he’s such a good debater.

    This is not an example of “exposing logical inconsistencies.” It’s an example of WLC asserting objectivity; nothing more.

    haryngulites: Craig is immoral . He defends genocide.
    Me: Is genocide objectiively immoral ? Is defending genocide objectively immoral?

    And still, the onus is on you to show that it is objectively immoral.

  287. Al Dente says

    Kroos Control @307

    Whenever the atheist states that something is immoral or evil , he calls them out on it and says they are confirming objective morality , even if they give lip service to denying it. William Lane Craig is brilliant at exposing logical inconsistencies and sophistry in the arguments of his opponents. That’s why I think he’s such a good debater.

    We all know Craig is a master debater.

    The obvious refutation of Billy’s attempted gottcha is that most if not all atheists recognize morality as being relative and subjective. As I pointed out in my post @265, your god likes killing children for grins and giggles. That’s why I think your god is immoral. Billy Craig claims (and your parrot him) that Yahweh cannot be immoral. Obviously at least one of us and almost certainly all three of us are subjective moral relativists.

    On another note I’d appreciate if you at least acknowledged the several hundred words I’ve written to refute Craig’s idiocies. Otherwise I’m forced to the conclusion you’re ignoring my posts because you know you don’t have a prayer of rebutting them (pun intended).

  288. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    William Lane Craig is brilliant at exposing logical inconsistencies and sophistry in the arguments of his opponents.

    No, he is brilliant at tap-dancing verbally around and ignoring his own inconsistencies, sophistry, and presuppositionalism. Which is why he is considered a third rate Xian apologist.

  289. Al Dente says

    Kroos Control @307

    Pharyngulites: Craig is immoral . He defends genocide.
    Me: Is genocide objectiively immoral ? Is defending genocide objectively immoral?
    *crickets*

    Yes, defending genocide is immoral! Objectively immoral? Possibly not, since William Lane Craig defends genocide as moral if Yahweh does it or orders it. But subjectively immoral? HELL FUCKING YES!

    There, are you satisfied that atheists don’t think your god or your buddy Craig are moral? If you need it I can give further evidence that your god is an immoral, sadistic thug.

  290. says

    Pharyngulites: Craig is immoral . He defends genocide.
    Me: Is genocide objectiively immoral ? Is defending genocide objectively immoral?

    No, not objectively. It’s definitely immoral, just not objectively immoral.

    You seem to have a lot of problems with this rather simple distinction.

  291. Sastra says

    Kroos Control #307 wrote:

    I agree Craig is not offering a scientific explanation. He never said he was. He is offering a personal explanation in line what personal explanations we use for other everyday phenomena.

    As a philosopher once said, “the easiest way to explain something is to say that it happened because someone wanted it that way.” I understand what Craig is doing, yes. But he’s slipping between the plausibility of offering a personal explanation when an agent is obviously involved — and involving an agent by offering a personal explanation when it’s not obvious at all.

    Craig is presenting a particular reason to believe in God: that the best explanation for natural human minds is that they came from an original supernatural Mind. This is, as you say, an ad hoc like-comes-from-like explanation. If it’s only rescued from this problem due to other, better arguments, then he needs to stop making this one. So do you.

    Particularly since the alternative explanations from biology and neurology are so strong.

    Something funny:
    Pharyngulites: Craig is immoral . He defends genocide.
    Me: Is genocide objectiively immoral ? Is defending genocide objectively immoral?
    *crickets*

    Here is something fun for you. Back at #254 I defended a rather weak version of objective morality. I had also been making an argument at #249 and elsewhere that objective morality, such as it is, is UNDERMINED by theism. It can only be established on a humanist basis, without reference to God.

    So how would you respond to this? Although I don’t necessarily disagree with what else is being said by the others, it’s apparently something different coming from a Pharyngulite.

  292. Sastra says

    @Kroos Control:

    Looking back, I see I tried to lay my case out in more detail at #207.

  293. Owlmirror says

    @Kroos Control:

    And when I asked if “killing babies for fun is wrong” was an objective moral fact, some people tried to deny this someone said that there are sociopaths who may believe the opposite.

    Are you saying that the God of the Bible is in fact a sociopath?

    Do you think that the God of objective morality might not be the same God that is written about in the Bible?

    Pharyngulites: Craig is immoral . He defends genocide.
    Me: Is genocide objectiively immoral ? Is defending genocide objectively immoral?

    Your questions are non-sequiturs, since the point is not that genocide or defending genocide is or is not objectively immoral, but rather that Craig does not have objective morality and cannot claim to have objective morality if he thinks that genocide (of one people) is always immoral and yet genocide (of a different people in a different time) is moral and defensible.

    To return to your earlier definition of “objective morality”:

    I’ll use Craig’s definition
    “To say that there are objective moral values is to say that something is right or wrong independently of whether anybody believes it to be so. It is to say, for example, that Nazi anti-Semitism was morally wrong, even though the Nazis who carried out the Holocaust thought that it was good; and it would still be wrong even if the Nazis had won World War II and succeeded in exterminating or brainwashing everybody who disagreed with them.”
    This seems fine

    May I rephrase it a bit?

    “To say that there are objective moral values is to say that something is right or wrong independently of whether anybody believes it to be so. It is to say, for example, that Israelite anti-Canaanitism was morally wrong, even though the Israelites who carried out the Canaanite genocide thought that it was good; and it would still be wrong even though the Israelites conquered Canaan and succeeded in exterminating or brainwashing everybody who disagreed with them.”

    Does this still seem fine to you?

    (The Israelites did not “conquer” Canaan, really, but the morality of the narrative can be discussed independently of its archaeological and historical factuality)

  294. says

    To say that there are objective moral values is to say that something is right or wrong independently of whether anybody believes it to be so.

    Which leads to the question; If a value is not contained in a mind, how does it exist? Is there an as-yet undiscovered valuon particle, for instance?

  295. Amphiox says

    William Lane Craig is brilliant at exposing logical inconsistencies and sophistry in the arguments of his opponents. That’s why I think he’s such a good debater.

    WLC is brilliant at making intellectual vacuous and dishonest arguments and pretending he is exposing logical inconsistencies and sophistry, and you think he’s a good debater because you evidently like being intellectually dishonest.

    Pharyngulites: Craig is immoral . He defends genocide.
    Me: Is genocide objectiively immoral ? Is defending genocide objectively immoral?

    You must first establish that “objective” morality even exists before this question can even be honestly asked. And you haven’t.

  296. Amphiox says

    But we have several independent reasons to believe in God

    Oh really?

    Name one.

  297. Amphiox says

    I would probably ask something like ” Is it objectively immoral to deny women access to abortion/ deny women their bodily autonomy?” and pull a sort of “Craig gambit” if it was the same thread.

    It is immoral. Just not “objectively” immoral.

    Because you have still not established that such a thing as “objective” morality even exists.

    And it would appear that your perception of what you think is objective morality does not preclude you from intellectually dishonest stunts like claiming that you would not do a thing even as you do it, as you just did here.

  298. raven says

    Pharyngulites: Craig is immoral . He defends genocide.

    Me: Is genocide objectiively immoral ? Is defending genocide objectively immoral?

    According to the few fundie death cult followers of WL Craig, genocide and baby killing is moral!!! If god orders it. This is when Craig lost his last shreds of credibility. Craig believes in Divine Command Theory and defends genocide and mass murders of women, children, and babies.

    According to normal people including most xians, genocide is immoral. Not because of objective morality, but because of subjective morality. According to subjective morality, fundie xianity, WL Craig, and you KC are immoral.

    It’s Steve Weinberg’s Rule.

    Good people will do good.
    Bad people will do bad
    But it takes religion for good people to do bad.

    Religion is not a good source of morality. Never has been, never will be. And that is based on 3,000 years of death and blood and our daily experience.

  299. Kroos Control says

    Earlier on someone mentioned this guy called Sye Ten. Does he comment here? I don’t know much about him , but I remember seeing a debate where he made some kind of trnscendental argument from God. its not teh kind of argument I would ever use ,but he seems to be a good debater.
    Does he still comment here? or did you guys just watch his debate as well.

  300. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    but he seems to be a good debater.
    Does he still comment here? or did you guys just watch his debate as well.

    He, like you, has posted his presuppositional fuckwittery here. He has no cogency, and repeats himself ad nauseum. He can’t debate himself out of a torn wet paper bag, if he had to leave his scripts. The fact the you admire such idjits shows us your lack of ability to do real philosophy and argumentation.
    By the way, your deity is still imaginary, and will remain so without conclusive physical evidence to show its existence. A utterly philosophical deity only exists in your mind, can’t interact with the real world (which would leave evidence), and, while it can’t be disproven, it can and is ignored because it can’t do anything….

  301. Amphiox says

    Notice the authoritarian thinking KC continues to display. One could almost accuse him of idolatry for his worshipful infatuation of WLC, and now, apparently STB….

    Either way, it is just more of the same, discredited pap he began with and can’t evolve away from…

  302. says

    Sye is a good debater? I thought you’d set the bar low with Craig, but clearly I underestimated your ability to be impressed with fuckwitted liars.

  303. says

    Kroos Control, rather than researching “how to debate,” from whatever source, you might find it more intellectually rewarding to learn something first-hand of the views you are reflexively (or so it seems) opposing.

    Read some basic history of the various sciences—by science-writers, rather than by religious apologists. You don’t need the nitty-gritty detail of each science, but you do (appear to) need some basic appreciation of what a naturalistic view of the universe looks like.

  304. raven says

    WL Craig:

    So whom does God wrong in commanding the destruction of the Canaanites? Not the Canaanite adults, for they were corrupt and deserving of judgment.

    Not the children, for they inherit eternal life. So who is wronged?

    Ironically, I think the most difficult part of this whole debate is the apparent wrong done to the Israeli soldiers themselves. Can you imagine what it would be like to have to break into some house and kill a terrified woman and her children? The brutalising effect on these Israeli soldiers is disturbing.

    The only one on this thread defending genocide and the mass murder of children is WL Craig, KC’s hero. On the basis of imaginary “Objective Morality.”

    Shortly after this, most people decided WL Craig was a Moral Monster and decided to stay away from him.

    Craig on Divine Command Theory:

    But the transcendent and sovereign God sees the end from the beginning and providentially orders history so that His purposes are ultimately achieved through human free decisions. In order to achieve His ends, God may have to put up with certain evils along the way. Evils which appear pointless to us within our limited framework may be seen to have been justly permitted within God’s wider framework. [10]

    Craig defends Divine Command Theory which says nothing is evil if god commands it.

    This has caused the deaths of tens of millions and still does nearly every day. Divine Command Theory is evil. To take just the most common, every suicide bomber in the middle east who kills a few dozen people, thinks they are doing it for god.

    There is no way to tell which gods are real or what they really say. It’s all voices in people’s heads that say different things. And AFAWK, the gods don’t actually exist.

    PS According to Craig’s nonreasoning, abortion is a supremely moral act. According to his version of xianity, the vast majority of the earth’s population will go to hell and be tortured forever. Craig:Not the children, for they inherit eternal life. Killing children in Craig’s murky world makes sure they go to heaven.

  305. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    You don’t need the nitty-gritty detail of each science, but you do (appear to) need some basic appreciation of what a naturalistic view of the universe looks like.

    Agreed. Some authors KC should look at, and have wrote essays on various science topics include Isaac Asimov, Carl Sagan, Stephen J. Gould, and several others. Educate yourself KC. It appears your training to date is lacking vital information about reality.

  306. FossilFishy(Anti-Vulcanist) says

    Kroo’s unwillingness to differentiate between subjective and objective reminds me of nothing less than that certain type person who’s just discovered a new favorite band. They will argue, and argue, and argue, that their band RAWKS!!1! and everything else SUX!!!!11!! until you shake your head and walk away.

  307. Kroos Control says

    Did Sye Ten just get tired of trying to explain his arguments to you guys and leave?
    I see you guys weren’t very fond of him.
    I haven’t seen much about him. Surprised you know him too. He must be internet–famous for his arguments.

  308. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    He must be internet–famous for his arguments [fuckwittery].

    Fixed that for you. He is one character without a clue that he could ever be wrong. Which, Cricket, is the beginning of wisdom. You can be and probably are wrong. In your case, no probably.

  309. Amphiox says

    I can’t remember anymore, but was not Sye Ten banned from the old Pharyngula for gross displays of intellectual dishonesty?

  310. Amphiox says

    Craig:Not the children, for they inherit eternal life. Killing children in Craig’s murky world makes sure they go to heaven.

    And this puts KC’s perception of morality directly opposed to that of his hero-god, WLC, given how KC made a big flap about his perception that killing babies for fun was “objectively” morally wrong.

  311. Kroos Control says

    Ontologically? I would say it is grounded in God’s commands
    Craig explains it well

    The theory that I have defended is a form of Divine Command Theory. According to this view our moral duties are constituted by the commands of an essentially just and loving God. … The theory does, as you say, ground moral values in God’s unchanging nature. God is the paradigm of goodness… No, our moral obligations and prohibitions arise as a result of God’s commands to us. God’s nature serves to establish values—goodness and badness—while God’s commands establish moral duties—what we ought or ought not to do.

    Read more: http://www.reasonablefaith.org/does-theistic-ethics-derive-an-ought-from-an-is#ixzz2vW1Cylil

    And of course I don’t have authoritarian thinking. I’ve seen Chriistain apologists speak at my school and have not been impressed with their logic or arguments. i genuinely think Craig does a really good job of presenting good arguments and evidence. Of course I don’t agree on him with everything , but he’s probably the best all-round apologist IMO.

  312. Kroos Control says

    Also it is clear that the Israelites were not killing those babies for fun. As Craig said, it probably caused them mental anguish.

  313. FossilFishy(Anti-Vulcanist) says

    I read through the link at 336, nope, no evidence presented there. Colour me shocked.

  314. Amphiox says

    Also it is clear that the Israelites were not killing those babies for fun.

    “Fun” is subjective.

    Thanks again, KC, for conceding the whole argument.

    Again.

    Jolly sporting of you.

  315. Amphiox says

    As Craig said, it probably caused them mental anguish.

    Barring a time machine, “probably” is ALSO a subjective assessment.

    And “mental anguish” is ALSO subjective.

    Thanks AGAIN, KC, for conceding the argument.

    (And knowing the behavior of soldiers is HISTORIC conflicts, at least some of the soldiers WOULD have enjoyed the killing. The god of the bible, notably, did not punish any of them.)

  316. says

    The theory that I have defended is a form of Divine Command Theory. According to this view our moral duties are constituted by the commands of an essentially just and loving God. … The theory does, as you say, ground moral values in God’s unchanging nature. God is the paradigm of goodness… No, our moral obligations and prohibitions arise as a result of God’s commands to us. God’s nature serves to establish values—goodness and badness—while God’s commands establish moral duties—what we ought or ought not to do.

    All of which says nothing but “I’m choosing this definition.” It does not ground that definition in fact. It also presupposes the existence of a god.

  317. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Ontologically? I would say it is grounded in God’s commands

    Except without conclusive physical evidence, you deity only exists between your ears, and no place else.

  318. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    i genuinely think Craig does a really good job of presenting good arguments and evidence.

    He has no conclusive physical evidence, just his faith and philosophical wanking, which means he is a delusional fool, with his deity only existing between his ears. Which is why he is dismissed as a fuckwitted idjit, just like you.
    Either follow the physical evidence, or you are a delusional fool. Your choice Cricket, choose wisely.

  319. raven says

    Also it is clear that the Israelites were not killing those babies for fun.,/blockquote>

    So, genocide and baby killing are OK, as long as it isn’t fun?

    Thanks for letting us know that. We thought it was immoral under any conditions.

    And BTW, don’t try this where you live. In our immoral age, the police and courts will lock you up for life.

    PS This is the logic of Moslem suicide bombers. They kill people on an almost daily basis for god, secure in the knowledge that martyrs go to paradise.

  320. Al Dente says

    i genuinely think Craig does a really good job of presenting good arguments and evidence. Of course I don’t agree on him with everything , but he’s probably the best all-round apologist IMO.

    I’m getting really annoyed at you, asshole. I’ve refuted several of Craig’s “arguments” but you haven’t acknowledged the refutation. LISTEN UP! W L Craig is a third rate philosopher who recycles arguments which were refuted centuries ago. He’s a supporter of genocide and other immoral actions. The only thing he’s good at is face-to-face debates because he both facile and willing to lie to prove a point.

    So take your hero-worship of Craig and stick it where the Sun don’t shine.

  321. Amphiox says

    i genuinely think Craig does a really good job of presenting good arguments and evidence.

    All that shows is that Craig is good a fooling people like you into thinking he is good at presenting good arguments and evidence.

    Fact is, Craig usually fails to present any evidence at all, and while sometimes he is “good” at presenting BAD arguments, he’s never presented any good arguments well, either.

  322. raven says

    I would say it is grounded in God’s commands.

    Which gods and which commands? There is no way to tell. Almost certainly because none of the gods actually exist. While xians claim their god is all powerful, what we see is a god that is nowhere and does nothing.

    You certainly can’t get it from the bible. Most of the morality in the bible is considered barbaric, obsolete, and is flat out illegal in our day and age. You can’t stone blasphemers, false prophets, nonvirgin brides, adulterers, heretics, atheists, sabbath breakers, disobedient children, or witches to death any more. Slavery and polygamy are right out also.

    Anyone who tried to live a biblical law lifestyle would be doing multiple life sentences in prison. Warren Jeffs tried it and got life + 20 years. Tony Alamo got 175 years.

  323. Amphiox says

    So take your hero-worship of Craig and stick it where the Sun don’t shine.

    Indeed. This of course is just a symptom of the greater problem of authoritarian thought, and why insisting there is “objective” morality is so dangerous (and, due to that danger, subjectively immoral in and of itself!)

    Once the individual convinces himself there is an “objective” source of ultimate morality out there, and that he has found it, he stops thinking for himself, stops questioning moral decisions for himself, and becomes increasingly vulnerable to following that source of ultimate “objective” morality blindly.

    But what if the individual was WRONG about his source? (And even IF there is *some* source of objective morality out there, how could any imperfect human being ever know for sure that the source he or she is trusting REALLY is that right source?)

    That is how pretty much all the greatest moral crimes in history get committed.

  324. Amphiox says

    Speaking of God’s Commands, the last two of the ten commandments are thought crimes.

    And remember, the ten commandments are THE BIG TEN.

    So, coveting one’s neighbours goods or spouse, but not actually ACTING in any way against one’s neighbour, is a transgression that sends one straight to hell.

    And that is moral?

  325. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    KC, evidence from from legitimate sources outside of yourself, like for evolution:
    Lenski 1
    Lenski 2
    Peer reviewed scientific literature, not your mere opinion, or the mere opinion (philosophical wanking) of others.

  326. Kroos Control says

    @Al Dente 347
    Your objection were simply not very good. Craig has addressed all of them in his written material. I’d recommend you take a look at one of his books if you think your objections are in any way substantial.
    What ‘refutation’ of yours is the strongest? Should I pick apart your thing on Kalam?

  327. chigau (違う) says

    I have a theory™ that Kroos Control has finished ‘debating’ and has switched to trolling.

  328. says

    I’ve seen Chriistain apologists speak at my school and have not been impressed with their logic or arguments.

    Kroos Control, how old are you? I’d like to know if I’ve just spent two days arguing with a fourteen-year-old whose parents are going to take a dim view of my spouting godless propaganda at their child.

  329. Al Dente says

    What ‘refutation’ of yours is the strongest? Should I pick apart your thing on Kalam?

    Go ahead, asshole (I’m done being polite to you). Show how the Kalam silliness works. Do you think you’re a better philosopher than David Hume (who I stole the refutation from)? I’m waiting, jerkwad.

    If you think I’m going to read anything from an immoral, lying, third rate philosopher you’re even less intelligent than I thought. Not that I thought you were very intelligent to begin with.

  330. raven says

    Kroos Control, how old are you? I’d like to know if I’ve just spent two days arguing with a fourteen-year-old whose parents are going to take a dim view of my spouting godless propaganda at their child.

    LOL. You read my mind!!!

    I have KC down as a 15 year old fundie kid, homeschooled by parents who aren’t too knowledgeable.

    I was too polite to say it, but what has been said can’t be unsaid.

    I’ll even go first. I’m a Boomer age scientist and an ex-xian Pagan with a few very cute cats.

  331. chigau (違う) says

    I have a theory™ that Kroos Control is too articulate to be the product of Xian home-schooling.
    I’m within a couple of birthdays of 60 and I haven’t been a Christian for about 45 years.

  332. Sastra says

    Kroos Control #321 wrote:

    Earlier on someone mentioned this guy called Sye Ten. Does he comment here? I don’t know much about him , but I remember seeing a debate where he made some kind of trnscendental argument from God. its not teh kind of argument I would ever use ,but he seems to be a good debater.

    He used to. And was eventually banned … for good cause.

    Sye Ten uses a variety of apologetics which are very different from what WLCraig uses (at least, on the surface.) While Craig argues that one can make a reasonable case that God exists from observations and evidence in nature (natural apologetics), ST throws that idea out. No, evidence and reason will not make a case for God’s existence. Instead, God’s existence is directly inherent in the very concepts of evidence, reason, and logic themselves. The existence of God is the necessary precondition to knowing anything at all about anything at all. It’s called presuppositionalism.

    What this reduces to is the claim that God’s existence is self-evident to everyone: atheism is corrupt, perverse, and incapable of being reasonably considered. Debate, discussion, and dialogue with the atheist is therefore impossible.

    The only way to “persuade” the atheist then is through shock tactics. Lure them in with the promise of “reason” and then twist them in knots, insult them, reduce them to tears, make them crumble. Bring them low enough to admit that they know nothing unless they admit that God exists. Repeat. Repeat again. And again.

    Yes, Sye was eventually thrown out because — as I suspect you have perceived — this form of defending the faith by staunchly refusing to defend the faith cashes out as “trolling.” I personally call it the “Neener Neener School of Debate.” Sye Ten cannot be called a ‘good debater’ because that sort of thing isn’t really debate. There is zero acknowledgement of or respect for the common ground, no honest attempt to persuade. The best you can be is “slick.”

    WLCraig is a step up from this sort of thing. You’re wise to recognize that it’s not the sort of thing you’d ever use.

  333. Kroos Control says

    I don’t know if you’re being intellectually honest and genuinely want to know how Craig defends his arguments. If you’re not it would be a waste of my time really, because it takes a while to explain the arguments
    I don’t think I’m a better philosopher than hume. I think Craig is a better philosopher than Hume though.

    1)Everything that begins to exist has a cause
    (you don’t seem to refute this and concede that quantum events are caused)
    2)The universe began to exist
    Craig usually provides 3 lines of evidence for this
    1)impossibility of an actual infinite series of past events
    2)impossiblity of traversing the inifinite
    3) Modern cosmological evidence
    You claim there are a couple cosmological models that don’t imply a beginning.
    Craig and Simclair have a pretty exhaustive chapter on modern cosmological models that talks about the different models you suggest
    3)The universe had a cause
    (follows logically from the conclusion)
    Conceptual analysis of said cause reveals it to share several attributes with God
    He concludes its immaterial, spaceless, timeless without the universe
    He has 3 lines of arguments to suggest the cause was a personal being
    1)distinguish between state-state and agent-state causation- a timeless cause would give rise to a timeless effect. The only way to get a temporal effect from a timeless cause would be the free action of an agent
    2)distinguish between personal and impersonal explanation
    (Impersonal explanations usually involve reference to laws of nature and initial conditions. Causally prior to the universe there were no laws and initial conditions , so the explanation must be a personal one.)
    3)Timelessly existing entities that could have caused the universe- The only such kinds of entities are minds and abstract objects. Abstract objects are abstract and do not cause things to exist so it must have been a mind.

    The Kalam is one of Craig’s more complex arguments so its not the one I would have picked to defend in a comments section.
    AL Dente doesn’t seem like he really is open to learning anything about the argument so this was for the benefit of you other guys. I think its a way better argument than he gives it credit for

  334. Sastra says

    Kroos Control #336 wrote:

    God’s nature serves to establish values—goodness and badness—while God’s commands establish moral duties—what we ought or ought not to do.

    And how do we recognize that God is good and ought to be obeyed? The question is still thrown back at fallible, subjective human beings. You can’t somehow borrow from God’s assumed perfection and skip that.

    If we are all capable of agreeing that God’s nature establishes the proper understanding of good and evil, then that means that human beings are capable of measuring God against their own common understanding of good and evil … and deeming it good. Judging God. Evaluating it against a standard we already have. If “objective” means “universal” — the same from all perspectives — and God’s goodness is the subject, then a capacity to agree on God supports humanism.

    Which works without God, too. God can’t ontologically OR epistemically ground an “objective morality” unless there is already one there to be grounded in human nature through consensus. As I said earlier, we judge and evaluate God according to what we deem fair and just — or all bets are off.

    You’ve got it backwards. Divine command theory would make any genuinely objective human consensus impossible. Instead of universal recognition, it falls back on Might Makes Right. Therefore,k Naturalism is the only game in town for every reasonable ethical system — and theism can only piggyback on it at best.

    What you’re left with then is a source claim. Goodness comes from the Essential Nature of Goodness. I suspect you can guess why I find this one problematic.

  335. Sastra says

    Kroos Control #361 wrote:

    The Kalam is one of Craig’s more complex arguments so its not the one I would have picked to defend in a comments section.

    No kidding. Especially since the Original Post dealt with the Moral Argument. But of course we’ve all been straying.

    Every single one of your numbered points in the Kalam has been debated and — in my opinion — successfully refuted. For the record, I personally think the weakest link is the one where he tries to establish that the cause is a “personal being.” Consider as an example his claim that we are already acquainted with the fact that the human mind is “timeless.” And works outside of the laws of nature. Ow.

    If I were you and wanted to continue with WLC I’d just focus on Divine Command Theory because that’s more or less where we all started.

  336. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I’d recommend you take a look at one of his books if you think your objections are in any way substantial.

    Written lies versus oral lies. Prove otherwise with solid and conclusive evidence….

  337. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    raig usually provides 3 lines of evidence for this
    1)impossibility of an actual infinite series of past events
    2)impossiblity of traversing the inifinite
    3) Modern cosmological evidence

    All refuted if you are skeptical of his claims, and check the science. Which you don’t. Doesn’t speak well for your thinking, honesty and integrity.

  338. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    As I said earlier, we judge and evaluate God according to what we deem fair and just — or all bets are off.

    No evidence for one, you present no evidence, there it doesn’t exist. That is what realists say, not presuppositionalists like yourself, who believe without real evidence.

  339. raven says

    God’s nature serves to establish values—goodness and badness—while God’s commands establish moral duties—what we ought or ought not to do.

    And how do we recognize that God is good and ought to be obeyed?

    Hector Avalos makes the same point.

    How do we know that god’s commands are good?

    To make that judgment is to make…a human judgment. It’s subjective right from the start.

  340. raven says

    God’s nature serves to establish values—goodness and badness—while God’s commands establish moral duties—what we ought or ought not to do.

    And how do we recognize that God is good and ought to be obeyed?

    This claim also fails just on the facts.

    The god of the bible is a…Moral Monster.

    Most of us are ex-xians. Most of us know the bible far better than the fundies, who claim it is a magic book and haven’t the slightest idea what is in it.

    Yahweh is a moral monster by Hector Avalos is an article in a book I’m reading tonight by coincidence. Hector Avalos is a Ph.D Harvard Divinity School, professor, former minister, and now an atheist.

    We know what xians and xianity are like. We’ve been there before. I was a xian for almost 5 decades.

  341. Anri says

    Once again, the argument boils down to: all things have to have a beginning except for things that I don’t like to say had a beginning.

    If god is, ” …by definition is a maximally great being.”, why should we assume maximal goodness – as we define goodness? Why not assume maximal indifference? Or maximal evil?
    (“‘Cause I don’t wanna!” isn’t really a good answer, BTW. Neither is “‘Cause most people like it that way!” isn’t either.)

    – – –

    Why is it simpler, from a philosophical perspective, to assume a single infinite timeless god (thus requiring two categories of objects – those with beginnings and those without) than to assume an infinite regressing of finite gods?
    Or an infinite regression of finite universes without gods, for that matter (eliminating from the required explanations yet another class of objects, immaterial ones).

    Just assuming an infinite regression of finite universes, each giving rise to the next by (exactly the same utterly unexplained method you aren’t explaining how god gives rise to them) is vastly more parsimonious.

  342. raven says

    Cthulhu, is KC still going on about the Kalam guess? Give it up, it is a waste of time.

    1. Kalam was known to be faulty centuries ago.

    2. It isn’t even faulty logic, it is just a word game. If you replace god with Invisible Pink Unicorn or Vulcans, it works just as well.

    3, It embeds the conclusion in the premises and uses that to prove the conclusion. This reduces down to god exists = god exists.

    4. No one takes it seriously. Except fundie xians who are desperately trying to explain why their Sky Monster god is nowhere and does nothing.

    I ran into it first a few years ago on Wikipedia. It took me about 5 minutes to see the flaws.

  343. Owlmirror says

    @Amphiox @#334:

    I can’t remember anymore, but was not Sye Ten banned from the old Pharyngula for gross displays of intellectual dishonesty?

    No. He never commented enough to get banned. Or at least, not using that name — and I don’t know which alias might have been his.

    There were apolologists who used his arguments, and at one of them was shown the door, but not for using TAN/presupp.

    ======
    Sastra @#359

    [Sye Ten B] used to. And was eventually banned … for good cause.

    No, you’re misremembering. You might be thinking of facilis — remember him?

    See the web archive here.

  344. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    You might be thinking of facilis — remember him?

    *snicker* another presupper, who was both persistent and laughable.

  345. says

    Kroos Control @361:

    Who are your replying to (or, what’s the comment number of the person you’re responding to)?

    I don’t know if you’re being intellectually honest and genuinely want to know how Craig defends his arguments.

    What is your definition of ‘intellectual honesty‘?

    If you’re not it would be a waste of my time really, because it takes a while to explain the arguments

    I’d like to see *you* explain WLC’s arguments. In your words, not his.

    I don’t think I’m a better philosopher than hume. I think Craig is a better philosopher than Hume though.

    How did you arrive at this opinion?
    What qualities or skills does WLC possess that make him the superior philosopher?

     

    Extra Credit:
    Your god endorses slavery and rape, and according to the bible, he killed almost every living thing on earth. Human beings have come to the realization that slavery, rape, and genocide are wrong. Why do you believe in, and worship, an entity that supports slavery, rape, and genocide?

  346. Amphiox says

    It should be noted also that since philosophy by definition is the study and discipline of human thought, and since human thought, standing on its own, is by definition subjective, IF morality is objective, then morality lies in the realm of science, not philosophy, and no philosopher like WLC, whether good or bad, has anything cogent to say about it, and no philosopher can be legitimately considered to be an authority on morality in any way whatsoever.

    Philosophers and philosophy can be considered a valid authority on morality ONLY if morality is subjective.

  347. maddog1129 says

    @ Kroos Control #307:

    There’s this brilliant technique William Lane Craig sometimes [uses] when atheists want to deny objective morality. Whenever the atheist states that something is immoral or evil , he calls them out on it and says they are confirming objective morality , even if they give lip service to denying it.

    ??? Whenever a person says that something is immoral or evil, that statement confirms “objective” morality? How so?

    The word “objective” is problematic.

    What we observe is that human societies (and some other groups of social animals) have more or less refined social rules for how to get along together. There are many such rules which are common among most, if not all, such societies, but there are other rules which differ or vary from society to society. (The Romans made this distinction between the Jus Civile, or rules applicable in a particular group or civilization, and the Jus Gentium, or the rules applicable to all peoples. I hope I remembered the vocabulary correctly!)

    What we also observe is that the social rules change over time. Once upon a time, slavery was not considered immoral. It was widely practiced in many societies without any moral disapprobation. Now, it is prohibited and considered immoral in almost all human societies.

    Another thing that can be observed is the distinction between in-groups and out-groups. Some moral rules apply within the in-group, but are not considered immoral if done to persons in the out-group. As the world has become technologically “smaller” and interconnections between various groups of people have become more widespread and stronger, the in-group has become larger, and in fact in large swathes of the world, a common humanity and kinship has included the whole human family in the in-group. No one is considered an outsider, subject to lesser moral duties and obligations. In some senses, the morality among human beings has become more universal and homogeneous.

    It is an observable fact that morality has changed over time. The morality that most societies have now is, by measure of how people are treated and how they thrive, better than the morality in the Bible. Morality is an outgrowth of social interdependence.

    Human morality, to all appearances, is a human creation, and has developed as civilizations and culture have developed. In this sense, it is “objective,” as it is not dependent upon individual whim and caprice. It is learned from other members of the social group, however large or small. Some parts of moral sense — e.g., a rudimentary understanding of fairness or equal treatment or the golden rule — may possibly be innate.

    Now, I don’t think that’s what YOU mean by “objective.” You seem to think that “objective” morality can only be ordained by a non-human source, and that the moral principles so derived are absolute and unchanging. In that case, I would probably substitute the term “intersubjective” for “objective” to describe what I’ve written so far about the developing morality that human civilizations have. The morality observed in societies is not individually idiosyncratic; it certainly appears to be externally inculcated, taught, encouraged, enforced. If there are 100 people in a hypothetical society, there would not be 100 totally different moralities. There would be large congruities in the morality accepted or adopted by all 100 members, although there might be slight differences or disagreements. That is the state of morality we observe now — large areas of agreement, with some variations.

    There is not a black/white, either/or dichotomy, that morality must be either totally “objective” (in your sense of given from a source completely outside humanity, and absolute and unchanging) or totally “subjective” (in the sense of completely a matter of individual idiosyncrasy, whim, internal preference and opinion). That there is wide agreement on many principles of morality may not establish “objective” (external source, absolute, unchanging) morality, but it may show that intersubjective morality does actually exist. Such intersubjective morality is “objective” in the sense that it’s not totally internal to an individual human being: a person can check outside themselves with other human beings to confirm understanding of the moral principle in question, and other human beings can intervene to stop (externally enforce moral principles) behavior that is detrimental to the society. So, morality is partially outside the individual, although the teachers and enforcers are other human beings, and not an unknown and unknowable “God.”

    And when I asked if “killing babies for fun is wrong” was an objective moral fact, some people tried to deny this someone said that there are sociopaths who may believe the opposite. Of course when a psychologist evaluates these people and sees that their moral perception is faulty , they send them to mental health institutions to get treated. Of course under your worldview , there are no objective moral facts and the sociopath is as right as everyone else who has an opinion. Nice worldview!

    Again, your use of the word “objective” is problematic, because you are using it to refer to morality coming from a divine source outside of humanity, and being absolute, unchanging in character. A person of high moral principle and integrity can say “killing babies for fun is wrong” without necessarily agreeing that the statement is “an objective moral fact.” As I’ve outlined above, a person can agree that there is intersubjective morality without agreeing with your definition of “objective” as the only kind of morality there is (besides chaos).

    In other words, not everyone who disagrees with “X is an objective moral fact” is a “sociopath” with “faulty moral perceptions.” You are being completely unfair to say that, unless you agree with my definition of “objective” morality, then everyone’s moral opinion is completely equal, including the idiosyncratic preferences of sociopaths. That’s not the way societies work. It’s not simply either/or, “God-given, divine, objective, unchanging, eternal moral principles” vs. “anything goes, there is no morality at all.” That’s simply not true. MY worldview is most definitely NOT “everyone’s moral opinion is the same and there is no way to tell between them.” There ARE ways of telling — for example, that is moral which gives the greatest number of human beings the greatest wellbeing (a variant of utilitarianism). Such principles may not be perfect, but they do provide some way to measure what is moral (beneficial) vs. immoral (harmful). The personal preferences of sociopaths, if universalized (e.g., similar to Kant’s principle) would quickly wipe out the human race. So, your cartoon quip, “Nice worldview!” describes something that no one actually holds or believes. If you are going to argue, please at least argue fairly.

    Something funny:
    Pharyngulites: Craig is immoral . He defends genocide.
    Me: Is genocide objectiively immoral ? Is defending genocide objectively immoral?
    *crickets*

    I think you are misunderstanding, and the word “objectively” is again tripping us up, or making people talk past one another.

    It’s not been “crickets” in response to your query. I didn’t see anyone here defend any genocide … EXCEPT your hero WLC. I don’t have to agree that it’s *objectively* immoral — in your sense that “objectively” must be given by a divine, non-human, source — in order to agree that it’s intersubjectively wrong and immoral. At the time of the supposed conquest of Canaan, which WLC was describing and defending as “objectively moral genocide,” it obviously was not regarded as objectively immoral to commit genocide against out-groups. From our perspective now, in which we know a great deal more about how closely related all human beings are, we can assess that alleged genocide and say, not only would it be deemed wrong now, but we would consider it wrong then.

    Obviously, something changed between then and now. What used to be considered moral is no longer considered moral. What we actually see is that morality has changed. So it cannot be the case that morality is eternal and unchanging. In fact, moral principles do change over time. Just because it’s not immutable doesn’t mean that morality isn’t real.

  348. maddog1129 says

    @ Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls #369

    As I said earlier, we judge and evaluate God according to what we deem fair and just — or all bets are off.

    No evidence for one, you present no evidence, there it doesn’t exist. That is what realists say, not presuppositionalists like yourself, who believe without real evidence.

    you’re actually quoting Sastra #362, not presupper KC

  349. Kroos Control says

    So I was thinking. A lot of you guys seem to not be very familiar with Craig’s arguments. This isn’t a problem in and of itself , but when you
    1)continually misrepresent what Craig has said
    2) are not willing to learn anything about the argument or the evidence Craig uses for it
    3) are not willing to demonstrate the how your criticism applies to Craig’s argument when I ask you to demonstrate it

    It gets to be really problematic.

    So if you’re being honest with yourself and think already dismissed Craig’s argument for other reasons or you can’t be bothered to learn about Craig’s argument or back up your claims when you post them .. Well I don’t know
    As Eliezer Yudkowsky would say , it appears this conversation has little utility value to either of us and I suggest we terminate it.
    Note this criticism doesn’t apply to everyone.
    @Sastra

    And how do we recognize that God is good and ought to be obeyed? The question is still thrown back at fallible, subjective human beings. You can’t somehow borrow from God’s assumed perfection and skip that.

    This criticism may sound good , but I think it falls apart when you apply it to the real world.
    How can subjective humans perceive objective mathematical or logical truths?
    How can subjective humans perceive objective truths about what exists in the external world?

    In my view this table really objectively, exists in the physical world , and I can perceive it using my sight or other means of sensory perception.
    In the same way , moral values really objectively exist, and we can directly perceive them as well.
    I think there are a lot of difficulties in sayiing that morality comes from human consensus.
    It automatically means that people like Martin Luther King who were going against the consensus of the time were being immoral , which seems to be incorrect.

  350. Snoof says

    In the same way , moral values really objectively exist, and we can directly perceive them as well.

    How, exactly?

    And which ones are they? And if they really, objectively exist, why aren’t they shared by all cultures and individuals throughout space and time?

    (“Thou shalt not kill”? Pfeh. Aztec ritual sacrifice, holy war, Stand Your Ground laws… hardly universal.)

  351. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    2) are not willing to learn anything about the argument or the evidence Craig uses for it

    Craig doesn’t understand the concept of evidence. It refutes his arguments every time.

    are not willing to demonstrate the how your criticism applies to Craig’s argument when I ask you to demonstrate it

    Why don’t you try something new. Presuppose Craig is sophist philosopher who should be ignored. Now, using EVIDENCE, show he is brilliant and should be paid attention to. Evidence from sources found in libraries of higher learning world wide, and outside of the sophist/theologian bullshit literature. Like sociological journals. That things work the way he claims.

  352. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    And KC, your argument is presuppositional. Presumption, you like Craig, his philosophy is the greatest thing since sliced bread. You want that disproven, but won’t accept real evidence. That is typical of a religious style argument, which is meaningless here. We reject religious arguments as bullshit.
    We prefer the more scientific approach, and start with “this is what I believe, and this [link to evidence] backs it up”. And linking to Craig isn’t backing up your argument. Third party, meaning not your opinion, or Craigs word.

  353. vaiyt says

    No argument that treats “laws of nature” as independent entities can be taken seriously.

  354. vaiyt says

    How can subjective humans perceive objective mathematical or logical truths?
    How can subjective humans perceive objective truths about what exists in the external world?

    We can’t, and in fact we get fooled all the time. The scientific method was developed specifically to correct for the bad tendencies of our brains and approximate a consistent measure of the world around us.

  355. anteprepro says

    I think Craig is a better philosopher than Hume though.

    Jesus fucking Christ on a fucking dildo-covered pogo stick, folks. It has all been leading up to this moment. The above sentence is the fucking culmination of this thread. All of the fauxlosophy, all of the hero worship, all of the bad arguments and mistaking overconfident subjectivity with absolute objectivity….all of it has built up to this. Has built up to our Christian ideologue claiming, without justification, that one of the most highly esteemed philosophers in history is worse than Billy Craig, the third-tier philosopher who is even more a hack than Plantinga. The thread is finally over people. Break out the champagne.

  356. raven says

    This criticism may sound good , but I think it falls apart when you apply it to the real world.
    How can subjective humans perceive objective mathematical or logical truths?
    How can subjective humans perceive objective truths about what exists in the external world?

    NO it doesn’t fail in the real world. We don’t perceive, we find out. And then we know. And we aren’t “subjective” whatever that means. We are thinking and doing creatures.

    We don’t perceive mathematical truths or scientific truths. We have a collection of intellectual techniques to study math and science. We collect data. We do experiments. We form hypothesis, And then theories. And test them. It takes millions of people, years of time, and billions of dollars.

    And science technically never proves anything. It asymptocially converges on the truth. And all truths are provisional and capable of being changed with new data.

    These are the two difference between science and religion.

    1. Religion guesses and can’t prove anything. Science finds out and then it knows.

    2. And science works. It’s the basis of our civilization. Religion doesn’t. There are now 42,000 xian sects with more every year. They don’t agree on anything. Religion doesn’t converge on the truth, it diverges.

    I can tell you’ve never taken a science course in your life and have absolutely no idea what science is or how it is done.

  357. Louis says

    I think Craig is a better philosopher than Hume though.

    The rule is puff, puff, PASS. Not puff, puff, hold breath for 3 minutes, turn purple, vomit your guts up.

    Try again after a suitable refractory period.

    Louis

  358. anteprepro says

    his isn’t a problem in and of itself , but when you
    1)continually misrepresent what Craig has said
    2) are not willing to learn anything about the argument or the evidence Craig uses for it
    3) are not willing to demonstrate the how your criticism applies to Craig’s argument when I ask you to demonstrate it

    It gets to be really problematic.

    Blatant projection.

    This criticism may sound good , but I think it falls apart when you apply it to the real world

    Ditto, to the nth power.

    In my view this table really objectively, exists in the physical world , and I can perceive it using my sight or other means of sensory perception.
    In the same way , moral values really objectively exist, and we can directly perceive them as well.

    Bald assertion. Again, if objective moral values can really be perceived, how do you explain all of the people misperceiving them . Scoff at the problem of MLK being considered “immoral” due to a consensus view of morals, but that doesn’t change the fact that, according to your view, despite the fact that humans are expected to perceive human values, VIRTUALLY EVERYONE PERCEIVED THE ISSUE WRONG. As has been mentioned several times and which you have failed to address, you disingenuous fuckwit.

  359. Kroos Control says

    @Tony 376

    What is your definition of ‘intellectual honesty‘?

    I don’t have an exhaustive definition but it probably involves being willing to concede being wrong when you are in error, being willing to support certain assertion.

    I’d like to see *you* explain WLC’s arguments. In your words, not his.

    How did you arrive at this opinion?
    What qualities or skills does WLC possess that make him the superior philosopher?

    Basically reading both their work and finding Craig’s work to be of higher quality in terms of clarlity , argumentation and philosophical soundness.

    Extra Credit:
    Your god endorses slavery and rape, and according to the bible, he killed almost every living thing on earth. Human beings have come to the realization that slavery, rape, and genocide are wrong. Why do you believe in, and worship, an entity that supports slavery, rape, and genocide?

    (Where X=slavery , rape , killing everything on earth/genocide)
    I think there is 2 ways I could interpret this
    1) In the bible God commands X. I perceive X to be objectively wrong. Since you believe God to be objectively the highest good , this is contradictory.
    I would point out that since you disbelieve in the existence of objective morality , the fact that you perceive X to be objectively wrong is actually more problematic for your worldview than mine.
    If you don’t perceive X to be objectively wrong , then there is no contradiction , just as there is no contradiction between I person who subjectively believes vanilla to be the best flavor of ice cream and another who subjectively believes chocolate to be the best flavor.
    2) Don’t you believe X is objectively wrong? this belief is inconsistent with God’s commands
    If it is posed as an internal question , I would say that I have studied the moral facts pertaining to the situation and exegetical facts pertaining to the text and concluded that god either did not condone X or had morally sufficient reason to permit X in that particular situation.

    (Before some skeptic claims this means morality is subjective , does the fact that people need to study Maths to answer difficult mathematical questions , mean maths is not objective?)

  360. raven says

    In the same way , moral values really objectively exist, and we can directly perceive them as well.</blockquote

    This is an assertion without proof or data. And/or a faith claim. It is just wrong.

  361. raven says

    I think there are a lot of difficulties in sayiing that morality comes from human consensus.

    1. It comes from human thought. Not human consensus. There is no such thing as human consensus!!! And no it isn’t perfect. It’s all we have though.

    2. Religious morality is far worse. There is no way to determine which gods are real or what they really said. Most likely because the gods don’t even exist.

    So we get xian terrorism, a serious problem in the USA. Moslem suicide bombers in the Middle East. Religious wars of which they are today at least a dozen in the world. Fundie xian human child sacrifice in the USA by medical neglect AKA faith healing, and assorted mass murders such as Inquisitions and witch hunts.

    Jets flying into the World Trade Center, girls being killed for trying to go to school

    In the world today, around a 1000 alleged witches are killed, mostly by xians and mostly children.

    3. Religious based morality fails in the real world.

    It leads often to atrocities, murders, hate, lies, and hypocrisy.

    There is no agreement among the religious about what morality is. Xianity is 42,000 disagreeing sects which only makes up 28% of the world. And the rest is dozens of other religions that disagree with each other.

  362. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Basically reading both their work and finding Craig’s work to be of higher quality in terms of clarlity , argumentation and philosophical soundness.

    In other words presuppositionalist, Craig agrees with your presuppositions and sophistry, but Hume doesn’t, and actually does real philosophy.

  363. Snoof says

    Kroos Control @ 390

    I would point out that since you disbelieve in the existence of objective morality , the fact that you perceive X to be objectively wrong is actually more problematic for your worldview than mine.

    Who exactly are you talking to? I mean, I agree, if you don’t believe in objective morality then you obviously can’t say something is objectively wrong, but… has anyone actually made those two assertions? Together?

  364. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Don’t you believe X is objectively wrong?

    What the fuck do you mean by objective? Or is it nothing but code for Absolute Morals Given By My Imaginary Deity?

  365. says

    To me that is the sort of pliable question that sounds intelligent but isn’t really.

    How is a question “pliable?” I’m tempted to pretty much stop right there.

    And when Hitchens says:

    What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence.

    …and this sophist replies:

    To express fully what is wrong with this statement would take a whole essay in itself. But briefly, it grossly caricatures religious faith to state that it is ‘asserted without evidence’, when, in reality, evidence is in the eye of the beholder, and different people accept and interpret different evidences differently…

    This isn’t “relativism,” it’s nothing but flailing nonsense. He’s just inadvertently admitting that theists don’t have any evidence, by saying we all have to change our standards of evidence to accommodate the theists.

    …and finding Craig’s work to be of higher quality in terms of clarlity, argumentation and philosophical soundness.

    The only appropriate response to that is HAW HAW HAW HAW HAW HAW HAW! Are you not aware that this is a blog read by people familiar with Craig’s laughable dishonesty?

    As for the existence of objective morality, I, for one, do not deny it exists. But it doesn’t come from any gods — it comes from observation and reason. That’s how we know how morally bankrupt and worse-than-useless religion-based morality is.

  366. Sastra says

    Owlmirror #374 wrote:

    No, you’re misremembering. You might be thinking of facilis — remember him?

    No, I remember facilis very well. I might, however, be mistaking Sye Ten for Eric Hovind, whom, you may recall, did come in now and then with The Argument from Neener Neener. He never stuck around long enough to be officially thrown into the Pharyngula Dungeon. It’s my impression though that at one point or another they BOTH came in. At the time Hovind was palling around with Sye and trying to blend his father’s evidential argument with a presupp — which should have given him whiplash, but of course didn’t. Consistency in apologetics flies out the window when faced with the arguments of Satan.

    But yes, I could be mistaken. Play TAG with one, you play TAG with them all.

  367. consciousness razor says

    How, exactly?

    As far as perceiving them “directly” goes, I have no idea.

    And could you really perceive something indirectly? Just doesn’t make sense to me. Maybe the word was supposed to be “conceive,” but that hardly improves it.

    And which ones are they? And if they really, objectively exist, why aren’t they shared by all cultures and individuals throughout space and time?

    Which are the true scientific facts? Would you care to sum that up for me briefly in your next comment? Take your time, but please make sure to include everything and avoid anything that will leave me any room for uncertainty, as well as ambiguous descriptions I might misinterpret.

    And riddle me this: if gravity really, objectively exists, why isn’t the gravitational force the same in all points of space and time?

    Also, if humans evolved from monkeys….

    ….

    Ah, never mind. Just keep slamming the theists with everything you’ve got, including all of your best bullshit. That’s how we’ll “win” — not by being right about anything, or even caring.

  368. raven says

    It automatically means that people like Martin Luther King who were going against the consensus of the time were being immoral , which seems to be incorrect.

    False Statement!!!

    1. There was no religious consensus at the time or any social morality consensus either.

    2. Some people religious or not, supported Martin Luther King.

    3. Some people religious or not, opposed him.

    4. In fact, much of his opposition was…fundie xians. The Southern Baptists were set up to support slavery, opposed the abolition of slavery, opposed the end of segregation, opposed and still do interracial marriage, and hate the fact that the current President is half black.

    You don’t get racial equality or any other equality out of the bible. The bible supports slavery from the OT right through the NT. The bible was quoted often by the slave holders before the civil war. The idea of racial equality under the law is a modern invention based on what we’ve thought about and what we’ve decided on the basis of the best way to live and run our society.

    Your Objective Morality based on religion fails again.

  369. Kroos Control says

    Eric Hovind commented here too? You seem to get a lot of internet-famous guys here.

  370. raven says

    I would point out that since you disbelieve in the existence of objective morality , the fact that you perceive X to be objectively wrong is actually more problematic for your worldview than mine.

    Cthulhu, meaningless statement. KC is startng to just babble.

    1. Worldview is a fundie xian word. They assume their are two worldviews, theirs and science. Or theirs and atheists. Or theirs and everyone elses.

    2. There aren’t two worldviews. There are thousands, millions or billions of worldviews depending on where you draw the lines.

    There isn’t even a xian worldview. Xians are divided up into 42,000 sects that don’t agree on anything. You can say that there are at least 42,000 xian worldviews alone.

  371. anteprepro says

    Basically reading both their work and finding Craig’s work to be of higher quality in terms of clarlity , argumentation and philosophical soundness.

    Again, hilarious. As if we needed even more evidence to show that your judgment on these matters is not to be trusted.

    (Where X=slavery , rape , killing everything on earth/genocide)
    I think there is 2 ways I could interpret this
    1) In the bible God commands X. I perceive X to be objectively wrong. Since you believe God to be objectively the highest good , this is contradictory.
    I would point out that since you disbelieve in the existence of objective morality , the fact that you perceive X to be objectively wrong is actually more problematic for your worldview than mine.

    Good God, you utter fuckwit: No, it isn’t! It completely undermines your claims to objective morality! Because the alleged source of your objective morality contracts the morals you claim you hold, and are objective! Go fuck yourself, you dishonest little shit.

    Also, look up “false dichotomy”. That’s what your babbling about “objective” vs. “subjective” boils down to. Even if it wasn’t a false dichotomy, it wouldn’t matter though, because as has already been pointed out to you, several times, you can’t tell the difference between the two in practice.

    Please note that Kroos has already been told to reconcile Biblical objective morality which DOES NOT prohibit child abuse, rape, slavery, or genocide, with the objective morals Kroos claims to share with modern day residents of the Western world, which see all of those as hideously immoral actions. It has come up repeatedly. And Kroos finally acknowledges the issue, but doesn’t actually address the conflict, preferring to simply continue the tactic of mocking the idea of having short of objective morals. Kroos cannot even bring themselves to bother defending the fact that the very objective morality they claim exists and claim to be defending is nonsensical. All they can do is repeat themselves, over and over, and ignore the criticisms of the position they are pretending is bulletproof.

  372. anteprepro says

    trolling, trolling, trolling

    That’s about it in a nutshell. And to think I give mindless apologists some degree of the benefit of the doubt. When they always wind up being the same: A snake-oil salesman with ear plugs in.

  373. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Eric Hovind commented here too? You seem to get a lot of internet-famous guys here.

    Yep, he and a creationist class of his came and posted their fuckwitted presup argument, you need my imaginary deity to know things, and repeatedly asked the question: How to you know? That continued for an hour. Typical of the lack of intellect and cogency expected from those who don’t understand or wish to learn science.
    We know, because if our ancestors anywhere in the tree of life leading to us had consistently false perceptions, they were some predators dinner.

  374. anteprepro says

    consciousness razor:

    Which are the true scientific facts? Would you care to sum that up for me briefly in your next comment? Take your time, but please make sure to include everything and avoid anything that will leave me any room for uncertainty, as well as ambiguous descriptions I might misinterpret.

    And riddle me this: if gravity really, objectively exists, why isn’t the gravitational force the same in all points of space and time?

    Also, if humans evolved from monkeys….

    ….

    Ah, never mind. Just keep slamming the theists with everything you’ve got, including all of your best bullshit. That’s how we’ll “win” — not by being right about anything, or even caring.

    What, exactly, is your objection to the statement you quoted?

  375. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    So who makes worse arguments, Eric or his father?

    They are both presup idjits, who believe in imaginary deities, and that their holy book is something other than a book of mythology/fiction. All their arguments are bullshit, just like yours.
    Why aren’t you saying “this is what I believe, and this [link] is the evidence to back it up?” Oh, right, you like the Hovinds, have no evidence, just your opinion.

  376. anteprepro says

    So who makes worse arguments, Eric or his father?

    Do you want us to use you as the basis for comparison? Because Eric has an almost identical style of debating. Bald assertion, Gish Gallop, selective responses, Brick Wall Impervious To Facts defense, and then trying to fake nicey-nice in between bullshit dumps. Whereas Kent’s worse argument was his legal defense.

  377. Kroos Control says

    @consciousness razor

    Just think of your moral experience.
    Picture something , like person killing babies for fun. Doesn’t that just seem horrible! Doesn’t it seem that something like that is completely objectively wrong?
    Think of Jews being led to gas chambers and being killed just because of Hitler’s ideology. Doesn’t that just seem like an abomination! Does that seem objectively wrong to you?

    It works with any personal moral issue as well , as William Lane Craig demonstrated when he talked to the black student who perceived that racial discrimination was objectively wrong.

    @everyone
    The moral argument argues that objective morals are metaphysically ground in God. It does not argue that Christians/religious practicioners are always the most moral or Christians never do immoral actions.

    RE: the argument from people thinking differently

    1)Of course the fact that people disagree about something does not mean it is not objective. Some schools of Hinduism/eastern mysticism believe physical reality is an illusion , but it does not mean that physical reality is not objective
    2) Sometime people perceive right and wrong correctly , but choose to do wrong for sinful reasons , like greed, lust , hate envy
    3)Even if we grant that there is some disagreement , there are some areas that have near-universal agreement , such as the fact “it is wrong to murder babies for fun”

  378. Sastra says

    Kroos Control #380 wrote:

    This criticism may sound good , but I think it falls apart when you apply it to the real world.
    How can subjective humans perceive objective mathematical or logical truths?
    How can subjective humans perceive objective truths about what exists in the external world?

    This criticism may sound good, but I think it falls apart when you consider the ontological distinction between a moral belief and an object. The first one is inherently mental, and thus in at least one fundamental sense it is inherently subjective. As I pointed out earlier, you can’t define an “objective morality” as true no matter what anyone believes because that would have to make it true no matter what God believes (or is.) Since morals are beliefs such a view makes them incoherent.

    Instead, as maddog 1129 patiently explains at #378, we have to swap out “objective” for “intersubjective” if we are trying to universalize morality. And if God is supposed to be more basic to a general understanding of right and wrong than a simple “check with the Boss because he’s in charge” (which would make anyone’s morality equally ‘objective’) then we have to look at ways in which recognizing a moral principle might be a bit like learning a math formula — or recognizing a chair.

    Consider this analogy then. There is a cake on the table. This is objectively true whether anyone knows about it or likes it or wants it. Anyone who looks right at the cake and says “that’s not a cake because I prefer pie” is being perverse. Or, perhaps, blind. Deny the cake is there and you’re wrong.

    Thus, all reasonable people with normal sense facilities will come to the same inter-subjective consensus: “Yup, there’s a cake.” There can only BE such a consensus because there really is a cake. Fact. Direct sensory knowledge and acceptance of said fact. Got it.

    Okay. Now, let’s add in another element. There is an objective cake on the table — and this cake is deemed objectively delicious. This now means that anyone who tastes the cake and claims “I don’t like it” is wrong. They are either lying or defective.

    It would make no sense to say that this cake is “objectively delicious” regardless of whether ANYONE in the entire universe likes the way it tastes … including God. If every single living person (or maybe even every living thing) spit the cake out in horror, then there is just no way they could all be mistaken because the cake really does taste good. That would make no sense.

    No, if a cake is going to be rationally assessed as “objectively delicious” then this means that this subjective judgement would have to be arrived at by everyone who tastes it — everyone, that is, who is neither perverse nor seriously handicapped in the taste buds. Universal consensus of subjective preference would point to something “really there” in matters of taste, just as a universal consensus of perception would reasonably imply that the cake on the table is really there.

    So — where does morality fall? I’ll suggest that we’re somewhere between what is clearly a matter of personal taste and preference (really, if someone simply doesn’t like chocolate can they ever be said to be factually wrong?) and something which is clearly a matter of fact with no subjective component involved at all (maybe not a cake, but we can imagine a rock which truly exists and is never, ever known about by anyone at all.)

    I think there are a lot of difficulties in sayiing that morality comes from human consensus.
    It automatically means that people like Martin Luther King who were going against the consensus of the time were being immoral , which seems to be incorrect.

    No, you misunderstand the claim. Morality does not come from a consensus. Instead, the possibility of a consensus points to the likelihood that there’s something objective there.

    It’s like in science — or in my example of the table and cake. If every observer sees something different — one sees a cake, one sees a pie, one sees nothing at all — then we’ve got a serious problem with claiming that there’s an objective cake on that table.

    What this means then is that the racists of the time were not thinking clearly. If they had understood all the facts of the matter and followed their own values in a way which was not limited or distorted by their misunderstandings, fears, and egos, then they would have arrived at the conclusion that Martin Luther King was correct.

    Before you dismiss this, think about how you would convince an atheist that God is good. Wouldn’t you follow the same process? Here is the background God was working in, this is why He had to allow what He allowed. You would appeal to an assumed common ground of human values for love and fairness and urge that we apply reason to discover that we agree and God is good.

    Applying reason to the common ground, however, is a humanist tactic. An appeal to Divine Command Theory can only justify itself through an appeal to Humanism.

    The alternative is to do what the Calvinists do: “Yeah, God is unfair and cruel. So what? He made us, He owns us, and He can do whatever the hell He wants with us. Deal with it.”

    That’s probably not where you want to go.

  379. Owlmirror says

    @Kroos Control:

    continually misrepresent what Craig has said

    If Craig says that morality is objective such that genocide is always wrong, but also says that sometimes genocide is good and moral, it is not we who misrepresent what Craig has said, but rather Craig who misrepresents what he has said.

    are not willing to learn anything about the argument or the evidence Craig uses for it

    The argument seems to be that Craig is allowed to contradict himself on whether genocide is or is not objectively moral, and no-one is allowed to point to this contradiction as destroying his argument.

    are not willing to demonstrate the how your criticism applies to Craig’s argument when I ask you to demonstrate it

    You seem unwilling to acknowledge the demonstration of how the criticism destroys Craig’s argument.

    As Eliezer Yudkowsky would say , it appears this conversation has little utility value to either of us and I suggest we terminate it.

    And another thing that Yudkowsky might say is that Craig is at the very least confused, and does not know that he is confused, or does not care that he is confused.

    Do you know or care if you’re confused?

    I think there are a lot of difficulties in sayiing that morality comes from human consensus.
    It automatically means that people like Martin Luther King who were going against the consensus of the time were being immoral , which seems to be incorrect.

    I don’t think that this represents the argument correctly — but I don’t think that we can discuss it unless you can at least acknowlege that Craig does not have objective morality if he both condemns and condones genocide.

  380. anteprepro says

    KROOS CONTROL:

    Stop fucking repeating the same refuted points.
    Answer:

    Is rape objectively immoral?
    If not, why not?
    If yes, why is the Bible WRONG on the subject?

    Repeat for child abuse, slavery, and genocide.

  381. Sastra says

    Owlmirror #412 wrote:

    I don’t think that this represents the argument correctly — but I don’t think that we can discuss it unless you can at least acknowlege that Craig does not have objective morality if he both condemns and condones genocide.

    Kroos Control has another option: abandon “Genocide is wrong” as an example of an objective moral. He or she could swap it for “It is wrong to commit genocide without a good justifying reason.”

    That’s pretty safe because it’s pretty damn empty. If those “good reasons” include a hypothetical invasion by the Orcs — and it is defined as objectively true that ‘every intent of the thoughts of their hearts was only evil continually’ — then it may get a hypothetical consensus even in here (one immediately followed by complaints that Thought Experiments are too pure for real-life application, of course.)

  382. Kroos Control says

    @antepropo

    Is rape objectively immoral?

    Yes , unless there is a objective morally sufficient reason for said rape. (I actually can’t think of any objective reasons)

    If yes, why is the Bible WRONG on the subject?

    The bible affirms rape is objectively wrong and punishes rapists. Jesus affirms that harming others is objectively immoral.

  383. anteprepro says

    Yes , unless there is a objective morally sufficient reason for said rape.

    So there can objective moral exceptions to objective morals now? lolwut?

    The bible affirms rape is objectively wrong and punishes rapists.

    False. And you didn’t bother even trying for genocide, child abuse, or slavery. You get an F. Surprise surprise.

  384. Owlmirror says

    @Kroos Control:

    Don’t you believe X is objectively wrong? this belief is inconsistent with God’s commands
    If it is posed as an internal question , I would say that I have studied the moral facts pertaining to the situation and exegetical facts pertaining to the text and concluded that god either did not condone X or had morally sufficient reason to permit X in that particular situation.

    Well, if you read Psalm 137:8-9 carefully, the “reason” — you tell me if it is “morally sufficient” — given (for killing Babylonian babies for fun) is revenge (that rewardeth thee as thou hast served us.)

    OF course, if there is “morally sufficient reason to permit X in that particular situation.”, then X is not objectively immoral.

    (Before some skeptic claims this means morality is subjective , does the fact that people need to study Maths to answer difficult mathematical questions , mean maths is not objective?)

    No, it means that if someone says you can make exceptions to moral rules, then the moral rule is not objective and cannot be objective.

    I mean, do you think that it’s objective that “2+2=4″, but if you have “mathematically sufficient reason”, then “2+2=5″?

  385. Kroos Control says

    @antepropo
    Call me when you actually produce some kind of cogent argument

    Counter-question
    Are there any kind of objective moral standards in which you can criticise the bible’s words on rape , slavery ..etc?
    If yes, what makes these object moral standards true and binding?
    If no ,
    a) why should I listen to your criticisms as , you have admitted they are subjective opinions?
    b) Are there other subjective moral standards/opinions that say rape is moral?
    c) If yes , why should I listen to your subjective morals and not some other subjective set of morals?

    @Owlmirror
    Craig argues that God had objective morally sufficient reason to command the death of the Canaanite. He gives many objective reasons why God may have commanded their death. And God is the highest moral authority , so he has the moral authority to take life that say Hitler or Dessalines do not.
    There is no contradiction in affirming that the holocaust was wrong and that God has the moral authority to take a certain set of lives.

  386. Kroos Control says

    @Owlmirror
    Objective just means independent of human consciousness or human opinions.
    I don’t know where you got your definition of objective from.

    It is completely consistent to hold that action X can be objectively moral in some situations and objectively immoral in others.

    Eg attacking someone for fun and attacking someone to protect someone else. In some situations , objectively moral and some situations objectively immoral

  387. Gen, Uppity Ingrate and Ilk says

    Dude, your bible doesn’t say what you are saying it says about rape. Are you going to acknowledge that or just skip on blithely past just to bring it up a bit later as if it’s a fact that the bible condemns rape?

  388. Sastra says

    Owlmirror #217 wrote:

    I mean, do you think that it’s objective that “2+2=4″, but if you have “mathematically sufficient reason”, then “2+2=5″?

    Sure. 2+2=5 for high enough values of 2. ;)

    Since I am defending ‘objective morality’ and using it to attack Divine Command Theory, I am happily awaiting KC’s response to me.

  389. Kroos Control says

    @Gen
    I can discuss biblical interpetation if you want to I guess.
    I feel like these people are just bringing up these bible passages to score cheap rhetorical points rather than ask honest questions, so I’m trying to get back to the topic of objective morals,.

  390. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    The moral argument argues that objective morals are metaphysically ground in God.

    Since your god is imaginary, existing only between your ears, there is nothing for objective morals to be grounded in. Other than your own prejudices.
    Morals are decided by societies on the basis of what works for them to keep their society together and functioning. But then, that requires you to acknowledge your deity is imaginary.

  391. Kroos Control says

    @Sastra

    What you’re really doing is making an epistemological claim about moral values. I really wanted to get into the metaphysical nature of morals.

    In your view
    Do Objective moral duties and values exist?
    If they exist what form do they take?
    What makes these facts true and why are we obligated to follow them?

  392. Kroos Control says

    Morals are decided by societies on the basis of what works for them to keep their society together and functioning.

    So if one society decided that it was Ok to deny rights to homosexuals or deny women abortions, it would be moral to do that? Under your view.

  393. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Why do I get the feeling KC hasn’t read his babble cover to cover. Only dove in here and there in the approved fashion, and thinks by not seeing passages, they don’t exist. Typical of godbots. They have no idea of what their babble really says, and capricious Yahweh is.

  394. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    So if one society decided that it was Ok to deny rights to homosexuals or deny women abortions, it would be moral to do that? Under your view.

    Until you provide conclusive physical evidence for your imaginary deity, “that’s the facts”. There are no objective morals without your deity. And it doesn’t exist.

  395. Sastra says

    Kroos Control #426 wrote:

    Do Objective moral duties and values exist?

    Yes, if “objective” is reasonably re-interpreted as “inter-subjective.”

    If they exist what form do they take?

    Very broad and general statements regarding what is fair and valuable among people in an assumed state of equality.

    What makes these facts true and why are we obligated to follow them?

    They are true due to commonalities in human nature and what works in interpersonal relationships — and we are only obligated to follow them if we accept a commitment to try to be as fair and good as possible when dealing with ourselves and others.

  396. Nick Gotts says

    Nor have you addressed Nick Gotts’ general criticism of foundationalism at #150. – Iain Walker

    Nick Gotts’ epistemology seems to have difficult providing any kind of warrant for belief in the external world (and not in a self-consistent simulation) and belief in the existence of the past. I have difficulty taking it seriously , until he shows his epistemology has a consistent way of allowing him to have reasonable foundational beliefs. – Kroos Control@240

    IOW, you don’t have a reasoned response to my criticism of foundationalism. But it’s really quite amusing that you respond to such a criticism by demanding that the critic shows that he’s a foundationalist. Your own “foundations” for your allegedly objective moral beliefs seem to consist of nothing more than: “Shut up, that’s why.”

    Kroos Control@245,

    Rob Griganis@270 has already linked to a site where Craig demonstrates his misunderstanding of special relativity: he thinks that the “Twin Paradox” attributes the slower aging of the travelling twin to relative motion, but it doesn’t: as explained here, it is attributed to acceleration, which is not relative.

    Craig’s misunderstanding of relativity is also evident in his claim that if the universe is not past-eternal, it must have had a cause. The empirical findings which special and general relativity explain* show that time is inextricable from space and mass-energy, so even if the universe is not past-eternal, there was still no time at which it did not exist, and no transition from non-existence to existence, hence it not only does not need a cause, but could not have one.

    Craig adopts a so-called “neo-Lorentzian” alternative to special relativity (sometimes, but in my view incorrectly, called an interpretation of special relativity), according to which there is an in principle undetectable aether providing a preferred frame of reference, and thus making simultaneity absolute – which Craig requires for his view of time. But this undetectable aether is an entirely ad hoc invention, which serves no other function, and furthermore, this approach makes the time dilation and length contraction effects which we observe also ad hoc, whereas they emerge inevitably out of special relativity as usually understood (as explained in much more detail in the paper Rob Grigjanis linked to @271). In general relativity, the local properties of space-time are determined by the distribution of mass-energy, making the concept of an absolute, universal division into past, present and future still more untenable.

    Pharyngulites: Craig is immoral . He defends genocide.
    Me: Is genocide objectiively immoral ? Is defending genocide objectively immoral? – Kroos Control@307

    No, because “objectively immoral” is gobbledegook. When I say that “I consider that genocide is immoral” (or more shortly, “genocide is immoral”) I am not stating a fact, but making a commitment: to oppose genocide, to try to prevent it happening, to condemn those carrying it out. I might make the commitment more emphatic by saying it is “completely immoral” or “utterly immoral” or “always immoral”, meaning that I would never advocate, justify or excuse it, whatever the circumstances, and would oppose any attempt to do so by others. Craig, of course, does quite explicitly justify genocide, which is why I consider him, not just a crappy philosopher, but a vile scumbag.

    *I use this formulation because these theories may be superceded, but the findings showing that time is inextricable from space and mass-energy would still exist, so there is no possibility of reverting to the concept of time as a Newtonian absolute.

  397. Nick Gotts says

    My own view of moral judgements and commitments is that moral judgements are not matters of fact, so they are not objective, but neither are they mere matters of taste, like a preference for chocolate over strawberry ice cream. This is so because they are connected in intricate ways with facts (as Sastra pointed out, I think on another thread, the Nazis’ view that they were doing right by killing Jews was based on falsehoods – that there was a world Jewish conspiracy, for example); and more generally, they can be subjected to rational criticism and defence, in terms of their internal consistency, their practicality (e.g. an absolute prohibition on killing any organism is not practicable now, and may never be so), their implications (e.g. if we say torture is permissible in the “ticking bomb” scenario, does that imply that we should be prepared to torture a bomber’s children if we can’t get at the bomber), and more generally their consequences – what would the world be like if we adopted this particular value judgment?

    In some respects, moral judgments resemble esthetic judgements. For example, if I say Dostoevsky was a better novelist than Tom Clancy, I can justify my judgment in terms of depth of characterisation, the range of questions about human life illuminated, richness of language, aptness of metaphors, etc., but if someone else disagrees, there are no facts about the world, even if we agree on them, which can logically oblige one or the other of us to concede the argument, because we may have different criteria for “better novelist”. However, either of us may be able to convince the other, by pointing out aspects of the novels that we had overlooked, so esthetic arguments, like moral arguments, are not meaningless or pointless. Oddly enough, I’ve never got a straight answer from a believer in objective morals as to whether they consider there are also objective esthetic facts – God’s league table of novelists, for example. But perhaps Kroos Control will prove an exception.

  398. Nick Gotts says

    Kroos Control really does provide comedy gold!

    And of course I don’t have authoritarian thinking.

    Said immediately after defending Divine Command Theory.

    And of course above all:

    I think Craig is a better philosopher than Hume though.

  399. says

    Kroos Control

    I feel like these people are just bringing up these bible passages to score cheap rhetorical points rather than ask honest questions, so I’m trying to get back to the topic of objective morals,.

    Umm. In a word, No. In two, You’re wrong.

    People are bringing up Bible passages because those passages portray your god, and various Bible-characters, doing things which were then considered morally justified, but are now considered immoral. Which makes them very much to the point.

    Why do you seem to be more concerned with defending your hero WLC than your own god, as portrayed in your own holy book?

  400. busterggi says

    Kroos is the theological version of a cryptozoologically inclined kid who has seen the London Surgeon’s photo and a book on prehistoric animals – he thinks a plesiosaurus lives in Loch Ness and his little kid mind cannot accept anything else no matter how much it is debunked by reality, logic, facts, whatever.

    Cheez, I’ve outwritten Craig in blogs and I’m no philospher. But then neither is he compared to actual ones.

  401. Owlmirror says

    @Kroos Control:

    Craig argues that God had objective morally sufficient reason to command the death of the Canaanite.

    Craig may claim to argue that, but his “objective morally sufficient reason” is no such thing. It’s nothing more than his personal subjective opinion as to what “objective morally sufficient reason” might be. Because Craig is not God.

    He gives many objective reasons why God may have commanded their death.

    What Craig offers is nothing but crude, vicious, anti-Canaanite bigotry, such as would not be out of place coming from a racist propagandist about any other minority group.

    And God is the highest moral authority , so he has the moral authority to take life that say Hitler or Dessalines do not.

    Hitler, at least, also claimed to speak for God as the highest moral authority, and that God granted Aryans to take the lives of lesser peoples, just as Craig claims that God granted the Israelites the right to take the lives of Canaanites. What makes Hitler wrong and Craig right?

    There is no contradiction in affirming that the holocaust was wrong and that God has the moral authority to take a certain set of lives.

    If God can order the killing of whoever he wants for any reason at all, it means that morality is not objective, but is rather the arbitrary whim of God.

    ======

    Objective just means independent of human consciousness or human opinions.

    So… presumably, something from God’s consciousness or God’s opinions would be “objective”, because God’s consciousness and opinions are not human?

    So you would say that if God’s current opinion in his consciousness was that Jews were bad people who did bad things — similar to what Craig claims was God’s opinion about the Canaanites — that comitting genocide of the Jews would be objectively moral?

    Your idea of what “objective” means appears to be “whatever I think God’s opinion on the matter is”. So Craig’s anti-Canaanite bigotry is “objectively moral”, because you agree that Craig is correctly interpreting God’s opinion, while Hitler’s anti-semitic bigotry is “objectively immoral”, because you disagree that Hitler is correctly interpreting God’s opinion

    Or in other words, “objective” means “your subjective opinion on what God’s opinion is”.

    It is completely consistent to hold that action X can be objectively moral in some situations and objectively immoral in others.

    Is it? I wonder.

    I suppose that the only way that you can hold this is if your subjective opinion about God’s opinion is different in different situations.

    Eg attacking someone for fun and attacking someone to protect someone else.

    Psalm 137:8-9 does not even hint that the Babylonian babies should be killed for fun to protect someone else. It says to kill Babylonian babies for fun in order to get revenge.

    ======

    Is that are real Yudkowsky quote?

    I would have thought that someone quoting Yudkowsky would have read either early HPMOR or the early Sequences.

    http://hpmor.com/chapter/31

    http://lesswrong.com/lw/iq/guessing_the_teachers_password/

  402. maddog1129 says

    What morally sufficent reason could God have to order the Israelites to kill all the Canaanites?

  403. maddog1129 says

    Follow-up thought (directed at Kroos Control):

    WHATEVER the “objective” moral justification for wanting the Canaanites dead or gone, and given God’s supposed maximal power, including the “right” to kill anybody he wants, why doesn’t HE do it? Why does he have to command someone ELSE to do it? He could simply wish the Canaanites dead, or vanished, or whatever. Why subject the Israelite soldiers to the torture (if WLC is correct about their traumatic feelings) of having to do the killing?

  404. maddog1129 says

    That’s an articulable reason why GOD could kill them … but he can do that himself. Why does God command the Israelites to do so? He’s making somebody else do it.

  405. Al Dente says

    Kroos Control @361

    I haven’t responded until now because I went to be shortly after my last post and I’ve been at work all day.

    I think Craig is a better philosopher than Hume though.

    Hume is still well regarded 237 years after his death. Do you think anyone will remember Craig a week after his death?

    Now let’s look at your attempt to justify the Kalem argument

    1)Everything that begins to exist has a cause
    (you don’t seem to refute this and concede that quantum events are caused)

    So we can include quantum physics as another subject you’re ignorant about. Quantum events are not caused, they happen. That’s counter-intuitive but then many quantum effects are. As Nobel winning physicist Richard Feynman put it so well: “If you think you understand quantum mechanics then you don’t understand quantum mechanics.”

    2)The universe began to exist
    Craig usually provides 3 lines of evidence for this
    1)impossibility of an actual infinite series of past events
    2)impossiblity of traversing the inifinite
    3) Modern cosmological evidence

    1. Just because Craig thinks something is impossible doesn’t mean it actually is impossible. Craig does a lot of argument by assertion rather than providing evidence.

    2. That has what to do with anything?

    3. Nope. (See the Hitchens quote in the OP)

    You claim there are a couple cosmological models that don’t imply a beginning. Craig and Simclair have a pretty exhaustive chapter on modern cosmological models that talks about the different models you suggest

    Am I supposed to be impressed that Craig, who I despise, and some guy I’ve never heard of (and whose name you’ve probably misspelled), wrote a book?

    3)The universe had a cause (follows logically from the conclusion)

    Not necessarily. You really need to read some books about modern cosmology. I recommend Simon Singh’s Big Bang or Maurizio Gasperini’s The Universe Before the Big Bang. See what cosmologists say about the origin of the universe instead of what an ignorant philosopher thinks cosmologists say.

    Conceptual analysis of said cause reveals it to share several attributes with God
    He concludes its immaterial, spaceless, timeless without the universe

    Pure assertion both of the universe and of a mythical, nonexistent god. Remember, asshole, I’m an atheist. I don’t believe in any gods and I sure as fuck do not believe in the immoral baby killer you and Craig worship.

    He has 3 lines of arguments to suggest the cause was a personal being
    1)distinguish between state-state and agent-state causation- a timeless cause would give rise to a timeless effect. The only way to get a temporal effect from a timeless cause would be the free action of an agent

    Another assertion. Just because Craig would really like this to be true doesn’t mean it is. That’s not a line of argument, it’s wishful thinking. Since Nick Gotts @431 shows Craig doesn’t understand how time works, despite being a so-called “philosopher of time”, I can ignore anything he says about time and timelessness.

    2)distinguish between personal and impersonal explanation (Impersonal explanations usually involve reference to laws of nature and initial conditions. Causally prior to the universe there were no laws and initial conditions , so the explanation must be a personal one.)

    Against this is pure assertion on Craig’s part. We don’t know what was “prior to the universe”, a point I made @222.

    3)Timelessly existing entities that could have caused the universe- The only such kinds of entities are minds and abstract objects. Abstract objects are abstract and do not cause things to exist so it must have been a mind.

    You need to replace “could” with “might” and “must” with “possibly”, “perhaps”, “may”, or “Craig guesses”.

    Plus there’s another major problem, one which I gave @222. There’s nothing to suggest that Yahweh caused the universe.

    Thank you for writing your “rebuttal.” Now I’m convinced more than ever that you and Craig are ignorant fuckwits who indulge in massive amounts of wishful thinking.

  406. Al Dente says

    Owlmirror @436

    Or in other words, “objective” means “your subjective opinion on what God’s opinion is”.

    Ever notice that when someone claims to know what God is thinking that God has the same opinions and prejudices as his mouthpiece?

  407. Owlmirror says

    That’s an articulable reason why GOD could kill them … but he can do that himself. Why does God command the Israelites to do so? He’s making somebody else do it.

    Because that’s what God objectively wanted the Israelites to do. Duh.

    Read all of Craig’s essay.

    Apparently, the highest law that God wanted the Israelites to obey was not “Love thy neighbor” nor “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”, but rather “OBEY GOD” and “DON’T MIX”. Just obey all these arbitrary rules, some of which involve killing people, and some of the “killing people” rules include non-Israelites, so that there will be no mixing, EVER.

    And there’s nothing that says “DON’T MIX” like spattering the blood of a non-Israelite child all over yourself. Apparently.

  408. raven says

    WL Craig:

    Should a conflict arise between the witness of the Holy Spirit to the fundamental truth of the Christian faith and beliefs based on argument and evidence, then it is the former which must take precedence over the latter, not vice versa.

    Reasonable Faith book, page 48

    FYI.

    Craig claims to not be a Presuppositionalist. But then makes statements like that above, which is pure Presuppositionalist.

    He is contradicting himself here. But really, who cares? What Craig says isn’t worth worrying about too much.

  409. says

    Kroos Control @410:

    3)Even if we grant that there is some disagreement , there are some areas that have near-universal agreement , such as the fact “it is wrong to murder babies for fun”

    Killing babies is not wrong according to your god (and yes, I refuse to frame this in the dishonest manner you have by adding “for fun”).
    Rape is not wrong according to your god.
    Slavery is not wrong according to your god.
    Women are chattel according to your god.

    Yet you worship such a vile monster.
    The genocidal actions of the Nazi’s are condemned across the globe, yet you sit there and worship a deity who committed horrors even worse than them.

    You’re trying to talk out of both sides of your mouth. On the one hand you shout “objective morals bc god”, without a shred of justification or evidence (merely asserting over and over and over again that they exist). On the other hand, you recognize that some people don’t hold the same moral views you do.
    Logic.
    You haz none, troll.

  410. Kroos Control says

    Just a few comments on William Lane Craig . Somehow people here are insisting he doesn’t know how time works.
    He was president of the philosophy of time society , published a number of peer-reviewed technical articles and books and chaired technical sessions , but somehow , no-one realized he didn’t know how time worked?
    Somehow he also conned philosopher of time Quentin Smith into describing him as “one of the leading philosophers of time”. Somehow his peers hold him in esteem.
    Its pretty absurd. It would be like if I insisted Dawkins didn’t understand biology and his peers were lying. I’m actually not all that familiar with his work in the field so I won’t go too in depth trying to defend it. And well its off topic.

    @Nick Gotts

    so even if the universe is not past-eternal, there was still no time at which it did not exist, and no transition from non-existence to existence,

    Craig has actually addressed this in his stuff on Kalam , and the former statement does not follow from the latter . There’s still a timeless state of affairs causally prior to to universe even if it begins at t=0

    And there a huge difference between “I disagree with Craig’s philosophical interpretation of relativity” and Craig’s arguments are inconsistent with special relativity and I saw how you switched when i called you out on it. Stephen Jay Gould had a differing interpetation of evolution than some of his peers who believed in gradualism (punctuated equilibrium) . According to your logic he didn’t believe in evolution. He just had a different interpretation

    @Owlmirror

    I’m actually really new to the whole ‘lesswrong’ thing. Yudkowsky seems to be quote a thinker. What do you think?

  411. David Marjanović says

    Just a few comments on William Lane Craig . Somehow people here are insisting he doesn’t know how time works.
    He was president of

    Dude, will you cut the arguments from authority?!?

    Craig misrepresents what relativity means. Either he’s lying for some bizarre purpose, or he doesn’t know how time works.

    Stephen Jay Gould had a differing interpetation of evolution than some of his peers who believed in gradualism (punctuated equilibrium) .

    …No, that’s not at all a different interpretation of the theory of evolution by mutation, selection and drift. He thought environments tend to change quickly and then stay stable for some time, so natural selection logically follows suit, while others thought environments tend to change extremely gradually, so natural selection logically follows suit.

    There’s still a timeless state of affairs causally prior to to universe even if it begins at t=0

    Why insist that it’s causally prior? Uncaused events happen all the time. Radioactive decay is never caused, and neither are the virtual particles that cause the Casimir effect.

  412. Kroos Control says

    To summarize this thread ,I presented a version of The moral argument

    Basically
    1)If objective moral facts and duties exist. then God exists
    2)Objective moral facts and duties exists
    3)From (1) and (2) God exists.

    Most of the debate here has centered around premise 2

    Some people claimed that the fact that some people disagree on morals/behave immorally proves morals are not objective
    I refuted this

    1)Of course the fact that people disagree about something does not mean it is not objective. Some schools of Hinduism/eastern mysticism believe physical reality is an illusion , but it does not mean that physical reality is not objective
    2) Sometimes people perceive right and wrong correctly , but choose to do wrong for sinful reasons , like greed, lust , hate envy
    3)Even if we grant that there is some disagreement , there are some areas that have near-universal agreement , such as the fact “it is wrong to murder babies for fun”

    Some people had difficulty understanding “objective morals”. Objective just means independent of human consciousness and human opinion. Some people claimed the fact that justifying reasons for actions is inconsistent with morality.. However most moral thinkers regard motivation and reasons as an essential part of the morality of an action. For example attacking someone might seem wrong. However attacking someone to protect someone is objectively morally right , while attacking someone for fun or to steal from them is objectively moral wrong. Most moral realist/objective theories of moral take justifying reasons into account.

    Some people could not address the debate on its own terms and brought up red herrings and asked what morally sufficient reasons God could have for killing the Canaanites. They also made claims the bible condones rape , slavery and other objectively immoral actions.
    if they’re willing to cede the debate and concede God is the most plausible ground for objective moral facts and duties , I will discuss issues of biblical interpretation with them and show they are in error in their interpretation of the relevant passages. However I will focus on the moral argument now.

  413. David Marjanović says

    Radioactive decay is sometimes made possible. It’s never caused: making it possible doesn’t guarantee it’ll actually happen in the next umpteen billion years.

  414. Anri says

    KC @ 380:

    So if you’re being honest with yourself and think already dismissed Craig’s argument for other reasons or you can’t be bothered to learn about Craig’s argument or back up your claims when you post them .. Well I don’t know
    As Eliezer Yudkowsky would say , it appears this conversation has little utility value to either of us and I suggest we terminate it.

    Protip:
    If you are finding it impossible to explain something to someone else, that’s usually a pretty good sign you don’t understand it yourself.
    Either that, or it isn’t worth explaining.

    and @ 418:

    Craig argues that God had objective morally sufficient reason to command the death of the Canaanite. He gives many objective reasons why God may have commanded their death. And God is the highest moral authority , so he has the moral authority to take life that say Hitler or Dessalines do not.
    There is no contradiction in affirming that the holocaust was wrong and that God has the moral authority to take a certain set of lives.

    It’s question-begging.
    Did you ever get around to answering why Craig’s version of god must be maximally good?
    As opposed to maximally indifferent or maximally evil?
    Or, for that matter, why god’s “good” must have anything at all to do with humanity?

    Lastly – if I may ask – if god’s maximal good is unjustifiable to humanity, but only to an uncompromisable god, how do you tell who’s got it right? What argument would you have against someone claiming that god tells them that cutting the heart out of a virgin every solstice is, in fact, god’s perfectly justified morality? That we are being evil and defiant by not following god’s command in this?
    Or, maybe not the heart thing, maybe the whole ‘kill all gay people’ thing.
    God said kill ‘em.
    Are you defying god?

  415. Anri says

    KC @ 448:

    Some people could not address the debate on its own terms and brought up red herrings and asked what morally sufficient reasons God could have for killing the Canaanites. They also made claims the bible condones rape , slavery and other objectively immoral actions.
    if they’re willing to cede the debate and concede God is the most plausible ground for objective moral facts and duties , I will discuss issues of biblical interpretation with them and show they are in error in their interpretation of the relevant passages. However I will focus on the moral argument now.

    You’re misunderstanding.
    They’re doing almost the opposite – demonstrating that you are drawing on a moral source other than god for your moral judgements. If god says kill a certain group of people and take their daughters as your sex slaves, you have to just shrug and say “well, god says it, I believe it” – OR you are drawing on a moral source other than god.

    That argument isn’t conceding the point, it’s questioning the premise the point is based on.
    Do try to keep up.

  416. Kroos Control says

    @David Marjanović
    The premise is is “Everything that begins to exist has a cause”
    You mention virtual particles , but virtual particles are clearly caused by the quantum vacuum.
    (Radioactive decay is caused , but its a stochastic process because it is caused in a probabilistic/non-deterministic sense . There are clear initial conditions and pre-existing particles that have to be there for the event to occur. However this is not relevant to the premise.)
    Do you have any examples of things coming into being without a cause?

  417. says

    Kroos Control #448

    1)If objective moral facts and duties exist. then God exists

    1: Why does the latter follow from the former? Show your reasoning.

    2)Objective moral facts and duties exists

    2: You have not shown this to be true. You haven’t even managed to show how we can tell “objective” from “subjective.”

    3)From (1) and (2) God exists.

  418. says

    Kroos Control:

    You still haven’t demonstrated that objective morality exists. YOU’VE ASSERTED IT. Now can you fucking move on from asserting to providing evidence for the assertion? Also, please explain how you came to be aware of what these objective morals are.
    After that, you need to provide a reasoned explanation for how one can learn these objective morals. We already know the bible does not provide a moral framework for humanity to follow. Why?
    Your deity supports slavery, genocide, and rape. All three of those are in the bible. All three are condoned or endorsed by your evil god.

    There’s no grey area there for me.
    Slavery is wrong.
    Genocide is wrong.
    Rape is wrong.

    *I* am far more moral and compassionate than your deity.
    You worship an immoral monster. Thankfully he is nonexistent, bc this world would be a horrible place to live in if that thing were real.

    Your endless fapwittery has grown tedious. Put up or shut up.

  419. Kroos Control says

    @Tony

    The genocidal actions of the Nazi’s are condemned across the globe

    You know why we can condemn the actions of the Nazis. Its because we acknowledge objective morals exist. We know that nothing in German society , the opinions of Hitler and his gevernment cause ever make it moral to exterminate lives like he did .
    We recognize that Hitler’s mass murder is clearly wrong and Hitler had an obligation to acknowledge higher moral values , that he ignored for selfish reasons.

    Can you condemn Hitler using your view? Is there any kind of objective standard you can use to judge Hitler? What makes these standards necessarily apply to him?

    Someone claimed that moral were just decided upon by society. So when German society decided that Jews needed to be exterminated , those were the new morals. So it was perfectly moral to do what he did.

    Can you condemn Hitler using your worldview? If not I would tell you to seriously take a look at it.
    Needless to say , your biblical exegesis is lacking , but I will show that after we conclude the moral debate.

  420. David Marjanović says

    The premise is is “Everything that begins to exist has a cause”

    Exactly. This premise is wrong.

    virtual particles are clearly caused by the quantum vacuum

    That’s flat-out wrong. Virtual particles happen at random.

    There are clear initial conditions and pre-existing particles that have to be there for the event to occur.

    Why do you call that a cause? These conditions make radioactivity possible, but they don’t make it actually happen. It actually happening, the individual event of decay, is not caused.

    This is relevant here, because it seems that the universe has a total energy of 0. The more energy a virtual particle(-antiparticle pair) has, the faster it needs to “pay this debt back” to the 1st law of thermodynamics. If the energy really is 0, the lifespan is infinite…

  421. says

    Kroos Control #452

    Do you have any examples of things coming into being without a cause?

    You claim to have one: to whit, a god, universe-creation for the purpose, of. If god-from-nothing is possible, what mechanism do you offer, which prevents other-things-from-nothing?

  422. Kroos Control says

    @Tony!

    There’s no grey area there for me.
    Slavery is wrong.
    Genocide is wrong.
    Rape is wrong.

    What objective standard are you using to judge these events as wrong? Why does this standard necessarily apply to say the ancient Israelites?

  423. Kroos Control says

    @Nick Gotts

    Oddly enough, I’ve never got a straight answer from a believer in objective morals as to whether they consider there are also objective esthetic facts – God’s league table of novelists, for example.

    I’m inclined to say yes , but that’s mostly because of background beliefs I have that I think make it more probable. I’m not really settled on it.

  424. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    If objective moral facts and duties exist. then God exists

    God doesn’t exist, and claiming it does, doesn’t make it so. Hard and conclusive physical evidence is needed. Otherwise, you deity is imaginary, existing only between your ears.
    Morality has nothing to do with god, never did, never will. It is a human construct until you show otherwise with solid and conclusive physical evidence. Your mental masturbations are bullshit without a reality check.

  425. says

    Kroos Control:

    1)If objective moral facts and duties exist. then God exists

    For the sake of argument, I’ll grant that objective moral facts and duties exist.
    Further, I’ll grant that *some* powerful deity is the source of those facts and duties.
    How does that lead to the god of the bible being the source of those objective morals? Why is Zeus not the source? Odin? Krishna? Isis?

    All you’re doing is engaging in presuppositional fuckwittery.
    Put up or shut up you smugnoramus.

  426. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    What objective standard are you using to judge these events as wrong?

    There isn’t any, since your deity doesn’t exist. DUH, you are one stupid presupper.
    Your deity exists only in your mind. Deal with that elsewhere.

  427. Kroos Control says

    @David Marjanović

    You’re clearly conflating cause , with deterministic cause.

    There’s a difference between under 1)X initial condition- Y is 100% likely to happen
    and under 2) X initial conditon – Y is 20% likely to happen.

    In both cases , X causes Y , but in one it is a deteministic cause and the other is a probabilistic cause.

  428. Anri says

    I wonder how KC would distinguish between a murderer delusionally believing he has been commanded by god to kill certain people and an actual messenger of god having been commanded by god to kill certain people?

  429. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    In both cases , X causes Y , but in one it is a deteministic cause and the other is a probabilistic cause.

    Why should DM, one very smart person, believe anything an unevidenced fuckwitted idjit like you says without you providing a link to evidence your assertions?

  430. Kroos Control says

    @Tony
    The argument just established the existence of a God.The argument does not necessarily lead to the God of the bible , but we have other arguments for that.

  431. says

    Kroos Control:

    The argument just established the existence of a God. .The argument does not necessarily lead to the God of the bible , but we have other arguments for that.

    I suppose it is truly an accomplishment for you to acknowledge that the existence of objective morality doesn’t automatically lead to your god.
    Perhaps you’ll grace us with those arguments after you define objective morality, prove that it exists, and explain how we can acquire knowledge of it.

  432. Kroos Control says

    @Tony
    I’ve done all that in the thread see 122 and 448

    define objective morality

    Objective just means independent of human consciousness and human opinion.

    prove that it exists

    The answer to why I believe in objective moral values is because I clearly apprehend objective moral values and have no good reason to deny what I clearly perceive.

    “This is the same answer we give to the sceptic who says, “How do you know you’re not just a body lying in the Matrix and that all that you see and experience is an illusory, virtual reality?” We have no way to get outside our five senses and prove that they’re veridical. Rather I clearly apprehend a world of people and trees and houses about me, and I have no good reason to doubt what I clearly perceive. Sure, it’s possible that I’m a body in the Matrix. But possibilities come cheap. The mere possibility provides no warrant for denying what I clearly grasp.”

    explain how we can acquire knowledge of it.

    This isn’t really relevant to the argument. I use an eclectic method myself. Some can be perceived directly though.

  433. Sastra says

    Kroos Control #448 wrote:

    1)If objective moral facts and duties exist. then God exists

    I am still very interested in seeing you address my own argument, since I have chosen to defend a form of “objective morality” based on humanism — and am arguing that this undercuts the objectivity of the Divine Command Theory.

    Please consider then my brief responses at #430 to your ontological questions, as well as my numerous posts previous to that one — particularly #207 and #362. Where do you see problems?

  434. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    The argument just established the existence of a God.

    No, the argument didn’t prove bullshit, since it was presup argument, presupposing your imaginary deity exists. It doesn’t. You can’t argue the existence of a meaningful deity into reality, you must evidence it with physical evidence. The amount of evidence you have provided to date: ZERO, ZILCH, NIL, NOTHING, NADA.

  435. Snoof says

    Kroos Control @ 469

    This isn’t really relevant to the argument. I use an eclectic method myself. Some can be perceived directly though.

    Would that be your “when you think about it and feel revulsion it means it’s objectively wrong” method you mentioned in post @410? What makes you think feelings of revulsion, a subjective human experience indicate the existence of a moral system “independent of human consciousness and human opinion”?

    When I think about eating coriander I feel revulsion. Does that make eating coriander objectively wrong?

  436. anteprepro says

    Just a few comments on William Lane Craig . Somehow people here are insisting he doesn’t know how time works.
    He was president of the philosophy of time society , published a number of peer-reviewed technical articles and books and chaired technical sessions , but somehow , no-one realized he didn’t know how time worked?

    That’s an interesting alternative to actually arguing that he is right. Your concession is noted.

    Craig has actually addressed this in his stuff on Kalam , and the former statement does not follow from the latter . There’s still a timeless state of affairs causally prior to to universe even if it begins at t=0

    THERE IS NO PRIOR TO “T=0″, DIPSHIT.

    And there a huge difference between “I disagree with Craig’s philosophical interpretation of relativity” and Craig’s arguments are inconsistent with special relativity and I saw how you switched when i called you out on it.

    Oh yes, when it comes to Craig and relativity, it’s just differing interpretations! But when it comes to us and morality, you are obviously right and therefore Jeebus. I see how that works. It’s only differing interpretations that reasonable people could interpret either way when you are wrong .

    To summarize this thread ,I presented a version of The moral argument

    And yet that has nothing to do with the original post. Fancy that. I wonder why? Let’s see your first comment:

    PZ’s argument is riddled with holes. Just because nonreligious people can do the same actions doesn’t mean they actually do do them with the same degree or frequency. For example ,rom the studies I’ve seen people who do identify as strongly religious and with strong church attendance tend to give more to charity and commit less violent crimes than people who don’t consider themselves strongly religious or consider themselves non-religious….

    I guess I’m sympathetic to PZs criticism if the theologian is really vague and doesn’t have a self-consistent idea of God , but I think guys like Swinburne , Collins in modern philosophy of religion have done a good job of outlining what God is and what sort of reasons we can have for believiing in him. The mere fact that atheists have actually made arguments like the problem of evil and suffering shows that they do understand what sort of attributes God has and what sort of evidence counts against him.

    How did all of those arguments turn out again?

    Some people claimed that the fact that some people disagree on morals/behave immorally proves morals are not objective

    It proves that WE DO NOT HAVE GOOD ACCESS to these objective morals. So even if objective morality exists, it is IRRELEVANT.

    Some people could not address the debate on its own terms and brought up red herrings and asked what morally sufficient reasons God could have for killing the Canaanites. They also made claims the bible condones rape , slavery and other objectively immoral actions.

    You are the one who brought up Billy Lane. You are the one claiming, like he does, that this shit proves God. You are the one who claims there is objective morality and somehow this is important and significant despite the obvious fact that it is irrelevant to actual human society.

    if they’re willing to cede the debate and concede God is the most plausible ground for objective moral facts and duties , I will discuss issues of biblical interpretation with them and show they are in error in their interpretation of the relevant passages.

    Kroos doesn’t want to add one more thing to long list of things they are wrong about. Surprisingly wise. Your intellectual cowardice is noted, however.

    You mention virtual particles , but virtual particles are clearly caused by the quantum vacuum….
    Do you have any examples of things coming into being without a cause?

    I love when you assclowns do this. If even a fucking vacuum counts as a “thing” to you, THEN THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS NOTHING. And yet you are so confident about what Nothing can and cannot do? It’s pure sophistry.

    You know why we can condemn the actions of the Nazis. Its because we acknowledge objective morals exist.

    You realize that your argument is basically an argument from incredulity right? You can’t imagine a middle ground between pure objective and pure subjective morality, so you keep insisting, despite how ridiculous it is, that pure objective morality is true, because you don’t think morality makes sense otherwise. Your lack of imagination is not proof of anything. It is not an argument.

    We recognize that Hitler’s mass murder is clearly wrong and Hitler had an obligation to acknowledge higher moral values , that he ignored for selfish reasons.

    But mass murders that God approves of, that was clearly right. Because [content unlocked once you filthy heathens pretend Kroos has won the argument].

    prove that it exists

    The answer to why I believe in objective moral values is because I clearly apprehend objective moral values and have no good reason to deny what I clearly perceive.

    Ahahaha. That doesn’t “prove” jackshit . You are just simply asserting that your own moral reasoning is analogous to the senses. And that you are sensing objective morals. That is complete and utter bullshit.

    explain how we can acquire knowledge of it.

    This isn’t really relevant to the argument. I use an eclectic method myself. Some can be perceived directly though.

    YES IT IS RELEVANT, YOU FUCKING PUTZ! You are claiming that objective morality is “proved” by your alleged clear perception of objective morals. HOW you do that is a major fucking point. You have no evidence, no logic and no actual argument until you actually address that point!

    No wonder you esteem WLC so much: you can’t think your way out of a paper bag.

  437. says

    A brief statement on behalf of the wet paper bags of the world.

    Many of our members owe their continued existence to Kroos Control’s disinclination to punch their way out of us. We would like to express or thanks and appreciation for Kroos Control’s kind and considerate behaviour.

    Thank you.

  438. Rob Grigjanis says

    Kroos Control @446:

    Somehow people here are insisting he doesn’t know how time works.

    I’ll spell it out for you. Craig:

    What the new story [of the Three Brothers] shows is that the aging of the traveling twin is not due to his absolute motion…

    His scenario cannot show anything about the relative aging of anyone. So three inertial frames measure time differently. So what? To determine relative aging (which is the whole point of the exercise!), one has to have two observers begin and end in the same inertial frame. One of them must depart the initial frame, via a boost – i.e. undergo acceleration. Change of frame changes the observer’s view of simultaneity and distance, and results in a different measure of time elapsed.

    To Craig, “this is extremely bizarre”, and

    The results follow from the equations, but there is no physical cause of such absolute effects.

    It’s “extremely bizarre” because Craig is bringing his Galilean intuition to a Minkowski party. The “physical cause” is the structure of spacetime.

  439. Rob Grigjanis says

    Kroos Control @463:

    @David Marjanović

    You’re clearly conflating cause, with deterministic cause.

    I agree with you here. I’d never seen ‘probabilistic’ presented as ‘acausal’ before David brought it up in an earlier thread. He appears to be adamant about this usage, and I still don’t get it.

  440. anteprepro says

    To Craig, “this is extremely bizarre”, and

    The results follow from the equations, but there is no physical cause of such absolute effects.

    Holy fuck, really? Yeah, he’s clueless.

  441. Owlmirror says

    I see that Kroos Control has noticed what WLC does when faced with refutation and destruction of his arguments: Ignored the refutation, restate his own arguments, claim that his argument has not been refuted, and claim victory.

    Kroos Control clearly knows how to emulate his master.

    Kroos, it’s obviously useful to use such intellectually dishonest tactics when all you want to do is pretend to be reasonable; to fake reasonableness, like WLC does.

    Do you care that you’re not being reasonable and are only pretending to be so?

  442. Sastra says

    Here we go:

    1)If objective moral facts and duties exist. then they must be grounded in humanist ethics.
    2)Objective moral facts and duties exist.
    3)Therefore, they are grounded in humanist ethics.

    1.) If morals are grounded in humanist ethics, then God’s existence is irrelevant to morality.
    2.) Morals are grounded in humanist ethics.
    3.) Therefore, God’s existence is irrelevant to morality.

    1.) If God’s existence is irrelevant to morality, then the Divine Command Theory fails.
    2.) God’s existence is irrelevant to morality.
    3.) Therefore, Divine Command Theory fails.

    Kroos Control: okay. Chew on this.

  443. Sastra says

    We can add

    1.) If God exists, then Divine Command Theory is true.
    2.) Divine Command Theory is not true.
    3.) Therefore, God does not exist.

    Modus tollens.

  444. vaiyt says

    Craig argues that God had objective morally sufficient reason to command the death of the Canaanite. He gives many objective reasons why God may have commanded their death. And God is the highest moral authority , so he has the moral authority to take life that say Hitler or Dessalines do not.

    So, what you’re saying is that ultimately “objective” morality is God’s whim, and if God commands you to kill children you better do it.

    I swear, the more you pressupositionalists try to justify your God, the more it looks like Cthulhu to me.

    The answer to why I believe in objective moral values is because I clearly apprehend objective moral values and have no good reason to deny what I clearly perceive.

    The rest of the world can’t hear the voices in your own head.

  445. vaiyt says

    You know why we can condemn the actions of the Nazis. Its because we acknowledge objective morals exist.

    Many people don’t condemn the actions of the Nazis. They either don’t perceive the same Objective Morals as you do, or are perfectly fine with them not applying to Jews, Roma and gays.

  446. vaiyt says

    1)If objective moral facts and duties exist. then God exists

    Why God? Why not Krishna or the Three Pure Ones?

  447. Kroos Control says

    @Sastra

    I’m not sure what you’re saying in your previous post.
    Which is closer to your view-

    1)moral facts exist and they are created by humans opinions/consensus
    2)moral facts exists and humans can discover them through shared reasoning

    If your view is 1 , you’re holding to a subjective view
    If your view is 2 , you’re holding to objective morality , but have really showed metaphysically how can they can exist without God.

    1)What kind of ontology do moral values have? I was giving an ontology when I said they were grounded in God’s good nature. Are they somehow existing in a realm outside the universe. Are they just brute facts about the universe and properties of the universe in the same way that density , temperature eg are properties of the universe.
    2) Why are people obligated to follow these moral values and why do they have duties to carry him out?
    You said people weren’t really obligated to follow unless they chose to. But then eg Hitler,Rafael Trujillo could merely say that they don’t chose to follow this code and absolve themselves of nay moral responsibility. This seems really incorrect. I think we can agree Hitler had moral duties to his fellow man that he violated , even if he disagreed on those duties.

    Thanks for engaging my points Sastra. I’m going to have to pick who I respond to more selectively from now

  448. Kroos Control says

    @Rob 475
    It seems like Craig agrees with you on the Minkowskian view solving the twin paradox

    Most theorists resolve the “paradox” by adopting a four-dimensional view of reality, such as was proposed by Herrmann Minkowski, which does away with reference frames and enduring three-dimensional objects in favor of shifting perspectives on four-dimensional objects in spacetime.

    http://www.reasonablefaith.org/special-relativity-and-the-twin-paradox#ixzz2vfferNNj

  449. busterggi says

    KC “I’ve done all that in the thread see 122 and 448″

    No, no you haven’t. I’ve read this whole thread since it started and you have done nothing but state & restate your own personal presuppositional beliefs based on your own subjective personal experiences – which seem to be largely limited to jerking off over WLC.

    I don’t think you have any idea what objective actually means nor what evidence is.

  450. Rob Grigjanis says

    Kroos Control @485: He knows what Minkowskians say, but he rejects it.

    The point was that Craig’s alternate three brother story does not show what he claims. There is no initial age to compare to a final age! He simply synchronizes the clocks in three inertial frames to reproduce the usual answer. So, he either misunderstands the point of the exercise, or is trying to confuse the reader. My guess is the latter.

  451. anteprepro says

    It seems like Craig agrees with you on the Minkowskian view solving the twin paradox

    Dishonest little shitweasel. The full statement:

    Most theorists resolve the “paradox” by adopting a four-dimensional view of reality, such as was proposed by Herrmann Minkowski, which does away with reference frames and enduring three-dimensional objects in favor of shifting perspectives on four-dimensional objects in spacetime. But such a view, if taken metaphysically seriously, entails a tenseless theory of time which comes with a very high and, I think, unacceptable, price philosophically and theologically. Therefore, I cast my lot with H. A. Lorentz, who maintained that absolute time, absolute space, and absolute simultaneity do exist after all and the relativistic effects described in the Twin Paradox are due to absolute motion with respect to the privileged frame.

    Is there anything that you are able to actually be right about? Is there anything that you won’t lie and distort to support your preconceptions?

  452. Kroos Control says

    Hey mods , what are the rules about language in Pharyngula ? There’s this dipshit who can’t distinguish between temporal and causal priority and I’m tired of his ingnorant BS. I’d like to respond in kind , but not get banned.

    There’s this tactic that atheists sometimes use in debates with Craig. They’ll bring up quotes from his past work on unrelated topics , make assertions about the bible promoting bad things and Christians being immoral and irrational and do everything possible to throw out stuff without addressing the arguments and claim they won. Some people call it the Gish Gallop , where you make so many assertions the other debater can’t address them all
    I quoted Craig to make a point on the moral argument and people started bring up his stuff on the holy spirit and his views on the death of Canaanites , the nature of space-time and stuff about the bible.
    I’m going to try to stick to the moral argument.

  453. Owlmirror says

    The argument just established the existence of a God.The argument does not necessarily lead to the God of the bible , but we have other arguments for that.

    What makes you think that the God of objective morality and the God of the Bible are the same, given that the God of the bible commands and killing children for fun, which you claim are objectively immoral acts according to the God of objective morality?

  454. anteprepro says

    Hey mods , what are the rules about language in Pharyngula ?

    *snicker*

    They’ll bring up quotes from his past work on unrelated topics , make assertions about the bible promoting bad things and Christians being immoral and irrational and do everything possible to throw out stuff without addressing the arguments and claim they won….I’m going to try to stick to the moral argument.

    Irony much? As I’ve pointed out several times, this debate about objective morals WAS NOT the original subject. It wasn’t even YOUR original subject. It is just a topic that you Gish Galloped your way into and NOW suddenly you are philosophically changed to anything outside of your very understanding of that one off-topic topic. Go fuck yourself, you pig-ignorant sophist.

  455. anteprepro says

    “philosophically changed to” should be “philosophically opposed to changing the subject to”. Gah.

  456. Jacob Schmidt says

    Hey mods , what are the rules about language in Pharyngula ? There’s this dipshit who can’t distinguish between temporal and causal priority and I’m tired of his ingnorant BS. I’d like to respond in kind , but not get banned.

    The rules are here.

    Basically, no threats or slurs, and keep a civil tongue in the lounge.

  457. Rob Grigjanis says

    Kroos Control @489:

    I’m going to try to stick to the moral argument.

    Good idea. My point in bringing up the spacetime stuff was that it demonstrated Craig’s willingness to argue positions dishonestly/incompetently. Much easier to address than his philosophical bafflegab, and sufficient (for me at least) to dismiss him outright.

  458. Sastra says

    Kroos Control wrote:

    Which is closer to your view-
    1)moral facts exist and they are created by humans opinions/consensus
    2)moral facts exists and humans can discover them through shared reasoning

    Both — because it has to be a combination of both. Moral facts are facts about human beings in general and what we all value in equitable relationships with others. It is objectively true that basic human morals are inter-subjective and grounded in common “opinions.” These soft truths would exist abstractly in the absence of human beings only the same way truths about how to cook carrots would still be true even if carrots didn’t exist or never existed.

    As I said at #254, I think it is possible to express extremely general principles or moral statements which could be considered “objective” because they entail universal (or close to universal) inter-subjective agreement among members of the human species. All ‘reasonable’ people accept them because they’re anchored into the fundamental relationships and exchanges between people who need to work together harmoniously. Examples:

    Good is desirable. Evil is not.
    What causes the best things to flourish is good.
    Causing unnecessary harm is evil.
    Being fair is right.
    Cheating is wrong.
    Murder is wrongful killing.

    1)What kind of ontology do moral values have? I was giving an ontology when I said they were grounded in God’s good nature. Are they somehow existing in a realm outside the universe. Are they just brute facts about the universe and properties of the universe in the same way that density , temperature eg are properties of the universe.

    No, they are brute facts about human nature and reciprocal equity in relationships — and that is why God’s “good nature” MUST reflect our own good nature or we would not — COULD not — call God “good.”

    Think about it. Here we have a supernatural entity which is supposed to be OUTSIDE of human moral beliefs … and yet it is supposed to be RESPONSIBLE for human moral beliefs. This is a conflict. It reflects God’s dependence on us.

    If you doubt this, imagine a God whose nature did not include my examples — or who interpreted these examples as if dealing with humans was like dealing with lower beings. Which, by the way, is where you have put God. This means His values could go anywhere, like a powerful space alien from another planet … if you didn’t try to make sure our morals simultaneously “came from God” (which is a different type of question.)

    2) Why are people obligated to follow these moral values and why do they have duties to carry him out?
    You said people weren’t really obligated to follow unless they chose to. But then eg Hitler,Rafael Trujillo could merely say that they don’t chose to follow this code and absolve themselves of nay moral responsibility. This seems really incorrect. I think we can agree Hitler had moral duties to his fellow man that he violated , even if he disagreed on those duties.

    People recognize what is fair and just and are obligated to fulfill their duties if they want to be fair and just, and live in a world which is fair and just . This works the same for every moral theory, including Divine Command because what you’re talking about here is not establishing a system, but enforcing it.

    There are (roughly) two ways of doing wrong. One is to do wrong while knowing you are doing wrong — breaking your own moral code. Which you have. The other is to do wrong while thinking you are doing right. As I pointed out way, way back at #147, the Nazis were doing the latter. Their basic morals were normal, in that even Hitler would have agreed with my list. But the background facts inside this framework were both mistaken and not up for open, common debate. Sort of like if Hitler was elevated and unquestionable, like God. (This last sentence should be read with ominous music and a cymbal crash.)

  459. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I quoted Craig to make a point on the moral argument and people started bring up his stuff on the holy spirit and his views on the death of Canaanites , the nature of space-time and stuff about the bible.
    I’m going to try to stick to the moral argument.

    You have no moral argument. It doesn’t exist except in your presuppositional fuckqwittery, and inane and misguided hero worship. And all the stuff brought up is relevant as they show biblical morals the you must perforce address, or be seen as a liar and bullshitter. Since you refuse to properly address them, and won’t show your deity isn’t imaginary, you keep providing prima facie evidence you are unable to argue in good faith, with evidence. Keep in mind, your unsupported word isn’t and never will be evidence. So your testimony can as is dismissed.

  460. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    KC: “You mention virtual particles , but virtual particles are clearly caused by the quantum vacuum.”

    Wrong. You are also wrong about radioactive decay. To argue that there is a cause presumes we could know that cause. If we could know the cause, we could predict with certainty when a particular nucleus would decay. Arguments by John Bell have pretty much killed off such hidden variables approaches to quantum mechanics.

    I could really give a shit about your silly-assed arguments about absolute morality. However, as a physicist, I take umbrage when you extend your bullshit to physics.

  461. anteprepro says

    Here is a sample list of the things you have argued Kroos Control:

    The problem of evil is only a problem if you misunderstand God.
    Religious people are more charitable.
    Religious people are less violent.
    Swinburne!
    WLC is the most expert expert on the subject of time that he out-experts the most expert expert
    The Kalam
    BAAAAAW why don’t you take Billy Lane seriously?

    OH NOES CHANGING THE SUBJECT

  462. Owlmirror says

    Hey mods , what are the rules about language in Pharyngula ?

    Technically, there are very few rules. However, PZ is the only “mod”, and his word is final. He may insist that you not use certain language, while others abuse you at will. This may not seem fair, but PZ is the objective arbiter of morality on this blog, and I’m sure that he has objectively good moral justification for the appearance of unfairness.

    There’s this tactic that atheists sometimes use in debates with Craig. They’ll bring up quotes from his past work on unrelated topics , make assertions about the bible promoting bad things and Christians being immoral and irrational and do everything possible to throw out stuff without addressing the arguments and claim they won.

    Since the quotes from Craig’s past work are actually quite pertinent, and the bible does promote bad things, and Craig and other Christians are perfectly capable of being immoral and irrational, atheists do kind of win.

    I mean, I understand that Craig, and you, cannot provide any satisfactory justification for the bible commanding genocide and killing children for fun, that doesn’t reduce to immorality and irrationality, but that isn’t the fault of atheists.

    Some people call it the Gish Gallop , where you make so many assertions the other debater can’t address them all

    I agree that Craig is the master of the Gish Gallop.

    I quoted Craig to make a point on the moral argument and people started bring up his stuff on the holy spirit and his views on the death of Canaanites

    I am absolutely astonished that you seem to be implying that Craig’s views on the genocide of Canaanites is not relevant to Craig’s views on morality.

  463. Rob Grigjanis says

    a_ray_in_dilbert_space @497:

    If we could know the cause, we could predict with certainty when a particular nucleus would decay.

    Again with the ‘probabilistic’=’acausal’? Where did this definition of ’cause’ come from? Let’s stick to something simple, like muon decay. It’s caused by the interactions of W vector bosons with leptons. What’s wrong with that sentence?