Comments

  1. John David Balla says

    THE MORAL ARGUMENT

    For me, the confusion is this. Theists maintain that their god-produced morality is both objective and absolute whereas when Matt uses “objective” he is only speaking of an “objective” assessment standard, not that morality exists somewhere out in the heavens like theists do. In this context, I can see how the caller could see Matt’s position as idiosyncratic. The problem is the usage of “objective”. Both usages are accurate and, at the same time, completely different.

    Anyway, I see the moral dilemma as follows (similar to Matt’s but perhaps slightly different):

    1) Moral tendencies and awareness are genetic, at least for the vast majority of humans, with the possible exception of sociopaths/psychopaths and similar types.*THIS IS WHERE THE CONFUSION STARTS. THERE IS AN OBJECTIVE ‘SPECTRUM’ WHICH IS OFTEN EQUIVOCATED WITH ‘OBJECTIVE MORALITY.’
    2) Because of point 1, moral engagement and debate are a given. “Well being” seems to be a reasonable foundation but there can and are different competing foundations, e.g., because god says so.
    3) MORAL ‘ASSESSMENTS’ ARE (OR CAN BE MADE) OBJECTIVELY. THAT IS, WE CAN ESTABLISH REASONABLE CRITERIA FOR WHICH TO DETERMINE WHETHER X OR Y CONDITION/SITUATION INCREASES, DECREASES OR HAS ZERO IMPACT ON “WELL BEING” OR WHATEVER STANDARD AGREED TO.

  2. Tony P says

    One of the things that always irked me is that the religious don’t have a new argument to support their position. I saw this when the Marriage Equality fight was active in Rhode Island. All the religious people trotted out the same tired arguments.

  3. gingerbeardgent says

    Zack here.

    Everyone seems to think I’m Mark from Stone Church. For what it’s worth, I’m not.

    I also got a lot of flak for my “lowercase g gods” comment.

    by that I simply meant Thor, Zeus, Ra, etc. are different sorts of gods than the sort of gods purported by abrahamic theology. There’s a difference between a being that is part of the universe, as Thor, Zeus, and Ra are, and the sort of extrauniversal ultrabeing that
    Abrahamic theologians talk about.

  4. tons of mice says

    “Any satirical post must be identified as satire.”

    Cross your fingers.

    TAE at Sea

    The ship was tossed across the waves, the crew was in peril on the dark sea. The storm raged. The great creature Mythology’s breath was in the wind and the rain; its body loomed in the deep beneath the troubled ship.

    “Look! A light,” called the mate.

    The Captain saw the light. He’d studied under it all his life.

    “By faith, we’ve found salvation!” cried a crewman. “We’re saved!”

    The Captain moved quickly. He grabbed the man by the collar and threw him over the ship-rail to ride the waves alone, to sink unrescued in the muddling waters.

    “Faith is a four-letter word on this ship, caller.” The Captain said it matter-of-factly and turned back to take the ship’s wheel himself. He steered toward the dim light, flickering in the storm. The Captain’s hands gripped the wheel with hard logic, he scanned the waves for evidence of existence.

    A shoal appeared, upon which lay a harem of Sirens, beautiful and seductive, who called out to the sailors, “Look at the trees, look at the trees.”

    The Captain spun the wheel hard to starboard, and the Sirens’ shoal fell astern. They purred to the crew, “How could we be here on this rock if it weren’t by design?” The voices faded and fell away to whispers on the water, “What’s half an eye worth…Look I found a watch on the beach…Where did we come from…”

    The crew shook their heads clear of the Sirens’ cobwebs. There was a pod of dolphins swimming alongside the ship now, and they began to testify:

    “We have a personal relationship with the sea. The ocean speaks to me. Have you asked the deep for forgiveness?” squeaked the dolphins. The ship’s cook took care of these foolish witnesses. He emptied a bucket of chum on them.

    As the ship sailed away from them, one of the dolphins said, “So long, and thanks for all the…” But the other dolphins devoured him before he could finish; it seems they were sharks all along. They were quick to eat their own.

    Now, ship and crew neared the island. The lighthouse’s beacon illuminated many ships wrecked around them, it swept across other crews stranded on the reefs which surrounded mysterious the island, which the Captain’s map named “Epistemologia.”

    The reefs were each a pile of books, thousands, piled in disarray and rising out of the water, the castaways stood on them holding copies aloft, and proclaimed their book to be true, they gibbered scriptures and nonsense, not seeming to know the difference, if there is one.

    All the men on one reef held up the same book, but the next group the ship passed held up a different book, and extoled its truth, just as the previous proselytizers had their book.

    Suddenly, the sailors saw a long tentacle reach out of the sea and snatch a believer from the perch atop his canon. The man had time to cry, “Hallelujah,” before he was dragged under, with a book still in his hand. His brothers bid him goodbye with a cry of “Blessed one! Amen.” They waved to him as he disappeared, but afterward, they watched for the tentacle with cautious eyes.

    Amen indeed, I almost feel bad for the poor character.

    Each reef’s scripture was different, each damned the other’s faithful to the deep. It was all the same, yet completely different, and came to nothing. But it felt right, and that’s what’s important.

    The castaways jeered the sailors as the ship passed by them, “You’ll burn for your disbelief! God must punish you! A fool says in his heart!”

    The crew was not persuaded. They fished out copies of each reef’s soggy book with a long pike and began to laugh and deride each book’s contents as they read.

    “A talking snake? Oh really, so it was ‘Hello there, Mister Snake, how’s the slithering today? Got anything to eat?’” The crew burst into laughter.

    Someone threw Strange Tim an apple.

    “How many wives, d’ya say?” asked Tim.

    “One in every port Timmy? Is that the book for you?” his friend Popeyed Bill said, and clapped Tim on the back.

    “No, I’m just saying if I’m going to be believin’ it, what’s good in it for me? A slew of wives might be worth a kneel now and then.”

    “As if you could keep one wife content more ‘an a week, Strange Tim. Man, who do you think you are?” said Mort the Squid, sitting on a barrel, smoking.

    “And this Heaven, is there smoking allowed? Can a person smoke a pipe?” Mort knew his necessities.

    “No Mort, that’s the other place,” said the mate.

    Mort the Squid snorted and blew smoke like a locomotive, “Not for me then,” Mort declared, “I’ll stick with the other, I’ll go on to Hell.”

    “But Mort, Heaven’s the best—harps and wings, streets of gold; you’ll be flying about making music with yer old ma and pa, don’t that sound nice?” asked Cracked Harmonica (called so because of the sound he made while sleeping).

    “Couldn’t stand ‘em is why I went to sea in the first place, Crack’dy,” Mort reminisced. “They was saved. Pa knew all of your sins and none of his own.” He took a little squid out of his pocket and ate it. Mort the Squid.

    “No smoking, not interested, Yer Heaven ain’t sufficient enough fer happiness, without a smoke. Probably got plenty of chewing gum. Eternity sounds a long wait. All that gum-smacking on and on.”

    “And the serpent was right!” exclaimed the cabin boy, out of nowhere.

    The mate ruffled the boy’s hair. Graham, the parrot on the mate’s shoulder, preached, “Eat from the tree. Eat from the tree. Then you’ll know… Where’s my pants? Where’s my pants? Squawk!”

    “Stow that noise, or I’ll put you on hold,” growled the Captain.

    Just then, Leviathan breached in front of the ship. The ship’s prow pushed into the blubber of the beast; the figurehead recoiled from the mass, too late, Leviathan’s crusty belly stripped the varnish from her body. The ship was stopped, dead in the water.

    Ship-rats and tons of mice scrambled across the deck and leapt into the sea, a sign the ship was doomed, according to the rat prophets: this was it.

    As the rodents fled, their little rat feet clicked and clattered on the deck, pink rat toes typed, “exactly, exactly,” as though the word explained everything.

    Leviathan opened its giant guppy mouth and with a voice that tolled like a church bell moaned, “I believe, I believe.” Its huge gullet opened wider, and looked to engulf the ship, crew and captain in one swallow. Still the behemoth belched out, “I believe…We believe” The crew drew back from the certainty of the voice, the slow, irresistible sureness of the mob in it: “We believe, We believe.”

    But Captain Matt threw down his sunglasses, and said, “I don’t care that you believe. I want to know what you believe, and how you justify your belief.”

    The sea monster vanished, as though there had been nothing to it at all, only a terror of smoke and mirrors, a creature from the empty realm of faith, where anything goes, even talking sea monsters, I believe.

    The sky cleared and the Sun shone down upon our world. If I were looking for a god…

    Not even Captain Dance and his ship Round the Question could have avoided the reefs as well as Captain Matt did piloting the Star of India that day. Captain Dance, his crew and his ship had been lost in the Sea of Consequence, many years past. He’d rowed ashore on some pointless story with a landing party and could never get back to the Question.

    “I am my own captain and I will determine my own purpose,” asserted Captain Matt. “Is there a god steering me?” He laughed, and shuffled one-handed, his other hand on the wheel.

    “Do you care if your beliefs are true?”

    The sea grew calm, the creature Mythology was vanquished, for the day.

    The audience applauded as the Captain guided the ship to the safe port of Reality, where Mort the Squid could still smoke in peace, where Strange Tim could find the girl of his dreams (Kelly was the milkman’s daughter; they married and he became Tim the Milkman in the course of time, but everyone knew that it was Kelly who ran the dairy, with their brood of kids to tend the cows; a happy family).

    The mate stepped down the plank and walked into the port town. She became the woman she was, away from the crew, unknown to the men who took her orders. Her hair fell, her walk changed; they wouldn’t know her now.

    “exactly, exactly”

  5. StonedRanger says

    This isn’t the facebook group so you can be as satirical as you want to be. As to the rest, tldr. I am sooooo sad that we didn’t get to hear mohammed extoll the virtues and truth of the quran. Again. This was kind of a bang my head on the desk type of show.

  6. says

    To Zack in Hagerman, Idaho,

    You were talking about a potential solution to the moral version of the Euthyphro dilemma where “God is goodness”. I was actually just listening to a Google hangout a couple of days ago on Alex Malpass’s channel that I think addresses what you were talking about. Hopefully I can link it here. The conversation is about meta-ethics. He goes into the dilemma and talks about the difference between a tautology and the ideea of defining god as “the good” that you were describing.

    Here’s a link. I time stamped it at the point where he talks about all this. You could even start it around 33:46. Anyways here it is:

    https://youtu.be/uNqGueB9FEY?t=38m30s

  7. Monocle Smile says

    Zach from Not Reality, Idaho called yet again? Defining god as “goodness” removes all meaning from both terms. How then are we supposed to judge actions? This is common in Catholic apologetics: break grammar and invent nonsensical concepts in order to baffle the audience with profound-sounding bullshit.

    @tons of mice
    Not reading that. Is there a point lurking in there?

  8. Bestrides says

    I will second the sentiment expressed up thread regarding being quite glad that we didn’t have to listen to Mohammed’s smarmy, unfounded assertions regarding the “truth” of Islam yet again. Stubborn idiocy is bad enough, but when it’s accompanied by a tone of patronizing assuredness – “but you see, this is what you must understand about the prophet”, etc. – it’s just intolerable.

  9. says

    I think Derek could have been referring to ‘the appeal to personal experience’ as a valid and sound argument for god that isn’t published in the news or has gotten a Nobel prize. One of the potential clues I picked up on for this was, just before he switched to talking about objective morality, he made a peculiar presumption for such an argument. He said, “It may be that there is an argument that people are aware of that is sound… and it’s not at all likely that we would expect that everyone would be able to understand…”

    Of course, this may not be what Derek meant, it just came to mind during the call.

  10. says

    @ 1:17:57

    matt: if in fact there were good arguments for god, why aren’t the best apologists using them?

    derek: [after a beat] well, they might be. you just might not accept them

    if derek thinks his straw atheist is stubborn, i wonder how receptive he would be to a valid and sound argument for quetzalcoatl?

    unless he believes in the existence of some grand unified theory of theology that every theist would accept, derek is of course presuming that a valid and sound argument for god would demonstrate the existence of the particular god he believes in. if it did, i doubt he’d be troubled if other brands of theists objected to it.

    there’s a god for every theist. as is often said, they can’t all be right, but they can all be wrong. how many christians would accept a good argument for a hindu god? how many muslims would accept a good argument for a west african god?

  11. Greg Bishop says

    Wow. This may have been the most frustrating episode I’ve yet heard! I loved it and hated it!

    Like Jen, I’m still waiting for someone to come with a valid argument…

  12. gingerbeardgent says

    Tons of mice, I enjoyed the story! Thanks for posting it. 🙂

    Tomd, I appreciate the link. I haven’t gotten around to listening yet, but that was, indeed, what I was referring to.

    Monocle smile, actions can be judged by people to the extent that they conform to that person’s model of God/goodness.

    Actions actually ARE good or bad to the extent that they actually conform to God/goodness.

    Not sure why you say that it’s nonsensical; it IS a meaningful claim. Peculiar, perhaps, especially to a modern audience, even bizzare. But not nonsensical.

  13. tons of mice says

    //Not reading that. Is there a point lurking in there?//

    @ Monocle Smile

    Can there be an atheist mythology? What would that look like?

  14. says

    me @ 7:

    i wonder how receptive [derek] would be to a valid and sound argument for quetzalcoatl?

    it occurs to me that former host jeff dee often pointed out that he could not argue against the existence claims of theists who worship the sun or objects like totem poles, which represent non-hypothetical examples of demonstrable claims for god that i would expect derek to handily reject.

  15. indianajones says

    @tons of mice: It would like like the Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy series, just off the top of my head.

  16. Robin says

    Can Zack in Hagerman get a basic communication course? He isn’t listening

    He is convinced theistic worldview has Objective Moral values but he has no answer to the Moral arguements that counters his ideas. So he is twisting the arguement and not understanding where his moral values is coming from.

    So frustrating to hear.

  17. Rexlee says

    I listened to several futile discussions today and then skipped through them. It is a pity that some potentially interesting callers could not be heard because of these time wasters. They must exasperate the host and co-host let alone, no-one theist or atheist gets any thing out of them, It is futile to continue with them!
    I believe that TAE reqiuires a voting system, which shows three progressive lights when either the host, the co-host or the production crew think that the caller has had enough time. The caller has two warnings to get real. On the third light, the caller gets either automatically or manually chopped of.
    I would be more than happy to write some Arduino code for you.

    I would much prefer to listen to Hamish , than some of the time wasters who call in.

  18. tons of mice says

    @indianajones
    Douglas Adams is a good example. There’s a shout out to him in my unread story. But, Adams is dead, he can’t write about Matt and the crew.

    I live in a town Newsweek once called “Fort God.” Debating Christians turned sour for me long ago, so I turned to fiction. I know my writing pisses off believers, so I thought I’d try unbelievers, the atheists on this blog. No interest.

    May Adams forgive me.

  19. sharkjack says

    Zack bringing up the “Euthyphro dilemma” might have been attempting to refute the problem of evil, also sometimes called the Epicurus Dilemma. Whenever he started out making his case, it seemed he was getting to how an all powerful god can still be all good when there is evil, but because he mentioned Euthyphro, he kept getting cut off because of irrelevance of what God is or isn’t to the Euthyphro dilemma. It is also possible he conflated the two arguments, especially later in the call when he actively engaged with what the hosts had to say.

  20. t90bb says

    I could be wrong but I thinl “zack” is a regular contributor to this board…..lol……

  21. tons of mice says

    “Atheism cannot be a mythology, but atheists sometime say the most intriguing things, things that appear fictionally composed in an organized fashion in order to recount a cosmology, an origin story, a moral code, a special role for the chosen, and a destiny for the world, all according to atheists. “Atheist mythology” could happen, in a way that “atheism mythology” couldn’t, precisely because individual atheists are free to generate and informally transmit all manner of stories.”

    “After all, as the final dogma says, atheists cannot have a mythology.”

    ~John Shook. on his CFI blog.

    http://www.centerforinquiry.net/blogs/entry/atheist_mythology/

  22. Wiggle Puppy says

    Zack from Idaho has called in a few times now and keeps getting hung up on “okay, if we agree on a foundation of well-being, then we can make objective assessments of actions with regard to that value, but why should we care about well-being? What’s to stop someone from disregarding well-being and doing whatever they want?” I tend to think about it like this: imagine that we’re living in a world where the rules of traffic exist exactly as they do know, only there are no police to enforce the laws. Basically what Zack is asking is, okay, there may be speed limits and stop signs and traffic lights objectively dictating the rules of safe driving, but why should I care about those rules? The answer, obviously, is that it’s in your best interest in a couple of different ways: in the short term, it’s dangerous to run through stop signs or to drive 120 mph on the highway, since you’re likely to get yourself hurt, and in the big picture, it’s in your interest to contribute to the development of a system that encourages adherence to the rules of safe driving so that you don’t get hurt by other people who don’t care about the rules. Of course, there are people who ignore the rules of safe driving, and that’s why we have police to enforce those rules, just as we have police to enforce our laws about well-being, such as laws against theft, assault, and murder. Matt brought up the example on the last call with Zack a while back that just because some individual might not care about money doesn’t devalue the currrency I have in my pocket, just as the fact that some individual might not care about well-being doesn’t mean it isn’t valuable to the rest of us. I don’t know why theists try to make the subject of morality so freaking hard when it’s actually pretty simple.

  23. The Sparrow says

    The first caller was Ted again I think. The guy that Tracey shut down last week because she didn’t want to enable him anymore. Did he change his name to sneak another call in?

    Ted. Did you seek medical help yet ?

  24. gingerbeardgent says

    @t90bb
    Not regular, though I do pop in to see the comments of those who watch my calls.

    @Robin
    I actually just finished a basic communication course, believe it or not!

    @Rexlee
    Yeah, I feel guilty about tying up the phone line for so long, especially since after hearing Mohammed’s reaction.

    @Sharkjack
    Not actually my intent, but I could see where you might have gotten that.

    @wigglepuppy
    My concern isn’t quite with motivation (that’s a separate, interesting issue.) It’s with the concern that, under secular moral systems, moral claims are subjective statements made about objective facts AT BEST. Yes, they may very well lead most reasonable people to pursue moral action most of the time, but that’s more of a social agreement than the sort of morality I’m referring to.

    Under theistic, or even merely supernatural systems, there is room for objective moral facts to exist. Value claims which are true regardless of whether or not anybody values them. A bridge between the is and the ought of Hume’s guillotine.

    On the other hand, if we suppose that physical systems can produce “ought” statements, we’re left with something like Aristotle’s Nicomachean ethics, in which the way things are has implications about the way that they ought to be. I hope you’ll agree that this is a morally problematic perspective.

  25. Peggy Clancy says

    To #24 “The Sparrow says”: Yes, I think that sounds like the same person, too (Jacqueline this week and Teddy 2 weeks ago.) And, if so, this person is now sounding less distressed and more intent (I think) on getting the hosts to say something that sounds like they have dismissed the idea of god/God without being absolutely sure. I’m now starting to suspect that this is some kind of religious apologist or troll.

    Anyway, I’m glad that not too much time was spent on the call. They were treated with respect but not indulged too long.

  26. Beware of trolling atheists says

    The last caller Trevor is a troll.
    He is an atheist and has a youtube account as The Realistic Nihilist
    Link https://www.youtube.com/user/TheRealisticNihilist
    He can be found regularly on the Discord server as a contributor in the Krillism server, real name Josh.
    https://discordapp.com/channels/284759741878501377/284759741878501377
    He and his partner Godless Girl enjoy trolling and have made Youtube video’s that confirm they have a very sick sense of humour.
    As an example Godless girl thinks it was funny to place a pork joint of meat into an unsuspecting Muslim female shoppers trolley in a supermarket, then film her reaction on her phone before uploading video onto the internet.
    Trevor or should I say Josh called the show with the clear purpose to try and embarrass Matt.
    He is very knowledgeable on Philosophy and enjoys trying to humiliate his other interlocutors.
    I suspect he will try and call in again, beware!!

  27. jaroslav1949 says

    Since MeToo I’ve been avoiding the company of women like if it was a disease.
    I’m not taking any risks.

  28. Robert, not Bob says

    @Zack, #3
    Everyone’s aware of the argument that Yahweh/Allah isn’t the same kind of being as Thor. But it’s pointless, irrelevant, and childish, not to mention totally without scriptual support. As far as I can tell, it’s just an argument-stopper, like taking offense at swear words.

  29. paxoll says

    @Zach,

    Under theistic, or even merely supernatural systems, there is room for objective moral facts to exist. Value claims which are true regardless of whether or not anybody values them.

    sorry, but this is false. All you are doing is abandoning your personal values for assumed values of an invisible unknown/unknowable being. A good amount of psychological research has shown that assumptions of other people are most often based on your own personal feelings anyways, so religion is really just a projection of peoples own value systems. This is precisely why it was morally permissible for god to allow people to have slaves 2k years ago, but now we universally believe slavery is immoral and make excuses for religions with these histories. What morality becomes is, ought statements based on a belief that an eternal reward or punishment is the goal, it is the EXACT same system Matt describes.

  30. bourbon.neat says

    @gingerbeardgent

    “Everyone seems to think I’m Mark from Stone Church. For what it’s worth, I’m not.”

    That’s exactly something Mark would say, now isn’t it?

  31. mi tortent says

    why is euthyphro’s dilemma so hard. matt was having just as hard a time with it, if he actually stated it right the caller might have been able to get it. is it good because god says so, or does god say so because it is good? of course this is the modern version.

  32. StonedRanger says

    Jaroslav1949 Yes, because it is just so gosh darned difficult to treat women like they are human beings. It must so terrible for you to treat women with the dignity and respect that any other human is entitled to. If you don’t understand what consent is all about it is probably better for all the women out there that you don’t try to have anything to do with them. If you cant figure out that women are not just objects put here for your sexual pleasure then please go find a hole to crawl into and pull the dirt in over the top of you. We will all be better off without you.

    mi tortent, Matt explained it just like you did on more than one occasion during that call. I don’t what he could have done any better. The caller was intent on not getting it.

  33. Wiggle Puppy says

    @ Zack #25:

    “Under theistic or even supernatural systems there is room for objective moral facts to exist.”

    You might as well be telling me that under a Zeusian view of electricity, there is room to consider that lightning is more than JUST the product of natural forces in the atmosphere. By insisting that a god serves as the basis for objective morality, you have accomplished exactly nothing.

    “I hope that you’ll agree that this is a morally problematic view.”

    I don’t. Why should I? You seem to be hung up on the idea that if there isn’t any god, then there’s no “value” woven into the fabric of universe upon which we can draw, but haven’t shown why this is a problem. I agree that humans have no *intrinsic* objective value, but that’s irrelevant, because I have value to myself. You’re trying to invent a solution to a problem without explaining why that problem is in need of a solution in the first place.

  34. Monocle Smile says

    @Zack
    Wiggle Puppy’s doing an excellent job. I’ll add on with a real example relevant to my field.

    In space, there’s no intrinsic coordinate system. There’s no “universal” set of axes that demands to be used as a part of the space-time fabric.

    In this way, every coordinate system we develop is arbitrary, However, this doesn’t mean that all coordinate systems are of equal utility. We can make certain coordinate systems and provide good reasons why they’re easier to use and then we as society can agree and use them in concert to make progress.

    And if someone comes along and says they’re not going to use the agreed-upon coordinate system? If they can provide adequate reasons for why we should abandon the old system and all subscribe to theirs, then we’ve made progress. If they can’t, then fuck ’em. See how far they get doing their own thing.

    Wiggle Puppy is correct that this isn’t the problem you make it out to be. It’s just how things are, and we deal with it. What’s wrong with that? I recommend spending a lot less time in your own head.

  35. Simon & Mrs Wendy Hosking says

    #3 gingerbeardgent
    “I also got a lot of flak for my “lowercase g gods” comment.”
    I have to admit I snorted out loud. I’m so glad I wasn’t drinking anything at the time as I would have choked!

    #27 jaroslav1949
    “Since MeToo I’ve been avoiding the company of women like if it was a disease.
    I’m not taking any risks.’
    And I suspect women in your local area (if not around the world) are thanking you for it.

    Can I promote this wonderful video that explains the concept of consent so clearly:

  36. III says

    One might (charitably) assume that @jaroslav1949 is referring to guilt or innocence being tried in the media (with the needle falling invariably towards guilt).

    However, as Matt and Jen went out of their way to make clear, repeatedly and emphatically, that any speculation on Silverman is unworthy of discussion… I second @Simon & Mrs Wendy Hosking’s comment, and suspect that your decision to recuse yourself will make the women of your acquaintance even happier than it will make you.

    Everybody wins.

  37. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Under theistic, or even merely supernatural systems, there is room for objective moral facts to exist. Value claims which are true regardless of whether or not anybody values them.

    False, and confused.

    Consider a hypothetical world, like the world of Dungeons And Dragons. In this world, there are aspects of nature which are objective facts, and people have decided to use the words “good” and “evil” to describe these objective facts.

    For example, certain creatures are made of these elements:
    https://www.d20pfsrd.com/bestiary/rules-for-monsters/creature-types/#TOC-Good-Subtype
    https://www.d20pfsrd.com/bestiary/rules-for-monsters/creature-types/#TOC-Evil-Subtype

    For example, there are objective tests for the presence or absence of these elemental substances:
    https://www.d20pfsrd.com/magic-items/magic-weapons/magic-weapon-special-abilities/holy/
    https://www.d20pfsrd.com/magic/all-spells/d/detect-evil/

    The presence or absence of elemental good and evil still doesn’t do anything to advance this fundamental argument. You’re doing a conflation, an equivocation, which has a name from Hume: the is-ought problem. In the world of Dungeons And Dragons with elemental good and evil, it is a true factual claim that “good” and “evil” existence as substances in the world which can be objectively detected and verified. However, those brute scientific material facts still don’t get you to your desired conclusion “one should do good and shouldn’t do evil”. That’s a bridge that you cannot leap without at least one starting moral pressuposition. For example: imagine two persons in the world of Dungeons And Dragons having the following argument:

    1> You shouldn’t do that. It’s evil!

    2> Why do you say that?

    1> Well, I casted the detect evil spell, and it reported that your action was evil.

    2> Well, “evil” in this context is just a name. I agree that you casted a magic spell which objectively detected the presence of some elemental substance. I don’t dispute that. This elemental substance is commonly known by the word “evil”. However, you still haven’t explained to me why I shouldn’t do it. I don’t accept that this elemental substance which is known by the word “evil” coincides exactly with the particular moral conception “things which we should not do” which is also known by the word “evil”. In other words, it’s an overload of terms, an equivocation fallacy. You have to demonstrate to me that your “detect evil” spell always and only detects acts which we should not do. You have all of your work ahead of you. In other words, the discoverers of elemental evil and the detect evil spell could have just as easily used the word “flobble” to describe this phenomenon instead of the word “evil”. Imagine how silly your argument would sound if you described as such: “You shouldn’t do that. It’s flobble! I know it’s flobble because I casted the detect fobble spell, and it reported that your action was flobble.”

    PS:
    Dungeons And Dragons examples are amazingly useful for demystifying supernatural claims, and for demystifying claims that science cannot investigate magic or other supernatural phenomena.

  38. twarren1111 says

    I can’t wrap my head around theists need for god to satisfy a term called objective morality. The only source that supposedly exists for what this god states are its rules is the Bible. And where in any part of the Bible, any version, where there are any objective values that are good. Rape, slavery, genocide, contradictions, don’t eat this or that, Jesus complaining about washing hands when people should be murdering their children for disobeying parents (Mark 7). So how is anything this god says or represents in any way shape or form demonstrate ‘objective morality’ and ‘good’? Religion means using faith to determine reality. By definition then, religion is an admittedly delusional process to determine how things relate. This leads to wasting of time and energy. And that is what evil is. It’s math. The only reliable process to determine the reality of hows things relate is the scientific process. This leads to the minimum wasting of time and energy. It is the opposite of using the religious process. And because the scientific process by design resides on reality, it is the only process we have to determine reality based upon the most objective concept we have: math.

  39. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    by that I simply meant Thor, Zeus, Ra, etc. are different sorts of gods than the sort of gods purported by abrahamic theology. There’s a difference between a being that is part of the universe, as Thor, Zeus, and Ra are, and the sort of extrauniversal ultrabeing that Abrahamic theologians talk about.

    And yet, the Bible describes Yahweh as being like Thor and Zeus, and doesn’t describe Yahweh as modern theologians do as omnipotent, etc. Hell, the Old Testament and other Jewish lore describes the existence of other gods, of which Yahweh was just one. Ex:
    https://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2014/01/the-bibles-many-gods

    My personal ill-informed opinion is that the Yahweh myth started off as any other god of that era, polytheistic, and then later followers changed the myth into monotheism.

    As Richard Carrier would say, to pagans of circa 50 AD, they would look at Christianity and say “That’s not monotheistic. You have a bunch of other gods, like the accuser aka Satan, and also Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael. We pagens would call them gods, but you call them demons, angels, etc. – that’s just semantics. Many pagan religions also had a bunch of mini-gods, with a super-god at the top, and Christianity is no different.”

  40. says

    Zack, is your underlying concern that you want to coerce agents that don’t value other agents into behaving in a pro-social(or at least not anti-social) manner? Do you think that if there were some inescapable ultimate agent of supreme power that shares your values, that would would be something preferable to you, because said agent would be capable of taking actions that result in all other agents behaving in pro-social ways because they see that as the best path to their own values, which would otherwise be thwarted by the ultimate agent in response to them not behaving pro-socially and thus advancing your values?

    I can understand the motivation behind that, which is a part of the reason for laws, judges, police, and other similar things in societies. Setting aside for now all the apparent confusion in the arguments you made, do you just want people to behave in a pro-social manner at all times, and hope that by convincing them that there is such a coercive agent, that you will advance your values? If you say that you do not seek that, what is it you do say that you hope to achieve?

  41. Wiggle Puppy says

    @ EL #40: you may want to check out Karen Armstrong’s A History of God, which traces precisely the narrative you describe about Yahweh’s emergence as one god among many in ancient Canaan. Tracie also did a show or two on henotheism a while back, which is also worth a look.

  42. sayamything says

    First off, Matt is wrong and Jen is right. Diet Coke is the One True God. Fortunately, the Church of “Just for the Taste Of It” does not stone or shun heretics. We are all equally low-calorie in the eyes of our delicious hydrator.

    And yes, I am legitimately one of those weirdos who likes the taste of diet soda.

    @Gingerbeardgent I don’t think you’re Stone Church Guy, but there is definitely a vocal similarity.

    @jaroslav1949 If a movement about sexual assault and rape has made you afraid about contact with women, we’re better off with you staying away from us, so I thank you. I didn’t really think being decent to women was such a dealbreaker. I would personally think it’d be easier to not touch women who don’t want to be touched or in ways they don’t want to be touched.

    But since some otherwise intelligent men have recently demonstrated that can’t grasp this concept, maybe I’m wrong and we should have long and in-depth training regimens.

  43. lizurious says

    This is going to seem petty in the broader context of the theistic conversation. I didn’t see a post for 22.19 (ref. youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3MRE1mULVs) to address this, which is why I chose this most recent post to address it. In the video 22.19 (ref. youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3MRE1mULVs) Matt said “Jen I’m going to let you handle this” and then dominated all responses in the conversation. I love you Matt, I love your logic arguments and damned if I haven’t learned from you; however, in this specific case I would have loved to have Jen respond actively rather than finding spots in your silence. Literally that’s my only criticism. Just, if youre going to turn it over, do that. That’s all. <3 you matt, <3 you jen

  44. says

    @gingerbeardgent

    “Under theistic, or even merely supernatural systems, there is room for objective moral facts to exist.”

    So? What is the point of this statement? Of course there is room for objective moral facts if you play a game of lets pretend we have an imaginary friend who tells us right and wrong. However, could you point out to me how you get from that statement to therefore this proves that god exists?

  45. drawn2myattention says

    Matt was merely noticing that any profoundly surprising claim which arrived well evidenced and soundly argued would get widespread attention. A strongly evidenced and we’ll argued flat Earth theory, or compelling evidence that evolution is false, or a knockdown argument for the existence of God would cause a media stir. If we include the increasing support of leading scientists/philosophers for these new theories/argument, then we have good prima facie evidence that they are true and sound.

    Of course, the difficult work still lies ahead of us–we need to evaluate the evidence and arguments. Mere initial, prima facie consensus is never enough. Now, Matt didn’t explicitly mention any of this, nor did he need to do so. It’s worth remembering that any proposition not expressed with the precision of symbolic logic is susceptible to Derek’s type of logic-chopping.

  46. gingerbeardgent says

    @ Robert, not bob

    Making the distinction was directly relevant to the discussion. As parts of the universe themselves, “g”ods can not serve as an objective moral foundation any more than physical objects can, while “G”ods potentially could.

    @ Paxoll

    I think you may misunderstand what I’m saying here. I frankly don’t know too much as to what exactly goodness/God’s values actually might be, so you can’t really accuse me of projecting my own values onto him. See my answer to wiggle puppy and monocle smile for what I’m actually saying.

    @mi torrent

    That’s always how I’ve understood the dilemma as well. Matt made it out to be a question of whether or not morality is discoverable independent from appeals to a god.

    the God = goodness proposal resolves my version, but not his.

    @stoned ranger

    I understood what Matt was talking about (once it was adequately clarified) and so I moved on because we both recognised that by referring to different versions of the dilemma we had reached a conversational dead end.

    @wiggle puppy and Monocle smile

    Quite frankly, I take comfort in the idea that there are objective moral facts “out there.”

    Perhaps an analogy would help. Suppose I’m on a ship in a storm and I can see some lights through the fog, but I can’t make out what’s causing them. The crew and I can work together and come up with rules that will help us survive the storm, but I’m going to feel much more at ease if I know there’s a lighthouse out there. Maybe the light I hope is a lighthouse isn’t actually a lighthouse. I might be headed toward the rising moon or the lantern of a drifting ghost ship, or the lights of a house above a steep and treacherous cliffside. But even if that’s the case, I prefer that there’s a lighthouse somewhere on the shore. Even if I don’t find it, someone in the same situation just might.

    @simon &ms wendy Hosking

    lol, I’ll try to give a warning next time. :p

    @enlightenmentliberal

    That’s precisely the problem with the dungeons and dragons analogy. “evil” and “good” are merely names given to opposing factions or abilities, and don’t have any real connection toward ACTUAL goodness and evil.

    Even if we look at other fictional metaphysical systems with good and evil powers which might better fit the names they’re given, we still run into a problem. Real world moral propositions, as I understand them, are necessary, meaning that they could not be anything other than the way they are. Given a particular action and the relevant conditions surrounding it, the action is either moral, immoral, or amoral, and could not be otherwise.

    Fictional universes which posit moral forces either conform or do not conform to real world morality. They can’t present a different sort of morality any more than they could present a universe in which Pi is anything other than what it is. The best they can do is offer a novel set of conditions to operate under.

    As to your point about Yahweh belonging to the same category as Zeus and Thor, I agree that that’s the category the Bible seems to put him in. Abrahamic theologians tend to essentially claim that Yahweh is a God posing as a god in the bible, or some varient of that perspective, and I’m not aware of anyone who ever made similar claims about Zues and Thor.

    @twarren111

    Trying to figure out what the moral facts actually ARE is a seperate endeavour from trying to discern whether or not there are moral facts. Maybe Yahweh was actually right for some reason we’re unaware of. Maybe his instructions were not accurately transcribed. Maybe the Jihaddists are actually the right ones, or maybe none of the abrahamic gods are actually goodness themselves, and we have no direct access to what goodness actually is. Regardless, it’s a separate issue.

    @Jared

    I admit that it’s a very pleasant bonus. God’s values needn’t even be my own values. I have a hunch that if I actually understood God’s values, they would become my own.

    Atheists frequently cite the oft quoted “Good people will do good things, and bad people will do bad things, but only religion can make good people do bad things,” but they forget to include the fact that religion also can make bad people do good things, or give extra motivation to good or neutral people. I think it’s much easier to be a better person if you think you have a powerful friend encouraging your behavior, or live in a panopticon in which you will be accountable for your anti-social behavior, even if you might get away with it in society’s eyes.

    But ultimately it’s a seperate point. It’s not so much about societal motivation and/or coercion as it is about ensuring that there’s an absolute right and wrong at all, regardless of its power to motivate people. See my answer to monocle smile and wiggle puppy for a more in-depth explanation.

    @sayamything

    I think I hear what you’re referring to, but if you listen closely, he has a more southern accent.

  47. Robink says

    @gingerbeardgent

    “I prefer that there’s a lighthouse somewhere on the shore”

    Are we discussing what’s true or what ideas you personally find comforting? For my own sake I wouldn’t find the idea that I’m being watched every moment of the day and held to an omnipotent figure’s moral standards and risking the threat of eternal torture if I step out of line comforting in the slightest.

    “hey forget to include the fact that religion also can make bad people do good things”

    The point being that religion makes people do things for reasons that have nothing to do with whether they are considered “good” or “bad” but because their Holy books simply say so which I hope you’d agree is dangerous.

    “I think it’s much easier to be a better person if you think you have a powerful friend encouraging your behavior, or live in a panopticon in which you will be accountable for your anti-social behavior, even if you might get away with it in society’s eyes.”

    Doing something because you fear the consequences and/or want a reward isn’t morality by any standard definition I know of, nor one I would want to live by. This is why I’ve never understood the claims that only Religion can dictate absolute morality when really it doesn’t concern itself with morality at all.

  48. Wiggle Puppy says

    “But even if that’s the case, I prefer that there’s a lighthouse somewhere on the shore.”
    “Maybe Yahweh was actually right for some reason we’re unaware of. Maybe his instructions were not accurately transcribed. Maybe the Jihaddists are actually the right ones, or maybe none of the abrahamic gods are actually goodness themselves, and we have no direct access to what goodness actually is.”

    So basically what you’re saying is that you possess some wishful thinking about there being a god that may or may not actually serve as the ultimate grounding of “goodness,” and this seems superior to directly focusing on the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of the creatures on this planet that we can demonstrate actually exist. Since you like analogies, imagine that one day when you became thirsty, you decided to spend a significant amount of time and money constructing a well in your backyard that may or may not be successful in producing water, when you simply could have turned on the faucet in your kitchen. No wonder Matt has hung up on you multiple times.

  49. Simon & Mrs Wendy Hosking says

    #46 gingerbeardgent
    I think this quote “Quite frankly, I take comfort in the idea that there are objective moral facts “out there.”” is fairly daming.
    I don’t care what is ‘comforting’. I care what is true.
    If I want comforting I could do a lot better than the Abrahamic Religions. Some of the ‘woo-woo’ is a much better deal – after all you get to be your own god (or is it God?). How cool is that?

    – Simon

  50. RationalismRules says

    @gingerbeardgent

    Under theistic or even supernatural systems there is room for objective moral facts to exist.

    No. Just because morality is handed down by a deity, that does not render it objective. It is simply external to us. That is not the same thing as objective.

    You encounter external moral standards when you consider the moral standards held at a societal level. Morality from a god is no different in this respect than morality from a society – it’s just a different frame of reference.

    If there were truly objective moral standards, then a deity would be as subject to them as everyone else.

  51. Monocle Smile says

    @Zack

    Maybe the light I hope is a lighthouse isn’t actually a lighthouse. I might be headed toward the rising moon or the lantern of a drifting ghost ship, or the lights of a house above a steep and treacherous cliffside. But even if that’s the case, I prefer that there’s a lighthouse somewhere on the shore

    This reads like Pascal’s Wager, and I agree with Simon et al that this is silly nonsense irrelevant to reality.

    That’s precisely the problem with the dungeons and dragons analogy. “evil” and “good” are merely names given to opposing factions or abilities, and don’t have any real connection toward ACTUAL goodness and evil.

    Wow. You’ve managed to identify the point of the analogy and attempt to portray it as a weakness. I have a hard time believing you’re actually this terrible at reading comprehension, but there it is. EL’s whole point is that your claims suffer from exactly the same problem as Dungeons and Dragons. Why is this so hard to understand?

    As to your point about Yahweh belonging to the same category as Zeus and Thor, I agree that that’s the category the Bible seems to put him in. Abrahamic theologians tend to essentially claim that Yahweh is a God posing as a god in the bible, or some varient of that perspective, and I’m not aware of anyone who ever made similar claims about Zues and Thor.

    Oh, fuck me. You can’t be serious. Theologians of a certain religion have claimed some extra silly shit about their god, therefore it must be true? I’ve dealt with my share of awful apologetics, but you, a full-grown adult, posting this with presumably a straight face is the kind of thing that makes me whip open the liquor cabinet.

    I think it’s much easier to be a better person if you think you have a powerful friend encouraging your behavior, or live in a panopticon in which you will be accountable for your anti-social behavior, even if you might get away with it in society’s eyes.

    Sorry, but this is simply not true. There’s no benefit to religion that is exclusive to religion. Also, you’re making the exact same mistake that you’re claiming atheists make, but the difference is that one position is far more correct than the other. Asking “what’s wrong with a useful delusion” tells me you haven’t spent any actual time thinking properly about this topic, nor have you attempted to acquire any empirical data whatsoever.

  52. says

    Zack, let’s say you had that supremely powerful ultimate agent, a God, personally confirm to you that there was an objective morality, and that the absolute most moral thing within your power to do was torture as many babies as possible, to the highest amount of suffering possible, and keep them alive to be tortured as long as possible, optimally until they reached adulthood. It specified that failing to maximize the suffering of babies was horribly immoral, and that torturing babies was not a regrettable but necessary step towards some other purpose that you should hope to find a workaround in order to avoid, but rather something you should seek to find workarounds in order to do, even if literally any circumstances got in the way of your doing it.

    In this scenario, the ultimate agent has already convinced you utterly that it is in fact the God of the universe, and that there is an objective morality that makes it so you must torture babies in order to be moral. Any doubts you might have had are gone at this point, you are as convinced that this is what is required by the objective morality written into the nature of the universe as you are convinced that you exist. Do you do the objectively moral thing and go about torturing babies? Do you wish that the objective morality had been something different? If so, what would you have wanted the objective morality to be?

  53. paxoll says

    @Zach, saying a supernatural or God can provide “objective moral facts” is flat out wrong. People have said this multiple times in multiple ways. It is a ridiculous claim. When you say it provides you comfort (which is ridiculous since it is false) what you are saying is that you are abandoning your responsibility to decide what is right to an external, and imaginary entity. Give any example of a moral fact that exists only because there is a God? Morality, is an ought statement, but an ought statement makes absolutely no rational sense unless it is followed by an IF statement, this is because we live in a consequential world. This is the “goal” that Matt talks about. The major religions of the world posit a “goal” of either an eternal happy afterlife, or a better next life. This “goal” if it exists makes the logical argument, that you Ought to follow the directions of the corresponding God, IF you want to get to that goal.

    I feel like you are thinking that humans have imperfect knowledge of the world, so we can’t make perfect objective moral “facts”. No one is claiming that. But appealing to a God or supernatural framework does not solve that at all because we do not have access to that God or supernatural framework so ALL our decisions are going to be made off of our imperfect knowledge, including the beliefs about that God or supernatural framework. It is literally a LESS objective moral system because there is a whole extra area of uncertain knowledge.

  54. jeffh123 says

    Religious vs secular morals:
    If you require a god who holds a club over your head to maintain good behavior, then I say you are not moral, only fearful of punishment for acting incorrectly.

  55. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To gingerbeardgent
    Well, Monocle Smile already said everything that I wanted to say.

  56. jigglefresh says

    @RR #49 That is a great and concise retort. I wish there was a “thumbs up” button.

  57. Jimdandy says

    Hi All
    The Demiurge created this universe and it’s inhabitants. We are part of it, players in the game so to speak. Part of this creation are the principalities referred to as demons, jinn, and other names in religions. These are the Archons. Inorganic beings whose very fuel of existence is human emotions. The Archons cannot create like we are able to. They are responsible for getting and keeping us here in this dense physical plane. They are far less powerful than we are yet they are able to convince us to return….again and again. They cannot make us do so. But through deception they actually get us to agree to return, enter the game and abide by the rules. Most of us have been here many, many times over the expanse of time. These parasitic beings have one goal; keeping this planet supplied with souls to generate the energy they need. We don’t belong here, it is not our home. Gnostic writings and texts like the Nag Hammadi I have been studying for almost 40 years now. Belief systems, even lack of belief systems such as atheism are some of the tools the Archons employ…they literally install their minds in our own. As our bodies can die from disease or trauma sometimes rapidly, we must always be in a state of awareness. We are able to resist their deception and refuse to agree if we maintain awareness. This is important. Many in this age are becoming enlightened as the tentacles of religions weaken. For the first time since creation, the Archons are fighting against the tide, inevitably, they will be defeated and cease to exist. This may take thousands of years and hundreds more painful and crippling human incarnations for the individual. My desire is for all to exit the cycle and freely exist on the higher planes where we belong.

  58. twarren1111 says

    #47 @gingerbeardgent aka Zack: you replied to me:
    @twarren111
    Trying to figure out what the moral facts actually ARE is a seperate endeavour from trying to discern whether or not there are moral facts. Maybe Yahweh was actually right for some reason we’re unaware of. Maybe his instructions were not accurately transcribed. Maybe the Jihaddists are actually the right ones, or maybe none of the abrahamic gods are actually goodness themselves, and we have no direct access to what goodness actually is. Regardless, it’s a separate issue.

    You cannot get more OBJECTIVE than math. It is a language in which lies cannot be told well. Remember, Newton spent as much time on alchemy as gravity. We don’t read his math on alchemy bc it never worked. There is NO doubt what he meant when he wrote f=ma. We STILL send people to the moon on it. But, his math was off, to about the EIGHTH decimal place on the observed orbit of Mercury. Newton’s error was that he, and all the others, thought time was constant. By 1900 Lorentz had established that length shortens as an object speeds up. Indeed, we can measure that a 747 is longer on the ground than at its maximum speed. What Einstein intuited was that time must vary between two observers if the two observers were traveling at different speeds. This led to one of his 1905 papers showing the math that like Lorentz’s math regarding spatial dimension changing in relation to speed, that time changed in relation to speed as well. Einstein intuited that nothing is simultaneous for different observers. What stays the same is CAUSALITY. What stays the same is how x relates to y but everything else, EVERYTHING ELSE is relative. What he intuited is that if space changes and time changes then the only way to have what is necessary for reality, which is that despite where two people are and how they are traveling that BOTH MUST AGREE that x ‘causes’ y that it meant that the speed of light was the thing that DIDNT change. And here is the point: HE DID THE MATH AND KNEW HE WAS RIGHT. WHY? HOW? Two reasons. 1. When he took things out of the extreme which means when he made his variables in what we now call Classical regions, ie, in regions where we aren’t close to the speed of light meaning when event x and event y are BOTH at, say, about 0.1 the speed of light (so 30,000 m/s which is like about the speed of earth around the sun) that NEWTON’S EQUATIONS EMERGED FROM HIS WHICH MEANS HIS NUMBERS WERE EQUAL TO NEWTONS. 2. And this is huge: but when he sped things up, when he went faster, his equations did something Newton’s failed at: EINSTEINS EQUATION GOT THOSE 8 DECIMAL PLACES THAT WERE OBSERVED BY ASTRONOMERS REGARDING MERCURY’S ORBIT. In other words, at an extreme, Newton’s equations for Mercury got the answer ‘ONLY’ 99.99999999% right but Einstein’s equation got Mercury 99.99999999999999999999999999999999999999…(ie, infinity)% right. And since then, all the way to LIGO his equations have held up. Well, with one huge exception…they break down when you get to the math of the electron (QED theory). Intriguingly, relativity holds up with the proton on down to string theory (QCD theory to string theory). And isn’t it interesting that it’s at string theory that we end up back at black hole mechanics.

    So, you say maybe Yahweh was right for some reason we are unaware of. Well, LETS DO AN EXPERIMENT. LET US LOOK AT YAHWEH’S LAW AND DO THE MATH. Yahweh is explicit throughout the Old Testament as to when a man can rape a woman and what he can then do with that woman based upon various criteria. Eg, if she is a virgin, I mean, was a virgin then she can be married. Eg, if she wasn’t a virgin and wasn’t of his tribe she can be stoned to death. This is extraordinarily clearly and repeatedly stated as part of Yahweh’s law. As you know, the Hebrew myth came from the Persian empire (aka Zoroastrianism). The Christian myth-sect arose from the Hebrew myth circa 100 CE. The Islamic myth-sect arose from the Hebrew myth circa 600 CE.

    So, how many times THIS YEAR has a female in Afghanistan been stoned to death because she was raped? How many times last year? This cannot be denied to have occurred. I can send you links to videos if you want. So, Yahweh/Allah/Thor/El/Ra/whoever god you want has been EXTRAORDINARILY CLEAR in what is moral. So, why is it moral good for a raped 13yo girl in one place on earth to be stoned to death? Why is it so clearly right, why is it 99.9999% right such that her neighbors JOIN IN?

    And here’s where I just can’t handle what you don’t see about this Zack. Please think about this statement. WHY IS IT 99.99999% THE PUREST EVIL IF I FLY THAT SAME GIRL AND ALL THE MEN OF HER NEIGHBORHOOD STONE HER TO DEATH BECAUSE SHE WAS RAPED TO YOUR FRONT YARD AND ARE YOU TELLING ME THAT OBJECTIVELY THIS IS NOT 99.999999% EVIL BUT 99.99999999% RIGHTEOUS?

    Use the google Zack and google honor killings in the USA. It happens all the time. So how is this mysterious? How did ANYONE MISTAKE WHAT YAHWEH SAID?

    Because here’s the MATH. I mean NUMBERS ZACK. I MEAN EQUATIONS. I MEAN RELATIVITY. I MEAN SCIENCE. How much ENERGY was WASTED in doing that to that girl? Do you realize a 70kg human body, in its gluons, holds ten times the Energy released on Hiroshima? Do you realize she had a mind? What if she was our next Einstein? What if she was going to be a great mother? Teacher? Bus driver? Don’t you get this?

    OBJECTIVELY we are in this together. How we relate, how we ENTANGLE, has a truth. A math. And you don’t just make it up dammit. That’s why RELIGION IS EVIL. IT WASTES TIME AND ENERGY. Zack, until you can literally write your god in computer language you have NO OBJECTIVE MORALITY.

    THEISTS BY DEFINITION ARE MAKING UP THEIR MATH AND IT NEVER WORKS. SEE ABOVE!

    ATHEISTS BY DEFINITION ARE USING ACTUAL MATH. LOGIC IS MATH. GODELS INCOMPLETENESS THEOREM IS MATH. EUTHYROS TRILEMMA FAILS BECAUSE IT CANT BE MATHEMATICALLY EXPRESSED. IF YOU CANT EXPRESS AN IDEA IN MATH YOU ARE MAKING IT UP. LITERALLY. We know too much now. And we keep wasting time trying to show delusional people MATH and they keep saying BUT THOR OR YAHWEH.

    Either it’s objectively wrong to kill someone with extremely few exceptions or it’s not. I have 600 years of science, I have 600 years of math, physics, chemistry, biology, immunology, and so on telling me it is OBJECTIVELY WRONG to stone a girl to death for ANY REASON and my math holds up to LITERALLY THE BEGINNING OF TIME which is ten to the minus 43 seconds when everything was in about the size of a peach.

    Religion is MAKING UP STORIES ZACK. ALL MYTHS ARE SUBJECTIVE. THATS WHY YOU CANT DO MATH BY SAYING ‘GOD TOLD ME ITS RIGHT’.

  59. Nathan says

    The only thing I can say about Zack after several calls is it’s just mental masterbation so he can feel superior to atheist. He’s said several time it makes him happy to believe he has to link to absolutes but has no backing for it. It’s just old at this point.

  60. Monocle Smile says

    On another note, I listened to Derek’s call, and boy, am I sorry I did. Recently we’ve gotten a wave of callers who are so socially broken that they don’t understand jokes, sarcasm, or any kind of social cues or connotations.

    What a whiner. His entire call was “it’s not fair.” Derek, stop bitching about imagined slights and do the mountain of work in front of you.

  61. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To twarren1111
    Oh boy. I don’t know where to begin. This is going to take a while.

    You cannot get more OBJECTIVE than math.

    “The Axiom of Choice is obviously true, the well-ordering principle obviously false, and who can tell about Zorn’s lemma?”
    – Jerry Bona

    How much math do you actually know? I’m going to assume very little.

    By the way, the quote by Jerry Bona, above, is a joke. I remember laughing out loud quite hard when I first read it. For an explanation of the joke, let me go old-school and link to the first ever wiki.
    http://wiki.c2.com/?WellOrdered
    That is also happens to be created by programmers for programmers, my other credentialed domain of expertise in addition to math, is just too delicious for me to pass up.

    Most math statements today are made in the axiomatic framework of ZF (sometimes / often extended to include C, known as ZFC).
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zermelo%E2%80%93Fraenkel_set_theory

    That’s right. I just said axiomatic, as in axioms, as in things that I assert for no explicable reason except that it appears obvious to me, or it appears correct because of circular reasoning. For that rabbit hole, I suggest the same solution as Matt Dillahunty, which is that any real epistemology is going to be foundationalism, with some circular reasoning in the foundation.
    https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/justep-foundational/
    https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/justep-coherence/

    So, does this make math non-objective? I’ve argued with a bunch of people in obscure parts of the internet regarding the obviousness and truthiness of the axiom of infinity (damn obnoxious ultra-finitists and constructivists).
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultrafinitism
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constructivism_(mathematics)

    Those sure are annoying conversations, and also rarely fruitful, because there is no “objectively correct” answer whether we should do math or not using the axiom of infinity.

    For my final response on this point, consider this: There is this problem known as sphere packing. Kepler made a conjecture, known as the Kepler Conjecture, that was a proposed answer to the problem. However, he didn’t have a proof that his guess was correct. Today, someone has supplied a proof to the international math community. Referees were brought in to evaluate the proof, and even they are only “99% sure” that it’s correct. Can you imagine that? People describing their beliefs about math using degrees of confidence “99% sure”. That’s sounding awfully sciency and uncertain to me.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kepler_conjecture
    The takeaway should be that we are never certain about any proof in math. There could always be a mistake. Students make mistakes all of the time on math tests, and a similar sort of mistakes surely happen with the highest respected and accomplished mathematicians.

    The broader takeaway should be that (almost) everything you know is not known absolutely, and instead only known to limited degrees of confidence, including (practically) all of your knowledge of mathematics.

    But, his math was off, to about the EIGHTH decimal place on the observed orbit of Mercury.

    I’d be curious how you arrived at this particular number. Without more context of what exactly you mean, it’s hard to say that you’re wrong. However, if I describe it more concretely, it would be accurate to say that about 93% of the observed precession in the orbit of Mercury was explainable by Newton’s laws, but that 7% of the observed precession was not. That’s about the second decimal place (7% = 0.07), not the eighth.

    By 1900 Lorentz had established that length shortens as an object speeds up.

    This is not true. I know that Lorentz discovered the Lorentz transformation, but it was Einstein who actually suggested to the scientific community that the Lorentz transformation was not just a trick of math but an actual description of physical reality, including length contraction. (Poincaré published one year before Einstein, but his math was confused, incorrect, and/or incomplete.) I agree that special relativity can be summed up as “taking the Lorentz transformation seriously”, but the physics community did not take the Lorentz transformation seriously until Einstein wrote his paper in 1905. Most historical physicists who were there to read the papers generally credit Einstein for the discovery of special relativity.

    Indeed, we can measure that a 747 is longer on the ground than at its maximum speed.

    Can we actually measure that with real-world instruments? Citations please. I’m decently sure that we cannot measure the length change of a plane in flight. Assuming that I’m doing my math right, that’s a difference equal to 5.0004445e-13 times the total length of the plane, or about 3.5 picometers, which is smaller than the Bhor radius of a hydrogen atom. We can measure changes that subtle in highly sophisticated laboratory conditions like LIGO, but we cannot do that sort of measurement from the ground on a plane in flight at 600 mph.

    Also, remember that the length would appear different to an observer on the ground, but to an observer on the plane itself, the length of the plane is unchanged.

    If you want a good example of general relativity in use, then mention GPS.

    And since then, all the way to LIGO his equations have held up. Well, with one huge exception…they break down when you get to the math of the electron (QED theory). Intriguingly, relativity holds up with the proton on down to string theory (QCD theory to string theory). And isn’t it interesting that it’s at string theory that we end up back at black hole mechanics.

    I’m not sure what you could possibly mean by such things. General relativity is not a quantum field theory. It doesn’t describe electromagnetic interactions, nor the strong nuclear force, nor the weak nuclear force, etc. General relativity is just a description of the coevolution of energy and spacetime in the absence of other forces. Modern quantum theory, quantum field theory, is Lorentz invariant. In other words, it is compatible with special relativity, but not general relativity. Do you mean to make a claim about general relativity place classical mechanics for electromagnetics ala Maxwell? I guess that might make sense, maybe. I don’t know enough about modern quantum physics to comment with confidence, but your claims seem wrong even when interpreted within this charitable light.

    And then I continued reading, and I realized that I’m probably responding to a crackpot, or someone who is too emotional right now, based on the random capitalizations of words and the reckless misuse of everything sciene, math, and philosophy.

    In short, in the rest of your screed, you’re not appealing to math and numbers. Instead, you’re appealing to humanism and a variety of other moral values, such as environmentalism (such as where you appealed to the value that wasting energy, i.e. gasoline or electricity, is bad). This is transparently obvious.

  62. twarren1111 says

    Actually, I’m glad you brought up sphere packing. This is exactly where the objectivity of how a relationship is correct comes from. The shortest self correcting error code is an 8 bit (1 byte) code. It correlates with how a tesseract forms. If you look at the topic of hamming distance in Wikipedia you’ll see an image that describes this.

    In short, it is how you optimally pack spheres in a space that determines that the shortest SDEC you can have is 11111111 where there are 3 parity bits and 4 data bits. The order is, I think, p1p2d1p3d2d3d4 with the 8th bit completing the circle.

    How you pack the spheres is important. Using the ‘kissing distance’ where the spheres do not overlap, where you have 8 spheres in each ‘cube’ of the tesseract it is in the 4th dimension only that the space in the middle is exactly one unit sphere.

    This is why math relates to geometry. This is why entropy and information are related.

    Allowing spheres to overlap is not the same type of packing as in error coding. Yes, I am fully aware that Lord Kelvin came very close to suggesting how I think it was two types of truncated polygons will fill a space in 3D optimally and that it wasn’t until, what, about 1980s or early 90s that a mathematician came up with a fractionally better solution but it took about 4 to 5 years of computer time for verification before it was published.

    But this is the whole point. Math relates to geometry. This relates to how you tile a plane and fill a space. There are profoundly deep reasons that we have only 3 spatial dimensions and one of time. The other probable 7 dimensions suggested by M-theory are probably at quantum level and are what will eventually account for entanglement:entropy:information:gravity.

    The point is that the geometrogenesis from the Big Bang to now is objectively determined. It is the irrational numbers that provide the wiggle room.

    This is exactly why at the top of the pyramid, due to complexity, that ‘truth’ is a 95.0% threshold but at the bottom with physics it’s a 99.99999% threshold. And that has everything to do with how the ‘spheres kiss’ at different scales.

    Yes, I can find a link about the size of a 747. I can also give you links where clocks flown continuously on jets for more than 24h are different from clocks on the ground. Yes, we can see the difference between clocks at the top of the Rocky Mountains and at sea level.

    Some other random thots: if Einstein hadn’t written his paper in 1905 it most likely would have been written by 1907. There was too much evidence building. This is well laid out in Walter Isaacsons biography.

    As to confidence intervals needed to prove evidence, it all depends on the field. Eg in biology, if I am doing immunological studies in mice or a phase three study comparing to chemo treatments, the accepted level of significance needed to establish ‘fact’ is 95.0%, ie, p<0.5. But, to win a Nobel in physics you need often up to ‘5 sigma’ which can mean up to 12 decimal places.

    To clarify: large scale/high speed is relativistic then you have the classical/Newtonian middle then you get quantum. The first quantum level you reach is the electron around the hadron. That’s QED. That’s the path integral from Brownian motion to Einstein to noether (Einstein’s favorite mathematician) to Norbert weiner random walk integral to Feynman. And all that is based upon the idea that the infinity of paths that can be taken nature takes the one that maximizes the preservation of information ie entropy ie the optimal ratio of kinetic to potential energy ie the Lagrangian. But the problem are the infinities. The math has to be futzed or renormalized. It’s why Feynman said shut up and calculate. QCD however, which describes the inversion, the infinity down in scale or the infitessimal if you will, which describes the standard model does not break down all the way from relativity. It’s QED that cant be united. And when you get below QED/QCD and other field theories then you’re get into what makes up the bosons and fermions. And now you’re in M-theory. But what the black hole war, what hawking taught us, what maldecena with his Ads/CFT concept, ER=EPR and Suskind’s holographic principle have shown is that it’s at the black hole where the Planck level reaches back to the relativistic, like a Möbius strip.

    This is why recently enough of the math has been worked out that the idea of recurrent big bounces is coming back into play. We didn’t expect that black holes existed of the size seen with LIGO.

    Anyway, the whole damn point is that everything relates to everything but you can’t confuse your scale, you can’t confuse your infinities. And you can’t do that bc of how spheres kiss in a tesseract can only work one way in the 4th dimension and that’s why objective morality is all about how you use time and energy.

    If you have your relationships messed up you can waste a lot of time and energy.

    Here’s another way to put: you don’t use your Hamiltonian when you’re in a lagrangian and vice versa.

    Anyway….

  63. twarren1111 says

    There’s also data verifying that a person ways more in sunlight than shadow. I’ll try to find a link. We are that good now with these measurements. ( you weigh more in light because of the energy from the photons)

  64. Robert, not Bob says

    Zack: what difference does it make, the power of your postulated authority? The biblical Joshua’s actions are no less immoral than Heinrich Himmler’s. The ONLY way your model of morality can work is if it’s underlaid by authoritarianism, i.e. Might Makes Right. That is your moral foundation. And I am not an authoritarian. Authority, to me, is an occasionally-useful (and often abused) tool, not the base principle of existence. To me, that’s just insanity.

  65. twarren1111 says

    I am WAY OFF BASE claiming we’ve measured length contraction. I think I must have been confusing the measurements of time dilation by flying atomic clocks for prolonged periods of time on jets but there’s no way any vehicle in existence now can travel fast enough to come close to testing for relativistic contraction.

    And yes, I allowed myself to get irritated and I shouldn’t have…

  66. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    The shortest self correcting error code is an 8 bit (1 byte) code.

    False. There are error-correcting codes where the alphabet is {0, 1} and where the word length is less than 8 letters. My college degrees cover this topic in depth.

    Maybe you meant to say that it’s the code with the shortest word which has 4 bits of data in a word. You hint at this interpretation later. I’m unsure offhand if this is true, but offhand it seems plausible. I’d have to quickly refresh myself before I commented further on this.

    This is why recently enough of the math has been worked out that the idea of recurrent big bounces is coming back into play.

    I haven’t heard this. I’m pretty sure this is wrong. Citations please.

    Is this some sort of experiment where you’re trolling by just pretending to do a stream-of-consciousness dump? It appears as though that you have at least a superficial understanding of some of these concepts, but you might just be looking up words and terms on wikipedia and dumping them here. This is borderline word salad.

    And you can’t do that bc of how spheres kiss in a tesseract can only work one way in the 4th dimension and that’s why objective morality is all about how you use time and energy.

    I think it’s about here that I started believing that you are just a troll. Or completely wacked out on a psychadelic, or actually in need of professional assistance. I’m leaning towards the simplest and most common option: trolling.

  67. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    PS:
    Error correcting codes was actually one of the primary topics in one of my college courses. It was in the hardest class that I’ve ever taken, a 500 level course in abstract algebra, which I took as an undergrad. It was super hard, and I regret nothing. If you’re going to try to bullshit this audience by pretending to know something on this topic when you don’t, I will catch you on it.

  68. gingerbeardgent says

    Frickin’ heck. I tried to post a super long comment but forgot to include my name and email, so the whole thing was deleted.

    It’s after 3 AM in Idaho, so I’ll retype it tomorrow.

    In the meantime though, there is a blanket statement I’d like to make:

    At NO POINT, either in my recent conversation with Jen and Matt, or in this comment section, have I once posited an argument in favor of the existence of God, nor do I intend to (at least not this week, that’s a whole ‘nother can of worms). I am not arguing that an objective morality exists, therefore God exists, and I CERTAINLY am not arguing that God exists because Yahweh is a different sort of god then Thor. I have merely attempted to show why an apparent problem with theistic morality isn’t actually a problem, and that that theistic morality (under the assumption that is true) has at least one advantage over atheistic morality (under the assumption that it is true).

  69. Wiggle Puppy says

    @ Zack #66: You have “shown” neither of these things. You have merely stated that IF there is a God that serves as the basis of objective morality, then there exists a morality not dependent on the subjective human decision to value well-being. This (1) is a tautology (“if morality isn’t dependent on human subjectivity, then morality isn’t dependent on human subjectivity”), (2) castrates “goodness” of any meaning other than “synonymous with God” (as many commenters have pointed out in various ways), and (3) STILL does not evade the Euthypro Dilemma. If I remember right, you are the same guy who called a while back and said that you were *more convinced* that you possessed a “divine sense” than you were that you were having a conversation with Matt WHILE you were having a conversation with Matt. Please stop.

  70. Nathan says

    Zack, making up a magical answer that solves your problem, though maybe nice to think about doesn’t solve the real problem. It’s like that stupid gadget in Dr. Who that can do whatever they want it to whenever, can’t figure out how to solve this story line, use that magic thing we made it. It literally gets you nowhere, other than it makes you feel good because you have a magic answer.

  71. says

    ” I CERTAINLY am not arguing that God exists because Yahweh is a different sort of god then Thor.”

    An interesting statement in light of what I have just seen. I don’t know the veracity of this, since I have only got it from one source so far, but Yahweh began as a war god of the the Semites while they were still polytheistic – going by the name of Yahweh Sabaoth.

    So if this is correct (I am hoping someone else on this blog may know something of this), then no, Yahweh is not really very different from Thor, except in his role. He pretty much is equivalent to Ares of the Greeks.

  72. sayamything says

    Just throwing my hand in with the people arguing against objective morality. God is a subjective source. Even if there is an all-powerful sky daddy, any laws are because “he” says so. An authority has decided the rules. Even if he is the ultimate authority, they’re still subjective.

  73. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Shaun #69:

    Yahweh began as a war god of the the Semites while they were still polytheistic – going by the name of Yahweh Sabaoth.

     
    Article: Wikipedia – Yahweh

    Bronze Age
    There is almost no agreement on the origins and meaning of Yahweh’s name […] The Israelites were originally Canaanites, but Yahweh does not appear to have been a Canaanite god.
     
    The head of the Canaanite pantheon was El, and one theory holds that the word Yahweh is based on […] the phrase el dū yahwī ṣaba’ôt, “El who creates the hosts”, meaning the heavenly host accompanying El as he marched beside the earthly armies of Israel. The argument has numerous weaknesses, including […] the fact that [the phrase] is nowhere attested either inside or outside the Bible.
     
    The oldest plausible recorded occurrence of Yahweh is as a place-name, “land of Shasu of YHW”, in an Egyptian inscription from the time of Amenhotep III (1402–1363 BCE) […] a plausible etymology for the name could be from the root HWY, which would yield the meaning “he blows”, appropriate to a weather divinity. There is considerable but not universal support for this view
     
    The widely accepted Kenite hypothesis holds that [Shasu nomads from Midian and Edom in northern Arabia] brought Yahweh to Israel along the caravan routes between Egypt and Canaan.

     

    Iron Age I (1200–930 BCE)
    El, “the kind, the compassionate,” “the creator of creatures,” was the chief of the Canaanite gods […] over time Baal became the dominant Canaanite deity, so that El became the executive power and Baal the military power in the cosmos. Baal’s sphere was the thunderstorm with its life-giving rains, so that he was also a fertility god
    […]
    The Israelites initially worshipped Yahweh alongside a variety of Canaanite gods and goddesses […] Features of Baal, El and Asherah were absorbed into the Yahweh religion, […], and Baal’s nature as a storm and weather god becoming assimilated into Yahweh’s own identification with the storm.
     
    In the next stage the Yahweh religion separated itself from its Canaanite heritage, first by rejecting Baal-worship

  74. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    Correction for #71: I think I accidentally over-specified when I moved a phrase between nearby sentences.
     
    “the Shasu being nomads from Midian and Edom in northern Arabia”
    “Kenite hypothesis holds that traders brought Yahweh”

  75. paxoll says

    @EnlightenmentLiberal I don’t know, with that level of word salad and stream of consciousness makes me lean toward need of medical attention.

  76. gingerbeardgent says

    @ wiggle puppy #47

    Superior? why not drink from the faucet while building the well? the activities aren’t mutually exclusive. The analogy further breaks down if you recognise that hoping that objective moral facts exist doesn’t cost any resources. In fact, I’d say it gives me more motivation to act morally, even according to secular values!

    @simon & wendy Hosking

    It would be fairly damning, if I were using comfort to argue for the existence of God. I’m not. I also care about whether a thing is true; I’m just trying to show why theistic morality has an advantage if it is.

    @rationalism rules

    Not if those moral standards ARE the deity.

    The God=goodness deal isn’t gaining a lot of traction, so maybe it would help to approach it from the other side: Goodness = God. Presumably, some of you are familiar with platonic forms. I’m positing that the platonic form of goodness is also a person, for reasons that are not entirely clear. Many of you seem more than competent in physics; think of it as the way that electricity and magnetism are ultimately the same force, despite the fact that they appear to be different.

    @monocle smile

    If you’re reaching for the liquor cabinet because of words I’ve actually said, that’d be one thing. But when it’s because of words you’ve put in my mouth, well, that just sounds like an excuse to put some Jack Daniels in yours.

    And no benefit that is exclusive to religion? What about heaven, reincarnation, or that objective moral compass you dismissed for being irrelevant to reality? Even if we limit benefits to pro-social motivation, NOTHING except religion can create a panopticon that penetrates a person’s HEAD (at least not yet). Pro-social behavior caused by coercive force may be crude, but it’s pro-social behavior all the same.

    @jared

    In one sense, the answer to your question is trivially simple. Given:
    P1: whatever God commands is moral, and
    P2:God commands us to torture babies, then
    C:torturing babies is moral.

    But in another sense,the question borders on absurd. The barb of the question stems from the assumption that torturing babies is immoral. The point of the question seems to be asking: “What if immoral actions were objectively moral?” Which is tentamount to asking: “What is Pi were 8.57?” the answer to both questions is: it isn’t, and it couldn’t be, so we can’t even engage in a hypothetical in which they were without breaking logic itself.

    @enlightenmentliberal

    “Well, Monocle Smile already said everything that I wanted to say.”

    “Wow. You’ve managed to identify the point of the analogy and attempt to portray it as a weakness. I have a hard time believing you’re actually this terrible at reading comprehension, but there it is. EL’s whole point is that your claims suffer from exactly the same problem as Dungeons and Dragons. Why is this so hard to understand?”

    But… they don’t, though.The “moral system” present in Dungeons and Dragons ultimately boils down to the arbitrary whims of the game creator. This is true neither in atheistic nor theistic real world moral systems, because real world moral claims are necessary, meaning that if something is moral, it could not have been otherwise. For example, consider the case that Jared presented. If it is the case that torturing babies is immoral in all circumstances, it could not possibly have been the case that torturing babies was moral. Not even God could alter the nature of morality; a statement equivalent to saying that God could not alter the nature of himself (as morality is a subset of goodness).

    @paxoll

    You have described what secular moral systems must be very well. But in theistic moral systems, you have room for ought statements without if statements. Heaven and Hell are irrelevent; if it is the case that you ought to do something, then you ought to do it regardless of what awaits you in the afterlife. Heck, if it were the case that you wind up in hell because of doing what you ought to, YOU STILL OUGHT TO DO IT.

    In other words, theistic systems offer the possibility of morality completely separate from human motivation.

    It also is separate from human knowledge. I acknowledge that theistic systems offer no better way of understanding what morality actually requires then atheistic systems do.

    @twarren

    First, I’m also in the camp that would say that stoning the woman is more than 99% likely to be immoral.

    “If you can’t express an idea in math, you are making it up”

    This is clearly not the case. All qualitative statements, from “the sky is blue” to “the ice cream is sweet” are not mathematical. And it’s frankly pretty bizarre to hear someone support a moral system based on energy and time efficiency. This leads to some pretty wonky conclusions. I’m really hoping that EL is right, and that you’re trying to use mathematics to justify humanistic values.

    @wigglepuppy #67

    That was me, but it wasn’t what I said. I actually claimed that all sense experiences are equally reliable, and that the fact that some of those sense experiences form networks in which the reliability of one sense strongly supports the reliability of the others doesn’t make the network as a whole more reliable. As a result, a person who has a divine sense would be AS CONVINCED (not more) that he was having a conversation as he would be that God exists.

  77. Monocle Smile says

    @Zack
    This time, i’ll just answer the portion addressed to me.

    If you’re reaching for the liquor cabinet because of words I’ve actually said, that’d be one thing. But when it’s because of words you’ve put in my mouth, well, that just sounds like an excuse to put some Jack Daniels in yours.

    To borrow from EL, I’m not a mind reader. I can only address the words you actually post. It’s not my fault that you’re not clear about whether or not you’re arguing that a god exists. Given that I’m hardly the only one caught up in this, the issue is likely with you.

    And no benefit that is exclusive to religion? What about heaven, reincarnation, or that objective moral compass you dismissed for being irrelevant to reality?

    Nonexistent things aren’t benefits. I’m not talking about bullshit and empty promises. I’m talking about REAL things. I know you desperately want to avoid that topic, but tough shit.

    ven if we limit benefits to pro-social motivation, NOTHING except religion can create a panopticon that penetrates a person’s HEAD

    Wow, you really know fuck all about this topic. When we do fMRIs on people and ask them what their god thinks, the “self” portion of the brain lights up. There’s no “god” portion of the brain. How does it feel to walk through life wrong about basically everything?

    Okay, fine, I’ll address one more thing:

    some of you are familiar with platonic forms.

    Yes, outdated bullshit that has no real application to reality. Try to catch up to at least the last century.

    I’m positing that the platonic form of goodness is also a person, for reasons that are not entirely clear.

    This is about the most incoherent bit of nonsense I’ve heard in 2018. NOW I think I’m justified in sipping on that Buffalo Trace. I don’t think you could be worse at communication than if you were deliberately trying to fail.

  78. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To gingerbeardgent
    Let me phrase my critique in another way. For the sake of argument, I’ll grant that it’s possible, epistemically possible, that an all-good god exists that matches your criteria. My primary critique is not about the existence of such a thing. My critique is primarily “how would you know it?”. In other words, how could you tell the difference between an all-good god, an all-evil god, a human with complex good-and-evil morality ala a normal human, or a mostly evil god pretending to be an all-good god? The answer: You would apply a moral standard from some other source in order to ascertain the moral properties of the god, e.g. in order to judge the god’s moral character. This is also a scientific process, never confirmed beyond all doubt. The addition of an all-good god doesn’t drastically change how you do moral decision-making. This all-good god could only known to be all-good tentatively, which makes the god like a trusted human mentor.

  79. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Zack #74:

    the platonic form of goodness is also a person

     
    Article: Wikipedia – List of Greek mythological figures, Personified concepts
     
    Article: Wikipedia – Dike (mythology)

    the goddess of justice and the spirit of moral order and fair judgement based on immemorial custom, in the sense of socially enforced norms and conventional rules.
    […]
    In a further euhemerist interpretation, Dikē was born a mortal and Zeus placed her on Earth to keep mankind just. He quickly learned this was impossible

  80. mi tortent says

    @stonedranger, matt didn’t explain it like that during this call. he has done it in the past. he usee different wordings for the two prongs. if he used similar wording in order to illustrate the differences, i think the caller might have caught on.

  81. says

    “To borrow from EL, I’m not a mind reader. I can only address the words you actually post. It’s not my fault that you’re not clear about whether or not”

    It’s the new way of the world, ever since Jordan Peterson taught people how to do this.

  82. paxoll says

    @Zach
    Zach-

    But in theistic moral systems, you have room for ought statements without if statements……Heck, if it were the case that you wind up in hell because of doing what you ought to, YOU STILL OUGHT TO DO IT.

    Me-

    Give any example of a moral fact that exists only because there is a God…..an ought statement makes absolutely no rational sense unless it is followed by an IF statement, this is because we live in a consequential world.

    I can assert things too, how about theistic moral systems are 100% immoral.

  83. twarren1111 says

    For enlightenment liberal

    1. The shortest perfect code that can self detect and self correct an error is:
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamming_code

    It is an 8 bit code. It is based upon the geometry of how spheres pack a 4D cube:
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamming_distance

    A common name for a 4D hypercube is a tesseract.

    The shortest non detecting, non self correcting error code is a 3 bit code based upon a 3D cube:
    https://youtu.be/EBy7IYtJRKs

    I will continue to engage on issues but please refrain from the logical fallacy of the ad hominem. It wastes time! All relationships are 3 things. In our case it is me, you and the ideas. No idea is sacred. Say all you want about ideas. But talking about my person or your person is off limits. That’s why rules of rhetoric and Godwin’s law exists. Hence, statements about your person (your references as to your knowledge, degrees, etc) and references as to my person (troll, crackpot, etc) are by definition, by the math of philosophy, irrational. You are wasting time.

    Now, as to the key finding of why the 4D hypercube is the geometry for the ‘kissing’ packing of the shortest perfect code, this video provides an excellent demonstration of what that center space is in dimensions as you go from 1 on up:
    https://youtu.be/mceaM2_zQd8

    Now do you understand?

    Also, once you accept these ideas, then think about the Shannon entropy as you go from 0 dimensions to 4.
    Then think about all the permutations of Pascal’s triangle.
    Then think about the difference between Shannon entropy and algorhythmic entropy (aka Kolmogrov complexity)
    Then take a look at this article:
    https://ac.els-cdn.com/S0022519314000113/1-s2.0-S0022519314000113-main.pdf?_tid=10467257-d1f4-4006-b81e-259d233ae5bd&acdnat=1524700189_6e348779b47b35ebbef90792d4e33f72

  84. twarren1111 says

    For ginger beard gent #79

    Thank you so much for saying what you did. But, the strangeness is true. Statements such as the sky is blue and ice cream is sweet can be expressed mathematically. It can be written in computer code eg. You can eg program a computer to ask the question “what color is the sky”. That computer can then access a camera on your roof and correlate the wavelength of light in the human visible spectrum into an answer that is then displayed on the screen.

    But try to code this into your computer:
    Code into your computer how cylinders of different mass will roll down an incline. Using Newton’s formulas, geometry, etc, you can make as an elaborate program as you want. You can include variables like friction of the ramp, how big the cylinder is, how symmetric. You could express the output as numbers on a screen all the way up to Pixar quality visuals.

    Now write this program:
    Yahweh does it. Write the program that shows all the ways Yahweh rolls that cylinder. You can’t and you won’t ever be able to. Why? Bc Yahweh is made up. Isn’t real. There’s no math.

    Here’s an excellent talk by Eliezer Yudkowsky at a Skepticon meeting doing the idea real justice.
    https://youtu.be/TwqYB1uzcU4

    And to get to the time and energy part:
    Relations are always three things. And the math determines the reality. The veridicidal reality to be specific. So, the statement that the “sky is blue”. You are saying that two things are equal. Sky equals blue. If it’s night, the computer program I described above will show you are false. The spheres coding for sky equals blue won’t pack the space correctly. It will be an error. And this is why definitions and context etc matter. Because what if there’s a bigger relationship to consider. What if we add another aspect to the problem? What if the question is “the sky at night is black”. Depending on if we have added the instructions for this questions to our Turing machine, if we are now considering the relationship between time of day and how it relates to color, then the code that is correct will be different. We are still packing spheres into a tesseract, we are just considering a different three things and how they relate.

    This is why religion gives relativistic morality. Rape is rape. Murder is murder. It doesn’t matter if it was ‘legal’ to rape in 4000 BCE because OBJECTIVELY, by the MATH, to rape and/or murder is wrong no matter what. That’s why only the scientific process gets you to morality.

    John Wheeler was SO right when he said “the IT is the BIT”. And I think he said it first in the 60s! Here’s a link to a paper he wrote in the 80s I think where he summarizes questions for the future of physics. It contains so many wonderful ideas including the importance of information theory and quantum mechanics, ie, the IT from the quBIT.
    http://cqi.inf.usi.ch/qic/wheeler.pdf

    That’s what we’ve learned: entanglement, as in quantum mechanics, is entropy which is information which is probability which is thermodynamics. This is why Darwin has been so right that we have billions of facts at 99% confidence interval supported evolution.

    It’s more than the survival of the fittest at reproduction. It’s the survival of the fittest at maintaining information in a useable form.

    This is why Jeremy England of MIT in 2014 was able to show that when you have a system like the earth in such an extreme of disequilibrium meaning you have a core of molten rock that is radioactive being bombarded by photons on a planet covered with a warm soup abiogenesis to RNA is INEVITABLE. Not probable. Not possible. INEVITABLE. This is why Rolf Landauer in 60s realized RNA was a Turing machine.

    Try looking at three recent episodes of PBS spacetime, PBS Eons and PBS it’s ok to be smart where all three channels address the origin of life.

    Then check out my previous reply to enlightmentliberal.

    Then think again about the essence of morality is the maximization of time and energy and that’s what morality is. It works all the way down to rocks. It works to the Big Bang.

    And that’s why it’s 99.9999999999% wrong to stone a raped girl to death under ANY circumstance. You’ll never get 100%. Want to know why? Because circles are emergent. Circles emerge from triangles. Indeed, that’s a proof for pi and a basis for understanding why calculus works. It’s why in 2 dimensions there are an infinity of platonic polygons, in three 5, in 4 dimensions 6 and then 3 onwards. And that’s why how you pack spheres into a space determines error codes. Because you always have a space left over.

  85. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Yeah. It’s either someone who I hope has a good social support structure and counseling, or it’s an extended con / troll job.

  86. says

    Zack, this isn’t about contradictory assumptions. The question did not hold an assumption that there was an objective morality that was intrinsic in the universe that held that torturing babies was objectively immoral. Instead, the premises held the exact opposite, that it was objectively moral to do so, and immoral not to do so. I’m asking what you would do if you found out that it was that it was objectively moral, independent of anything anyone valued, to torture babies. Would you? Would you have preferred this objective morality to have been different?

  87. twarren1111 says

    To be clear, when packing spheres into a space ONLY in the 4D do you have the center space in the tesseract with a sphere of a radius of one AND all the other 16 cells filled with spheres of radius 1 with NONE of the spheres overlapping. That’s the essence of it all. The video link to a numberphile video has Matthew Parker explaining this beautifully. The Wikipedia links get you the basics on error correcting codes.

    Note this: in one dimension there is no center space. In 2 dimensions, the center space is a circle with the radius of sqrt 2. In three dimensions it’s sqrt 3. In 5, 6, 7, 8 dimensions it’s sqrt of 5,6,7,8. These are ALL irrational. But in 4D, the center is a sphere AND it has diameter of sqrt 4 which is 2 which is a radius of 1 and this is why the smallest perfect code is the Hamming 7,4 code.

    Note this: the next dimension where you will get a rational sphere is the 9th. Sqrt 3. Radius 1.5. BUT in the 9th dimension this means you have a center space that is bigger than your physical spheres which are radius 1.

    This, along with the coupling constant, is why we have and only need three large spatial dimensions. Another clue is that the only shadow we see in our world from the Platonic solids in the 4th dimension is the smallest shadow that can be made by a tesseract and that shape is a cube (or if you want you can call it a hexagon but that’s the same to us as shadows are 2D after all.

    This is why it’s all math and geometry. It’s when you go from inorganic to organic aka it’s when you develop ‘life’ that what is happening is you are adding meaning to structure. Eg, DNA has a structure AND a meaning. It would take 10 to the 84 attempts to ‘naturally’ develop our genetic code, shared by all life. That’s impossible really. That’s why the link to the article about symmetry breaking leading to the genomic code is so very important. That paper demonstrates that when you look at how 64 codes maps onto 21 messages it is INEVITABLE by the TOPOLOGY OF ALGEBRA that our genetic code will form.

    And I’ll finish with this. GODELS incompleteness theorem is words put to numbers. That’s how he figured out that when you have a self referential axiomatically driven system, which our world is, you can never prove a self referential statement is true or false. Thus, look at the central dogma of biology: DNA to RNA to protein. So which came first? The classic creationists argument. Well, it’s RNA. Why? Bc RNA is self referential. RNA makes up ribosomes and it’s RNA being processed by ribosomes that produces protein. Then because it’s more stable, DNA is natural. It’s the incompleteness theorem, Turing halting problem applied to the dogma which arises from the thermodynamics that led the RNA in the first place.

    Circles in circles.

    But when you have your relationships right, your scale right, your infinities right, then the math works where you maximize your time and energy. And that is where your objective morality lies.

    Try checking out Robert Gates presentations on the adrinkas and supersymjetry. Enlightenmentliberal definitely should! Watch when Dr Gates starts moving his particles in supersymmetry. Do you realize he’s showing you the vertices of a graph that correlate EXACTLY with a tesseract? And then enjoy your mind being blown when he superimposes the coordinates and reveals, yep you guessed it! The hamming 7,4 perfect code: 1111

    And that’s why water follows the path of least resistance. That’s why the principle of least action. That’s why Noether’s theorem. That’s why CPT symmetry. That’s why we are all in this together. That’s why relationships are always three things. Just like Einstein said: ENERGY EQUALS MASS and light is constant bc what matters most is causality and that means the optimasation of time and energy.

    Why did mammals survive? We went warm blooded and developed the paralimbic system. Why? Because empathy means abstraction. It means complexity. It means seeing the meaning of math. So we manipulate time and energy. But if we relate things wrong we waste it. And that’s what evil is.

    What dinosaurs survived? Birds. How? They went warm blooded and developed what? Empathy.

    See? It all works. The purpose of the universe is to maximize how you use information so that you can keep energy in as useable a form for as long as possible. A rock works. Gets to last a billion years but I don’t wish to be a rock. So a bacteria. Can live and divide etc but doesn’t have much control. Dinosaurs hadv100 million years and tried every way to vary a brain stem to body but still got kilted off by an externality. ‘

    But mammals. Primates. Trees. Opposable thumb plus foxp2 gives language.

    Our brain has gotten so large so fast via evolution that 20% of babies cannot use the birth canal. Why?

    Why is ADD the most inherited neurobiology in man and why is it the exact inverse of what !% of us are, like Trump: psychopaths. You can’t startle a psychopath. They have no functioning paralimbic system. They are the knockouts. They are thinking reptiles. See?

    It’s all about seeing abstractions. And when we have our codes right, when we pack our spheres right we write symphonies, build buildings, write books.

    So yes ginger bearded gent, it seems frankly strange to realize that morality is math, but once you see it you can’t unsee it.

    As poincare said when asked why he didn’t include god in one of his works he said, “I have no need for that hypothesis”

    And neither do you.

  88. twarren1111 says

    For enlightenmentliberal, I have a comment timed at 7:47 and numbered as 81 that is awaiting moderation. Thus, you may not be able to see it yet. In it I specifically provide several links to answer you questions of me and also directly address the issue of what trolling is.

    Trolling is when you confuse the issue for the person. Please keep your comments on the issue. On the idea. It is inappropriate, ie, trolling to talk about a person.

    You will notice that in zero of my posts for this show or last weeks do I make any ad hominem comments. Please stop doing so yourself.

  89. Wiggle Puppy says

    @ Zach #74

    “Not even God could alter the nature of morality.”

    Then as per the Euthypro Dilemma, morality can be discovered regardless of whether or not God exists and cannot be the ultimate source of it. YOU HAVE NOT SOLVED THE PROBLEM YOU THINK YOU HAVE.

    And the point of the well analogy was just to say that you think you’ve done something productive by inventing a bunch of extraneous steps to explain something whose obvious solution. I agree the analogy is flawed, though, because it ostensibly seems possible that the well might yield water, but you haven’t shown that it’s possible for a God to serve as the basis of objective morality under the definition you’re trying to use. My mistake.

  90. twarren1111 says

    https://ars.els-cdn.com/content/image/1-s2.0-S0022519314000113-gr5.jpg

    For enlightenmentliberal. Above is the link to my favorite figure from the paper demonstrating that with the rules of topology that the first answer you get when you start with how codons encode for 20 amino acids and a stop message is the genomic code used by all life on earth that the maximum Shannon entropy that naturally occurs as part of this process is 6 bits. To derive a binary code from a quaternary system (4 nucleotides) naturally occurs where these nucleotides will in pairs of THREE (triangles again!) map onto the 21 ‘words’ needed using a maximum Shannon entropy of 6 bits.

    And how many bits are there in that perfect code? How many bits in the Hamming 7,4 code? The shortest perfect code? The error correcting code used by the RAM on your computer right now? The answer is 8 bits. 8. 1 byte.

    It’s math. And I’m being serious. It’s not turtles all the way down. It’s the math. It’s information. It’s entanglement.

    And the most efficient way to determine the veracity of any relationship, be it x to y, a quark to a quark, a person to their community, is you have to have the correct, rational ratio connecting the two things. And the rational correct ratio is only when you pack the 8 spheres in the left cube and they correlate to the same 8 spheres in the right cube and what keeps the spheres in place, oriented correctly is when you have the right center space open.

    That’s the reality. That’s how objective morality is determined bc when you have your ideas right the spheres fit.

    That image of the tesseract pulled apart on the Wikipedia page covering hamming distance? That’s what time is. Think about it. It’s why length and time and gravity are emergent. It’s why fermions can’t occupy the same space per Pauli. It’s why when you have 100% of the universe the size of a peach it has to start dividing. Because without time, without motion, all those fermions cease to exist. And that’s why if you look into Neil Turok at the Perimeter Institute and the fairly recent blow up among physicists as outlined in a Scientific American recently about Big Bounce vs Big Bang occurred.

  91. twarren1111 says

    For enlightenment liberal (this is what I first posted today at 7:47…maybe you’ll be able to see it. And again, please desist in calling me a troll. It is offensive. Stick to the ideas presented. Thank you. I value your input on the ideas expressed. Please note that NONE of them are mine. I’m just citing the literature or providing data. When I’m wrong, such as length contraction measured on jets, which was ridiculous for me to assert, I will admit it and say so. To wit: I said in caps that I was way off base on that. Again: ideas ok, person off limits)

    The shortest perfect code that can self detect and self correct an error is:
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamming_code

    It is an 8 bit code. It is based upon the geometry of how spheres pack a 4D cube:
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamming_distance

    A common name for a 4D hypercube is a tesseract.

    The shortest non detecting, non self correcting error code is a 3 bit code based upon a 3D cube:
    https://youtu.be/EBy7IYtJRKs

    I will continue to engage on issues but please refrain from the logical fallacy of the ad hominem. It wastes time! All relationships are 3 things. In our case it is me, you and the ideas. No idea is sacred. Say all you want about ideas. But talking about my person or your person is off limits. That’s why rules of rhetoric and Godwin’s law exists. Hence, statements about your person (your references as to your knowledge, degrees, etc) and references as to my person (troll, crackpot, etc) are by definition, by the math of philosophy, irrational. You are wasting time.

    Now, as to the key finding of why the 4D hypercube is the geometry for the ‘kissing’ packing of the shortest perfect code, this video provides an excellent demonstration of what that center space is in dimensions as you go from 1 on up:
    https://youtu.be/mceaM2_zQd8

    Now do you understand?

    Also, once you accept these ideas, then think about the Shannon entropy as you go from 0 dimensions to 4.
    Then think about all the permutations of Pascal’s triangle. Think specifically as to the polygons associated with each row up to the 4th dimensional (ie the 5th) row.
    Then think about the difference between Shannon entropy and algorhythmic entropy (aka Kolmogrov complexity)
    Then take a look at this article:
    https://ac.els-cdn.com/S0022519314000113/1-s2.0-S0022519314000113-main.pdf?_tid=10467257-d1f4-4006-b81e-259d233ae5bd&acdnat=1524700189_6e348779b47b35ebbef90792d4e33f72

  92. twarren1111 says

    The two papers below are from Donald Hoffman. He she’s how using Turing machines that consciousness or perception of reality can evolve and it is ingenious. He demonstrates the concept of why glucose is not sweet. Sweet comes from our brain, not the glucose. He also demonstrates amazingly well how we determine reality by associating meaning to our environment using set theory and mathematical modeling. He shows that it’s math that determines the truth, specifically the veridicidality, of our world.

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4060643/pdf/fpsyg-05-00577.pdf
    http://www.cogsci.uci.edu/~ddhoff/Interface_Theory_2

    This is the 2014 ground breaking paper from Jeremy England from MIT. If you google his web page, he has a link to a talk he gave at a university in Stockholm where he presents every aspect. Btw, he has recently published, this year, two nice follow up papers to this one. In a nutshell, his work shows the link fully between heat entropy to information entropy based upon quantum entropy such that once you had the primordial soup as models (and the famous Stanley Miller experiments in the 1950s showed) show, that RNA is INEVITABLE.
    https://arxiv.org/pdf/1412.1875.pdf

    Here’s a link to give a taste of supersymmetry and adrinkas and how the particles can relate. Dr Gates has talks on YouTube. Search DNA of reality.
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adinkra_symbols_(physics)

    In this paper, Dr Gates has multiple graphs showing the graphs that arise in supersymmetry (string theory). He shows how the particles relate using quantum field equations, Dirac equations. He shows how when shifting how particles relate using integrals and derivatives that natural geometry arises and it correlates with tesseract. Over and over and over. What you can find on you tube talks is that when you put 4 binary coordinates on the vertices, just like you see on the Wikipedia hamming distance tesseract figure, that the symmetrical vertices, when you combine them ALWAYS add up to 1111. Eg, the 0100 vertices folds onto the 1011 vertices forming the self correcting code of 1111. It’s MATH ALL THE WAY DOWN.
    https://arxiv.org/pdf/1104.0722.pdf

    This is a nice paper going into more depth as to the GEOMETRY of Hamming codes. It’s deep math, matrices, and shows how the sphere/triangle packing geometry arises:
    http://micsymposium.org/mics_2009_proceedings/mics2009_submission_52.pdf

    Here’s a paper showing how the depth of mammals neocortex correlates with number of friends. It’s called Dunbar’s number and it’s why you have 5 BFFs. More importantly, the whole point is that when 5 brains get together and have their relationships straight you don’t just get a great team you get synergy. You get 1+1=3. You get negentropy! It’s why psychopaths are children who waste time. I don’t care what your political bent is but comparing the first year of Obama to trump shows you what happens when you pack your spheres wrong. You waste time and energy. And when u do it on purpose? That’s what evil is.
    https://arxiv.org/pdf/1604.02400.pdf

  93. RationalismRules says

    @Gingerbeardgent

    Not if those moral standards ARE the deity.

    This is no more a meaningful statement than “a bicycle made of jealousy” *. Putting two disparate concepts together in a sentence with “ARE” or “=” in between is not profound thought, it’s just nonsense.

    (*to borrow from Noel Fielding)
     
    @jigglefresh
    Thank you!

  94. twarren1111 says

    This, ginger bearded gent is why when you waste a life, when you waste all the gluons in that person, you aren’t just wasting the explosive force of 10 times the explosive force of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. You are also wasting the brain which is the site of new abstractions. New ideas. It takes 25 years to develop the frontal lobes. It takes time to develop concepts. And this is OBJECTIVELY by the MATH why the essence of morality is not wasting time and energy. This is why racism is so wrong. We know too much now! DNA tells us there is no race. We are all human. So why are 80% of the people in our jails black or Hispanic? It’s bc we have our ratio wrong. It’s irrational. Why? Bc we aren’t seeing the truth. And the result: lives wasted. Time and energy wasted. How many Steve jobs, how many Einstein’s are in our prisons now bc of faulty math?

    This is why when you use a myth like the Bible to determine the reality of ratios you get jeebus in Mark 7 yelling at the Pharisees about their complaint about washing hands and jeebus then goes on to ask those Pharisees how many children haven’t they killed for disobeying their parents! Just wow. How is that objective morality? I see a bunch of ratios just messed up.

    First, I got a billion facts about evolution and germ theory. I have archeological, anthropological, sociological and medical data that correlates that after the agricultural revolution the second best thing man did was sewer systems.

    And here’s how the scientific process, the verb, trumps religion. When cholera happened in London germ theory wasn’t established. But the sewer system was. And it was the sewer system and how the disease acted that allowed the doctors to figure out what cholera is.

    You see? It’s all geometry. It’s all math. And when you build your ratios right, when you relate your triangles right, when you relate your entropy right that you get to answers faster.

    It’s why when you go to the moon you gets lots of side tech.

    Its why it was ‘ok’ to get a girl drunk in 1980 to have sex with her and today it is rape. See? Objectively, via the math of how relationships truly work, getting the girl drunk in 1980 and having sex was NEVER OK. IT WAS ALWAYS RAPE. 1+1=2 in 1980 AND TODAY. But, if you MAKE up your ratios based upon FAITH you are much more likely to get the math wrong. And that means you waste time and energy.

    This is all because the teleology of ontology is to maximize information.

    That’s what Darwin got so close to. It just so happens that until you get a big brain the best way to do this is to reproduce.

    But that really doesn’t explain social insects does it? Not really. Why become a sterile drone? Why become a cannon fodder ant? We always could say they were acting as a super organism, right. And that’s true. But that doesn’t account for how one ant gets to pass it’s genes and the other does. We had to use ‘fudge factor’ ideas. Right?

    But if you change reproduction as a concept under heat dissipation like Jeremy England did what does that mean? It means that it’s about entropy. And what does quantum entanglement tell us? He’s right. So right.

    Bc once you see everything as how we maintain information via entropy in an optimal ratio you see how everything works. And there’s your morality. That’s why it’s wrong to be racist. Because the data says there is no race. That’s why it’s wrong to kill except in extraordinary circumstances. Bc you have no right to take someone’s energy. That’s why it’s wrong to kill all the buffalo just for their skin. Because it’s a waste. That’s why denying climate change is immoral. Bc what happens when Bangladesh goes under water and millions flood into India and Pakistan and a nuke goes off by accident. That’s why ‘facts are notorious for having a liberal bias’. Because empathy gives one the ability to combat irrational fear. Why to people with primary anxiety disorders like OCPD find themselves rigid and unbending and try to be perfect and control you? Bc they can’t handle abstraction as well as the rest of us. There’s a reason conservatives are so afraid. There’s a reason it takes a family member to be gay for them to see its natural and ok.

    It’s the math.

    And this is why when you are relating to another person that you keep the focus on the issue and not the person. Assuming the person is not a psychopath which is a 1% chance, and assuming they aren’t going to be violent, any anger on either side is fear and if survival is not threatened then that means their fear is irrational. This means they have a concept that isn’t right. They are trying to pack that center space in their tesseract with an idea that is irrational. And if you talk to them calmly, more often than not you can find out what it is.

    For example, all the theist callers to the show are terrified. That’s all.

    Look at this recent paper from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. You know why most white trump voters voted for an obvious psychopath? Because they had an irrational fear that by 2040 there will be more than 50% blacks/Hispanics in this country. Think about that. Is trump wasting time and energy? What do you think a psychopath is? They are thinking brainstems with the part that creates empathy completely dead. So what they are is religion machines. He’s just making it up bc he can’t conceive of us having feelings. All we are is mirrors to him. So he can’t tell what the hell is going on. So he just makes it up.

    http://www.pnas.org/content/pnas/early/2018/04/18/1718155115.full.pdf

    That’s objective morality. It’s science. Not religion. Check out Richard Carrier and Bart Ehrman. A lot. You got a good 30 hours of YouTube to watch on them. The Bible is just a fairytale. There is no evidence for god. We know enough now. Once the psychopath whisperer data was published in book form in 2014 and once Jeremy England provided the last piece of the link to show exactly how abiogenesis occurred that was it. Enough bricks are in the wall to see the picture.

    So yes! AS STRANGE AS IT SOUNDS, EVERYTHING IS EXPLAINED ONCE YOU SEE THAT THE TELEOLOGY OF ONTOGENY IS THE MAXIMIZATION OF THE UTILIZATION OF ENTROPIC INFORMATION.

    THE IT IS THE BIT

  95. indianajones says

    ‘when you waste all the gluons in that person, you aren’t just wasting the explosive force of 10 times the explosive force of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima’

    Did you want your corpse to be used for some hefty geology re-arrangement or something? As for the rest both above and below the quote, just ‘ugh’.

  96. stajp says

    Hi Jen and Matt,

    you defend the objective morality from the position of well being. For the well being itself, however, you say “as long as we agree to care about well being”. Well being is here defined as something we agree about, rather than something which is objectively true. It seems to me your basing objective morality on non objective foundations. Could you please comment on this? Thanks

  97. kiwifree says

    Damn I wish Derek would just mumble himself into oblivion. Matt is so f’n switched on, you’re never going to back him into a corner with this stuff. Also Matts rant at the end was golden. Well done guys. 😉 I work with elderly people fixing their computers and giving them instruction and I thought I was patient. You guys are next level.

  98. says

    Zack, your conception of objective, theistic morality hits two major snags.

    #1

    Even if everything you are saying is true, we do not gain anything when it comes to attempts to rationally analyze and guide our actions. For the sake of argument, I will grant the following:

    A. God exists.
    B. God has made his commands/desires known very clearly.

    Let us suppose that A and B are well-known and evidenced beyond any reasonable dispute. The major question is this: Why should I do what God says? If God commands me to slap my neighbor in the face, why should I do that?


    #2

    You have insisted that the theistic model allows for objective moral values to exist, but you have not actually bothered to explain how this is accomplished.”Just so” reasoning doesn’t cut it if you want to illustrate that one theory is superior to another. Here’s another way to think about it. Let us consider the following claims:

    A. I base my moral system on the commands/desires of God.
    B. I base my moral system on the commands/desires of Matt Dillahunty.

    Why is either of these “more objective” than the other?

  99. John Chilton says

    Jacqueline
    ========
    The idea of being afraid of going to hell because you did not believe, is no different (is it?) to being afraid that you are worshipping the ‘wrong’ god. If you are not a Muslim, despite being the same god as Christians, you are going to hell if Islam is correct – but no one seems to be afraid of worshipping the wrong god … even though the outcome for being wrong is the same.
    We have a brain and if there was a god, ‘it’ would expect us to use it. The scientific method has led us down an amazing route … we should not be afraid to follow it.
    Matt – Infinity War – I love you – excellent comment.
    Zak
    ===
    The thing I found most amazing about Zak is that someone who seems so intelligent and who clearly cares to think about the issues he raises, does not see the ridiculously fragile basis of his arguments.
    Christian
    ======
    Christ – what a waste of time – sorry Christ(ian), but trying to identify a way of keeping an atheist’s view but allowing them to say there is a god by redefining it is … well … a waste of time.

    Derek
    ====
    Wow – I really do not like swearing but Derek is clearly a member of the Tactical Weapons Assault Team!
    Derek was more interested in attacking matt rather than actually saying something that was useful. I normally meet idiots like Derek in academia when someone simply …
    … can’t be allowed to be proved wrong
    … cannot allow themselves to ever be wrong
    … feel they are not capable of being wrong.
    It is usually based upon someone being very intelligent but sadly, not as intelligent as they think they are! And this will then show itself in a number of ways, one of which is (as Derek shows here) that the person feels they have the attack someone else who, deep I the back of their mind, they feel is also very intelligent and so, they have to ‘put them down’.
    If Derek listens to himself after the show, and is open minded about his input (which in my experience will be almost impossible for him to do), he will see that he was not representing a strong view so much as, just trying to push Matt down and put him ‘in his place’. This did not happen and Derek came over as a bit of a dick!
    Going on about the hyperbola from Matt was also stupid – a term Derek will ‘hate’ to be labelled against him. And Derek, trying to argue that if god was shown without doubt to exist, it might not make the news all over the world, was crazy … some might say … stupid!
    1.18.00 shows the above about Derek. And Derek was transparent when he stated that “… if I need to do to falsify his hypothesis is to find something that he thinks …” – way too personal and directed in the wrong direction. Why bother wasting our time. Derek needs to find a dark room, sit in to and have an argument with himself. Jen and Matt showed amazingly patience, when confronted with a complete and utter prat!

  100. Matt S says

    “God is synonymous / concurrent with good.”
    Can someone help me understand what this could even mean? I’ve always had trouble understanding it coherently.
    When someone tells me that a person “is good,” typically that’s shorthand for the person performing good acts, having good intentions, etc. But that’s obviously not what the theists mean.
    In the same way, if I have a cat and tell you, “my cat is brown,” I mean something like, “my cat has brown-colored fur.” I don’t mean that “my cat is synonymous with the color brown.” I don’t even know how to make sense of that statement.

  101. stevie says

    You are basing objective morality on well being. If you say that well being is something that we agree upon, well being itself is subjective (since it’s agreed upon not objectively established). It seems to me that you are basing objective morality on an subjective concept.

    Personally I think there is no objective morality. I think we have progressed enough to agree that some things are bad and others good.
    Cheers

  102. gingerbeardgent says

    @ Monocle Smile

    So if religious people all make their god conform to their own beliefs… is it NOT the case that religion causes people to do things they wouldn’t ordinarily do?

    In other words, you can correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m guessing you have a notion that religion can get some people to do evil things (Holy wars, terrorism, even poor voting practices or intolerant behavior).Is it really so much a stretch to suppose that religion can cause some people to do good things too?

    And it isn’t really all that surprising that theories of the mind for God more closely match a person’s sense of self then theories of the mind of other people. After all, other people don’t understand each other nearly as well as god is purported to. Since many religious people have a notion that god knows everything, that would include a complete knowledge of the person’s own mind!

    Finally, Plato’s work can’t be said to be outdated in the same sense as Aristotle’s, since Plato’s claims about platonic forms were unfalsifiable, i.e., they’re still compatible with the world we observe.

    @enlightenment liberal

    A valid concern. Indeed, I don’t advocate for any religion that uses faith in any other context then rationally justified trust, though I think it is worth pointing out that some theistic models are more “stable” for lack of a better word, than others. For example, the tri-personal god of some denominations of christianity could not be greater than some threshold of evil, because that would open up the possibility of conflict within the trinity, which would undermine some of the claims about that god.

    @ cumpulsory account sky captain

    I have no problem lumping dike into the capital “G” God category, provided they adhered to certain properties that Gods have.

    @paxoll

    Indeed, both of our claims are unsubstantiated assertions. Hume’s Guillotine is taken for granted in so much of academia that it’s become a cultural idea, rather than a properly justified philosophy. The sooner that’s recognized, the sooner you can examine alternative perspectives.

    As for theistic systems are 100% immoral, this seems a gross exageration. I could make up a religion on the spot that conformed to your own moral views; surely you don’t think ALL possible theistic systems are immoral.

    @twarren

    Frankly, I don’t have enough of a background in mathematics to understand why sphere packing is relevant to information theory or the geometry of spacetime, let alone morality.

    And I’m not so sure you couldn’t, at least in theory, generate a code which would perfectly describe Yahweh’s nature.

    I get the impression that you’re one of those folks who thinks the purpose of life is to increase entropy as efficiently as possible.
    That’s all well and good until you realize that the best way to “maximize the utilization of entropic information” is to create self-replicating nanobots that consume everything in sight, including us, while still adhering to natural selection, and which, when released, go on to spread throughout the reachable universe. if you want complexity and learning, let each of them function as a brain cell, and boom, you’ve made sure the heat death of the universe arrives in the shortest possible time. Congrats.

  103. gingerbeardgent says

    @wiggle puppy

    Not even God could alter the nature of reality, DESPITE the fact that he is the source of it, though I’ll agree that morality is at least approachable regardless of whether or not God exists.

    Why not? because God can’t change himself.

    @ Jared

    If torturing babies is actually moral, then I am seriously misguided about what I believe morality to be. nevertheless, If I somehow knew all the things you suggested, I still would not do it myself until I personally understood it to be a moral activity. Once I understood why it was immoral, I doubt that I’d wish it would change, but I probably wouldn’t be able to stomach the actual process even after being convinced.

    @rationalismrules

    You can, actually, consider the concept of a bicycle made out of jealousy.

    Suppose there were a world in which your emotions became malleable material, which fairies then mold into whatever shapes they wished. “Step right up and get your cookies made out of granny’s own happiness! get em while they’re hot!”

    So not nonsensical, just alien to our own experience.

    @secular strategy

    #1

    By “why should” do you mean, “why would I WANT to do that” or do you mean, ” why OUGHT I do that”

    If you mean the first question, there are all sorts of reasons, stemming from perhaps vindictiveness at your neighbor, fear of hell, desire to please god, desire for reputation in the community as a servant of god, etc.

    If you mean the second, then you simply ought to do it, regardless of whether you want to or not.

    All of this predicated, of course, on the assumption that God and goodness are the same thing.

    #2

    Matt dillihunty is demonstrably not, and is in no way similar to, goodness itself.
    (though he may be masculinity itself. XD)

    If I say God’s nature and goodness are the same thing, I mean that the two terms are quite literally interchangable. There is no statement that is true of one, but not the other, but a quick examination will show that this is not the case with Matt, any human being, or any “lower case g” god, for that matter.

  104. sayamything says

    It’s entirely possible for religion to get people to do positive things. The problem is, that still doesn’t offset its capacity to get people to do bad things. It also doesn’t mean it’s a good thing, because both stem from the same source: mindless obedience.

  105. Nathan says

    Shorter Zack, if I post enough word salad I’ll confuse people enough they’ll think I’m right since I’m a Freshman philosophy student.

  106. Wiggle Puppy says

    “Not even God could alter the nature of reality, DESPITE the fact that he is the source of it, though I’ll agree that morality is at least approachable regardless of whether or not God exists.
    Why not? because God can’t change himself.”

    If God can’t change himself because he must conform to a more abstract idea of “goodness,” then there is some other, higher source of morality than God, and God is therefore irrelevant to the roots of morality, which is the ENTIRE FREAKING POINT of Euthyphro. As somebody pointed out, at that point you would just have some very wise being who is giving humans access to that higher morality by informing them of it, but humans should also be able to discover that morality independent of God. You haven’t come close to solving the Euthyphro Dilemma and don’t even have a morality with an “advantage” over secular morality, since you’ve added an extra unnecessary step that can be excised via Occam’s Razor. This isn’t even that hard!

  107. Wiggle Puppy says

    “If I say God’s nature and goodness are the same thing, I mean that the two terms are quite literally interchangable. There is no statement that is true of one, but not the other, but a quick examination will show that this is not the case with Matt, any human being, or any “lower case g” god, for that matter.”

    Please look up “special pleading.”

  108. says

    Zack, with respect, your two responses are extremely poor. Apply a little bit of skepticism to your own words and you’ll see how easy they are to deconstruct before you post them.

    #1. When I ask why I ought to perform an action, then saying, “you simply ought to do it,” does not answer the question. If I defended secular morality by stating that “you simply ought to increase wellbeing,” then you would not accept that as a valid response. Your moral view doesn’t get a pass.

    #2. I’m asking why one rule applies to God and another rule applies to Matt. Reminding me that God and Matt are not the same does not help. I know they’re not the same. I’m not stupid.

    By the way, if you think “Goodness” and “God” are interchangeable terms, then let’s just leave “Goodness” off the table to keep this simple.

  109. Wiggle Puppy says

    @ SS #102:

    “By the way, if you think “Goodness” and “God” are interchangeable terms, then let’s just leave “Goodness” off the table to keep this simple.”

    We could also just leave “God” off the table, and then the vapidness of Zack’s insistence that his theistic morality has some “advantage” over secular morality becomes plainly clear, since we just have “Goodness” remaining.

  110. khermerker says

    mmm I’m too late here but i think i finally scrape the problem of define morality as well being. At start i will cite this, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1877042814066178, as part of my opinions but still not read all of it, so most of my ideas are not from others. Also i will say sorry for grammar and spelling problems, sadly im not an english native.

    When Matt says that morality is based in well being, i think that not solve the problem actually only changes the problem from know what is morality to know what is well being. I think is hard notice the problem cause we have a naive sense of what is well being based in two things we experience. First we know that we are being and second we know when we are feeling well. The real problem is when we try extend those to other people, that is, that i`m well with this not mean that others are well with the same thing. In other words for morality be objective is needed not only be able to say when we are well, but when others are well, and sadly is not always possible know that.

    So if well being is both subjective and objective, how can be possible that morality is complety objective?. I think that the assumption than others are similar to us are good for say that part of morality is objective, (like no kill or other things), but is not enough for say that very specific actions are really objective. I will put this an example, some people recieves pleasure in feel physical pain, i don’t. In a objective morality we can know if its good inflict pain. Well without know before hand if he will feel pleasure or not, we can’t really know if its good or not. Now you could arguee that we can ask before, but we don’t always know for sure how we will feel for do or not do anything. I will put this in other example, let’s say that never taste wine, do you know before if you will like it? ,and if you will feel well after drink it?.

    Finally if the use well being is medical that is, all the cases i mentioned are not relevant for define well being (and in that case for me then morality is not well being), then we get other problems. Is more important keep someone a live, than kill for make he no suffer more?. In that case cause dead people can’t be really well, extend the life seems more natural cause is better be a live and have a chance to feel well, than be death and not feel well.

    PD: with this i dont want say that well being is subjective, but i arguee that at least is not really objective. Second i’m not discussing what is reality morality cause actually i think morality is really other thing , being subjective a important part of the definition. And for me what is being debated by Matt and others is not really morality but ethics. Being Ethic something really objective but more complex.

  111. paxoll says

    @Zach, Sorry, but when I say ought does not make sense without an if, because we live in a consequential world, ie. causal universe. Ought is a statement about the future, that implies that the future is predictable indicating a constant set of rules that apply though time. It is also an action. ought to love, ought to get groceries, ought to not murder, even if that action is simply a making a decision. An action is a cause of a future state because we live in a consequential world. Saying someone ought to do something and not having a reason why gives no rational reason to do that action. My statement was NOT an assertion, it was an assertion with reasoning evidence. You did not answer my question twice, give an example of a moral fact that exists only because of a god or supernatural state and NOT because of a consequential goal.

  112. StonedRanger says

    gingerbreadgent- “You can, actually, consider the concept of a bicycle made out of jealousy. Suppose there were a world in which your emotions became malleable material, which fairies then mold into whatever shapes they wished. “Step right up and get your cookies made out of granny’s own happiness! get em while they’re hot!”

    You do not know what the word nonsense means if you think that entire statement wasn’t nonsense. You can imagine any ridiculous thing you want, that doesn’t make it real in any way. That world does not exist except in your imagination. It is not alien to our experience because its doesn’t happen at all. Its just made up poppycock.

    And this whole god is goodness nonsense, what part of being a genocidal maniac that supports things like murder, rape, and slavery is good? How is being so jealous that it would condemn you to eternal torture for not worshipping it a good thing? Where is the goodness in those actions? If god = goodness there wouldn’t be any evil.

  113. Monocle Smile says

    @Zack

    So if religious people all make their god conform to their own beliefs… is it NOT the case that religion causes people to do things they wouldn’t ordinarily do?

    Sigh. I’m trying to communicate effectively, but you’re dead set on injecting your own fucked-up conclusions into this.
    Indoctrination is a thing. People become convinced of things due to terrible reasons, and it’s often because the ideas are forced upon them. However, this doesn’t mean that there’s anything particularly unique about the effect, nor does it mean that people are aware of how this works.
    You seem to have this fucked-up notion that ideas are real, tangible things and not merely brain states, and that’s not in any way substantiated by reality.

    In other words, you can correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m guessing you have a notion that religion can get some people to do evil things (Holy wars, terrorism, even poor voting practices or intolerant behavior).Is it really so much a stretch to suppose that religion can cause some people to do good things too?

    What the hell? Are you trying to reboot this part of the discussion and hope nobody notices? I’m not going in circles with you.

    And it isn’t really all that surprising that theories of the mind for God more closely match a person’s sense of self then theories of the mind of other people. After all, other people don’t understand each other nearly as well as god is purported to. Since many religious people have a notion that god knows everything, that would include a complete knowledge of the person’s own mind!

    This appears to be off-topic blather about subjects you know absolutely nothing about, so I’m going to ignore it. You seem to think we have no clue how the brain works or that specific physical sections of the brain are reserved for specific functions and bodily locations.

    Finally, Plato’s work can’t be said to be outdated in the same sense as Aristotle’s, since Plato’s claims about platonic forms were unfalsifiable, i.e., they’re still compatible with the world we observe.

    Like I said, you can cram that nonsense back up the orifice from which it came. “Unfalsifiable” and “compatible with the world we observe” are mutually exclusive attributes, as far as I’m concerned.

  114. Monocle Smile says

    @Zack
    That first response paragraph of mine is incomplete. Let me add:
    People don’t “make” god conform to their own beliefs, at least not in the way that’s implied. That appears to be the effect, but the cause is subconscious due to indoctrination or self-delusion. I would say that indoctrination is where people conform their own beliefs to their “god ideal,” which is often reprehensible.

    However, I still consider this to be a tangent, because your unwillingness to discuss or place any value on actual reality is becoming more irritating by the post.

  115. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Zack #96:

    Suppose there were a world in which your emotions became malleable material, which fairies then mold

    Become malleable material?
    Bicycles, cookies… ? So the fairies build god persons out of goodness?
     
    What would the nutritional value of said cookies happiness be?
    What’s the mechanical properties of that bike frame jealousy?
    What are fairies made of?

  116. RationalismRules says

    @gingerbeardgent

    Suppose there were a world in which your emotions became malleable material, which fairies then mold into whatever shapes they wished.

    If emotions become material they are no longer the thing that we label as emotions, they are something new. When your scenario requires redefining the words that represent the key concepts you are examining, then the exercise becomes pointless, because the things you are talking about no longer match the words you are using.

    What would be the point of me arguing that I am a bird by redefining ‘bird’ to include overweight balding Australian men in their 50s?

    In the same way, equating ‘goodness’ to ‘a person’ requires redefining one or both of those terms, at which point you are no longer discussing the concepts that you set out to discuss.

  117. sabby says

    I think Zack held his own pretty well in the call, and I feel he was treated rather unjustly through the call. I do not agree with him, but I do not think the arguments made against him were very good.

    1] Euthyphro dilemma:
    Matt divorced the dilemma from God a bit and made it “all” about the foundations of morality. The euthyphro does have morality in association with God as foundation. Either God isnt or he is an arbitrary foundation. Thats the dilemma. Zack maybe didnt use the best words while presenting what it was about – “God is an arbitrary tyrant”, maybe better wording would have helped his case but he was closer to the crux of the dilemma than Matt was. In the actual dilemma, there is a God definitely involved in both the horns of the dilemma.

    2] Objective Foundation of Morality:
    Matt kept repeating this idea – “if we have a chess game with rules, if we decide the goal is to win, we have objective moves – we can derive objective ought from ‘is’es.”
    What Zack kept repeating was how to convert ‘is’ to an ‘ought’ in the sense from rules of the chess game to “ought to win”. Under secular worldview, there is no way to do this. Zack believes this is possible in a theistic worldview (I disagree). The reasons usually two parties keep repeating the same thing is because one person does not understand the other person’s claims. Due to the format of the show, Matt could make it seem like Zack didn’t understand, but it was truly Matt who didnt understand what Zack was getting at.

    3] Bringing knowledge of God’s existence or objective morals:
    Zack did not claim anywhere in the conversation or in this thread that he is trying to justify his belief in a God. The rules of the conversation are already set by him. If you do not play by his rules, you are refusing to converse. Matt kept trying to shift from euthyphro or hypothetical objective foundation for morals to knowledge of God’s existence and knowledge of morality as per the definition God is goodness. Both seemed like an attack from the assumption that Zack is theistic (which is of course a fair assumption, but that is not what he was there to talk about, hence the conversation would turn incoherent if this line is pursued.

    If the only claim I want to justify is, “if a bag has 5 balls, the bag has less than 3 balls” and your response is “how do you know the bag has 5 balls?” is an incorrect refutation to the claim. I may as well believe that the bag has 5 balls. But that is not what I am talking about and that is not what I am claiming to defend. You could prove that my stated claim belief is unjustified without having to divert to another independent claim altogether.

    Usually, I am very much impressed by Matt’s way of responses, but this call was a colossal disappointment for me personally. And as Matt suggests – “I would wanna fight bad arguments, especially if its from my side”.

    @gingerbeardgent
    You have held your own, so kudos to that. I do not know if anyone gave you proper refutation in here since I didnt read completely, but I feel you are getting a disproportionate amount of flak for rather insignificant mistakes or you are mistaken completely at other times. Perhaps someone in here has refuted your claims well enough though. Anyhow, I still disagree with you.

  118. says

    Zack, why do you think you would find it hard to stomach doing a good thing? If you found something to be good, wouldn’t you feel that it was stressful to act against what is good? When you say that you would want to know why something is moral or immoral, this indicates you have some criteria by which you determine what is good. How do you validate that your criteria are pointing you to an objective morality?

  119. Raffaele Piccini says

    this guy who called seems like a very smart guy! I wish all religious people were so rational!

  120. twarren1111 says

    Zack in regards to your comment in 98
    Entropy is not really so much a thermodynamic concept as it is a measure that stems ultimately from what quantum entanglement is turning out to be. And what QE is really turning out to be is a measure of information.

    This is why it’s looking more and more that gravity is going to turn out to be an emergent phenomenon from quantum entanglement and how QE results in the geometrogenesis of the universe from the Planck level to the large scale structure of the universe.

    And how each three entities relate at every scale from the Planck to the LSS of the cosmos, the basis of the correct way in which things relate, meaning ultimately that causality at all scales is kept, is self regulated by the math/geometry of how spheres pack a 4D space, ie, a tesseract.

    Lastly, be prepared to drop the idea of heat death as the likely outcome of the cosmos. As we rapidly, rapidly learn about black hole physics and the math develops, a clear concept of gravity, unifying all 4 forces, will emerge and the big bounce theory will replace the heat death as the most probable model to describe our reality.

    This is why objective reality is simply the geometry of how things relate and only the scientific process gets you there. Making up how things relate based upon faith is the opposite process. There is no need for a god or a supernatural today. Already bayes theorem makes god a disproven concept.

    Morality means facing the truth of reality.

    It really is teleology of the ontology of reality is how one maximizes the utilization of information. To do otherwise is to waste time. Every time god is used in a hypothesis it is a waste of time and energy. And to keep focusing on god thus becomes immoral. And to do so once it is explained as to why it is a waste is what evil is.

    That’s the frustration you see on the show. 20 years and still waiting for a new argument. When you express each and every argument expressed to date regarding god and each time the idea is shown irrational, why does it keep coming up?

    Eg, the kamal cosmological argument. Premise one and two are wrong by logic. By math. So why does it keep coming up? Once 1+1=2 is established, why do we need to spend 10,000 years asking if it’s true. At some point to keep asking if it’s true is such a waste of time and energy it becomes evil.

  121. says

    Rank Abbr. Meaning
    GOD Good Old Days
    GOD Games on Demand (video games)
    GOD Game of Death (Bruce Lee film)
    GOD Gathering Of Developers
    GOD Guard on Duty
    GOD Guaranteed Overnight Delivery
    GOD Grow or Die
    GOD Gale of Darkness (gaming)
    GOD God Opens Doors (Protestant and Catholic ministries)
    GOD Gates of Discord (EverQuest gaming)
    GOD Group Of Drunks (AA higher power)
    GOD Getting Off Drugs
    GOD Good Orderly Direction (AA higher power)
    GOD Guardian of Darkness (game)
    GOD Great Out Doors
    GOD Gods of Destruction (gaming clan)
    God Glory or Death
    GOD Game or Die (gaming clan)
    GOD Government of Democracy
    GOD Gemini Office Development
    GOD Gaining One’s Definition
    GOD Group Operations Director
    GOD Gift of Desperation (Alcoholics Anonymous)
    GOD Global Outdial
    GOD Gamecube Optical Disc
    GOD Gold, Oil & Diamonds (Anthony Cruz album)
    GOD GOD Over Djinn (from the book Godel, Escher, Bach by Douglas R. Hofstadter)
    GOD Generator Operator Destroyer
    GOD General Operations Director
    GOD Grundsaetze Ordnungsmaessiger Datenverarbeitung
    GoD Generation of Darkness (gaming clan)
    GOD Game Operations Director (roleplaying gamer’s term)
    GoD Giants of Demolition (gaming clan)
    GOD Greatest of Designers
    GOD Gathering of Deities (band)
    GOD Groove Overdose (Korean band)
    GOD Google Oriented Development
    GOD Gomer Oz Dabar (Masonic teaching)
    GOD Gamers on Dope (gaming clan)
    GOD Get Out of Doubt
    GOD Giver of Data
    GoD Giants of Darkness (gaming clan)
    GOD Generator of Dimensions
    GOD Global Orbital Defense (Babylon 5)
    GOD Galactic Observation Device
    GOD General Operational Device (Stanislaw Lem)
    GOD Great Omnipotent Designer
    GOD Grand Open Discussion
    GOD Graphic Overlay Data
    GOD Galactic Obliteration Device
    GOD Geometrical Optics and Diffraction
    GOD Grand Omnipotent Divinity (backronym)
    GOD Generate, Organize, Destroy
    GOD Garden of Delight (band)
    GOD Generation of Degenerates (band)
    GOD Gewerkschaft Oeffentlicher Dienst (German: Public Service Union)
    GOD Giver of Deliverance
    GOD Glimpse One Destiny
    GOD Gift of Destiny (Richard Paoli book)
    GOD Grand Order of Design
    GOD Government of Destruction
    GOD Government of Dictatorship
    GOD Good Old Dad
    GOD Gold, Oil & Drugs
    GOD Gnomes on Dope (website)
    GOD Guide of Destiny
    GOD Guide Our Dreams
    GOD Guild of Dreams (gaming)
    GOD Greatest of Deity
    GOD Grower, Organizer, Destroyer

  122. Jimdandy says

    These arguments are futile. One must awaken and become aware. We all have bodies that will die. We don’t belong here. We should not return here. Don’t be deceived by the Archons. The deeply religious and atheists are the easiest ones to fall into the trap.

  123. Monocle Smile says

    @Jimdandy
    Seek professional help

    @sabby
    I think you’re giving Zack far too much credit.
    1) You’re just as confused as Zack. Matt presented exactly that a couple of times, and Zack disagreed.
    2) You’re just plain wrong that there’s “no way” to get from an is to an ought in a secular worldview. How we do that is subjective, sure, but that’s different in every way from nonexistent. Matt explained this as well, and asking “why should we care about well-being?” is dumb and dishonest.
    3) The show query is “what do you believe and why,” so fuck this “point.” The discussion is utterly meaningless without a connection to anything real.

    Also, are you serious when you say Zack has “held his own?” The dude has spouted some of the most inane, meaningless garbage I’ve ever read.

  124. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    A valid concern. Indeed, I don’t advocate for any religion that uses faith in any other context then rationally justified trust, […]

    I don’t understand. Are you surrendering or not? Are you going to continue to assert the Platonic ideal of goodness claim as novel, interesting, and worth discussion? I believe I showed how it is not.

    It seems to me that you’re not going to drop this argument. Therefore, it seems to me as though your response here is a dodge, a lie, and that you don’t actually believe that my critique is “a valid concern”.

  125. DanDare says

    With well being as a goal there are objective oughts. Knowing as much about reality as you can (as many true things and as few false things) is an ought because it helps you determine your other oughts that depend on knowledge.

    Why well being? We are evolved to care about it. Those that don’t tend not to produce descendants.

    The End

  126. gingerbeardgent says

    Sorry for taking so long to reply; I’ve been working on responses, but won’t be able to complete them until later tonight.

  127. gingerbeardgent says

    @sayamything

    Whether the evils of religion outweigh the good is… debatable. From what I know of history, religion seems to amplify tribal instincts. It tends to make people nicer to “insiders” and crueler to “outsiders”.

    Very few religious people are motivated exclusively by mindless obedience and fear of punishment. Many are motivated by concern about disappointing the friend and mentor they pray to at night. They often experience a sense of love and forgiveness from their deity, which inspires them to become better people. ” mindless obedience” is terribly reductive.

    @nathan

    HEY! I”ll have you know I’m a JUNIOR philosophy student! :p

    @wigglepuppy

    It isn’t special pleading. Certain types of beings have properties that make them compatible with being platonic forms. Physical beings (including humans) and lowercase “g” gods do not have these properties, which include being OUTSIDE of the physical realm. The Abrahamic god, as he is defended by most modern apologist, DOES have these properties. (It’s worth noting that these properties are not exclusive to the abrahamic God; certain eastern concepts, such as nirvana, also qualify.)

    @secular strategy

    #1We can’t really leave the God=goodness identity off the table because that’s precisely why we ought to obey God.

    We can reasonably ask why we ought to obey God, just as we can reasonably ask why we ought to promote well-being. But once you equate God and goodness, the question becomes “Why ought I do good things?” which is essentially meaningless in this context. You ought to do good things because they are good.

    #2 The primary difference is that God is a necessary being, meaning that if he exists, he couldn’t NOT exist, and if he doesn’t exist, he couldn’t possibly have existed. Goodness shares this property, but physical objects, including people, and gods such as Thor and Zeuss, do not have it. I apologize for being unclear before.

    The reimann hypothesis, for example (like all mathematical claims), is necessary, meaning if it is true, it couldn’t possibly be false, and if it is false, it couldn’t possibly be true.

    @paxoll

    Any example I could give you of a moral fact could be either dismissed as not actually moral, or reframed as moral as a result of consequences.

    On the other hand, someone who believes in categorical ought statements could do the exact same thing. We make no progress by trying to show that our particular perspective is compatible with the way the world works, because BOTH categorical and consequentialist perspectives such as your own are completely compatible with the world we live in. There’s no real reason to favor one over the other from the outset except cultural inertia.

    we live in a consequential universe, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that ought statements are themselves consequential, and from the categorical perspective, if the fact that you ought to do something isn’t enough reason for you to do it, then a person probably won’t do what they ought to do. From the categorical perspective, “ought” simply doesn’t mean what it means in consequentialism.

    @stonedranger

    Suppose string theory turns out to be false. If so, would you consider it fair to look back on it and say the theory was nonsense?

    Of course not. Nonsense means we can’t make sense of the idea, not that the idea is false. What you actually seem to mean when you call jealousy bicycles nonsense is that the idea is so blatantly false that it is not worth taking seriously. You should be glad thinkers in the enlightenment era didn’t have this attitude, or we never would have gotten past the time in which any explanation other than God to explain the apparent order of life was nonsensical.

  128. gingerbeardgent says

    @monocle smile

    You and many others here continue to be hung up on the question of God’s existence, even after I clearly stated that God’s existence isn’t what I called in about, nor what I’m defending in this thread. That may have been poor communication on my behalf the first time, but now it seems clear that the issue is not one-sided.

    I am indeed, assuming that at least some abstract concepts are real and independent of minds (though not physical). I’m not here to show that that actually is the case, I’m here to show what the consequences would be if it were.

    Literally every single coherent unfalsifiable claim is compatible with reality. ONLY falsifiable claims are incompatible. Take the statement: the moon is made of green cheese. A falsifiable position, and one that is manifestly false, i.e. incompatible with reality. Now take the statement: beyond the horizon of the observable universe, there is some intelligent life. This claim is both unfalsifiable and compatible with reality.

    My point was to show that there are benefits to religion that are exclusive to religion, and which are benefits regardless of whether or not the religion is true. You’ve acknowledged that religion can shape people for the worse, despite the fact that an individual’s sense of God can be attributed to the self in an fMRI machine. I’m just trying to show that people can be influenced to do good things by their religion as well. If nothing else, sincere belief in God can motivate people to do pro-social actions because they fear the consequences, and unlike the coercive forces of governments and social pressure, there isn’t a chance of getting away with anti-social behavior when nobody is looking.

    You asked what it feels like to go through life wrong about mostly everything. It feels pretty ordinary. Pretty much everybody goes through life that way.

    @rationalism rules

    In the world of bicycles made of jealousy, emotions are physical objects. This isn’t even too far from our own experience, according to most atheists. After all, Isn’t it the case that happiness is simply dopamine interacting with the brain in a particular way?

    Likewise, a bicycle made of jealousy is a bicycle that is aware of only pure, objectless jealousy.

    In the same way, goodness and persons are not mutually incompatible terms. As I’ve described in my response to secular strategy, goodness IS incompatible with physical things.

    @shaun

    I’m a classical agnostic, meaning that I consider theism and atheism equally likely. The callscreeners for the show require you to identify as one or the other, so I identify as a theist when I want to make a theistic point, and an atheist when I want to make an atheistic point.

    @sabby

    Thanks. I appreciate that you understand where I’m coming from, at least.

    @ jared

    Just by way of example, I have no moral issue with hunting. It’s good for the ecosystem as a whole, and good for the animal in particular; much better to be shot than eaten alive by wolves or starve to death because your teeth fall out. Yet, I have a difficult time stomaching the actual kill.

    As I mention to enlightenment liberal below, I couldn’t know for sure whether a given action conforms to objective morality or not, or even whether my criteria are the right ones. I would have to rely on a working theory.

    @rafaelle piccini

    Not sure whether you meant me or not, but I’ll take credit for it anyway. ;p

    @twarren

    I don’t think you can project that physicists are going to switch to a big crunch model before the actual evidence comes out. Still, I’m prepared to make the switch if it ever does.

    And again, if you want to maximise the utilization of entropic information, you probably are going to want to make nanobots that harvest all the energy they can, and which collectively function as some sort of superbrain, and then program those robots to use as much entropic information as possible.

    In other words, that moral system requires human beings to deliberately create their own destroyers.

    Additionally, mathematics may describe how the universe works, and, perhaps, describe the only way the universe could work.
    But it doesn’t and couldn’t explain why the universe exists in the first place. As Hawking once put it, “What is it that breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to describe?”

    @enlightenment liberal

    I’m specifically conceding the point that we couldn’t know (at least with the valid epistemological methods I’m aware of) that a being who says he is goodness itself actually is goodness itself. I brought up the issue in the first place to show that such a being avoids the issues of the euthyphro dilemma, which is why it is worth discussing.

  129. Monocle Smile says

    @Zack

    I am indeed, assuming that at least some abstract concepts are real and independent of minds (though not physical). I’m not here to show that that actually is the case, I’m here to show what the consequences would be if it were.

    Zero. Fucks. Given. Why is this interesting? This is about as boring as anything could possibly be.
    Oh. You’re a philosophy student. Enjoy losing touch with reality. I’ll be busy launching things into space.

    Literally every single coherent unfalsifiable claim is compatible with reality. ONLY falsifiable claims are incompatible. Take the statement: the moon is made of green cheese. A falsifiable position, and one that is manifestly false, i.e. incompatible with reality. Now take the statement: beyond the horizon of the observable universe, there is some intelligent life. This claim is both unfalsifiable and compatible with reality.

    Not only is that claim not unfalsifiable, but your idea of “compatible with reality” is totally broken. I don’t live in the woo-world of your imagination.

    If nothing else, sincere belief in God can motivate people to do pro-social actions because they fear the consequences, and unlike the coercive forces of governments and social pressure, there isn’t a chance of getting away with anti-social behavior when nobody is looking.

    Do you have ANY evidence aside from your own uninformed, incoherent musings to back this up? Of course not, because “empirical evidence” isn’t even in your vocabulary.

    You asked what it feels like to go through life wrong about mostly everything. It feels pretty ordinary. Pretty much everybody goes through life that way.

    Speak for your own damn self.

  130. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    I’m specifically conceding the point that we couldn’t know (at least with the valid epistemological methods I’m aware of) that a being who says he is goodness itself actually is goodness itself. I brought up the issue in the first place to show that such a being avoids the issues of the euthyphro dilemma, which is why it is worth discussing.

    Ok, good. So, there might be an absolute standard of goodness, but it’s completely and entirely irrelevant to our ability to make moral decisions in the real world. Why bring up the idea of Platonic ideal of goodness in the first place? Why are we even having this discussion? What is your goal here? What do you hope to accomplish here?

  131. StonedRanger says

    Zack you said: “Nonsense means we can’t make sense of the idea, not that the idea is false.”

    My dictionary says: Nonsense n. 1 Words or signs having no intelligible meaning. 2 Subject matter, behavior, or language that is foolish or absurd. 3 Extravagant foolishness or frivolity. 4 Matter of little or no importance or usefulness.

    None of those definitions match up with how you are attempting to use this word. The idea of emotions becoming malleable material is nonsense. You cannot in any way make sense of that because its nonsensical. I will reiterate for you: You can spout any old thing you want, that doesn’t make it real. We are trying to have a discussion about reality and you want to talk about nonsense. String theory is a real thing. You cant compare it with an unreal thing. Apples and oranges kid.

    Zack, you said: “What you actually seem to mean when you call jealousy bicycles nonsense is that the idea is so blatantly false that it is not worth taking seriously.”

    No, the idea of emotions becoming malleable materials is not false its stupid. At this point you are the one not worth taking seriously.

  132. Raoul of Bayonne says

    Isn’t it obvious? Zack wants everyone to ditch their jealousy bicycles and wipe their joy saddles with a fear parachute.

  133. RationalismRules says

    @gingerbeardgent

    In the world of bicycles made of jealousy, emotions are physical objects.

    Positing a hypothetical world does not get you past the problem. You and I are conversing in a language where the meaning of the word ’emotion’ is non-physical. So whatever physical object exists in a hypothetical world, the simple fact that it is a physical object means that it is not something to which the english-language label ’emotion’ can be applied. That is how language works – through shared understanding of the words in use. Simply asserting some hypothetical other world does not change the meaning of the word in our language.
     

    In the same way, goodness and persons are not mutually incompatible terms.

    “In the same way” that you attempted to mash together ’emotion’ and ‘physical material’, you are attempting to mash together ‘goodness’ and ‘person’, by ignoring the accepted definitions that comprise the language we are conversing in, and instead substituting some other definitions of your own.
     

    After all, Isn’t it the case that happiness is simply dopamine interacting with the brain in a particular way?

    No. Happiness is the name we give to the subjective feeling caused by dopamine interacting with the brain. The dopamine is physical, the happiness is conceptual. You can remove dopamine from one brain and transfer it to another brain. You cannot do that with happiness.
     
    Zack, I responded to what seemed a genuine philosophical exploration on your part – the idea that the theistic worldview allows for objective morality whereas atheism does not. However, when the flaws in your argument were pointed out to you, rather than genuinely consider those problems you seem to just want to engage in word games. What a waste of everyone’s time.

  134. Greg from Seattle says

    @Zack
    “If nothing else, sincere belief in God can motivate people to do pro-social actions because they fear the consequences, and unlike the coercive forces of governments and social pressure, there isn’t a chance of getting away with anti-social behavior when nobody is looking.”

    And yet there are people who sincerely believe in a God who still misbehave and act selfishly. The only thing that an all-seeing God adds to the mix is extra guilt and fear, both of which can be incredibly damaging. Also, isn’t the threat of divine punishment coercive too?

  135. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    In the world of bicycles made of jealousy, emotions are physical objects.

    And in a world where bacheler’s can also be married, I can fly by flapping my arms really hard.

    The word “jealousy” denotes a particular emotion. The word “emotion” is used to describe particular mental states. Especially taking materialism as given, a bicycle cannot be made out of jealousy nor any other emotion. It’s complete gibberish nonsense. It’s incoherent. A bicycle is not a mental state. Jealousy is a mental state. A bicycle cannot be jealousy, nor made out of jealousy.

    Mental states are brain states, or are caused by brain states, and in that sense we can say that jealousy is a physical phenomenon. Jealousy is particular brain states. One might even be able to say that jealousy is made out of material substance because jealousy is particular brain states and brains are made out of material substance. However, even going this far, a bicycle cannot be made out of jealousy, because jealousy is composed of brain matter, and a bicycle is not composed of brain matter.

    You can no more say that a bicycle could be composed of jealousy than say that a bachelor could be married. Complete gibberish. And the same is true for “good” and “evil”, for much of the same reasons. Even if we detect some elemental substance ala elemental good and evil ala Dungeons And Dragons, it’s simply a misnomer. There would be the elemental substance, of which we could make a bicycle, but the notion of moral goodness would be entirely unrelated, in spite of some people who might want to use the same English word for both things. A bicycle cannot be made out of goodness, nor out of jealousy, and no tricks of English language will change that.

    If you want to argue for idealism, I think our language is simply not equipped to discuss such things. We would need to invent new language. Even if idealism were true, “a bicycle made out of jealous” is simply ill-defined. If idealism were true, we would need to start defining our terms very, very carefully, along with careful discussions about the scientific implications and rules in this hypothetical world, etc., before we could discuss what one might even mean with the words “a bicycle made out of jealousy”. What does it mean for a bicycle to made out of jealousy? Seemingly, this is a scientific claim about material, physical reality. Of course, we would need to expand our understanding and definitions of “material, physical reality”, but this very much appears to be the same sort of mundane claim like “my bicycle is made out of aluminum”.

    At this point, we must delve deeper into epistemology and such things. What does the claim mean “my bicycle is made out of aluminum”? I’ll keep it brief – if you chase this proverbial rabbit long enough and keep asking “but what does that mean?”, eventually you will realize that all scientific claims resolve down into claims regarding what we do and will perceive of our shared reality. To say “my bicycle is made out of aluminum” is to make a bunch of claims in the context of an assumed model of reality, and all of those implied claims are meaningful only to the extent that they made predictions, falsifiable predictions, about what I will observe in the future. For example, the claim “my bicycle is made out of aluminum” entails many claims, such as: “if I touch the bicycle, it will feel like metal and not wood”, “the bicycle will not catch on fire” which itself will resolve into claims about my visual perception of the bicycle if it’s put in a fire, etc. Our only access to reality is our sensory apparatus, and all scientific claims are really claims about what we will experience with our sensory apparatus.

    With that understanding, I haven’t the foggiest idea what “a bicycle made out of jealousy” even means. I don’t even know where I might start to understand. Again, if it’s intended as the sort of scientific claim like “a bicycle made out of aluminum”, then to explain to me what you mean, you need to explain what sorts of predictions your claim entails regarding my sensory experience of our shared reality, and again I don’t have the foggiest clue what sorts of claims that you might make from that gibberish of English words.

    PS:
    If you delve a little further, you’ll also find that we cannot communicate to each other what it’s like to see the color red, or to feel warm. Instead, all we can do is find shared experiences, and use language, such as words, to describe what we assume must be shared experiences. For a trite example – what if you saw my color “blue” when I saw an object which looked like my color “red”? Worse, is such a proposition even meaningful and coherent? I suspect the idea is not meaningful nor intelligible.

    Of course, I admit that we could make some progress by explaining some sensory experience in terms of other sensory experience, like explaining color to someone who can see in black and white by appealing to the gradients of black-to-white, or explaining the colors green-blue to someone who is partially colorblind and cannot distinguish green vs blue by appealing to the difference between red and green. Maybe even explaining sight to someone who never had sight, by appealing to their experiences of the other senses.

    /rant

  136. RationalismRules says

    @EL

    One might even be able to say that jealousy is made out of material substance because jealousy is particular brain states and brains are made out of material substance.

    I did consider this line of thinking, but ultimately rejected it. It seems to me that a brain state is analogous to the position of a light switch. The light switch requires a particular arrangement of physical phenomena in order to be ‘on’, but we do not think of ‘on’ as being ‘made of material substance’. ‘On’ is a concept, a way of describing a particular state of something else which is the actual material. ‘Beauty’ is another example – it is a description of the arrangement of physical material, but it does not have independent existence.

  137. twarren1111 says

    Zack:

    What breathes fire into the equations, into the math is the principle of least action…all the way down and up.

    From zero dim, 10-43 sec to 1st dim at 10-42.99999 sec and so on. What works to explain why everything relates the way it does all the way up to complexity and sphere packing is that principle. It’s automatic. It’s why causality, not time or length are king, it’s why causality and not simultaneity matters. It’s really simple. It’s why 3 large space dim and 1 of time, it’s why path integral of qed, it’s why SUSY, it’s why Newtonian mechanics, it’s why relativity, it’s why then it all circles around going back to 3 then 2 then 1 then 0 dim as you go into a black hole. It’s all of it. It’s why water runs down hill the exact way it does.

    Principle of least action.

  138. Ryan Memmott says

    Anyway I can get a clip of just Matt’s consent speach from about 23:30 -24:30? Te way he called out the bullshit of these opponents to metoo, stating what they are really afraid of is being told no; Genius!

  139. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To RationalismRules
    I mostly agree. It was a “for the sake of argument”.

  140. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    PS:
    For a concrete example of a world where idealism is true, I always refer to the movie What Dreams May Come. Even in that world, not all of the rules are thrown out the window. It just means that there are different rules. However, even in an idealism world, it still holds that science is our best and only way to learn about our shared reality (no matter whether that reality is materialistic or mental / idealism). Further, even in an idealism world, the only access that I have to shared reality is in terms of my sensory experience, and factual claims about our shared reality are only meaningful to the extent that they make claims about my sensory experience of shared reality.

  141. says

    Zack, your hunting example seems to be one where you don’t view it as intrinsically good, but the best option you can see, where you would prefer to get the benefits you mentioned without the killing, if you could find a workaround.

    If morality is something you don’t think you can verify, what do you think you are doing currently to determine morality? If someone were to create a simulated universe with thinking minds in it, what do you think they would need to do to make something objectively moral independent of any minds in that simulation?

  142. says

    EnlightenmentLiberal, that brings up something I’ve wondered about the idea of ‘physical’ compared to ‘spiritual’ or ‘non-physical’, and also ‘natural’ and ‘supernatural’. Namely, what people are thinking makes a distinction. If there were a spirit world of some sort, made of spiritual energy that acts according to spiritual laws, with spirit people going around and interacting with each other, that’s just our world with us using a different label. Same issue with ‘supernatural’. In order for the term to have any real meaning, there must be some common feature or cluster of features shared by things that are given the ‘supernatural’ label instead of the ‘natural’ one. As far as I’ve seen in that regard, ‘supernatural’ seems to just mean something is not understood or is not observable(yet somehow is claimed to be known about).

  143. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Jared #153:

    If there were a spirit world of some sort, made of spiritual energy that acts according to spiritual laws, with spirit people going around and interacting with each other, that’s just our world with us using a different label.
    […]
    ‘supernatural’ seems to just mean something is not understood or is not observable(yet somehow is claimed to be known about).

    Folk beliefs abound with rules and advice for dealing with such creatures and forces.
     
     
    Article: Wikipedia – Yokai

    Japanese folklorists and historians use yōkai as “supernatural or unaccountable phenomena to their informants”.

     

    What is thought of as “supernatural” depends on the time period; but generally, the older the time period, the more various phenomena were deemed supernatural in character or cause.
     
    According to Japanese ideas of animism, spirit-like entities called (among other things) mononoke were believed to reside in all things. Such spirits possessed emotions and personalities. If the spirit were peaceful, it was a nigi-mitama, bringing good fortune – such as bountiful harvests. Violent spirits, ara-mitama, brought ill fortune—including illness and natural disasters.
    […]
    The ritual for converting ara-mitama into nigi-mitama was called the chinkon (“the calming of the spirits”). Chinkon rituals were performed to quell maleficent spirits, prevent misfortune and alleviate fear from events and circumstances that could not otherwise be explained. Ara-mitama that failed to achieve deification due to lack of sufficient veneration, or who lost their divinity following attrition of worshipers, became yōkai.

  144. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    “unaccountable phenomena” was an apt phrasing.

  145. gingerbeardgent says

    Sorry folks, internet went down randomly last night. I won’t be able to respond til tonight at the earliest. I appreciate your patience.

  146. gingerbeardgent says

    @monoclesmile

    You want hard evidence? Fine.

    How ’bout the fact that religious people consistently report higher levels of happiness than non-religious people?

    How ’bout the fact that 65% of American religious people donate to secular causes, compared to 50% of nonreligious?
    How ’bout the fact that religious people who DO give to secular causes offer more than hundred dollars more per person, on average, than non-religious people? That’s not even including religious donations, which, if included, show that religious people donate 4 times as much as non-religious. Furthermore, religious people are 3 times as likely to volunteer.

    And I know from personal experience from my period as a christian that belief in God is a major motivator for obedience to authority figures, integrity, generosity, and other traits that are typically considered virtues by the secular community. Yes, fear of punishment was one of the motivators, but not the only one. Believe it or not, some people take the teachings of Jesus about forgiving your enemies, detachment from the material, and caring for the least among us, and becoming one body of christ seriously.

    It’s what you would expect to find in theory, and it’s what the actual evidence shows in practice. Heck, I’ve heard academics claim that the dominance of religion came about because it motivated societal cohesion during periods where enforcement was historically limited, which makes a lot of sense to me.

    And something is unfalsifiable if there’s no way to falsify it. There is no way to falsify whether or not there are intelligent aliens beyond the particle horizon of the universe (at least not in the physics I’m aware of), because that information would have to travel faster than light in order to reach us.

    @enlightenment liberal

    As I’ve mentioned, I’m trying to show that the Euthyphro dilemma is not necessarily a problem for theistic positions, and show that theistic moral systems have at least one advantage over atheistic systems.

    Knowing that there’s an absolute standard of goodness may not help a person to determine the content of morality, but it may help the person care about morality, and search for what the content might be.

    I’m essentially offering a “defensive” position rather than an offensive one. I’m of the opinion that both theists and atheists have great “defences”, but terrible “offences” (both are good at explaining how their own view is cohesive and fits with reality, but bad at showing why the opposite view is wrong), mostly because theists tend to work off bad or outdated physics and biology, while atheists tend to work off bad theology.

    @stonedranger

    If there’s a difference between “nonsense means we can’t make sense of an idea” (which was my usage) and “words or signs that have no intelligible meaning”, you’ll have to tell me what it is, because I don’t see it.

    And last I checked, string theory still has yet to be verified and accepted into the standard model. It may yet turn out to be false, but even if it did, we wouldn’t consider it nonsense.

    Forget the “jealousy bicycles” thing. Whether or not a person considers that nonsense or not seems to hinge around differences in their philosophy of the mind, so let’s use a more straight-forward example. Do you consider the Harry Potter universe “nonsense”? It’s obviously false, but a person can make sense of it. So, too, can a person make sense of goodness being a person, though it may take some more intellectual legwork. I give my best effort to show this in my reply to rationality rules.

    @rauoll of Bayonne

    couldn’t have said it better myself. XD

    @rationality rules

    Suppose I came up to you in the 19th century and told you that mass IS energy. would you balk at the notion, tell me that words have meanings, and that the meanings of “mass” and “energy” clearly refer to different concepts, and that therefore my proposition couldn’t possibly be true?

    OF COURSE they are different concepts to the 19th century man, because he isn’t used to thinking about mass and energy as a united entity. Enlightenment liberal hit the nail on the head here. By restricting me from making claims that equate two distinct ideas, you have essentially prevented me from making any novel identity claims. The claim that “goodness is God” is unlimately no different from the claim that energy is mass, or if you prefer, that God and goodness are ultimately part of the same “supersubstance”.

    enlightenment liberal asked me how to begin making sense of that statement, so let me see if I can delve a little deeper with what I’m talking about here.

    You, presumably, have some notion of what goodness is, be it cultural, instinctual, philosophical, or some combination of the three. Let’s call this “perceived goodness”. Perceived goodness is analogous to the shadow on the wall of plato’s cave. Actual goodness is the entity making that shadow. Different people see different shadows, depending on the light source, but the object casting the shadow is the same. There is some real entity that is ultimately responsible for your perception of what goodness is, and that entity is God.

    This is why atheistic moral systems can’t offer objective morality, which is rooted in more than mere social convention or a conscience that comes about through natural selection. You need something akin to platonic forms to get to some objective standard, and you can’t get there by appealing to any natural object or system. Truly objective morality requires the existence of the supernatural, and while, technically, atheists could accept the existence of supernatural entities that are not gods, in practice, they very rarely do.

    @greg from seattle

    It is coercive, yes, but coercion doesn’t stop us from putting people in prison. If it promotes pro-social behavior, it promotes pro-social behavior. Would it be BETTER if a person did good things simply because they preferred kindness to cruelty? Of course, but we aren’t afraid, as a society, of using coercion when we have to.

    Besides, there are a lot of things besides guilt and fear that motivate a religious person exclusively, including gratitude to God and love for god. You may disagree on God’s existence, but it’s difficult to deny that these are real motivations for many religious people.

    @twarren

    If the principle of least action ultimately shows why the universe has to exist, I’ve yet to see why that’s the case. If you could give me a single reference that isn’t 30 hours long, I’d be willing to look into it.

    @jared

    The point with the hunting example is that I can consider a course of action to be the most moral course of action, and still have difficulty emotionally with that course.

    My own method for determining what is moral comes from identifying things that I think are good, and seeking to maximize those things. But trying to determine what is moral is a fruitless effort unless morality is grounded in something more real. Once I come to my conclusions, I can make tentative claims about objective morality, rather than merely tentative claims about what social arrangement would best serve the maximization of well-being.

    The biggest difference between most natural and supernatural systems that I’ve seen is that supernatural systems tend to be FUNDAMENTALLY mental systems, rather than physical systems.

  147. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Zack #157:

    How ’bout the fact that religious people consistently report higher levels of happiness than non-religious people?

     
    Article: Epiphenom – The science is in, and God is not the answer

    In fact, although evidence from the USA links religiosity to mental benefits, in many places the direction of the link is exactly opposite. For example, here in the UK non-religious kids are the least likely to be emotionally disturbed. Incidentally, emotional problems peak in those with weakly held beliefs
    […]
    In Chile, Estonia, The Netherlands, Portugal, UK, Spain, and Slovenia, spirituality has been found to increase the risk of depression […]. And evidence from elsewhere in the world shows that the link between religion and reduced risk of suicide is patchy at best. In South Africa, holding religious beliefs actually seems to increase the risk of suicide!

     

    Just supposing the premise is right and religious believers are happier. Any conclusions about cause and effect are hopelessly confounded by self-selection.
     
    What I mean is this. If you’re a sociable person in the USA, then you’re under tremendous pressure to also be spiritual. Spiritual people in the US get more social support – although that’s because, in the US, sociable people are more likely to spiritual.
     
    But atheists in the USA are excluded from mainstream society. They are highly mistrusted.
    […]
    [Regarding spiritual people being happier…] It isn’t religion that has this effect – except insofar as it makes atheists unhappy.
     
    If we really want happy and healthy kids (and adults), then we need to focus on the real issues: social support and social inclusion.

     
    Lots of good stuff in that article.

  148. Monocle Smile says

    @Zack
    If you’re not going to cite your sources, I’m not going to give a fuck, and nobody should. Your numbers are bullshit unless you prove otherwise.
    I give even less of a fuck about your “personal experience.” Come on, do you really expect this weak shit to be compelling?

    You should really stop with the physics, too. You just don’t understand, and it’s not worth the effort to teach you. Besides, there are potentially infinite unfalsifiable claims, and there’s no reason to give a fuck about any of them. The fact that you’re fascinated by them is more evidence that you’re not worth engaging, but I’m doing it anyway.

  149. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To Jared
    Yep. I basically agree.


    To gingerbeardgent

    You want hard evidence? Fine.

    How ’bout the fact that religious people consistently report higher levels of happiness than non-religious people?

    […]

    You’re claiming this as evidence of what, exactly? To paraphrase Dan Dennett, imagine someone coming to you and saying that they have proof for a god, and to show this proof, they take out a box of matches, and light one after another, and say “aha!”. Obviously, that’s not evidence for a god, and neither is what you just posted.

    PS:

    And I know from personal experience from my period as a christian that belief in God is a major motivator for obedience to authority figures […]

    That’s fucking horrible. We need way less of that in society. That’s like the biggest negative aspect of religion. I’m aghast that you’re portraying it as a positive. What the fuck is wrong with you!?

    As I’ve mentioned, I’m trying to show that the Euthyphro dilemma is not necessarily a problem for theistic positions, and show that theistic moral systems have at least one advantage over atheistic systems.

    Knowing that there’s an absolute standard of goodness may not help a person to determine the content of morality, but it may help the person care about morality, and search for what the content might be.

    You’re not engaging with me at all. I thought I just showed that even if it were true, no one could ever know it. I thought you even agreed with me on this point. Even if there is a god that is all-good, it’s an unknowable fact. Theistic systems do not have this advantage that you claim that they have.

    enlightenment liberal asked me how to begin making sense of that statement, so let me see if I can delve a little deeper with what I’m talking about here.

    You, presumably, have some notion of what goodness is, be it cultural, instinctual, philosophical, or some combination of the three. Let’s call this ‘perceived goodness’. Perceived goodness is analogous to the shadow on the wall of plato’s cave. Actual goodness is the entity making that shadow. Different people see different shadows, depending on the light source, but the object casting the shadow is the same. There is some real entity that is ultimately responsible for your perception of what goodness is, and that entity is God.

    I don’t understand what you’re talking about. I know what the English words typically mean, and they appear to be arranged together in grammatically correct structures, but there appears to be no intelligible meaning.

    I understand what someone means when they make falsifiable claims regarding my future sensory experience of our shared reality. In other words, I understand what it means for someone to make science claims.

    I understand what someone means when they make assertions about how I or someone else should or should not behave. In other words, I understand what it means for someone to make moral claims and value claims.

    I understand what someone means when they make assertions about pure mathematics, such as the assertion that someone has a proof for the fundamental theorem of arithematic.

    I don’t understand what you just wrote. It doesn’t appear to fit into any of the categories of knowledge that I understand. You’re not making falsifiable claims about shared reality, e.g. science claims. It appears as though you’re not making any particular claims about how I should behave, e.g morality claims. It appears as though you’re not making any other sorts of claims that I might understand, such as pure math claims. I simply do not understand what you are talking about. It makes no sense to me. It is gibberish nonsense to me. Is there any chance that you could rephrase what you’re saying in a way that might fit into one of the categories that I just described? In particular, for the science category, please be very careful to give examples of falsifiable predictions regarding my future sensory experiences that would be entailed by your claimed model of reality.

    In other words, to the best degree that I understand Platonicism, and I have been expressing repeatedly that I don’t understand it – to the best degree that I understand it, I think it’s wrong. I think it’s worse than wrong. I think it’s not-even-wrong.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Not_even_wrong
    https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Not_even_wrong
    I think Platonicism is incoherent nonsense.

  150. Jon Westrum says

    I just watched the discussion with Derek. His suggestion of a sound argument possibly existing that just isn’t known is a self refuting argument. Until an argument is known there is simply no way to determine if it is sound or not..

  151. Greg from Seattle says

    @Zack
    With regards to your claims on charitable giving and religiosity, you really do need to cite your sources. If you go back to the primary sources (the actual peer reviewed studies), you’ll most likely find that they are looking at a correlation between religiosity and charitable giving. Correlation does not necessarily suggest causation. Even if it’s true that religious people tend to be more charitable, it doesn’t mean that they are charitable because they are religious. Furthermore, if it is their religiosity that is leading them to be more charitable, we don’t know what aspect of their religiosity leads to charitable giving. You seem to be assuming that it is the belief in a God that causes people to be more charitable – I think you’ll find that the conclusions in these studies are more nuanced than you originally thought.

    Now, back to your point directed at me – How do you know that pro-social behavior isn’t primarily caused by empathy? People will attribute their motivations to God, but do we really know that they wouldn’t be charitable without that belief? My own behavior didn’t change much after I deconverted, and I certainly attributed a great deal of my own pro-social behavior to God while I was a Christian. Our beliefs shape how we view our own motivations, so the fact that many Christians attribute their pro-social behavior to God doesn’t necessarily tell us very much.

  152. Robink says

    @gingerbeardgent

    “and show that theistic moral systems have at least one advantage over atheistic systems.”

    Stripping away everything else being discussed here, you still haven’t demonstrated this fundamental crux of your argument though. You haven’t demonstrated how we know such an objective morality even exists (because if it doesn’t and this is just a thought experiment there’s no “advantage” possible), how we would determine it is in fact objective (as opposed to just authoritive) and why we should assume that it would be beneficial to us.

  153. Deedee says

    Mr. Dillahunty, I am Deedee writing from Jakarta, Indonesia. How I wish my country has a show like the Atheist Experience. I just want to give a bit of comment regarding your convo with Dr. Peterson. I don’t know how to contact you directly, so I hope you read this message.
    Dr. Peterson is an apologist for sure, but not an ordinary one. He would never admit whether he believes in Christ or nor. All he knows that religion is a thing that we do not have enough comprehension of, just like consciousnesses. To deny it’s existence and it’s use to humankind is just sloppy.
    I wish people like you and Peterson would talk about how to handle the fundamentalist, and how to stop religion from creeping up the legislation in the western world. Instead of debating the existence of God with him, why not discuss how to bring the fundamentalists and literal believers closer to the skeptical side. Find more common ground, because Peterson is supposed to be an ally. He’s good at helping people cleaning up their action, but he’s nothing compare to you when debating about the existence of God. Even his definition of God is totally unclear. They won’t listen to the Atheist Activist, but surely they would listen to Peterson. He often claim that reading the bible literally is wrong. Dead wrong. I agree with him there are some truth hidden in the book. Not just the Bible, but other religion too. Look at Japan! They have the most selfless tradition, and they praise the sun.
    I am a fan of your brain, Mr. Dillahunty. Although you come across as snarky and arrogant, but I understand your frustration. Ha!

    Cheers,
    Dee

  154. Deedee says

    @John Lacoletti, thanks! I am a ‘religious’ follower of your show. I bet you never have thought that someone from Indonesia is listening. I learn a lot from you guys (and girls) about how to debate and present your reasoning. Indonesia is very much similar to US, sans the freedom of speech and it’s a moslem version.

  155. Greg from Seattle says

    @Deedee
    I know that I certainly haven’t met anyone from Indonesia! Good to meet you. To steal a line from the show, what do you believe and why?

  156. Monocle Smile says

    @Deedee
    Glad you’re here, but don’t be fooled…Jordan Peterson is not an ally. I don’t consider him a skeptic nor a good influence; several of his positions are dealbreakers. Heck, there would probably be more dealbreakers if he didn’t try his hardest to obscure so much of what he actually believes.

    I agree with him there are some truth hidden in the book. Not just the Bible, but other religion too. Look at Japan! They have the most selfless tradition, and they praise the sun.

    I realize this is a popular sentiment, but it simply isn’t true. Not in any significant sense, anyway.

  157. says

    Zack, the hunting example isn’t using killing as the thing that is actually good, but something used to achieve something else good. The difference between a terminal or an instrumental value. Terminal values are something that you consider good in itself. Instrumental values are something you value to the extent that they help you realize terminal values.

    In the example I used, torturing babies is something that you are being told is inherently good as a property of the universe, not something you do as the best way to achieve something else, which would be an instrumental value. For the example of killing animals to fit that, you wouldn’t be killing them to prevent their suffering, or to feed someone, or to maintain a balanced ecology, but because killing them was itself the good that you sought. If killing them is something you find unpleasant, but is the best way you can see to achieve something you value, the killing would be an instrumental value, not a terminal one, and something you would prefer to find an acceptable way to work around doing.

    Everyone evaluates things and actions according to how those things contribute to what they value. Where do you get the idea that value is an inherent property of complex arrangements of matter or of certain behaviors of that matter, rather than evaluations made by minds that prefer certain states of the universe over others? How are you coming to your conclusions, other than just trying to determine what you value? What is it you are looking for to determine that something is objectively valuable as an inherent property of the universe, and not something that just your mind values?

  158. gingerbeardgent says

    Sorry for taking so long; I haven’t had a good chance to write a response…

    responses should be coming tomorrow though.

  159. gingerbeardgent says

    @sky captain

    To attribute the happiness of religious people MERELY to being accepted members of society is, I think, oversimplifying the issue. Many religious folks get eternal life, no existential crises, a sense of purpose, a belief that the good guys win in the end and justice prevails…

    Really, in many respects, I couldn’t make up a belief system more centered around happiness if I tried.

    @monoclesmile
    Here’s the URL.

    http://www.philanthropyroundtable.org/almanac/statistics/ I’m not familiar enough with this interface to create links.

    The organization seems legit enough at the surface level. And why would it be surprising? It’s exactly what we would expect to see due to the way religions tend to amplify the “carrot and stick” motivations, and it’s what we find in practice. Sorry, but I don’t rigorously research every statistical claim I come across. Do you? If someone mentions an statistic supporting atheism that you hadn’t yet heard, do you refuse to believe it until you’ve carefully scanned the primary sources? Maybe you do. If so, then good for you; you’re a much more sceptical man than I.

    I mention personal experience because if one person has experienced something, it isn’t as much of a stretch to figure that the experience might be shared by multiple people.

    I’m going on about unfalsifiable claims in order to show that unfalsifiable claims are all compatible with reality, that platonic forms are unfalsifiable entities, and that therefore they haven’t been supplanted with an improved model in the same way that, say, Newton’s theory of gravity has.

    @enlightenmentliberal

    I never claimed that the statistics I gave to monocle smile was evidence for God. Once again, I am not trying to prove God’s existence here.

    Obedience is only a vice if the authority is vicious. If the society is virtuous or even somewhere in between, Obedience helps the society to run more smoothly. I prefer a society in which students do as the teachers tell them, children do as their parents tell them, soldiers do as their commanding officers tell them, patients do as their doctors tell them, and so on. And, in each case, no authority is immune to being questioned.

    Sorry, I mean BELEIVING in an absolute standard of goodness, not knowing. My mistake.

    Consider the proposition: There is intelligent life beyond the horizon of the observable universe.

    There is simply no way to empirically test this claim, so it doesn’t fall under the “scientific claims” category, but I doubt you would consider this claim incoherent. Or consider the Harry Potter universe. Nobody is claiming that the Harry Potter universe actually exists, but again, the claims made in that series of stories are not incoherent or nonsensical. You can make sense out of them, despite the fact that they don’t fit into any of your categories of knowledge.

    In effect, what I am offering here is a hypothetical: Objective morality could exist (in the same way that invisible fairies COULD exist; as both a consistent idea and one that fits with the reality we observe), and if it did, it wouldn’t be prone to the problems the Euthyphro Dilemma raises. Furthermore, Objective morality existing is preferable to it not existing, and objective morality can’t possibly exist without positing at least some supernatural entities.

    @greg from seattle

    Empathy is manifestly not the only source of prosocial behavior. If we abolished law enforcement entirely, we’d see a significant drop. Yes, pro-social behavior would still be around, but I think you’d agree that there’d be much less of it. Coercion works, or we wouldn’t bother with using it.

    @robink

    The advantage is not that objective morality is certain under theistic systems; the advantage is that it is possible, while it is not possible under atheistic systems.

    @ jared

    You asked why I would have trouble stomaching something I considered good; I gave you the answer through the hunting example. I really don’t see why the same wouldn’t apply to what you refer to as “terminal values”; I could have difficulty stomaching doing something I considered moral regardless of which type it is.

    For the record, I’m not actually arguing that there IS a source of objective morality. I’m arguing that considering what might happen if there was such a source defangs some of the attacks that atheists use against theists (such as the euthyphro dillemma).

    Where do YOU get the idea that value is made by minds that prefer certain states over others? Both perspectives (that value is made by minds, or that value is intrinsic, but NOT material) are consistent perspectives that fit with observed reality. The only reasons I’m aware of for why a person favors one perspective over the other are cultural. In other words, you see value as something made by minds because that’s how you’re used to thinking of it.

  160. gingerbeardgent says

    Before anyone attempts to reply to my post, I should mention that it may be my last. This thread has been hanging over my head for the past few weeks, and I’d like to erase it from my “to do” list. I will, at least, read any response.

  161. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Zack #173:

    Many religious folks get eternal life, no existential crises, a sense of purpose, a belief that the good guys win in the end and justice prevails…
     
    Really, in many respects, I couldn’t make up a belief system more centered around happiness if I tried.

    Devaluation of mortal human life and living conditions, unmeetable standards and stunted emotional coping skills, abdication of personal goals, tribalism and ‘just world’ fallacy.
     
    Whatever you think “happiness” is, I’m not interested.

  162. Monocle Smile says

    @Zack
    I get it, you’re in school and there are loads of questions.
    However, if you call into the show again and show up in the thread, I will not engage with you if you don’t show that you’ve learned something. I will likely ridicule you instead.

    And why would it be surprising? It’s exactly what we would expect to see due to the way religions tend to amplify the “carrot and stick” motivations, and it’s what we find in practice

    I can’t take credit for this one-liner, but happy people don’t stare at themselves in the mirror and repeatedly tell themselves that they’re happy. One of the poisonous aspects of religion is convincing people that they’re happy even when they’re made to feel like ass by their theology.

    Sorry, but I don’t rigorously research every statistical claim I come across. Do you? If someone mentions an statistic supporting atheism that you hadn’t yet heard, do you refuse to believe it until you’ve carefully scanned the primary sources? Maybe you do. If so, then good for you; you’re a much more sceptical man than I.

    Your epistemology is already so broken that this doesn’t surprise me.

    I’m going on about unfalsifiable claims in order to show that unfalsifiable claims are all compatible with reality, that platonic forms are unfalsifiable entities, and that therefore they haven’t been supplanted with an improved model in the same way that, say, Newton’s theory of gravity has.

    That you think this is somehow a brilliant point of argumentation rather than broken epistemology with glaring, obvious issues is exemplary of your problems. Again, i could make infinite unfalsifiable claims and no work has been done. I literally said this earlier and you don’t seem to see the problem.

    Also, just FYI…you’re completely wrong about the Harry Potter universe. Did you learn nothing from Dumbledore? Magic has its own set of rules. It operates epistemically in the exact same fashion as science! While that magic obviously violates our current world’s physics, that doesn’t change the fact that magic operates on rules and these rules can be discovered and modeled through empirical testing! How did you miss this?

    Where do YOU get the idea that value is made by minds that prefer certain states over others? Both perspectives (that value is made by minds, or that value is intrinsic, but NOT material) are consistent perspectives that fit with observed reality.

    Wrong. Everything we observe about reality points to the former. Nothing in reality points to the latter. But your epistemology is so broken (or just straight-up nonexistent) that you can’t tell the difference.

  163. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Obedience is only a vice if the authority is vicious. If the society is virtuous or even somewhere in between, Obedience helps the society to run more smoothly. I prefer a society in which students do as the teachers tell them, children do as their parents tell them, soldiers do as their commanding officers tell them, patients do as their doctors tell them, and so on. And, in each case, no authority is immune to being questioned.

    Whereas, I am not an authoritarian fascist, and I so I wholeheartedly disagree.

    I prefer a society where students question their teachers and learn critical thinking skills.

    I prefer a society where children learn morality from their parents, instead of just doing as they are told. That’s the job of the parent, to prepare them for a life without their authority, for them to make their own decisions. Children raised by parents who just tell them what to do instead of teaching them the deeper reasons for why to behave in a particular way are going to be worse-off as adults, and society will be worse off for them. (This is also why the Christian concept of a god is abhorrent. It’s not a like a proper parent at all. The job of a proper parent is to raise the kid to be self sufficient and then get the hell out of the way, in part because the parent will typically die first.)

    I prefer a world where I never have to hear another soldier or civil servant saying again “I was just following orders” when committing warcrimes. I thought we settled this decades ago at Nuremberg, and yet, here I am hearing this shit all the time – from you, from the asshole who ran the CIA torture program who is also going to be the new CIA director and from all of her defenders, etc. For just this alone – “I was just following orders” – I say that I am not exaggerating one iota when I say that your way of thinking is authoritarian and fascist, and has led to some of the greatest atrocities of the 20th century.

    I prefer a society where sick people don’t do what their homeopathic quack doctors tell them, including chakra healers, chiropractors, and so forth.

    Obedience to authority is always a vice. Always.

    The respectable and proper thing to do is to reason through each situation, and determine whether following the orders of an authority is the proper thing to do, or whether the authority should be rebuffed. The “virtue” of a general “deference to authority” plays absolutely zero role in this sort of proper moral decisionmaking.

    Society is not well off when most people in society do not murder, rape, or steal when the primary method is to condition the people to be deferential to authority. Society is well off when you properly raise children into adults to have proper critical reasoning skills and proper socialization which leads to proper moral behavior (plus some deterrence ala police). You will see way more societal disfunction in the first kind of society compared to the second.

    Again, we’re back to the whole fundamental problem of your entire argument: How does someone know whether the authority is virtuous or not? The only way to know is by judging that authority by using one’s own internal moral framework. This is true whether it’s a god, a government, a cop pig, a teacher, or a parent.

    There is simply no way to empirically test this claim, so it doesn’t fall under the “scientific claims” category, but I doubt you would consider this claim incoherent. Or consider the Harry Potter universe. Nobody is claiming that the Harry Potter universe actually exists, but again, the claims made in that series of stories are not incoherent or nonsensical.

    I can do this sort of reasoning. This still resembles science claims. We’re talking about material reality as I understand it. The Harry Potter universe is a hypothetical, but the rules in this hypothetical are clearly-enough laid out, and thus I’m able to reason about it. I’m able to reason about a world where wizards throw fireballs because I understand what it means from a sensory experience perspective to be burned by a ball of fire. (It especially helps that I’m a survivor of near-third degree burns.)

    I still have no idea what it means for something to be composed of elemental goodness ala Dungeons & Dragons. It still appears to me to be a misnomer, an abuse of language, a lack of clarity in thought.

    Objective morality could exist

    I don’t know what this means. I don’t know what it means to be true, and I don’t know what it means for it to be false.

    Again, I know what it means for there to be wizards who can conjure and throw fireballs. I understand what it means for certain creatures to ping on a “detect evil” spell, and to be vulnerable to swords which are constructed to be especially effective against such creatures (i.e. good-aligned swords).

    “Objective morality” is an entirely different sort of thing. I don’t understand what it means. Again, I ask, please describe to me what the universe would look like if it were true, and what it would look like if it were false. How could I tell the difference? Is there an observable difference? Because observable differences are still the heart of science, and observable differences, including observable differences to some hypothetical observer in some hypothetical reality, is still the only way that I understand fact claims about reality.

    objective morality can’t possibly exist without positing at least some supernatural entities.

    Why?

    Also, I have to go full ham. In this context, the word “supernatural” is a sham. It’s another mostly-meaningless word. The entire dichotomy between “natural” and “material” vs “supernatural” is a sham. I’ll try to give a brief summary of this position, but for a full appreciation of my position, I strongly suggest reading and watching the following sources.

    > Girl Genius Webcomics
    > Friday, December 05, 2008
    > (No context is necessary for the next source. Just read the comic on the page.)
    http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comic.php?date=20081205

    > Richard Feynman
    > As part of some interview where the interviewer asks roughly “how do magnets work?”


    Any good source that explains constant conjunction, and ohw it relates to the general impossibility of answering the sort of questions “how do magnets work?”, or more properly “why are the rules of reality this way instead of some other way?”. Here is one such source:
    https://philnotesblog.wordpress.com/2017/04/21/causation-regularity-theory-hume/

    > Scott Clifton from Theoretical Bullshit
    > Lecture “God, Science and the Problem with Nature” at Skepticon 7


    > How not to attack Intelligent Design Creationism: Philosophical misconceptions about Methodological Naturalism
    > (final draft – to appear in Foundations of Science)
    > Maarten Boudry, Stefaan Blancke, Johan Braeckman
    https://sites.google.com/site/maartenboudry/teksten-1/methodological-naturalism

    The key thing to realize about causation is that we never observe “A causing B”. Instead, all we ever actually see is “A preceding B in time”. By seeing many instances of “A preceding B in time”, we start to develop an intuition that there is causation going on. This intuition, “causation”, is useful to predict the future. It’s basic scientific inductive reasoning. This sort of reasoning, when properly refined, leads to the modern scientific test of looking for confounding variables. We might observe many instances “A preceding B”, but we just were not looking closely enough, and when we look closer, we find that all of these instances are really “C preceding A preceding B”, and it’s really C that is the cause of A and B, and A is not the cause of C. Remember, a double-blind lab experiment to show causation is nothing more than demonstrating this sort of temporal correlation plus attempting to remove possible confounding variables.

    What does this mean? This means that it’s impossible to answer the sort of question “how do magnets work?”. Oh sure, I can explain how particular hunks of iron have magnetic force between them at a distance by appealing to quantum field theory, but if you ask me “why does the electron field couple to the ectromagnetic field in this way?” or “how do vibrations in the electron field sometimes cause vibrations in the electromagnetic field?”, I have no answer. Sometimes, I can give an answer to the question “how does something work?” by appealing to another model of reality. However, if you ask me how things in that model of reality work – if you ask me “what is the mechanism”, eventually I’m going to run out of other models to explain it. Eventually, this sort of reductionistic approach is going to hit rock bottom. Currently that rock bottom is quantum field theory and general relativity. Perhaps one day we will find a deeper model, but it will always be true that in the deepest models of reality that are available at some point in time, there will be no explanation as to the mechanisms of the model, or why reality is this way instead of some other way. In short, one does not need to know a mechanism in order to show causation.

    Let’s take seriously your proposition for a moment that there is an uber-god. Let’s call it Yahweh. What was the initial state of reality? It was a void, with nothing in it, except Yahweh. Yahweh could then change this void as he wished, such as creating planet, stars, etc. He could change reality through sheer force of will. In this hypothetical, how does Yahweh change reality through sheer force of will? He just does. There is no mechanism. Even Yahweh would not know how he does it. This would just be a brute fact about the universe. It would just be a brute fact about reality that whatever Yahweh wishes really hard to happen, happens. Sound familiar? It should. This is a constant conjunction. Yahweh would observe a constant conjunction, and infer causation. Yahweh’s ability to change reality by sheer force of will would be a natural law. That’s all a natural law is – some observation that reality operates according to some rule, that As cause Bs. In this sort of hypothetical world, Yahweh and the void would be natural, not supernatural, and we, the planets, the stars, etc., would not be natural – we would be synthetic, constructed, decidedly unnatural. The vocabularly of “natural”, “material”, and “supernatural” exists largely only to confuse us, and to create culturally-accepted exceptions to the normal rules of critical thinking, skeptism, and scientific reasoning.

    PS:
    I would even go so far as to say that there really isn’t much of a difference between materialism and idealism, where “idealism” is understood as the proposition that all of our shared reality is a mental construct. My problem here is again I don’t really understand what it means to say “reality is a mental construct”. I would ask: Does it look any different from a material reality? Could I tell the difference? How could I tell the difference? In particular, how could I tell the difference between a universe with Yahweh as a I described above, which nominally seems like a materialistic universe, vs an idealistic universe? In other words, how could I tell the difference between a creature like Yahweh with the power to change reality by sheer force of will, vs a reality where this chair is a mental construct and can be changed again by force of will? Either way, it seems that the chair exists, and I will be able to see it, and touch it, etc., until such time as someone with the proper training and skill uses their force-of-will to change the chair into something else (or destroy it, etc.). Offhand, I say that there is no difference, and the purported difference between materialism and idealism is fundamentally just this same sort of wrong-headed Platonic thinking.

    PPS:
    Of course, I care very much whether there are creatures out there which can change reality seemingly by force of will. I would care whether we live in a material reality, a supernatural reality, an idealism reality, etc. No matter which of those are true (whatever that means), I would care about the extent of the creature’s reality-warping powers, and whether the creature can be contained or killed.

    For my final example, in the tv show Stargate SG-1, the first set of evil villains were just plain old biological aliens using advanced technology to pretend to be gods. Humans got access to some of that technology, and kicked their asses and won. Nuke god! In the last two seasons, the primary villain was a race of non-physical beings with the power to change some elements of local reality through sheer force of will. They were also evil assholes. At first, the heros, the humans, SG-1, didn’t have the power to contain or destroy them. However, through research, they discovered new rules of physics that allowed them to create weapons to hurt them, to destroy them. It wasn’t a literal nuclear weapon that they used, but in the end they did create a bomb using (fictional) physics that killed the (fictional) non-physical evil villains.

    Of course, if we do discover a god, I think that we should try diplomacy first, but if the god turns out to be an asshole, then we should immediately start research programs to investigate the god so that we might follow in the steps of SG-1, and if it turns out to be impossible, or if we simply fail, then at least I can repeat the Jaffa motto (a race of humanoids who used to be enslaved by the imposter gods):

    I DIE FREE!

    http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/IDieFree

  164. Greg from Seattle says

    @Zack

    I never said that empathy was the only driving force behind pro-social behavior and you didn’t really address my point.

  165. says

    Zack, it appears that you are not grasping the difference between terminal values and instrumental values. Something you have as a terminal value is the ‘good’ you seek. If you’re not seeking something, or are repulsed by it, clearly it isn’t something you value in itself. If it’s something you only seek in terms of how it helps you get something else, that’s what makes the value instrumental, in that it’s used as an instrument to get something else.

    A simple example is money. Presumably, you’re not interested in money for it’s own sake, but for the utility it offers. People that seek money seemingly obsessively would not continue to do so if everyone else stopped accepting it, because it would have lost its value as an instrument. As a result, people would also stop valuing unpleasant jobs that get them money, as the chain of instrumental values would have broken. People valued the job, however unpleasant they found it, because it got them the money they valued, that got them the food and things they valued, and so on until you get to the things that they terminally valued, which may include something like their own happiness, or the happiness of their loved ones.

    You’ll note that as situations change, such as them finding a workaround for an unpleasant job, such as a better job, or winning the lottery, they are glad to take the workaround. However, when it comes to something like their loved ones being happy, if you offered them a workaround to get all the other things the person gets, but avoid being happy, they would think that is ridiculous. However you changed their environment, you would find that they still sought that happiness. That’s what it means for them to value something in itself, terminally.

    The fact that you stated that it could be that value is a thing that is ‘made’ by minds is something that also indicates you have some confusion on the topic, as it implies values are something a mind might create externally, as one might create a situation. Values are properties of minds, how minds evaluate their environments, including themselves. We can observe that different minds have different values, because we can see that different minds seek different things, and disagree on what is valuable.

    The idea of values being inherent in the universe results from a confusion of what value is. It’s an example of the mind projection fallacy. The idea isn’t coherent on serious reflection, any more than probability being an inherent property of the universe is. If I flipped a coin, there was some outcome, but you don’t know what it is. Based on the information you do have about coins and coin flips, you might say there was a .5 probability that it came up heads. However, as objective fact, there is just the outcome of the coin flip, and anyone thinking that the probability is a property of the universe or the coin is confusing their own state of mind for the state of the universe.

    Saying that values are an intrinsic property of the universe is like putting a pin with a litte flag on it saying, “Go Here”, on a map, and then thinking that it’s an inherent property of the universe that you should go to the spot marked by the pin on the map. In minds, values serve the function of the “Go Here” pin. Anything you can point to in reality, such as some town with a square that has a giant pin with a huge flag that says, “Go Here”, obviously is not the same thing, and is not serving the same purpose as your own map marked with where you actually want to go.

    This is the same problem you have with the idea of things having inherent value. Whatever it is you mean by ‘value’ in that case cannot be the same thing as what value is in a mind. If there is actually anything, other than your own mind projection fallacy that you are seeing, you should be able to demonstrate what you are measuring. It won’t be the same meaning of ‘value’, but at least then we can perhaps create new labels to help us understand and explain our observations and ideas.

  166. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    However, as objective fact, there is just the outcome of the coin flip, and anyone thinking that the probability is a property of the universe or the coin is confusing their own state of mind for the state of the universe.

    Maybe excepting quantum theory, which maybe has truly-random outcomes, aka truly undetermined outcomes. And yes, I’m aware that some interpretations of quantum theory are deterministic, i.e. Bohmian mechanics.

    It’s at least coherent and plausible that some events in the universe are truly-random, aka truly undetermined.

  167. says

    We’re looking at two separate things there. One thing is the partial knowledge that some agent has regarding the state of some subset of the universe, which is what I am referring to with the term ‘probability’. The other is the fact that it’s apparently impossible to gain complete information about the state of the universe, one of the reasons being the nature of quantum indeterminacy.

    We bundle the lack of information due to that information not being determined as part of our overall general ignorance, along with the stuff we could in principle learn, and use the term ‘probability’. This is fine, as the effects of indeterminacy are part of our overall state of partial information. But using the same term for the nature of indeterminacy itself can be confusing if a distinction is not clearly drawn between the state of our mind where we can learn new information and update our internal probabilities, and the state of the universe independent of us.

  168. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To Jared
    It still seems that you’re assuming quantum mechanics is deterministic, as opposed to containing events that are truly undetermined in advance (but restricted according to the “probability” distribution of quantum mechanics). Do I understand you correctly? If so, how do you know that quantum mechanics is actually deterministic? It seems to many physicists (and myself) that the obvious and reasonable conclusion is that quantum mechanics contains truly undetermined events. (There are also some physicists who believe that quantum mechanics is wholly deterministic, e.g. Bohmian mechanics. There’s also many who believe in Everett manyworlds which has been called wholly deterministic.)

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