Demonstrating that concept X cannot be well-defined except when one assumes a particular supernatural situation Y is not proof that the particular supernatural situation Y must be the case. Similarly, demonstrating that concept Z cannot be well defined except when one assumes a contradiction is not proof that the contradiction must be true.Rather, it's a pretty good indication that concept X or Z are malformed concepts, akin to "colorless green ideas which sleep furiously". Sure, what you're describing may be grammatically correct, but that doesn't necessarily mean it actually denotes anything real. All you've done is show that it's probably meaningless to talk about a decontextualized obligation - an 'ought' without an 'in order to'.Even when you get to the triune grounding stage, you still have an implied 'in order to' (stand in a certain relation to your god) lurking in there... and, just as you pointed out with other positions, that still leaves us begging for an answer to the question and why stand in that relation?I mean, aside from 'because heaven is better than hellfire', since of course that's just an appeal to... what do you call it... homorality?
@Anonymous,A very concise, clear and spot on rebuttal. Well, done.
Rebuttal?I fail to see how that comment has anything even remotely to do with the article let alone even come close to rebutting it.This is not an argument for Gods existence but against those who attempt to apply a false varnish of objectivity to an entirely subjective statement or claim.
allabaster,Agreed! I have been turning this over in my head all day, and I just think he's totally missed the boat. It seems anon had an anti-religious seizure and just started typing. Anon,".....that still leaves us begging for an answer to the question and why stand in that relation?"Did you read the post? I don't think so. Mariano sketched this all out for you above. Why stand in that relation? Because, based on the fact that ethics are grounded in God's goodness and His love (His nature), He expects the same from us, His creation. Just as is described in 1 John 4:14, "We love because He loved us first."Along these lines, any commands that He gives are based on His perfect loving and relational nature, and are thus objectively good. Conversely, any deviance from these commands (direct knowledge or lack thereof of God's revelations notwithstanding as per Romans 2:14-2:16) is completely and without exception, objectively and morally wrong. That is why. If you do not stand in relation to God in this way, you are wrong. Moreover, if you don't stand in relation to God in this way, as Mariano again outlines above, you do NOT have ANY grounds for declaring any action to be "good" or "bad". Simple."I mean, aside from 'because heaven is better than hellfire', since of course that's just an appeal to... what do you call it... homorality?"Again (annoyed grunt), conformation of an atheist who knows nothing about the theistic-Christian position he's trying so desperately to critique. We do NOT do "good" things to get our spiritual wings upon death in order to float up to the city sitting upon the clouds. We do nothing for our salvation. Our salvation (Romans 2 again) is completely based on Jesus' (another example of God's love and relational nature) perfect sacrifice for us all and our acceptance that we are sinners and are NOT able to do a thing about it. This is the total opposite of all other belief systems. Once a person understands Jesus' salvific work and accepts His Father's authority in their life, good works flow out of them as a pleasant side effect of the Spirit in your heart.But, God is also perfectly just, holy and fair. As such, he gives everyone what they want. If you die without understanding God's total love and authority, snubbing His law and Son, you get exactly what you wanted in life. Not hellfire silly, but an eternity completely lacking of God's perfect love and a relationship with Him. blessings
Ah, Mariano!Again and again, you have been given you homework assignments to actually *read* something about the modern theory of morality – but you simply refuse to do your homework!Read Robert Wright’s “The Moral Animal”; read Donagan’s “The Theory of Morality”; read Axelrod’s “The Evolution of Cooperation.”After you’ve read those, we can get you beyond elementary school.But you just won’t do your homework, youngster!This stuff has been worked out, son. You’re like a boy complaining that no one can solve quadratic equations (especially those who do not believe in the God Who Created Quadratic Equations), simply because you are too lazy to read the algebra textbook.We scientists know things, Mariano. Wondrous, exciting, amazing things. Things beyond the ken of primitive, early Iron Age religious delusions.But you have to *read*, Mariano, or you cannot learn about them!Dave Miller in Sacramento
PhysicistDave,Dude.....your a douchebag. Seriously. I hate saying things like that about people, but there are some times, and some people, for whom such sentiments are just perfect.As far as your "homework" is concerned: If these works seriously attempt to build comprehensive moral theories without making reference to some kind of real, objective grounding (I am sure begging the question of materialism the whole time), then they themselves are nothing more than the subjective, fleeting views of a bunch of 21st century, useless, meaningless, bipedal mistakes on the face of an equally useless, meaningless, blue orb hurling through a useless, meaningless blackness. Give it a couple thousand more years, and some creature with a pathetic superiority complex not unlike your own will be reflecting on them and you saying, "These primitive, 21st century, barbarians were simply pathetic. I'm certainly glad I live in a civilized time when our scientists know wondrous, exciting, amazing things. What what!" I guarantee that had you had to live in a time alongside those “primitives” you feel so tough comparing yourself too, without your air conditioning, society that believes in equal rights for all, and so forth, you would be dead in a week.It appears as though you have never, ever, ever seriously considered the possibility that you’re wrong. Alas, this means you shall never grow beyond pre-school materialistic thinking only 101. It is indeed possible, no matter how much you may bawl, to gain genuine, useful epistemological insight from more than science. Especially evolutionary science. Even IF these folks could show that there is an objective, moral ground somewhere in the physical universe (a planet that repeats “murder is wrong, murder is wrong” over and over again subconsciously), this says nothing about moral duties. I would be no more obliged by my owe genes, let alone the planet, to follow what I’m being told. These are the kinds of questions YOU must answer.As I now look at these books descriptions on amazon, I must further reflect on how little it appears you know and how much it seems like you are just bull-$#!%%ing. Evolutionary psychology? Are you serious!? If you really, honestly think that these complicated and deep questions on morality have been truly laid to rest, than you’re simply not a smart boy.blessings
Derek wrote:>But, God is also perfectly just, holy and fair.You talking about the same God who supposedly ordered Moses to randomly murder thousands of Israelites because of the little Golden Calf incident (Exodus 32)? Of course, the instigator of the incident, Moses’ brother Aaron, was not killed.Yeah, that was really “fair”!Your God is about as “fair” as Charles Manson (okay, that is unfair to Manson – he did not murder three thousand people!).Derek also wrote:>If you die without understanding God's total love and authority, snubbing His law and Son, you get exactly what you wanted in life. Not hellfire silly, but an eternity completely lacking of God's perfect love and a relationship with Him.Sounds good to me! Who would want to spend eternity groveling to a murderer worse than Charles Manson?Sick, man.Dave
Derek wrote to me:> As I now look at these books descriptions on amazon, I must further reflect on how little it appears you know and how much it seems like you are just bull-$#!%%ing. Evolutionary psychology? Are you serious!?Yes, young child, I am serious. My wife and I both have Ph.D.s from Stanford in science.Humans evolved from fish, ultimately from worms.Our psychology, and our morality, developed through that evolutionary process.Evolution is settled fact among all honest, intelligent, well-educated people. I know of no exception.You don’t like itCool.But it’s true.Derek also wrote to me:> Dude.....your a douchebag. Seriously. I hate saying things like that about people…Oh, no. You don’t hate saying things like that at all. Tacitus pointed out, around nineteen hundred years ago, that Christians were well-known for their “odium humani generis,” their hatred of the human race.You Christians have not changed much in the last two thousand years, have you?Dave
Co-sign with Dave 100%! Allow me to ask this question: Do you need God in order to be moral? Without your belief in the God of Abraham, will you be raping, robbing and killing whenever and whomever you please?If you don't need god to do what is moral, then what is the purpose of your belief.If you need god in order to do what is moral, if your capability to do what is moral rests solely on the belief in a deity not proven to exist, then perhaps we should lock your ass up stat!
"Humans evolved from fish, and ultimately from worms."Don't forget that it ultimately came from soup. From a rock, which... came from an explosion of nothing. In a vacuum, of course. And here we are - accidentally created in all of our biochemical complexity after unobserved billions of years.Don't forget, we can test, repeat, measure, and observe all of these factually based beliefs - in real time, scientifically! Via PBS documentaries and tax sponsored text books.And who said alchemy is dead?
morals describe the mores which are, by definition, relativeA Christian admitting that morality is relative? This is most unusual...How much backpedalling would I expect to see if I suggested that you make this same statement at Church?
kh123 wrote to me:>Don't forget that it ultimately came from soup. From a rock, which... came from an explosion of nothing. In a vacuum, of course. And here we are - accidentally created in all of our biochemical complexity after unobserved billions of years.Do I detect a faint hint of sarcasm?Actually, the origin of life is generally admitted by scientists to be *much* more speculative than evolution.Evolution is a better established fact than the fact that the earth moves around the sun. (If anyone doubts, this, please tell me the key evidence that the earth moves around the sun – most Americans can give no evidence at all!)We have good reason to suspect that life originated naturally here on earth, but the details of the origin of life are not yet well-established.A similar point can be made about your “explosion of nothing. In a vacuum, of course.”No. Sorry, but your understanding is out of date.We are certain the Big Bang occurred.But no cosmologists I know of has ever claimed it happened “in a vacuum, of course.”Indeed, the best bet among cosmologists currently is that the Big Bang occurred in a pre-existing, unstable universe, that may have existed forever: this is known as “inflationary cosmology” and was first discovered by my old colleague Alan Guth.Sorry, but your sarcasm is based on factual errors and ignorance.You also wrote:> Don't forget, we can test, repeat, measure, and observe all of these factually based beliefs - in real time, scientifically! Via PBS documentaries and tax sponsored text books.Most public-school science textbooks are indeed utter disasters: see the online “Textbook League” for some scientifically-informed critiques of those texts. The public schools are largely responsible for the fact that so many Americans do not understand that evolution is a settled fact and that the Big Bang is not thought by modern cosmologists to have been the beginning of everything, along with the fact that so few Americans even know how we know that the earth moves around the sun.I’m homeschooling my kids so that they get a solid, science-based education: we started on evolution in kindergarten, and, by public-school standards, they have generally been at twice their nominal grade level or better (as measured by one of the local public schools, not by me).Yes, take your kids out of the public schools – and teach them that evolution is a settled fact.Dave
[quote]Since there is no ethos upon which any atheist attempts to ground their various moral concepts, there are no ethics to violate.[/quote] the ethos is love . and to love or care about , u don't need a god inspired ethos
A silly, circular argument, like so many theist errors. Morality exists because god created it and my personal concept of god exists because there is morality.Foolishness.
Every so often a blogger posts a post that is just so elequent, cogent and pertinent on many levels that it just has to be shared. This post:http://metamagician3000.blogspot.com/2009/07/sam-harris-on-francis-collins.htmlby Russel Blackford is just such a post. His is directly addressing an Op-ed by Sam Harris on the appointment of Francis Collins but in his commentary he addresses so many of the points that frequently arise here on this site. Mariano, take note: this is what a thoughtful and insightful critique is suppose to look like.
I like how Derek just resorted to an ad hominem instead of a response.Physicist Dave was saying "here is some empirical evidence on why humans have developed morality, we can talk after you actually know about it" and instead you just flat out call him a douchebag and refuse to even consider if he knows what he is talking about.And my question to you is.... if there can be no absolute morals without God?.... wait a second, you're begging the question that absolute morals exist!(Please see my posts on Buddhist Okie [http://okietao.blogspot.com] entitled Deontological Dilemma, parts 1-3 before continuing a debate about absolute morals).... or you could call me a douchebag, not read it, and just keep harping on about how atheism cannot have absolute morals..... without proving that absolute morals do exist in the first place.