Monthly Archives: January 2015

My Beliefs Really Aren’t That Hard to Understand and Other Things That Annoy Me


being-an-atheist-b3c62cda210561622974ee2e38dd11

It is incredibly common to come across people who say “I don’t understand atheism.” This is a very annoying statement to come across. Why? Because atheism isn’t a difficult concept. Yes, some people say this and mean “I don’t understand how someone can be an atheist.” This is a reasonable claim: if you could understand how someone could be an atheist you would be an atheist. I don’t understand how someone could be a theist. If I did, I would be a theist.

But more often than not, the person means literally what they are saying: they don’t understand what atheism is. If you don’t understand what atheism is, there are two choices. Either you live in a bubble where you have never met, seen, or even heard from an atheist. You pretty well have to live in a conservative small town where everyone is part of the same church and have no access to the internet for this to be the case. Or you have been ignoring what atheist have told you about what atheism is. It really isn’t hard to learn what atheism is in this day and age, and I know that I have explained it to a lot of people. The problem is, a lot of theists don’t want to accept what I tell them when I explain atheism to me. They want to question how I know that my definition is the true one, or they want to nit pick about how I phrase my definition. Sometimes they just want to disregard my beliefs all together. It is that habit that annoys me when people ask what atheism is. If you’re going to ask, then listen to what I have to say. You don’t have to like what I’ve said for it to be true. And if you’re unwilling to accept what I have to say, then don’t ask the question. You clearly have no interest in hearing why I believe what I believe and are simply using the question in order to ridicule my position.

As for the other things that annoy me:

atheists

Saying you’re an agnostic as opposed to a theist or an atheist is not like saying you don’t know if you like soccer. If you say you like soccer, you’re making a knowledge claim, not a belief claim. You’re not saying you believe you like soccer, you’re saying you know you like soccer. The same goes for if you say that you don’t like soccer. Saying you don’t know if you like soccer is a third option for the other two claims. Agnosticism isn’t a third option to atheism and theism, because it is a knowledge claim to two belief claims. It is not in opposition to those claims, so you can be an agnostic while being an atheist or a theist. You can’t like soccer but not know if you like soccer. This isn’t to say that one cannot call themselves an agnostic without also calling themselves a theist or an atheist, it is simply to say that agnosticism is not the alternative to atheism that people think it is.

Atheism isn’t a position taken to attack the religious, or because one feels that Christians aren’t Christ like. People become atheists simply because that’s the position that makes sense to them. Some atheists will attack religion, but they aren’t attacking religion because they are atheists. Rather they are attacking religion because they believe that religion is problematic and getting rid of religion will solve a lot of problems. It is a belief that they hold on top of their belief that atheism is correct. And believing that Christians aren’t Christ-like isn’t enough to make someone an atheist. It is possible to believe in gods while believing that Christians do bad things. Heck, most Christians seem to think that Christians do bad things. In order to be an atheist, one must genuinely believe that there are no gods.

No, atheists do not have the burden of proof. Why? For the same reason that I don’t have to prove that fairies and unicorns don’t exist: I’m not going against the evidence by believing that gods don’t exist. In fact, there is no concrete evidence. If I were to say that I don’t believe the moon exists, then I would have to show why all of the evidence that says the moon does exist is wrong. But theists don’t have that evidence to show that gods exist. Until theists can provide evidence of gods existing the burden of proof is not mine. Again, I don’t know if gods exist, but I don’t believe they do.

Yes, I believe theism is false. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be an atheist. And no, that does not mean you can shift the burden of proof on me. If I have to prove that your god is false, then you have to prove why every god that you don’t believe in is false. Do you really want to go there?

AtheistCat

I don’t care if you pray to god. I care if you try and impose your prayer on me. Please stop trying to make it sound like your being gagged whenever you try and pray. If you are trying to push a public organization to make a public prayer, then you are pushing your beliefs on me and every other person who is not a member of your religion. If you want to pray before you eat, or before a game or class begins, go ahead, but don’t drag me into it.


Are We Actually Speaking the Same Language?


A few years ago I took a class on the Old Testament. In the class there were about 4 Jewish students, 3 Muslim students, 10 Christian students, and me. As the class was meant to be taken from an academic standpoint, it was not about whether what we read was true, but rather what the Old Testament can tell us about the people of the time. However, it seemed as though my classmates weren’t interested in anything other than having their beliefs confirmed, so they talked a lot about their faith and their thoughts from their religious perspectives. As I listened to their interpretations of the reading that we had all done, I couldn’t help but feel as though we were not, in fact, reading the same book. In many ways, it was like were weren’t even speaking the same language.

In the years since that class, that thought process has only been confirmed. When I talk to theists, especially when discussing religious texts, it’s like we’re not speaking the same language. I can’t help but think that this is what has caused a good deal of miscommunication between theists and non-theists. When we speak, we use different words, or we use the same words differently. When we discuss scripture or holy writ, the non-theist (or nonbeliever) does not interpret it the same way that the believer does. We see it differently. This makes it very difficult to come to an understanding. It leads to frustration and anger. And I think that it is important to try and realize that this miscommunication is occurring in order to prevent that frustration and anger. Unfortunately, I’m not quite sure how to avoid this miscommunication because it is not always obvious when a word is being used differently.

Some of the words that I’ve noticed as being used differently:

Faith:
To a non-theist, this means belief without evidence.
Theists, in my experience, use this word differently depending on a number of factors, but two interpretations that I’ve noticed are trust and their relationship with their deity.

Belief:
A lot of non-theists don’t like this word. Many feel that it implies faith. To me, a belief is just something that one holds true whether it is or not.
I’ve noticed that a lot of theists use this to mean truth.

Truth:
When non-theists say something is true, we mean that it is supported by evidence.
Theists tend to have two interpretations of this word. The first is the capital-T truth, which seems to me to mean the words written in their particular holy book. The second is small-t truth, which seems to be defined as true facts.

Christian:
When a non-theist says this, we generally mean someone who identifies as a Christian.
When a Christian says this, they can mean a number of things. They can agree with the non-theist, they can mean someone who has been saved, and they can even mean someone from their denomination only. It can be difficult to determine what is meant when someone says this.

Atheist:
When an atheist says this, they mean someone who believes that gods don’t exist.
When a theist says this, they often mean someone who asserts that there are no gods, or they may try to differentiate between the above claim and not believing in any gods.

Scripture:
When I hear a Christian say this I hear “the Bible,” but it seems that they often mean “the Gospels.” I’m not really to sure about other religions , but I generally just take “scripture” to mean “holy book.”

Worldview:
When non-theists say this, we generally mean a series of beliefs that inform a person’s view of the world.
When theists use worldview, it seems as though they often mean a single belief, or a few beliefs, where religion is concerned, and only where religion is concerned.

Evidence:
When non-theists say “give me evidence,” we mean tangible evidence. We mean “give me something I can see, touch, and accept.” We want something that will convince us, which means that we need to be able to confirm it.
Theists tend to use “evidence” more loosely. They often conflate personal experience with evidence, and they often try to show their holy book to be true using that holy book.

Argument:
This one I think is generally a matter of whether or not one has had philosophical training, but there is still some difference between theists and non-theists.
Non-theists tend to mean a series of claims meant to support a conclusion.
Theists often mean getting into a shouting match.

This is not an all inclusive list, but it includes the words that I have noticed getting used differently the most. And it includes some of the most common usages that I have noticed. Also, while I say theist vs. non-theist, I’ve noticed this mostly between members of the Abrahamic religions and atheists/agnostics (I don’t have much dealings with people within the Eastern religions, and I haven’t noticed Pagan’s using words that I use differently. Well, not enough to comment on anyway).

What other words get used differently between theists and non-theists? What do these words mean to you?


Family


Family is one of the most complicated things in life. In many ways, they can do no wrong. So long as you know they love you, you can ignore the little problems. But some times family…well, sometimes it’s tough to have them around.

I love my parents very much, and my step-dad too. I love my brother and I care about my step-brothers (though I don’t know them very well). I grew up very close with most of my extended family (there are a lot of them), and many many of my cousins are more like siblings. I have two aunts who were teenagers when I was born, so in many ways they are like siblings too. I’m glad to be so close to so many people, but I wish I were close to all of them. Unfortunately, some of my family members have isolated themselves for various reasons.

I love my family, they are relatively good people. They try to do the right thing, and they usually succeed. But I’m starting to feel myself pulling away from them. I try not to isolate myself from my family, but there is too much that I can’t tell them.

I have a very Catholic grandmother on my mom’s side. She is a wonderful woman. She is very loving and kind. She is one of those people that will welcome anybody. And, while I know she feels homosexuality is a sin, she has never once said anything bad about a member of the LGBT community. However, to my grandmother’s mind, a person has to believe in God to be good. She doesn’t care if they are Catholic, but they must be Christian. She believes that atheists are trying to ruin the country. Nothing would upset my grandmother more than finding out that I’m an atheist, so I don’t tell her. In fact, I don’t tell that side of my family. None of them are that religious, but they love to gossip. The last thing I want is for somebody other than myself to let slip that I’m an atheist. My grandma’s in her 80’s, so I figure I can tell my family after she’s gone. But it is painful to keep that part of myself from somebody I love.

My dad’s side knows I’m an atheist. They were never very religious, so they don’t care. However, they are very conservative. I can’t tell them I’m genderqueer. They wouldn’t understand. If they did, they would try to change me. They believe that gender and sex are the same thing, and they believe that the traditional gender roles should be upheld. Since my fiance is male, they wouldn’t care about the demisexuality part. As far as they’re concerned, I’m straight. They are also quite anti-feminist. I don’t keep that one to myself, but it seems that any conversations I have with them along those lines just turn into fights. In fact, I recently took my dad and brother off facebook for that very reason. They’re happy to push their views on me, but they aren’t willing to listen to my views. The same goes for my political views.

I do have one uncle on my dad’s side who is a conservative Christian. Like, Evangelical, homeschool your children, avoid all things secular, Jesus Camp Christian. He and his wife separated themselves from my family when I was about 6 when my aunt was pregnant with their first child. Apparently my uncle wanted my grandpa to make the family Christmas gathering about Jesus, but my grandpa wanted to keep Christmas about the family. They stopped visiting after that. As a result, I’ve never met my four cousins. My uncle and I tried to have a facebook relationship for a while, but it didn’t work out very well. He has terminal cancer, so I doubt there will be a chance to fix things. I’d love to meet my cousins, but, given how sheltered they are, and given their family’s views, I doubt they’d be so keen to meet me.

I have never told any of my family members about my abortion. My mom’s side would be against it and my dad’s side, while they would allow me to make the decision, would have wanted me to keep it. I wish I could have called my mom as soon as I found out I was pregnant, but that wasn’t an option for me. I had to make the decision without her.

All of the things I can’t talk about make it difficult to be close to my family. I try to visit everybody once a year, since I live quite far from everyone, but between not having money and feeling tense about saying the wrong thing and causing a fight, it’s hard to motivate myself to keep in contact with anyone. Like I said, families are complicated.


Reply to sirratiocination, a romp through philosophy.


morality-quotes-3

This is a reply to the post made by sirratiocination on his blog who in turn made a response post upon my request to move thing into post format.

http://sirratiocination.wordpress.com/

http://sirratiocination.wordpress.com/2015/01/11/response-to-httpshessianwithteeth-wordpress-com20141210its-time-to-change-something-other-than-the-design-about-ethical-models/

Now for the purposes of keeping things manageable I will not be responding to every point, but focusing on problematic and interesting sections, as well as asking clarifications as needed. All comments and quires will be directed at sirratiocination after this introduction, though the comments are open as always.

I’ll be using his numbering system to reference to his responses (not my own, so if I say in paragraph [10] I’m referring to those paragraphs which focus on [10]) as well as leaving bracketed letter and number [A#] at the beginning of my section to make responses, and following along easier. I invite sirratiocination to join along in this behavior.

Let’s begin.

[A1] So in your first reference to [1] and you later reference in [7] your discussing nihilism for the sake of clarity I’ll define how I use nihilism. In General and without clarification I think of Metaphysical Nihilism, or the belief that no objects need to actually exist. The strong form of that would be no objects exist and the weak form would be that objects do not necessarily have to exist, and it is the case that objects may not exist. I fall in the weak camp. I think objects exist, but I also don’t fully reject the possibility that objects might not exist at all. Though I do think the belief that they don’t exist is a dead and should be rejected unless conclusive evidence can be ascertained that in fact objects, or things like objects are an illusion (I’d classify field theory as fitting in objects class or the object like class). Though I’d also call my belief more a mild metaphysical skepticism, then nihilism, though that is likely do to with the extreme conclusions nihilist have drawn. what you call nihilism I think of as the strong form of nihilism.

I am also use to seeing nihilism used in the terms of epistemological nihilism which is comparable to extreme philosophical skepticism where in all knowledge claims are denied.

In your arguments you seem to be discussing both moral nihilism, and the general idea of nihilism that is the rejection of non-rationalized or unproven assertions. This may change how you view the nature of our discussion to some degree.

[A2] for your paragraphs addressing [2], [3] and [5] I suppose another locus of our differences of opinion is that I remain largely unconcerned with ultimate causes for morality. That I’m not convinced, in the case of morality that there needs to be any ultimate or root cause, at least not a particularly meaningful or useful one, nor am I convinced this problem leads to an infinite chain.

Though that requires explanation so I’ll try to do that right away. Though to do that I will also need to better explain why I don’t think it’s is necessarily the case that a teleological explanation is needed to explain another teleological explanation even in the case of morality.

First and most importantly, teleological explanations only seem particularly useful in explaining and defining the activities of sentient actors, and for this argument sentient just means that creature has that ability to directly influence future of non-immediate events in some sort of intentional manner. This will include a lot of critter we wouldn’t normally consider sentient, but I don’t think we’ll be worse off for that since we don’t need to use that definition outside this argument.

First lets examine the teleological explication for a sword, we are clearly inclined to think about the process of making a sword in a teleological manner. The process of refining ore to ingots, and turning those ingots into a blade before, tempering said blade and attaching it to a hilt. There are many key components which need to come together to form that sword which wouldn’t make much sense outside of a teleological frame work. Whole systems need to be in place to make that sword, from the iron mine, to the smeltery, to the blacksmith and their forge and hammer. For any particular sword the teleological explanation fits the best. Though then what if we talk about sword in general and the form of the sword the teleological explanation begins to lose its luster.

As the form of the particular sword make teleological explanation compelling it makes the teleological explanation for the form itself less compelling and harder to reconcile.

This is the nature of memetic information, that is learned information as opposed to genetic information. We don’t tend to include all the step along the way, but only that which is most relevant. That and there is far more intentionality, far more reiteration of memetic information in a short period of time then genetic information could ever hope to achieve. This isn’t to say memetic information passes on in a purely evolutionary manner, memetic information is passed on by teaching from one sentient critter to another. Unlike genetics there is the ability to completely change key structure and reshuffle orders of thing at will. So it’s much easy to have the history of complex learned information to be hidden, and some time for a variety of reasons people intentionally try to hide such history, but back to swords.

The full history of how sword may have come about is not fully know to me, but the form of the sword, as a relatively strait, large, long, and generally ridged blade likely arose from a handful of different sources but the biggest precursor to the sword is undoubtedly metal knives and daggers, which in turn where inspired from flint daggers, which in turn would have came from simple stone tools.

Where a particular sword had a very clear teleological explanation, the form of the sword, and *the progression* towards the sword has a far more satisfying methodological explanation. One that can probably be drawn all the way back to the most basic tool use, before tool creation. Though I’m no anthropologist so don’t ask me to make that full series of connections competently.

What we have here, and what is important is a whole series of tools made in a teleological manner, who’s change follows and rises from a methodological process, all the way back to a point where there is no longer a teleological explanation (simple tool use), but only methodological ones.

This is the long view argument for why I’d say that morally argument while they might all follow a telos to telos pattern now, that pattern may not go back infinitely. I’d go further to say there is at least so evidence for this because there are clear evolutionary reasons for tool use, and morality to evolve (and seems to have evolved multiple times, looking at the many social animals which exist, and for tool use found in many bird and mammal species, but many other types of animals as well http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tool_use_by_animals)

While modern morality might be more complex than a sword it doesn’t start out that way, it takes small children years to learn and understand the basics of morality, it would have took our assertors much longer, but we have millions of years to work with so there’s plenty of time for the basic moral system that would allow for larger human communities to form. This is speculation sure, but I find it a compelling line of thought. Further our morality, and logical system are massively more nuanced and complex then those even just a few thousand years ago when the first codes of law where inscribed. It follows that same general pattern I described with the swords from knifes though since writing is rather recent in human history, and we won’t have stone fragments of morality dating back hundreds of thousands even millions of years.

Though I’ll leave it there for now, I most definitely under sold the point I was trying to make before.

[A3] Also to use the previous line of thinking to address some of your final comments in the paragraph prefaced “In[5]” (the 6th paragraph). When you say you resist the idea that concepts such as logical and morality can develop I am on the other side of the coin saying morality has in several occasions developed, and there’s good reasons for it to develop. More over even logic develops, perhaps there is some logic under laying everything, but this going into an argument like that between math realists and anti-realists. Only with logic.

While I’m not well versed in the math realism argument, when you apply the same logic here it come down to these two sides. The moral realist who would say that there is some sort of moral underpinning to the universe, and the moral anti-realist which would say that morality is a concept created (to some extent) by us humans (and quite possibly other organisms) for a variety of reasons, mostly to achieve certain goals or solve problems.

Though you might have a different sort conception of the problem which I would be interesting in hearing.

[A4] Now I will mention briefly that my moral position is primarily leaning toward consequentialism, not pure consequentialism, and my final verdict is not in yet, but I do think consequences are of the most importance, though not the only facts which should be considered (intentions matter, and actions must themselves be judges by the ripples they send out not just the primary/direct consequences). Though this is a whole can of worms to itself and we can address it later on if we like.

[A5] Now on (or back to?) to the question does our system of morality needs to be objective? Which you bring up in the 7th paragraph of your reply (you reference [14] in the second sentence).

How your using the definitions of necessarily so, and contingently so, for objective and subjective respectively. While I don’t think this is a satisfactory definition for how I think of objective and subjective, I will address your argument directly as I think there are counter arguments which can be made using these definitions.

First I’m not comfortable saying logic and even math are necessarily so. Why? Because there are many types and forms of both which while they map out well in reality, together they are not always compatible. I would say that logic and math (I group them together because math is a sub set of logical systems) are contingent on reality. Why this might make them “necessarily so” I’d argue it doesn’t since there is no single “Logic” Which subsets, but rather a number of logics which are use in relation with one another to solve problem, but are not always compatible with one another, that is they do not condense down into a primary “logic.”

Why this leads me to thinking that logic is is contingent is because how I look at logics as formal concepts, created over the last several thousand years which has slowly progressed in complexity and explanatory power over that time. That is I see logic as a series of models progressing toward eliminating biases in human thought so that we might best understand what is around us and what we want/ought to do.

So unfortunately logic isn’t just contingent on reality and the sort of causal relationships which exist with in our macroscopic environment, but it is also contingent on our limited perceptions and our in built biases. It seems to me at least that logic is a conceptual toolbelt we’ve created to help overcome our natural limitations. The source as I see it comes from our need to understand and determine the truth or correctness of our and other people’s statements and beliefs. Not from some fundamental source of logic, even though logic in part is informed by other fundamental forces.

So in this way I’m logical anti-realist, I think logic only exists as a tool we create, not as some greater existence as a fundamental part of reality, or as I direct representation of any fundamental part of reality.

[A6] also quick note on what is “relative” I do not see relative as not real, but to be relative is to be either independent from some objective, and/or independent source, i.e. having no external basis or justification. As well relative can refer to cases where reality is actually depended on the subjective. Also where (strict) nihilism in a strict sense would say that something does not have value, (strict) relativism would say that no system of values would necessarily be better than another.

Though the proper definition of relative like nihilism is hugely depended on the context you using it in. Is it morals we are talking about, truth, or something else? Each has its own implications and is worthy of its own discussion, and there are sub groups within each kind of relativism, and different degrees which to which we can take the relativistic arguments should we want to go there.

Though this is a side tangent, and not terribly important to the whole of what we are talking about.

[A7] But do my anti-realist views necessarily abandon any hope of moral authority or moral “knowledge?” Well I don’t think so.

Though I do lose access any ultimate/objective authority, but as I don’t have any belief or convincing evidence that such a source exists. Though such a weakness continues to be something that does not bother me in the slightest.

You said in your post. “Morality cannot exist in any way contingently because it is prescriptive. Morality has some sort of authority if you can actually be condemned for doing something wrong.  If morality were contingent, then how could someone be condemned for something if the universe could have existed with a different morality in which that condemned person were lauded for his same action. Morality would hold the same weight as mere preference.  Preferences are based upon human caprices, which are in turn based upon prudential means for certain contingent goals.”

Okay well I think this quote wraps up nicely many of your thoughts, so after a lot of trying to figure out exactly what you mean, I think I have a good idea of what your actually saying.

First for clarity when you say Contingent do you mean “by chance?” The rest of your reply seems to support this, and I have to ask because while this is a definition for contingent I’ve rarely heard it used in this way.

If something is based on chance, does this mean is can have no authority in regard to morality? Well on the face of it that seem correct. If something is purely based on chance then no it doesn’t seem that we can judge it moral or call upon authority to punish said action. It seems to me it should not be moral or immoral to roll a 4 on a die, and rolling a 5 instead of a 3 does not seem to be a punishable action, but does this carry through to all our universe?

Well is our universe all up to chance? I couldn’t say if there are other possible universes which would have different physical forces then ours, but let’s say that there can be, and that those changes could lead to different moralities. Does that then somehow invalidate morality based in our universe? Even those based here on our little planet? Does this lead to moral relativism? Well I think it’s safe to say that you definitely think so, but I’m not so ready to jump on board.

Now on the scale on the multiverse it seems that in this case we are stuck with moral relativism. That is, no moral system or standpoint is uniquely privileged over another. Though I’d argue that we don’t need to address the multiverse, we can’t currently prove the existence of the multiverse, or that the universe could be substantially different, let alone access other such possibilities. So I think it is fair that we limit the discussion down to moralities which are conceivable in our universe.

Though that doesn’t limit things much, but even if we then limit things down to those moralities which are conceivable to us humans, and then down to those which are relevant we are still left with a plethora of moral systems of deal with. It seems as you’ve framed it I can’t deal with this problem of moral relativism.

This leads be with two possible paths to choose, accept your proposition that we need an objective source, or reject this frame work. I am force to choose the latter because here I think we have been lead down into the realm of a false dichotomy. We’ve basically been left with the options either you need some objective source of morality or your stuck with moral relativism, but you made it clear that our human preference those consequences which affect us, how we choose them cannot act as the foundation of morality. This is what I must reject.

[A8] “In [8] you may not think a telos is necessary for an ethical model, but once you follow through on this, you lose all justification for categorizing certain actions as moral actions and not just actions deemed best at achieving survival or flourishing.  You think an objective teleology is not possible therefore, you don’t worry about it.  But, you lose all grounds for calling your system a moral system and not just prudence aimed at fitness.  Yes, we’re born with innate desires, but what forces us to execute these desires apart from that we want to?  If you don’t want to follow these desires, what allows someone else to condemn you for doing so?”

This was the problem I had in understanding your argument, as well as where I’ll need you to step in to propose justification. Why is it that you think the sort of non-teleological explanations I proposed cannot be the foundation for morality (though it is good to know you probably guessed where I was going but I still think it was a good idea to flesh it out in [A2])

Now I’m not saying this kind of explanation is a moral system in and of its self, but it does give an explanation for how moral system can be arrive at from an evolutionary system. Now you seem to be claiming that any moral system arrived at from this sort of evolution can actually be a moral system, but this is what has been confusing me. Why not? Sure such a system is dependent on us humans, but any moral system applicable to us would need to be contingent on our needs, and desires, on our surrounding and or interaction with other things. Such a system is likely to be flawed, but I don’t see how this context determined nature would make is useless or revoke is moral status.

I truly don’t see how human flourishing, or flourishing of the planet, or flourishing of life and knowledge, cannot be the basis of morality.

[A9] Though you have tried to offer a solution with the Christian God acting as an objective source. In the last 8 paragraphs as you dived into theological issues, this is where the greater weaknesses of your positions can be found, as this seems to be what is underpinning the conclusions you where drawing and arguing for in the first half of the post.

In your responses to [9] and [10] you begin the arduous process of defending your claims and this is the place where I have some of the more serious objections.

First you make the following statements that “Without persons involved, I don’t know what it would even mean to say something has moral content.  All moral actions come from moral agents. ”

Well first I largely agree with this, but perhaps it would be best to discuss thing in terms of all moral determinations come from moral agents. Because moral content, say you’ve said requires persons, i.e. moral agents. An action in and of itself it seems to me is not moral in and of itself, but because something determine that action to be moral.

Next you move on to claim that. “…objective morality necessitates God’s character.” This is undeniably a leap, but pointing that out let us see if you substantiate that claim. I say this is a leap because so far in this paragraph you have indicated that because moral action necessitate a moral agent, and that because abstract concepts such as the plutonic forms do not have necessary weight to, and statement you largely glossed over, but I will grant for the time being. Then from that you say that we are left with only god’s character as a suitable option for this objective source. Though this does not for a moment follow and as of this point it appears as though you’ve done little more than shoe horn your conception of God at the end of your otherwise thoughtful argument.

Though as I said we shall see if you better draw out your path to your conclusion and fill in those necessary premises.

[A10] In your response to [10] I found you use a very problematic definition and wish to point it out to you.

You said: “…the Bible would be revelatory source of information.  This means that the information most likely could not have been arrived at through rational discourse.”

Why yes. The bible could not have been arrived at through rational discourse. Indeed it would appear to me is a set of mythical tales thought up over a couple thousand years by a desert dwelling tribe we know as the Israelites. Who where in turn inspired by many other cultures and their mythos’s two major sources being the Babylonians, and the Persian (I think) Zoroastrians. The lovely thing about us humans is we are not rational by nature, or at least not completely so. We are fully capable of irrational discourse. Hence why most of us need significant training and education to carry on discussions like the one we are having.

So when you said: “… someone could not ratiocinate the concept of the trinity without revelatory knowledge.”

I heard. One could not rationally arrive at the concept of the trinity without irrational discourse.

Now I think what you meant was to say that you could not come to the idea of the Trinity without revelation from a deity, but from how you’ve laid it out that simply is not the case. As of now you’ve left a gaping hole in your argument by choosing the definition that you did, so you might wish to take a different tact.

[A11] In your response to [13] You go on to tell me how you understand fear of god to be different, but then go on to describe what amount to fear of a tyrant, or the fear a person might have to a violent offender whom otherwise holds power over them. you move of to describe him then in a sense of fear out of awe and respect, this makes more sense, but this being who you later describe whom primary trait is love is to be feared? Even in awe this seems to be a contradiction in terms, but worse it is clear from what you’ve said and in the bible that the God your referring to threatens, comments and commands mass genocide, condones slavery. If this is love then you’re in quite the abusive relationship. This sure he is punishing the Israelites for wrong doings, but he does so through blood and horrendous curses more often than not.

[A12] Well now is as good a time as any to God’s Character as this remains of high important to your argument and is something I don’t think you can define adequately, or with certainty.

First I will respond to [6] where you asked me to give you some examples. Here is one. http://wiki.ironchariots.org/index.php?title=Biblical_contradictions#God.27s_Character

As well God is constantly described as loving, good, a font of morality, yet the bible particularly the old testament describes him, as jealous, violent, capricious and often making mistakes. And it cannot be over stated the bible condones slavery, at no point throughout it’s entirety does it explicitly condemn slavery, but at many point does it explain how best to do it and even claims that God itself command the taking of slaves.

This is where I think the vast majority of your problems lie. You keep claiming to have this ultimate source for authority, in the form of the Christian god, this is has a threefold problem right at its core before anything else. If you wish to justify your moral claims on the Abrahamic God then. First you must prove there is at least one deity of some sort. Second you must prove that deity is the Yahweh described in the bible. Third you need to show that Yahweh to be an objective source of morals.

You can continue to describe God however you like, and define his character as you like, but then you still must show me why that is the case. So far I have only really read how you need your god to follow these so far poorly define characteristics, so that your arguments for morality work. Which if it is the case they just might, but your working from a place where you’ve mostly assumed the three questions above to be true. I have not, and do not share your convictions.

[A13] Now allow me to address the two links you included to your other posts as they are relevant.

https://sirratiocination.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/argument-from-meticulous-causation/

Well that’s a nifty little paradox you have going there, reminds me of Zeno’s Paradox of Tortoise and Achilles, but like Zeno’s paradox, I don’t think this is really going to be much of an argument either. While this sort of thing is not my expertise, I do have one, I think strong, rebuttal.

Certainly it is true that one cannot navigate an infinite series with finite amount of time, but we have already divided each step up infinitely, and as such each step must be infinitely short. Excellent so now that we’ve traversed infinity we don’t need to worry about mixing god into the equation muddying things up.

[A14]

And then I skimmed the excerpt of your book

https://sirratiocination.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/an-exerpt-from-my-book/

Annnnd that’s a whole can of worms. I skimmed some of it and well, I noted ~5 problems in under 500 words, so if you’d like me to address it I’ll need to do it some other time. I would need to read the whole thing first and I don’t have the time right now.

Moving on.

[A15] Skipping ahead to the second last paragraph this is where thing really start to fall apart for me, as you basically went into a sermon. As though you expect the bible to convince me, Allow be to point you can to [A10] where in you shot yourself in the foot logically speaking. But if you’re going to use the bible as evidence and then claim things like: “According to God’s account of history, people all did believe in him at one time.”

You’re going to have to convince me the bible is God’s account of history, something you will find that the consensus of historians will not agree with, and then you’re going to have to convince me it’s accurate, which is flatly impossible without over turning huge amounts of history, archeological research and scientific research.

[A16] “Just because there is debate about something doesn’t mean there isn’t an absolutely true answer.  Any belief people hold, they hold for a reason.  The argument for this reason might have faulty deduction or false premises, but there is always some argument.”

Just because there might be an absolutely true answer out there do not mean we will ever have access to it, and certainly people generally have reasons for the thing they believe, but I don’t think they always do at least not consciously.

It was a pleasure reading the first half or your article, and you have some genuinely interesting ideas, but once you began trying to justify god you got sloppy, and you fail to really address your own biases and they some of them are obvious. You believe in the Christian God, and thing the bible is the history according to God, and these colour you argument, but they make them weaker, because you haven’t (and I don’t think you can).

You cannot talk about the Christian God is the only valid option in the list of deities which are claimed to exist, throughout this article you don’t ever even pay lip service to the problem that there are other god which are claimed to exist and many could be just a likely to fill the role of Yahweh, the one that comes to mind that you ought to look into more is the Hindi god/concept Brahman.

It was fun responding and I hope you can better explain some of these problems I found. Though if there is one thing I’d like you to address it is [A10].

Withteeth.

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What Are We Teaching the Next Generation?


Lately I have been watching a lot of Dragon Ball. Dragon Ball Z was my favorite show as a child, and it was on pretty much every channel. On New Years Eve I used to spend the day watching all of the DBZ movies, which played back to back on one of the kids channels. I’ve seen every episode of DB and DBZ multiple times. I was feeling a bit nostalgic, so I decided to watch all of the episodes from the beginning of DB to the end of DBZ. Right now I’m at the point where Krillin and Goku meet.

As I’ve been watching DB, I’ve been quite disturbed by the sheer amount of problems with the show that I didn’t notice as a child. It’s kind of a running joke that there is a lot of sexism in the show, but I never realized just how pervasive it is. And I’m surprised that the obvious racism doesn’t get the same attention that the sexism does.

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To begin with the sexism, every major male character either sexually assaults or objectifies Bulma throughout the show. Goku, who is absolutely naive and has the intelligence of a three year old, takes Bulma’s panties off while she’s sleeping. That is beyond disturbing. Oolong and Master Roshi are constantly trying to get Bulma to sleep with them. Oolong even went so far as to offer to turn into underwear for Bulma to wear, and Master Roshi tries to exchange things for sexual favours. And they try to teach Goku to objectify women. Oolong tries to convince Goku that he should want a harem of women, and Master Roshi considers teaching Goku that fat women are ugly Goku’s first lesson in Martial Arts. Yamcha doesn’t sexually assault Bulma, but he does do some very creepy things in the name of curing his fear of women.

200_s

Bulma is often considered a slut because she is willing to show her underwear to get things, but, given how all the men she meets treat her, who can blame her? She’s very clearly learned that her looks matter more than her brains. She clearly doesn’t like being sexually objectified, but she appears not to have the language necessary to express why she doesn’t like the treatment. After all, she never explains to Goku why he shouldn’t feel people up or take off their underwear. In fact, in the DB universe, it seems as though consent doesn’t really exist.

db1-02

The shows racism doesn’t appear to be caused by the characters, but it is obviously there. In the DB universe, people of all racial backgrounds live together, and nobody really seems to notice the obvious differences that exist between people. But a number of the characters are problematic. The one that is pointed out the most is Mr. Popo. He looks like he’s wearing black-face. And even his name is problematic.But a lot of the village people are racial stereotypes too. For example, in the village that Goku saves from Oolong, the people are meant to be Native American. All of the people look white, and most of them dress in the same type of clothes that everyone else in the universe wears, but a few of them wear traditional Native American celebratory garb. And the girl being saved is named Pochawampa.

107480-vlcsnap_314355               black-face

A lot of these problems are taken to be a joke. People find them funny. But DB and DBZ are children’s shows. So what are they teaching the children who watch them (not that many children watch them anymore). When I was a kid, I didn’t realize that anything in the show was problematic, I just thought it as funny. So what did I internalize? How much of what I learned still affects me today without my realizing it? What did the largely male audience of that show internalize? And how much of what was internalized has stuck around because they never learned how and why that stuff is problematic? We live in a world where consent isn’t taught, and racial issues are brushed under the rug. We live in a world where sexuality is something to be ashamed of and masculinity equals power. I can see it being very easy to hang on to DB’s sexist and racist messages.

So what are the shows kids watch teaching them? And how are we teaching them that those messages are alright by never teaching them otherwise?


Evidence-Based Feminism 2


This video is well worth watching.

FtBConscience

HJ Hornbeck continues to put feminism’s claims under science’s microscope, this time by examining economic equality, representation, and that perennial favorite “rape culture.” Watching his previous talk is optional, but recommended.

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Short warning on a new problem with word press


Word press with the more resent site changes has started sending messages to our spam folder for no apparent reason.

If a comment disappears it’s probably because of that and not because we’ve purposely hidden it. If you do notice that your comment has disappeared feel free to comment telling us. Otherwise we’ll probably figure it out with in a day and re-approve your comment should this bug continue happening.

This has been happening to both Hessian and I, and has been happening on both our phones and our desktops, so heads up it may be happening to other blogs as well.

Withteeth


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