Author Topic: "...Except when my God is involved"  (Read 62706 times)

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Offline OnePerson

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Re: "...Except when my God is involved"
« Reply #1450 on: October 19, 2010, 05:53:20 AM »
Quote from: MathIsCool
2) While it's true that 'ought' axioms don't lead to explanations of our world the same way natural axioms do, they do do a good job of leading toward correct ethical behavior.  I think we can safely conclude that the situation we enjoy in the United States is objectively better than the one experienced in Rwanda, and thus any ethical behavior that leads more to societies like the U.S. is objectively better than the ones that lead to societies like Rwanda.

The situation in the United States is not objectively better than one in Rwanda until you specifically define what you're using as a measure of "better".

Quote from: MathIsCool
That is, it is a fact of the universe in which we live that rape is wrong because it is a fact of the world that God exists, that He is good, and that he has forbidden rape.

What you're doing is redefining "good" into "What God wants", and redefining "wrong" as "What God says not to do."

Good has to be able to exist without God, or else they'll have a completely different meaning from their normal definitions.

Offline truehyuga

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Re: "...Except when my God is involved"
« Reply #1451 on: October 19, 2010, 02:40:19 PM »
Quote from: MathIsCool
That is, it is a fact of the universe in which we live that rape is wrong because it is a fact of the world that God exists, that He is good, and that he has forbidden rape.

What you're doing is redefining "good" into "What God wants", and redefining "wrong" as "What God says not to do."

Good has to be able to exist without God, or else they'll have a completely different meaning from their normal definitions.
Not to mention we go into the entire "Good is what God wants" leading to the notion that either good is whatever god says or god wants it because it is inherently good.
What you allow will always increase; good or bad.

Online Azdgari

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Re: "...Except when my God is involved"
« Reply #1452 on: October 20, 2010, 11:05:51 PM »
MiC,

I've been letting this post of yours simmer for a bit, and it's partly because I'm busy.  But it's also partly because I'm tired of correcting you when you mischaracterize my position.
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Offline MathIsCool

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Re: "...Except when my God is involved"
« Reply #1453 on: October 21, 2010, 12:58:28 AM »
MiC,

I've been letting this post of yours simmer for a bit, and it's partly because I'm busy.  But it's also partly because I'm tired of correcting you when you mischaracterize my position.
No problem, I'm not in a hurry.
If I did mischaracterize your position, perhaps you can make your position more clear in your next post.
Why not name the website ... "whywontGodallowlaserstoshootoutofmyeyespewpewpew.com"

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Online Azdgari

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Re: "...Except when my God is involved"
« Reply #1454 on: October 21, 2010, 08:26:48 AM »
What reason do I have to believe that you will respond accurately to subsequent clear posts?
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Offline MathIsCool

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Re: "...Except when my God is involved"
« Reply #1455 on: October 21, 2010, 12:34:36 PM »
If you don't think I'll respond "accurately" to future posts[1], you are of course under no obligation to write any further.

I'll assume you're referencing my alleged intellectual dishonesty you first brought up here:
If you intend not to address what I've actually said, and are instead going to deliberately misquote me, then just let me know now so that I can write you off as yet another intellectually dishonest apologist.  I don't want to do that; I am enjoying our debate.  But how else am I to interpret this sort of thing?

I'm a little curious what you think the motivation a maliciously intellectual dishonest apologist would have in coming to an atheist site, and on the 49th page in a thread in a middle-of-nowhere section discuss morality with you.  I think if I were dishonest as you describe I'd either stay away from this site, preferring to keep my fragile beliefs intact, or splash my thoughts across every thread I could in the hope of gaining converts to my way of thinking.  But that isn't relevant, I digress.

In any case, all I can offer you is my personal assurance that I am not (purposely) misquoting you or (purposely) being dishonest in any way.  Do with that what you will, I'll understand either way.

-MiC
 1. I trust responding "accurately" to a post doesn't entail "agreeing with" said post?
Why not name the website ... "whywontGodallowlaserstoshootoutofmyeyespewpewpew.com"

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Online Azdgari

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Re: "...Except when my God is involved"
« Reply #1456 on: October 24, 2010, 06:20:32 PM »
I believe you, MiC.  At the time, I wasn't so sure.  You don't strike me as the dishonest type (though we do get those, whatever their motives are).

Anyway, I will get to responding to your last post - with corrections[1] - some time this week.  I've been up around the 50th parallel, looking at rocks, and the internet access has been spotty at best.
 1. Yes, you're right - "accurately" merely means accurately reflecting what'd been said, not agreeing with it.
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Offline MathIsCool

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Re: "...Except when my God is involved"
« Reply #1457 on: October 25, 2010, 11:23:30 AM »
Well, for what it's worth, you strike me as the honest type too.

I look forward to your next reply. :)

-MiC
Why not name the website ... "whywontGodallowlaserstoshootoutofmyeyespewpewpew.com"

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Online Azdgari

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Re: "...Except when my God is involved"
« Reply #1458 on: November 03, 2010, 11:27:17 AM »
Alright, Mic, my reply this time will be shorter and not a point-by-point rebuttal, because I think it addresses pretty much your whole counterpoint:

Ethical axioms do exist platonically under both materialist and supernaturalist views of reality.  The axioms "God's will ought to be followed", along with the axiom "God's will ought not to be followed", both exist as logical structures that can be thought of.[1]

Hell, they exist right now, in the physical world, don't they?  We've already typed them, thought them with our brains, stored them in the WWGHA database!

That's not the issue, though, is it?  The issue is whether these axioms resolve as true or false.  Well, how do you decide that?  I put it to you that you decide it subjectively.  I see you attempt to address this in your response, and I'll get to that in a bit and support this posit of mine.  First, though, let me clarify something.

"God" is not logically special.  By this I mean that it does not function differently as something to which to assign rightness.  "God's will ought to be followed" makes as much sense, structurally, as "Genghis Khan's will ought to be followed".  A supernatural entity doesn't need to be posited in order to make such a statement.  The status of "God" as a supernatural entity doesn't change the validity of the statement.  A will is a will, and can be described the same way whether the one holding the will is some strange supernatural being or not.

Now, as to your appeal to "correct" moral axioms...and here I think I'll do the point-by-point thing after all.

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1) My point in describing the success mathematics and science have had in describing the world was not merely to show that these axioms are useful (and thus to sneakily shift the goalposts), but to show one area in which there is evidence that those axioms are, in fact, true.  In other words, my point is not just that mathematical axioms are useful, but that their usefulness points to their actually being true.

Specificity reveals that your point is invalid here, MiC.  How are they useful?  They are useful in describing and making predictions about existence.  I would still hesitate to call them "true" based on this, but without even getting into that, do you see the difference here between "ought" axioms and "is" axioms?  There is no test for the veracity "ought" axioms, because they make no claims about reality - either material or otherwise - and thus can't be assessed based on how well they help us describe existence.  They are useful for something entirely different - they are useful, to state it in the broadest sense, for allowing humans to act.  They are goals.  How can a goal be evaluated as true or false?

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2) While it's true that 'ought' axioms don't lead to explanations of our world the same way natural axioms do, they do do a good job of leading toward correct ethical behavior.  I think we can safely conclude that the situation we enjoy in the United States is objectively better than the one experienced in Rwanda, and thus any ethical behavior that leads more to societies like the U.S. is objectively better than the ones that lead to societies like Rwanda.

This is one part that kind of dismayed me from bothering to respond for a long while, MiC.  It's horribly, blatantly circular reasoning.  According to my own values, I evaluate America's standard of living as better than Rwanda's.  So do you.  But what can we say beyond that?  You can't appeal to an objective standard of evaluating these standards of living, because the objective standard is what you are trying to establish in the first place.  What about value-sets that assign a positive value to human suffering?  We consider that to be absurd, and antithetical to our own goals, but can we think of a logical argument against it that does not itself depend on statements of value?

And as food for thought:  If a creator-god existed who valued human suffering above all else, would you then be appealing to Rwanda's lower standard of living as proof that their way of life is objectively better than that in America?  Why or why not?

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Let me expand a little on this point.  Dinesh D'Souza ...

While I did just address this line of reasoning above, I would like to point out my distaste at seeing such a blatantly dishonest, bigoted figure being cited as some kind of intellectual authority.

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3) 'God's will ought to be followed' gives Christians access to an ethical axiom from which we can derive all other ethical behavior, and materialists don't have access to this axiom due to their rejection of God (If He doesn't exist, he doesn't have a will to follow.)  I'd say that ethical axiom is crucial to the dichotomy between naturalism and supernaturalism.

Except that it isn't God's status as a supernatural being that's relevant.  Or at least, you've provided no reasoning to indicate why it would be.  So this sort of statement is exactly as accessible to materialists as it is to supernaturalists - we just select the values of supernatural beings, only natural ones.  How is the nature of this selection qualitatively different in either case?
 1. Well, as long as the word "God" is coherently defined, anyway.
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Online Azdgari

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Re: "...Except when my God is involved"
« Reply #1459 on: November 03, 2010, 11:30:30 AM »
Missed this:

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Christians belive God really exists in the real world, and that He really has a will, and that it really ought to be followed.  Thus our 'God exists' axiom is an 'is' axiom, and 'His will ought to be followed' is an 'ought' axiom, but it is also an 'is' axiom.  We believe he really truly exists, and so, in the real world, there is at least one thing (Love God) that is objectively good.  Thus to a materialist, 'is' and 'ought' statements exist in two different modes and never the 'twain shall meet, but to a Christian, 'ought' statements are a subset of 'is' statements.  That is, it is a fact of the universe in which we live that rape is wrong because it is a fact of the world that God exists, that He is good, and that he has forbidden rape.

As I said, statements of the form "God's will ought to be followed" are just as accessible to materialists.  God just isn't the holder of the values in question, because of the whole disbelief thing.

And how is the selection of the value-holder not subjective?
« Last Edit: November 03, 2010, 11:33:05 AM by Azdgari »
The highest moral human authority is copied by our Gandhi neurons through observation.