I would love to join in your discussion about the hypothetical Gnu, the real Gnu, the Gnu-in-Itself, the Gnumenon, the Gnu Man... but I can't follow what you're saying. (But it's Friday night, England have qualified for Euro 2012, drink has been taken, and my grasp on simple semantics, and indeed reality, is becoming increasingly tenuous - sue me).
But do carry on, it's entertaining...
Hahahahaha, very well then. Azdgari, I'm not gonna respond to every point you made, but again, this is just to avoid repeating myself. Sorry for any brevity - I'm in a bit of a hurry to type this up.
Look carefully at the sentence "I hold God's action to be wrong." The position being held by our hypothetical Gnu is that God's actions are wrong.That they are wrong objectively? Hmm. Does the Gnu in this thread agree to that? I have my doubts about that.
I doubt he'd admit it - he's said before he considers himself a moral relativist. But in that comment, he's acting like a moral realist.
Gnu is making the accusation that God ought not have done what He did..
And is invoking his own moral authority to do so. Just as you would, if you were to do so. Except that he'd probably take responsibility for it openly.
His own moral authority? What authority? His baseless preferences that correspond not a whit to the shared reality that we all live in? That's not exactly authoritative.
I mean, c'mon. Here Gnu is, positing a hypothetical Christian God, awesome and majestic, terrible wonder, the great I AM, author of all creation itself - and he's saying that his own
vague preferences ought hold sway over that great and terrible God? What's next, ought God enjoy a good strawberry jelly beans as well, according to the great and mighty taste preferences of Gnu?
No, Gnu isn't just saying "I like non-killing-innocents-so-I-think-God-ought-feel-the-same." Gnu is saying in the reality that he and God inhabit, killing innocents is wrong, and he is holding God accountable for His crimes.
Gnu is silently presupposing some moral standard that over arches him and God, presupposing further that said moral standard includes the precept "Thou shalt not take innocent life," and then accusing God of violating this precept.That's a lot of mind-reading. Should we maybe ask the Gnu? Or failing that, should we invent a hypothetical one who doesn't agree with you? Though, I'm not sure what good a hypothetical Gnu is going to do us when you're trying to make a point about how people actually think, using the Gnu as a case study.
Not mind reading, just reading. Again, he implied God is
wrong to do what he did, not that it conflicted with his personal moral tastes. There's a world of difference there.
If the moral standard was only Gnu's, how could he judge God by it?This question makes about as much sense to me as, "if the shovel was made of iron, then how could he dig in the dirt with it?" It supposes a contradiction that is not evidently present. If the moral standard was not Gnu's - i.e., if he did not adopt it and hold to it - then how could he judge God by it? For that matter, whose moral standards do you use, when you judge your god to be good? Take responsibility for it: You necessarily judge that character by your own standards. Because were they not yours, then they would not be available to you in order to genuinely judge by them.
Sure, if Gnu didn't share the standard, he couldn't judge by it. Fair enough.
But you're supposing that Gnu's moral standard is his and his alone.
It is not a feature of reality, it's just a feature of how Gnu's neurons are arranged. In judging God, Gnu is doing taking a moral yardstick and applying it to God's actions. This makes zero sense in a moral relatavists framework - why would Gnu feel the need to do this? It would be akin to a child worrying about failing the class - because the child next to her flunked the final.
But there's nothing any more consistent about you judging [God] to be good (which you do) than there is in Gnu judging him to be evil. Why ought God feel constrained by your judgment of him as being Good? What would he have to do for you to consider him not to be Good?
It's quite possible to recognize God as the ontological source of morality, and still come to know what is good before one comes to know God. The Higgs boson is the (postulated) source of mass, but humanity understand the concept of mass far before the concept of Higgs bosons.
Also, God is the source of morality - imagining an evil God is to imagine dry water. We both agree some things are wet, but I find myself in the bizarre situation of being the only one in this conversation who believes in water.
This isn't quite accurate, MIC. Anyone's actions are perfectly justified to themselves, as long as they follow their own morality. Do you disagree with that statement? I can't see how you would object to its veracity. It's practically tautologically true, no?
Sure, I agree. But you're sidestepping the question.
My question to you is, is there a fundamental difference between your actions and Pol Pots?
Are your actions are any more justifiable according to dispassionate reality than Pol Pots, regardless of what you or he think about them? Both sets of actions were perfectly justified according to their own internal moral framework.
I'll grant that we may not like it when people do bad things, but statements "Person A ought not do thing B" really can't be uttered if there are no objective moral truths.Sure they can, with the understanding that "ought" is an assertion of the speaker's moral authority among those to whom (s)he is speaking.
There's that moral authority again. Exactly what moral authority do you feel you have? Do you feel others ought dislike murder because you do? If so, do you feel others ought disklike sardines because you do? If morals are subjective, what's the difference between the two?
Azdgari, let's say I'm a hypothetical person who enjoys torturing homeless people, the wretched louts, because they're contributing to the downfall to the American dream. Dirty bums.
You, I assume, feel somewhat more compassionately toward the homeless.
Clearly, we have different moral frameworks. My question to you is, is one set better than the other?
Thanks for the discussion, gonna be away from the computer for the weekend.