Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Loftistic duplicity

JOHN W. LOFTUS SAID:

Have you yet reviewed Erik J. Wielenberg's book, Value and Virtue in a Godless Universe? (Cambridge University Press, 2005). I don't think such simplisms, even if coming from my friend Copan, are worthy of what we in the opposition are actually saying.

http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2007/05/naturalistic-evolutionary-ethics.html

1:46 PM, May 07, 2007, John W. Loftus said...

I don't think there is an eternal Platonic standard of morality. Some atheists like Wielenberg do.

http://debunkingchristianity.blogspot.com/2007/05/christians-have-no-ultimate-standard-of.html

Notice that having apparently endorsed Wielenberg’s book as presenting a cogent, secular alternative to Christian ethics, Loftus, in another thread, admits that he rejects Wielenberg’s solution.

1:48 PM, May 07, 2007, Prup (aka Jim Benton) said...

I do not believe in 'ultimate moral standards.' Since 'good' and 'evil' are judgments on specific actions of human beings, I believe that the terms are the responsibility of humans. However I also believe that communication, co-operation, ethics, and most particularly empathy are evolutionally 'programmed' into us because they are the most important survival traits we possess.

http://debunkingchristianity.blogspot.com/2007/05/christians-have-no-ultimate-standard-of.html

As I’ve pointed out on several occasions, there are several things wrong with evolutionary ethics. Just to name a few:

i)It commits the is-ought fallacy as well as the naturalistic fallacy.

ii)Assuming that evolution has programmed us to be altruistic, yet once we become aware of our programming, we are then in a position to see that our moral intuitions are illusory and repudiate our evolutionary conditioning.

iii)Notice how the appeal to evolutionary ethics is being used to underwrite the politically correct orthodoxy of 21C liberal Western values. Funny how our evolutionary programming happens to exactly correspond to the New York Times editorial page.

5:26 PM, May 07, 2007, Curiosis said...

Morality is a social construct. It exists only to allow humans to live and work together. Imagine that you were all alone on an island. Can you do anything immoral? No, because there is no victim for your immoral act. There is no objective morality because the rules are made by humans based on our desires. I once read that murder will be considered immoral so long humans dislike being murdered. We have morality for the same reason that sports have rules. Imagine a football game with no rules. It would be utter chaos, and likely nothing would ever be accomplished. The rules of the game only make sense in the context of a goal. The goal in football is an exciting game where no one is injured, and everyone has a fair chance. Any rule contrary to these goals is discarded.

http://debunkingchristianity.blogspot.com/2007/05/christians-have-no-ultimate-standard-of.html

This statement has the merit of intellectual candor. And how many of you would like to see such an admission enacting into law? Would you want the attending physician at the ER to operate with this philosophy?

13 comments:

  1. what's the difference between the naturalistic fallacy and the is-ought fallacy? I was under the impression that they were the same thing.

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  2. Somewhat different formulations. The is-ought fallacy goes back to Hume, while the naturalistic fallacy goes back to Moore. Cf.

    http://www.iep.utm.edu/e/evol-eth.htm

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  3. Peyton Manning5/08/2007 1:12 PM

    "We have morality for the same reason that sports have rules. Imagine a football game with no rules. It would be utter chaos, and likely nothing would ever be accomplished. The rules of the game only make sense in the context of a goal. The goal in football is an exciting game where no one is injured, and everyone has a fair chance. Any rule contrary to these goals is discarded."

    But there are different sports. Rules in the one don't apply to the other. In fact, it would be ludicrous to hold a baseball player guilty for "holding" or a running back for "traveling."

    So why does this debunker think he can referee another sport? If he doesn't want to play the child molesting sport, fine! But don't come and impose the rules of another sport onto their sport.

    If his sporting analogy were serious, then since he thinks it ludicrous that a home plate umpire would charge an NFL quaterback with a balk, then how is it not just as ludicrous for a Westerner to call a foul against the rules of Muslim's which impose the penalty of gang rape for certain sexual "crimes" the women may have committed according to Islamic law?

    Now if there were transcendant rules, and we were all on the same field, with the same end in sight, one could make sense of this. But the problem is that, minus the Christian worldview we're left with multiple sports and multiple atheletes. That the debunker would throw the yellow flag against another sport, which doesn't even have those rules, is proof that he doesn't agree with his sporting analogy or that he's assuming Christian ethics.

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  4. It commits the is-ought fallacy as well as the naturalistic fallacy.

    Really? That's very interesting to me, since at the ultimate foundational level one man's fallacy is another man's anomally.

    I hope you study logic a little more deeply than this.

    I know, I know, who am I to talk about logic when I don't have any ultimate foundations for it? Well, neither do you.

    Maybe that explains why we disagree so much, and maybe the other reason is that there is no such thing as logic in the abstract. We are not logic machines. We think from within our passionate selves, and our beliefs are formed from within out cultures, especially when there isn't a mutually agreed upon scientific test to decide between religious viewpoints (or non at all).

    But carry on. Don't let me raise one small pimple of doubt on your over-confident face. Pop it, even before it gets a head. Don't entertain anything but what you think the Bible says, because you think it says it.

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  5. I find it ironic that Loftus responds with comments that he cannot possibly believe (unless he is insane).

    He says:
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    ...at the ultimate foundational level one man's fallacy is another man's anomally.
    ---

    If Loftus really believes this, then I never want to hear him ever say that there are fallacies in Christian thought.

    He says:
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    I know, I know, who am I to talk about logic when I don't have any ultimate foundations for it? Well, neither do you.
    ---

    Coming from the same person who complains about tu quoque.

    He also says:
    ---
    We are not logic machines. We think from within our passionate selves, and our beliefs are formed from within out cultures, especially when there isn't a mutually agreed upon scientific test to decide between religious viewpoints (or non at all).
    ---

    Which must, of course, include his own views presented above. If we assume Loftus is right (yeah, I know that's hard), he's left cutting his own throat. He cannot know what is actually true...yet he continually argues as if he does.

    If Loftus really did believe that his beliefs (as well as mine) were derrived from cultural memes and personal passions, then he has no basis to contend that his view is right and mine is wrong. But his very blog, dedicated to debunking Christianity, belies this concept.

    Loftus doesn't for a minute think his own personal views are simply a product of his culture. He thinks they are objectively true. He thinks Christianity is objectively false. This is why he rails on and on against it. The above is just a cop-out he doesn't even believe.

    Finally, Loftus assumes that answers must be "scientific." But how does Loftus know that science (whatever that is) is the final arbiture for belief systems anyway? The fact that Loftus complains that positions he claims are all relative in the first place don't fit to an objective source that he, from his relativism, decided they must all fit to, shows that Loftus doesn't believe what he said at all.

    If Loftus doesn't believe his own comments, why should we?

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  6. Pike, my outsider test argument is an inductive one, not a deductive one which leads to a conclusion taht is certain. You do know the difference, don't you? There is no contradiction in assessing the odds of one's belief being wrong and then subjecting it to doubt.

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  7. Loftus, my intestinal argument is a reproductive one, not an unproductive one which leads to a conclusion taht is spelled backwards. You do know the difference between forward and non-forward, don't you? There is no contradiction with being awed about a pet theory I wasn't talking about in the first place and not subjecting it to reasonable examination....

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  8. It seems that JL falls back into a defensive position from you critiques, but as he curls up to shield himself, he falls on his own sword with the assertions about no objective foundation of logic and morality and etc.

    Why does he argue with you if he believes that? Sophistry?

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  9. Two reasons.

    (1) JL is really an anti-theist
    (2) He's frustrated (and desparate) that his quest to prove Christianity irrational isn't going exactly according to plan.

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  10. Do you Calvinists believe that someone could be "elected" but not outwardly know/acknowledge it? That is, do you think it is possible that someone could inwardly think that God probably doesn't exist, but entertain notions that some sort of God might, (weak atheism) and yet be "saved"?

    On the same note, do you think that JL or anyone else you consider "anti-theist" could actually be elect?

    Is there some requirement that someone who is "elect" must show outward signs of this, or acknowledge it to him/herself or to others?

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  11. Glow asked:
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    Do you Calvinists believe that someone could be "elected" but not outwardly know/acknowledge it?
    ---

    Depends on what you mean. Strictly, every Elect individual fit this description before their Justification. However, if you mean it (as seems to be implied) as someone who never shows fruit, then no. When God Justifies someone, they will show evidence of it. Those whom God Elects, He does Justify. Therefore, at some point, all the Elect will show evidence of their Justification.

    Glow asked:
    ---
    That is, do you think it is possible that someone could inwardly think that God probably doesn't exist, but entertain notions that some sort of God might, (weak atheism) and yet be "saved"?
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    The Bible gives us no warrant to believe in that possibility. In fact, Scripture is clear that Jesus is the only way to salvation. Furthermore, it is clear that faith in Him is how we are Justified. While it is theoretically possible that God could justify a person without that person's knowledge, there is no reason to think this ever happens and, indeed, good reason to say it NEVER happens.

    Glow said:
    ---
    On the same note, do you think that JL or anyone else you consider "anti-theist" could actually be elect?
    ---

    We do not know who the elect are. Loftus could be elect. If so, some day he will understand why his arguments were so wrong. As for your last question, I think that's answered above :-)

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  12. Peter,

    Thanks for answering my questions.

    If you believe as you've laid out here, then God could "justify" someone at the moment of their death, or possibly at the judgment seat, I suppose, via the death of Jesus, right?

    And if that's true, then we can deduct that the most ardent atheists could still wind up in heaven, by the grace of God, and by no effort to believe on their own.

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  13. ...the most ardent atheists could still wind up in heaven, by the grace of God, and by no effort to believe on their own.

    One of the silliest things I've heard, and another reason to reject Calvinism.

    But, if true, I've got nothing to lose, now do I.

    See ya in heaven! ;-)

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