Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Bad is rad

john w. loftus said...

“All human beings want to be happy. It motivates us all.”

Have you ever noticed that those who live for pleasure are often miserable? The ennui of the idle rich?

“To ask why we should want happiness is like asking why we want to stay alive...we just do.”

To ask the sadist why he likes to torture kittens is like asking why he wants to stay alive...he just does, dude.

“This is our purpose, our ‘ends,’ to be happy, holistically. It’s the reason we do everything we do, and as such it’s normative.”

You’re confusing normality with normativity. Normality is a descriptive characterization whereas normativity is an evaluative characterization. In Aztec culture, human sacrifice is normal, but that doesn’t make it normative. That doesn’t make it right. What is normal is not a moral norm.

“We should all strive to be happy, for it is what makes life worth living.”

According to eliminative materialism, happiness is an illusion. Feelings are illusory. That’s folk psychology.

Notice that Loftus can’t bring himself to abide by the grim implications of his atheism. He’s a soft atheist, not a soft atheist. A radical chic, day-tripper. Decaffeinated theism for the frappuccino generation.

ii) Loftus is also confounding “worth” as a motive with worth as

“A virtuous person is a holistically happy person. Such a person has character.”

Jeffery Dahmer was a virtuous person. A holistic hedonist. His whole life was devoted to the pursuit of happiness. He dedicated his life to self-gratification. Why, Dahmer was a secular saint.

“Such a person promotes human flourishing.”

There’s nothing humanitarian about hedonism. Any humanitarian side-effects would be purely incidental.

The acid test of virtue is doing the right thing even if it makes you sad.

“Your God is a despicable thug, a degenerative dictator, who can never be trusted, and who is unworthy of any kind of worship.”

Emotive adjectives don’t amount to a reasoned argument.

But let’s suppose, for the sake of argument, that God is a “degenerative dictator who can never be trusted.” So what?

What if God is a hedonist, like Loftus? What if it gives God pleasure to be a “degenerative dictator”? A cosmic hedonist can also be a cosmic sadist.

A sadist is a utilitarian hedonist. For him, the common good is the greatest pain for the greatest number. For him, that’s what makes life worth living. Bad is rad.

“You believe the weight of evidence of historically conditioned documents as idiosyncratically interpreted by you, over the weight of the empirical evidence of horrible evils themselves.”

There is no empirical evidence for evil. There’s empirical evidence for pain and suffering. But evil is not an empirical property. Rather, evil is an evaluation of certain sensible events, as well as certain supersensible events (i.e. evil thoughts).

“Yes, there is debate about what these norms should be, but that debate has always taken place and the main reason why our norms have progressed up until now, and keep getting better and better.”

Like Dahmner’s menu. First the appetizers. Then the main course. Then desert!

It just gets better and better. "I can't believe it's not butter!"

Jeffrey Dahmer was a hedonistic humanitarian. He loved human beans.


  1. Is it just me or is Loftus the atheist Dave Armstrong?

  2. No, Dave is a lot more logical...

    which doesn't say too much...

    and (every once and awhile) he'll actually try to see things from your worldview and not beg fundamental questions under dispute.