Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Atheistic moral realism

By Erik Wielenberg.

71 comments:

unkleE said...

That is a great paper. Even as a non-philosopher, I could understand it at first reading. More importantly, I have long thought similarly to him. The attempts to explain God's character as the basis for ethics fail to answer the question of whether God has that character because it is good, or it is good because God has that character.

In the end, we don't regard it detrimental to God's character that he conforms to logic, we can accept that 1+1 = 2 is REALLY true, and even God can only make it different by redefining the numbers or words. So I see no problem in saying that God calls things good because they really ARE good independent of him (though of course noting can really be independent of him).

But as a christian, I think morality still depends on God but in a different way that I'm not sure I can formulate clearly enough.

(1) It is clear that human moral faculties are far from perfect, and we need God's authority to properly recognise good. (2) The paper doesn't explain how moral truths exist in a material universe, but a christian can say they exist in the mind of God (not by definition like in divine command theory but in recognition) and he has created a universe where they are can be known.

That's all very brief, but I think that is what I think. For whatever that's worth!

Thanks for the paper, it was well worth reading.

Ilíon said...

'So what?'

B. Prokop said...

As Dostoevsky wrote: Нет бессмертия души, так нет и добродетели, значит, всё позволено. … Без бога-то и без будущей жизни? Ведь это, стало быть, теперь всё позволено, всё можно делать?

Gist of the above: Without immortality, all is permissible.

B. Prokop said...

For the stickler in such things, a word-for-word translation would be:

[If there is] no immortality of the soul, then there is also no virtue, that is, all is permissible. Without God and the future (next) life? [In that case] for sure everything is lawful, one could do whatever he wishes.

grodrigues said...

Not that my opinion matters one iota, but the paper is overrated, although by the praise it gets in some quarters one would think that "Surely some revelation is at hand". The clincher is in page 26, which I will quote at length:

"Of the ethical states of affairs that obtain necessarily, at least some are brute facts. That pain is intrinsically bad is not explained in terms of other states of affairs that obtain. Moreover, at least some necessarily obtaining brute ethical facts are not trivial but substantive.16 Therefore, I have an ontological commitment shared by many theists: I am committed to the obtaining of substantive, metaphysically necessary, brute facts. Some ethical facts fall into this category; I call such facts basic ethical facts. Such facts are the foundation of (the rest of) objective morality and rest on no foundation themselves. To ask of such facts, “where do they come from?” or “on what foundation do they rest?” is misguided in much the way that, according to many theists, it is misguided to ask of God, “where does He come from?” or “on what foundation does He rest”? The answer is the same in both cases: They come from nowhere, and nothing external to themselves grounds their existence; rather, they are fundamental features of the universe that ground other truths."

As a reactionary, ultra-montane of an Aristotelian-Thomist persuasion, Swinburne is wrong and the analogy of Wielenberg fails -- whatever else God is, He is definitely not a brute fact; this is an absolute inegotiable bedrock point of classical theism. If Wielenberg takes consolation in positing brute facts, I suppose I can console myself in the brute fact that Wielenberg is wrong in positing brute facts (and no, I am not going to enter a discussion over the PSR).

Dustin Crummett said...

Ilion,

Wielenberg doesn't deny that "deny that moral duties and expectations are real (or "objective" as people like to say), transcendent and universally binding," so your link is beside the point.

Bob,

The claim in the cited passage might be correct if egoism is true: if the only thing I should care about is my own well-being, then it might be true that I can do whatever I want so long as I can get away with it, and I guess the absence of a just afterlife would mean that sometimes I can get away with it. But egoism isn't true; that I promised to, that it will help someone else avoid grievous harm, etc. all seem like reasons I lack the discretion to ignore whether or not anyone will punish me for ignoring them. So what's the motivation for the view in the passage?

B. Prokop said...

"So what's the motivation for the view in the passage?"

The motivation was actually quite succinctly spelled out by you yourself in your last posting. You wrote, "all seem like reasons I lack the discretion to ignore" (my emphasis). The key point here is the "I". Another person might/would have totally differing discretion, or a completely different list of reasons than you. If "this is all there is" then there are no grounds for either of you to say the other is acting unethically or immorally. All is "I" determined. Therefore, all is lawful.

Ilíon said...

some 'atheist' who doesn't want to acknowledge what atheism logically entails: "Wielenberg doesn't deny that "deny that moral duties and expectations are real (or "objective" as people like to say), transcendent and universally binding," so your link is beside the point."

But then, *all* 'atheists' are intellectually dishonest (which is worse than merely being a liar).

I don't really give a damn about whatever ad hoc assertions any 'atheist' (or anyone else) attempts to duct-tape to his premises, his fundamental affirmations and denials. What I care about is what logically follows from those fundamental affirmations and denials.

An 'atheist' who pretends to believe that the real existence of real moral duties is logically consistent with God-denial is like the mathematician who pretends to believe that the real existence of square circles is logically consistent with squares and circles.

Dustin Crummett said...

Bob,

Another person might/would have totally differing discretion, or a completely different list of reasons than you. If "this is all there is" then there are no grounds for either of you to say the other is acting unethically or immorally. All is "I" determined. Therefore, all is lawful.

Why think someone else wouldn't have these reasons? Maybe you're an egoist, and you think you only have reason to do something if it will promote your well-being. Or maybe you're a Humean, and you think you only reason to do something if doing it promotes a desire you have. If one of those views is right, it might be true that other people will have totally different reasons. But neither seems very plausible; in any event, it's clearly not the case that they're *obviously* true or that you're committed to them just in virtue of being an atheist.

Ilion,

some 'atheist' who doesn't want to acknowledge what atheism logically entails

I'm a Christian.

An 'atheist' who pretends to believe that the real existence of real moral duties is logically consistent with God-denial is like the mathematician who pretends to believe that the real existence of square circles is logically consistent with squares and circles.

Really? Do you have a formal proof of the inconsistency? You should publish it in Faith and Philosophy.

Jeffery Jay Lowder said...
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Jeffery Jay Lowder said...

But then, *all* 'atheists' are intellectually dishonest (which is worse than merely being a liar).

I'll comment on this with an exercise for the reader: What's more likely? That Ilion's omniscient or just a bigoted asshole?

I don't really give a damn about whatever ad hoc assertions any 'atheist' (or anyone else) attempts to duct-tape to his premises, his fundamental affirmations and denials. What I care about is what logically follows from those fundamental affirmations and denials.

Translation: He doesn't care about a thoughtful critique of his presupposition that atheism is logically inconsistent with morality, a critique which was good enough to get published in the premier Christian philosophical journal. In other words, he's revealing his prejudice.

An 'atheist' who pretends to believe that the real existence of real moral duties is logically consistent with God-denial is like the mathematician who pretends to believe that the real existence of square circles is logically consistent with squares and circles.

On the one hand, we have Ilion's mere assertion that this is so. On the other hand, we have an article-long critique, published in an academic journal and probably way over his head, which rebuts the very claim Ilion is making.

Readers who are more open-minded than Ilion may find the following article series of mine to be of interest:

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularoutpost/2014/10/15/index-atheists-on-atheistic-metaethics/

B. Prokop said...

Although Ilion and I are on the same page as far as the utter incoherence of all atheistic attempts to justify morality, I personally find no problem with atheists in practice being able to live good and moral lives. Heck, this is what no less than the New Testament says in multiple places. For example:

John notes that Christ is "the true light that enlightens every man" - not "some men" or "those who believe in Him" or "only Christians" but "every man".

Paul is even more explicit: "When Gentiles who have not the law do by nature what the law requires ... they show that what the law requires is written on their hearts."

So yes, whether or not one believes, he is still perfectly capable of responding to God's law in a positive fashion - even if he denies the very source of his knowledge of what is required of him.

Jeffery Jay Lowder said...

Although Ilion and I are on the same page as far as the utter incoherence of all atheistic attempts to justify morality

Can you please spell out the incoherence in general? And the incoherence specifically in Wielenberg's article?

I wish theists such as yourself would take the same critical thinking skills used to refute "logical arguments from evil for atheism" and apply them to "logical arguments from morality for theism." Just as no one has proven that God and evil are incompatible, no one has proven that the non-existence of God and objective morality are incompatible.

B. Prokop said...

"Can you please spell out the incoherence in general?"

I can do that in two words - subjectivity and transience.

1. Subjectivity. No atheistic explanation of morality has ever cleared this hurdle. And arguments from evolution are no help here. There is no justification for saying that "survival" is necessarily desirable, simply because "evolution" supposedly works toward that end.

2. Transience. If there are no eternal consequences for our actions, then I have to wholeheartedly agree with Ilion's "So what?" argument.
(See his posting at March 12, 2015 9:44 AM.)

Ilíon said...

"Although Ilion and I are on the same page as far as the utter incoherence of all atheistic attempts to justify morality, I personally find no problem with atheists in practice being able to live good and moral lives. Heck, this is what no less than the New Testament says in multiple places."

But, I've never said that so-called atheists can't "live good and moral lives" ... by living as though the metaphysics they assert is the truth about the nature of reality is not really the truth about the nature of reality, after all?

What I said is that every God-denier is intellectually dishonest, not that every God-denier goes around raping and murdering.

And that intellectual dishonesty starts with the fact that every God-denier:
1) *knows* that all men have the binding moral obligation to "live good and moral lives";
2) *knows* that the assertion of moral obligations and expectations is incoherent if atheism is the truth about the nature of reality;
3) ERGO, *every* God-denier *knows* that either:
3a) there are no moral obligations and expectations, after all;
3b) atheiem is not the truth about the nature of reality, after all.

But, what does *every* God-denier do? Does he acknowledge that God-denial is false, and thus cease to be a God-denier? Does he stop asserting moral demands upon others? No! He does neither; rather he continues -- because he *is* intellectually dishonest -- to assert both that God is not and that others have moral obligations to him.

Jeffery Jay Lowder said...

1. Subjectivity. No atheistic explanation of morality has ever cleared this hurdle. And arguments from evolution are no help here. There is no justification for saying that "survival" is necessarily desirable, simply because "evolution" supposedly works toward that end.

Since you claim that no atheist has ever cleared this hurdle, please post your refutation of atheist moral realists like Wielenberg, Quentin Smith, John Post, and others.

2. Transience. If there are no eternal consequences for our actions, then I have to wholeheartedly agree with Ilion's "So what?" argument.

That's irrelevant to whether morality is objective. Objective morality is consistent with transience.

Ilíon said...
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Ilíon said...

Some intellectually dishonest fool (that's a redundancy, by the way): "I'll comment on this with an exercise for the reader: What's more likely? That Ilion's omniscient or just a bigoted asshole?"

How about option 3: Ilíon is taking God-deniers at their loudly stated word ... while understanding that not a one of them really means-or-believes what they assert?

Isn't just the most amusing things that 'atheist' always want to have their cake and eat it too? And that they get really pissed-off when someone rubs their noses in the fact that that's not how the world works?

Ilíon said...

"If there are no eternal consequences for our actions, then I have to wholeheartedly agree with Ilion's "So what?" argument.
(See his posting at March 12, 2015 9:44 AM.)
"

I've posted (in the commbox) some further explanation in response to 'K T Cat'.

B. Prokop said...

"But, I've never said that so-called atheists can't "live good and moral lives""

My abject apologies if you thought I was saying you did. Careless sentence structure on my part. The "but" was directed at atheists who insist on saying, "But we can be just as good and moral as believers!"

B. Prokop said...

"please post your refutation of atheist moral realists like Wielenberg, Quentin Smith, John Post, and others."

Oh, please. While you're at it, why don't you ask me to write a concise summary of the development of Western Civilization since the building of Eridu, a precis of Reformation theology and its refutation, an analysis of how the Early Church Fathers anticipates the contemporary Catholic Church, and an interlinear commentary on The Shewings of Julian of Norwich?

Really?

B. Prokop said...

"Objective morality is consistent with transience."

The only way that could possibly be true is if all time is present (i.e., the ideas of "past" and"future" are illusions - consequences of our consciousness). But the huge problem with that "way out" is that Free Will is also ruled out. Since all actions are frozen in an eternal present*, there is no possibility of choice. But without choice, the very concept of "objective morality" is nonsensical. So once again, we are in the position of objective morality not being consistent with transience.

* This is in no way applicable to the question of whether God's omniscience deprives a person of Free Will (which it does not). Apples and oranges. God's omniscience is outside of time, a characteristic of His eternal being. But in that instance, time still exists - it is not an illusion. God is simply outside of it (because He created time, along with space, matter, and energy). The past is really and truly past, and the future is really and truly in the future.

Dustin Crummett said...

1. Subjectivity. No atheistic explanation of morality has ever cleared this hurdle. And arguments from evolution are no help here. There is no justification for saying that "survival" is necessarily desirable, simply because "evolution" supposedly works toward that end.

But of course, if you gave literally even the most cursory glance at the paper being discussed, you'd see that this isn't what Wielenberg does.

Look: explanations have to stop somewhere. You think the wrongness of murder is explained by God's having forbidden it, and when someone asks why commands from a being relevantly like God have objectively binding normative force, your answer, presumably, is that they just do, we've hit bedrock. (Or, again, maybe you're an egoist of an authoritarian bent, and you think they have force because God will wreck you if you ignore them. But then egoism is bedrock; when I ask why I have reason to promote my well-being and nothing else, there's no further answer.) Wielenberg, on the other hand, thinks murder is wrong because of certain features human beings have--rationality, sentience, etc. When you ask why these features of humans give the prohibition objectively binding normative force, the answer is that they just do, we've hit bedrock. The structure of the claims is obviously parallel. Maybe the position works and maybe it doesn't, but it's *obviously* not *incoherent.*

Jeffery Jay Lowder said...

Oh, please. While you're at it, why don't you ask me to write a concise summary of the development of Western Civilization since the building of Eridu, a precis of Reformation theology and its refutation, an analysis of how the Early Church Fathers anticipates the contemporary Catholic Church, and an interlinear commentary on The Shewings of Julian of Norwich?

Really?


Yes, really. If you're going to make universal generalizations, please be prepared to back them up or retract them.

Jeffery Jay Lowder said...

The only way that could possibly be true is if all time is present (i.e., the ideas of "past" and"future" are illusions - consequences of our consciousness).

Not only is that irrelevant, but I consider that to be a very odd topic to even mention in this context. The way that objective morality could be logically consistent with transience is if:

(1) Objective moral values exist.

and

(2) The existence of OMVs is independent of whether there are eternal consequences of our actions.

Not only are (1) and (2) logically consistent, but (1) is completely neutral on (2). To say that objective moral values exist is simply to say that moral values are not determined by what anyone thinks. That says precisely *nothing* about whether there are eternal consequences for our actions.

It could be the case that there are OMVs and our actions have eternal consequences. It could also be the case that there are OMVs and our actions do NOT have eternal consequences. The existence of OMVs doesn't make either of these possibilities more likely than the other.

Dustin Crummett said...
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Dustin Crummett said...

The only way that could possibly be true is if all time is present (i.e., the ideas of "past" and"future" are illusions - consequences of our consciousness)

What? Why?

We don't usually think that the fact that things will turn out the same makes what happens irrelevant. My lunch will turn out about the same no matter what (within reason) I eat, but that doesn't make me indifferent to what I have. And if our earthly lives don't matter in and of themselves, it's hard to see why extending them indefinitely would cause them to gain importance.

Shelley Kagan and WLC had a debate that (among other things) covered this a few years ago, which is worth watching if you get a chance: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SiJnCQuPiuo

Ilíon said...

"The past is really and truly past, and the future is really and truly in the future."

The put it better, "'The past' is really and truly past, and 'the future' is really and truly potentiality." What I mean is that there is no such thing as "The Future"; rather, there is a vast number (though non-infinite) of potential futures ... and God knows *all* of them.

B. Prokop said...

Ilion,

I think we're saying the same thing with different words, but I'm not sure.

Chris said...

Are we basically talking about natural law without God?

B. Prokop said...

HERE is an article in The Guardian by an atheist who holds that atheism is incompatible with believing in Objective Morality.

Dustin Crummett said...

Of course, Gray's point is irrelevant to Wielenberg's view. Gray's charge is that science can't vindicate a universal morality, but this is exactly what we would expect on Wielenberg's view, since he thinks moral facts are non-natural and not amenable to scientific investigation. As far as I can tell, you and Ilion have given up, not only on responding to the points Jeff and I have raised, but on even saying anything relevant to the paper linked in the OP, instead relying on a combination of unsupported assertion and attacks on views your opponent isn't committed to.

B. Prokop said...

"As far as I can tell, you and Ilion have given up ... on responding to the points Jeff and I have raised"

Not at all. I responded to them clearly and succinctly (at March 13, 2015 9:27 AM). What's the problem? Are two words insufficiently long-winded for you?

im-skeptical said...

Bob,

As I read the article you cite, I couldn't help thinking "This is not the kind of stuff an atheist would say". It is telling in particular that he links Nazi racism to atheistic thinking rather than the long-standing animosity of Christians toward Jews that is much more at the heart of it, as if atheists were the inventors of racism.

As it turns out, John gray is a follower of Indian or Hindu spiritualism. Given your propensity for dishonesty, it is not surprising that you would call him an atheist.

B. Prokop said...

Dishonesy? He calls himself an atheist. Here are his own words:

"Many who are atheists in this sense (including myself) regard the evangelical atheism that has emerged over the past few decades with bemusement."

im-skeptical said...

He may call himself an atheist (in a sense), but he has a long history a atheism bashing.

Dustin Crummett said...

Not at all. I responded to them clearly and succinctly (at March 13, 2015 9:27 AM). What's the problem? Are two words insufficiently long-winded for you?

No, but the arguments are insufficiently valid for me.

I'd like explicit, straightforward answers to four items--yes/no answers, where applicable. I think these will help identify our points of disagreement. (You can ask me a series of questions of your own, if you'd like.) I'm being totally genuine when I'm asking for this. As a Christian, I'd like it if what you're saying is true. And as a philosopher with a respect for common sense views, I'm interested in trying to figure out why so many people think what you think.

Here goes:

1. Why can't Wielenberg account for the objectivity of morality? It isn't the reason you gave in your cited comment (about the failure of evolutionary accounts,) since his isn't an evolutionary account.

2. Are you either an egoist or a Humean--that is, do you think the only feature that can give me an intrinsic reason to perform an act is that it will promote my well-being or fulfill a desire I have?

3. Do you think the fact that two processes will lead to the same end state automatically means it doesn't matter which one occurs? If so, what's you response to the worries I raised in my comment on March 13, 2015 11:11 AM?

4. If "no" to 2 and 3, why think transcience poses a problem for morality? It's *always* possible to ask "So what?"--that's God's will, so what? God will punish us if we do that; so what?--and at some point the answer has to be that we've hit bedrock, this is something we're rationally required to care about and that's that. Wielenberg's claim is that the fact that an action will, say, cause pain to an innocent child is something you're rationally required to care about just because of the pain, apart from whether you really do care about it, apart from whether you'll be punished for it later, apart from what the universe will be like in a quadrillion years. If not for something like 2 or 3, why is this an unacceptable stopping place for a moral explanation?

B. Prokop said...

Question 1. The basic problem with Weilenberg's thesis is it relies upon the acceptance of brute facts (italics in the original). He himself characterizes his reasoning in this manner. Utterly independent of this particular issue, I reject all "brute fact" arguments. In the end, they all basically boil down to saying "Just because".

2. I must admit that I do not understand the question.

3. You write, "My lunch will turn out about the same no matter what (within reason) I eat, but that doesn't make me indifferent to what I have." But that is true only as long as you are alive and conscious, and can recall what you ate. After your death (or after you forget about your lunch), it make no difference whatsoever what you ate for lunch. None - unless the period of time in which you ate the lunch is eternally present. In which case, you had no ability to choose what you ate, so there can be no moral or ethical dimension to your gustatory habits.

4. I fail to see how you cannot understand that, in the absence of personal immortality, nothing whatsoever matters an instant after our deaths. For the pitifully brief span of our Earthly existence, one might be able to justify caring about things, but even that does not change the fact that ultimately there would be no meaning, no value judgement attachable to anything whatsoever. The "So what?" response is totally appropriate.

B. Prokop said...

Let me see if I can answer your question number 2.

1. I believe that the most fundamental truth that can be expressed about reality is the Trinity. The interrelationship between the Persons of the Holy Trinity define what existence is. ("I am who am")

2. Insofar as our own relationships with God and our fellow human beings mirror those between the Persons of the Trinity, we conform our being to "The Way Things were Meant to Be". When we fail in this, we fall short of perfection, and (to greater or lesser extents) we sin.

3. The relationship between the Persons of the Trinity is Love. When it comes to Jesus, the incarnate Word, we best see this Love in action by His emptying of Himself and His total submission to the will of the Father.

3b. Charles Williams is perhaps the theologian I most look to in understanding this process, and how it relates to "How We Must Live". In his poetry, he wrote:

The everlasting house the soul discovers is always another's; we must lose our own ends
We must always live in the habitation of our lovers,
My friend's shelter for me, mine for him


3c. Perhaps even more to the point, when Christ was on the Cross, various passersby mocked Him, telling Him to come down from the Cross, saying "He saved others, himself he cannot save." (Mark 15:31) These mockers had no idea how true their words were. We cannot save ourselves. We must rely on others for our own well being, and concern ourselves with the welfare of others. That is the very essence of Objective Morality.

4. So as to "promoting my own well being" as being the proper motivation for Good Action, I could not disagree more.

DJC said...

llion,

"every God-denier:
1) *knows* that all men have the binding moral obligation to "live good and moral lives";"


Yes, (almost) every person recognizes that they are beings with moral obligations to other persons and that expect moral obligations from others. We recognize this in the same fundamental way we recognize that we are beings that need food and water.

"*knows* that the assertion of moral obligations and expectations is incoherent if atheism is the truth about the nature of reality;"

But that doesn't follow. Recognizing that one has moral obligations to others and expects moral obligations from others is simply recognizing that one is the type of being that requires, accepts and enforces moral rules of social behavior. There is nothing else about reality that needs to be posited here. There is no need to posit that morality must be enforced or grounded in God when it is already enforced and grounded in moral beings.

B. Prokop said...

" There is no need to posit that morality must be enforced or grounded in God when it is already enforced and grounded in moral beings."

Circular reasoning, anyone?

Dustin Crummett said...

Question 1. The basic problem with Weilenberg's thesis is it relies upon the acceptance of brute facts (italics in the original). He himself characterizes his reasoning in this manner. Utterly independent of this particular issue, I reject all "brute fact" arguments. In the end, they all basically boil down to saying "Just because"

You deny that you're committed to brute facts in Wielenberg's sense? Again, I claim that someone can always ask "So what?" in response to whatever consideration you raise--Why should I care what God commands? Why should I care about my eternal salvation? etc.--and that, upon pain of regress, at some point you'll have to appeal to some consideration which *just is* intrinsically important and whose importance isn't explained by anything else. If you have some other way of terminating the regress, by all means, show me.

I think we're in agreement on 2.

But that is true only as long as you are alive and conscious, and can recall what you ate. After your death (or after you forget about your lunch), it make no difference whatsoever what you ate for lunch

Wait--so you think nothing matters if you'll eventually forget it? So you actually are totally indifferent to what you eat for lunch? to almost everything you do?

4. I fail to see how you cannot understand that, in the absence of personal immortality, nothing whatsoever matters an instant after our deaths. For the pitifully brief span of our Earthly existence, one might be able to justify caring about things, but even that does not change the fact that ultimately there would be no meaning, no value judgement attachable to anything whatsoever. The "So what?" response is totally appropriate.

Let's draw a distinction between "making a difference" and "making a difference at a time." The dog I had as a child doesn't really make a difference to me right now, because he died many years ago. (Maybe he makes a slightly negative difference, because I get a little sad when I think about him.) The cats I own now didn't use to make a difference to my life, because they weren't born yet. But both the dog and my cats have made a positive difference to my life by keeping me company, making me happy, providing me with valuable relationships, and so on. The whole decades long event that is my earthly life is better for me on account of their inclusion in it, even though it's not better *at this moment* for my dog's inclusion in it. (Analogy: my car is heavier for the engine's inclusion in it, even though the trunk of the car isn't heavier for the engine's inclusion in the car.)

Suppose atheism is true and nothing gold can stay (or, for that matter, suppose the version of theism accepted by some of the ancient Jews on which there was no afterlife is true.) There will be a time at which nothing that's happened can make a difference to me, because I'll be dead. Very sad. But that doesn't mean nothing will have made a difference; rather lots of things made differences, even though that won't be able make a difference to me anymore. My life will have gone better or worse than it might have. And likewise, if some day the universe ends in heat death: very sad. Nothing will be able to make a difference anymore. But still, the world will have gone better or worse for the events in it.

What matters, I think, is the whole that we're evaluating, not the individual time-slices of it, and so I think that what matters is whether something makes a difference, not whether it makes a difference a quadrillion years from now. Maybe you disagree. But your position is far from obviously true.

B. Prokop said...

Maybe we're at an impasse here. I simply cannot comprehend how anything would matter in the final analysis without personal immortality. The very idea of it makes no sense whatsoever to me. Perhaps we define the term "matter" differently.

Dustin Crummett said...

I can't see how, if a finite life is necessarily valueless, making it longer--even infinitely longer--would help. Cést la vie.

Do you have a response to the first paragraph of my last post--how do you avoid positing brute facts? And could you answer the question I asked in response to your answer to my (3)--do you actually think nothing matters if you don't remember it (including, presumably, almost everything that happens to you?)

DJC said...

B. Prokop,

"Circular reasoning, anyone?"

Aren't human beings generally the type of being that, as a matter of intrinsic necessity, requires, accepts and enforces moral rules for social behavior? Why isn't that fact a grounding for moral behavior?

You can certainly argue that this grounding is only to a first approximation and goes deeper, back to an intelligent designer/creator, which is fine. But if so, there's no reason to charge my view of incoherence, only incompleteness.

Keep in mind I'm trying to understand why llion is making the accusation of intellectual dishonesty. He's not making the charge of incompleteness.

B. Prokop said...

"I'm trying to understand why llion is making the accusation of intellectual dishonesty"

That's one area where Ilion and I do not see eye to eye. I also do not always understand why he is so quick to make that accusation. (That said, there are one or two habitual posters to this website who are indisputably "intellectually dishonest".)

Ilíon said...

"That's one area where Ilion and I do not see eye to eye. I also do not always understand why he is so quick to make that accusation."

Oh, come on! I've already (months ago) explained the criteria by which I decided to label someone as being 'intellectually dishonest'. There's nothing quick about it from my direction ... any perception of quickness to make the judgment depends upon how quick the other is to reveal himself as being so.

AND, JUST AS IMPORTANTLY ... can anyone *honestly* say I am wrong when I express that judgment about some individual?

Dan Gillson said...

Yup.

Dustin Crummett said...

Ilion, seriously, if you can prove the incompatibility of atheism and objective morality as decisively as you claim, write up a proof and send it to Faith and Philosophy. I know the editor; if your argument is as devastating as you say, he'd be thrilled to publish it. Indeed, if it's as devastating as you say, it could be a seminal work in the discipline, taught in introductory philosophy classes across the country. This would be of far greater importance than any number of blog postings.

Surely the reason you don't do this isn't because your claims are just bluster, right? That would be intellectually dishonest.

B. Prokop said...

Dustin,

I've read Ilion's comments on this subject over on his blog. They may not be written as neatly as a published journal might demand, but the reasoning is damn near unassailable. I see no need for Ilion to re-write his postings just so they can be published. They're already out there on the web for all to see.

im-skeptical said...

"the reasoning is damn near unassailable"

If you think the a priori assumption of a God that is the source of all intelligence and all morality, as well as purpose and meaning makes for an unassailable argument. His arguments all make this assumption.

Dustin Crummett said...

Bob, like I said, it would gain him far wider readership, as well as increased credibility. If it's really both entirely obviously and as rigorous as a mathematical proof--which is what he claims--I'm sure making it publishable wouldn't be difficult. And, to be honest, I'm not totally sure I trust your judgment about what's "damn near unassailable." Incidentally, are you going to answer the two questions I asked you in my last response to you?

B. Prokop said...

"it would gain him far wider readership, as well as increased credibility"

You're assuming that Ilion is motivated by either of those two things.

"Do you have a response to the first paragraph of my last post--how do you avoid positing brute facts?"

Not sure how to answer that. I personally have never engaged in brute fact argumentation, so I'm not sure how to avoid something I've never done. It's kinda like asking me how do I avoid smoking. I just don't do it.

msgrx said...

DJC:

"Aren't human beings generally the type of being that, as a matter of intrinsic necessity, requires, accepts and enforces moral rules for social behavior? Why isn't that fact a grounding for moral behavior?"

I'm not so sure about that. True, normal people (discounting psychopaths for the moment) do often appeal to moral rules, but most people also try and wriggle out of following them at least sometimes, and some people do so rather often.

Even ignoring this issue, there's still the problem that different societies' moralities often diverge, sometimes quite wildly. The Aztecs, for example, thought it was moral to slaughter captives by the thousand as sacrifices to the gods. If there is some sort of necessity in human nature that leads us to enforce moral rules, then both Aztec morality and modern liberal morality are equally the results of this; in which case, how do you rank one as being better than the other? You might, of course, just claim that *having some sort of morality* is necessary, whilst not judging any particular moral rule as being better than any opposing rule, but if (as is often the case in these debates) you're trying to seize the moral high ground against those vicious and backward faith-heads, that position isn't going to be enough.

Ilíon said...

B.Flatterin' "the reasoning is damn near unassailable"

Darwins' Projectionist "If you think the a priori assumption of a God that is the source of all intelligence and all morality, as well as purpose and meaning makes for an unassailable argument. His arguments all make this assumption."

Oh, look! Dawkins' Parrot has learned a new term of the art ... now if he could just figure out how to apply it properly. Which is to say, to himself. Still, as long as he has that DarLogic Module(tm) plugged in, I suppose the above projectionism is the best we can hope for.

Now, of course, and as every open-minded person can admit, the truth is that my argument(s) start with the a priori assumption that "God is *not*". That is, my argument(s) assume that atheism is the truth about the nature of reality ... however, unlike I-pretend-to-be-rational and other so-called atheists, I don't stop at that point. Rather, I then note that this or that absurdity naturally, logically, inescapably follows from the assumption that the proposition "God is not" tells us an important truth about the nature of reality. And, since the noticed absurdity is inherent in the proposition that "God is not", my argument(s) conclude that "God is not" is false, and that, ergo, the proposition “God is” is true.

It seems that the irreconcilable difference between I-pretend-to-be-rational and other so-called atheists, on the one hand, and me and other "Christianists" (as they like to call us), on the other hand, is that they assert that the nature of reality is fundamentally irrational, and indeed, anti-rational (*), whereas we aver that the nature of reality is fundamentally rational.

(*) and, in their up-side-down bizarre-world, this means that they are rational and we are irrational.

im-skeptical said...

"since the noticed absurdity is inherent in the proposition that "God is not", my argument(s) conclude that "God is not" is false"

The absurdity that you always observe stems directly from the built-in (but unstated) presumption of God. If you weren't lying about your assumption for argument's sake that "God is not", then there would be no absurdity, as any naturalist would attest. It's not because all naturalists are irrational or incoherent. It's because you are unable to recognize that the presumption of God pervades all your arguments, even though you deny it.

B. Prokop said...

"B.Flatterin'"

Before you get too cocky, I must remind you that you have yet to repudiate Hell's Own Governing Constitution. That and your unreasoning antipathy towards the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. Other than those minor quibbles, you're all right in my books!

Just sayin...

B. Prokop said...

"If you weren't lying"

Methinks that Skep shoots from the hip far too often to ever be taken seriously when he charges someone with "lying". Note what he wrote at March 14, 2015 10:38 AM concerning yours truly: "Given your propensity for dishonesty", but when I backed up my supposedly dishonest statement with facts (a.k.a., evidence, which Skep supposedly respects), did he retract his slander?... (I thought not.)

How convenient. When you can't actually argue with someone, just call him a liar - done and dusted!

im-skeptical said...

But Bob, you are dishonest. That guy you cited is an atheist-basher. He is in no way representative of the thinking of materialist atheists that you are trying so desperately to refute. You call him "an atheist who holds that atheism is incompatible with believing in Objective Morality". By his own admission, he is an atheist only in the sense that he doesn't believe in the God of your Christian religion, but (like you) he does believe in souls and spirits, and is not a naturalist or a materialist. So the "logic" he uses to make his conclusions about the source of morality is much more akin to your own theistic thinking than to that of a naturalist/materialist.

Why should I retract my assertion that you are dishonest? You and Ilion are two peas in a pod. You have no idea how dishonest you are.


B. Prokop said...

"He is in no way representative"

But, Skip, I never made such a claim. How on Earth can you bash me for something I never wrote. I called John Gray an atheist. That all I said. In Mr. Gray's own words, "Many who are atheists in this sense (including myself)". Couldn't be clearer.

And what did I write concerning him? "HERE is an article in The Guardian by an atheist". Gee, where's the dishonesty.

You answer that he has a long history of "atheist bashing", so presumably you don't regard him as being a "real" atheist (No True Scotsman fallacy, anyone?). Well. I can point to quite a number of American citizens who have a long history of America bashing. Does that mean they are not Americans?

Ilíon said...

Dawkins'ProjectileParrot: "The absurdity that you always observe stems directly from the built-in (but unstated) presumption of God. If you weren't lying about your assumption for argument's sake that "God is not", then there would be no absurdity, as any naturalist would attest. It's not because all naturalists are irrational or incoherent. It's because you are unable to recognize that the presumption of God pervades all your arguments, even though you deny it."

I-pretend-to-be-rational is reasoning (if one may be forgiven for so abusing that poor, unassuming word) like this --
"Ilíon has reached a conclusion that agrees with his world-view and disagrees with my world-view ... therefore, he *must* be engaging in question-begging (and outright lying) ... 'cause I know that's the way I'd do it"

Dawkins'ProjectileParrot: "If you weren't lying about your assumption for argument's sake that "God is not" ..."

Gentle Reader will observe that those who accuse me of question-begging ... well, they never seem to get past the accusation and actually *identify* the begged question.

Ilíon said...

Dawkins'ProjectileParrot: "The absurdity that you always observe stems directly from the built-in (but unstated) presumption of God. If you weren't lying about your assumption for argument's sake that "God is not", then there would be no absurdity, as any naturalist would attest."

As Gentle Reader is doubtless aware, the "built-in (but unstated) presumption(s)" I make include such things as:
* "A = A"
* "A != !A"
* 2 + 1 = 1 + 2 (i.e. (1+1) + 1 = 1 + (1+1) )
* "Human beings are *rational* beings"
-- thus, "Human beings can know true propositions ... and can know that they know true propositions"
* "Logical reasoning from true premises/propositions yields true propositions"
* "Logical reasoning from untrue premises/propositions yields untrue propositions"
-- thus, "If one knows on other grounds that the conclusion of logical reasoning from a set of premises is untrue (or absurd), then one knows that one or more of the initial premises is false (or absurd)"

It's that last that really,really,really gets I-hate-reason-it-burns panties in a bunch.

As Gentle Reader is *also* doubtless aware, the proposition "God is not" is not the same proposition as "God is"

When Dawkins'ProjectileParrot says, "If you weren't lying about your assumption for argument's sake that "God is not", then there would be no absurdity, as any naturalist would attest", all he's really saying is "Naturalists always start with the presumption that "God is not" ... and judge the truth of any statement and the logic of any act of reasoning according to whether it comports with the assertion that "God is not""

Dawkins'ProjectileParrot: "It's not because all naturalists are irrational or incoherent."

As Gentle Reader *should* be aware, if I ever explicitly claim that "all naturalists are irrational or incoherent", it will be as a conclusion, not a premise.

In contrast, when naturalists claim that "all "religionists" are irrational or incoherent", as so many of them so constantly do, it's *always* asserted as a premise. Or, if one wishes to pretend that it's a conclusion, it's a "conclusion" of the premise that "any statement or act of reasoning that contradicts the statement that "God is not" is ipso facto irrational or incoherent". This is just how 'naturalists' (ahem!) reason.

Dawkins'ProjectileParrot: "It's because you are unable to recognize that the presumption of God pervades all your arguments, even though you deny it."

Ah! So, I'm *not* lying, after all ... I'm just mistaken and unable to see my mistake.

In contrast, I-pretend-to-be-rational *is* a liar (and, in fact, he's *worse* than a liar, for he's intellectually dishonest)

im-skeptical said...

Ilion,

I am duly impressed by your demonstration of the associative property of addition. However, your ability to perform simple arithmetic does not imply that your arguments are logically valid. How is it that you know your premises are true? It is my contention that they are not all true. It is my contention that despite your irrelevant diversion, you still make unstated assumptions that beg the question.

Here's a suggestion: why don't we settle the issue by examining your actual augments? Go ahead and show us your unassailable logic, and I'll point out where you got it wrong. And in the process of doing so, we'll all see who's being dishonest.

Ilíon said...

Ilíon: "As Gentle Reader is doubtless aware, the "built-in (but unstated) presumption(s)" I make include such things as:
* "A = A"
* "A != !A"
* 2 + 1 = 1 + 2 (i.e. (1+1) + 1 = 1 + (1+1) )
* "Human beings are *rational* beings"
-- thus, "Human beings can know true propositions ... and can know that they know true propositions"
* "Logical reasoning from true premises/propositions yields true propositions"
* "Logical reasoning from untrue premises/propositions yields untrue propositions"
-- thus, "If one knows on other grounds that the conclusion of logical reasoning from a set of premises is untrue (or absurd), then one knows that one or more of the initial premises is false (or absurd)
"

Im-an-intellectual-hypocrite-and-don't-you-forget-it: "I am duly impressed by your demonstration of the associative property of addition. ..."

Most so-called atheists -- and certainly the ones like I-pretend -- will dispute-and-deny every one of the "built-in (but unstated) presumption(s)" that I listed (and many more beside ... such as that there even are such things as 'selves') if that is what it takes to protect their God-denial from critical evaluation.

And then, having denied such fundamental things ... they will deny that they ever did any such a thing, dispite that anyone can read right there is black and white that they did (and frequently, just moments before).

Gentle Reader, you *need* to understand this: the self-proclaimed Paragons of 'Science!' And 'Reason!' don't give a damn about actual science or actual reason. Frequently, they detest both. And they will *always* retreat into irrationality -- they will *always* deny the ability of logical reasoning from true premises to identify false propositions -- when logical reasoning identifies the proposition that "God is not" as being false.

Im-deny-that-there-is-knowable-truth: "However, your ability to perform simple arithmetic does not imply that your arguments are logically valid. How is it that you know your premises are true?"

Rather than repeat myself, I refer the reader to my explanation above.

What he's demanding here is this: prove to me -- by which he means: compel me to admit -- that there is truth and that human beings can discover truths presently unknown to themselves, and that human beings can know that they know truth.

But, it is *impossible* to reason with people who deny that human beings can reason. Likewise, it is impossible to reason with people who deny the axiomatic basis of logic and logical reasoning.

Ilíon said...

I-want-to-play-Deny-and-Demand: "It is my contention that despite your irrelevant diversion, you still make unstated assumptions that beg the question."

Oh, indeed! I'm-a-liar will *contend* -- which is to say, merely assert -- that I beg the question. However, what he will *never* do is to even attempt to identify where or how I allegedly do so.

He will *deny* that I have successfully made whatever case I happen to be making, and *demand* that I make it again, this time without the alleged-and-very-non-specific flaws.

To put it another way, he's trying to shift *his* burden of proof to me. And, since I refuse to pick up his burden, he's going to try to pose as being "reasonable" in contrast to my "unreasonableness".

One of the reasons that he and his ilk play this particular game is because you "nice" people, you wannabe enforcers of "civility" -- you who like to condemn me for the "uncivil" manner in which I deal with intellectually dishonest persons -- act as their enablers. You sort aren't all that interested in reason, much less in truth, but you are interested in your reputations as "nice" people (until, "he made me mad", of course) ... and with getting a patronizing pat on the head from those to whom you have surrendered your dignity.

I-want-to-distract-you-down-this-rabbit-hole: "Here's a suggestion: why don't we settle the issue by examining your actual augments? Go ahead and show us your unassailable logic, and I'll point out where you got it wrong. And in the process of doing so, we'll all see who's being dishonest."

My arguments are already out there -- including in this very thread. If there were any place where I got it wrong, and if he had any intention to even attempt to show my alleged error(s), he'd work with the material already at his disposal.

This "proposal" is just theater for the benefit of "nice" people, and especially for the majority of people who haven't yet understood what "nice" people, with their generally hypocritical demands for "civility", are really all about. Well, that and to protect his own self-esteem (which, as is usual for self-esteem, has no relationship to self-respect).

This "proposal" is intended to be read this way by the unwary: "Look at me! Look at how *reasonable* I am being, unlike that mean ol' Ilíon, who won't even budge an inch." -- Normal people don't like conflict and disagreement; they don't like to be involved in it, and they don't like to witness it. People like Dawkins'ProjectileParrot -- and the "civility" police -- try to hook into that (generally subconscious) emotional response to disagreement as a means to non-rationally manipulate the reasoning of the unwary.

But, there is nothing reasonable about the man who denies the very basis of reason and reasoning. There is nothing reasonable about the man who denies the deliverances of reason when it's not the result he wants. There is nothing reasonable about the man who reserves to himself the "right" to retreat into irrationality when reason doesn't break in his preferred direction.

What the unwary are not supposed to notice is that if Im-a-liar could show me to be in error -- if he had any intention of even trying to do so -- he already has the material to work with, and he'd have already, months ago, have moved beyond mere-and-constant accusations to demonstrations.

Ilíon said...

=======
Perhaps I-pretend-to-be-rational just doesn't *get* it --

I am not "nice"; I have no intention of being "nice"; I'm neither impressed by nor intimidated by "nice" people (who are generally hypocrites on the matter, in any event); and I will *never* give the "nice" people the power to judge (or veto) me.

Having determined that he is intellectually dishonest, and having then publically stated it (and shown it), I will *never* play his distraction games -- rather, I will, when it suits my purpose, as here, make use of him (and his games) as illustrations of the truth of what I say -- and I will *never* give him veto power over me.

He freely chooses to be irrational and to be intellectually dishonest. I have openly stated those truths about him; I will not pretend that they are not true, nor that I have not stated them.

The only solution is for him to disavow irrationality and intellectual dishonesty. And, of course, consistently demonstrate over time that he really has done so. But, to do that, he would first have to openly acknowledge that he is intellectually dishonest, and that he gives himself permission to retreat into irrationality when that's what it takes to shelter his God-hatred from rational critical evaluation.

im-skeptical said...

To put it another way, he's trying to shift *his* burden of proof to me. And, since I refuse to pick up his burden, he's going to try to pose as being "reasonable" in contrast to my "unreasonableness".
If you refuse to just make a clean argument that we can all examine, that's fine. You have indeed said enough on this thread that we can see both your assumptions and your lies. Let's review.

Part 1

But then, *all* 'atheists' are intellectually dishonest (which is worse than merely being a liar). ... An 'atheist' who pretends to believe that the real existence of real moral duties is logically consistent with God-denial is like the mathematician who pretends to believe that the real existence of square circles is logically consistent with squares and circles.
So from this, we can see a couple of things: that your assumption of God is built into your argument, and that you are already making an invalid logical argument.
1) Objective morality (or moral duties) are dependent on God (from the quoted statement).
2) Denial of this is intellectually dishonest (tantamount to the claim that square circles are not logically absurd)
3) Therefore, all atheists are intellectually dishonest.
Note that this is not valid logic, especially in light of the fact that these statement were made in response to the statement that some atheists don't deny objective moral duties, which makes the conclusion non sequitur. Note also that statement 1) is very obviously dependent on your a priori assumption of God. This is consistent with all of your theistic arguments.

Now for your next argument (which I don't have to formulate, because you already did):
1) *knows* that all men have the binding moral obligation to "live good and moral lives";
2) *knows* that the assertion of moral obligations and expectations is incoherent if atheism is the truth about the nature of reality;
3) ERGO, *every* God-denier *knows* that either:
3a) there are no moral obligations and expectations, after all;
3b) atheiem is not the truth about the nature of reality, after all.
While conclusion 3a) of this argument is valid (based on the premises), conclusion 3b) is not, since it contradicts premise 1). Furthermore, the premises again show your built-in assumption of God. As always, there is no support or justification offered for this presumption.

the truth is that my argument(s) start with the a priori assumption that "God is *not*". That is, my argument(s) assume that atheism is the truth about the nature of reality ... however, unlike I-pretend-to-be-rational and other so-called atheists, I don't stop at that point. Rather, I then note that this or that absurdity naturally, logically, inescapably follows from the assumption that the proposition "God is not" tells us an important truth about the nature of reality. And, since the noticed absurdity is inherent in the proposition that "God is not", my argument(s) conclude that "God is not" is false, and that, ergo, the proposition “God is” is true.
Now, take a look at the previous argument (which came from this very thread). Where is your proposition that "God is not"? The truth is that you always assume God. Your denial of this is a blatant lie. I know that you have sometimes presented a "reductio ad absurdum" that postulates no God, but such arguments still arrive at the expected absurdity only by making the unstated assumption that God exists. This is consistent with all your arguments.

Continued ...

im-skeptical said...

Part 2

[atheists] assert that the nature of reality is fundamentally irrational, and indeed, anti-rational.
No, we don't. We claim that rationality arises from fundamental natural reality, which is the opposite of "anti-rational". Once again, you are lying.

"Ilíon has reached a conclusion that agrees with his world-view and disagrees with my world-view ... therefore, he *must* be engaging in question-begging (and outright lying) ... 'cause I know that's the way I'd do it"
I have already shown that you do in fact make your question-begging assumptions. This has nothing to do with whether you agree with me. It has everything to do with your (lack of) logic.

* "Human beings are *rational* beings"
-- thus, "Human beings can know true propositions ... and can know that they know true propositions"

But human beings are not always rational. They do and say many things that are emotional, or otherwise irrational. Furthermore, it does not follow that they will correctly recognize the truth of their propositions. Clearly, you don't. Things that you see as axiomatic (particularly your theistic assumptions) are not axiomatic. The mere fact that they are disputed by rational people should be your first clue. but you don't have a clue.

Most so-called atheists -- and certainly the ones like I-pretend -- will dispute-and-deny every one of the "built-in (but unstated) presumption(s)" that I listed (and many more beside ... such as that there even are such things as 'selves') if that is what it takes to protect their God-denial from critical evaluation.
Well, at last, you have admitted that you do make assumptions, but as I just said, what seems axiomatic to you is actually just an unjustified assumption to most people who are reasonable.

And then, having denied such fundamental things ... they will deny that they ever did any such a thing, dispite that anyone can read right there is black and white that they did (and frequently, just moments before).
What they are doing is recognizing the fact that these things are just unjustified assumptions.

But, it is *impossible* to reason with people who deny that human beings can reason. Likewise, it is impossible to reason with people who deny the axiomatic basis of logic and logical reasoning.
I don't deny that humans can reason. That's your own ridiculous conclusion that follows from your own assumption that rationality comes only from God. It does not follow from anything that atheists claim. Once again, you are lying.



Ilíon said...

B.Hypocritin': "Before you get too cocky, I must remind you that you have yet to repudiate Hell's Own Governing Constitution. That and your unreasoning antipathy towards the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. Other than those minor quibbles, you're all right in my books!

Just sayin...
"

Here, B.Hypocritin' brings up the areas of his own preferred intellectual dishonesty: the political assertion by leftist bureaucrats of ownership over you and me, and the moral assertion by religious bureaucrats (who, shockingly, tend to be leftists) of ownership over you and me.

"... I must remind you that you have yet to repudiate Hell's Own Governing Constitution."

Of course, since B.Hypocritin' is a bloody-minded leftist, what he refers to as "Hell's Own Governing Constitution" is what normal people mean by words such as 'freedom' and 'liberty'. Micah prophesies that "each man will sit under his own grapevine or under his own fig tree without fear" ... and leftists *hate* the non-coercive non-corporativism implicit in such freedom.

Further, I have multiple times, both on my blog and here, demonstrated the errors and/or unworkability and/or anti-liberty nature of specific of his policy preferences, as have others. And what is his response? 1) to ignore what he doesn't wish to know; 2) to loftily remind us how far more holy, or at least more morally elevated, he is than his interlocutor, since he's "taken a vow not to discuss politics online".

Apparently, this vow doesn't prevent him making pointless political digs, but only prevents him acknowledging that his criticisms (such as they are) have been more than answered.


"... That and your unreasoning antipathy towards the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church."

And, since he's a border-line Rah-Rah, what B.Hypocritin' refers to as my "unreasoning antipathy towards the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church" is what normal people might mean by "a reasonable and justified suspicion and skepticism toward *any* organization or bureaucracy that claims dominion over his life and very soul".

As with being shown the error of his leftist politics, B.Hypocritin's response to being shown the error of his Rah-Rahism -- say, concerning his, and Catholics in general, incoherent antipathy towards the great Protestant solas -- is to pretend that nothing happened and that nothing was said.

Shoot! He wouldn't even explain *why* I-pretend-to-be-rational's lie about "the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church" having fiddled with the text of Scripture so as to make it align with or support unspecified Catholic doctrines allegedly not grounded in (unfiddled) Scripture was so much worse than a mere lie. But then, he's not stupid, just dishonest -- I'm quite sure he had realized to what use I'd put that explanation.



Just sayin...

B. Prokop said...

I love you too, Ilion!

Ilíon said...

That's all well and fine. But, I'd prefer your intellectual honesty.