Thursday, July 02, 2020

The Outsider Test for Faith, and News

John Loftus, as we all know, uses an argument which he calls the Outsider Test for Faith. He claims that since people are influenced by where they were born as to what their religious beliefs are, you should believe only what you can prove objectively from the point of view of an outsider (that is, someone who holds no supernatural beliefs whatsoever.)  He thinks that since no supernatural claims meet that standard, you therefore ought to become an atheist.
But other beliefs seem to depend on where you were born. For example, my belief that the United States is good and not evil depends on the fact that I was born in America. If I were born in an Arab country,  I might think of the US as Satan America.
Not only that, but even our belief that there is a physical world is affected by where we were born. In India,  you are more likely to have the belief that our experience of the physical world is Maya, or illusion. Do you believe that there is a real physical world? 
Though I wonder if there couldn't be a case made for the Outsider Test for News. 

93 comments:

SteveK said...

The test that supersedes his test is the outsider case for human obligation. What fact of reality obligates me to do anything, care about anything or value anything? John believes I’m obligated to value his test. Prove it by taking my test first.

Hal said...

That Outsider Test sounds crazy. And I have no idea how one could apply it to the News.

Eric Vestrup said...

Is this "outsider test" ("OT") ultimately related to the idea that if you can explain that a person's believing X (X=Xty or atheism or whatever) is traceable to some degree on their being in a certain age and geographic area, then this somehow diminishes the likelihood or weight one should put on the truth of X? A form of Bulverism perhaps? Maybe I'm misunderstanding it.

But if not, and if my formulation of OT is fair or representative, isn't it self defeating, because (as I understand things) the OT itself is specific to a certain age and geographic area, i.e. our modern age and western hemisphere. Thus this should make us suspicious of the OT itself.

Or is this way too crude even for a preliminary thought?

bmiller said...

Eric,

It's not really related to age or region.

Here's Loftus's article.
THE OUTSIDER TEST FOR FAITH

Eric Vestrup said...

OK, I stand totally corrected then, thanks for the link.

Eric Vestrup said...

bmiller, I think this is the money quote then from the link you provide. Emphasis is mine.

The outsider test is simply a challenge to test one’s own religious faith with the presumption of skepticism, as an outsider. It calls upon believers to "Test or examine your religious beliefs as if you were outsiders with the same presumption of skepticism you use to test or examine other religious beliefs." Its presumption is that when examining any set of religious beliefs skepticism is warranted, since the odds are good that the particular set of religious beliefs you have adopted is wrong

Is this what people's understanding of it is?

bmiller said...

Yes. I think that's the gist of it.

Starhopper said...

The most hilarious thing about Loftus's OTF is that no less than G.K. Chesterton blew the entire concept out of the water, long before Loftus was even born, in his book The Everlasting Man.

I have pointed this out numerous times to Loftus, both on this site (back when he used to post here) and on his own site. After several years, he has yet to respond - not a word, not a syllable. I'll just have to assume that he knows deep down inside that in Chesterton, he has met his match.

Legion of Logic said...

Starhopper,

Would you be able to summarize what Chesterton said that would relate to the Loftus test? If it's too complex, I'll simply read the entire book.

Starhopper said...

You really ought to read the entire book - it's that good. But vis a vis Loftus's OTF, Chesterton starts out by actually asking the reader to consider Christianity as if he had never heard of it before. Then he takes you through what is essentially an adventure, examining the claims of the faith in light of how it would appear to someone not brought up in it.

Now if that is not the "Outsider Test of Faith" decades before Loftus ever thought of the concept, I don't know what is.

Victor Reppert said...

The idea on reading news is "imagine that you weren't from America, and you didn't know anything about American politics, how would you react to the various events that we see in the news today?

bmiller said...

Highly recommend The Everlasting Man

You can google "the everlasting man pdf" and read it online from a number of sites.

Eric Vestrup said...

OTF: "Test or examine your religious beliefs as if you were outsiders with the same presumption of skepticism you use to test or examine other religious beliefs."

On the surface, this looks like a version of "apply standards and rules of evidence consistently to everything". If so, I don't have any objection to it. For over a quarter century I've forced myself to be consistent regarding other competing claims about reality.

But I get the impression that people here find it more odious than that, so I wonder if I'm still missing something.

Legion of Logic said...

Eric,

Loftus might agree with your depiction of his argument, and if that's all it was then I would certainly have no problem with it per se. But if you read his explanation of the OTF (I currently have his chapter on the OTF in The Christian Delusion open in front of me) you quickly realize that there is a "correct" outcome for taking the test, which of course is atheism. Over and over he makes basic mistakes, such as wrongly claiming faith to be belief without evidence. Ultimately, while cloaked in airs of objectivity, his is yet another "no evidence for Christianity" argument, which is absurd on its face. He argues that only atheism makes no extraordinary claims, itself an extraordinary claim that shows an ironic lack of self-reflection.

Victor even has a section dedicated to his objections, which Loctus fails to defeat by the standards of the OTF.
And what is Loftus' conclusion to Victor and, thus, to us? Earlier in the chapter he says that if your faith passes the OTF, you can be comfortable keeping it. How generous and objective! But in response to Victor he says "Believers are simply in denial when they claim their religious faith passes the OTF." So much for the objectivity.

So while you might be correct that on the surface the OTF is a call to appy standards objectively, in practice it is Loftus saying that there is no evidence for Christianity and that anyone who takes his test CORRECTLY will abandon belief in God. He calls it an exercise in objectivity, but he wields it like yet every other no-evidence claim that atheists often wrongly make.

So it might not be the OTF as written that is odious so much as its application and explanation, which reveal what it is intended to actually be - a slam-dunk defeat of all belief in a god. And at that, it utterly fails.

Starhopper said...

One thing that Loftus never addresses is the existence of converts. Haven't such people, by definition, come to the faith as an outsider? So it's obvious that it is possible for a Christian convert to demonstrate that his faith has "passed" the OTF.

And in the case of Christianity, such persons have, over the 2000 years of the Church, numbered in the hundreds of millions.

Hal said...

Victor,
The idea on reading news is "imagine that you weren't from America, and you didn't know anything about American politics, how would you react to the various events that we see in the news today?


That is an interesting idea, but I'm not sure it is a good one for understanding what is going on in America today.

Speaking for myself, I have found that having knowledge of American history to be very helpful. Also, traveling around and living in different parts of this country has led to a better understanding of the political climate.

Legion of Logic said...

One thing that Loftus never addresses is the existence of converts.

He does, just in a very poor manner. From the same chapter I quoted earlier:

"When it comes to these converts, however, my opinion is that most of them do not objectively weigh the evidence when making their initial religious commitments."

So you see, anyone who converts was not actually weighing the evidence.

StardustyPsyche said...

Victor
"my belief that the United States is good and not evil depends on the fact that I was born in America."
So yes, the outsider test could do you some good on this point.

From the point of view of others the USA can be described on a spectrum from really great to really terrible.

I was born in the USA and I realize that the country of my birth is neither all good or all evil, rather, a complex spectrum of right and wrong.

StardustyPsyche said...

LoL
" you quickly realize that there is a "correct" outcome for taking the test, which of course is atheism. "
Ok, tests frequently have correct and incorrect answers.

" He argues that only atheism makes no extraordinary claims, itself an extraordinary claim"
How so? How is lacking a belief in god an extraordinary claim? How is belief in an invisible being other than an extraordinary claim?

""Believers are simply in denial when they claim their religious faith passes the OTF." So much for the objectivity."
How is concluding that believers are in denial a case of lack of objectivity?

There can be right and wrong answers to be yielded by an analytical process. If you use astronomical and mathematical techniques and conclude that the orbit of Venus is larger then the orbit of Mars you made a mistake. My assertion that you made a mistake, in that case, is not a matter of my lacking objectivity. Not all outcomes to an analytical process are equally valid, that isn't lack of objectivity, that is understanding the analytical process applied to the real universe.

One Brow said...

Legion of Logic,

It's nice to see you back again.

Starhopper/bmiller,

Thank you for the recommendation. I've heard many good and bad things about Chesterton, The Everlasting Man sounds like a good place to start.

Legion of Logic said...

Ok, tests frequently have correct and incorrect answers.

Except it's not an actual test, since he only accepts one outcome. He came up with this thing not as an objective analytical tool, but as something he believes points to atheism, which is only the correct answer in his opinion.

In other words, I can "fail" his "test" and still be right.


How is lacking a belief in god an extraordinary claim?

I didn't say it was. But in practice, lack of belief in any gods does not exist in a vacuum except for the least introspective among us. And it is those secondary beliefs that become extraordinary sometimes. They fall under the umbrella of atheism, being atheistic beliefs.


How is belief in an invisible being other than an extraordinary claim?

God is not just "an invisible being", so that depiction doesn't count for much of a conversation starter.

How is concluding that believers are in denial a case of lack of objectivity?

Because throughout the chapter he presents it as an objective tool for analyzing beliefs, with no viable alternatives (he literally says this) and even says in the exact same chapter that if your religious beliefs pass the test then you can comfortably hold onto them. But the entire end of the chapter is "Yeah I said that, but if your beliefs differ from mine they can't pass my test and if you think they did, you're wrong. And my beliefs are correct."

Whether or not he possesses the capacity to recognize it, his test leads toward his subjective, unprovable opinion and not objective truth.

As to your last paragraph, any atheist who believes his atheism is as certain as being able to mathematically and visually compare the orbits of planets is probably the type of atheist who might create "tests" based on his opinion and pretends they are objective.

Legion of Logic said...

It's nice to see you back again.

Thank you. I'm simply staying away from all political discussions, as it is impossible to do so while remaining charitable. I still enjoy the Christian topics, so no reason to completely abandon the site.

Starhopper said...

"I'm simply staying away from all political discussions"

An admirable goal! I tried it myself for a while, But like the prophet Jeremiah, the Word of the Lord burned inside me until I could hold it in no longer. I had no choice but to speak.

Eric Vestrup said...

LoL says:

Loftus might agree with your depiction of his argument, and if that's all it was then I would certainly have no problem with it per se. But if you read his explanation of the OTF (I currently have his chapter on the OTF in The Christian Delusion open in front of me) you quickly realize that there is a "correct" outcome for taking the test, which of course is atheism. Over and over he makes basic mistakes, such as wrongly claiming faith to be belief without evidence. Ultimately, while cloaked in airs of objectivity, his is yet another "no evidence for Christianity" argument, which is absurd on its face. He argues that only atheism makes no extraordinary claims, itself an extraordinary claim that shows an ironic lack of self-reflection.

EV says:

Thanks for the reply LoL. So this is a case of a seemingly agreeable standard that is used as a rhetorical bludgeon more than a standard.

In dealing with the whole Xty vs atheism debate, I just can't take seriously those who say there is no evidence for Xty, or that we're deluded, mentally ill, moronic, gullible, or whatever. This is your standard internet village atheist bully line. If somebody wants to say that there are difficulties with Xty and lay out their case, then that might be worthwhile. (It strikes me that some internet village atheist types are more working out their psychological baggage than anything.) And, it's not enough to simply point out a problem; one must show that (roughly) (i) their position does not have this problem and (ii) other different problems don't arise elsewhere due to not having this problem.

For me, the purely intellectual debate of Xty vs atheism is about seeing which side explains reality better, and which side has fewer problems. Since my grad school days in the 90s I've concluded that Xty has the much better position, but there are also some interesting problems that come with it too. The more militant atheist types seem to want to pounce on this, as if their worldview is problem-free. But it is not.

I've read various deconversion accounts over the last quarter century. Some of them are very interesting and they evoke sympathy or even a "been there done that too!" reaction from me. Others require a post-reading mental floss. Yet they all seem to follow a similar template and path, and some adopt this smug condescending OTF-style attitude that I'm seriously deluded. (OK whatever.)

(The aging process has greatly dulled my ardor for actual debate; now it is more about developing a devastating one-handed backhand, or mastering some piano work. But I still find good atheists interesting even though I don't agree with them much.)

StardustyPsyche said...

LoL
"In other words, I can "fail" his "test" and still be right."
Can you? Can you give me an example of you failing the outsider test, yet being right?

Is it possible that by failing the outsider test you have actually exposed an aspect where you are not as right as you have considered yourself to be?

"And it is those secondary beliefs that become extraordinary sometimes. They fall under the umbrella of atheism, being atheistic beliefs."
Hmm...well I suppose that if one made a strong claim to be able to absolutely prove the universal negative that would be an extraordinary claim. I don't know the name of any modern atheist who makes that claim, but it would be extraordinary of me to claim no such person exists :-)

"God is not just "an invisible being", so that depiction doesn't count for much of a conversation starter."
Belief in an invisible being is necessary, but not sufficient, for belief in Yahweh, the Father, Allah, etc. Sure, there is more to it than just that, being invisible, but that aspect alone, I think, is a very extraordinary claim.

""Yeah I said that, but if your beliefs differ from mine they can't pass my test and if you think they did, you're wrong. And my beliefs are correct.""
Ok, so that sounds like a conclusion, not a lack of objectivity. He started out allowing for the case that a religious belief might pass the test, but concluded it can't. Sorry, I still don't see the lack of objectivity in that.

"any atheist who believes his atheism is as certain as being able to mathematically and visually compare the orbits of planets"
I might be god and Mars might be a figment of my divine imagination.

Or, maybe there is a god, or a trillion trillion gods, all out there someplace that are undetectable.

Or...I can make up unevidenced speculations all day long in ways that nobody can strictly disprove.

But, certain formulations of god are incoherent, that is, in combination a set of traits is asserted that are mutually contradictory. I am as certain of the logical impossibility of such gods as I am that 1 + 1 = 2. The Christian god falls in that catagory of being an incoherent set of asserted properties.

StardustyPsyche said...

EV
" The more militant atheist types seem to want to pounce on this, as if their worldview is problem-free. But it is not."
The materialist/reductionist/atheist worldview, when properly expressed, is completely free of self contradiction, and is thus coherent.

The major theistic religions are riddled with incoherencies.

It is in principle possible to construct a set of religious speculations that are not self contradictory, but no major theistic religion is so constructed.

Legion of Logic said...

Can you? Can you give me an example of you failing the outsider test, yet being right?

Notice my quote marks in what you quoted. To Loftus, only a result of atheism is passing his test, so it is impossible for me to "pass" it. And since atheism is merely his opinion, my "failing" his "test" means nothing more than I disagree with him on atheism. And I don't consider Loftus qualified to tell me I'm wrong with an authority I should lose sleep over.

Now as for the test itself, separate from Loftus and his opinion on the "correct" result, even then it's no different than any other analytical tool - there's no reason to believe it infallible. And the fact that most atheists would claim any passing result for Christianity to be invalid just proves the inherently subjective nature of the analysis itself.

Is it possible that by failing the outsider test you have actually exposed an aspect where you are not as right as you have considered yourself to be?

It's possible. It's also possible that it shows Loftus is not as right as he considers himself to be, if any result he disagrees with is dismissed as invalid, the test not taken correctly. He's a guy with an opinion, not an authority I require approval from in order to be right.

Sorry, I still don't see the lack of objectivity in that.

Assuming the validity of the OTF itself, atheism as the only correct result is nothing but the atheist Loftus' opinion. That isn't objective. He could analyze how the test was applied and attempt to critique certain steps he felt weren't done correctly, but a blanket statement dismissing any non-atheistic result is not objective. That's his opinion and nothing more.

The Christian god falls in that catagory of being an incoherent set of asserted properties.

Yes, I have seen you assert this many times.

StardustyPsyche said...

LoL,
" That isn't objective. He could analyze how the test was applied and attempt to critique certain steps he felt weren't done correctly, but a blanket statement dismissing any non-atheistic result is not objective."
If that were a presupposition then yes, I would agree with you in that case.

If Loftus has made a conclusion by analysis after first allowing for the hypothetical case that a religious view could pass the test, then analyzing to detect an aspect of religions that will cause them to fail the test, and then making a conclusion from that process, then no, the issue is not a lack of objectivity.

A sweeping conclusion is not necessarily due to a lack of objectivity from the outset.

Still, without a specific example from you that you can and do pass the OT with your religious view I am not inclined to accept your charge of Loftus not being objective.


"Yes, I have seen you assert this many times." (That the Christian god falls in that catagory of being an incoherent set of asserted properties.)
Good to see my words have remained in your recollection!

For example,
Omniscience and free will (any free will in the universe including god's).
Omniscience, omnipotence, perfect goodness, the existence of real evil (by any definition).
The Euthyphro dilemma (the attempt to create a trilemma only introduces a third incoherent term).
God is outside of time, yet acts through our time.
God is outside of space, yet acts in our space.
Divine simplicity and all his other asserted complex traits (does not apply if you are a personalist).
Omnipotence and god as the prime originator and source of all(leads to the contradiction of the origin of logic similar to the Euthyphro dilemma).

Legion of Logic said...

If that were a presupposition then yes, I would agree with you in that case.

I have no evidence that it is anything but a presupposition, particularly given the poor quality of many of his other arguments throughout the chapter. If it is as your alternative would suggest, Loftus does not display it in this chapter. Perhaps he does better in the full book for the OFT, which I have not read.

Still, without a specific example from you that you can and do pass the OT with your religious view I am not inclined to accept your charge of Loftus not being objective.

I'm quite comfortable with that.

I'll get to your list of incompatible traits tomorrow.

bmiller said...

The idea on reading news is "imagine that you weren't from America, and you didn't know anything about American politics, how would you react to the various events that we see in the news today?

This is presently off topic, but relevant to Victor's intent to discuss what outsiders to America think.

Am I wrong to bring it up here?

Starhopper said...

Regarding your link, bmiller, I am a great admirer of Solzhenitsyn and have read everything he's ever published, usually several times. I've read Cancer Ward twice, The first Circle 3 or 4 times, Ivan Denisovich countless times, The GULAG Archipelago (all three volumes) 3 times, August 1914 twice, and all of his shorter works (both fiction and non-fiction) at least once.

My favorite Solzhenitsyn quote is "The battle line between good and evil runs through the heart of every man." My second favorite is "How can a man who's warm understand a man who is cold?"

Solzhenitsyn would have, by the way, absolutely hated a man of such debased, low moral character as Trump.

One Brow said...

Legion of Logic said...
As to your last paragraph, any atheist who believes his atheism is as certain as being able to mathematically and visually compare the orbits of planets is probably the type of atheist who might create "tests" based on his opinion and pretends they are objective.

For me, atheism is what I was left with when nothing else turned out to be believable.

One Brow said...

Eric Vestrup,
In dealing with the whole Xty vs atheism debate, I just can't take seriously those who say there is no evidence for Xty, or that we're deluded, mentally ill, moronic, gullible, or whatever. This is your standard internet village atheist bully line.

I agree. Every human uses the same system-1-like processing to make quick evaluations, and all too often reasons to their conclusions from these processes. Rather, I would say there is no reliable evidence that leads exclusively to a Christian viewpoint.

For me, the purely intellectual debate of Xty vs atheism is about seeing which side explains reality better, and which side has fewer problems.

I have a different standard: what can I find evidence to accept? I willing to accept a huge number of problems and unknowns, if during that process I can also discard what I see no reason to accept.

Eric Vestrup said...

One Brow --- just curious, based on you statement that "atheism is what I was left with..." I take it that you don't think that even any of the natural theological arguments have a reasonable level of force. Is this correct?

(On my end, I find the argument from change and the argument from parts found as the first two arguments in Feser's Five Proofs book pretty strong.)

Simply curious.

bmiller said...

Happy 4th of July to everyone.

StardustyPsyche said...

bmiller,
That is a sexist, racist, imperialist thing to say because the war of 1776 intended to establish a government where women and blacks were subjugated and native people were conquered. Fireworks should be banned because they symbolize the violent subjugation perpetrated by the white man's war.

Hmm...but wait, I am feeling strangely happy too!

One Brow said...

Eric Vestrup said...
(On my end, I find the argument from change and the argument from parts found as the first two arguments in Feser's Five Proofs book pretty strong.)

Simply curious.


I went through Feser The Last Superstition three times at one point, to try to really understand the metaphysics of his argument. My impression is that Feser's rendition of the First Way argument relies on an overly simplistic and inaccurate model of change. In subsequent discussions with other Thomists, including one on this site, I have not seen any models that proved better.

StardustyPsyche said...

EV,
The First Way fails for several reasons. It states as a premise that an object observed to be moving now is being moved now by another object. That is clearly wrong for inertial motion, and also for objects that move themselves, such as rockets, battery operated equipment, and animals.

Feser has mistaken notions of change, cause, and effect. The varieties of change he claims are in fact all the same sort of change, motion of material. All change entails motion of material, and the argument from motion fails, as noted above.

Further, change, or causation, is mutual, not hierarchical or linear, rather, fundamentally circular. The identification of an object as cause and another as effect is arbitrary, false, and meaningless. Objects interact mutually and are both the cause and the effect of the interaction.

Thus, the argument from change presents a false dichotomy between an infinite hierarchical linear regress or a finite hierarchical regress terminating in an incoherent notion, and unmoved mover, or unchanging changer.

In truth, at base, a regression analysis at the present moment terminates finitely in mutual causation, or mutual changers that change each other and themselves change in the interactive process.

Starhopper said...

I spent Independence Day in a kind of thought experiment. What would history have been like, had there been no War of Independence in 1776?

First off, the USA today might not exist as such. The 13 colonies might never have united under sustained British rule. Alternatively, they might have linked up with British Canada to form one gigantic, continent spanning state, rather like Australia today.

And what about the far west? I think it likely that there would never have been an alternate world equivalent of "Manifest Destiny", and that Texas, the Southwest, and California would have remained Spanish (and later, Mexican) territories.

A united British Empire would likely not have tolerated slavery as long as the US did, and it would have been abolished without a Civil War. There would almost certainly been a move to repatriate freed slaves back to Africa on a major scale.

There would have been no world wars (as we know them). Germany would never have dared challenge a British Empire that included most of North America.

Colonialism would never have ended, and we would still have a European dominated planet. There would be no "China" today. It would have been carved up between the various European powers (to include Russia) and Japan in the 19th Century.

Wild Card: The Communist revolution might not have occurred in Tsarist Russia, but in industrialized Germany. That event might have resulted in a (far bloodier) repeat of the Napoleonic Wars, with Germany taking the place of France.

Starhopper said...

Oh, and I almost forgot. We'd all be driving on the left, and drinking tea with breakfast, instead of coffee. And spelling behaviour with a "u".

Legion of Logic said...

We'd all be driving on the left, and drinking tea with breakfast, instead of coffee.

This alone makes me wish your scenario was true. I despise coffee, so much so that I miss a lot of breaks at work just to avoid the smell. Knowing that the result would be instant death, I would still not hesitate to erase coffee from existence if given the chance.

Starhopper said...

Hmm... I go both ways. My first cup in the morning is coffee (Dunkin Donuts), and after that it's English Breakfast tea.

bmiller said...

Didn't the whole thing start because the colonists threw all the tea away?

Hal said...

I love the smell of coffee in the morning.

First task on awakening is preparation of a great cup of coffee. Hand grinder, coffee beans and a French Press being the essential tools. No stinking Keurig's allowed in the house.

Eric Vestrup said...

One Brow: "I went through Feser The Last Superstition three times at one point, to try to really understand the metaphysics of his argument. My impression is that Feser's rendition of the First Way argument relies on an overly simplistic and inaccurate model of change. In subsequent discussions with other Thomists, including one on this site, I have not seen any models that proved better."

OK, thanks for responding.

I read TLS as well, but greatly preferred his Five Proofs book. I got bogged down in places in TLS, but didn't in Five Proofs.

bmiller said...

Eric,

Feser has a particular way of arguing the First Way that some Thomists may disagree with. It may be because he is a teacher and finds this is the best way to get the point across.

Regardless, here is his explanation for explaining it the way he does (as I believe he did in TLS):
Agere sequitur esse and the First Way

StardustyPsyche said...

"here is his explanation for explaining it the way he does (as I believe he did in TLS)"
There Feser outdoes himself with failed arguments.

Of course, the Five Ways of Aquinas are terrible arguments, full of false premises and invalid logic. Feser fails to improve on them at all and utterly fails in his book "Five Proofs"

Agere sequitur esse and the First Way ads insult to injury, as I commented in that thread.

Even if his argument from change were somehow sound, which it isn't, it would be completely non applicable to an argument for the necessity of a first sustainer to account for existential inertial.

The reason is simple, material does change in its existential respect. The amount of material in existence is constant. Material is never observed to be created out of nothing, nor blink out into nothing.

It is preposterous to apply an argument from change to a parameter that does not change! But, that is just what Feser does.

bmiller said...

Eric,

I think some atheists saw the polemics in TLS and reacted emotionally rather than evaluating the arguments objectively. If you want a more detailed (but not exhaustive) background to A-T
philosophy, I suggest: Aquinas (A Beginner's Guide)

You can read the first of the "top reviews" to get a lay of the land.

One Brow said...

Eric Vestrup,
I read TLS as well, but greatly preferred his Five Proofs book. I got bogged down in places in TLS, but didn't in Five Proofs.

I didn't find the arguments particularly difficult to understand.

Unless you really want to get into the minutiae, we can. For now, let's just say I disagree with four of the paragraphs in StardustyPsyche's as refutations of what Feser is discussion, yet agree entirely with the fourth paragraph, in the comment from July 05, 2020 8:54 AM.

ON the other hand, I don't see much purpose in a long discussion, except for intellectual curiosity. As long as we're proceeding on that ground, I'm happy to participate.

StardustyPsyche said...

One Brow
"I didn't find the arguments particularly difficult to understand... I disagree with four of the paragraphs in the comment from July 05, 2020 8:54 AM."
How are those two statements not mutually exclusive?

The First Way does in fact employ the false premise as I describe.
Feser does in fact falsely differentiate between various sorts of change which all do in fact entail motion of material.
Change and causation are in fact mutual and fundamentally circular, not hierarchical and fundamentally linear.

Eric Vestrup said...

One Brow --- agree that there isn't much purpose in a long discussion. (Mainly because I'm not sure how much I'd meaningfully contribute since I'm learning these things.) I was simply asking for the reason.

bmiller --- I have and have read the beginner guide on Aquinas.

(There's a lot I'm trying to process re Aquinas and natural theology. One of the intellectual delights is seeing how reason alone takes you to a being who is very much like the God of the Bible. Naturally people will disagree with this claim, but that is how I presently see things.)

StardustyPsyche said...

Eric,
Allow me to suggest that if you are learning about these things then perhaps this is the best time to engage in conversation.

Consider this conversation
http://dangerousidea.blogspot.com/2017/01/david-haines-defense-of-aquinas-first.html

The truth is, at the beginning of that conversation I had some mistaken ideas about what the A-T positions are. Thanks largely to the reasoned engagement of Legion of Logic, as well as the link of the OP, the source that David Haines used, and following the concepts through on links to the Feser site I discovered that some of the original ideas I had as to why A-T is wrong were themselves irrelevant, and A-T is actually wrong for other reasons.

Also, allow me to suggest that you need not worry so much about what you might have to contribute to others, rather, how you can hone your own views through dialog.

Yes, reading is obviously a core means of self education. But for myself I have found that by expressing my ideas with those who disagree with me I will uncover any possible errors I have, much more effectively than simply reading and thinking about things unchallenged.

I believe Bruce Lee said something like "boards to not punch back" :-)

bmiller said...

Eric,

One of the intellectual delights is seeing how reason alone takes you to a being who is very much like the God of the Bible.

I agree. The "Unmoved Mover" of Aristotle and "The One" of the Neo-Platonists reached through reason alone line up with the revealed "I AM" of the Bible. It's amazing.

StardustyPsyche said...

The unmoved mover of A-T is based on the false premises such as
1.An object observed to be moving now is necessarily being moved by another now.
2.Objects cannot move themselves.
3.Assignment of the titles "cause" and "effect" to objects is realistic.
4.Causation is fundamentally linear, not circular.

Since A-T uses so many false premises the conclusions drawn from the arguments are unsound.

One Brow said...

StardustyPsyche,
How are those two statements not mutually exclusive?

Because most of your attacks on Feser's thoughts are easily side-stepped and show a decent misunderstanding of his arguments. One example: Feser recognizes that inertial motion is not change as he describes for his version of the First Way argument, so criticizing versions that don't recognize inertia as a state of non-change don't actually affect Feser's argument.

Feser does in fact falsely differentiate between various sorts of change which all do in fact entail motion of material.

All change can involve motion of material, and yet still be different sorts of change.

Change and causation are in fact mutual and fundamentally circular, not hierarchical and fundamentally linear.

The existence of catalysts indicate that not all change is mutual.

StardustyPsyche said...

One Brow,
"Because most of your attacks on Feser's thoughts are easily side-stepped and show a decent misunderstanding of his arguments. One example: Feser recognizes that inertial motion is not change as he describes for his version of the First Way argument, so criticizing versions that don't recognize inertia as a state of non-change don't actually affect Feser's argument."
In truth Feser does not understand Feser's arguments. I understand Feser's arguments with great clarity, that is how I know he is wrong and how I know his treatment of inertial motion is wrong with respect to change.

"All change can involve motion of material, and yet still be different sorts of change."
That is where both you and Feser are wrong, no wonder you kind of sort of agree with him in part.

Since all change reduces to motion of material then at base all change is motion of material and there are not different sorts of change at base, only at a higher levels of abstraction.

Since we are intending to deduce the fundamental workings of the universe those higher levels of abstraction are irrelevant. At base all change falls within only one sort of change, the motion of material.

Thus the argument from motion is just that, an argument from motion. Any attempt to claim the argument is really about change, and there are different sorts of change, fails, because all high level abstracted sorts of change reduce to motion of material, so we are necessarily right back to an argument from motion, the translation through space of material.

"The existence of catalysts indicate that not all change is mutual."
Catalysts only seem to not change at all at a higher level of abstraction. Chemistry is a higher level of abstraction for physics.

In truth, catalysts and reactants mutually interact and mutually change each other, but the catalyst, although changed by mutual interaction, does not ultimately change chemical composition.

At the higher level of abstraction of chemistry and thermodynamics (as opposed to lower levels of abstraction such as particle physics)the catalyst will move and change temperature during the reaction.

Further, a catalyst typically reacts to form a temporary intermediate, an alternate reaction pathway.

No, a catalyst is not a case of a real unmoved mover, or unchanged changer.

Hal said...

Eric,
One of the intellectual delights is seeing how reason alone takes you to a being who is very much like the God of the Bible. Naturally people will disagree with this claim, but that is how I presently see things.

Well, certainly the God of Aristotle is impersonal. Not at all like the God of the Bible.

And Aquinas recognized that divine revelation is needed to know the Christian God - human reason alone will not get you to the truths of the Christian faith.
Here is one Catholic Explaining why

Legion of Logic said...

Eric, Stardusty said

Yes, reading is obviously a core means of self education. But for myself I have found that by expressing my ideas with those who disagree with me I will uncover any possible errors I have, much more effectively than simply reading and thinking about things unchallenged.

I must agree with this sentiment, particularly as it pertains to something like the First Way argument. Being a frequent participant in that atrociously extended conversation, which was actually my introduction to the argument itself, I went from being ignorant of its existence, to figuring out what Aristotle and Aquinas were getting at, and then watched participants like Stardusty and Cal critique it.

If you're truly interested, I might also recommend the dialogue Stardusty linked. I myself tend to somewhat agree with Stardusty, and would say that at best it is a broad and imprecise description of how things work. I don't find it particularly compelling and you won't see me defending it ever again, but I certainly recommend you looking into it for yourself.

bmiller said...

If you're truly interested, I might also recommend the dialogue Stardusty linked.

I don't think reading 3162 combox remarks exchanged among ignorant amateurs is the best way to get a good understanding of the First Way. If you've read Aquinas and get hung up on the metaphysics, I'd do what the reviewer of the book did and google the topic with Feser's name.

bmiller said...

Well, certainly the God of Aristotle is impersonal. Not at all like the God of the Bible.

It's true that reason will not get you to the personal God of the Bible, but it will get you to many of the same attributes of the God of the Bible. After all, you can only get personal with someone if that someone reveals himself to you.

Starhopper said...

I am in the middle of a most incredible book, The Cornel West Reader. Early in the book, I came across this:

"I don't believe that any arguments for or against the existence of God have much weight one way or the other. [...] Our concrete images of God are best rendered in the various narratives told about Christ as loving, struggling, sacrificing, suffering, and overcoming."

I agree 100%. Perhaps that's why I value the Rosary so much. It encourages and gives me space to meditate on the "Mysteries" of Christ's life, death, and resurrection.

Eric Vestrup said...

bmiller: "I agree. The "Unmoved Mover" of Aristotle and "The One" of the Neo-Platonists reached through reason alone line up with the revealed "I AM" of the Bible. It's amazing."

I can't avoid the same conclusion either about Yahweh's revelation to Moses. While God is not giving Moses a metaphysics lesson, there is no avoiding in "I AM" some statement of absolute being. God doesn't just happen to exist, he really really exists in some strong fashion that is probably beyond full human understanding.

If Feser's argument is correct, the purely actual actualizer is omniscient, omnipotent, has intellect and will, exists outside of time, is simple, and is fundamentally good. (We have to understand these descriptions analogically of course.) This is not an impersonal God, but consistent with the personal God of scripture. This doesn't give us trinitarianism, the two natures of Christ, the deity of Christ, etc, but if (and it is a big if) one finds this sort of argument persuasive or having force, then it makes the claims of scripture and the prophets much more plausible. From there revelation can take over.

(Of course, in practice it doesn't really work this way, since as Paul says faith comes by hearing, and I know of nobody who has converted due to the argument from actualized potentials, or due to an ontological argument.)

Thanks to all for the comments. Sorry for the paucity of my remarks. Trying not to be too Captain Obvious with what I say, though maybe I failed there.



StardustyPsyche said...

Eric,
Stating the obvious is a valid starting point. Aquinas starts out by stating
" It is certain, and evident to our senses, that in the world some things are in motion. "
http://iteadthomam.blogspot.com/2011/01/first-way-in-syllogistic-form.html

Besides stating the obvious as a sound foundation for further arguments Aquinas also states what his core source of information is to be, that which is "evident to our senses". So, in my view, that is a really great way to start an argument. Unfortunately, it is all downhill from there. The premises he employs are false, his reasoning is logically invalid, and the last phrase is such a complete falsehood as well as being an utter non sequitur that Francisco J. Romero Carrasquillo does not even attempt to translate the written words into syllogistic form, which was what he set out to do for all 5 Ways!

So, all such attempts to reason to an unmoved mover, or unchanged changer, fail miserably. They are all non-starters. Aquinas failed, Aristotle Failed, Feser failed, Scotus failed and on and on.

"If Feser's argument is correct, the purely actual actualizer is omniscient, omnipotent, has intellect and will, exists outside of time, is simple, and is fundamentally good. (We have to understand these descriptions analogically of course.) This is not an impersonal God, but consistent with the personal God of scripture."

Yes, Eric, I think that is a good starting point. You have summarized Feser in a nutshell, fair enough. Hopefully the incoherence of that assertion set is obvious.

"Pure act" is an incoherent term.

If the sort of will god has is asserted to be free will then the simultaneous assertion of omniscience is incoherent.

The simultaneous assertion of simplicity with each and every one of the other assertions(will, intellect, etc) is incoherent.

The assertion that god is outside of time yet god acts through our time is incoherent.

The assertion that one has deduced the necessity of a particular sort of god from what is evident to the senses yet these deductions are merely analogical is just so much nonsensical gibberish. Deductive arguments are not logically proved by analogy. That is saying "I have necessarily proved that X is like Y in some mysterious, undefined, and unknowable way".

So yes, Eric, you are on the right track, state the obvious position taken by A-T, then see if any of it makes any sense whatsoever. Sadly, A-T is just a collection of false premises, invalid logic, and incoherent terms.

One Brow said...

StardustyPsyche,
In truth Feser does not understand Feser's arguments. I understand Feser's arguments with great clarity, that is how I know he is wrong and how I know his treatment of inertial motion is wrong with respect to change.

I don't think of Feser as being any great thinker, and to me he seems to ignore the results of science a little too much, but I see no reason to think he doesn't understand his arguments better than you, and you objections to variations of the First Way that Feser does not propose does not incline me to reason otherwise.

That is where both you and Feser are wrong, no wonder you kind of sort of agree with him in part.

From what I can tell, you are a full reductionist, which neither Feser nor myself are. So, in that sense, I suppose I "agree with him in part".

Since all change reduces to motion of material then at base all change is motion of material and there are not different sorts of change at base, only at a higher levels of abstraction.

I would change that to "higher levels of interaction".

Any attempt to claim the argument is really about change, and there are different sorts of change, fails, because all high level abstracted sorts of change reduce to motion of material, so we are necessarily right back to an argument from motion, the translation through space of material.

Feser argument does not depend on different sorts of motion, but on different descriptions of the chains of causation. He's wrong in the sense that there is no such thing as per se causation, but that doesn't have anything to do with different types of motion.

No, a catalyst is not a case of a real unmoved mover, or unchanged changer.

Agreed.

Starhopper said...

"The assertion that [G]od is outside of time yet god acts through our time is incoherent."

Why? When I am painting a picture, I am not "inside" the picture, I am outside of it. Yet I can act within the picture (e.g., by applying more paint). No incoherence whatsoever.

My painting a picture is analogous to creation. Time is part of the created universe. So just as I am outside of my painting, God is outside of time, which He has created. His acting "through our time" is rather like me adding more detail to a painting.

StardustyPsyche said...

One Brow,
"Feser argument does not depend on different sorts of motion, but on different descriptions of the chains of causation. He's wrong in the sense that there is no such thing as per se causation, but that doesn't have anything to do with different types of motion."
Feser makes many arguments in various contexts, as do others who read his arguments and make arguments of their own.

In some contexts he does argue from supposedly different sorts of change, and in those arguments he is wrong.

He also argues from the notion of a hierarchical causal series, and he is wrong about that too.

He argues that the First Way can be extrapolated to prove the necessity of a first sustainer, and he is wrong about that for at least 2 reasons, the first being that both the First Way and his reworded version of it are unsound. Secondly, even if his argument from change were somehow sound it would not apply to existential inertia, because the amount of material in existence does not change, making an argument from change inapplicable.

No, Feser does not understand his own arguments. He knows the words in his own arguments. He is familiar with the points he attempts to make in his own arguments. But understanding an argument requires a great deal more depth than rote recitation of the words. He fails to understand how absurd his arguments are. I do understand the many glaring defects in his arguments and that is why my understanding of Feser's arguments is vastly greater than his own.

StardustyPsyche said...

Starhopper,
"Why? When I am painting a picture, I am not "inside" the picture, I am outside of it."
Yes you are, and to more clearly illustrate this fact consider finger painting, in which case your finger is literally inside the painting as you paint it.

The brush is just a prosthetic finger. Analogies break down at some point and are never perfect, but yours breaks down immediately and is simply false.

Worse yet, I did not mention the creation of time, whatever that is supposed to mean, but acting through time while time is a realistic aspect of our universe.

Irrespective of creation, god does X at time t1, and Y at time t2. It is incoherent to then claim god did not act through time.

Starhopper said...

"It is incoherent to then claim god did not act through time."

No one is claiming that.

God, being the creator of time and space, can do whatever He chooses with either, without having to be "within" them.

In any case, God has most certainly been within time ever since the Incarnation and Resurrection. So your objection is moot.

StardustyPsyche said...

Starhopper,
"God has most certainly been within time ever since the Incarnation and Resurrection. So your objection is moot. "
Ok, so god is not outside of time, just like I said. Claims that god is outside of time are incoherent because god is within time.

Starhopper said...

A swing and a miss once again for Stardusty. God can be both inside and outside of time simultaneously. (He is, after all, omnipotent. "With God, nothing will be impossible." (Luke 1:37))

As creator of "all things visible and invisible" (which would include time), God is "outside" of all that He has created (to include time).

As the Incarnate Son, God lives, moves, and acts within time. Note that I use the present tense, because Jesus is alive today. ("I am the first and the last, and the living one; I died, and behold I am alive for evermore." (Revelation 1:17-18))

So you, even you, Stardusty, can encounter Him today, this moment.

StardustyPsyche said...

Starhopper
"God is "outside""
Right, god is only scarequotes outside of time, not really outside of time.

"God lives, moves, and acts within time"
Right, that's what I said, god, as described by the bible, has to be inside time.

Claims that god is outside of time are incoherent, because god acts within time, correct.

Starhopper said...

Nope. God is both inside and outside of time.

Christians are used to "both" statements. Christ is both true God and true man. The Trinity is three Persons and one God. God is both infinite mercy and infinite justice. God's will is sovereign and man has free will.

Deal with it. You're not going to get an orthodox Christian to deny any of those statements, or any part of them.

StardustyPsyche said...

Starhopper,
"Nope. God is both inside and outside of time."
God is both X and not X, the very definition of an incoherent assertion.

"Deal with it. You're not going to get an orthodox Christian to deny any of those statements, or any part of them."
Exactly, Christians are steadfastly dedicated to believing in self contradictory, and thus incoherent assertions. On religious matters reason and logic are irrelevant to such Christians because their religion has destroyed their ability to reason logically on the subject of religion.

The question has been asked, what logical reason can be usefully provided to a person who does not value logic? The answer, clearly in your case, and in the case of all the millions of Christian you cite, is, none. You are impervious to reason on this subject because your religiosity has stripped you of placing value in reason on this subject.

bmiller said...

God is both X and not X, the very definition of an incoherent assertion.

But that's simply not what he said and your inability to understand what people are saying is (one of many reasons) why most everyone ignores you.

Air is both inside the bottle and outside the bottle. That statement may be true or false, but there is nothing contradictory on the face of it.

Starhopper said...

You re quite correct, bmiller. When we say that Jesus is both True God and True Man, we are not saying that He is not one or the other ("not X"), but both.

I'm curious. How can you be so wise when it comes to matters of Faith, and so utterly wrong when it comes to politics? Noe THERE'S a mystery!

Legion of Logic said...

How can you be so wise when it comes to matters of Faith, and so utterly wrong when it comes to politics?

No one believes himself to be wrong in politics, to the point that anyone who disagrees is flawed either intellectually, morally, or both. And of course everyone believes his own political beliefs to be obviously true and is baffled how anyone could disagree, hence the notion that the other side must be flawed.

You can't reason with that mindset, nor can anyone truly avoid having it himself. That's why I dropped politics. Neither the gospel nor Christ's commandments will be found in a political party platform. Each platform will have positions that better enable certain Christian goals, but each will also have positions blatantly opposed to the faith.

No man walking the Earth has the moral authority to declare either party the one a Christian MUST vote for to be in accordance with the faith. I obviously believe Democrats are an evil to be avoided always, but that does not give me the authority to condemn a Christian who votes Democrat because of a policy that helps a segment of the population in a certain way.

And that's what politics boils down to. A conservative and a progressive are people who have different ideas on what is most beneficial to society or for their families, or they have different priorities that they care about - but both are good people who want things to be better. They simply disagree on the means.

So while you, Starhopper, may think that Donald Trump is so evil that a vote for him is a grave harm to the faith, bmiller might believe that abortion is so evil that to vote for the party that supports third trimester abortions is a grave sin. You tell him to vote Biden, while he tells you to vote Trump, and both of you are trying to avoid a grave evil.

But you don't judge each other on that, do you? You judge him through your Trump-hating prism so that he appears to support everything Trump does by voting for him, while bmiller is actually trying to avoid third trimester abortions becoming tolerated via Democrats. He judges you to be an abortion supporter by your vote for Biden, while you are actually trying to get rid of Trump.

It's this destruction of charity that makes politics poison Christianity, and since I'm equally prone to that trap, I'm out. I welcome you all to join me in unity of the body, with charity and compassion toward those with differing priorities and opinions, but still brothers and sisters in Christ.

StardustyPsyche said...

bmiller
"Air is both inside the bottle and outside the bottle"
It's not the same air.
The air inside the bottle is only inside the bottle.
The air outside the bottle is only outside the bottle.

Analogies are always of limited value, but yours is just nonsense.

StardustyPsyche said...

Legion
"bmiller might believe that abortion is so evil that to vote for the party that supports third trimester abortions"
Sorry, I missed that as a plank in the Democratic party platform. Could you kindly cite that reference?

StardustyPsyche said...

Starhopper,
"You re quite correct, bmiller. When we say that Jesus is both True God and True Man, we are not saying that He is not one or the other ("not X"), but both."

Try to concentrate
X and not X

That is what I said you were asserting. "And" means both. That is what I said you were asserting, both.

You are asserting god is simultaneously opposite things, that god is both of mutually exclusive things at the same time. That is why your assertion is incoherent.

You say god is both inside time and outside time. That is an incoherent assertion because being inside time is mutually exclusive with being outside time (whatever "outside time" is supposed to mean).

bmiller said...

Stardusty,

You are both wrong and ugly:-)

bmiller said...

Legion,

I pretty much agree with your comment above. But I'm not sure I agree with this:

No one believes himself to be wrong in politics, to the point that anyone who disagrees is flawed either intellectually, morally, or both. And of course everyone believes his own political beliefs to be obviously true and is baffled how anyone could disagree, hence the notion that the other side must be flawed.

You can't reason with that mindset, nor can anyone truly avoid having it himself.


I think it's possible for a person to have a political point of view without thinking those with a different point of view are either evil or irrational. It's reasonable to assume, as you went on to say, that people with different political viewpoints are just prioritizing things differently. Do you think most people are not like this?

StardustyPsyche said...

That is at least a coherent statement, because being wrong is not mutually exclusive with being ugly.

I might contest that statement on other grounds, but I could not reasonably assert you had made an incoherent statement.

Legion of Logic said...

Sorry, I missed that as a plank in the Democratic party platform. Could you kindly cite that reference?

Something doesn't have to literally be spelled out as a plank in the platform in order to be openly supported by the party or large blocks of it. Even casual attention would make it pretty evident.

Legion of Logic said...

Do you think most people are not like this?

That first paragraph was more of a response to the notion that one's politics are "right" or "wrong", and the effects that come from truly believing so (the regressive left, for example). Everyone thinks his own politics are correct.

I don't believe anyone can fully escape that, either, but like I wrote afterward, we can at least be aware of it and negate it with charity, giving the benefit of the doubt as much as possible. And since no one seems interested in doing that, well then here we are.

Starhopper said...

Stardusty needs a new name. I thought bmiller was addressing his comment to me! I may be ugly (no debate there), but I am most certainly not wrong!

Logic,

For many months, I stuck to a resolution to stay away from politics, and for precisely the same reasons as you outlined. (And I think I did very well.) But with the emergence of Trump, I could no longer remain silent. It would have been like acquiescing to the rise of the Nazis in 30s Germany. You (and bmiller) do not seem to realize that Trumpism is not like "politics" in America. It is the eruption of pure evil, straight from hell. To remain apolitical in these circumstances would in itself be a grave sin. You must have heard the slogan "Silence is Consent". Well, that applies here. There is nothing "political" about opposing Trump. It is a matter of manicheism in its purest expression - good v. evil, light v. dark, liberty v. totalitarianism, Heaven v. Hell. As Pete Seeger used to sing, Which Side Are You On.

Legion of Logic said...

I simply don't see Trump (the administration, not the man) as any worse than any other administration I've lived through. Some things that have happened have made me furious, some things I have approved of, and this is consistent with everyone else I've experienced, including the House and Senate and Supreme Court for that matter. You obviously feel differently, but I do not see anything even remotely suggesting that we are in danger of another Hitler out of Donald J. Trump. In a few months or a few years he will be out of office, and that will be the end of it.

And while I'm violating my vow to avoid political discussions, I'll go ahead and reiterate that in terms of evil, no modern president is in the same league as George W. Bush and his administration. Trump at his current rate would have to be in office for decades before he could equal the harm caused from 2000-2008.

bmiller said...

Everyone thinks his own politics are correct.

I think that's certainly true for those of us who have made a decision otherwise we would have decided otherwise. But that doesn't necessarily mean all of us think the other side is "literally Hitler"....only some of us think that way.

bmiller said...

Stardusty needs a new name. I thought bmiller was addressing his comment to me!

I guess a true statement draws in it's own target :-)

bmiller said...

Legion,

Regardless, I applaud your decision not to get sucked into crazy political discussions.

bmiller said...

But before you go, you've got to see THIS campaign ad!

Hal said...

Legion of Logic,
And while I'm violating my vow to avoid political discussions, I'll go ahead and reiterate that in terms of evil, no modern president is in the same league as George W. Bush and his administration.

I certainly agree that he was a terrible President. But I try not to think about it too much because of the cognitive dissonance it creates in me. If he hadn't been President, I would not have the three beautiful grandchildren I now have.

StardustyPsyche said...

Legion,
"Something doesn't have to literally be spelled out as a plank..."
Ok, in principle I suppose that could in general be possible, but...

"openly supported by the party or large blocks of it. Even casual attention would make it pretty evident."
I don't know of any Democrat at all who is somehow in favor of elective 3rd trimester abortions, much less a large block of the Democratic party. I pay a bit more than casual attention to such things and I have no idea who you are referring to.

Roe, of course, used the trimester frame work that boiled down to banning states from hindering 1st trimester abortions, allowing states to apply reasonable regulations on 2nd trimester abortions, and allowing states to criminalize elective 3rd trimester abortions.

Later rulings got rid of the trimester framework for the criminalization of elective late term abortions and put in its place a viability test, such that states are allowed to criminalize abortion of viable fetuses, or as I like to call them, babies, or simply, human beings.

Almost all states have criminalized late term elective abortions, although the wording varies from state to state, I am not aware of any movement in the Democratic party to get rid of the post viability abortion ban laws at the state level or at the supreme court level.

There is one exception I know of, that being Albuquerque NM USA, the epicenter of an American holocaust where elective abortions to 32 weeks are routinely performed, and Southwestern Women's Options 522 Lomas Blvd NE Albuquerque, NM 87102 will perform later abortions on a "case by case basis".

I am not aware of any movement in the Democratic party to expand into other states the debauchery happening right now in Albuquerque.

One Brow said...

Legion of Logic,
I don't believe anyone can fully escape that, either, but like I wrote afterward, we can at least be aware of it and negate it with charity, giving the benefit of the doubt as much as possible. And since no one seems interested in doing that, well then here we are.

Well said.