William Lane Craig Has His Ass Handed To Him

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William Lane Craig Has His Ass Handed To Him

For those of you who haven't seen Craig destroyed completely in a debate, behold my new hero, Shelly Kagan (spelled incorrectly in the video).

Craig isn't off his game, he's just outclassed completely. It's too bad that it's Yale vs. Podunk, but someone had to bring the hammer, and "Shelly", as he asks his students call him, does just that.

http://www.veritas.org/media/talks/693

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Watching. Now into Craig's

Watching. Now into Craig's presentation.

Arguing for 'objective morality' - he is right, that without God there is no such thing. I would argue that even with God, we still do not have it, all we have is a set of commandments, laws.

 

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

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BobSpence1 wrote:Watching.

BobSpence1 wrote:

Watching. Now into Craig's presentation.

Arguing for 'objective morality' - he is right, that without God there is no such thing. I would argue that even with God, we still do not have it, all we have is a set of commandments, laws.

You wait. Even into the discussion, Craig gets killed all over the place, but wait for Kagan's concluding statements.

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BobSpence1 wrote:Watching.

BobSpence1 wrote:

Watching. Now into Craig's presentation.

Arguing for 'objective morality' - he is right, that without God there is no such thing. I would argue that even with God, we still do not have it, all we have is a set of commandments, laws.

 

What the fuck is your problem? It's like you don't mind obeying laws, but as long as they are subject to oversight and review, unlike a dictator. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ARBITRARY DICTATORS?

I should have expected as much from someone defying gravity. HOW THE HELL do you sit at your desk typing at your keyboard when you are upside down?

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Brian37 wrote:I should have

Brian37 wrote:

I should have expected as much from someone defying gravity. HOW THE HELL do you sit at your desk typing at your keyboard when you are upside down?

Haha -- Australians are magic, didn't anyone tell you? Canadians are also magic, but I'm pretty sure everyone knows that. I mean, that's obvious.

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I don't quite agree with

I don't quite agree with some of the arguments and positions of Shelly, but that is to be expected since he is only a philosopher.

I was very disappointed in him not pointing the obvious inappropriateness of the lion and antelope example. The lion has no choice but to kill to survive, vegetarianism is not an option. Any blame for that situation would fall on the hypothetical creator, ie God.

If they wanted to use examples from the animal kingdom, then things like a new dominant male killing or chasing away the cubs fathered by his rival would have been more relevant. Still defensible from an evolutionary point of view, but with clearer moral issues.

Yes, Shelley did pretty good job of pointing out the fallacies in Craig's argument.

Lane didn't bring any good arguments at all, but that is hardly surprising.

I would have asked Craig if he ever did anything like reading a good book, going to a good movie, attending a party with friends, IOW any of the sorts of things he actually found pleasant. Since the positive feelings from such events don't even last our lifetime, let alone for eternity, I must assume he is never motivated to do any such things....

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

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Another thing I found

Another thing I found interesting in the debate was the introduction of WLC, who has written 30 books. One problem: they're all fan fiction. It's "fan fiction" where you use someone else's version of a "universe" to make up new stories, right? Like when people have Kirk and Spock in a love affair, or a whole series of stories about Boba Fett, or something like that. Isn't that what it's called?

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BobSpence1 wrote:I don't

BobSpence1 wrote:

I don't quite agree with some of the arguments and positions of Shelly, but that is to be expected since he is only a philosopher.

Shelly let slip that he was "playing a game", at one point, though he retreated from that as "not fair". I think the points he was making were not, strictly speaking, designed to be true. If you see his lecture series ( http://academicearth.org/courses/death ), when he has a chance to cover his position over the span of a course, he's very thorough and specific. But when given 20 minutes ... truth isn't what it's about. That's often the frustration that rationalists feel in debates like these, and Kagan was able to share that with Craig.

BobSpence1 wrote:
I was very disappointed in him not pointing the obvious inappropriateness of the lion and antelope example. The lion has no choice but to kill to survive, vegetarianism is not an option. Any blame for that situation would fall on the hypothetical creator, ie God.

But how many ridiculous things did Craig say? I mean, given the vast set of things that Craig said, and the subset of those things that were ridiculous, I think the only strategy Kagan could have followed is to address just the one glaring problem.

 

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HisWillness wrote:Another

HisWillness wrote:

Another thing I found interesting in the debate was the introduction of WLC, who has written 30 books. One problem: they're all fan fiction. It's "fan fiction" where you use someone else's version of a "universe" to make up new stories, right? Like when people have Kirk and Spock in a love affair, or a whole series of stories about Boba Fett, or something like that. Isn't that what it's called?

Being the Star Wars guru that I am, all the various books on Fett are not fan fiction. I'm sure there's shitloads of fan fiction for various Star Wars characters, especially popular ones like Fett, but the novels are cannon.

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Vastet wrote:HisWillness

Vastet wrote:

HisWillness wrote:

Another thing I found interesting in the debate was the introduction of WLC, who has written 30 books. One problem: they're all fan fiction. It's "fan fiction" where you use someone else's version of a "universe" to make up new stories, right? Like when people have Kirk and Spock in a love affair, or a whole series of stories about Boba Fett, or something like that. Isn't that what it's called?

Being the Star Wars guru that I am, all the various books on Fett are not fan fiction. I'm sure there's shitloads of fan fiction for various Star Wars characters, especially popular ones like Fett, but the novels are cannon.

I wasn't aware that there was a distinction between canon and fan fiction, where derivative works were concerned. Is the difference getting paid to write them?

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Craig is bizarre.  It's as

Craig is bizarre.  It's as though he's talking directly past Kagan.  I understand that the two hold different, contradictory philosophical positions, but where Kagan makes room for Craig and responds to his position, Craig parades straw men of Kagan's position ad nauseam (like trumpeting incompatibalism) instead of accounting for and responding to Kagan's position.  As a broken record, Craig would be artful and while I don't agree at all with everything Kagan said, his arguments at least had substance.

At approximately 1:09:30 Craig responds to a question on how crimes ostensibly committed in the name of a religion or god could be dealt with in his philosophy.  His just doesn't answer:

'I'd like to use religious examples of atrocities to help communicate to students the difference objective good and objective evil.  If you say that there is no objective moral values or moral duties, then you have to say things like this: that the Spanish Inquisition, which sent thousands of Jews to their deaths was really morally indifferent; that the crusades, which enlisted children to send off to war and then were ultimately sold into slavery was a morally indifferent act; that religious intolerance is really morally fine.  So, I think that these examples help to underscore the fact that there really are objective moral values and duties that we recognize when we think about these kinds of situations.  So remember the argument isn't that you have to believe in god in order to be moral.  that's not the argument.  The argument is that you need to have god as an objective transcendant standard for moral value that moves beyond simple human conventions or societal mores.'

I wonder if he doesn't intentionally because he doesn't want to get into what would be the very silly reasons why people would do bad things in the face of a 'transcendant standard for moral value'?  I mean, he could have told us the truth.  He could have said, 'People do immoral things because of the devil.' and gone on to explain to us that.  I mean, we know he's Christian.  He didn't.  I think that would have derailed his position that you don't need to believe in god, god is merely necessary for the objective standard.  He said repeatedly that people needed a reason too, that morality needed justification.  If god is that justification as well as the standard, then the question posed is an important one that needs answering.  It has implications such as either the existence of an immoral demi-god or perhaps that people believe in the wrong god (but belief wasn't supposed to matter because regardless there's the reason and the standard) or it must appeal to a no true scotsman fallacy.  He only present how an objective moral standard would exist given a law maker (and poorly, then), but he doesn't give any rationale as to why one would follow that law, except implicitly.  All of which is really just the tip of the iceberg.  I'm fairly sure if one were to list the implications of Craigs position and weigh them against each aspect of his position, anyone would find that he'd either contradicted himself or left out important information if he didn't commit any other destructive fallacies.

I don't want to delve to far into Craig, because he really didn't present anything good at all to take to shreds and because it all could be taken to the most intricate of shredding.  I'm not going to bite into Kagan, because my objections are largely beside the point; that free will doesn't exist, except practically and that he could have picked broader, more damaging points on which to grill Craig and perhaps his terminology and finer aspects of his position.

So, good debate in that Craig gets destroyed, but not so good that so much of substance gets hashed.  Personlly, I think that Kagan might have won the crowd.  He was much more convincing and his argument was much easier to take as a whole and in bits that could be investigated.  Like, as a science.  That's just not possible with Craig's.  That's one major dillema these religious types face in these discussions:  You know, 'God is necessary for an objective morality, otherwise it's all so banal and we may as well run around looking after only number one.'  And ...?

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Thomathy wrote:Personlly, I

Thomathy wrote:

Personlly, I think that Kagan might have won the crowd.  He was much more convincing and his argument was much easier to take as a whole and in bits that could be investigated.

That's actually what I mean when I say "destroyed". Ordinarily, WLC's opponents are so flummoxed by him (because he's supposed to be a philosopher, and he seems to grant himself the luxury of not addressing questions posed to him) that they get caught up in the weight of the overwhelming insanity of his position. That can flat rattle a thoughtful person!

But because Kagan is so talented and practiced at lecturing (as evidenced by his online course on death) he's well suited to show Craig for the phony that he is. Kagan is the real deal, in that he can both rattle off an argument and also think about it on the spot. Craig merely appears to be a philosopher in that sense, especially in other debates where no-one is clever enough to take him to task for just one argument at a time.

In future debates about morality, I'm going to follow Kagan's lead. It's a great way to deal with the informal debate format.

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I agree.  Actually, his

I agree.  Actually, his style can be extended beyond the realm of morality (funny how else that can be taken), I think.  If I were ever to participate in a debate, I would seriously study his tactic.  Now that I'm thinking about it, he has a demeanor and a style that isn't terribly dissimilar to that of Harris (sans outright ridicule, of course).

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HisWillness wrote:Vastet

HisWillness wrote:

Vastet wrote:

HisWillness wrote:

Another thing I found interesting in the debate was the introduction of WLC, who has written 30 books. One problem: they're all fan fiction. It's "fan fiction" where you use someone else's version of a "universe" to make up new stories, right? Like when people have Kirk and Spock in a love affair, or a whole series of stories about Boba Fett, or something like that. Isn't that what it's called?

Being the Star Wars guru that I am, all the various books on Fett are not fan fiction. I'm sure there's shitloads of fan fiction for various Star Wars characters, especially popular ones like Fett, but the novels are cannon.

I wasn't aware that there was a distinction between canon and fan fiction, where derivative works were concerned. Is the difference getting paid to write them?

The difference is being published. If it has been published, and says Star Wars on it (and the author hasn't been and isn't about to be sued), then it is cannon.

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Vastet wrote:The difference

Vastet wrote:

The difference is being published. If it has been published, and says Star Wars on it (and the author hasn't been and isn't about to be sued), then it is cannon.

Also, the novels are vetted before being published. Many of them are based on treatments written by Star Wars staff writers.

Fanfic is done just because it's fun for some folks. (Never liked it much myself.)

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LOL!Canon!?Are we really

LOL!

Canon!?

Are we really going to go there?  When's the reformation?  Where's Darth Luther?  Should I prepare the shrine to he who has the line to the force?  I hear The Lucas will be visiting Mexico to shore up the numbers.

Is it still funny?

Canon!

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Thomathy

Thomathy wrote:

LOL!

Canon!?

Are we really going to go there?  When's the reformation?  Where's Darth Luther?  Should I prepare the shrine to he who has the line to the force?  I hear The Lucas will be visiting Mexico to shore up the numbers.

Is it still funny?

Canon!

I tried to figure out what you were attempting to say, but gave up on the premise that it probably wasn't important.

Sticking out tongue

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Thomathy

Thomathy wrote:

LOL!

Canon!?

Are we really going to go there?  When's the reformation?  Where's Darth Luther?  Should I prepare the shrine to he who has the line to the force?  I hear The Lucas will be visiting Mexico to shore up the numbers.

Is it still funny?

Canon!

I've seen this use of the [word] already, but I had the exact same reaction. Exactly. Science fiction is particularly fond of using "canonical" as a description of accepted story lines, etc. The connection between science fiction and religious ... uh ... "literature" has always been pretty strong, though.

...

But Vastet said it was "cannon", which means the thing that Star Wars stories should probably be shot out of.

(I was born a shit disturber -- I can't help it.)

Edit: where the square brackets are now found was the word "world", proving that I am the king of self-sabotage, engaging in the exact same error I was accusing Vastet of making. That's right, I'm the king. The King of Cannon.

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Hey, theists have stolen

Hey, theists have stolen enough words that it's only fair we return the favour. And what better way to do so? Seriously!

 

Will, I'll give you a cannon. Right up your ass. Laughing out loud

Spelling isn't so important to me that I make sure every word is perfect. Considering that the firing kind of cannon is hardly something that could be shoved into the paragraph I wrote by accident, I couldn't care less if I had an extra n in it. No spell checker in the world would pick that up anyway. So there, bitches. Laughing out loud

PS: I'm sure you meant "word", not "world".

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Vastet wrote:PS: I'm sure

Vastet wrote:

PS: I'm sure you meant "word", not "world".

You're right! I had an explanation about the Star Wars *world* in there, but it was such a bad joke that only a typo remnant remained.

Not a joke like WLC's education is apparently a joke, another kind.

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Maybe it's just the

Maybe it's just the throbbing headache I have right now, but:

 

...Didn't Craig lose more or less the moment he opened his mouth and suggested, "God is necessary for morals"?

I mean, the moment that we see moral behavior, and we also see no complementary evidence for a deity/divine intervention... that's that, isn't it? The whole premise is falsified.

 

*BOOM* ...and he's on the mat.

 

Next contender, please.

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"Natasha has just come up to the window from the courtyard and opened it wider so that the air may enter more freely into my room. I can see the bright green strip of grass beneath the wall, and the clear blue sky above the wall, and sunlight everywhere. Life is beautiful. Let the future generations cleanse it of all evil, oppression and violence, and enjoy it to the full."

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Kevin R Brown

Kevin R Brown wrote:

...Didn't Craig lose more or less the moment he opened his mouth and suggested, "God is necessary for morals"?

That's the group solidarity talking. Kagan was tasked with addressing an audience who would at least accept Craig's arguments as something other than fantasy. It's a tough sell, when people already believe in angels, for no other reason than they saw them on Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

We're dealing with complexicating primates, here, not rationality machines. Who knows what they'll believe next?

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Quote: Who knows what

Quote:
Who knows what they'll believe next?

Tipless canoes and operating pandas, if there's any justice in the world.

Quote:
"Natasha has just come up to the window from the courtyard and opened it wider so that the air may enter more freely into my room. I can see the bright green strip of grass beneath the wall, and the clear blue sky above the wall, and sunlight everywhere. Life is beautiful. Let the future generations cleanse it of all evil, oppression and violence, and enjoy it to the full."

- Leon Trotsky, Last Will & Testament
February 27, 1940


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I think the debate revealed

I think the debate revealed just how clearly Craig was basing his argument on his inability to conceive of certain things, and his presuppositions, rather than an explicit positive reasoning. 

'Without God, there can be no ultimate objective standard of morality'. So? Is your discomfort with the absence of any ultimate moral standard somehow 'proof' that there must be one??

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

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That was revealing and also

That was revealing and also frustrating.  Can a person really be so blind ...look to Craig.  Does his ignorance require constant upkeep, or is he really ignorant?

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 It's a tough call to make:

 It's a tough call to make: how much denial would someone have to be in to ignore the more glaringly obvious points that Kagan illuminated? As Bob said, there were points where Craig's argument boiled down to him feeling icky about something, therefore it was false. One would think that truth had nothing to do with how comfortable one was, but Craig begs to differ.

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Watching the debate right

Watching the debate right now.

 

This is one of those things that makes me really really sad. I mean, it was great to hear someone like Kagan illuminate these ideas- as Will said, he didn't have much time to do it, but did a really awesome job anyway- but hearing the 'response' from Craig was just... yikes.

I mean, these people have degrees and driver's licenses and jobs and.... yeah. Just amazes me that there still are folks like this out there. IN FORCE, no less.

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That was fun. He certainly

That was fun. He certainly was outclassed, and I felt a bit sorry for him (using empathy bestowed upon me by the Great Empathy Giver, of course). I didn't find it helpful that Kagan kept referring to the morality he was presenting as "objective," as they were both using the phrase "objective morality" and clearly talking about two completely different things. And Craig needs to read the Bible a bit more before he goes touting the idea of objective, absolute morality anymore. The Bible clearly doesn't support that argument. Either that or genocide, slavery, and the wholesale slaughter of non-combatants including women and children is moral.

 

I look forward to Kagan's course on death. Thanks for both those links.

Rill


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The Veritas Page Seems To Be Gone

I did manage to grab the audio of the debate about 2 weeks ago from the veritas page, but I just went over there again to check the validity of the link to email to someone... and I get a "page not found" error.

 

Are the audio/video of the debate available anywhere else?

I'll look around on the internet for it, but it would suck if it were not available anywhere else.

 


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Kagan defeated Craig?

I'm just curious if anyone has noted what Craig has said on his site about the debate. In one of his Question of The Weeks (Question 116), he says he didn't "press the point" during the debate because, "our hosts with the Veritas Forum had made it very clear to me that they were not interested in having a knock-down debate but a friendly dialogue that would foster a warm and inviting atmosphere for non-believing students at Columbia. The goal was simply to get the issues out on the table in a congenial, welcoming environment, which I think we did." Both Kagan and Craig weren't going into the debate with the intention to clobber each other with philosophical defeaters but rather to present opposing cases to a maturing college audience that was likely unfamiliar with the topic.

I personally didn't get the impression you all say you got after watching the debate. Dr. Kagan, while, granted, a very educated man, never seems to cede to Craig's point that, on atheism, the feelings of homo sapiens does not matter because ultimately homo sapiens do not matter- and he never really gets into how they even could matter (bear in mind, on atheism, the feelings of homo sapiens become ultimately reduced to merely firings of complex electrical nervous systems in mammals). Yes, Dr. Kagan, we get that relatively, the feelings of pain and suffering matter (particularly to those which are at the mercy of them), but why, if the universe begins with no intention of bringing about mankind, and if mankind will ultimately cease to exist due to the inevitable heat death of the universe, why, on atheism, should we think that anything that happens between these two events even matters? At first, it almost strikes of his not even considering this hypothetical reality. He just outright assumes that if we can feel pain, then it somehow just must necessarily matter. But this is his burden of proof to bear and throughout the course of debate he evinces his inability to carry such a burden.

 Open to replies and a continuance of this discussion, if anyone's interested.

 

-adamryan

 

"There is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pointless indifference. We are machines for propagating DNA. It is every living object's sole reason for being."- Richard Dawkins


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Kagan defeated Craig?

The audio/video clips are up again, btw. Located http://www.veritas.org/Media.aspx#/v/191">here.

 

 

-adamryan


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adamryan wrote:I personally

adamryan wrote:

I personally didn't get the impression you all say you got after watching the debate. Dr. Kagan, while, granted, a very educated man, never seems to cede to Craig's point that, on atheism, the feelings of homo sapiens does not matter because ultimately homo sapiens do not matter- and he never really gets into how they even could matter (bear in mind, on atheism, the feelings of homo sapiens become ultimately reduced to merely firings of complex electrical nervous systems in mammals).

My understanding from Kagan's response address of this is that our feelings matter to us, in the here and now, even if they do not matter ultimately with respect to the cosmos.  He further points out (around 49:00) that introducing god simply begs the question of ultimate worth.  How do we suddenly become more special if we acknowledge a god, and that he gave us souls?

adamryan wrote:
Yes, Dr. Kagan, we get that relatively, the feelings of pain and suffering matter (particularly to those which are at the mercy of them), but why, if the universe begins with no intention of bringing about mankind, and if mankind will ultimately cease to exist due to the inevitable heat death of the universe, why, on atheism, should we think that anything that happens between these two events even matters?

What we do during our brief and unlikely existence, does not matter ultimately:  our species will still go extinct, the sun will still destroy our planet, the universe will still wind down to heat death.  But it matters during (and only during) our brief and unlikely existence.  Just as we still appreciate visual beauty, although we know it is simply our poorly-formed eyes filtering a tiny portion of the light spectrum.     Just as we still feel lust although we know it is simply our genes exhorting us to reproduce (and can consciously hinder that biological goal through contraception).  

adamryan wrote:
At first, it almost strikes of his not even considering this hypothetical reality. He just outright assumes that if we can feel pain, then it somehow just must necessarily matter. But this is his burden of proof to bear and throughout the course of debate he evinces his inability to carry such a burden.
 

Kagan says around 55:00 that he doesn't believe in "deeper meaning", and then provides the example of a torture victim.  One's ability to feel pain doesn't lead one to object to being tortured on account of the cosmic significance of the act (and there is no cosmic significance), but rather on its immediate, personal significance.  

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Yea, that is what I was

Yea, that is what I was going to say.  Our existence matters to us, here and now.  Why would we need a supernatural purpose, and if we thought we had a supernatural purpose, what difference would it make besides a specific mandate on behavior it may or may not come with?  Anecdotally, I've not noticed that believers experience greater joy of suffering than atheists...although, like most things, I'm not sure how you would falsify the theists position.

 

You can outright assume 'life' matters to humans because it obviously does matter to humans.  You don't need to get metaphysical to figure out life matters to the individual.  If your own perceptions about that value are potentially flawed then your entire perception of the universe is potentially flawed, which leads back to the whole, "We might all be brains in jars" thing.  Basically it is a dead end to pursue that line of thinking so we all operate under the assumption that what we experience is real.

 

Everything makes more sense now that I've stopped believing.


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It always amuses me when

It always amuses me when these guys insist that something that is only temporary, or cannot be shown to have cosmic significance, cannot possible matter to us, or give us any 'real' happiness.

Do these people never watch a TV show, read a novel, go to the movies, enjoy a tasty meal, listen to a great piece of music, etc. None of those things have any of the above eternal or cosmic attributes, yet people are obviously drawn to them in vast numbers.

It is the drama, the story which is a sequence of changing scenes, of the unexpected outcome, which is what makes a great drama appeal to us.

The real situation is that the truth is the very opposite of Craig's position. It is inherent in the way our minds work, as much to allow us to adjust to reality, that anything which persists indefinitely will eventually start to bore us, it is only novelty, experiences which have a temporary peak intensity really have a lasting effect, a memory, which drives us to seek to repeat them.

So heaven, or even an eternal Hell, would only really work, for this and many other reasons, if our core personhood was drastically changed from what it is in our 'mortal' experience, which begs the question of whether it is meaningful to claim that it is the same 'soul', the same 'I', who would be enjoying or suffering such a truly eternal existence.

Imagine watching your favourite TV show for the billionth time...

Would that be Heaven or Hell??

 

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

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It has been a while since I

It has been a while since I was a theist, and I don't always remember how they think.  I'm curious, when they say things like happiness are they, perhaps, talking about some idealized happiness that humans don't actually experience outside of 'heaven'?  Or do they mean that transcendent feeling of awe/bliss that people often associate with religious experience, only perpetually?  Or do they just mean extreme happiness?  Something else?

 

If they mean the first, then it is pure assumption since no-one has ever felt such a thing.  If the second, atheists get that feeling too, and current research shows we can impose that feeling physically.  If the third, then they are demeaning the non-religious as less than human.  If the fourth then ???

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zarathustra wrote:My

zarathustra wrote:

My understanding from Kagan's response address of this is that our feelings matter to us, in the here and now, even if they do not matter ultimately with respect to the cosmos.  He further points out (around 49:00) that introducing god simply begs the question of ultimate worth.  How do we suddenly become more special if we acknowledge a god, and that he gave us souls?

Agreed. Of course they matter to us here and now. That isn't disputed. What is disputed is whether a rationally justified, coherent system of ethics can be built on how we feel, here and now. If all that ethics is is just a system of behavioral governance which is, at bottom, based on how we feel, then that seems to flip on its face our ideas of justice, right and wrong, etc. The prisoner's term now becomes, not a stretch of time of punishment because he has done something wrong, but an incarceration due to having been caught doing something which made someone feel a certain way- and since that person's feelings happen to be one which the populace seem to all agree to disdain, the majority has decided to lock this man up. Notice, however, they have shifted ground. They are no longer locking him up because he has done something wrong, but rather because he has done something unpleasant. When we justify behavior like this, the least we can do is be honest with ourselves and concede to the mistake.

 

zarathustra wrote:

What we do during our brief and unlikely existence, does not matter ultimately:  our species will still go extinct, the sun will still destroy our planet, the universe will still wind down to heat death.  But it matters during (and only during) our brief and unlikely existence.  Just as we still appreciate visual beauty, although we know it is simply our poorly-formed eyes filtering a tiny portion of the light spectrum. Just as we still feel lust although we know it is simply our genes exhorting us to reproduce (and can consciously hinder that biological goal through contraception).

 The honesty is appreciated. When I have had this conversation in the past, it rarely has ever had the opposite side admitting that the fate of man, on atheism, trivializes his existence. So I do appreciate that you at least are acknowledging this. But the point still needs to be pressed: Why does this matter? How can we seriously justify a system of ethics if they truly are this relative and subjective? When we say something is good, or something is bad, we are not referring to anything more than our feelings, if atheism is true, because if atheism is true, the "good" we feel is nothing more than some sort of evolutionary trait we've developed throughout our history. Saying that something is "good" becomes equal to saying "I" (and maybe society as a whole, also) "do like when" such and such "occurs.", and saying something is "not good" (evil, bad, immoral, etc) becomes the same as saying, "I do not like when" such and such "occurs." Well if right and wrong are truly this relative, then any and all chance of having a coherent system of ethics, really, just falls apart. This is precisely where the theist has it easy. When the theist grounds morality in God's nature, then if God exists, there becomes readily evident an objective, ontological reality to morality. When, on theism, someone says such and such is evil, the statement becomes meaningful because it at least has a standard by which it can be compared to.

Dawkins himself realizes this (I'd like to think the concept of objective morality necessitating something like God is as popularly well understood as I'd hope for it to be) when he says,


"There is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pointless indifference. We are machines for propagating DNA. It is every living object's sole reason for being." - River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life

 

zarathustra wrote:
Kagan says around 55:00 that he doesn't believe in "deeper meaning", and then provides the example of a torture victim.  One's ability to feel pain doesn't lead one to object to being tortured on account of the cosmic significance of the act (and there is no cosmic significance), but rather on its immediate, personal significance.
 

Again, of course torture provides an immediate example of why we ought to think things matter relatively, but Kagan's point to defend (or at least explain) was why, after realizing what atheism necessarily entails, we ought to regard as important those feelings of the torture victim. Please don't misunderstand my point here. I am not saying that unless you believe in God, nothing matters, including torture. What I'm getting at is that if there is no God, then anyone that says we ought to do things in a particular way immediately must bear the burden of explaining why (ontologically) their new ethic is somehow an expression of how things ought to be. What is important here is not morality epistemologically, but ontologically. And this just does not seem to have an adequate explanation, on atheism at least. The most we've come up with is a sort of social contract theory, but it's clear that it isn't objective at all.

I think Craig paints the position well in the debate when he says something to the effect of, "Remove God from the picture and what you're left with is a sort of ape-like creature on a speck of dust in the universe, deceived by delusions of moral grandeur."

When we really think about it, unless we have some sort of real, objective standard that exists in some way, any truly meaningful system of ethics is, and will always be, out of man's reach. 

 

-adamryan

 

p.s. I have been studying this for a while and have come across Hilary Putnam's, Morality Without Ontology. Eagerly looking forward to reading it, as it may clear up some misconceptions I might have regarding this very issue. Just thought I'd throw that out there and make it known that I'm not set in my ways, per se, but just actively voicing what, to me, seems to make the most sense. For now, at least.

 

"There is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pointless indifference. We are machines for propagating DNA. It is every living object's sole reason for being."- Richard Dawkins


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mellestad wrote:Yea, that is

mellestad wrote:

Yea, that is what I was going to say.  Our existence matters to us, here and now.  Why would we need a supernatural purpose, and if we thought we had a supernatural purpose, what difference would it make besides a specific mandate on behavior it may or may not come with?  Anecdotally, I've not noticed that believers experience greater joy of suffering than atheists...although, like most things, I'm not sure how you would falsify the theists position.

Well, of course, I'm not saying our existence doesn't matter to us, in the here and now. Of course it does, I'll happily agree with you on that. What I'm saying is that, if we are absent of a "supernatural purpose", then our existence really just becomes trivialized. Just as in every other science, when we apply reduction to our existence, we ought to at least be honest enough with ourselves to recognize that, when reduced, man becomes just an evolved primate (feel free to add superlatives galore, should you wish to) on a small planet, in a particular solar system, in one galaxy, in some deep recess of space. He doesn't really exist for a purpose; the Sartrean truism that his "Existence precedes his essence" must be recognized. 

Of course we can (as I think we all mostly do) simply ignore this as unimportant, something which doesn't effect our daily lives (and we'd be right in saying so), but for those of us that are truly thinking the whole thing through to its bitter end, when we stumble upon this, it stays with us. We consider it over and over, and the more we consider it, the more we're able to really understand the problem of atheism. It's not that belief in God will make you a better person. It's that, if atheism is true, and there truly is no maximally great being "that, than which nothing greater can be conceived", then we are truly stuck with basing our lives on a mere delusion of importance. It's not hard to see, now, why some let antipathy set in until they cannot take it anymore, and off themselves. In the existential reality of atheism, Camus (in my opinion) has got it right when he says, “There is but one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide. Judging whether life is or is not worth living amounts to answering the fundamental question of philosophy.” 


 

mellestad wrote:

You can outright assume 'life' matters to humans because it obviously does matter to humans.  You don't need to get metaphysical to figure out life matters to the individual.  If your own perceptions about that value are potentially flawed then your entire perception of the universe is potentially flawed, which leads back to the whole, "We might all be brains in jars" thing.  Basically it is a dead end to pursue that line of thinking so we all operate under the assumption that what we experience is real.
 


Right. But assumptions do not change anything if they are wrongly assumed.

 

 

-adamryan

 

 

"There is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pointless indifference. We are machines for propagating DNA. It is every living object's sole reason for being."- Richard Dawkins


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adamryan wrote:zarathustra

adamryan wrote:

zarathustra wrote:

My understanding from Kagan's response address of this is that our feelings matter to us, in the here and now, even if they do not matter ultimately with respect to the cosmos.  He further points out (around 49:00) that introducing god simply begs the question of ultimate worth.  How do we suddenly become more special if we acknowledge a god, and that he gave us souls?

Agreed. Of course they matter to us here and now. That isn't disputed. What is disputed is whether a rationally justified, coherent system of ethics can be built on how we feel, here and now. If all that ethics is is just a system of behavioral governance which is, at bottom, based on how we feel, then that seems to flip on its face our ideas of justice, right and wrong, etc. The prisoner's term now becomes, not a stretch of time of punishment because he has done something wrong, but an incarceration due to having been caught doing something which made someone feel a certain way- and since that person's feelings happen to be one which the populace seem to all agree to disdain, the majority has decided to lock this man up. Notice, however, they have shifted ground. They are no longer locking him up because he has done something wrong, but rather because he has done something unpleasant. When we justify behavior like this, the least we can do is be honest with ourselves and concede to the mistake.

 

zarathustra wrote:

What we do during our brief and unlikely existence, does not matter ultimately:  our species will still go extinct, the sun will still destroy our planet, the universe will still wind down to heat death.  But it matters during (and only during) our brief and unlikely existence.  Just as we still appreciate visual beauty, although we know it is simply our poorly-formed eyes filtering a tiny portion of the light spectrum. Just as we still feel lust although we know it is simply our genes exhorting us to reproduce (and can consciously hinder that biological goal through contraception).

 The honesty is appreciated. When I have had this conversation in the past, it rarely has ever had the opposite side admitting that the fate of man, on atheism, trivializes his existence. So I do appreciate that you at least are acknowledging this. But the point still needs to be pressed: Why does this matter? How can we seriously justify a system of ethics if they truly are this relative and subjective? When we say something is good, or something is bad, we are not referring to anything more than our feelings, if atheism is true, because if atheism is true, the "good" we feel is nothing more than some sort of evolutionary trait we've developed throughout our history. Saying that something is "good" becomes equal to saying "I" (and maybe society as a whole, also) "do like when" such and such "occurs.", and saying something is "not good" (evil, bad, immoral, etc) becomes the same as saying, "I do not like when" such and such "occurs." Well if right and wrong are truly this relative, then any and all chance of having a coherent system of ethics, really, just falls apart. This is precisely where the theist has it easy. When the theist grounds morality in God's nature, then if God exists, there becomes readily evident an objective, ontological reality to morality. When, on theism, someone says such and such is evil, the statement becomes meaningful because it at least has a standard by which it can be compared to.

Dawkins himself realizes this (I'd like to think the concept of objective morality necessitating something like God is as popularly well understood as I'd hope for it to be) when he says,


"There is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pointless indifference. We are machines for propagating DNA. It is every living object's sole reason for being." - River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life

 

zarathustra wrote:
Kagan says around 55:00 that he doesn't believe in "deeper meaning", and then provides the example of a torture victim.  One's ability to feel pain doesn't lead one to object to being tortured on account of the cosmic significance of the act (and there is no cosmic significance), but rather on its immediate, personal significance.
 

Again, of course torture provides an immediate example of why we ought to think things matter relatively, but Kagan's point to defend (or at least explain) was why, after realizing what atheism necessarily entails, we ought to regard as important those feelings of the torture victim. Please don't misunderstand my point here. I am not saying that unless you believe in God, nothing matters, including torture. What I'm getting at is that if there is no God, then anyone that says we ought to do things in a particular way immediately must bear the burden of explaining why (ontologically) their new ethic is somehow an expression of how things ought to be. What is important here is not morality epistemologically, but ontologically. And this just does not seem to have an adequate explanation, on atheism at least. The most we've come up with is a sort of social contract theory, but it's clear that it isn't objective at all.

I think Craig paints the position well in the debate when he says something to the effect of, "Remove God from the picture and what you're left with is a sort of ape-like creature on a speck of dust in the universe, deceived by delusions of moral grandeur."

When we really think about it, unless we have some sort of real, objective standard that exists in some way, any truly meaningful system of ethics is, and will always be, out of man's reach. 

 

-adamryan

 

p.s. I have been studying this for a while and have come across Hilary Putnam's, Morality Without Ontology. Eagerly looking forward to reading it, as it may clear up some misconceptions I might have regarding this very issue. Just thought I'd throw that out there and make it known that I'm not set in my ways, per se, but just actively voicing what, to me, seems to make the most sense. For now, at least.

 

Wait a minute a well spoken well mannered theist, where have you been?  Mmmm, smells like fresh air.


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BobSpence1 wrote:It always

BobSpence1 wrote:

It always amuses me when these guys insist that something that is only temporary, or cannot be shown to have cosmic significance, cannot possible matter to us, or give us any 'real' happiness.

Do these people never watch a TV show, read a novel, go to the movies, enjoy a tasty meal, listen to a great piece of music, etc. None of those things have any of the above eternal or cosmic attributes, yet people are obviously drawn to them in vast numbers.

It is the drama, the story which is a sequence of changing scenes, of the unexpected outcome, which is what makes a great drama appeal to us.

 

Well, yes, BobSpence1, you're right. Those ephemeral activities are important to us "in the here and now", of course. But the debate was on morality. If everything is fleeting, temporal and ultimately purposeless, then this will pose a serious philosophical problem for our system of ethics (not to confuse it with a serious social problem; I personally don't think that, in a world where everyone is an atheist, crime rates would skyrocket, etc like most Christians seem to claim they believe) because they then become unfounded. 

 

 

BobSpence1 wrote:

The real situation is that the truth is the very opposite of Craig's position. It is inherent in the way our minds work, as much to allow us to adjust to reality, that anything which persists indefinitely will eventually start to bore us, it is only novelty, experiences which have a temporary peak intensity really have a lasting effect, a memory, which drives us to seek to repeat them.

So heaven, or even an eternal Hell, would only really work, for this and many other reasons, if our core personhood was drastically changed from what it is in our 'mortal' experience, which begs the question of whether it is meaningful to claim that it is the same 'soul', the same 'I', who would be enjoying or suffering such a truly eternal existence.

Imagine watching your favourite TV show for the billionth time...

Would that be Heaven or Hell??

 

 

 

I partially agree with you here. Yes, things seem to only be enjoyed for a little while until we bore of them, but again, moral ontology has nothing to do with this. 

And personally, I think that if God is (as I think God is) "that, than which nothing greater can be conceived", and if Paul's statement that "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those that love him." (1 Cor. 2:9) is true (as it ought to be, if man is finite and God is infinite), then I really don't worry about growing bored in "Heaven", as I don't take it as a serious worry. If God is God, we ought not worry if he's able to entertain us. I suspect that the reality of growing bored of something over time is probably only the result we find when finite creatures seek infinite pleasure from other finite creatures.

 

 

-adamryan

"There is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pointless indifference. We are machines for propagating DNA. It is every living object's sole reason for being."- Richard Dawkins


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NoMoreCrazyPeople wrote:Wait

NoMoreCrazyPeople wrote:

Wait a minute a well spoken well mannered theist, where have you been?  Mmmm, smells like fresh air.



Haha, glad to hear that I'm, so far, well received. I've actually been part of the RRS for almost four years now. But I hardly contribute anymore. I've become very busy in school, family, work etc. I've, however, decided to try and stick around for as long as I can (or as long as I'm well received), as I've always enjoyed speaking freely here in the RRS forum.

 

 

-adamryan

 
 

 

"There is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pointless indifference. We are machines for propagating DNA. It is every living object's sole reason for being."- Richard Dawkins


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adamryan wrote: mellestad

adamryan wrote:

 

mellestad wrote:

You can outright assume 'life' matters to humans because it obviously does matter to humans.  You don't need to get metaphysical to figure out life matters to the individual.  If your own perceptions about that value are potentially flawed then your entire perception of the universe is potentially flawed, which leads back to the whole, "We might all be brains in jars" thing.  Basically it is a dead end to pursue that line of thinking so we all operate under the assumption that what we experience is real.

 


Right. But assumptions do not change anything if they are wrongly assumed.

 

-adamryan

It is not an 'assumption' that life matters to us, it is a plain fact, far more certain that the pure assumption that there is a God 'out there'.

Assumptions change many things for the person making them, if they match adequately what appears to be real, they give the person a framework to make apparent sense of life.

It does not matter whether they are true in any ultimate sense, as long as they 'work' adequately for us in our life.

The flaws in our perceptions are matched by our flawed judgement in assessing the reality behind our internal experiences also.

We have zero certain knowlege that there is a God, let alone what His motives or intentions toward us might be. Such a being would be infinitely capable of deceiving us, playing with us, and the history of the world is far more consistent with a God who is quite happy to see us suffer rather than an 'all-loving' one.

All religious beliefs involve many assumptions, many not recognized as such, such as the common and unquestioned assumption that the feeling of communicating with a God really does represent an actual contact with a real entity outside one's own imagination.

Internal, intuitive, revelations are the least reliable source of 'knowledge' about reality, and not even very good guides to the workings of our own minds, as shown by many, many studies by psychologists and neuroscientists.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

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mellestad wrote:It has been

mellestad wrote:

It has been a while since I was a theist, and I don't always remember how they think.  I'm curious, when they say things like happiness are they, perhaps, talking about some idealized happiness that humans don't actually experience outside of 'heaven'?  Or do they mean that transcendent feeling of awe/bliss that people often associate with religious experience, only perpetually?  Or do they just mean extreme happiness?  Something else?

 If they mean the first, then it is pure assumption since no-one has ever felt such a thing.  If the second, atheists get that feeling too, and current research shows we can impose that feeling physically.  If the third, then they are demeaning the non-religious as less than human.  If the fourth then ???

 

I think the Christian position (at least in my philosophy studies) has been that the happiness we feel now is a glimpse of what is yet to come. This happiness (or "joy", as it is in the Bible) as we experience it now is really only the minimal level of what it can be. 

I'm not sure if it would be off topic for you, but I was wondering if you've heard of WLC's website, ReasonableFaith.org. On it, when you log on (free to register), the site has some great audio-visual content available (debates, lectures, etc), and I have a feeling that if you were to give it a quick browse, you might come across something that'd pique curiosity. Maybe in the podcasts? In any case, if you'd like me to give it a go and check them out for you, I'd be glad to do so (if you are interested, but not enough to register). Just give me the word. He's covered a lot on his site so far, and it's only been up for two years (I think).

 

 

-adamryan

 

"There is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pointless indifference. We are machines for propagating DNA. It is every living object's sole reason for being."- Richard Dawkins


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BobSpence1 wrote:It is not

BobSpence1 wrote:


It is not an 'assumption' that life matters to us, it is a plain fact, far more certain that the pure assumption that there is a God 'out there'.

Assumptions change many things for the person making them, if they match adequately what appears to be real, they give the person a framework to make apparent sense of life.

It does not matter whether they are true in any ultimate sense, as long as they 'work' adequately for us in our life.

Granted, they are important to us. But again, this importance to us makes the importance relative. What Dr. Craig and Dr. Kagan were debating would come down to, not, "Would it matter to us if people were tortured?", but essentially, "Would it matter if people were tortured?". There is a distinction here to be made.

 

-adamryan

"There is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pointless indifference. We are machines for propagating DNA. It is every living object's sole reason for being."- Richard Dawkins


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Adam,  I hope we can meet

Adam,

  I hope we can meet outside of this thread to discuss some of your beliefs and reasons for being a Christian, it would be however out of place here but I am always looking for reasonble theists brains to pick as the never-ending lineup of non-reasonable theists bore me to death.  It would be great if you could start a thread highlighting your beliefs and reasons for belief, but only if it's something your up to.   


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adamryan wrote:BobSpence1

adamryan wrote:

BobSpence1 wrote:


It is not an 'assumption' that life matters to us, it is a plain fact, far more certain that the pure assumption that there is a God 'out there'.

Assumptions change many things for the person making them, if they match adequately what appears to be real, they give the person a framework to make apparent sense of life.

It does not matter whether they are true in any ultimate sense, as long as they 'work' adequately for us in our life.

Granted, they are important to us. But again, this importance to us makes the importance relative. What Dr. Craig and Dr. Kagan were debating would come down to, not, "Would it matter to us if people were tortured?", but essentially, "Would it matter if people were tortured?". There is a distinction here to be made.

-adamryan

It almost certainly wouldn't 'matter' to the rest of the Universe.

It could only 'matter' to another caring sentience, which happened to care about our society and its well-being. IOW to someone or something else who shared the same reasons we care.

It is an ultimately meaningless question to ask such a question in the abstract. It is precisely our subjective experience that makes 'torture' wrong to us, ie, deliberately causing extreme suffering and pain to another individual.

Doing something to another against their will, without some longer term benefit to offer, such as the short term pain of some medical procedure that is aimed at ultimately saving their life, is 'wrong' precisely because of how all but a few psychologically unusual individuals react to the prospect and the reality of such a scenario.

It matters to our society if people are tortured. That is all that is required.

WLC really seems hung up on this feeling that unless something is 'wrong' in some cosmic or divine or ultimate sense, it can't 'really' be considered wrong. That is simply his subjective judgement. IOW the 'feeling' that it must 'matter' in a wider sense than simply subjectively to us, is itself subjective.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

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@Adamryan:Why are our goals

@Adamryan:

Why are our goals hopes dreams and desires, 'illusions'?  Why wouldn't they matter to us?  Why is my desire to give my daughter and wife a happy life, 'trivial'?  Why is my desire to live in a society that holds the same values I do and is mutually supportive of a happy life, 'trivial'?  I always feel like theists are demeaning the human condition when they talk like this, like our life doesn't really matter because it is just a warm up act for the 'real' show.  But the thing is, Heaven is a speculation, an idea, a hypothesis.  Our current reality is, well, real.

----------------

I'm not terribly interested in delving deeply into WLC, outside of watching his debates.  If I see a debate where he has an interesting idea I might reconsider.  His main draw, to me, is that his debate style isn't inflammatory...but honestly I'm not impressed with his reasoning.

----------------

My secular morality comes down to wanting a world that matches and supports my value system.  I don't want a violent, chaotic dog-eat-dog world where only the powerful prosper because I would be likely to have a violent, chaotic life filled with suffering and end up eaten by a dog.  I want a peaceful, relatively stable world where the weak are given some protection and a chance to prosper on their own merit, that way myself and those I care about have a chance to live a good and happy life.  I also have a biological drive towards empathy that makes me feel bad when other humans suffer and that shapes my morality.

This is all about enlightened self interest.  It would not be in my interest to live a narcissistic life and it would certainly not be in my interest if everyone lived a narcissistic life.  Such a society could not survive past a state of tribal anarchy.

 

Everything makes more sense now that I've stopped believing.


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Damn, I miss HisWillness.

Damn, I miss HisWillness.


Jeffrick
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                       I'll call him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                     edit]   I called;  he is alive and breathing;   --   stay tooned.

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adamryan wrote:zarathustra


adamryan wrote:

zarathustra wrote:

My understanding from Kagan's response address of this is that our feelings matter to us, in the here and now, even if they do not matter ultimately with respect to the cosmos.  He further points out (around 49:00) that introducing god simply begs the question of ultimate worth.  How do we suddenly become more special if we acknowledge a god, and that he gave us souls?

Agreed. Of course they matter to us here and now. That isn't disputed. What is disputed is whether a rationally justified, coherent system of ethics can be built on how we feel, here and now.

Yes.  In fact I fail to see what the basis of a "rationally justified, coherent system of ethics" can be if it does not apply in the here and now.  There was no need for justice for the billions of years before we existed, nor will there be after we're gone.  Justice applies to our actions, and our actions occur in the here and now. 


adamryan wrote:

If all that ethics is is just a system of behavioral governance which is, at bottom, based on how we feel, then that seems to flip on its face our ideas of justice, right and wrong, etc. The prisoner's term now becomes, not a stretch of time of punishment because he has done something wrong, but an incarceration due to having been caught doing something which made someone feel a certain way- and since that person's feelings happen to be one which the populace seem to all agree to disdain, the majority has decided to lock this man up. Notice, however, they have shifted ground. They are no longer locking him up because he has done something wrong, but rather because he has done something unpleasant. When we justify behavior like this, the least we can do is be honest with ourselves and concede to the mistake.

I fail to see how we can judge an action right or wrong unless we take into account how it affects us.  Yes, unpleasantry is the criterion by which we determine that an action is wrong; there is no mistake to concede.  Exactly what makes an action wrong unless it inflicts unpleasantry upon another?  

adamryan wrote:
  The honesty is appreciated. When I have had this conversation in the past, it rarely has ever had the opposite side admitting that the fate of man, on atheism, trivializes his existence. So I do appreciate that you at least are acknowledging this.
Begging your pardon, but I in no way implied that atheism trivializes one's existence.  I understand it may be easy to infer that, but I in fact assert the converse:  atheism reaffirms one's existence.  Theism is what trivializes our existence, making us figurines in a deity's playset.  

adamryan wrote:
But the point still needs to be pressed: Why does this matter? How can we seriously justify a system of ethics if they truly are this relative and subjective? When we say something is good, or something is bad, we are not referring to anything more than our feelings, if atheism is true, because if atheism is true, the "good" we feel is nothing more than some sort of evolutionary trait we've developed throughout our history.

Correct.  It is fruitless to seek an ultimate answer to "Why does it matter", since the question is begged:  Why does it matter to god if we're good or bad?  Why does god matter?    

Our sense of right and wrong is in no way disqualified by the recognition that it is simply an "evolutionary trait".  We cannot abandon it any more than we could abandon our desire to eat, though we know hunger is simply an evolutionary trait to encourage the acquisition of energy.  

adamryan wrote:

Saying that something is "good" becomes equal to saying "I" (and maybe society as a whole, also) "do like when" such and such "occurs.", and saying something is "not good" (evil, bad, immoral, etc) becomes the same as saying, "I do not like when" such and such "occurs." Well if right and wrong are truly this relative, then any and all chance of having a coherent system of ethics, really, just falls apart. This is precisely where the theist has it easy. When the theist grounds morality in God's nature, then if God exists, there becomes readily evident an objective, ontological reality to morality. When, on theism, someone says such and such is evil, the statement becomes meaningful because it at least has a standard by which it can be compared to.


 

The theist thinks he has it easy because he neglects to ask:  Where does god get his morality from?  If god defines morality himself, it is no less subjective than if we do; if morality is not subject to god's definition, then there is no need for god in deriving our moral standards. 

adamryan wrote:

zarathustra wrote:
Kagan says around 55:00 that he doesn't believe in "deeper meaning", and then provides the example of a torture victim.  One's ability to feel pain doesn't lead one to object to being tortured on account of the cosmic significance of the act (and there is no cosmic significance), but rather on its immediate, personal significance.
 

Again, of course torture provides an immediate example of why we ought to think things matter relatively, but Kagan's point to defend (or at least explain) was why, after realizing what atheism necessarily entails, we ought to regard as important those feelings of the torture victim. Please don't misunderstand my point here. I am not saying that unless you believe in God, nothing matters, including torture.

Fair enough.  Please understand me when I say we object to torture because we have evolved nervous systems which react negatively to painful stimuli.  When a person screams while being tortured, that is his nervous system saying "Stop!  That hurts!", not his ontological morality saying "Stop!  You're violating god's objective moral standards!"  Likewise, we regard that as wrong because we have an evolved sense of empathy.  We think "that would hurt if I were in his position", not "that would offend god's objective moral standards if I were in his position".

adamryan wrote:
I think Craig paints the position well in the debate when he says something to the effect of, "Remove God from the picture and what you're left with is a sort of ape-like creature on a speck of dust in the universe, deceived by delusions of moral grandeur."

You're left with an ape-like creature whose evolutionary traits (empathy among them) have proven advantageous on this speck of dust in the universe.   I fail to see the warrant for the pejorative phrase "deceived by delusions of moral grandeur".  

There are no theists on operating tables.

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Jeffrick wrote:I'll call

Jeffrick wrote:

I'll call him.

 

edit]   I called;  he is alive and breathing;   --   stay tooned.

 

That's a relief. Not that I was worried; I myself don't have much time these days, so I figured he just got caught up with life.

Thanks for the updated, Jeffrick.

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers


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 Yep, catching up with

 Yep, catching up with life. Almost. Not quite. Okay, not at all.

 

You got blue hair!