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patriot45
04-01-2009, 11:01 AM
Walter Williams, one of the smartest people on earth! (http://townhall.com/columnists/WalterEWilliams/2009/04/01/our_problem_is_immorality)





Most of our nation's great problems, including our economic problems, have as their root decaying moral values. Whether we have the stomach to own up to it or not, we have become an immoral people left with little more than the pretense of morality. You say, "That's a pretty heavy charge, Williams. You'd better be prepared to back it up with evidence!" I'll try with a few questions for you to answer.

Do you believe that it is moral and just for one person to be forcibly used to serve the purposes of another? And, if that person does not peaceably submit to being so used, do you believe that there should be the initiation of some kind of force against him? Neither question is complex and can be answered by either a yes or no. For me the answer is no to both questions but I bet that your average college professor, politician or minister would not give a simple yes or no response. They would be evasive and probably say that it all depends.

In thinking about questions of morality, my initial premise is that I am my private property and you are your private property. That's simple. What's complex is what percentage of me belongs to someone else. If we accept the idea of self-ownership, then certain acts are readily revealed as moral or immoral. Acts such as rape and murder are immoral because they violate one's private property rights. Theft of the physical things that we own, such as cars, jewelry and money, also violates our ownership rights.

The reason why your college professor, politician or minister cannot give a simple yes or no answer to the question of whether one person should be used to serve the purposes of another is because they are sly enough to know that either answer would be troublesome for their agenda. A yes answer would put them firmly in the position of supporting some of mankind's most horrible injustices such as slavery. After all, what is slavery but the forcible use of one person to serve the purposes of another? A no answer would put them on the spot as well because that would mean they would have to come out against taking the earnings of one American to give to another in the forms of farm and business handouts, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps and thousands of similar programs that account for more than two-thirds of the federal budget. There is neither moral justification nor constitutional authority for what amounts to legalized theft. This is not an argument against paying taxes. We all have a moral obligation to pay our share of the constitutionally mandated and enumerated functions of the federal government.

Unfortunately, there is no way out of our immoral quagmire. The reason is that now that the U.S. Congress has established the principle that one American has a right to live at the expense of another American, it no longer pays to be moral. People who choose to be moral and refuse congressional handouts will find themselves losers. They'll be paying higher and higher taxes to support increasing numbers of those paying lower and lower taxes. As it stands now, close to 50 percent of income earners have no federal income tax liability and as such, what do they care about rising income taxes? In other words, once legalized theft begins, it becomes too costly to remain moral and self-sufficient. You might as well join in the looting, including the current looting in the name of stimulating the economy.

I am all too afraid that a historian, a hundred years from now, will footnote America as a historical curiosity where people once enjoyed private property rights and limited government but it all returned to mankind's normal state of affairs -- arbitrary abuse and control by the powerful elite.

Gingersnap
04-01-2009, 11:33 AM
Interesting argument. I have often argued moral issues from this very perspective.

Lefties can never come to this view because by and large they do not believe in natural rights. Since there are no inherent rights in the human condition, there is no moral argument against any kind of slavery, abuse, or humiliation. They have passing, changeable objections to such things but their concerns are purely utilitarian.

Your rights stop right where a politician's power and authority begin.

Odysseus
04-01-2009, 12:08 PM
Interesting argument. I have often argued moral issues from this very perspective.

Lefties can never come to this view because by and large they do not believe in natural rights. Since there are no inherent rights in the human condition, there is no moral argument against any kind of slavery, abuse, or humiliation. They have passing, changeable objections to such things but their concerns are purely utilitarian.

Your rights stop right where a politician's power and authority begin.

They also tend to believe in group rights, rather than individual rights, unless the individual right is a sexual one. By claiming that membership in a certain group entitles you to certain rights, they are actually creating enclaves of privilege, not rights. I've always argued that in order for something to be a right, it must be universal, even if the capacity to exercise that right is not. For example, the right to live must be universal, and cannot be abrogated unless you have denied that right to others. If you have the right to live, then you have the right to sustain your life through your own efforts, which entails the creation of property, whose disposition you control. Thus, theft is not simply a property crime, but a crime that threatens the life of the producer, who will be unable to sustain himself and his family if his goods are taken. We have the right to defend ourselves and our property, to form alliances and partnerships in order to multiply our efforts or to diversify the available skill sets, which increases the capacity to produce. When we empower courts and police agencies, we are delegating the right of self defense to a neutral power which will then enforce contracts and protect us and our property from those who seek to take what is not theirs, either by force or trickery.

wilbur
04-01-2009, 12:52 PM
Interesting argument. I have often argued moral issues from this very perspective.

Lefties can never come to this view because by and large they do not believe in natural rights. Since there are no inherent rights in the human condition, there is no moral argument against any kind of slavery, abuse, or humiliation. They have passing, changeable objections to such things but their concerns are purely utilitarian.

Your rights stop right where a politician's power and authority begin.

Natural rights ARE utilitarian.. unless you think violating or removing natural rights results in maximizing goodness and well being for the greatest many.

But this author contradicts himself in his own article and throws out his own absolutism in favor of utilitarianism and doesn't even realize it... he rambles on about some absolute truth, that it is always wrong to 'forcibly use one person to serve the purposes of another'... then goes on to list exceptions, such as taxation. Quite utilitarian... and there's nothing wrong with that actually.

Using one person to serve the purposes of another isnt really a fundamental difference between conservatives or liberals... we all advocate it to some degree or another.

Gingersnap
04-01-2009, 01:09 PM
Natural rights ARE utilitarian.. unless you think violating or removing natural rights results in maximizing goodness and well being for the greatest many.

I don't think that natural rights are utilitarian but almost all utilitarians are perfectly willing to deny an individual's natural rights if it's expedient.

patriot45
04-01-2009, 01:16 PM
Natural rights ARE utilitarian.. unless you think violating or removing natural rights results in maximizing goodness and well being for the greatest many.

But this author contradicts himself in his own article and throws out his own absolutism in favor of utilitarianism and doesn't even realize it... he rambles on about some absolute truth, that it is always wrong to 'forcibly use one person to serve the purposes of another'... then goes on to list exceptions, such as taxation. Quite utilitarian... and there's nothing wrong with that actually.

Using one person to serve the purposes of another isnt really a fundamental difference between conservatives or liberals... we all advocate it to some degree or another.

It wasn't a contradiction. He qualified that statement by that which is in the Constitution! Libs always twist words.


This is not an argument against paying taxes. We all have a moral obligation to pay our share of the constitutionally mandated and enumerated functions of the federal government

wilbur
04-01-2009, 01:25 PM
It wasn't a contradiction. He qualified that statement by that which is in the Constitution! Libs always twist words.

In which case, he's arguing that there are exceptions to what he previously claimed is an absolute. No word twisting here, just parsing them according to their meanings.

He's arguing that in certain cases, its a DUTY to forcibly require someone to serve the purposes of another (ie through reasonable taxation) but at the same time trying to argue that its absolutely immoral to forcibly require someone to serve the purposes of another. :eek:

The differences between conservatives and liberals here are really competing concepts of what constitutes "duty".

wilbur
04-01-2009, 01:32 PM
I don't think that natural rights are utilitarian but almost all utilitarians are perfectly willing to deny an individual's natural rights if it's expedient.

As are we all... if we weren't we'd never go to war... ever.

FlaGator
04-01-2009, 01:38 PM
As are we all... if we weren't we'd never go to war... ever.

I'm curious. How would you answer the questions he proposed?


Do you believe that it is moral and just for one person to be forcibly used to serve the purposes of another? And, if that person does not peaceably submit to being so used, do you believe that there should be the initiation of some kind of force against him? Neither question is complex and can be answered by either a yes or no.

wilbur
04-01-2009, 01:41 PM
I'm curious. How would you answer the questions he proposed?

With a yes. But as we have seen, even the author can't answer 'no' to his own question.

Unfortunately, the world doesn't always present us with the option of taking a course of action which will NOT violate someones rights.

FlaGator
04-01-2009, 02:27 PM
With a yes. But as we have seen, even the author can't answer 'no' to his own question.

Unfortunately, the world doesn't always present us with the option of taking a course of action which will NOT violate someones rights.

I think that the whole problem with this anylsis lies with the following statement


Neither question is complex and can be answered by either a yes or no.


As Williams pointed out neither question is complex but the complexity of the question has no relevence to the complexity of the answer and neither answer warrants a straight forward yes or no. With that in mind then William's analysis is flawed because he is using an oversimplified response as the basis for conjecture.

patriot45
04-01-2009, 02:55 PM
With a yes. But as we have seen, even the author can't answer 'no' to his own question.

Unfortunately, the world doesn't always present us with the option of taking a course of action which will NOT violate someones rights.


Actually he answered no to both questions.



For me the answer is no to both questions but I bet that your average college professor, politician or minister would not give a simple yes or no response. They would be evasive and probably say that it all depends.

Then he kinda explains that this is ;


This is not an argument against paying taxes. We all have a moral obligation to pay our share of the constitutionally mandated and enumerated functions of the federal government.


See, we are paying way more in taxes than what it would take to run the infrastructure and defense.We are being taxed to support others.


Unfortunately, there is no way out of our immoral quagmire. The reason is that now that the U.S. Congress has established the principle that one American has a right to live at the expense of another American, it no longer pays to be moral.

He is smarter than you or I.


As it stands now, close to 50 percent of income earners have no federal income tax liability and as such, what do they care about rising income taxes? In other words, once legalized theft begins, it becomes too costly to remain moral and self-sufficient

Odysseus
04-01-2009, 04:33 PM
In which case, he's arguing that there are exceptions to what he previously claimed is an absolute. No word twisting here, just parsing them according to their meanings.

He's arguing that in certain cases, its a DUTY to forcibly require someone to serve the purposes of another (ie through reasonable taxation) but at the same time trying to argue that its absolutely immoral to forcibly require someone to serve the purposes of another. :eek:

The differences between conservatives and liberals here are really competing concepts of what constitutes "duty".

The cost of government can be paid for in numerous ways, but the fundamental premise, that our government exists to serve all of us, assumes that we are all therefore willing to preserve it through a means that we arrive at through consensus. When that government becomes a tool to serve some of us at the expense of others, then it abrogates its responsibility to provide equal protections. In that regard, the establishment of a tax code is, theoretically, voluntary, but once established, compliance is not. Those who do not wish to pay taxes are free to leave and find a place where they can live without them or, under the current administration, serve as Secretary of the Treasury.

Constitutionally Speaking
04-01-2009, 07:52 PM
Natural rights ARE utilitarian.. unless you think violating or removing natural rights results in maximizing goodness and well being for the greatest many.

But this author contradicts himself in his own article and throws out his own absolutism in favor of utilitarianism and doesn't even realize it... he rambles on about some absolute truth, that it is always wrong to 'forcibly use one person to serve the purposes of another'... then goes on to list exceptions, such as taxation. Quite utilitarian... and there's nothing wrong with that actually.

Using one person to serve the purposes of another isnt really a fundamental difference between conservatives or liberals... we all advocate it to some degree or another.



BULLSHIT.


As soon as you concede that rights are granted by Man not GOD - it means that MAN can CHANGE those rights.

Our founding fathers PURPOSELY place rights out of mans jurisdiction.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." Declaration of Independence


They assumed it went without saying (they were after all SELF EVIDENT) that our rights were granted by God (endowed by their creator) and that these rights were NOT subject to mans judgement - they are unalienable - BECAUSE they are granted by God.


This is what John Quincy Adams meant when he said: “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

They knew that a citizenry that loved God would not DARE take away rights that God granted - and that our very freedoms depended upon this respect for God.

After all - if freedoms were in the domain of man and mans institutions, man and his institutions can simply decide to change those rights and freedoms.

The undermining of God in today's world threatens our most basic freedoms and undermines the very foundation of this country.

wilbur
04-01-2009, 07:53 PM
The cost of government can be paid for in numerous ways, but the fundamental premise, that our government exists to serve all of us, assumes that we are all therefore willing to preserve it through a means that we arrive at through consensus. When that government becomes a tool to serve some of us at the expense of others, then it abrogates its responsibility to provide equal protections. In that regard, the establishment of a tax code is, theoretically, voluntary, but once established, compliance is not. Those who do not wish to pay taxes are free to leave and find a place where they can live without them or, under the current administration, serve as Secretary of the Treasury.

That is a premise in liberal philosophy as well... that one has a duty to contribute reasonable support to the infrastructure which serves him or her. Nobody disagrees with that.

Liberals argue that the social programs they promote are to serve the maintenance of the social structure (and therefore us) just like many other things government spends money on, regardless if one benefits directly.

Same premise... different approach. All of it, conservative policy or liberal, is some form 'forcing others to serve the needs of others'.

thebeatingpulse
04-01-2009, 10:50 PM
My Grandpa, and I were talking today (you will find I am very close to my GP) and we were talking about the country, and my anger issues with liberals. He said that the main problem is the country was founded on God and freedom of religion. Well we have thrown that all in the circular file, and act like we did it all, and God had nothing to do with it. America needs to start praying again and get rid of alot of these liberal ideas. Until God is introduced into our country again he feels America will keep on going down further and further. Truthfully I dont want to sound like a Bible thumper, but I feel America has made its own bed, and these liberals are going to keep ruining it for us. We need prayer and we need to really stop these horrible liberal ideas that take God out of everything.

wilbur
04-02-2009, 12:08 AM
My Grandpa, and I were talking today (you will find I am very close to my GP) and we were talking about the country, and my anger issues with liberals. He said that the main problem is the country was founded on God and freedom of religion. Well we have thrown that all in the circular file, and act like we did it all, and God had nothing to do with it. America needs to start praying again and get rid of alot of these liberal ideas. Until God is introduced into our country again he feels America will keep on going down further and further. Truthfully I dont want to sound like a Bible thumper, but I feel America has made its own bed, and these liberals are going to keep ruining it for us. We need prayer and we need to really stop these horrible liberal ideas that take God out of everything.

Praying for help is like using a banana to call 911. ;)

What we need are people using their heads, actually working to solve problems.

Gingersnap
04-02-2009, 12:42 AM
Praying for help is like using a banana to call 911. ;)

What we need are people using their heads, actually working to solve problems.

Because nobody who ever prayed ever used his or her head to solve a practical problem. I guess all those Christians who worked for abolition, civil rights, women's rights, orphans, starving people, or the elderly just knelt down and prayed for help. It's sad to think that not one them ever actively attempted to solve those problems.

Slavery - Wilberforce (Evangelical Christian)

Civil Rights - The Reverend Martin Luther King (Baptist preacher and Republican)

Women's Rights - Lucretia Mott (Society of Friends)

Orphans - St. Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton (Roman Catholic)

Starving People - Pretty much all of us through contributions and tithing.

Caring for the elderly - About half of most active Roman Catholic/Orthodox sisterhoods and a boatload of Protestant charitable efforts.

It's shocking how Christians never give a dime or an hour toward charity. I guess it's common knowledge that yakking with your friends over the state of the world is way, way more productive than a minute or two in prayer and then heading off to do your 3 - 5 hours a week volunteering for whatever. :rolleyes:

wilbur
04-02-2009, 12:51 AM
The undermining of God in today's world threatens our most basic freedoms and undermines the very foundation of this country.

You really should spend some time reading some counter-views to this so you can really understand just how decimated and torn to shreds this whole concept really is.

God belief has in no way provided mankind with any glimmer of hope for divining any sort of objective morality or any basis for human rights. You can't even get people to agree on what or who he is, much less what he wants or values.

And if it god-belief is supposed to be some unmovable buttress that prevents the evolution, corruption or refining of morality I think you would have a hard time thinking of anything else in this world that has failed so spectacularly at its job.

And really... I hope man CAN change his morality. It isn't a bad thing to refine morality as we learn and grow as a species. We would never have had basic rights at all if this weren't the case.

wilbur
04-02-2009, 01:14 AM
Because nobody who ever prayed ever used his or her head to solve a practical problem. I guess all those Christians who worked for abolition, civil rights, women's rights, orphans, starving people, or the elderly just knelt down and prayed for help. It's sad to think that not one them ever actively attempted to solve those problems.

It's shocking how Christians never give a dime or an hour toward charity. I guess it's common knowledge that yakking with your friends over the state of the world is way, way more productive than a minute or two in prayer and then heading off to do your 3 - 5 hours a week volunteering for whatever. :rolleyes:

If you like to pray and it helps you get through the day, go for it, have fun. When prayer is proffered up as an ultimate solution to our most dire problems, I think its appropriate to point out that that is ridiculous.

Its like saying the worlds problems will just solve themselves if we all just start doing yoga. And hey, maybe the world would be a slightly better place if everyone did more yoga... But if I tell you that yoga is one of our most effective weapons to fight crime, ignorance, poverty, terrorism, international conflicts and wars you would laugh in my face, and rightly so.

FlaGator
04-02-2009, 08:47 AM
Praying for help is like using a banana to call 911. ;)

What we need are people using their heads, actually working to solve problems.

Praying helps to clear the mind so that people can use their heads. In fact not to pray over difficult problems probably leaves your head so full of feces that it puts pressure on your optic nerve and make you blind to the truth as well as being a shit head. :D

FlaGator
04-02-2009, 08:59 AM
If you like to pray and it helps you get through the day, go for it, have fun. When prayer is proffered up as an ultimate solution to our most dire problems, I think its appropriate to point out that that is ridiculous.

Its like saying the worlds problems will just solve themselves if we all just start doing yoga. And hey, maybe the world would be a slightly better place if everyone did more yoga... But if I tell you that yoga is one of our most effective weapons to fight crime, ignorance, poverty, terrorism, international conflicts and wars you would laugh in my face, and rightly so.

Once again your display of ignorance of the Christian faith borders on shocking, particulary since you make statements that sound like you truly believe you know what your talking about. Take some time to research some of these aspects of faith you like to belittle so that you have a much better working knowledge of them.

Prayer is not offered up as a solution. It is offered up as a chance to become closer to God and to clear your head. Occasionally a solution will come from prayer but in cases like this, it is more of a mediative process to commune with the Creator and clear you mind of unnecessary ideas.

In prayer we do ask God for intervention of some issues for ourselves and others and we seek forgiveness of our sins but prayer is also used a mediative process with in the context of Christian Spirituallity. Would it surprise you to know that I have come up with solutions to very complex programming problems while praying? Did God put those idea's in my head? Maybe. And maybe the prayer process just opened up the neural pathways allowing me to make the connections necessary to obtain a solution that existed as individual concepts in my brain. Either way the act of prayer and fellowship with God was the event that facilitated the solution.

wilbur
04-02-2009, 12:24 PM
Prayer is not offered up as a solution. It is offered up as a chance to become closer to God and to clear your head. Occasionally a solution will come from prayer but in cases like this, it is more of a mediative process to commune with the Creator and clear you mind of unnecessary ideas.


Ask 10 different Christians about the nature of prayer and you'll get 10 different answers. One oft repeated claim is that the act of prayer actually solves problems.. not through providing a clear head, or the gaining of personal insight, but that the actual act of prostrating yourself in prayer will tangibly alter some reality that is far removed from you... its a common one.

But prayer is another one of those slippery little things that gets redefined at will depending on the criticisms levied against it.



In prayer we do ask God for intervention of some issues for ourselves and others and we seek forgiveness of our sins but prayer is also used a mediative process with in the context of Christian Spirituallity. Would it surprise you to know that I have come up with solutions to very complex programming problems while praying? Did God put those idea's in my head? Maybe. And maybe the prayer process just opened up the neural pathways allowing me to make the connections necessary to obtain a solution that existed as individual concepts in my brain. Either way the act of prayer and fellowship with God was the event that facilitated the solution.

I bet you I have come up with more solutions to complex programming problems while having a smoke than you have during prayer (when I used to smoke, that is). :) I don't think I'll recommend smoking as a solution to immorality or any other problems of the world though...

Odysseus
04-02-2009, 03:15 PM
That is a premise in liberal philosophy as well... that one has a duty to contribute reasonable support to the infrastructure which serves him or her. Nobody disagrees with that.

Liberals argue that the social programs they promote are to serve the maintenance of the social structure (and therefore us) just like many other things government spends money on, regardless if one benefits directly.

Same premise... different approach. All of it, conservative policy or liberal, is some form 'forcing others to serve the needs of others'.
The premise of paying for government services isn't the issue. Liberals have an additional premise, that government can improve people, and that it should be used to remake society. Thus, we have a tax code that punishes achievement, even though that actually diminishes revenues by suppressing econominc activity. Because of the difference in outlooks, liberals tend (the operative word is tend) to want to expand government into areas that are better left to the private sector, such as providing health care or education.

Praying for help is like using a banana to call 911. ;)
What we need are people using their heads, actually working to solve problems.
You must try to moderate your contempt for the beliefs of others. Faith isn't incompatible with reason, and it often provides guidance that reason alone cannot. For example, the anti-slavery movement in America was a religious movement, as was the Enlightenment in Europe. Insulting the faiths of those you disagree with doesn't diminish them, but it does expose your prejudices.

Ask 10 different Christians about the nature of prayer and you'll get 10 different answers. One oft repeated claim is that the act of prayer actually solves problems.. not through providing a clear head, or the gaining of personal insight, but that the actual act of prostrating yourself in prayer will tangibly alter some reality that is far removed from you... its a common one.

But prayer is another one of those slippery little things that gets redefined at will depending on the criticisms levied against it. [/QUOTE]
How often have you asked Christians how they define prayer? For that matter, how do the answers differ? I'd think that the universal answer would be that prayer is either thanks to a creator for his providence or a request for aid, or both. What answers did you get?


I bet you I have come up with more solutions to complex programming problems while having a smoke than you have during prayer (when I used to smoke, that is). :) I don't think I'll recommend smoking as a solution to immorality or any other problems of the world though...
Why not? Tobacco was the first uniquely American product exported to the Old World. It provided the first revenues that made Americans economically self-sufficient and led to the increased immigration to the New World, which resulted in a break with the Old World's tribal and ethnic cultures. Anti-smoking zealots tend to hate tobacco with a fury that goes beyond the simple health issues, and I believe that at some level, they recognize that it is one of the things that makes us unique as a nation.

As for prayer and science, it was Isaac Newton's desire to understand the laws of creation that led him to inquire into physics. Gregor Mendel, a monk, was the first geneticist, because he sought to understand the complexities of the creatures made by his God. Copernicus wanted to understand the heavens as made by heaven. Faith and reason aren't absolute opposites, but complementary systems which can lead us to scientific and moral truths, but which depend on each other for guidance. Without science, faith becomes dogma that denies reality. Without faith, science becomes monstrous experimentation without any moral or ethical constraints.

FlaGator
04-02-2009, 10:11 PM
Ask 10 different Christians about the nature of prayer and you'll get 10 different answers. One oft repeated claim is that the act of prayer actually solves problems.. not through providing a clear head, or the gaining of personal insight, but that the actual act of prostrating yourself in prayer will tangibly alter some reality that is far removed from you... its a common one.

But prayer is another one of those slippery little things that gets redefined at will depending on the criticisms levied against it.



I bet you I have come up with more solutions to complex programming problems while having a smoke than you have during prayer (when I used to smoke, that is). :) I don't think I'll recommend smoking as a solution to immorality or any other problems of the world though...

Prayer is a lot of things to a lot of people and quite often it does solve issues whether directly or indirectly. I've had more problems solved via prayer then I did before I prayed. The active of prayer does actually solve certain problems but I suspect that you are not capable of understanding that. I am learning that you are one of those people who criticize what you do not understand. I assume that if you can't understand it then you feel it is beyond understanding.

You have such a contempt for faith and people of faith that is surprising for one who supposedly does not believe in a God. You state this, yet you cannot help but join any conversation that arises concerning people’s faith or responding to any post whether it was directed at you or not. You seem to have some obsessive need with casting dispersions on those who believe and rely upon their faith to assist them in life’s journey. Why do you care? What difference does it make to you if someone prays for a solution to problems or sits down on a bench to smoke a cigarette and solve them?

Are you obsessed with people of faith? I think so. Here someone just happens to mention that they pray as a solution to a problem and you can't help yourself and reply in a way disrespectful to him and to all believers. Why? Why the contempt and need to put belittle him. Thebeatingpulse was not criticizing you. He just stated something that he did something that he finds helpful and encouraged others to do the same. He wasn't even responding to you but you had to answer him and throw a snide remark his way. That is, in my book, a crazy little thing called obsession.

wilbur
04-03-2009, 12:07 AM
The premise of paying for government services isn't the issue. Liberals have an additional premise, that government can improve people, and that it should be used to remake society.


Consensual crimes... war on drugs.. abortion laws... prostitution laws... etc, etc. Conservatives are nearly as guilty as the left in utilizing the government as a convenient tool to engineer human nature.. especially the more religious conservatives. Using government as the leverage to bring about their desired social change is a staple (and the biggest problem) of social conservatism. This is one notable reason why both liberalism, and social conservatism are doomed to fail.

Only the more libertarian among us can really claim to substantially reject that premise. The philosophical gulf between non-libertarian conservatives and the left isn't as wide as most suppose... at least on this particular point.



Thus, we have a tax code that punishes achievement, even though that actually diminishes revenues by suppressing econominc activity. Because of the difference in outlooks, liberals tend (the operative word is tend) to want to expand government into areas that are better left to the private sector, such as providing health care or education.


Sure, many of the lowest common denominators in the liberal masses might have classism driving their desires for progressive taxes and the like... just as there are plenty of conservatives who fit every single cartoonish stereotype that those leftists have of us (I'm thinking of someone who's nickname begins with a 'P'... ends with an 'N'... and has 'olico' in the middle)... but those liberals who put forth the strongest arguments for progressive taxes (and other policies that appear punitive to higher classes) DO in fact rely on the premise we have been talking about.

To put it succinctly, they argue that those who benefit most from the system have a duty to contribute more.. its not about punishing success. The gains they have received have also most likey been achieved by placing more wear and tear on the services and things that taxes pay for... roads, necessary bureaucracy, or so they argue. It all comes down to doing your duty to support the infrastructure which enables you to fulfill your desires and ambitions.

Dip-shits like Rush and other political theater media types will never concede this... but if one gives people like that undue credence, this would only be one of the many things that one has severely misunderstood.



You must try to moderate your contempt for the beliefs of others. Faith isn't incompatible with reason, and it often provides guidance that reason alone cannot. For example, the anti-slavery movement in America was a religious movement, as was the Enlightenment in Europe. Insulting the faiths of those you disagree with doesn't diminish them, but it does expose your prejudices.


The head scratcher there is that the pro-slavery movement could be called equally religious. Religiousness is no good indicator, nor ever has been, for what one feels about slavery. As for the enlightenment being a movement that could be characterized as religious... well thats a huge claim that demands more explanation from you.

If I told you that the lack of the widespread practice of Yoga was the reason the world was in such dire straits, would be anything but mercilessly contempt-full and mocking of such a claim?



How often have you asked Christians how they define prayer? For that matter, how do the answers differ? I'd think that the universal answer would be that prayer is either thanks to a creator for his providence or a request for aid, or both. What answers did you get?


It can be thanks, a relationship forming tool (ie bonding), a request for aid (sometimes even the 'smiting of enemies'), a meditative practice etc. What it is depends on who the 'customer' (or 'the mark') is. If one is skeptical of prayers ability grant aid, then its sold as a meditative process. If one is skeptical of the value of such meditative practices, its a way to receive aid through the tough times etc. Heck, if something bad happens, it's a way to place blame... "we didn't pray enough!".

Its not falsible... whatever criticism you levy against it will be evaded by repurposing its nature.. just as FlaGator did by rebranding it as a meditative practice... someone clearly branded as a direct, material problem solver (which is what my criticism and snarky comment was aimed at).



Why not? Tobacco was the first uniquely American product exported to the Old World. It provided the first revenues that made Americans economically self-sufficient and led to the increased immigration to the New World, which resulted in a break with the Old World's tribal and ethnic cultures. Anti-smoking zealots tend to hate tobacco with a fury that goes beyond the simple health issues, and I believe that at some level, they recognize that it is one of the things that makes us unique as a nation.


Great.. tobacco was an invaluble resource at that time, and many positive things resulted from the economic success of the product. Life expectancy in those days probably wasnt even long enough to make lung cancer a huge issue. But because of those old economic benefits, do you recommend it as a catch all solution to any problem that presents itself?



As for prayer and science, it was Isaac Newton's desire to understand the laws of creation that led him to inquire into physics. Gregor Mendel, a monk, was the first geneticist, because he sought to understand the complexities of the creatures made by his God. Copernicus wanted to understand the heavens as made by heaven. Faith and reason aren't absolute opposites, but complementary systems which can lead us to scientific and moral truths, but which depend on each other for guidance. Without science, faith becomes dogma that denies reality. Without faith, science becomes monstrous experimentation without any moral or ethical constraints.

You seem to be muddling up the terms faith, prayer and religion.

wilbur
04-03-2009, 01:41 AM
Prayer is a lot of things to a lot of people and quite often it does solve issues whether directly or indirectly. I've had more problems solved via prayer then I did before I prayed. The active of prayer does actually solve certain problems but I suspect that you are not capable of understanding that. I am learning that you are one of those people who criticize what you do not understand. I assume that if you can't understand it then you feel it is beyond understanding.

You have such a contempt for faith and people of faith that is surprising for one who supposedly does not believe in a God. You state this, yet you cannot help but join any conversation that arises concerning people’s faith or responding to any post whether it was directed at you or not. You seem to have some obsessive need with casting dispersions on those who believe and rely upon their faith to assist them in life’s journey. Why do you care? What difference does it make to you if someone prays for a solution to problems or sits down on a bench to smoke a cigarette and solve them?

Are you obsessed with people of faith? I think so. Here someone just happens to mention that they pray as a solution to a problem and you can't help yourself and reply in a way disrespectful to him and to all believers.
Why? Why the contempt and need to put belittle him. Thebeatingpulse was not criticizing you. He just stated something that he did something that he finds helpful and encouraged others to do the same. He wasn't even responding to you but you had to answer him and throw a snide remark his way. That is, in my book, a crazy little thing called obsession.

I was already taking part in the conversation and have been providing a critical slant on several different beliefs... I didn't show contempt for the believer, but the belief... no one would bat an eye if I made a comment like that about some liberal belief, or some other belief contrary to their own. Why the hypersensitivity to religious belief?

Sonnabend
04-03-2009, 04:48 AM
Praying for help is like using a banana to call 911.

"Faith and science are like the shoes on your feet, you go further with both than you would with just one" - JMS.

FlaGator
04-03-2009, 08:16 AM
I was already taking part in the conversation and have been providing a critical slant on several different beliefs... I didn't show contempt for the believer, but the belief... no one would bat an eye if I made a comment like that about some liberal belief, or some other belief contrary to their own. Why the hypersensitivity to religious belief?

You are obsessive and that is evident to nearly everyone on this message board but you. Why the hypersensitivity, you are attacking and condemning a central tenet of my beliefs and you weren't doing it in a constructive manner. Why do you show so such hypersensitivity to abortion?

As for rebranding prayer, I did no such thing. I merely pointed out one of the many aspects of prayer. It has been thought as mediative for thousands of years. If you knew the subject that you show so much contempt for then you would know this. If you doubt my analysis then pick up the works of any of the following who have written on mediation through prayer (this is just a few)
Origen
Augustine
John of Damascus
Bernard of Clairvaux
Bonaventure
Thomas Aquinas
Catherine of Siena
Thomas a Kempis
Martin Luther
Erasmus
Michael Sattler
John Calvin
Thomas Cranmer
Ignatius of Loyola
John of the Cross
Johann Arndt
Jeremy Taylor
Blaise Pascal
Brother Lawrence
John and Charles Wesley
Jonathan Edwards
Soren Kierkegaard
Walter Rauschenbusch
Dietrich Bonhoeffer
C.S. Lewis
J.I. Packer
R.C. Sproul

These theologians and many many more "re branded" prayer as a meditative process. If you really knew the subject matter of that which you make comment on then you would appear less ignorant of the topic.

As you pointed out, you were involved in the topic, but the message wasn't directed to you and yet you could not resist the urge to be contemptuous. You state that you were showing contempt of the belief not the believer but when both are intertwined then you are insulting both. It is one thing to debate the merits of a practice of faith, it is a entirely different story to make fun of someone or something for that practice.

The fact that you can't resist shows an obsessive pattern of behavior that you don't see in yourself but other do.

Odysseus
04-03-2009, 12:44 PM
Consensual crimes... war on drugs.. abortion laws... prostitution laws... etc, etc. Conservatives are nearly as guilty as the left in utilizing the government as a convenient tool to engineer human nature.. especially the more religious conservatives. Using government as the leverage to bring about their desired social change is a staple (and the biggest problem) of social conservatism. This is one notable reason why both liberalism, and social conservatism are doomed to fail.
Only the more libertarian among us can really claim to substantially reject that premise. The philosophical gulf between non-libertarian conservatives and the left isn't as wide as most suppose... at least on this particular point.

You are assuming that drug use, by itself, is consensual, but the impacts of drug use, the destruction of communities, the corruption of officials and the violent conflicts over territory, make it a far from victimless crime. Even if drugs were legalized here, the economics of production would ensure that drug cartels would have tremendous power in their own countries, and will continue to victimize the people there. The violence of the drug trade has not abated with legalization in the Netherlands, and the incidence of drug related violence has actually increased there with the easy availability of drugs. Abortion laws are only consensual if you accept the premise that there is only one person involved, namely the mother. The fetus has no say in the matter, and neither does the father of the child. Also, the assumption that abortion laws are meant to monitor the morals of women is meant to insult those whose objections to abortion are based on their concerns for the lives of the unborn, not to mention the extremely real development of a callous indifference to all life that results from the concept that some lives are inconvenient and worthy of termination. Prostitution, even where legal, is hardly a victimless crime. Coercion is common and the trafficking of women, along with the conditions of their employment, make legalization a cynical sham. Gangs who traffic in women for prostitution invariably defraud them in their native countries in order to get them into the pipeline, use drugs, violence and rape as tools of conditioning and control. There is nothing consensual about it.

Libertarians make the assumption that what I do in my home has no effect on the community around me, while liberals make the assumption that everything that I do in my home is a political act and must be subject to the approval of the community as a whole. Social conservatism recognizes that there are some private acts which have public consequences and that those acts should be, if not banned, at least suppressed, so that the public at large does not have to be subjected to those consequences. For example, let's take pornography. I know of few social conservatives who have a problem with individuals owning or viewing porn. I certainly don't, but I do have a problem with being unable to turn off the spigot. If I, or worse, my daughter, cannot logon to our computers without multiple porn spams, then there is a problem. If I cannot walk them past a newstand which features publications with explicit images and words on their covers, then there is a problem. I don't object to the newstand selling them, but they do not have to be displayed in such a way that the images and text cannot be avoided. BTW, I'm not talking Playboy, but rather hardcore publications like Screw and Hustler. The PX sells some adult magazines, but keeps them on a higher shelf, with an opaque plexiglass display that covers them up to just below the logo. You can tell that it's there, you can take it down and look at it, but my five-year-old doesn't have it in her face when I take her there. To a lot of libertarians, that simple restriction is an outrageous violation of the free speech rights of Al Goldstein and Larry Flynt, but to those of us who can turn off that part of our brains when the situation is inappropriate, it's a reasonable restriction.


Sure, many of the lowest common denominators in the liberal masses might have classism driving their desires for progressive taxes and the like... just as there are plenty of conservatives who fit every single cartoonish stereotype that those leftists have of us (I'm thinking of someone who's nickname begins with a 'P'... ends with an 'N'... and has 'olico' in the middle)... but those liberals who put forth the strongest arguments for progressive taxes (and other policies that appear punitive to higher classes) DO in fact rely on the premise we have been talking about.

To put it succinctly, they argue that those who benefit most from the system have a duty to contribute more.. its not about punishing success. The gains they have received have also most likey been achieved by placing more wear and tear on the services and things that taxes pay for... roads, necessary bureaucracy, or so they argue. It all comes down to doing your duty to support the infrastructure which enables you to fulfill your desires and ambitions.

Dip-shits like Rush and other political theater media types will never concede this... but if one gives people like that undue credence, this would only be one of the many things that one has severely misunderstood.
Actually, the leadership of the left uses classist arguments for progressive taxation. We see it in Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Obama's rhetoric on a daily basis. And those who make the argument that those who benefit from the system the most should pay the most pay lip service to the same concept, because their underlying assumption is that those who benefit the most are deriving their benefits from the system, rather than their own efforts within the system. Those who benefit the most from the system tend to be the ones who put the most in, not simply in terms of taxes, but in terms of effort. Bill Gates, through his own abilities and efforts, created a software company that has transformed the world within a couple of decades, producing more jobs than a hundred stimulus packages could ever hope to. The computer that you are working on, whether a Mac or PC, owes its existence to the explosion in computer technology that came about because of Microsoft, Intel and a few other entrepreneurs who risked their wealth and spent long hours in the pursuit of an idea. Their contributions to the system outweigh any benefit that they might get.

Who benefits more from our system of government, an entrepreneur who works his ass off and employs dozens of people, or a welfare recipient who does nothing and collects money taken from others? True, the entrepreneur benefits from laws that protect his property and life, but so does the welfare recipient, even if he chooses not to exercise those rights or does so badly. Does the entrepreneur, who can afford his own security, benefit more from police protection than the welfare recipient, whose neighbors are far more likely to engage in violent crime?

Now, on the other hand, Paris Hilton is about as idle as idle rich gets, but she is the exception rather than the rule. Most wealth in America is in the hands of those who created it, not those who inherited it, and the phrase "from shirtsleeves to shirstsleeves in three generations" sums up the phenomena of a family that starts out poor, ends up rich through the efforts of one generation, and then ends up poor again through their children's lack of effort.

To be continued...

Odysseus
04-03-2009, 12:46 PM
To be continued...


The head scratcher there is that the pro-slavery movement could be called equally religious. Religiousness is no good indicator, nor ever has been, for what one feels about slavery. As for the enlightenment being a movement that could be characterized as religious... well thats a huge claim that demands more explanation from you.
It wouldn't if you'd studied your history. First, understand that every primitive culture has practiced slavery. Slavery still occurs throughout the world, although the forms sometimes change. Women who are trafficked for prostitution are chattel slaves, as are children. State-sanctioned economic slavery exists in China, where political prisoners make export goods and are even vivisected for organ harvesting. These are people without even the illusion of rights. However, during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, a truly unique event in human history, the Enlightenment, created a strong aversion to slavery in Western Europe, especially in Britain. This was very much a religious movement. The Abolition movement in America was driven by church groups and the British Abolition movement was based on Christian principles. Even the song Amazing Grace had an antislavery connotation, as the author was a reformed slaver whose religious conversion is reflected in the lyrics.


If I told you that the lack of the widespread practice of Yoga was the reason the world was in such dire straits, would be anything but mercilessly contempt-full and mocking of such a claim?

People would certainly be more flexible. :D


It can be thanks, a relationship forming tool (ie bonding), a request for aid (sometimes even the 'smiting of enemies'), a meditative practice etc. What it is depends on who the 'customer' (or 'the mark') is. If one is skeptical of prayers ability grant aid, then its sold as a meditative process. If one is skeptical of the value of such meditative practices, its a way to receive aid through the tough times etc. Heck, if something bad happens, it's a way to place blame... "we didn't pray enough!".

Its not falsible... whatever criticism you levy against it will be evaded by repurposing its nature.. just as FlaGator did by rebranding it as a meditative practice... someone clearly branded as a direct, material problem solver (which is what my criticism and snarky comment was aimed at).

Okay, but even as a direct, material problem solver, is praying for guidance and assistance as you continue to work the problem going to hurt you, or might it provide you with comfort and emotional support as you struggle? Why do you refuse to accept that some people find positive benefits to prayer, even if those benefits are a subtle boost in their mood or a faith that things will get better, even as they work towards that end? I know of no Jewish or Christian denomination that advocates prayer as a substitute for effort, which is one of the major differences between us and Islam, which does assume that things will happen if Allah wills it, regardless of our efforts. Even if you refuse to accept the premise of any higher power which might be moved to aid, do you deny the placebo effect on those who struggle?


Great.. tobacco was an invaluble resource at that time, and many positive things resulted from the economic success of the product. Life expectancy in those days probably wasnt even long enough to make lung cancer a huge issue. But because of those old economic benefits, do you recommend it as a catch all solution to any problem that presents itself?

Not any more, but it's certainly a productive export, and those who choose to indulge with full knowledge of the health issues are making a rational choice of between the benefits (physical pleasure) and the consequences (respiratory and heart diseases). Would you begrudge them that choice?


You seem to be muddling up the terms faith, prayer and religion.
Not at all. People have epiphanies during prayer all of the time. Whether the meditative state is conducive to creative thought, or divine sparks of inspiration occur, either way, it is impossible to deny that some great ideas have been inspired during prayer, and that the faith that inspires prayer has also supported the application of those ideas.

Why are you so hostile to the idea that people of faith can reason as well as you can, can find solace, strength and inspiration in their faith, and advance humanity?

BTW, for those who find that these long posts exceed their attention spans, please check out my avatar. Oooooh, shiny! :D

AlmostThere
04-03-2009, 01:46 PM
Moral decay has been steadily rising for at least 40+ years. Drug and alcohol abuse, promiscuity, skyrocketing illegitimacy and divorce rates. You name the vice and some segment of society has embraced it.

This is not a slam Clinton argument. This is a slam against us argument.

But things took a dramatic turn in the 90's. Times were pretty good in the 90's. The stock market was doing great, jobs were plentiful. A Republican Congress kept in check a liberal White House. There was RELATIVE peace. Please note relative is in caps for emphasis.

But our leader, Slick Willie as we called him, engaged in one scandal after another. Finally pushing the envelope so far as to be impeached, but not convicted.

The damage to our society was not inflicted by Clinton, it was done by the American people. Even through his numerous scandals, affairs, lies and subsequent impeachment for perjury and obstruction of justice, his approval rating never tanked. We as a nation were willing to overlook the fact that Bill Clinton took the Presidency, the ultimate leadership position, to the lowest standards in the 20th century. We did this because times were good, relative peace, we were making money. We became a nation of whores and have never recovered.

linda22003
04-03-2009, 02:01 PM
Bill Clinton took the Presidency, the ultimate leadership position, to the lowest standards in the 20th century.

You apparently don't remember the Nixon administration, and have never read about the Harding administration.

lacarnut
04-03-2009, 02:32 PM
You apparently don't remember the Nixon administration, and have never read about the Harding administration.

And only a fool would think our standards/morals have improved. That is the message I get; not that blow job Billy was the worst but that we as a society are responsible for the decline in our morals. Think present/future tense!

Odysseus
04-03-2009, 04:11 PM
You apparently don't remember the Nixon administration, and have never read about the Harding administration.

The Harding administration had one scandal, Teapot Dome, which was the result of a crooked subordinate who was forced out after he set up a sweetheart deal to allow extraction of oil from land held by the US Navy on the cheap. Nixon had one scandal, Watergate, which encompassed a number of incidents of domestic spying and the associated criminal acts that supported it (breaking and entering, etc.).

Let's look at the Clinton scandals:

Filegate, which involved the illegal use of as many as 900 FBI files of Republican leaders, dwarfs Nixon's opposition spying scandal. By way of comparison, possession of one FBI file without authorization (that of Daniel Elsberg) was enough to send Chuck Colson to jail. Clinton's people had nine hundred FBI files without authorization.

Troopergate: Two Arkansas state troopers arranged sexual liaisons for then-governor Bill Clinton. These sexual liaisons involved quid-pro-quo appointments to government jobs, which channeled taxpayer funds to Clinton's mistresses. Not simply an issue of private immorality, as the rumors of Harding's illegitimate child were, but also public corruption.

Campaign Finance scandal: Illegal fundraising in houses of worship, illegal fundraising on federal property, illegal fundraising from foreign nationals who were channeling funds from a hostile foreign government, technology transfers to said government... This wasn't simply corruption, it bordered on treason. Who needs to spy on our missile technology when you've got the Clintons to sell it for campaign bucks? And, of course, the astonishing number of people who were convicted, pleaded guilty or fled the country should have been enough for even the most jaded partisan hack to conclude that something evil was going on, but nooooooooooooo.....


http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/8/83/Clinton-chung.jpg
Johnny Chung (far left) with the Clintons at a White House Christmas party in 1994. The photo has been autographed with a personal note from Hillary Clinton.

Sexual misconduct: You want them alphabetically, descending order of importance or chronologically? Does it matter?

Paula Jones: Sexual harassment, settled for $850,000.00.
Kathleen Willey: alleged sexual assault
Juanita Broaddrick alleged rape.
Gennifer Flowers: See above/Troopergate
Elizabeth Ward Gracen: adulterous sexual relations
Sally Perdue: adulterous sexual relations
Dolly Kyle Browning: adulterous sexual relations

And who can forget...

Monica Lewinsky: Adulterous sexual relations, leading to charges of perjury, obstruction of justice, suborning perjury, criminal misuse of federal property (he ordered a missile strike to coincide with Monica's senate testimony in order to reduce her profile in the media, as well as giving suddenly patriotic Democrats a chance to cry outrage over the continuation of the impeachment hearings while American troops were in combat. Seriously.).


The Pardoner's Tale: Clinton issued 140 pardons as well as several commutations on his last day of office, not to mention several before then. Here are the highlights:

FALN Clinton commuted the sentences of 16 members of FALN, a violent Puerto Rican nationalist group that set off 120 bombs in New York City and Chicago, convicted for conspiracies to commit robbery, bomb-making, and sedition, as well as for firearms and explosives violations, conspiracy and sedition. Hillary Clinton was campaigning for the Senate at the time. Congress condemned the action by a vote of 95-2 in the Senate and 311-41 in the House. The House Committee on Government Reform held an investigation on the matter, but the DOJ prevented FBI officials from testifying and Clinton cited executive privilege for his refusal to turn over documents.
Edgar and Vonna Jo Gregory, owners of the United Shows International and convicted for charges of bank fraud in1982. They'd served their sentences, but were barred from doing business as convicted felons in some states. Hillary Clinton's brother, Tony Rodham, received $107,000 from the Gregorys for the pardons.
Carlos A. Vignali and Almon Glenn Braswell: Vignali had his sentence for cocaine trafficking commuted, after serving 6 of 15 years in federal prison and Braswell was pardoned of his mail fraud and perjury convictions, even while a federal investigation was underway regarding additional money laundering and tax evasion charges. Each paid approximately $200,000 to Hillary Clinton's brother, Hugh.
Weather Underground members Linda Sue Evans and Susan Rosenberg were pardoned.
Marc Rich, a fugitive who had fled the U.S. during his prosecution and was a middleman for several suspect Iraqi oil deals involving over 4 million barrels of oil. Rich owed $48 million in taxes and was charged with 51 counts of tax fraud, was pardoned of tax evasion after Denise Rich, his former wife, had made substantial donations to the Clinton library and to Mrs. Clinton's senate campaign.
Susan McDougal: Pardoned for refusing to testify about Clinton's role in Whitewater.
Dan Rostenkowski: FormerDemocratic Congressman convicted in the Congressional Post Office Scandal.
Melvin J. Reynolds: Democratic Congressman from Illinois, who was convicted of bank fraud, 12 counts of sexual assault, obstruction of justice, and solicitation of child pornography had his sentence commuted on the bank fraud charge and was allowed to serve the final months under the auspices of a half way house.
Presidential half-brother Roger Clinton: Drug charges after having served the entire sentence more than a decade before. Later charged with drunk driving and disorderly conduct within a year of the pardon. Also alleged to have lobbied for the Braswell pardon, among others.


And, finally, let's remember that when Nixon was going to be impeached, he resigned. Clinton chose to brazen it out, paralyzing his administration for over a year while he was focused exclusively on fighting impeachment and conviction. As George Will wrote at the time, any decent man would have resigned, which is why Clinton didn't.

lacarnut
04-03-2009, 04:22 PM
Hey, you forgot about that $100,000 that Hillary tried to hide from the IRS for legal work on Whitewater. Lilly White Bubba did not know one thing about it though. Right:mad: A pair of tax cheating Democraps.

I guess Linda #'s memory on all those details involving Clinton are a little fuzzy.

Odysseus
04-03-2009, 06:13 PM
Hey, you forgot about that $100,000 that Hillary tried to hide from the IRS for legal work on Whitewater. Lilly White Bubba did not know one thing about it though. Right:mad: A pair of tax cheating Democraps.

I guess Linda #'s memory on all those details involving Clinton are a little fuzzy.

Good point, but let's remember that there a limits to bandwidth and memory that restrict the sheer volume of Clintonian sleeze that can be reproduced. :D

AlmostThere
04-03-2009, 07:54 PM
You apparently don't remember the Nixon administration, and have never read about the Harding administration.

Nixon did not hold a candle to Clinton. If you'd like to compare crimes by each I'm game. As for Harding, is there something other than the Teapot Dome scandal you had in mind. I may be wrong but I don't believe Harding was implicated in that scandal, was he? It was just a member of his cabinet I believe.

FlaGator
04-03-2009, 08:31 PM
Moral decay has been steadily rising for at least 40+ years. Drug and alcohol abuse, promiscuity, skyrocketing illegitimacy and divorce rates. You name the vice and some segment of society has embraced it.

This is not a slam Clinton argument. This is a slam against us argument.

But things took a dramatic turn in the 90's. Times were pretty good in the 90's. The stock market was doing great, jobs were plentiful. A Republican Congress kept in check a liberal White House. There was RELATIVE peace. Please note relative is in caps for emphasis.

But our leader, Slick Willie as we called him, engaged in one scandal after another. Finally pushing the envelope so far as to be impeached, but not convicted.

The damage to our society was not inflicted by Clinton, it was done by the American people. Even through his numerous scandals, affairs, lies and subsequent impeachment for perjury and obstruction of justice, his approval rating never tanked. We as a nation were willing to overlook the fact that Bill Clinton took the Presidency, the ultimate leadership position, to the lowest standards in the 20th century. We did this because times were good, relative peace, we were making money. We became a nation of whores and have never recovered.

That is a statement that I can really get behind. Thank you for pointing out the truth about the nature of our condition as a people and a society.

Sophie
04-04-2009, 12:28 PM
Natural rights ARE utilitarian.. unless you think violating or removing natural rights results in maximizing goodness and well being for the greatest many.

But this author contradicts himself in his own article and throws out his own absolutism in favor of utilitarianism and doesn't even realize it... he rambles on about some absolute truth, that it is always wrong to 'forcibly use one person to serve the purposes of another'... then goes on to list exceptions, such as taxation. Quite utilitarian... and there's nothing wrong with that actually.

Using one person to serve the purposes of another isnt really a fundamental difference between conservatives or liberals... we all advocate it to some degree or another.
Love the Sam Harris quote.

Odysseus
04-04-2009, 06:40 PM
Love the Sam Harris quote.

Why? The secular left has a much higher body count than organized religion.

FlaGator
04-04-2009, 07:13 PM
Why? The secular left has a much higher body count than organized religion.

I keep telling them that, and they keep telling me it doesn't count from some reason or another.

Constitutionally Speaking
04-05-2009, 02:04 PM
You really should spend some time reading some counter-views to this so you can really understand just how decimated and torn to shreds this whole concept really is.


I would suggest YOU spend time reading what THEY THEMSELVES SAID, instead of what some socialist with an agenda for destroying this country SAYS they said.

MrsSmith
04-05-2009, 03:34 PM
Love the Sam Harris quote.

“Some propositions are so dangerous that it may even be ethical to kill people for believing them. This may seem an extraordinary claim, but it merely enunciates an ordinary fact about the world in which we live.” Sam Harris

"If I could wave a magic wand and get rid of either rape or religion, I would not hesitate to get rid of religion."
Sam Harris

“I hope to show that the very ideal of religious tolerance—born of the notion that every human being should be free to believe whatever he wants about God—is one of the principal forces driving us toward the abyss.”
Sam Harris

“Mahavira, the founder of Jainism, surpassed the morality, of the Bible in one, in just one sentence: Do not injure, abuse, oppress, enslave, insult, torment, torture or kill any creature or living being.”
“I am not a pacifist. I don’t want Gandhi or Mahavira to decide our response to someone like Hitler. If we had listened to these two men, we would have continued to be ruled by the Nazis for another millennium.”
Sam Harris

THE RESISTANCE
04-05-2009, 07:00 PM
It is that society thing.

The liberal/socialist/communist have turned this into a trap for our libertys, our property rights, our lifes. Another problem is that how delusional that some that call them conservative or Republicans really are on what they are. Both often push for taking of property rights and taxing following the Socialist Communistic agenda from local, to state, to federal. Preaching lies that it is needed for when man enters society they must give up these freedoms to a large degree.

But what does John Locke say? And he is one hundred percent right. The reason that man enters into society is for the protection of these areas of life , of liberty, of property rights as its greatest draw.That society through government then takes them is to gross an outrage as to be understand or be believed.

Look yourself in the mirror and " You might be a socialist."


The originators of our liberties that wrote the Constitution and the Bill of Rights even thought that Locke should be taught in schools. It is needed more today than ever for Marx is name of the game.

The problem is that these authors of our freedoms would never have guesed that anytime that a nation would be in a period that life, liberty, and property would not be as strong a foundation of this nation as it was then . That society would be the tool for destroying freedom instead of protecting them. Unless it was in their nightmares .

We are living out the nightmares of the founders. Are you one of the dragons or the dragon slayer?

wilbur
04-05-2009, 07:33 PM
“Some propositions are so dangerous that it may even be ethical to kill people for believing them. This may seem an extraordinary claim, but it merely enunciates an ordinary fact about the world in which we live.” Sam Harris


Perhaps you should read the full passage (http://books.google.com/books?id=WZYbkuFySWgC&pg=PA52&lpg=PA52&dq=Some+propositions+are+so+dangerous+that+it+may&source=bl&ots=vl9F5YxsuI&sig=DFw0d7ZI5ddmR6dznlpWW7tlsdk&hl=en&ei=8zzZSZzfF9yJtgf5iLzhDw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1#PPA53,M1)... he is in fact stating the obvious.



"If I could wave a magic wand and get rid of either rape or religion, I would not hesitate to get rid of religion."


Common sense. If you could assuredly wipe out the threat of radical islam in one go, or instances of rape, what would you choose?



“I hope to show that the very ideal of religious tolerance—born of the notion that every human being should be free to believe whatever he wants about God—is one of the principal forces driving us toward the abyss.”
Sam Harris


Great quote!



“Mahavira, the founder of Jainism, surpassed the morality, of the Bible in one, in just one sentence: Do not injure, abuse, oppress, enslave, insult, torment, torture or kill any creature or living being.”


Another great quote!



“I am not a pacifist. I don’t want Gandhi or Mahavira to decide our response to someone like Hitler. If we had listened to these two men, we would have continued to be ruled by the Nazis for another millennium.”
Sam Harris

Common sense.

wilbur
04-05-2009, 07:41 PM
I would suggest YOU spend time reading what THEY THEMSELVES SAID, instead of what some socialist with an agenda for destroying this country SAYS they said.

You are quick to bring out the John Adams quotes, but what about Thomas Jefferson... or Paine? Leave them off the list?

Thomas Jefferson seemed to have nothing but disdain for organized religion, especially Christianity. Yes, he also like the morality of Jesus. These two beliefs spurred him to create his version of the Bible... a version stripped of all the ingredients you claim are required for a good democracy.... namely superstition and dogma.

patriot45
04-05-2009, 08:06 PM
Walter Williams, one of the smartest people on earth! (http://townhall.com/columnists/WalterEWilliams/2009/04/01/our_problem_is_immorality)

“The hottest place in Hell is reserved for those who remain neutral in times of great moral conflict.”

“I know only that what is moral is what you feel good after and what is immoral is what you feel bad after.”

“I never did, or countenanced, in public life, a single act inconsistent with the strictest good faith; having never believed there was one code of morality for a public, and another for a private man”

Wilbur are you a moral person? You really can't quibble about morals.

wilbur
04-05-2009, 08:16 PM
“The hottest place in Hell is reserved for those who remain neutral in times of great moral conflict.”

“I know only that what is moral is what you feel good after and what is immoral is what you feel bad after.”

“I never did, or countenanced, in public life, a single act inconsistent with the strictest good faith; having never believed there was one code of morality for a public, and another for a private man”

Wilbur are you a moral person? You really can't quibble about morals.

I'm not sure what you mean about "quibbling about morals"? We can't debate them or discuss them? Of course we can.

I try to behave according to reason and rationality using the best information available to me, aided by my conscience.

patriot45
04-05-2009, 08:21 PM
You should go on TV as a talking head, they can't answer questions either. I am a moral person and of course my conscience plays the biggest part. I don't think I need the latest information to aid me.

It really was a yes or no question.

wilbur
04-05-2009, 08:41 PM
You should go on TV as a talking head, they can't answer questions either. I am a moral person and of course my conscience plays the biggest part. I don't think I need the latest information to aid me.

If you don't use the full information available to you when making ethical decisions, then you are practicing willful ignorance. Intuitions and conscience alone is not enough, or always reliable.


It really was a yes or no question.

I actually prefer the term 'ethical' because of the connotations of morality for reasons that are cropping up here in this thread... people want to pretend to believe their morals are immutable or unchangeable and commanded by some divine being.

Or they claim I have no 'morals' because I don't agree with theirs because theirs is the 'absolute truth' (lol), etc.

Do I strive to behave unethically? Of course not.

patriot45
04-05-2009, 09:06 PM
If you don't use the full information available to you when making ethical decisions, then you are practicing willful ignorance. Intuitions and conscience alone is not enough, or always reliable.



I actually prefer the term 'ethical' because of the connotations of morality for reasons that are cropping up here in this thread... people want to pretend to believe their morals are immutable or unchangeable and commanded by some divine being.

Or they claim I have no 'morals' because I don't agree with theirs because theirs is the 'absolute truth' (lol), etc.

Do I strive to behave unethically? Of course not.

Well, I gues Moral and ethical are kinda the same. But usually all the information is in front of me when I need to make a Moral decision, my conscience comes in later.

You miss the point, you have morals or you don't! Right, wrong or yes, no, its a definate.

wilbur
04-05-2009, 09:13 PM
Well, I gues Moral and ethical are kinda the same. But usually all the information is in front of me when I need to make a Moral decision, my conscience comes in later.

You miss the point, you have morals or you don't! Right, wrong or yes, no, its a definate.

Well, I thought a 'yes' was really implied :) Yes, I try to adhere as best I can to my ethical intuitions and reasonings.

lacarnut
04-05-2009, 09:23 PM
If you don't use the full information available to you when making ethical decisions, then you are practicing willful ignorance. Intuitions and conscience alone is not enough, or always reliable.



I actually prefer the term 'ethical' because of the connotations of morality for reasons that are cropping up here in this thread... people want to pretend to believe their morals are immutable or unchangeable and commanded by some divine being.

Or they claim I have no 'morals' because I don't agree with theirs because theirs is the 'absolute truth' (lol), etc.

Do I strive to behave unethically? Of course not.

I have all the information I need to be a moral person. They come from living a long life. Are my morals perfect; hell no.

In my opinion,the term eithics or unethical portray man; morals portray God. The reason you do not want to use the word morals is because you are an Atheist which confirms the point of the question that Patriot 45 asked you .

patriot45
04-05-2009, 09:31 PM
I have all the information I need to be a moral person. They come from living a long life. Are my morals perfect; hell no.

In my opinion,the term eithics or unethical portray man; morals portray God. The reason you do not want to use the word morals is because you are an Atheist which confirms the point of the question that Patriot 45 asked you .

Bingo! It can be answered pretty quick. I never said your morals will be perfect but I guarantee you make the right choice the majority of times, if you had no morals you would make the wrong choice most of the times.

wilbur
04-06-2009, 12:28 AM
I have all the information I need to be a moral person. They come from living a long life. Are my morals perfect; hell no.

In my opinion,the term eithics or unethical portray man; morals portray God. The reason you do not want to use the word morals is because you are an Atheist which confirms the point of the question that Patriot 45 asked you .

Explain the point or you are both just talking nonsense.

'Morality' has different connotations to a theist than it does myself.. and using it in certain contexts is misleading, because the theist will misread it as some sort of admission that I believe what they believe (but just deny it, or something). To them morals and deities are linked... so if I admit to adhering to 'morality', I admit to believing in gods, or something along those lines. I generally don't have a problem using the term to people who arent likely to jump to those sorts of conclusions because of it.

lacarnut
04-06-2009, 12:38 AM
Explain the point or you are both just talking nonsense.

'Morality' has different connotations to a theist than it does myself.. and using it in certain contexts is misleading, because the theist will misread it as some sort of admission that I believe what they believe (but just deny it, or something). To them morals and deities are linked... so if I admit to adhering to 'morality', I admit to believing in gods, or something along those lines. I generally don't have a problem using the term to people who arent likely to jump to those sorts of conclusions because of it.

You got an explanation. Too bad you do not like it. You are the one dodging the question and talking nonsense.

wilbur
04-06-2009, 12:43 AM
You got an explanation. Too bad you do not like it. You are the one dodging the question and talking nonsense.

Ok, so there was no point that whole exchange. The question showed... I am an atheist? Good detective work!

FlaGator
04-06-2009, 05:51 AM
Ok, so there was no point that whole exchange. The question showed... I am an atheist? Good detective work!

There is a point to what they are saying. Because you have a morals that is changeable based on what society's fickle and changing standards you are incapable of making sense of their argument. You have not sold moral base and that is like building a house on shifting sands. It is like they are speaking Greek to you.

BTW In ever did take back your statement that I redefined prayer. I listed quite a few Christian authors that defined prayer as mediative long before I mentioned. As usual your Christian understanding is as lacking as your understanding of unchanging morality.

wilbur
04-06-2009, 08:13 AM
There is a point to what they are saying. Because you have a morals that is changeable based on what society's fickle and changing standards you are incapable of making sense of their argument. You have not sold moral base and that is like building a house on shifting sands. It is like they are speaking Greek to you.


Meaningless nonsense. Since you cannot base your morality off of anything but your own subjective interpretation of what you believe God said and means, your morality is on no more solid ground than any other, and is always subject to change. Looking at the history of your own religion, what on earth makes you think you can claim morals havent evolved and changed with society at large?

Do you not see how ridiculous it is to claim that apart from your god, there is no way to justify any wrong act? I'm sorry, but I can quite effectively justify my ethics on solid ground.. much more solid than yours. Its quite simple.... if an objective reality exists, objective morals exist. Really claiming that only god can justify a morality is the same as admitting that YOU cannot think of one solid reason NOT to commit murder except that God says so. Anytime you posit a reason that its wrong to do something using a reason other than God, you contradict yourself, and evidence the fact that morals can be justified through objective reality alone.



BTW In ever did take back your statement that I redefined prayer. I listed quite a few Christian authors that defined prayer as mediative long before I mentioned. As usual your Christian understanding is as lacking as your understanding of unchanging morality.

Nope. You redefined prayer in relation to what someone else was claiming... I never claimed it CANT be meditative, and indeed, if there is any value to it, that would probably be it. But as it is... I was responding to someone else who made a different type of claim.

FlaGator
04-06-2009, 08:56 AM
Meaningless nonsense. Since you cannot base your morality off of anything but your own subjective interpretation of what you believe God said and means, your morality is on no more solid ground than any other, and is always subject to change. Looking at the history of your own religion, what on earth makes you think you can claim morals havent evolved and changed with society at large?

Do you not see how ridiculous it is to claim that apart from your god, there is no way to justify any wrong act? I'm sorry, but I can quite effectively justify my ethics on solid ground.. much more solid than yours. Its quite simple.... if an objective reality exists, objective morals exist.

Again your lack of Biblical understanding is absolutely amazing. There is nothing subjective about the morality spelled out in the Bible. Some people who don't care for certain moral values listed in God's word attempt to interpret them to something more favorable to their point of view, but in reality there is nothing subjective. You read out of the Bible what it says (exegesis) you do not read in to the Bible what you want to say.



Nope. You redefined prayer in relation to what someone else was claiming... I never claimed it CANT be meditative, and indeed, if there is any value to it, that would probably be it. But as it is... I was responding to someone else who made a different type of claim.

I redefined nothing. You accused me of redefining it and I offered references where it was defined a meditive. Amazing! Now you are trying to tell me what I meant. You claimed I rebranded it as meditive in a statement you made to Odyseuss


Its not falsible... whatever criticism you levy against it will be evaded by repurposing its nature.. just as FlaGator did by rebranding it as a meditative practice... someone clearly branded as a direct, material problem solver (which is what my criticism and snarky comment was aimed at).


Are you denying your own words now? You now know full well that I wasn't rebranding it or reinterpreting it or redefining it. I was defining for you one of the many facets of prayer that you don't seem to be aware of. Your comment to Odyseuss didn't mention anthing about me refining it in relation to someone elses definition. Besides rebranding is re-labeling something a something else. How can I rebrand prayer as mediative when you now say you know it to be mediative (which is something you didn't mention until I posted a list of theologians who spoke of the meditive aspects of prayer.

You really should avoid these topics until you become much better versed in the Bible, aspects of faith and Biblical morality. Your misunderstanding and wilful misinterpretion is what leads to all these peole to try and correct you. Maybe that is why you have such contempt for people of faith. You are incapable of understanding their point of view so you disdain what you can't comprehend. Greek is hard to comprehend when you can't read greek isn't it?

Constitutionally Speaking
04-06-2009, 10:10 AM
You are quick to bring out the John Adams quotes, but what about Thomas Jefferson... or Paine? Leave them off the list?

Thomas Jefferson seemed to have nothing but disdain for organized religion, especially Christianity. Yes, he also like the morality of Jesus. These two beliefs spurred him to create his version of the Bible... a version stripped of all the ingredients you claim are required for a good democracy.... namely superstition and dogma.


Let's Look at them.


Try looking for the time frame of them. Especially Jefferson. Nearly every instance you can mention of Jefferson's supposed anti-religion statements are taken during a period WELL after the founding of our country and specifically in the period of time while he was in France and was particularly bitter over the loss of several loved ones. He was alone in a foreign country, had lost several people VERY close to him and the French Revolutionaries were influencing him.

I challenge you to find such quotes dating from the time when he was instrumental in our country's founding.

I also should point out that he FUNDED missionaries out of the federal coffers, allowed church services in congress and served as a member of the Vestry in the Anglican Church.

OH, he also (nearly word for word) confirms that what I stated.

HERE:

“God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are a gift from God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, and that His justice cannot sleep forever.”

http://etext.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/JefVirg.html

I would suggest you read Jefferson HIMSELF during the period of the formation of our country - specifically his "Notes on Religion", all 9 of them, which were penned in 1776. They reveal a Jefferson that is pretty much mainstream Christian - which is also supported by the fact that he was a member of the vestry in the Anglican Church.

Thomas Jefferson, like all of us, was a complicated and multifaceted man. Your attempts at positioning his quotes from a fairly small time frame as being the end-all be-all of his writings is very misleading. Especially when the writings you point to are from a time that was well past the founding of our country and at a particularly bitter time of his life.

Odysseus
04-06-2009, 11:50 AM
I keep telling them that, and they keep telling me it doesn't count from some reason or another.
The left thinks in terms of aesthetics, not morality. They are offended by what they see, rather than what they know. They have seen thousands of images of the Holocaust, so they have a visual image to be offended by. They don't have thousands of images of the gulags and laogai, and the few images that they've seen of the horrors of communism are from Cambodia, which they were able to blame, not on the communists, but on those who fought them.


Common sense. If you could assuredly wipe out the threat of radical islam in one go, or instances of rape, what would you choose?
Wiping out radical Islam would certainly decrease the instances of rape in the world, but you miss the point. You would also wipe out Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism and a host of religions in which provide moral guidance to billions, and which prevent far more rapes, murders and other violent acts than they facilitate. On the other hand, eliminating rape, and the underlying hatred and fear of women that it often entails, would eliminate most of the dysfunction of Islamic mysogyny.

If you don't use the full information available to you when making ethical decisions, then you are practicing willful ignorance. Intuitions and conscience alone is not enough, or always reliable.
But even if we do use the full information available to us to make ethical decisions, it doesn't guarantee that we will have all of the pertinent information that exists. We will always make ethical decisions in a partial vaccuum, since our knowledge is finite and the universe is not. What conscience gives us is the framework in which that information can be applied. Without it, there is no guidance. Intuition is our subconscious working all of the information that it has at its disposal and giving us a "gut feeling" towards an answer. It does the work of our conscious mind when we don't know that we have more facts than we think. Finally, information, regardless of its source, is not always a reliable guide. Nothing is always reliable, but to dismiss our ethical and moral conditioning is to guarantee that our decisions will not be informed by our constraints.


Do I strive to behave unethically? Of course not.
But you do dismiss the ethical and moral systems by which others act and assume that their behavior is unethical because it does not follow the dictates of your logic, and without a moral compass, you have no way of knowing if you are acting ethically.

hampshirebrit
04-06-2009, 03:37 PM
But you do dismiss the ethical and moral systems by which others act and assume that their behavior is unethical because it does not follow the dictates of your logic, and without a moral compass, you have no way of knowing if you are acting ethically.

This is starting to look a bit like a thread from a while back (which I started), about the source of morality.

While it would be absurd to dismiss all the behaviour of the religiously inclined as unethical or immoral, since only some of it is, I challenge the point of view that morality derives exclusively from either a god or a religious system of thought, since this very clearly is not the case.

I also question the subtext, implied in quite a few posts on this thread and elsewhere, that only leftists can be atheists.

Molon Labe
04-06-2009, 04:23 PM
This is starting to look a bit like a thread from a while back (which I started), about the source of morality.

While it would be absurd to dismiss all the behaviour of the religiously inclined as unethical or immoral, since only some of it is, I challenge the point of view that morality derives exclusively from either a god or a religious system of thought, since this very clearly is not the case.

I also question the subtext, implied in quite a few posts on this thread and elsewhere, that only leftists can be atheists.

Right. That is absolutely not the case since one of my favorites is one. George F Will.

FlaGator
04-06-2009, 07:07 PM
This is starting to look a bit like a thread from a while back (which I started), about the source of morality.

While it would be absurd to dismiss all the behaviour of the religiously inclined as unethical or immoral, since only some of it is, I challenge the point of view that morality derives exclusively from either a god or a religious system of thought, since this very clearly is not the case.

I also question the subtext, implied in quite a few posts on this thread and elsewhere, that only leftists can be atheists.

Were does morality arise form? I don't believe that the come from religion but I do believe that the come from a Creator.

MrsSmith
04-06-2009, 08:37 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrsSmith
“Some propositions are so dangerous that it may even be ethical to kill people for believing them. This may seem an extraordinary claim, but it merely enunciates an ordinary fact about the world in which we live.” Sam Harris


Perhaps you should read the full passage (http://books.google.com/books?id=WZYbkuFySWgC&pg=PA52&lpg=PA52&dq=Some+propositions+are+so+dangerous+that+it+may&source=bl&ots=vl9F5YxsuI&sig=DFw0d7ZI5ddmR6dznlpWW7tlsdk&hl=en&ei=8zzZSZzfF9yJtgf5iLzhDw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1#PPA53,M1)... he is in fact stating the obvious.

Yes, I'm quite sure it's "obvious" to you that people should be killed for their beliefs. :rolleyes:

Both you and Sam think it's ok to kill people for their beliefs BEFORE they have committed any actions...exactly like radical islamists. Only the Christian faith grew a culture that based punishment upon actions, not thoughts.



Quote:
"If I could wave a magic wand and get rid of either rape or religion, I would not hesitate to get rid of religion."


Common sense. If you could assuredly wipe out the threat of radical islam in one go, or instances of rape, what would you choose?

"Common sense" says that it would be preferable to wipe out all religion, despite the billions of dollars and millions of hours of work given to help people all over the world? "Common sense" says that the hospitals and shelters originating from Christian work are more evil that rape? Common sense isn't very common among atheists.


Quote:
“I hope to show that the very ideal of religious tolerance—born of the notion that every human being should be free to believe whatever he wants about God—is one of the principal forces driving us toward the abyss.”
Sam Harris


Great quote!

Yep. Atheists can't allow freedom of thought. It reduces the control of the people.


Quote:
“Mahavira, the founder of Jainism, surpassed the morality, of the Bible in one, in just one sentence: Do not injure, abuse, oppress, enslave, insult, torment, torture or kill any creature or living being.”


Another great quote!

A great quote...which he then discards for "common sense?" OK!! Good, solid thought process going there...or whatever. :D:D:D
Quote:
“I am not a pacifist. I don’t want Gandhi or Mahavira to decide our response to someone like Hitler. If we had listened to these two men, we would have continued to be ruled by the Nazis for another millennium.”
Sam Harris


Common sense
is uncommon among atheists...

MrsSmith
04-06-2009, 08:43 PM
Meaningless nonsense. Since you cannot base your morality off of anything but your own subjective interpretation of what you believe God said and means, your morality is on no more solid ground than any other, and is always subject to change. Looking at the history of your own religion, what on earth makes you think you can claim morals havent evolved and changed with society at large?



Of course. Morals changed somewhat, once. When Christ was on the earth, He expanded on some sins and reduced others out of importance. The basic ones were not changed.

If mankind were capable of creating his own moral foundation, there would be no arguments about clearly immoral acts...like murdering unborn children... or killing people for their thoughts.

wilbur
04-07-2009, 02:16 AM
Wiping out radical Islam would certainly decrease the instances of rape in the world, but you miss the point. You would also wipe out Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism and a host of religions in which provide moral guidance to billions, and which prevent far more rapes, murders and other violent acts than they facilitate.

Lets see some conclusive statistics and studies that show those lacking religious affiliations are more prone to commit rape or other crimes than those with them.

Until you do, there is no reason to entertain this wild assumption.


On the other hand, eliminating rape, and the underlying hatred and fear of women that it often entails, would eliminate most of the dysfunction of Islamic mysogyny.

On the other hand, eliminating Islam would eliminate all of the dysfunctional Islamic mysogyny.


But even if we do use the full information available to us to make ethical decisions, it doesn't guarantee that we will have all of the pertinent information that exists. We will always make ethical decisions in a partial vaccuum, since our knowledge is finite and the universe is not. What conscience gives us is the framework in which that information can be applied. Without it, there is no guidance. Intuition is our subconscious working all of the information that it has at its disposal and giving us a "gut feeling" towards an answer. It does the work of our conscious mind when we don't know that we have more facts than we think. Finally, information, regardless of its source, is not always a reliable guide. Nothing is always reliable, but to dismiss our ethical and moral conditioning is to guarantee that our decisions will not be informed by our constraints.

Well, I wasnt dismissing the role moral intuitions play in our decisions. Many ethical rules and ethical systems are judged in part, by how well they live up to or explain many of our moral intuitions. In other words, they are often post-hoc justifications for our moral intuitions. But one must also use the full and best information available, using the reason to analyze our intuitions.. because in many cases we find that they are flawed. It works both ways.


But you do dismiss the ethical and moral systems by which others act and assume that their behavior is unethical because it does not follow the dictates of your logic

I dismiss faith based ethical systems because they violate the very purpose of moral rules.. they disconnent morality from the aim it should serve... which is to bring about the well-being of humanity, both individually and collectively.. instead they are repurposed to serve the desires of some wispy being in the sky, rather than the needs of humanity.

Under faith based moral systems, humanty's well-being will always run the risk of being threatened and sacrificed for the whims of that alleged wispy sky being. So yes, they ARE unethical.


and without a moral compass, you have no way of knowing if you are acting ethically.

Certain things objectively lead to increased well-being, or to destruction. Our reason and powers of observation help us discover what things lead to what end.. thats all the moral compass one needs.

wilbur
04-07-2009, 02:22 AM
Again your lack of Biblical understanding is absolutely amazing. There is nothing subjective about the morality spelled out in the Bible.

Whats amazing is the extent to which you seem to think that the Bible exists in some alternate reality, transcending all the problems of subjectivity that exist when exegesizing a text in the way a theologian must.


Some people who don't care for certain moral values listed in God's word attempt to interpret them to something more favorable to their point of view, but in reality there is nothing subjective. You read out of the Bible what it says (exegesis) you do not read in to the Bible what you want to say.

Theological exegesis is quite different from historical exegesis, and passess almost entirely into a realm of total subjectivity. So no, you do not have any solid ground on which to stand... the most solid ground any of us have to stand on is our very nature.


I redefined nothing. You accused me of redefining it and I offered references where it was defined a meditive. Amazing! Now you are trying to tell me what I meant. You claimed I rebranded it as meditive in a statement you made to Odyseuss

My comments and criticisms were addressed claims made by someone else.

Apparently, you seem to think I was wrong and acting out of ignorace to say the things I did about prayer, because there are some more sophisticated views of it that I didnt acknowledge. Well, guess what? I was responding to claims and comments that someone actually made, not whatever lofty beliefs you hold regarding prayer. So yes, in the context of that discussion, you did repurpose the definitions of prayer.

I am not ignorant of the many views Christians have of prayer. If you had asked, yes, I would have acknowledged that prayer probably has beneficial effects for the pray-ER similar to any other meditative practice, like actual meditation or something like Yoga. I would have also acknowledged that prayer has a rich history as a meditative practice. But I maintain that anyone who might claim that Yoga was the solution to the worlds most pressing problems, would be met with harsh ridicule, especially from those who eschew all new-age trends (and also tend to think of them as left-wing). And so it is with prayer (when certain claims are made about it).


Are you denying your own words now?

I'm denying that you have properly understood them.


Maybe that is why you have such contempt for people of faith. You are incapable of understanding their point of view so you disdain what you can't comprehend. Greek is hard to comprehend when you can't read greek isn't it?

Perhaps you should entertain the idea that I do understand them much more than you think.

wilbur
04-07-2009, 02:43 AM
Were does morality arise form? I don't believe that the come from religion but I do believe that the come from a Creator.

If you can think of ANY good reason to follow some ethic or moral rule that is something other than "God says so", than it should be no mystery to you from where morals arise.

FlaGator
04-07-2009, 07:12 AM
If you can think of ANY good reason to follow some ethic or moral rule that is something other than "God says so", than it should be no mystery to you from where morals arise.

That is not an answer, it is an evasion.

FlaGator
04-07-2009, 07:44 AM
Whats amazing is the extent to which you seem to think that the Bible exists in some alternate reality, transcending all the problems of subjectivity that exist when exegesizing a text in the way a theologian must.

That is not what I think at all. What I think is that you are speaking to a subject you are not well versed in. The issue is that you have the false impression that you are adequately familiar with the subject material and with people who have a better understanding point out flaws in you comprehension you refuse to accept the correction.




Theological exegesis is quite different from historical exegesis, and passess almost entirely into a realm of total subjectivity. So no, you do not have any solid ground on which to stand... the most solid ground any of us have to stand on is our very nature.

Historical exegesis is the sam as theological exegesis because both presuppose that the source material is correct and accurate. As for history, the victor writes the history and we base our understanding upon that. If the Carthagians had writ tent the history of the Punic war then we might have a different understanding of history? Had the Japanese won WWI how would America history appear in our history books now?





My comments and criticisms were addressed claims made by someone else.

Apparently, you seem to think I was wrong and acting out of ignorance to say the things I did about prayer, because there are some more sophisticated views of it that I didnt acknowledge. Well, guess what? I was responding to claims and comments that someone actually made, not whatever lofty beliefs you hold regarding prayer. So yes, in the context of that discussion, you did repurpose the definitions of prayer.

Now you are rewriting our history. You responded to one persons' statement that they would pray for the country and that America should start praying again. He didn't say anything about what he intended as the outcome of his prayer. You assumed that he meant to pray and God would fix everything but I after closer reading of the post, that is not what he said at all.

That was not the nature of this disagreement between you and I on prayer. After you made your comments I pointed out that there are other aspects of prayer and I said that it being mediative was one that was useful for me. You then accused me of "rebranding" the prayer with a new meaning. I pointed out that I was doing no such thing and listed theologians over time who considered prayer mediative.



I am not ignorant of the many views Christians have of prayer. If you had asked, yes, I would have acknowledged that prayer probably has beneficial effects for the pray-ER similar to any other meditative practice, like actual meditation or something like Yoga. I would have also acknowledged that prayer has a rich history as a meditative practice. But I maintain that anyone who might claim that Yoga was the solution to the worlds most pressing problems, would be met with harsh ridicule, especially from those who eschew all new-age trends (and also tend to think of them as left-wing). And so it is with prayer (when certain claims are made about it).



I'm denying that you have properly understood them.

Perhaps you should entertain the idea that I do understand them much more than you think.



Judging by what you write in relation to this and other discussion I don't get that impression. Also, others besides myself see what appears to be your incomplete understanding and attempt to offer you correction but you don't seem what correct. You want to hold on to the view you have because it better suits your conception of Christianity.

We have a couple of possibilities here. Either we are all wrong and fail to grasp the faith we believe in or you are wrong and do not properly grasp a faith the you don't believe in.

wilbur
04-07-2009, 10:06 AM
That is not an answer, it is an evasion.

Fine, I'll connect the dots for you. If a certain behavior pattern leads to more well-being, increased happiness, and prosperity for individuals and society, what do you think eventually happens to it? It becomes a moral. Morals are born out of our capacity to prosper, and our capacity to suffer.

To say that this idea of god is NECESSARY to justify a moral behavior is to say that:

A) many moral rules are actually counterproductive to our individual or societal well being. They must be obeyed for the sake of obedience, since they would not be followed otherwise.
B) many moral behaviors may not be detrimental, but have no justifiable practical utility at all, making them beyond our ability to discover. They are to be obeyed for the sake of obedience, since they would not be followed (or known) otherwise.

You can't have it both ways... if moral rules can be justified based on their utility in bringing about well-being or preventing well-being than a transcendent creator isn't needed to justify them, and you cannot continue to claim that one is necessary for objective morality. To claim otherwise, that God is necessary to justify a moral, is to claim you cannot think of one good reason why the rule should be followed.

You actually undercut your position every-time you claim there is a practical reason for why we should live according to a particular moral.

Constitutionally Speaking
04-07-2009, 11:43 AM
Right and wrong is encoded in us BY God and is reinforced via following his laws set out in scripture.

That is my opinion on the whole thing.


Can an atheist do good things??? Of course, but it is still due to cultural norms that were derived from a religious source.


BTW, Wilbur, in the chaos that sometimes prevalent on this board, it is easy to miss posts - take a look at my last post and please respond. We may be backing into the discussion we had set up in the Thunderdome.

linda22003
04-07-2009, 12:11 PM
Right and wrong is encoded in us BY God ...

Or, for some of us, an even higher authority - our parents!

wilbur
04-07-2009, 12:51 PM
Right and wrong is encoded in us BY God and is reinforced via following his laws set out in scripture.

That is my opinion on the whole thing.

Can an atheist do good things??? Of course, but it is still due to cultural norms that were derived from a religious source.


At best this is an untenable assumption. The first stirrings of morality probably have their roots in our evolutionary ancestors, long before our species even existed, just as we can see the stirrings of primitive altruistic behavior and other pre-cursors to moral awareness in more intelligent animals like apes. Its no coincidence that the things that generally favor our survival and well-being are the things that usually end up as part of our moral and ethical frameworks.

All evidence points to religion being formalizations of early morality, not the other way around.

Now if you want to say a 'morality' seems to be written into the physics of the universe... that is the typical position most theists will retreat too here.. and its right in a sense. The reality of our world and our own nature demands some level altruism, concern for others, and cooperation, and its hard to see how it could be any other way. But once we've gotten to that point, claiming God is necessary or even helpful for moral knowledge is a little like saying one needs to believe god is the ultimate authority behind the idea that water is necessary for your survival.. and to for water to be able to sustain life, one needs to believe god's authority is behind it.



BTW, Wilbur, in the chaos that sometimes prevalent on this board, it is easy to miss posts - take a look at my last post and please respond. We may be backing into the discussion we had set up in the Thunderdome.

I'll respond to that in the TD, hows that?

Odysseus
04-07-2009, 01:04 PM
Lets see some conclusive statistics and studies that show those lacking religious affiliations are more prone to commit rape or other crimes than those with them.
Until you do, there is no reason to entertain this wild assumption.

It's hardly a wild assumption. Islam promotes rape. It punishes rape victims, demands rape of female relatives of men who commit offenses and permits the taking of non-Moslem women as chattel.


On the other hand, eliminating Islam would eliminate all of the dysfunctional Islamic mysogyny.
It would, but you wish to eliminate all religions, not just Islam. You would eliminate Christian doctrines of law which are the basis for western legal systems, the art of the Renaissance and Baroque periods, the science of those same periods, as well as the Enlightenment and a cultural history that encompasses almost all western disciplines in art and science. You would also eliminate Judaism, with centuries of philosophy, scientific inquiry, theological argument and legal scholarship. You would also abandon, Buddhist philosophy, Hindu art and a host of other religiously inspired concepts and disciplines in your desire to eliminate faith from the world.


Well, I wasnt dismissing the role moral intuitions play in our decisions. Many ethical rules and ethical systems are judged in part, by how well they live up to or explain many of our moral intuitions. In other words, they are often post-hoc justifications for our moral intuitions. But one must also use the full and best information available, using the reason to analyze our intuitions.. because in many cases we find that they are flawed. It works both ways.

I dismiss faith based ethical systems because they violate the very purpose of moral rules.. they disconnent morality from the aim it should serve... which is to bring about the well-being of humanity, both individually and collectively.. instead they are repurposed to serve the desires of some wispy being in the sky, rather than the needs of humanity.
Oh, the can of worms that you just opened...
What are the needs of humanity? Who decides them? Do the needs of the humanity in the US differ from the needs of the humanity in Botswana? The Soviets claimed that communism addressed human need. Marx even made it part of his basic premise, "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need." How do you measure need? Do you truly need a computer when a farmer in Uganda lacks even shoes?
Besides, who says that the purpose of moral rules is to bring about the well-being of humanity? How can you determine what the well-being of humanity is? Is it simply maximization of material consumption for all people? By that logic, obesity is the ultimate societal good. How about maximum liberty to ensure that all people can have the opportunity to achieve their potential? That creates inequalities that incite envy. Maximum oversight to ensure that we are all equally rewarded for our efforts so that no one stands out? That destroys productivity and ensures equal misery. No moral system can address the well-being of humanity to the satisfaction of all humanity. At best, they can serve to allow us to function together with a recognition of those basic rights which all people have, even if some do not exercise them as effectively as others. These are the basic tenets of Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism and a host of other religions which hold that human life is sacred, and that the preservation of human life, without imposing that preservation on other humans, is the highest good (excepting radical Islam, which sees the lives of infidels as inferior and subject to termination or subjugation).


Under faith based moral systems, humanty's well-being will always run the risk of being threatened and sacrificed for the whims of that alleged wispy sky being. So yes, they ARE unethical.
Only if you assume that the teachings of the "alleged wispy sky being" are arbitrary and contrary to human nature. Which sounds more realistic, a faith that assumes that man is flawed and must work to achieve grace, or a system which assumes that man is perfect and that society has a duty to remake itself so that perfect people will be produced?


Certain things objectively lead to increased well-being, or to destruction. Our reason and powers of observation help us discover what things lead to what end.. thats all the moral compass one needs.
Let's look at those certain things, shall we? Religion can lead to atrocity, as the Spanish Inquisition, the Wars of the Protestant Reformation and the various other religious conflicts have shown, but religion can also provide stability, sanctuary, the preservation and advancement of knowledge and the accumulated wisdom of centuries of human history, distilled as parables and lessons from the various tracts. OTOH, the purely secular states of the world, the USSR, People's Republic of China, the Khmer Cambodian Republic and a host of other nations which have banished religion, export only atrocity. Even China, which provides a host of goods and services, creates them through slave labor in their laogai system. The sole advancement that the Soviets gave us was Sputnik, which we surpassed as we beat them to the moon and beyond (There are no Russian probes of Mars, Venus or the other planets of the Solar System). As for Cambodia, the record should be obvious.

Reason cannot exist without a moral compass, and logic is insufficient as a means to provide that compass. Science may tell us what we can do, but it cannot tell us what we should do.

BTW, I'm not a believer. I'm about as lapsed a Jew as it's possible to be (the bacon thing, again), but I lack your contempt for the beliefs of those who you consider your mental inferiors. When you stop fighting so hard to justify your beliefs, you'll find far more peace with the world, regardless of what it believes.

wilbur
04-07-2009, 03:03 PM
It's hardly a wild assumption. Islam promotes rape. It punishes rape victims, demands rape of female relatives of men who commit offenses and permits the taking of non-Moslem women as chattel.


Oh I don't disagree with that in the slightest. The wild assumption is that religious belief is a societal vaccination against criminal or otherwise bad behavior, like rape.

Religion or Rape?
Well, the proposition of being able to wipe out one or the other is rather silly to begin with... but I don't think it implies that history needs to be wiped with it. To remove religion could simply mean that from this point onward, religious systems are treated no more seriously than greek myths. Harris does not provide any more specifics there, but has often said that we absolutely should readily take from religion the good things we can rationally justify, but leave behind the dogmatic notions that we have to believe things upon insufficient evidence. So I don't think we have to assume he proposes that all religious history be wiped from the Earth along with religious belief.



Oh, the can of worms that you just opened...


Well, these are precisely the cans of worms I LIKE to open;)



What are the needs of humanity?


A good question that has yet to be answered completely, by anyone. But on a basic enough level we all share the same basic needs. We all have a need to survive and exist, for one (except when twisted by some religious doctrines). The vast majority of us can no more choose to ignore this need anymore than we can choose to ignore the need for food. I think its reasonable to propose that, from this most basic part of our nature, moral systems emerge. The other religious people here will claim that this means morality is "on shifting ground"... but thats only true if these basic natures present in us are so malleable and changeable as they want to suppose.

Notice that this provides a little more backdrop to my opposition to both liberal and social conservative policies that are overly ambitious in engineering human nature... the liberals want to remove hierarchy and competitiveness, and the social conservatives want to instill their dogmatically held virtues which are often misaligned with some of our most powerful natures... and a belief in human guide-able, and radically alterable human nature is foundational to both ideologies. To put it metaphorically, a social conservatives approach to stop speeding might be to remove the seat-belts from cars, while liberals might rather require the installation of governors on all the engines.

To be cont...

Odysseus
04-07-2009, 04:12 PM
Oh I don't disagree with that in the slightest. The wild assumption is that religious belief is a societal vaccination against criminal or otherwise bad behavior, like rape.
Religion or Rape?
Well, the proposition of being able to wipe out one or the other is rather silly to begin with... but I don't think it implies that history needs to be wiped with it. To remove religion could simply mean that from this point onward, religious systems are treated no more seriously than greek myths. Harris does not provide any more specifics there, but has often said that we absolutely should readily take from religion the good things we can rationally justify, but leave behind the dogmatic notions that we have to believe things upon insufficient evidence. So I don't think we have to assume he proposes that all religious history be wiped from the Earth along with religious belief.

It is Sam Harris who offers the assumption that you can remove one or the other, and that of the two, religion is the more harmful. This is obviously absurd. Many good things come from religion, while very little good comes from rape (I happen to have once made the acquaintance of a young single mom whose child's father had raped her. She loved her child and was a terrific mom, so one can argue that in this one instance, something good did come from an evil act. I am not justifying the act, or reducing the horror, of rape.)

Well, these are precisely the cans of worms I LIKE to open;)
Okay, but remember that I'm the one baiting the hook and you've taken it. :D

A good question that has yet to be answered completely, by anyone. But on a basic enough level we all share the same basic needs. We all have a need to survive and exist, for one (except when twisted by some religious doctrines). The vast majority of us can no more choose to ignore this need anymore than we can choose to ignore the need for food. I think its reasonable to propose that, from this most basic part of our nature, moral systems emerge. The other religious people here will claim that this means morality is "on shifting ground"... but thats only true if these basic natures present in us are so malleable and changeable as they want to suppose.
It is a good question, thanks, and one which must be answered before you can presume to decide that philosophy must satisfy the indefinable needs of mankind. If you cannot define the needs (and you can't, as I'll show), then you cannot have a philosophy or moral code whose purpose is to meet those needs. Therefore, any attempt at a moral code is, by your own definition, futile.
Second, we don't have a need to survive and exist (which, BTW, are the same thing), we have a right to exist, and it is not the religious dogmas that twist that, but the secular ones which reduce man to a unit of productivity (hence the secular left's abortion position). Even Islam has a prohibition against suicide (in fact, it's one of the strongest prohibitions of any religion), but those who seek to impose their will on the infidel must first impose their will on the faithful, and that requires a certain dishonesty. On the other hand, the Soviets, Chinese and various other secular governments routinely deny their people the right to existence. They deny them the right to create and own property, to build and own what they have built, to grow and own what they have grown, and they destroy them throw slave labor and genocide.
Finally, as you pointed out, if you choose to define morality in terms of a requirement to support needs which cannot be defined universally, then you are indeed on shifting ground, as needs will shift far more often than rights.


Notice that this provides a little more backdrop to my opposition to both liberal and social conservative policies that are overly ambitious in engineering human nature... the liberals want to remove hierarchy and competitiveness, and the social conservatives want to instill their dogmatically held virtues which are often misaligned with some of our most powerful natures... and a belief in human guide-able, and radically alterable human nature is foundational to both ideologies. To put it metaphorically, a social conservatives approach to stop speeding might be to remove the seat-belts from cars, while liberals might rather require the installation of governors on all the engines.

To be cont...

Ah, but the difference is that conservatives see that we do have powerful natures, and that, left unchecked, they will consume us. That isn't an attempt to change human nature so much as a recognition that it exists, and that it will sometimes result in destructive or evil conduct unless there are rules to mitigate it. A social conservative wouldn't seek to remove seatbelts from cars to check speeding (that's more of a social darwinist who, having figured out that speeding kills, would make it more dangerous and allow natural selection to reduce the number of speeders, not to mention those with a genetic predisposition to speed;)). A social conservative would try to pursuade the drivers to buckle up for their own safety and might, if this failed, institute enforceable rules on their use, including allowing insurance companies to increase liability if a driver fails to mitigate damages by using a seatbelt. In short, a social conservative recognizes that there is such a thing as human nature and seeks to direct it towards a desired outcome, while liberals seek to bring the national speed limit down to 55 and demand that auto makers create safer cars (and then attack them for selling SUVs, which are demonstrably safer than the lighter, more green cars that liberals also demand). They deny human nature and impose rules which accomplish nothing, but give them power over state highway regulators and automobile manufacturers. BTW, you sometimes find a confluence of social conservatives and progressives, such as during Prohibition, but it's rare, and the results are usually catastrophic.

Constitutionally Speaking
04-07-2009, 08:42 PM
I'll respond to that in the TD, hows that?


Works for me!!! I cut and pasted my post over there.

FlaGator
04-08-2009, 02:45 PM
Fine, I'll connect the dots for you. If a certain behavior pattern leads to more well-being, increased happiness, and prosperity for individuals and society, what do you think eventually happens to it? It becomes a moral. Morals are born out of our capacity to prosper, and our capacity to suffer.

To say that this idea of god is NECESSARY to justify a moral behavior is to say that:

A) many moral rules are actually counterproductive to our individual or societal well being. They must be obeyed for the sake of obedience, since they would not be followed otherwise.
B) many moral behaviors may not be detrimental, but have no justifiable practical utility at all, making them beyond our ability to discover. They are to be obeyed for the sake of obedience, since they would not be followed (or known) otherwise.

You can't have it both ways... if moral rules can be justified based on their utility in bringing about well-being or preventing well-being than a transcendent creator isn't needed to justify them, and you cannot continue to claim that one is necessary for objective morality. To claim otherwise, that God is necessary to justify a moral, is to claim you cannot think of one good reason why the rule should be followed.

You actually undercut your position every-time you claim there is a practical reason for why we should live according to a particular moral.

Why would God need to create morals that would be counterproductive to the individual or society? Explain this.

What causes humans to obey any moral once they find it a hinderence to their happiness? Why do some people not murder or steal when it would be more convienent for them to do so and if the probability of getting caught was very low?

The fact that morality can be justified because of the positive effect that the have on society in no way diminishes the need for a Creator since God would have built a desire for moral behavior in us to faciliatate a society that runs smoother than othewise would occur. God would desire men and women to treat each other with kindness and respect. That is precisely what the majority of the 10 commandments teach us.

I don't believe that you will not be able to explain why a majority of people stick to their moral beliefs when it would be easier to cast them aside and this speaks volumns for the existence of God and that he created us with a internal moral structure. Societies far separated in geography and time have all developed basically the same more code, or some close version of it. Why? All societies that I am aware of also have a belief systems (religions) where the basic moral principles mimic each other. Why? Can you find for me a society any where in the history of civilization that had no belief in gods or a god and yet had a moral code?

FlaGator
04-08-2009, 02:49 PM
Works for me!!! I cut and past my post over there.

I went over to Thunderdome and your response was all I found. I noticed Wilbur posted a couple of times today but he has yet to answer you after inviting you to go to the 'dome. Interesting.

Constitutionally Speaking
04-08-2009, 04:53 PM
I went over to Thunderdome and your response was all I found. I noticed Wilbur posted a couple of times today but he has yet to answer you after inviting you to go to the 'dome. Interesting.


There IS no comeback - at least not one based in fact. If ANYONE spends ANY time actually reading what the founding fathers THEMSELVES said WHEN they were actually forming this country, the truth is inescapable. We were founded on Judeo - Christian principles and more than that, it is a belief in God that is essential for our freedoms to continue.


Now for the opinion part.

It is my opinion that the leftists of this country (not the drones - but the leaders) have been purposely trying to undermine this now for decades - and the reason for this IS to deny us our freedoms.

FlaGator
04-08-2009, 06:38 PM
There IS no comeback - at least not one based in fact. If ANYONE spends ANY time actually reading what the founding fathers THEMSELVES said WHEN they were actually forming this country, the truth is inescapable. We were founded on Judeo - Christian principles and more than that, it is a belief in God that is essential for our freedoms to continue.


Now for the opinion part.

It is my opinion that the leftists of this country (not the drones - but the leaders) have been purposely trying to undermine this now for decades - and the reason for this IS to deny us our freedoms.

So wilbur's invitation to the dome was a bit premature? You would have thought that he would have returned to admit you were right. I guess he doesn't have the class I've been attributing to him when others ask why I defend him.

Constitutionally Speaking
04-08-2009, 06:47 PM
So wilbur's invitation to the dome was a bit premature? You would have thought that he would have returned to admit you were right. I guess he doesn't have the class I've been attributing to him when others ask why I defend him.


I'll give him some time. You're attempting a far more difficult thing than I. I have reams of written works from the founders themselves to back me up.

Your arguments require some faith.

(fixed you're before Linda saw!!!!! ;) )

wilbur
04-09-2009, 12:41 AM
Why would God need to create morals that would be counterproductive to the individual or society? Explain this.


I don't think you have really thought hard enough about what I said, especially in regards to the claims that you argue for... namely that 'morality comes from God'. Maybe you should, once and for all, clarify exactly what this means because it's meaning seems be quite elastic. I generally take it as a claim that morality cannot exist, nor can be explained apart from God.

Just as a scientific explanation may remove any need to invoke God as a cause of a phenomenon (weather, life, etc), so it is that experiencing practical and beneficial results of certain behaviors removes the need to invoke God as the reason to follow them.

To say that God is necessary to justify something is to say that something has no other adequate justification apart from God. So it then follows, if God is necessary to justify a moral behavior, than that moral behavior must have no other adequate justifications. Therefore, any moral behavior that requires justification through God, must be counterproductive to our well-being or, at best, completely neutral to our well-being, since ALL moral rules that actually enhance our well-being have adequate justifications apart from God. The enhancements to our well-being ARE the justifications. Moral rules that are detrimental or neutral would be the only moral rules that have no adequate justifications, apart from God.

Therefore, anytime you actually justify a moral rule by naming any kind of practical tangible benefit, you actually demonstrate (and unwittingly agree) that God is not necessary to justify it at all.

At this point in this conversation the goal posts usually shift... and God simply gets repurposed as a 'best explanation' for morality, not the 'only possible and necessary explanation'... a substantially weaker claim. But at this point, the real argument is defeated, since the intent behind it is usually to suggest that society cannot dispense with God-belief for the sake of morality.



What causes humans to obey any moral once they find it a hinderence to their happiness? Why do some people not murder or steal when it would be more convienent for them to do so and if the probability of getting caught was very low?


Our consciences can be a HUGE hinderance to our happiness... so even if obeying a moral rule results in some material harm or inconvenience, our inner well-being may not be unscathed should we break it. This is always a factor unless one is a sociopath, and is incapable of knowing or empathizing with the pain or feelings of others. Generally, those people arent keen on following God's rules either, even if they believe them.



The fact that morality can be justified because of the positive effect that the have on society in no way diminishes the need for a Creator


Yes, it does. It completely removes the need for a creator as a necessary component to follow and discover moral behaviors.



since God would have built a desire for moral behavior in us to faciliatate a society that runs smoother than othewise would occur.


Non sequitur... stating what you think God's reason would be for creating a moral system in no way supports the idea that he is necessary to justify the existence of that system, or the benefits of following it.

Prometheus stole fire from Zeus and gave it to humanity.. this was because he wanted to facilitate a society and culture than runs smoother than otherwise would occur. Therefore, belief in Prometheus is necessary to know fire. (Error!)




I don't believe that you will not be able to explain why a majority of people stick to their moral beliefs when it would be easier to cast them aside and this speaks volumns for the existence of God and that he created us with a internal moral structure. Societies far separated in geography and time have all developed basically the same more code, or some close version of it. Why?


Because certain behaviors lead to an enhanced existence. Many of these are constant for all humans... again, its no coincidence that no society actually values indiscriminate murder.. and its not because everyone has the same idea about god or god given morality (which they don't)... its because any society that did value indiscriminate murder would soon find that it stopped existing... for obvious reasons.



All societies that I am aware of also have a belief systems (religions) where the basic moral principles mimic each other. Why? Can you find for me a society any where in the history of civilization that had no belief in gods or a god and yet had a moral code?

If consistency between societies is any metric for truth, I think its telling that god-myths are so varied and inconsistent. Yet many moral rules are ubiquitous. Just as algebra works for everyone... certain behaviors work for everyone.. the most necessary and basic ones are the ones we find as ubiquitous moral principles in every single culture.

FlaGator
04-09-2009, 08:58 AM
I don't think you have really thought hard enough about what I said, especially in regards to the claims that you argue for... namely that 'morality comes from God'. Maybe you should, once and for all, clarify exactly what this means because it's meaning seems be quite elastic. I generally take it as a claim that morality cannot exist, nor can be explained apart from God.

Just as a scientific explanation may remove any need to invoke God as a cause of a phenomenon (weather, life, etc), so it is that experiencing practical and beneficial results of certain behaviors removes the need to invoke God as the reason to follow them.

To say that God is necessary to justify something is to say that something has no other adequate justification apart from God. So it then follows, if God is necessary to justify a moral behavior, than that moral behavior must have no other adequate justifications. Therefore, any moral behavior that requires justification through God, must be counterproductive to our well-being or, at best, completely neutral to our well-being, since ALL moral rules that actually enhance our well-being have adequate justifications apart from God. The enhancements to our well-being ARE the justifications. Moral rules that are detrimental or neutral would be the only moral rules that have no adequate justifications, apart from God.

Therefore, anytime you actually justify a moral rule by naming any kind of practical tangible benefit, you actually demonstrate (and unwittingly agree) that God is not necessary to justify it at all.

At this point in this conversation the goal posts usually shift... and God simply gets repurposed as a 'best explanation' for morality, not the 'only possible and necessary explanation'... a substantially weaker claim. But at this point, the real argument is defeated, since the intent behind it is usually to suggest that society cannot dispense with God-belief for the sake of morality.


That is quite a lot but I'll try to address your points. The moral laws that are meant to govern our behavior were created by God and built into our nature by God for the purposes of regulating our behavior amongst our fellow man and regulating our understanding of the existence of a surpreme being. As evidence I cite that 1) the same basic more code is evident in nearly all civiliations. Although the exact interpretation may vary between societies, this being unavoidable because man being imperfect has an imperfectly interpretation God's moral code. 2) all civilations have some concept of a creator beginning(s) that addresses their needs. These to mainstays of human behavior or not coincidental. It would seem that some where at some time a society would have formed and flurished if this were not the case. If moral behavior was learned via evolution then at some point an atheist society and/or a society with a different set of base morals should have arisen and left it mark on the world. Since this does not seem to be the case then an atheistic society is no a viable one or a society that has a different moral base is not viable. You can theorize on the evolutionary aspects of morals but evolution itself can explain adequately why all societies believe in a God or gods and have the same basic moral values. I say God created them and them implanted them in our make up. Because evolution may one day find a way to explain around God that doesn't negate the existence of God or that he made us moral beings. I can say, for example that Henry Ford invented the assembly line, you can come along an theorize that it was some other industry and offer solid proof that the potential was there but that doesn't mean that Henry Ford didn't invent the assemply line.



Our consciences can be a HUGE hinderance to our happiness... so even if obeying a moral rule results in some material harm or inconvenience, our inner well-being may not be unscathed should we break it. This is always a factor unless one is a sociopath, and is incapable of knowing or empathizing with the pain or feelings of others. Generally, those people arent keen on following God's rules either, even if they believe them.

God coded us with free will. Just because we have a inate desire to obey moral dictates doesn't mean that we have to. As you pointed out, some people have no conscience and view themselves as the only one that matters. Morality is broken in these individuals. The question remains, however, why are people as a rule so keen on following a moral that may inconvenience them? Why do we have a conscience? I believe it that is a result of God's encoding us with his moral law. What evolutionary benefit is there for me to feel guilty if I cheat on girl I have sex with?



Yes, it does. It completely removes the need for a creator as a necessary component to follow and discover moral behaviors.

The removal of the need for a Creator doesn't mean that there is no Creator Just because Jesse James could have walked between towns doesn't mean that horses are a myth.



Non sequitur... stating what you think God's reason would be for creating a moral system in no way supports the idea that he is necessary to justify the existence of that system, or the benefits of following it.


Prometheus stole fire from Zeus and gave it to humanity.. this was because he wanted to facilitate a society and culture than runs smoother than otherwise would occur. Therefore, belief in Prometheus is necessary to know fire. (Error!)


But if Prometheus myth had been a reality then your example would not be an error in logic . It is only an error because we know these to be myths. Because you work from the point of view that there is not God then nothing explained by God will make sense to you. Because you don't believe you are forced to find other explanations. I on the other hand can look at the validity of your explanation and incorporate it in to my model of creation. You, on the otherhand, work from a limited view point and don't have this luxury.

Whether you find him necessary or not does not mean that he did not create our moral code. You have a theory that removed God from the picture, I have a theory where he is central to the picture. It's like the big bang. You can't explain what started it. Maybe God sneezed and that got the ball rolling. Anyways if you could concoct a theory that by-pass the need for God as an explanation it doesn't mean that He is not the explanation.




Because certain behaviors lead to an enhanced existence. Many of these are constant for all humans... again, its no coincidence that no society actually values indiscriminate murder.. and its not because everyone has the same idea about god or god given morality (which they don't)... its because any society that did value indiscriminate murder would soon find that it stopped existing... for obvious reasons.



If consistency between societies is any metric for truth, I think its telling that god-myths are so varied and inconsistent. Yet many moral rules are ubiquitous. Just as algebra works for everyone... certain behaviors work for everyone.. the most necessary and basic ones are the ones we find as ubiquitous moral principles in every single culture.

I think I've address these points already earlier in this post. Please forgive any typos. I was writing fast and I'm to tired to re-read it. :)

MrsSmith
04-09-2009, 07:11 PM
If humans were capable of defining morality without God, there would be no abortion.

wilbur
04-09-2009, 08:09 PM
If humans were capable of defining morality without God, there would be no abortion.

It really is all just a jumble of nonsense in that brain of yours isnt it?

BTW, I sincerely doubt you shrugged off your intellectual laziness long enough to actually read the passage that the quote in your sig came from (which I linked for you in a previous post).. but if you had, you might have realized what you took from it was the exact opposite of its intent. I will do you the courtesy of pasting it here for you, so you once again have the opportunity to realize your error.

Your interpretation of a lifted quote out of context:



Yes, I'm quite sure it's "obvious" to you that people should be killed for their beliefs.

Both you and Sam think it's ok to kill people for their beliefs BEFORE they have committed any actions...exactly like radical islamists.

And here is the passage starting with the sentance after the quote:



“... This may seem an extraordinary claim, but it merely enunciates an ordinary fact about the world in which we live. Certain beliefs place their adherents beyond the reach of every peaceful means of persuasion, while inspiring them to commit acts of extraordinary violence against others. There is, in fact, no talking to some people. If they cannot be captured, and they often cannot, otherwise tolerant people may be justified in killing them in self-defense.” This is what the United States attempted in Afghanistan, and it is what we and other Western powers are bound to attempt, at an even greater cost to ourselves and to innocents abroad, elsewhere in the Muslim world. We will continue to spill blood in what is, at bottom, a war of ideas. (The End of Faith, pp 53)
...

It is hardly a failure of reason to take those unfortunate actions to which the dangerously irrational compel us (which is certainly not to say that all of the “current administration’s policies” can be so categorized). If you can offer a more reasonable alternative to killing those who cannot be captured nor swayed from beliefs that drive them to commit violence against the innocent, the world would be indebted to you.

MrsSmith
04-11-2009, 01:15 AM
It really is all just a jumble of nonsense in that brain of yours isnt it?

BTW, I sincerely doubt you shrugged off your intellectual laziness long enough to actually read the passage that the quote in your sig came from (which I linked for you in a previous post).. but if you had, you might have realized what you took from it was the exact opposite of its intent. I will do you the courtesy of pasting it here for you, so you once again have the opportunity to realize your error.

Your interpretation of a lifted quote out of context:



And here is the passage starting with the sentance after the quote:

"The link between belief and behavior raises the stakes considerably. Some propositions are so dangerous that is may even be ethical to kill people for believing them."

He didn't say "for using them to commit violence" or "inspire violence" or even "preach violence." He said that a belief is enough to take a life because you "know" that belief might inspire violence. He judges all that hold "some specific belief" to be guilty of violence and worthy of death regardless of any actual actions. This was not what the US attempted in Afghanistan. The US is working to close the schools that teach methods of violence, and to stop the violence, by firstly taking out those that commit acts of violence and secondly by creating a democratic government as in Iraq, to change the beliefs that your adored author wants to use as a basis for wholesale slaughter.

wilbur
04-11-2009, 10:43 AM
"The link between belief and behavior raises the stakes considerably. Some propositions are so dangerous that is may even be ethical to kill people for believing them."




He didn't say "for using them to commit violence" or "inspire violence" or even "preach violence."


The words are right there in front of you... you just won't read them.

"...Certain beliefs place their adherents beyond the reach of every peaceful means of persuasion, while inspiring them to commit acts of extraordinary violence against others..."



He said that a belief is enough to take a life because you "know" that belief might inspire violence.


He did not use the word "might". You are quite dishonest.

MrsSmith
04-12-2009, 12:07 AM
The words are right there in front of you... you just won't read them.

"...Certain beliefs place their adherents beyond the reach of every peaceful means of persuasion, while inspiring them to commit acts of extraordinary violence against others..."



He did not use the word "might". You are quite dishonest.

ethical to kill people for believing , not for "acting on beliefs." Direct quote. If he meant "acting on beliefs," he should have written "for acting on beliefs,' instead of "for believing." As his statement was written, it says that anyone who believes in, for example, radical Islam, should be killed even if they have never acted upon their beliefs in any way.

wilbur
04-12-2009, 11:43 PM
ethical to kill people for believing , not for "acting on beliefs." Direct quote.

One usually cannot extract a single sentence from an entire work, in isolation, and hope to have understood the points an author was communicating. You tried, you failed.



If he meant "acting on beliefs," he should have written "for acting on beliefs,' instead of "for believing." As his statement was written, it says that anyone who believes in, for example, radical Islam, should be killed even if they have never acted upon their beliefs in any way.

Only if, through laziness and haste, you fail to avail yourself of the full context of the statement would you walk away with such an interpretation.... I have pointed you to the texts yet you persist... at this point you are proven to be a liar.

Its interesting that you so eagerly seem to wish he was calling for a holocaust redux on modern people of faith. You truly seem to really desire it.

wilbur
04-14-2009, 08:29 PM
That is quite a lot but I'll try to address your points. The moral laws that are meant to govern our behavior were created by God and built into our nature by God for the purposes of regulating our behavior amongst our fellow man and regulating our understanding of the existence of a surpreme being. As evidence I cite that 1) the same basic more code is evident in nearly all civiliations. Although the exact interpretation may vary between societies, this being unavoidable because man being imperfect has an imperfectly interpretation God's moral code.

The same basic moral codes (the extremely basic ones) are evident in every society because we all share the same basic nature. Morality is born out of basic facts about human nature and the universe as a whole.

Your explanation is self-serving and superfluous.



2) all civilations have some concept of a creator beginning(s) that addresses their needs.

Yet there is absolutely no consistency between all the different god-concepts at all. All the major monotheistic religions around today were simply evolutions of a previous monotheistic religion, in this order: Judaism -> Christianity -> Islam.

When you look at religions that arose independently, you will find no such consilience between them on the nature of deities.



These to mainstays of human behavior or not coincidental.


I know, I already said as much. An objective reality exists guaranteeing that the same basic behaviors will lead to the well-being of societies and individuals no matter what. Rampant, unchecked raping and killing will lead into a society's destruction, no matter what its geographic location.



It would seem that some where at some time a society would have formed and flurished if this were not the case. If moral behavior was learned via evolution then at some point an atheist society and/or a society with a different set of base morals should have arisen and left it mark on the world. Since this does not seem to be the case then an atheistic society is no a viable one or a society that has a different moral base is not viable. You can theorize on the evolutionary aspects of morals but evolution itself can explain adequately why all societies believe in a God or gods and have the same basic moral values. I say God created them and them implanted them in our make up.

Pure conjecture.



Because evolution may one day find a way to explain around God that doesn't negate the existence of God or that he made us moral beings. I can say, for example that Henry Ford invented the assembly line, you can come along an theorize that it was some other industry and offer solid proof that the potential was there but that doesn't mean that Henry Ford didn't invent the assemply line.

God coded us with free will. Just because we have a inate desire to obey moral dictates doesn't mean that we have to. As you pointed out, some people have no conscience and view themselves as the only one that matters. Morality is broken in these individuals. The question remains, however, why are people as a rule so keen on following a moral that may inconvenience them? Why do we have a conscience? I believe it that is a result of God's encoding us with his moral law. What evolutionary benefit is there for me to feel guilty if I cheat on girl I have sex with?

The removal of the need for a Creator doesn't mean that there is no Creator Just because Jesse James could have walked between towns doesn't mean that horses are a myth.


The lack of need for a creator doesnt mean there isnt one, no... but it does mean that a creator isnt necessary to explain or justify anything at all.. including morality.



But if Prometheus myth had been a reality then your example would not be an error in logic . It is only an error because we know these to be myths.


Heh, we do? Please demonstrate that the tale of Prometheus is any less or more a myth than the tale of Jesus?



Because you work from the point of view that there is not God then nothing explained by God will make sense to you. Because you don't believe you are forced to find other explanations. I on the other hand can look at the validity of your explanation and incorporate it in to my model of creation. You, on the otherhand, work from a limited view point and don't have this luxury.

Whether you find him necessary or not does not mean that he did not create our moral code. You have a theory that removed God from the picture, I have a theory where he is central to the picture. It's like the big bang. You can't explain what started it. Maybe God sneezed and that got the ball rolling. Anyways if you could concoct a theory that by-pass the need for God as an explanation it doesn't mean that He is not the explanation.

I think I've address these points already earlier in this post. Please forgive any typos. I was writing fast and I'm to tired to re-read it. :)

Based on the content of this entire post, I think its fair to say I have soundly diminished any and all rhetorical teeth that may have been left in the claims that "God is necessary for morality".

Would you dare try to sell any moral proclamation in public discourse, that had no other justification other than "God says so"? Even the most cognitively dissonant religious ethicists woudnt do such a thing. And unless you have done that very thing, you have yet to demonstrate that God is necessary for any moral truth at all.

You have done as I predicted in my last post, and fallen back to arguments that really just try and position God as a best explanation for the existence of morality (yet, at the same time try to posit morality as evidence for God...). There are no avenues left for you to argue that God is necessary to discover moral truths, or that God is necessary as an incentive for individuals to obey those moral truths.

I have demonstrated that should we dispense with the concept of God all together... this would not diminish our capacity to discover moral realities, nor our need to follow them. That is the claim that you have to disprove to have any right at all to claim that God is necessary for morality.

FlaGator
04-14-2009, 10:53 PM
The same basic moral codes (the extremely basic ones) are evident in every society because we all share the same basic nature. Morality is born out of basic facts about human nature and the universe as a whole.

Your explanation is self-serving and superfluous.
That is about the funniest thing that I've read in a while; coming from a person who believes that everything is accidental and random finds commonality in human nature. Your explanation makes no sense since many of these societies where separated by such distances that they didn't have any contact since man climbed down from the trees. We may share a basic nature but these societies had different environments and obstacles to deal with and yet they still managed to develop a standard set of morals that was extremely similar. Don't worry, I won't ask you to prove this theory sense we both know that you can't.




Yet there is absolutely no consistency between all the different god-concepts at all. All the major monotheistic religions around today were simply evolutions of a previous monotheistic religion, in this order: Judaism -> Christianity -> Islam.

When you look at religions that arose independently, you will find no such consilience between them on the nature of deities.
Let's see, most believe in some type of creation event and creator. Most believe that man strives to be reunited with that creator. Event the polytheistic believes tend to have one overall supreme being that governs the lower deities. Brahman of the Hindu is the creator who through enlightenment Hindus seek to unite with in the afterlife. Zorastorism predates Christianity and possibly Judaism and has a creator deity, a Satan type figure and a paradise. The gods of the Norse headed by Odin and Valhalla, Greeks and Romans had their gods and eternity with Zeus/Jupiter being the supreme being. They Egyptian pantheon of gods with Osiris-Isis-Horus being a kind of trinity is the oldest of the gods know to historians. The similarities in these religions is amazing.

Buddhist see thought as a creator and the concept of enlightenment is to become pure thought. Shinto is entangled with Buddhism but is more of an animistic belief system with ancestor worship. These two are probably the least like most theological beliefs and are closer to philosophies than religions.




I know, I already said as much. An objective reality exists guaranteeing that the same basic behaviors will lead to the well-being of societies and individuals no matter what. Rampant, unchecked raping and killing will lead into a society's destruction, no matter what its geographic location.

But why is society necessary or why are large societies necessary. Evolution of beings larger than insects favors solitary life or small cliques? Now we get into where you and I truly diverge. I believe that society was predicated because we already had the basic moral character built in to us. You are going to argue that we learned moral behavior as social structure grew. I don't think that neither you nor I can bring enough evidence to bear on resolving this point.



Pure conjecture.

Now that is funny!!! And every comment that you made in your reply is pure conjecture. You make statements with no facts to support them, just your belief that they must be because they circumvent the whole God question.



The lack of need for a creator doesnt mean there isnt one, no... but it does mean that a creator isnt necessary to explain or justify anything at all.. including morality.


Which is why atheism is a belief on par with religion. The difference is that your faith in no Creator is a lot harder to sustain than my belief in a creator. As evidence I cite you obsession with all things sacred. You see a thread on Christianity and you have to respond. It's like you are desperate to prove to believers that we are wrong and when we admit this you think that your views will be validated. True believers don't change. Their views may be modified as new facts are processed but the basic world view remains the same.



Heh, we do? Please demonstrate that the tale of Prometheus is any less or more a myth than the tale of Jesus?

We've been here before and you failed the test miserably. Are you saying that you have found a example in history of people making up lies and the dying from them when admitting the lie would save their life?



Based on the content of this entire post, I think its fair to say I have soundly diminished any and all rhetorical teeth that may have been left in the claims that "God is necessary for morality".

Would you dare try to sell any moral proclamation in public discourse, that had no other justification other than "God says so"? Even the most cognitively dissonant religious ethicists woudnt do such a thing. And unless you have done that very thing, you have yet to demonstrate that God is necessary for any moral truth at all.


Feel as self satisfied as you like. But with the exception of a person or two everyone reading this knows that you have posted nothing but speculation and wishful thinking.



You have done as I predicted in my last post, and fallen back to arguments that really just try and position God as a best explanation for the existence of morality (yet, at the same time try to posit morality as evidence for God...). There are no avenues left for you to argue that God is necessary to discover moral truths, or that God is necessary as an incentive for individuals to obey those moral truths.

I didn't say that God was necessary to explain morality. I said that he was the creator of our morality and he instilled it in His creation. There may be other explanations but I and 4 billion others believe that he is the cause.

Now let’s examine what have brought to the table. Personal speculation and conjecture and you have done exacty what I thought you would do and try to position your argument in such a way that God was not necessary. I never said that he was necessary. I just said he was the cause.



I have demonstrated that should we dispense with the concept of God all together... this would not diminish our capacity to discover moral realities, nor our need to follow them. That is the claim that you have to disprove to have any right at all to claim that God is necessary for morality.

Now that is funny. Someone who offers zero proof that there is no God and brings nothing to the game other than his heart-felt belief. Someone who can't even offer a clue that would lead someone to suspect that maybe God doesn't exist claims to have demonstrated that we should dispense with the concept of God. Now that his rich. You need more tangible than wishful thinking.

MrsSmith
04-14-2009, 11:05 PM
One usually cannot extract a single sentence from an entire work, in isolation, and hope to have understood the points an author was communicating. You tried, you failed.



Only if, through laziness and haste, you fail to avail yourself of the full context of the statement would you walk away with such an interpretation.... I have pointed you to the texts yet you persist... at this point you are proven to be a liar.

Its interesting that you so eagerly seem to wish he was calling for a holocaust redux on modern people of faith. You truly seem to really desire it.
I don't quote the guy to agree with him. I quote him because he's an example of "atheist morality," in that he can seriously advocate for killing people for beliefs before any actions have taken place.

wilbur
04-14-2009, 11:15 PM
I don't quote the guy to agree with him. I quote him because he's an example of "atheist morality," in that he can seriously advocate for killing people for beliefs before any actions have taken place.

Ugh. For fucks sake.

FlaGator
04-14-2009, 11:33 PM
Ugh. For fucks sake.

Which reminds me... you never did show up in Thunderdome after asking CS to join you there for further discussion on Thomas Jefferson. Whaz up with dat?