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  Topic: Official Uncommonly Dense Discussion Thread< Next Oldest | Next Newest >  

Posts: 160
Joined: Jan. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 22 2007,20:31   

Sorry for length... this turned into a good break from writing thesis...

I used to think Kairosfocus was somewhat intelligent, it turns out  he failed introductory philosophy, plus he's braying on about how no one can answer his ridiculous claims (see:  I don't know KF, could it be that no one is responding to you because a) everyone who disagrees is banned from that blog relatively quickly and b) because that's not the subject of the post, nor what anyone else came their to discuss, or c) because your writing is difficult to parse?  No.  It must be your dizzying intellect that has everyone running scared.

In any case, I'll take a stab at showing how wrong KF can be...

He writes:

we all [a] struggle with morality, while implying/  expecting that we are bound by such a law, in turn [c] raising the  question who is the thereby acknowledged Lawgiver?

We can summarize his argument thus:

P1) All people struggle with morality

P2) That we struggle with morality implies that there exists some true set of morals

C) A set of true morals implies a "lawgiver"

P1 is a false premise - psychopaths (amongst others) feel no compassion towards others and are generally believed to lack what we would call any sort of moral compass, which renders the remainder of his argument meaningless, but nevermind...  let's give KF a chance here.


As for (P2) there are two points here that KF wants to make:

P2a) Our shared intuition implies that some "morality" exists

This is obviously false.  That we all have an intuition, gut feeling, or share the same belief about something has no bearing on the truth of the matter. For examples where practically everyone's intuition  misleads them we might consider:

the intuitive notion that heavier objects fall faster, the intuitive but vastly incorrect solution to the Monte-Hall problem (amongst other probability problems), as well as issues with optical illusions, magicians, etc.  

In all these cases our intuition - that we all share - supposes a solution that is absolutely incorrect.  Thus our shared intuition is no guarantee of fact, but this should be obvious.

P2b) Our shared intuition implies "morality" is objective

Even assuming that the premise 2a, that since we all share some intuitive notion of morality this implies a "morality" exists, this argument can not deny the fact that whatever "morality" we see people striving to obtain is determined almost exclusively by that person's social setting and upbringing.  Ask a Jain what is immoral about western life, and he will tell you "everything", and yet KairosFocus seeks to use the Jain's and our "shared sense of morality" to argue for an external and objective moral code.

As for C3, if KairosFocus wants to argue that "since there exists moral law, there must have been a moral law giver", he might save himself the time in formulating faulty arguments P1, P2a, and P2b to prove that moral laws exist and instead just make the following simpler argument: "since the law of gravity exists, there must have been a gravity law giver".  But phrased this way Kairosfocus' argument is obviously silly - we all agree that there exists some law of gravity (at worst we can agree there are approximations to such a law), and yet we can differ wildly on from where this "law" came from - if anywhere.

In summary, P1, P2a, and P2b are false, and in any case, C3 doesn't follow.  

[snip talk of the bible, and point (6), which I can't even parse]

can evolutionary materialism, relative to its premises, properly warrant the credibility of our minds and of morals as a particularly important function of mind?

I'm not sure what KF means here - what does it mean to "warrant the credibility of our minds [...] as a particularly important function of mind?"  Does KF think it's OK if we can "warrant the credibility of our minds and morals as a oh, mediocre-ly important function of mind (relative to the premises, of course)?"

In any case, I think what KF is trying to say here is some form of Plantinga's argument that materialism is what he (Plantiga) calls a "self-defeater", that is believing that materialism is accurate leaves us with no reason to believe that materialism is accurate, because "reason" itself is meaningless in a "materialistic" world.  

I would propose the exact opposite - it is the materialist who has good reason to trust the thoughts he has, and classical theism is the self-defeating proposition.  According to the theory of evolution, the thoughts we have are evolutionarily advantageous - which is a relatively good thing comparatively.  One might counter that an evolutionary materialist does not guarantee that his thoughts directly coincide with some "objective measure of truth", and I would agree - the evolutionary materialist position is that I have these thoughts because they are evolutionarily advantageous, no more.  However the fact that these thoughts were evolutionarily advantageous [b]is a relatively good indicator that at least most of them are "true" in at least some sense</b>.  This is easiest to see in our day-to-day lives - I believe that I am sitting on a chair, typing at a computer.  It is possible that in actuality I am standing up eating a buffalo right now, but it is difficult to imagine how it would be evolutionarily advantageous for me to have this split between my actions and my thoughts, thus I can reasonably conclude that if I am the product of evolution, my thoughts should at least casually reflect most relevant aspects of reality.

On the other hand, it is the [b]classical theist</b> in this regard who is at a loss to explain why he believes his thoughts - he, after all, posits the existence of the great deceiver Satan!  A being so devious he makes *good seem evil and evil seem good* - and the theist, being fallible, [b]has no way to discern between the lies of Satan and the goodness of God.  

Further, for a non-theological argument against the theistic understanding of knowledge - have a theist explain to you why optical illusions work - why, if our knowledge of objective truth is based upon God, are we so very easy to fool again and again and again with simple parlor tricks?  Is God fooled by optical illusions, too?

edit: removed some snarkyness...  no reason to be snarky

  29999 replies since Jan. 16 2006,11:43 < Next Oldest | Next Newest >  

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