Personal blog that will cover my personal interests. I write about Christian Theology and Apologetics, politics, culture, science, and literature.
Sunday, November 20, 2011
FacePlant - Epic Fail: Tisk Tisk, Johnny P Response #19
Well Johnny P returns. I decided to continue the format in how I've responded the past two times I've Responded. My words will be in red and past quotes will be italicized. Johnny P's will be in black and Ryan Anderson's will bepurple.
"""You ought to play chess tomorrow at three" makes feck all sense unless you load a prostasis in there. That was my point. It is no different with morality unless you want to equivocate on the word 'ought'. It makes since if someone commanded you to do it." That is consequentialistethics / might is right. You are being good because someone told you to. How the hell is that doing something good out of an intrinsic ought? You have no idea what you are talking about.
You still haven't explained why that's a problem, yet but you will try further along. . Oh you might try to weasel out and say you are not saying that consequentialist ethics is wrong, but you wouldn't be that dishonest would you? "
This really is another example of your naivety. It makes sense if someone commands it. So if I command you to steal from Peter, would you do it? No. Not on it'd own.
Why would I not listen to you? You are not God. You didn't make me and I have no reason at all why I have to listen to you. There is no "ought".
But if the object being stolen was the cure for cancer that he was keeping hidden, then it would be morally right based on the consequences.
I'm not sure if that's moral. Stealing is stealing. The end does not always justify the means.
This is the theory behind 'Just War', too, though it is a lot more complex. Also, as with God etc, if the consequences of doing something is complicated by pain of death, or joy of heaven, then motivation for an act is again affected. You are in danger of a simple might is right here - a divine command theory issue.
So what is wrong with divine command theory? Death is nothing, other than the fact that we don't want to die. It's at most an inconvenience if there truly is a heaven and you are in Christ. The sting of death is gone....not that you won't die....but now there is no need to fear death.
"Ought you be generous? Intrinsically?"
Whici is why I gave a personal opinion - I feel generous.
"Oh you might try to weasel out and say you are not saying that consequentialist ethics is wrong,"
I DON'T say consequentialist ethics is wrong. I argue that it is the reality of moral actions. I argue that because God shows consequentialist ethics to be the arbiter of moral value in his actions, then one of two things happens:
1) objective morality does not exist
2) objective morality exists but its value is worthless as it is ubiquitously trumped in favour of the value of the consequences.
This seems to be something you struggle to get.
Still gnawing away at that bone are we? Did you not read my examples from the Bible about how God's actions are not just valued by the good consequences?
No. No where does the Bible try to condone these acts of evil although all of them lead to Joseph saving the known world from starvation. That is an example that belies Johnny P's argument."
No no no no. This shows you just don't understand the philosophy of morality. The morality of Potiphar's actions are defined how? By the intrinsic value of the actions themselves? Or by the context leading on to the consequences.
No, Potiphar's wife's (get the story right) actions were not wrong by the context. There are no context where lying on someone about rape a good thing.
"Suppose that someone were to ask you whether it is good to help others in time of need. Unless you suspected some sort of trick, you would answer, “Yes, of course.” If this person were to go on to ask you why acting in this way is good, you might say that it is good to help others in time of need simply because it is good that their needs be satisfied. If you were then asked why it is good that people's needs be satisfied, you might be puzzled. You might be inclined to say, “It just is.” Or you might accept the legitimacy of the question and say that it is good that people's needs be satisfied because this brings them pleasure. But then, of course, your interlocutor could ask once again, “What's good about that?” Perhaps at this point you would answer, “It just is good that people be pleased,” and thus put an end to this line of questioning. Or perhaps you would again seek to explain the fact that it is good that people be pleased in terms of something else that you take to be good. At some point, though, you would have to put an end to the questions, not because you would have grown tired of them (though that is a distinct possibility), but because you would be forced to recognize that, if one thing derives its goodness from some other thing, which derives its goodness from yet a third thing, and so on, there must come a point at which you reach something whose goodness is not derivative in this way, something that “just is” good in its own right, something whose goodness is the source of, and thus explains, the goodness to be found in all the other things that precede it on the list. It is at this point that you will have arrived at intrinsic goodness. That which is intrinsically good is nonderivatively good; it is good for its own sake. That which is not intrinsically good but extrinsically good is derivatively good; it is good, not (insofar as its extrinsic value is concerned) for its own sake, but for the sake of something else that is good and to which it is related in some way. Intrinsic value thus has a certain priority over extrinsic value. The latter is derivative from or reflective of the former and is to be explained in terms of the former. It is for this reason that philosophers have tended to focus on intrinsic value in particular."
So under what circumstances is it okay for a woman to lie on you about raping her?
By this, you should have realised the implications of the question, philosophically speaking. Why be good? In order to be good? Ie, because it has intrinsic value? This is what moral objectivists would like to argue. But it is difficult. It becomes mere assertion that 'being good' has intrinsic value. We can see that from the biblical accounts, and from everyday experience, we derive the moral value in an action from the consequences, which is usually seen in some context of happiness. This is because happiness, unlike goodness, is nonderiviative. You stop asking 'why' too early, and are satisfied with 'because it's good'. My argument is that that is not good enough. Just being good to be good is a mere tautology that I find meaningless.
I guess Johnny P is right. He doesn't read my whole responses. My argument has always been that being "good" because it's "good to you" is indeed meaningless. Much like his arguments. I want to know why an Atheist like Johnny P believes being good is worthy of the effort and how does he know what "good:" is. "Happiness" doesn't cut it.
There is a great thought experiment to explain this:
God comes to you and tells you there are transcendent, unconditional moral oughts.
That's because He did. And Johnny P has chosen to try to ignore God.
Just imagine that in this world all the things you ‘ought’ to do, from a moral point of view (a moral ought), happen to cause unfathomable pain, suffering and injustice and will land you up in hell where you will experience eternal torment. And just imagine that in this world, all the ‘ought nots’ happen to promote peace, health, happiness and justice and will ultimately land you in heaven where you will have eternal bliss alongside your Creator.
Imaginary for sure because that doesn't match the transcendent and unconditional moral oughts that are given to us in the Bible. Back to Johnny P's "straw god."
What course of action would you take – how would you live your life? Would you adhere to these transcendental moral oughts.
Again this thought experiment does not parallel reality at all and is based on really stupid premises because it does not match the God we see in the Bible - unless you admit that you are not arguing against the God of the Bible.
This shows that our lives are not bound by unconditional, transcendental moral oughts but by rational oughts.
That is assuming you can tell what causes unfathomable pain, suffering and injustice - infallibly and exhaustively. You can't.
Our choices and our behaviour is informed by rationalisations depending on the circumstances we wish to actualise. Whether a god exists or not, a world in which transcendental moral oughts exist would be indistinguishable from a world in which only rational oughts exist. Therefore, not only can moral oughts be seen as trivial, but they also have little practical value. It does nothing to give our moral claims a more solid foundation.
I doubt the human capacity to determine what rational oughts really are rational. I think a good example is the fact that people sin as long as they think they can get away with it and rationalize their actions.
Saying that we need transcendental, intangible unconditional moral obligations in order to have objective moral facts is the same as saying we need transcendental, intangible, medical obligations in order to have facts about medical health.
Not really. There are many things that are wrong but you would never know it unless someone told you it was wrong. For example what if you stole things and no one ever stopped you, how would you know that it was wrong?
Morality is the science of maximising social and societal wellbeing just like medicine and nutrition are the science of maximising physiological wellbeing. Moral facts, just like medical facts, exist. There are empirically moral and empirically immoral things that we can do.
You can't know medical facts without searching them out. And they are true no matter what your opinion about them are. Morality is similar in that way. If you don't know what the maximal society's well-being is, how do you determine it given that there are others in that society who will and do disagree with you? Sounds like you need an objective standard to me.
If your moral philosophy is completely divorced from real world issues of happiness and suffering, if morality has nothing to do with the pursuit of maximising wellbeing. If it truly has no stake whatsoever in actualising an ideal circumstance in this life or the next….
then what bloody use is it?
There is more to life than happiness and suffering. For reasons that are not fully expressed, God has chosen this world to include both. Deal with it and stop whining about it.
This shows that we value moral actions through the consequences and would always act within such a framework.
Yes, I've heard Dr Michael Shermer and Dr Samuel Harris make similar arguments. It wasn't any better then either.
The problem with you is that you keep posting extracts of the bible to argue your point. Look, not even Bill Craig does this - he knows it is an invalid tactic.
I think it's because William Lane Craig is more generous that I. I mean he wins his debates without quoting the Bible and I guess he doesn't want to make it a total blow out. I use the Bible because if you are going to critique Christian ethics and Morality - which are supposed to be coming from the Bible - of course the Bible must come up.
The problem with the bible is that it does not explain its philosophy. It doesn't give you a deductive argument that tells you how morality is grounded in god and so on. It is assertion after assertion, and your biblical extracts are useless in such a debate.
Before you discuss if the Bible's philosophy is correct or not, one must understand what it says and Johnny P hasn't demonstrated that he does.
We are not discussing biblical exegesis.
If you wanna discuss what Christians believe and why, you bet we are discussing Biblical exegesis. Wow! Talk about a faceplant.
I'd be happy to discuss Matt 27 as non-factual (perhaps even poetic, as Licona would argue) etc. I love discussing biblical exegesis.
But it has no place in these discussions, and the sooner you realise this, the better. You would get NOWHERE in a philosophy department or philosophical essay trotting out random quote after random quote.
The historicity of Matthew 27 does not have a place here, but there are many passages that do if you are going to talk about God and why he allows what He allows and why. Without looking at that how do you expect to know what we say about God and Morality?
How does Potiphar's wife tell us whether morality is transcendental and objective. At best it can only assert something from a faux position of authority. What you need is a Christian philosopher, such as Richard Swinburne, to philosophical extricate the basic tenets, and treat them philosophically - creating syllogisms and the like. And even Swinburne gives way to consequentialism:
"It is... permissible to use someone for the good of others if on balance you are their benefacto..." (Providence and the Problem of Evil, 1998, p. 233)
Johnny P's missed the point. Not surprising. Not to contradict Dr Richard Swineburne but the Bible tells us that God meant for everything that happened to Joseph, including being enslaved, and lied on as being an attempted rapist, and falsely imprisoned, to happen. And none of those things were good. Why can't you see that?
Now if you want to get into it, Swinburne declares God is consequentialist (that he can harm people for the good of others), but is allowed to be on the basis of his authority.
I would not agree that God is a "consequentialist" but he is right God can allow people to be harmed for the good of others, but it's not just for the good of others but for their own as well - all couched in God's own foreknowledge and authority.
"Nope. The flood was not evil. God was well within his rights to send the flood and save only those He saved."
Oh good god, it's like arguing with a child. You are either being wilfully ignorant, or you really are this ignorant. How many times do I have to say? How do you quantify the flood was not evil?
God does not do evil. God sent the flood because the people were wicked and would not repent even though Noah preached to those people 120 yrs and they still didn't repent. The flood was not evil, it was justice. We are no better than they, but God has chosen to extend mercy. Better take advantage of it while you still can.
On what basis do you value the morality? Everyone else in the world values this by the consequences. If no good came from it, and it was merely destructive for the sake of being destructive - would it be good? Take it out of context. Now put it back in. God 'ought' to exact justice, start over and save those he did. It was right, no, that he did this? Or was it wrong?
If it was right, how do judge this rightness?
It was right because sin must be punished. And God can do what ever He wants whenever He wants. He made the world. It's His. Why should He not do with it as He chooses? We can't judge God anymore than the cow can judge you for killing it for food.
It really seems you haven't got a clue what you are talking about. Please, do yourself some favours and think before you write. All these people you seem to be appealing to in some kind of immature rhetorical game, can surely see that you are a moral newbie.
I have not seen anything from Johnny P that leads me to think he knows anything about God or what Christians believe about Him. To make it worse, he refuses to be corrected about where he is wrong.
You've put your fingers in the moral flame and got burnt. Go away and learn from this. read some books. Don't just assert crappy point after crappy point and then throw in a bible quote. I could throw in a Qu'ran quote. so what. Unless it has valid philosophical argumentation, it is not relevant. It does not have valid philosophical argumentation.
Says, Johnny P. YuckYuck.
"Again who's happiness would you use to judge that?"
The first good question you have asked. This has merit. Once we have bottomed out whether objective morality makes sense, then we can see what the alternatives are, and whether they stand up to scrutiny.
"Happiness is a poor measure. You still never defined what you mean by whose happiness should be in view to determined what is morally right or morally wrong."
Again, a good point, for which there are many answers. However, again, we need to look at objective morality first, then look at utilitarian ethics. Otherwise you will be muddying the waters and putting up smokescreens.
I'd settle for a single answer.
"Um,. the Bible says that God acts on His own will and purpose. Try again."
This is brilliant. Sooo funny. Everything you say is shocking. You say he acts on his own purpose, but don't see the purpose as having a moral dimension!!!! Either his purpose is morally benign or morally malign! In which case, where is the moral value grounded and how?
I never said that God's purposes have no moral dimension. God only does Good, however he does get good consequences out of bad means. That's clear. And without explaining how you know what "Good" is and what "Bad" is, you're wasting time.
"Johnny P has missed the point. You can't have "happiness" as I would define it without Justice. Without Justice and mercy, morality has no value. I can state that if you are free to state your opinion that Justice is irrelevant."
Justice and mercy supervenes on happiness or morality itself. Why be just or merciful. these are moral actions!!! You can't derive to just or merciful and end there. These are deriviative values!
God is just and merciful. And without God we can't adequately define and understand what these mean. Many times people act as though justice and mercy are mutually exclusive. I'd be more careful if I were you. Justice is more empirical. I would not call it a moral action. If like binary code. Zero for wrong. 1 for right. If God judged us all without mercy and only justice, we are all be deserving of hell. It's nothing personal outside of the sins we have committed. Mercy is holding back the judgement we deserve. It's dependent on the qualities of the one granting the mercy, not the one who gives mercy. Johnny P might need to think more deeply about this.
This is great:
"At least I can type "morality""
Wow. What a clincher. We all make typos, I make many since I type very quickly and am usually angry with you. Sticks and eyes, Marcus. You use 'must of been' - an elementary grammatical mistake; using who's instead of whose and so on.
What a terribly juvenile way to end your thoroughly inept critique.
Guess Johnny, Can't take a joke. Oh well. I wonder if by "inept critique" he might be referring to his whole thing of saying the Bible is irrelevant but wants to talk about what Christians believe? Hmmm.
Seriously, Marcus, go and read a book on moral philosophy. Do us all a favour.
Better arguments from you, Johnny P would go a long way as well as better understanding what the Bible actually says.