An ex-secular theist explains how you've been lied to.
The Like Button.
What? I think I missed something there!
I take it you don't use Facebook. I was being ironic by indicating I "like" this post by clicking Blogger's non-(yet?)-existent Like Button. Merry Christmas, Crude, ol' boy! Have some egg nog on me––indeed, all over me, silly lush I am, do pass me a kerchief! BTW, have a look at the interactions I've had with One Brow at his blog about natural law and morality, in the post about strangers on a train, would you?
I gave it a read, but only briefly I admit. It seemed to be another move of 'I say there are no real purposes/final causes in nature and therefore no truly objective morality but watch as I construct an ethical system anyway', and I'm tired of that particular angle. It's like hearing a post-modernist wannabe say that there is no truth but hey check it out I can still make rules for a board game. You know - "Yes, Monopoly. Thrilling. I think we're done here."Like what I saw of your response of course, including the attentiveness to the usual relativity game. Was someone there really trying to argue that morality is relative "because Einstein's relativity" or something? Haven't seen that routine in years.
Thanks for having a look. I really only lightly perused the relativity stuff, though I'm otherwise an SR/GR fiend. I was mainly interested to see if I was basically on target with natural law. It's actually one of my "weaker areas" as far as serious research goes. Then again, I seem to write posts and replies now and then that, apparently, do a good job of dispelling errors and of making sense, so who knows?
Well, I consider myself to be an eternal amateur on my own, but generally when I read your thoughts on these matters you're sharp and have a great focus, so consider that a broad endorsement.One problem I have with natural law / final cause / design discussions (not that they're all the same thing) is this tendency for one side to inevitably drop that "Says you" bomb you mentioned in one of your blog posts. We see that on Feser's blog where a certain person always resorts to "it's all metaphysics and therefore I could be right as far as you know so there" (when they aren't angrily screaming about how everyone they disagree with is not only clearly wrong but also somehow evil), I've seen it elsewhere where people will say "Well maybe some things just happen utterly without cause, or maybe some things cause themselves", and so on.It's one reason I pursue discussions rather than debates anymore. We've reached a point where people will defend utter incoherent insanity if the alternative is thinking they lost a debate, and defending insanity is a sign of wisdom to some people. Hell, just recently I've seen someone argue furiously that science shows only the material exists, etc.. and then, turned on a dime and insisted that science doesn't show anything, and doesn't necessarily reflect reality, and we're just a bunch of monkeys who learned some useful tricks.I think many people see that and go "How can I come up with a reasonable argument to show this person the error of their ways?" My response is, "Where's some pine cones? This guy needs them thrown at his head until he runs out of town."
I have made a final reply to One Brow in that thread. Keep up the good fight!
I admire someone who can work a "The Centipede" ref into an argument for natural law morality. Man, that movie seems popular lately.I was going back and forth with OB in another thread, but as I told him, I'm not getting into the game where the argument is judged to succeed or fail based on whether or not he agrees with me. Too many people are willing to deny the obvious nowadays, and I know better than (to use a phrase) to try and convince a determined solipsist that I'm conscious.
Yeah, that damned Centipede movie. The trailer is probably the best spoof of it there will ever be. Since I don't intend to reply to him again in that thread, I would like to point out here that the allusion to the Centipede was not made in order to defend the moral legitimacy of the mad scientist's experiment––One Brow would just deflect that gambit with the "non-consensual" gambit––, but rather to push the limits of "legitmate" "natural" uses for bodily organs in One Brow's worldlingview. The fundamental problem is that he misses the forest for the trees: he denies any of our body parts have a "proper function" yet he believes that we ourselves––our whole bodies––do have certain proper functions, namely, seeking the truth, being fair, etc. And you are exactly right to draw a line in the sand between making your case and convincing naysayers. Rationality is not a function of persuasiveness, but unfortunately neither is the converse true. People like One Brow, who make noise about the proper limits of proof in various disciplines, but who deep down want everything to be as "air tight" as a mathematical proof, will always be able to nitpick. Meanwhile, the rational coherence of the views he critiques only take on greater stature in contrast to the triviality of his nits.
It seems the second part of my reply did not show up at One Brow's. I'll reproduce it here for your convenience. +++++++++I will now make a few “bottom line” statements and provide links to articles, then I need to leave this thread to focus on other things.Ever work in a restaurant? Ever “marry” bottles of ketchup? The thing about “marrying” ketchup bottles is that, when the resources of one bottle go into another, they “cooperate” successfully to propagate the existence of ketchup. The marriage bears fruit. That’s the natural function of marriage: it is a natural human institution which yields the successful propagation of the species and which must be protected, just like a restaurant’s ketchup is not simply wasted by the staff. Gay marriage is as incoherent as marrying ketchup and mustard, or as futile as trying to marry ketchup bottles by the opening of one and the bottom of another. It may add flair to the menu to have orange sauce (ketchup and mustard mixed), but that’s not marriage in any meaningful sense. As it stands, gays can mix their sauces as much as they like, but nothing they do replicates the essential “marriage” of the sexes in marriage. Call it whatever you want, but calling it marriage is just incoherent. Something about "the marriage of heaven and heaven" just doesn't have the same kick to it. Further, the very effort gays make to “win” marriage presupposes marriage *really is something*, that it has a definition. Well, what is the definition of marriage? If it has an essential definition, then your social-relativist critique goes out the window. If, however, it has no coherent definition—if it is not any more one-thing than any-thing else--, then gays are literally campaigning to win a chimera.Despite the myriad variations that have existed in human marriage, no society has ever recognized gays as being fitting subjects of “marriage”. That’s as natural as you can get: the unanimity of natural human existence. Natural law is not pulled from the sky; it is manifested in the actual functioning of our species. A final question I have is, if marriage between two gay partners is allowable because it makes them happy and is ostensibly good for social stability, is marriage between a father and his daughter also acceptable to you? If not, why not?Here are the links:1. http://firstthings.com/blogs/evangel/2010/12/the-essence-of-marriage-again/2. http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=17221553. http://www.theird.org/Page.aspx?pid=1730
Since I missed the opportunity to say Merry Christmas, I'll say have a Happy New Year while I still have the chance.
Happy New Years to you as well, TPB. And everyone else.Codge, thanks for the link. Good stuff, though I think one problem with arguments like 'Well, if marriage between two men or two women is alright, what about father and daughter? What about man and dolphin? What about man and two women and a sparrow?' is that I suspect any resistance often isn't true, but feigned. More of a "is that result too unpopular to express support or a lack of concern for right now?" thing.One of my favorite examples from the past was a comedian's routine. Dom Irrera, I think. He said that if gays want to get married, he wants to marry some of his friends. To hell with it - his friend has a good job, he'd get good health insurance, the two would never have to sleep with each other or anything, they can sleep with whatever women they want. Oddly enough, that example struck me as a powerful one, and is the one I'd use. Marriage that has nothing to do with sex or romantic love - mere friendship. Or better yet, not even friendship, but mere business sense. Somehow, my gut tells me people would react more against this - 'marriage' devoid of even the pretense of love and sex, as a matter of course - than the more extreme examples. Maybe because if marriage is cracked open *that* wide, then either setting real, hard limits on the definition of marriage is either inescapable (and then we have to justify those limits..) or marriage-by-the-state truly will dissolve for all practical purposes.
Maybe it's time for the latter result.
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