A Challenge to Jeremy Walker
Thread Closed 
 
Thread Rating:
  • 0 Votes - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
29-06-2014, 08:38 AM
RE: A Challenge to Jeremy Walker
(29-06-2014 03:49 AM)DLJ Wrote:  Gentlemen, and I make that assumption, please refer to Rule 3.

The merits of or comparison of moral frameworks is obviously relevant to the discussion but please use different examples for your qualification of extremes.

Thank you.

Apologies. I will see to it.

Never let yourself believe that there are no errors in your perception, or that your perspective will not be improved if you identify and correct those flaws. -Aron Ra
Find all posts by this user
[+] 1 user Likes Dark Phoenix's post
29-06-2014, 07:00 PM
RE: A Challenge to Jeremy Walker
(29-06-2014 01:59 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  You are adept at shifting The Burden of Proof. I point out that I am unconvinced by Christian claims for the reason that they do not prove or even show good evidence for themselves. I remind you that I will maintain the default position of non-belief until I am given a good reason to change my mind. You slap that concept into a crude three line misrepresentation and call it my argument. Rather than accepting the responsibility of making the claims and then backing them up, your knees grow weak enough to demand that I accept the responsibility instead. This is unacceptable.

You have argued that I made the decision to become a Christian without any critical inquiry but have given no reason as to why you think that besides the unsupported assertion that Christianity contains "fatal flaws". No elaboration as to what these "fatal flaws" are has been given.

That would be like me saying that you made the decision to become an atheist without any critical inquiry because atheism contains "fatal flaws". If I were to take this position, you would rightly demand that I support it.

Thus, you have made a truth claim and are required to give some reason as to why it is true.

But how would you possibly go about showing that I became a Christian without critically inquiring into it?

(29-06-2014 01:59 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  By shifting the burden onto me you are missing out on an opportunity to present what you believe and value. Obviously we are having an argument and it feels nice to win some technical point here or there with an eloquent quip, but I think there are some really deep and rich ideas that are more to the core than all that.

Well, I am just taking what you have said and asking you to support it.

I am sure you want me to do the same whenever I make a truth claim. The burden of proof works both ways. Whenever ANYONE makes a truth claim, they have to be ready to back it up. Christian, or atheist.

(29-06-2014 01:59 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  I don't know if you believe that converting others is your responsibility, but at the very least you likely believe that my soul is at stake here. If only for the sake of what you believe, why don't you walk me through Christianity 101. I can present any questions or objections that I may have, and we can have a deeper discussion. I know that is likely a whole lot of typing, so give it to one bite at a time if that makes it easier. You have my word that if you do this, I will give it the fairest consideration I can.

I cannot convert you. I can give your reasons for why I believe what I do, I can befriend you and respect you. I can share my testimony with you. I can pray for you and hope and wish for only the best for you and yours, but to cause you to have a complete change of heart and mind is not something I can do. It is my belief that even God Himself cannot force you to become a Christian against your will.

In the end, I care enough for you to respect your wishes. I care enough for you to spend time talking with you and answering whatever questions you may have. If at the end of the day, you decide that for whatever reason, Christianity is not for you, then I respect that. Jesus is never seen forcing people to believe in Him. Jesus never says "love Me, or I will make you love me!" You cannot make or force someone to love you. To return love is something that one chooses to do but can never be forced to do. Love must be freely given and freely accepted.


(29-06-2014 01:59 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  If this is the case for you, and for all other believers, I ought to never hear "I know that God lives" or "I KNOW Jesus dies for our sins" etc. Common Christian phrases like this are false and dishonest.

When I say I know God exists, or that I know God loves me, understand me to be using the word "know" the same way I use it when I say: "I know I am not a brain in a vat or a body lying in the matrix, or that the sun will rise tomorrow, or I know that my cognitive faculties are reliable."

None of the above propositions can be known with certainty but this does not keep me or you from making statements like them. It is not false nor dishonest to say that we know that the sun will rise tomorrow or that our cognitive faculties are reliable or that we know we are not just brains in a vat. Why? Because even though we cannot prove that the above propositions are true with certainty, we nevertheless hold them to be true because we have good reasons to do so.

A person can "know" they have not committed a certain crime that they have been accused of committing and may not be able to "prove" that they are innocent. Nevertheless when such a one says before a jury: "I know I am innocent", then they know this, even if they are unable to convince people of it.

So I want you, if nothing else, to begin to realize that certainty =/= knowledge.


(29-06-2014 01:59 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  Your view of uncertainty and how it relates to acceptable belief is inconsistent. In the case of god you see uncertainty as a license to believe, yet you do not believe that you are nothing more than a brain in a vat. You are uncertain about both, yet believe only one. This is a common Theist form of intellectual dishonesty. You are exaggerating what is uncertain in order to make an unfounded claim sound and feel more reasonable.

Why are you so quick to label me as dishonest?

Why not rather ask me why I hold to one and do not hold to the other instead of assuming?

I do not see uncertainty as a license to believe in God, but rather, I believe in God for several reasons. Among them is the evidence for the veracity of the truth-claims of Christianity.

IOW, I have good reasons, and arguments for believing in God, but when it comes to believing that I am a brain in a vat, I have no good reasons or arguments whatsoever to believe I am actually a brain in a vat! Laugh out load

So I hold one and do not hold the other for good reasons. If someone were to present some evidence and or arguments as to why I should believe I am a brain in a vat, then I might entertain the idea. Until then, I have no good reasons to believe I am.

In both cases, absolute certainty is unobtainable but I have good reasons to believe in God and no reasons whatsoever to believe I am a brain in a vat. Thus, I hold to one and not the other.



(29-06-2014 01:59 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  When you use faith in the context of senses and reasoning, you are exaggerating the level of trust required. Unlike faith in a deity, our trust in these basic human tools is within the realm of testing and probability. They are with us each day for new experimentation and experience while the supernatural retreats to the distance required to avoid such criticism.

Ahh but here is the kicker! Just because our senses are subject to being tested, you cannot therefore say that you do not exercise faith when claiming they are reliable, for you cannot use your senses and reason to prove that your senses and reasoning capabilities are trustworthy and reliable, for to do so would be to argue in a circle. It is like trying to prove logic is reliable by using a logical argument. It is fallacious.

Thus, one must simply accept that their senses and their cognitive faculties are reliable without any proof. You must believe that they are trustworthy and reliable. You depend on them being so, you rely on them being so every time you use them.

This is what I want you to understand.

(29-06-2014 01:59 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  For example, I do not know for certain of Santa Claus, The Easter Bunny, The Sandman, or any other mythological beings are real. I have no reason to believe they are real, since there is no evidence of them. I take the default position of disbelief.

I agree.

(29-06-2014 01:59 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  For the sake of technicality someone could argue, as you have done, that since I cannot know for certain it is acceptable to believe in them without evidence. It is easy to see how god is held to a different standard than other claims with an equal lack of evidence. The rules for every other domain of discourse do not apply because the faithful say so. I remain unconvinced.

But I have never argued that you should believe in God without evidence. This would be advocating a type of "blind faith" which I am adamantly opposed to. In fact, if there were no evidence for God, I would still be an agnostic atheist! Yes

(29-06-2014 01:59 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  I am not a scientist and even I am painfully aware how non-scientific you sound. You have imaginary concerns about science because you don't understand it.

What did I say that was "un-scientific"?

(29-06-2014 01:59 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  In a situation such as you describe where there are clear violations of the physical and emotional well being of some of the community, the imbalance cannot be maintained forever.

There is nothing that obligates us to not violate the physical and emotional well being of members of our community though. Remember, this is your opinion right?

Others may agree, there are certainly those that do not. The Chikatilo's, and the Fish's of this world would have a different opinion.

You see what I am saying now?

In your view, there is no standard of morality which can be violated. All that exists are opinions. All that exists is what "is". You cannot derive an "ought" from an "is".

Now I want you in your free time to look at some of the fascinating documentaries on Albert Fish and Andrei Chikatilo. As you watch them, I want you to continuously remind yourself of your beliefs that all that exists are opinions about what is moral and immoral.

(29-06-2014 01:59 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  It is a potent observation that the communities we see today do not fit the profile you describe. With such a diversity of "objective moral standards" and gods to back them up, how ever did we manage? Societies and tribes the world over have managed to develop unsurprisingly similar codes of conduct based on an obligation to community. The evolution of morality is at the least potent enough to make belief in an objective authority unnecessary, and at the most more effective at securing the interests of all members of the community.

Yes All you have done is present evidence that objective moral values and duties do exist. Not that they do not. For what is the best explanation for the existence of these similar codes of conduct to be found in virtually all societies? It would seem strange to say that the best explanation for these is that that people just so happened to have the same opinions about certain acts.

(29-06-2014 01:59 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  Not only is a religious objective moral standard not necessary, it distracts from where the reference for moral behavior actually comes from. If the reason you need most to prohibit child abuse is that there is a supernatural being who's authority makes it wrong and punishable, you entirely sidestep morality with reference to the actual suffering of human beings, the victims.

This is easy to see in practice. Take for example the rampant institutionalization of child rape that was recently uncovered in the Catholic Church. Many child rapists were actively hidden away from secular justice by the church, while insulting statements of god's and the church's forgiveness towards them were issued by the pope and other church officers. It was easy to see how the church viewed the abuse as wrong first and foremost in the context of god's commandments on the subject, which is the painless explanation for why a mere confession and forgiveness of sin from this "objective standard" was all that was necessary for their crimes to be "washed away". While they busied themselves making things "Okay" with god, secular justice sought them on behalf of the victims who suffered at their hands. In this case, having an objective standard unrelated to the actual human interests of the victims facilitated a wholesale disregard for the human beings who mattered most. It was a license to dehumanize the needs and hurts of the very children they were entrusted to care for.

When an objective standard of morality is as flawed as this it is obvious that it isn't objective at all. It is an invention of imperfect human beings trying to mainstream their idea of moral behavior for the masses. This is the painless explanation for the many conflicting religions and moralities. The "sea of ideas" that was supposedly to be avoided due to confusion is present in the chaos of religious variation.

This whole line of argument is actually a profound insult to our humanity, dignity, and self respect. It is deeply insulting to be told that you can't be trusted to behave in a moral way unless you are coerced into it by the threats and commandments of fictional character. Not only can we do better than that on our own now, many of us already have for a long time.

Well it seems you have missed what I said.

I said that on your view, what is moral or immoral is a matter of opinion, to which you would agree. You seem to be throwing a red herring into the discussion by bringing up the topic of what those in the Catholic church have done. On my view, those that did what they did and covered it up were objectively wrong and immoral. They failed to live up to the moral standard which obligates them to care and nurture and love children.

On your view, they simply have done things that may or may not have been advantageous to the survival of the species. And even this view of yours would be nothing more than your opinion.

So it seems to me that you really have not addressed what I have been getting at, and that is that in your world, no act is really right or wrong, but is right or wrong RELATIVE to the person's opinion of it.

(29-06-2014 01:59 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  It is obvious that you possess the tool necessary to understand the needs and desires of children, empathy. Your religious standard is merely confirmation of what is innate. If you doubt this, an experiment is simple. Supposing your religious standard mandated the molestation and rape of young children would you obey? Obviously you would not. It is not the standard then, but your empathy that restrains you. It is easy to see how this inborn intuition is then used to help write fictional objective standards. The main annoyance is that religion has decided to go ahead and claim credit for what it relied on humanity for to begin with.

You refer to our moral sense as an inborn intuition. I gladly agree that it is intuitive and inborn.

But how do you derive an "ought" from an "is"?

(29-06-2014 01:59 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  I don't intend to listen to any more whining from you about Israelite morality. Your Christian "Objective Standard" is the same one that mandated slavery for them to begin with. I at least have a footing for moral criticism, while your hands are tied by your own lack of independent moral compass.

You seem to be contradicting yourself earlier. You said earlier you were no moral exemplar and that morality is a matter of desire and opinion. Now you seem to be condemning slavery as if no one could ever have a legitimate reason or opinion as to why it would be moral.

Which is it?

(29-06-2014 01:59 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  It is quite a stretch to say that this is my ENTIRE perspective of Christianity. I have no illusions when it comes to you living your life like anybody else and basically being a good person. I know that your delusions make you happy in several different contexts and I don't actually wish that taken from you.

I am sure you have evidence to support your claim that I am delusional? Consider

(29-06-2014 01:59 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  When it comes to my life though, I am far happier and fulfilled as an Atheist than I ever was as a believer. I am able to truly enjoy pleasure like never before, without masochistic guilt and self abuse. I have a greater appreciation for relationships with other people. I value my limited time much more. I enjoy the quiet peace and freedom that comes from not being obligated to live any particular way simply to please someone else, even a deity. I allow my curiosity and wonder to flow freely as I read and learn everything I can get my hands on. I can take my life a little less seriously when I ponder on my tiny existence in a massive universe that is without purposeful reference to me at all. I love, live and laugh with more vigor and joy.

Exactly! You live according to your own dictates. In your world everyone is free to do just that without fear of being judged by an all seeing, all wise, Holy God.

In your world, Andrei Chikatilo had the freedom to live as he desired without the masochistic guilt and self abuse that you claim would come from failing to live a certain way. He was able to truly enjoy pleasure and spend the limited time he had here on this earth doing what he loved.

In your world he was ultimately neither worse off or better off than his victims for his choice to live the way he wanted.

This is why your view, even if it were true, is simply not livable. No society has ever survived that had as its moral law the command to "live as you will".


(29-06-2014 01:59 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  What sexual or other gratifications can you partake in without guilt and despair? What sense of freedom and identity do you experience when you are limited to what is required or recommended by god? What fantastic and wonder inducing scientific concepts can you accept without noticing they conflict with a young earth creationist world view? How can you possibly feel humility when you believe you are the center and purpose of such a massive universe?

Your words are reminiscent of Huxley's. The more I talk with atheists, the more I hear about sexual liberty. The more I have spoken with atheists and ask them what is it that atheism gives them that theism cannot , unbridled sexual liberty and pleasure are usually at the top of the list.

I am not a young earth creationist either. It seems you are grossly generalizing and lumping all Christians into a convenient little box which you think they fit in.

(29-06-2014 01:59 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  This is essentially a list of items you are authorized to experience by god. You did not mention any freedom to live unrighteously or to experience what an infinite god does not have in store for you. You are confirming nearly word for word my initial criticism that you are more limited as a Christian, not less.

I have the freedom to fornicate, to commit homosexual acts, to lust after women, to lie, to steal, to cheat, to use drugs, to hate etc. etc.

I still can do those things. I have the freedom to choose to do those things or to choose to live righteously.

I prefer to live righteously.

(29-06-2014 01:59 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  I will not believe what is without evidence to convince me. That is a line I will not cross.

Seems to me that even if you were convinced Christ was who He said He was, this would not cause you to become a follower of His.

(29-06-2014 01:59 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  Believing in something doesn't make it true by default.

I agree.


(29-06-2014 01:59 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  I require evidence.

So did I.
Find all posts by this user
30-06-2014, 02:50 AM
RE: A Challenge to Jeremy Walker
(29-06-2014 07:00 PM)Jeremy E Walker Wrote:  You have argued that I made the decision to become a Christian without any critical inquiry but have given no reason as to why you think that besides the unsupported assertion that Christianity contains "fatal flaws". No elaboration as to what these "fatal flaws" are has been given.

That would be like me saying that you made the decision to become an atheist without any critical inquiry because atheism contains "fatal flaws". If I were to take this position, you would rightly demand that I support it.

Thus, you have made a truth claim and are required to give some reason as to why it is true.

But how would you possibly go about showing that I became a Christian without critically inquiring into it?

Well, I am just taking what you have said and asking you to support it.

I am sure you want me to do the same whenever I make a truth claim. The burden of proof works both ways. Whenever ANYONE makes a truth claim, they have to be ready to back it up. Christian, or atheist.

Enough of this nonsense already. I was stating an opinion based on my own critical inquiry, not setting up a formal premise. It is your purpose in this debate to present the Christian claims as you believe them and to provide evidence and argument to back them up. If you will not do this, the debate is over.

Even if I were to present you with what I consider to be some flaws in Christianity, namely the ones that prevented me from converting, they might not apply to your particular sect or church. You have repeatedly insisted that you believe for good reasons. What are they already? Give me a list.

Never let yourself believe that there are no errors in your perception, or that your perspective will not be improved if you identify and correct those flaws. -Aron Ra
Find all posts by this user
[+] 5 users Like Dark Phoenix's post
30-06-2014, 02:14 PM
RE: A Challenge to Jeremy Walker
(29-06-2014 07:00 PM)Jeremy E Walker Wrote:  I cannot convert you. I can give your reasons for why I believe what I do, I can befriend you and respect you. I can share my testimony with you. I can pray for you and hope and wish for only the best for you and yours, but to cause you to have a complete change of heart and mind is not something I can do. It is my belief that even God Himself cannot force you to become a Christian against your will.

It is not only possible but inevitable that you will convert me, provided you have evidence to that end. It doesn't matter to me if its unpleasant, I want the truth.

We disagree about the existence of god. You accept that there is a god, I reject that there is one. We cannot both be right. You claim to have good and reasonable evidence that convinced you of the existence of god and of his specific nature as the Christian god as opposed to all other possible options.

I don't care for your implication that coercion is the only way I might possibly become a Christian, and that my distaste for it would prevent me from following the evidence. If there is good and reasonable evidence for the truth of Christianity it wouldn't be against my will to accept it.

(29-06-2014 07:00 PM)Jeremy E Walker Wrote:  When I say I know God exists, or that I know God loves me, understand me to be using the word "know" the same way I use it when I say: "I know I am not a brain in a vat or a body lying in the matrix, or that the sun will rise tomorrow, or I know that my cognitive faculties are reliable."

You are not entitled to your own private definitions. The nature of knowledge is not adjusted by the context in which you express it. You either know it to be true based on evidence, reason, and logic, false by the same means, or you do not know. You may possess a firm conviction or "certainty", but not knowledge.

You are conducting a cop out argument in an effort to shirk the burden of proof that you have failed to meet. Let's take your example of being a brain in a vat. You point out that we do not need evidence to the contrary in order to dismiss the claim. You are correct. With the claim must come the evidence, or in other words, the burden of proof is with he who makes the claim. Thus we dismiss the claim of the brain in a vat due to a lack of evidence. This perfectly describes the nature of my rejection of Christianity.

I could structure your argument like so:

1. If it is reasonable to assume that cognitive faculties are reliable, it is is also reasonable to make other assumptions.
2. It is reasonable to assume that cognitive faculties are reliable.
3. The existence of god is an assumption.
4. Therefore it is reasonable to assume god exists.

This is not a magic act where you make the burden of proof disappear by arguing that you can just assume anything.

The fatal mistake in the argument is the assumption that god and the assumptions we make about our cognitive faculties are perfectly parallel. They are not. What has been left out is the fact that a degree of trust to do with our cognitive faculties is a necessary prerequisite for everything else. God is not a necessary prerequisite for everything else. When it comes to the utility of existence and experience, god is superfluous because we do not need him in the same way. Therefore it is not reasonable to merely assume he exists.

Now, if you are finished simultaneously arguing that you do not need evidence to assume god, and that you do need evidence, why don't you just present the damn evidence already?

(29-06-2014 07:00 PM)Jeremy E Walker Wrote:  What did I say that was "un-scientific"?

Science is essentially the study of everything, a systematized method of collection of all human knowledge gained through observation and experimentation. There is no claim about anything that is not within the realm of science. Theistic claims about the universe are in fact trespassing on the realm of science blatantly without the same standards of verification. It is the only "respected" such method or collection of knowledge we have. There is no respected alternative. Although it would be true to say that science is not currently the pinnacle of all possible knowledge, it is a lie to claim it doesn't possess the potential and the method necessary to that end.

Your implication that science cannot comment on the supernatural, thus theism must take some of the weight, is what is so very unscientific. You fail to notice how they overlap and how science has already long since abandoned supernatural explanations for anything. As far as we know, we are physical beings in a physical universe. Until we have scientific evidence to the contrary, bare claims to the contrary are not enough.

Your other implication, that science is being manipulated or "abused" as a tool, illustrates your ignorance of the nature of the scientific community. Although corruption and bias are impossible to completely remove from the process, we have tools by which to combat these problems. Experiments must be repeatable. Peers must criticize and review the work of others in direct competition. Claims must be falsifiable. What is so unscientific is your implication that science ought to be a certain way, rather than what it is. You are not qualified to make that determination, a condition that no scientist would ever dream of abusing by commenting on what they know nothing about.


(29-06-2014 07:00 PM)Jeremy E Walker Wrote:  In your world, Andrei Chikatilo had the freedom to live as he desired without the masochistic guilt and self abuse that you claim would come from failing to live a certain way. He was able to truly enjoy pleasure and spend the limited time he had here on this earth doing what he loved.

In your world he was ultimately neither worse off or better off than his victims for his choice to live the way he wanted.

This is why your view, even if it were true, is simply not livable. No society has ever survived that had as its moral law the command to "live as you will".

Before I continue, I cannot express enough the level of my disgust for your personally for making this argument in this fashion. I am deeply offended at having my moral compass repeatedly compared to the most revolting specimens of human cruelty who have ever lived. I find you disgusting beyond words on this point.

You have continually objected to morality without reference to god. You have stated that without god as an objective standard there is no means of determining objectively what is a right action and what is a wrong action. You have continually criticized secular morality for being a matter of opinion Vs. opinion. You have explained several times that you do not see how secular morality can make any objection to the behavior of serial murderers, and other purveyors of brutality and suffering.

The first failure of this argument is that it presupposes the existence of the god who makes the standards. The Theists, including yourself, have not yet met the burden of proof. They have not demonstrated god to exist and until they do morality cannot rely on a god we do not know to exist. The only argument that can break free of this problem is that objective morality is necessary and only possible with god, therefore god exists.

The next failure of this argument is the implication that faith based morality can solve the problem of moral variation. There are many god's who have been claimed to exist who have conflicting moral commandments. Within the religions who worship them there are denominations that disagree with appeals to the same god. Within denominations there are church's that disagree. Within church's there are people that disagree. If faith based morality actually functioned as a means to eliminate mere opinion, this would not be the case.

Can you provide a reasonable explanation for the disagreements on all these levels on issues such as the rights of homosexuals, the acceptance of evolution, the morality of abortion, etc?

I do not have an ultimate solution to this problem and I it isn't reasonable to insist that I do. This is an old and complex problem that has so far been beyond final resolution by humanity. However, it is only in secular moral systems that there is even a hope of escape the kind of moral relativism that you have repeatedly insisted represents the secular view. You have stated repeatedly that according to my world view all we have is opinion, therefore godless morals are completely relative. Once again, god based morality doesn't solve this issue. Morality is still relative, just on the criteria of which god you believe to exist and who's moral authority you accept.

What exactly is your objection to the nature of human morality? Why are you so uncomfortable with how relative it is?

The argument fails to explain how anyone would go about determining which god is truly providing the objective morals. In order to make that determination they would have to demonstrate the existence and moral authority of that god to begin with. If they could do this the moral argument is not necessary to demonstrate the existence of god after all.

The argument is also another form of argument from ignorance. It is possible to live by objective moral values. We do not know where they might come from, therefore god is the best explanation of objective moral values. We do not have enough information to make that determination.

The Divine Command Theory, or the idea that god's commands are the standard for objective morality, is not an example of objective morality at all. Is something good because god commands it or does he command it because it is good? The same dilemma would apply to any arguments concerning his nature. Is god's nature good because it belongs to him or does it belong to him because it is good? All it takes is for god to change his mind and morality is now subjective, based on his mind and not an overarching standard. The truth about human interaction isn't contingent on any single mind, even god's.

The implication of Divine Command Theory is that human beings have no need to make moral determinations at all. We need only follow orders, even if we privately determine that one or more of god's commands are not moral at all. It fails to explain how we are capable of such private determinations, since our moral determination supposedly stems from his commandments in the first place. So, when this happens, to what objective standard are we comparing god in order to determine that he himself, or his commandments, are moral?

The best explanation that I can give as a non-expert for how our morality has evolved is that we evaluate the consequences of our actions with respect to specific goals. It is not only possible, but true in current and past practice, that we are able to determine objective morals standards based on the physical universe in which we live. We can evaluate the difference in experience of someone whom we set on fire in our universe, to that of someone set on fire in a world where fire is cooling, pleasant, and orgasmic.

(29-06-2014 07:00 PM)Jeremy E Walker Wrote:  I have the freedom to fornicate, to commit homosexual acts, to lust after women, to lie, to steal, to cheat, to use drugs, to hate etc. etc.

I still can do those things. I have the freedom to choose to do those things or to choose to live righteously.

Before I continue, I have to note my surprise that you have managed to offend me even more so than before. "Commit homosexual acts"? Your implication that a form of sex and love is on equal footing with criminal acts is absolutely unacceptable and revolting. Before you piously insist that I have no standard of objective comparison by which to make this determination, I will demonstrate that I do, and that it is superior in moral terms when compared to the commands of the Christian god on this subject.

The consequences of treating homosexuality as a crime, or a violation of morality, are immediately negative. Discrimination, judgment, and hatred based on inborn sexuality that is beyond the control of the individual clearly results in a reduction in the quality of their lives via poor treatment from others. For example, it is currently illegal in many of these United States for a gay person to marry a person of their own gender. They are denied tax benefits, hospital visitation rights, and other rights concerning the adoption and rearing of children. It is not a stretch to notice how acceptable it has become to discriminate using disgusting slurs such as "faggot" and "dyke", and to visibly and verbally show general disgust for homosexual sex. As a result of evaluating these consequences objectively our society is engaged in a social movement designed to combat these injustices. We have stated, as a majority of our society, that we consider these injustices immoral. The proof of how we are able to determine this without god as a standard is that the determination itself is in direct conflict with god's commandments. If our only standard for the determination must come from god, and the Christian one at that, why are we not putting these couples to death as commanded in the bible? The consequences of our moral determination is equal rights and the illegality of sexual slurs and discrimination in every context. In short, that other people will have to behave with decency and respect towards homosexuals. The consequences of strict adherence to god's commandments is are the deaths of thousands of people. The consequences of a more loose adherence are the unhappiness and suffering of the victims of hate driven anti-gay sentiment.

I would ask you make a moral determination for yourself, but that would be implying you have any other standard than your god. You know, the one you didn't use to determine his commandments were objectively good?

Although you are free to perform the actions you listed, you are not free of the consequences of your religious world view with respect to the aftermath. When you truly believe that it is morally wrong to violate god's commandments, you will feel guilt and suffering when you do so anyway. A non-believer is capable of both the action and no guilt or suffering in terms of religion. For example, a Christian male youth in his teens might feel distraught, guilty, and ashamed when he masturbates, souring the experience and damaging his self esteem. A non-believing counterpart with no exposure to religion is able to enjoy the experience guilt free and grow sexually and emotionally as a result.

You can object all you want, but not on the grounds that you are able to be free of the guilt in such a situation. You are just wrong.

(29-06-2014 07:00 PM)Jeremy E Walker Wrote:  Seems to me that even if you were convinced Christ was who He said He was, this would not cause you to become a follower of His.

As I have repeatedly said, I would become a Christian if I was presented with evidence, reason, and logic. When I am presented with a good reason to believe, I will. Why would you hold this view of me if , as you say, there are good evidence based demonstrations of the truth of Christianity?

Never let yourself believe that there are no errors in your perception, or that your perspective will not be improved if you identify and correct those flaws. -Aron Ra
Find all posts by this user
[+] 5 users Like Dark Phoenix's post
30-06-2014, 04:19 PM
RE: A Challenge to Jeremy Walker
(30-06-2014 02:50 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  Enough of this nonsense already. I was stating an opinion based on my own critical inquiry, not setting up a formal premise. It is your purpose in this debate to present the Christian claims as you believe them and to provide evidence and argument to back them up. If you will not do this, the debate is over.


First things first. This is not a debate. It is a discussion. I stated this earlier:

Disclaimer:

I am not engaging you to convince you or convert you of anything or to anything. I am engaging you because you have politely and respectfully extended the friendly invitation to dialogue and am grateful for the opportunity.


To which you responded: "Sounds fine to me."

(30-06-2014 02:50 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  You have repeatedly insisted that you believe for good reasons. What are they already? Give me a list.

In the gospels, I read about a man named Jesus who claimed to be one with God and to have the power to forgive sin. I read about a man who saved the woman caught in adultery from being stoned by men who were themselves sinful.

I see Him having compassion on the outcast, healing the sick, raising the dead, loving even His enemies, praying for them while they nailed Him to a cross. I read about Him teaching that men ought always to pray and to love their neighbors as themselves. I read about Him convicting men's hearts which led them to completely abandon their sinful lifestyles by sorrowful repentance. I read about Him telling His disciples that He would die and rise again.

I read about How He did indeed rise again and how He was seen alive by many witnesses, many of which were still alive when the gospels were in circulation. I read about men proclaiming the forgiveness of sins in His name and preaching the gospel to Jew and Gentile alike. I read about How Christianity spread and grew under immense persecution.

I read about many more things than this but this was enough to get me to looking deeper into the life of this Jesus of Nazareth. A choice I shall never regret.
Find all posts by this user
30-06-2014, 05:12 PM (This post was last modified: 30-06-2014 06:21 PM by Jeremy E Walker.)
RE: A Challenge to Jeremy Walker
(30-06-2014 02:14 PM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  You are not entitled to your own private definitions. The nature of knowledge is not adjusted by the context in which you express it. You either know it to be true based on evidence, reason, and logic, false by the same means, or you do not know. You may possess a firm conviction or "certainty", but not knowledge.

You are conducting a cop out argument in an effort to shirk the burden of proof that you have failed to meet. Let's take your example of being a brain in a vat. You point out that we do not need evidence to the contrary in order to dismiss the claim. You are correct. With the claim must come the evidence, or in other words, the burden of proof is with he who makes the claim. Thus we dismiss the claim of the brain in a vat due to a lack of evidence. This perfectly describes the nature of my rejection of Christianity.

I could structure your argument like so:

1. If it is reasonable to assume that cognitive faculties are reliable, it is is also reasonable to make other assumptions.
2. It is reasonable to assume that cognitive faculties are reliable.
3. The existence of god is an assumption.
4. Therefore it is reasonable to assume god exists.

This is not a magic act where you make the burden of proof disappear by arguing that you can just assume anything.

The fatal mistake in the argument is the assumption that god and the assumptions we make about our cognitive faculties are perfectly parallel. They are not. What has been left out is the fact that a degree of trust to do with our cognitive faculties is a necessary prerequisite for everything else. God is not a necessary prerequisite for everything else. When it comes to the utility of existence and experience, god is superfluous because we do not need him in the same way. Therefore it is not reasonable to merely assume he exists.

Now, if you are finished simultaneously arguing that you do not need evidence to assume god, and that you do need evidence, why don't you just present the damn evidence already?

Strawman.

I have never argued that "you do not need evidence to assume God", whatever that means.

(30-06-2014 02:14 PM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  Science is essentially the study of everything, a systematized method of collection of all human knowledge gained through observation and experimentation. There is no claim about anything that is not within the realm of science.

Moral statements are not within the realm of science.

So your statement is false.


(30-06-2014 02:14 PM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  Theistic claims about the universe are in fact trespassing on the realm of science blatantly without the same standards of verification. It is the only "respected" such method or collection of knowledge we have. There is no respected alternative. Although it would be true to say that science is not currently the pinnacle of all possible knowledge, it is a lie to claim it doesn't possess the potential and the method necessary to that end.

All of the above assumes metaphysical naturalism is true. You have given no reason to think it is true however.

(30-06-2014 02:14 PM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  Your implication that science cannot comment on the supernatural, thus theism must take some of the weight, is what is so very unscientific. You fail to notice how they overlap and how science has already long since abandoned supernatural explanations for anything. As far as we know, we are physical beings in a physical universe. Until we have scientific evidence to the contrary, bare claims to the contrary are not enough.

Where did I say that science cannot comment on the supernatural?

Another strawman.

(30-06-2014 02:14 PM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  Your other implication, that science is being manipulated or "abused" as a tool, illustrates your ignorance of the nature of the scientific community. Although corruption and bias are impossible to completely remove from the process, we have tools by which to combat these problems. Experiments must be repeatable. Peers must criticize and review the work of others in direct competition. Claims must be falsifiable. What is so unscientific is your implication that science ought to be a certain way, rather than what it is. You are not qualified to make that determination, a condition that no scientist would ever dream of abusing by commenting on what they know nothing about.

I am qualified to make the determination because it is a fact that science is abused just like any other discipline where men and women with preconceived ideas and biases have the opportunity to interpret data according to said biases.


(30-06-2014 02:14 PM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  Before I continue, I cannot express enough the level of my disgust for your personally for making this argument in this fashion. I am deeply offended at having my moral compass repeatedly compared to the most revolting specimens of human cruelty who have ever lived. I find you disgusting beyond words on this point.

I did not compare your moral compass to Andrei's. I said in your world Andrei did nothing objectively wrong by acting out on his desires.

YOU SAID that what is moral or wrong or right or immoral is a matter of opinion and that obligation stems from people's desires.

YOU SAID THAT, not me.

(30-06-2014 02:14 PM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  You have continually objected to morality without reference to god.

Strawman.

I object to the existence of objective moral values and duties apart from God. I never said atheists cannot be moral individuals.



(30-06-2014 02:14 PM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  You have stated that without god as an objective standard there is no means of determining objectively what is a right action and what is a wrong action.

Strawman. I have been talking about ONTOLOGY not EPISTEMOLOGY.


(30-06-2014 02:14 PM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  You have continually criticized secular morality for being a matter of opinion Vs. opinion. You have explained several times that you do not see how secular morality can make any objection to the behavior of serial murderers, and other purveyors of brutality and suffering.

You said morality is a matter of opinion, not me. On your view there are no objective moral values and duties.

So why are you whining?

(30-06-2014 02:14 PM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  The first failure of this argument is that it presupposes the existence of the god who makes the standards. The Theists, including yourself, have not yet met the burden of proof. They have not demonstrated god to exist and until they do morality cannot rely on a god we do not know to exist. The only argument that can break free of this problem is that objective morality is necessary and only possible with god, therefore god exists.

Strawman. The first premise of the moral argument does not presuppose God exists.

(30-06-2014 02:14 PM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  The next failure of this argument is the implication that faith based morality can solve the problem of moral variation. There are many god's who have been claimed to exist who have conflicting moral commandments. Within the religions who worship them there are denominations that disagree with appeals to the same god. Within denominations there are church's that disagree. Within church's there are people that disagree. If faith based morality actually functioned as a means to eliminate mere opinion, this would not be the case.

Can you provide a reasonable explanation for the disagreements on all these levels on issues such as the rights of homosexuals, the acceptance of evolution, the morality of abortion, etc?

In your world, morality is a matter of opinion and desire buddy. Stop trying to change the subject by bringing up what people of faith do.

In your world you and Chikatilo have opinions on how you should live your lives. You desire to live one way, he desires to live another. Since YOU SAID THAT morality is a matter of opinion, stop whining and crying when I simply show you how bankrupt your views are ok?



(30-06-2014 02:14 PM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  I do not have an ultimate solution to this problem and I it isn't reasonable to insist that I do. This is an old and complex problem that has so far been beyond final resolution by humanity. However, it is only in secular moral systems that there is even a hope of escape the kind of moral relativism that you have repeatedly insisted represents the secular view. You have stated repeatedly that according to my world view all we have is opinion, therefore godless morals are completely relative. Once again, god based morality doesn't solve this issue. Morality is still relative, just on the criteria of which god you believe to exist and who's moral authority you accept.

What exactly is your objection to the nature of human morality? Why are you so uncomfortable with how relative it is?

I am not uncomfortable with it at all because I am not a moral relativist. YOU are the one complaining about being compared with Chikatilo. If moral relativism is true, Chikatilo never did anything objectively wrong. In fact, on your view, what Chikatilo did was both good and bad for on relativism, an act can be both good and bad simultaneously if two people hold those respective views regarding an action which is simply absurd.

(30-06-2014 02:14 PM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  The best explanation that I can give as a non-expert for how our morality has evolved is that we evaluate the consequences of our actions with respect to specific goals. It is not only possible, but true in current and past practice, that we are able to determine objective morals standards based on the physical universe in which we live. We can evaluate the difference in experience of someone whom we set on fire in our universe, to that of someone set on fire in a world where fire is cooling, pleasant, and orgasmic.


Either there are objective moral values and duties or there are not. Which is it?

(30-06-2014 02:14 PM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  Before I continue, I have to note my surprise that you have managed to offend me even more so than before. "Commit homosexual acts"? Your implication that a form of sex and love is on equal footing with criminal acts is absolutely unacceptable and revolting. Before you piously insist that I have no standard of objective comparison by which to make this determination, I will demonstrate that I do, and that it is superior in moral terms when compared to the commands of the Christian god on this subject.

The consequences of treating homosexuality as a crime, or a violation of morality, are immediately negative. Discrimination, judgment, and hatred based on inborn sexuality that is beyond the control of the individual clearly results in a reduction in the quality of their lives via poor treatment from others. For example, it is currently illegal in many of these United States for a gay person to marry a person of their own gender. They are denied tax benefits, hospital visitation rights, and other rights concerning the adoption and rearing of children. It is not a stretch to notice how acceptable it has become to discriminate using disgusting slurs such as "faggot" and "dyke", and to visibly and verbally show general disgust for homosexual sex. As a result of evaluating these consequences objectively our society is engaged in a social movement designed to combat these injustices. We have stated, as a majority of our society, that we consider these injustices immoral. The proof of how we are able to determine this without god as a standard is that the determination itself is in direct conflict with god's commandments. If our only standard for the determination must come from god, and the Christian one at that, why are we not putting these couples to death as commanded in the bible? The consequences of our moral determination is equal rights and the illegality of sexual slurs and discrimination in every context. In short, that other people will have to behave with decency and respect towards homosexuals. The consequences of strict adherence to god's commandments is are the deaths of thousands of people. The consequences of a more loose adherence are the unhappiness and suffering of the victims of hate driven anti-gay sentiment.

I would ask you make a moral determination for yourself, but that would be implying you have any other standard than your god. You know, the one you didn't use to determine his commandments were objectively good?

Although you are free to perform the actions you listed, you are not free of the consequences of your religious world view with respect to the aftermath. When you truly believe that it is morally wrong to violate god's commandments, you will feel guilt and suffering when you do so anyway. A non-believer is capable of both the action and no guilt or suffering in terms of religion. For example, a Christian male youth in his teens might feel distraught, guilty, and ashamed when he masturbates, souring the experience and damaging his self esteem. A non-believing counterpart with no exposure to religion is able to enjoy the experience guilt free and grow sexually and emotionally as a result.

You can object all you want, but not on the grounds that you are able to be free of the guilt in such a situation. You are just wrong.

Well let us stay on topic shall we?

Let us continue to talk about your views of morality.

Yang Xinhai dubbed the "Monster Killer" is quoted as having said:

"When I killed people I had a desire. This inspired me to kill more. I don't care whether they deserve to live or not. It is none of my concern...I have no desire to be part of society. Society is not my concern."

In a world without God, people like Yang can do whatever they want because they are gods. They determine what is meaningful, what is good, what is bad, what is appropriate, and how they spend their few years on this earth. If they think life is a game of cat and mouse, of trying to avoid detection and capture whilst simultaneously axing people and shoveling them to death, then that is their prerogative. You nor anyone else can condemn them for being evil, or immoral, for they determine what is evil and immoral just like you do...their opinions may differ, but so what. When the law abiding honorable, self-righteous, vegan, humanist atheist dies after living a life of benevolence, they die just like Yang and just like Andrei. They are neither ultimately better or worse of than those who lived lives eating people and raping them.

Fail
Find all posts by this user
04-07-2014, 09:24 AM
RE: A Challenge to Jeremy Walker
Closing the thread as Jeremy Walker is no longer welcome in this establishment

(31-07-2014 04:37 PM)Luminon Wrote:  America is full of guns, but they're useless, because nobody has the courage to shoot an IRS agent in self-defense
Find all posts by this user
Thread Closed 
Forum Jump: