Up Front by Emma Hart

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Up Front: Oh, God

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  • Rich Lock,

    It's kind of entertaining, in a 'knife-to-a-gunfight' sort of a way.

    Although I suspect the knife in this case is more of a spork.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • WH,

    This is what comes of discussing religion with opinionated heathen on the internet.

    I thought the argument that morality needs a universal reference point to have absolute meaning (ie, meaning that is not reducible to physical, psychological or social factors) was well understood. This has been discussed throughout the history of philosophy and can be found, for example, in the work of the sophists and the relativists and in the existentialism of Nietzsche and Sartre.

    For the avoidance of doubt, I don't give a fuck what you happen to believe about the universe. Just don't pretend atheism doesn't raise questions about life's meaning.

    Sometimes you people act like real wankers.

    Since Nov 2006 • 797 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to WH,

    I thought the argument that morality needs a universal reference point to have absolute meaning (ie, meaning that is not reducible to physical, psychological or social factors) was well understood. This has been discussed throughout the history of philosophy and can be found, for example, in the work of the sophists and the relativists and in the existentialism of Nietzsche and Sartre.

    It may be understood, but it's still only an argument. Doesn't mean they're right or wrong.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2935 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to WH,

    Sometimes you people act like real wankers

    #teeworthy

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • WH,

    It may be understood, but it's still only an argument. Doesn't mean they're right or wrong.

    You're not fully getting it, IMO.

    But whatever. Feel free to disprove it, rather than ridicule other users or suggest that they be banned.

    Since Nov 2006 • 797 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to nzlemming,

    Any lawyer will tell you there is a world of difference between justice and law

    if you cross their palm with silver

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to WH,

    ridicule other users

    You mean Ugly Truth? A nick that says 'I know more than you ignorant dupes, enough to burst your complacent bubbles. You may queue to kiss my enlightened arse".

    Faced with this kind of pest, PAS's shortcoming isn't the debatable wankishness of its habitues. It's the lack of a Facebook style zit-squashing blocking feature.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    lack of a ... blocking feature

    verily

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • WH,

    I know more than you ignorant dupes, enough to burst your complacent bubbles. You may queue to kiss my enlightened arse

    Mmm. Maybe.

    For conversational purposes I'm an agnostic, so it seems to me that atheism and theism are just different kinds of unsupportable assumption.

    Since Nov 2006 • 797 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to WH,

    I know more than you ignorant dupes, enough to burst your complacent bubbles. You may queue to kiss my enlightened arse

    Mmm. Maybe.

    Yes, until the sheer volume of obtuseness became an impediment to navigation.

    For conversational purposes I’m an agnostic, so it seems to me that atheism and theism are just different kinds of unsupportable assumption.

    Yes again. Making a strident belief of unbelief can be as risible as its opposite. In some cases it can be an absolute toxin to creativity.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • WH,

    absolute toxin to creativity

    It's okay, I don't have any of that.

    Do you know what I have been having trouble with lately? Spooky co-incidences. I was at the lights last week when that old Bob Muldoon quip about emigres to Australia raising the IQ of both countries popped into mind. The next day, two colleagues walking past my desk (in London) brought it up. It's happened a few times. Maybe I should lay off the martinis.

    I wouldn't suggest that this be taught in schools, however.

    Since Nov 2006 • 797 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Parks, in reply to WH,

    I thought the argument that morality needs a universal reference point to have absolute meaning (ie, meaning that is not reducible to physical, psychological or social factors) was well understood.

    … don’t pretend atheism doesn’t raise questions about life’s meaning.

    It does, just not much in regards to morality. Even the argument that morality needs “a universal reference point” isn’t the same as saying it needs God. Over 2000 years ago Socrates (via Plato) asked if something was good because it was holy, or holy because it was good. No one has had a counter to the underlying point ever since. So for example, God (if he exists) is telling us that murder is wrong, because murder is actually wrong, and God, being pretty clued up on these matters, knows to tell us so. This of course means that the wrongness of murder is independent of God per se.

    This doesn’t mean that there is necessarily no God, just that he isn’t necessary for morality.

    Wellington • Since May 2007 • 1165 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock, in reply to WH,

    Sometimes you people act like real wankers.

    We prefer to be called 'people of compulsory masturbatory habits' these days, thanks.

    But that aside, I'm not exactly sure what you're suggesting, in terms of how 'us people' should be modifying our behaviour. UT raised a line of argument and a conclusion that was conclusively shot down on a number of occasions by a number of commentators, at least one of whom is the proud owner of a nice shiny certificate with 'philosophy degree' written on it, and so has at least a passing knowledge of what they're talking about. These challenges caused multiple changes in his/her baseline posiiton, to the point where at least one commentator simply couldn't understand the point they were getting at anymore, it was tangled in so many knots.

    All laced through with an underlying 'I know more than you ignorant dupes, enough to burst your complacent bubbles. You may queue to kiss my enlightened arse', as Joe has pointed out.

    Are you suggesting that everyone here continue to extend patience and the most impeccable of good manners, with nary a hint of exasperation, ad infinitum?

    How would that work with someone like 'James', on the Christchurch stories thread?

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • WH,

    This doesn’t mean that there is necessarily no God, just that he isn’t necessary for morality

    I think there are two slightly different issues.

    The first is the 'objective source of meaning' problem. As I tried to show with references, this is something that many important atheistic thinkers have actively embraced. While you don't need a source of objective meaning to construct a useful ethical system (e.g, via some variant on ethical naturalism), without a source of meaning it is ultimately arbitrary.

    I understand the force in the Platonic argument you've put, although I've wondered whether it covers the all of the possible relationships between divinity and morality (ie, is it a false dilemma).

    In short, I agree with the first part of your sentence and I would accept the second with qualifications.

    Since Nov 2006 • 797 posts Report Reply

  • WH,

    Are you suggesting that everyone here continue to extend patience and the most impeccable of good manners, with nary a hint of exasperation, ad infinitum?

    Don't worry, no-one's accusing the magic poo monster space aliens of that.

    To be fair, I always enjoying reading your posts Rich.

    Since Nov 2006 • 797 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Rich Lock,

    We prefer to be called ‘people of compulsory masturbatory habits’ these days, thanks.

    Surely, it's a "lifestyle choice"?

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2935 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Rich Lock,

    ‘people of compulsory masturbatory habits’

    They do go Onan an on...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7950 posts Report Reply

  • UglyTruth,

    I don’t know what you’re arguing. The closest I can come to a coherent interpretation is that the NZ government is illegitimate because Blackstone, Alfred the Great etc say so.

    My point was that NZ legislation isn't effective because parliament isn't truly sovereign. According to Blackstone, in English law sovereignty is more than just political supremacy.

    Alfreds the Great's "dome-book" (book of fates/judgments) can be used to tie the real nature or sovereignty to the origins of the common law, which brings us the to the question of the relationship between ethics and religion. My position is that at common law ethics and theism are inseparable, but it doesn't follow that you have to be religious in order to act ethically.

    New Zealand • Since Sep 2014 • 89 posts Report Reply

  • B Jones,

    There are a number of recent cases where the defendant has attempted to argue that they are not subject to parliament's laws because it's not sovereign, usually in the context of the Treaty of Waitangi. They've failed. I don't understand how you can hold your position in the absence of any successful case law arguing that Alfred the Great trumps statute law.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 976 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to UglyTruth,

    My position is that at common law ethics and theism are inseparable, but it doesn’t follow that you have to be religious in order to act ethically.

    It’s a rather weird argument, because common law isn’t exactly a static beast, which is kinda sorta the entire point. You may beg to differ, but I’m fairly happy the status of women is a very different beast from when Alfred burned the cakes.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • UglyTruth,

    @B Jones

    IMO the reason that there is no case law is that the defendants appear as persons within the usual jurisdiction (i.e personal jurisdiction aka jurisdiction in personam).

    In order to clarify, “person” and “man” are not equivalent terms, even ignoring the issue of gender. The word person originates from the Etruskan word for mask, in the sense of a man’s person as a reference to the physical aspect of a man. A legal person, which is of course intangible, is effectively a person of the crown, owing its very existance to the crown. Blackstone uses the word person to indicate a representaton of something, eg a person of birth in reference to English nobleman.

    New Zealand • Since Sep 2014 • 89 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell, in reply to WH,

    The first is the ‘objective source of meaning’ problem.

    Not sure what you mean :) but .. 'meaning' is meaningful in the context of language: this word means that, that phrase means this. It's objective at least in the sense that language is objective (without getting into the 'private languages' argument.)
    But beyang language, eg in the sense of 'the meaning of life' - what does it all mean?! - it makes little sense, unless we translate the question into something like 'what is the value of life'.
    Maybe then it's clearer what we're arguing about. IMHO 'objective value' makes little sense. Because values are something consciousnesses have, that is, essentially subjective. Which is another way of saying: we put values on things; the universe doesn't come with price-tags.
    Which is far too much of a diversion from productive work for this time of the morning :)

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2110 posts Report Reply

  • B Jones,

    My brain hurts. Lawyers are good at churning out buckets of spurious tosh, but that personam stuff is even more spurious than the usual sort. It's like those ads that talk about quantum fields energising water and so forth - it sounds like science but it's not.

    Expelliarmus.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 976 posts Report Reply

  • UglyTruth,

    It’s a rather weird argument, because common law isn’t exactly a static beast, which is kinda sorta the entire point.

    Yes, common law isn't static, but it's not so fluid that it can disown its own source.

    New Zealand • Since Sep 2014 • 89 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to WH,

    Heh, good old Euthyphro, still my favourite Platonic dialogue.

    Don’t worry, no-one’s accusing the magic poo monster space aliens of that.

    Nice one. I put my hand up for sure as not being the nicest of commentators. I'm more of a fan of robust debate, in which the opponents actually set on with as much intent as they can muster, within the basic rules. Anything less is patronizing to the opponent and boring to the crowd.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

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