Copyright help needed for refutation of "silver bullet" argument againt Atheistic morality

Discussion in 'Ethics, Morality, & Justice' started by Jadebrain_Prime, Jun 19, 2015.

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  1. Jadebrain_Prime Atheist now Registered Senior Member

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    Hello, everyone!

    (Questions are at the bottom, but the intervening text gives some context, which you might want to read)

    Before I begin, I just gotta reflect on things. It's amazing, you know? To think that, almost a decade ago, a little over a month before my 14th birthday, having recently shed my Christian dogma and converted to Deism, I had come to Sciforums under the username "Rokkon," and I gave the Cosmological Argument, an argument that I didn't even realize had already been made, in order to "disprove Atheism." One heaping dose of awful articulation later, and the whole thing went out of control. After the dust had settled and things had calmed down, I sifted through the threads, and found a post from pretty early on, one that I must have missed, showing that the premise of "only nothing can come from nothing," which the Cosmological Argument depended upon, wasn't quite true. With my one reason to believe in any deity taken away, I realized that there was no reason keeping me from being an Atheist myself.

    For a while after that, I laid low in the world of online debating, wearing a mask of conformity so I could survive my high school years, and when I graduated, when I was free to be myself again, when I could explore the world, discuss things, and eventually take up the sword of reason and slay the trolls that keep invading Atheism-themed Facebook pages, I didn't know who I was any more. To this day, at 23 and a half years old, I'm still not sure who I am or how my whole mentality can be so far removed from the human norm, and all the psychological theories I can find can only identify a few scattered bits of anything recognizable to established psychology...

    Ah, but I'm not here to explore the mysteries of my freakishly anomalous mind. I'm here to get advice on copyright law!

    You see, I was debating a religious troll on the Atheist Republic Facebook page a few days ago, as I often find myself doing, and apparently I was doing pretty good at it, because I got this guy to give me an actual case to back up his preaching, the first time he ever did anything like that. He posted a video of a recent debate between Dr. Turek (Christian) and Dr. Shermer (Atheist), and after finding the video to be unbearably long, I instead did some research on the debate, and not only did I find the summary of Turek's argument, I also found that he was in fact using Hastings Rashdall's Moral Argument. Looking that up, I recognized the rationale from plenty of Christian claims of various degrees of formality, and I realized that this argument was the very prototype of the ones I had encountered before. This was an argument that no other Atheists wanted to touch, no matter the format of the debate. It was an unstoppable "silver bullet" against Atheistic morality, but even with the informal versions, I knew what the problem was. I knew why no one else could refute the arguments (it was mostly due to what appears to be a unanimously collective implicit memory, which led everyone else to a false definition of "objectivity" that arbitrarily limited itself to purely physical things). And even better? I could refute the arguments. And so, I did, each and every time I found them. At that point, once I had found the prototype, refuting Hastings Rashdall's Moral Argument was as simple as typing up the text.

    After that, I've tried to confirm the magnitude of what I had just done, by researching for any refutations of Rashdall's argument, prior to my own. Which brings me to my first question:

    1. Has anyone made a refutation of Hastings Rashdall's Moral Argument prior to my own? I just want to make sure I'm not coming up with something that's been done before (like I did when I first came here, so long ago). I haven't found anything myself, but I could have missed something.

    And, more to the point of this thread:

    2. I want to put a copyright license on my refutation for publishing purposes. However, while rewards would be pretty nice, that's not why I made the argument. No, this is a gift from me to the world, a contribution to humanity's progress, and so on. At the same time, however, I'm not sure I could trust a plagiarist to present and/or represent any moral argument of mine, and I'm also aware that many would try to manipulate my words to suit an agenda contrary to my own. As such, I've been looking at some of the licenses by Creative Commons, and I'm not sure if there's a combination of licenses that fits my goal here. The Attribution license looks pretty good (to protect against plagiarism), but I'm not sure about the rest. I want to make sure that people don't misrepresent what I'm saying, but I'm not sure if the No Derivatives and/or Share Alike licenses would be what I want, or if they would go too far. I don't want my ideas to be misrepresented, but if someone thinks they can improve on what I've done, I don't want to stop them. Therefore, I must ask: What copyright license should I use?
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2015
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  3. Schmelzer Valued Senior Member

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    First of all, a copyright will not make you rich anyway. Then, there is no copyright for arguments. If you write a particular text, then this whole text has a copyright. Nobody can simply copy the whole text and sell it as the own book. But everybody can quote the text (with reference to the source). How much of it can be part of the quote is an open question - not very much. But, anyway, everybody can use the idea to write an own book about it, even with the harshest copyright you use against him.

    So, a copyright with obligation for attribution is what you need. Share alike is useful. Derivatives are mostly irrelevant - to care about this is meaningful if you, say, distribute pictures and videos, thus, thinks where using and manipulating them in various way makes sense.

    For a pure text, to copy large parts of an existing text is morally rejected as plagiarism anyway, so, if somebody has new ideas, he will write an own text, using quotes and referring to your text, which he can do anyway without restrictions.
     
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  5. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    Maybe explain what that moral argument is?
     
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  7. Jadebrain_Prime Atheist now Registered Senior Member

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    This may or may not be a good answer to my question. It could be that your suggestion of using Attribution and Share Alike is actually the best thing I could possibly do; however, the way you give me this suggestion implies that there's a misunderstanding of what I want to do (reading the text of my own post shows me where the misunderstanding probably comes from... *sigh*), and so, I must try to clarify.

    Basically, I don't really need credit for this. The reason I want to put a copyright license on this thing at all is because I don't want my work to be ruined by someone else. Because this work deals with morality (a subject I wish to continue working on), chances are pretty good that anyone who would take false credit for my work (or use legal bullying to gain ownership) would either not care about, or not understand, what I'm trying to say, and as such, I don't want that sort of person to present or represent anything that I do.

    Aside from that, I did also read an article (link) with particularly horrifying examples of what could go wrong with applying the Attribution license and nothing else, referring to examples of things that didn't go so well because of only relying on Attribution, and opening with an example of something that could have gone horribly wrong if only Attribution was used. However...

    When trying to find the article again, however, I found another article (link) on the same site, saying that Creative Commons licenses may not be good at all, given the way they just complicate everything while providing no apparent protection on any licensed works. As such, I'm looking for other sorts of licenses altogether.

    Furthermore, given the fact that I already had the concept of why Hastings Rashdall's Moral Argument was wrong before I even knew about this particular form of the often-used argument, I've had plenty of time to go ahead and start working on the sort of moral system that Rashdall's argument had stated to be impossible. In that time, I've developed a moral system that logically works. This, of course, is in contrast to the currently-existing legal code, which somehow manages to distinguish itself as poorly-designed, even by the standards of the pure nonsense as it is.

    In other words... I have no idea what to do.
     
  8. Jadebrain_Prime Atheist now Registered Senior Member

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    277
    Which one? Hastings Rashdall's Moral Argument, or my refutation?

    Although, I suppose there's no harm in linking to both...

    Rashdall's argument, starting halfway down:
    http://faculty.fiu.edu/~harrisk/Notes/Philosophy of Religion/Non-Evidential Argumemts/The Moral Argument.htm

    My refutation (note: may need some polishing anyway, given where it was originally typed; also, I refer to the "model of reality" a lot, because logic is the term for the study, whereas I couldn't find any standard term for what's actually being studied):
    https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B8ZFw0cXnCctd1p4eERwUHVwR00/view?usp=sharing

    As I said: Anyone could have done this before myself, but there seems to be an implicit memory issue, where many would assume that only things under the purview of natural science could possibly be objective.

    I also want to clarify what I'm doing with my refutation: This isn't a proposal for how to logically design an objective moral system. This is merely a refutation of the idea that doing so is impossible. I have to get rid of that roadblock before I can present the stuff that comes later, you know?

    Let me know if the Google Drive link doesn't work... I tried uploading the document to this post, but there was apparently a problem with the extension.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2015
  9. Schmelzer Valued Senior Member

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    3,732
    What to do is simple - don't care at all about copyright. Anyway, the text will be completely ignored. A CC-BY will have the positive effect that, if anyone uses your argument at all, the probability that he will give a reference to your original article slightly increases, which makes you a little bit more famouns, that's all.

    The only group which really cares about copyright are publishers who want to make money, and do not care about the content at all: What matters is if there are people ready to spend money for this. For everybody else copyright has never been a real issue. Each compositor or singer likes it very much if people play and sing their creations by violating their copyright, and scientists put their articles for free on arxiv.org - and even the scientific publishing mafia has accepted that copies of their copyrighted material are on arxiv,org too, openly violating copyright law.
     
  10. Jadebrain_Prime Atheist now Registered Senior Member

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    277
    I think you're underestimating the profoundness and impact of what I've done. Hastings Rashdall's Moral Argument has led the world to believe that there can never be any valid objective moral system, and this is why, today, we're dealing with nonsensical legal codes used by so-called "justice systems" which have stopped pretending long ago that their authority has anything at all to do with "justice" or any other moral ideal, and why anyone's efforts to try to figure out what's wrong with these systems, or what's morally wrong with anything at all, are ultimately stifled because of the world's perception that the whole topic can only be subjective anyway.

    Even if we ignore all of the grand societal implications of what I've done, there's still the immediate benefit to the Atheistic community, since Rashdall's argument has been seen as an unstoppable silver bullet against secular morality. This is why even the most proud and celebrated Atheistic minds won't even dare to challenge it, even though it's an obstacle that needs to be overcome. Honestly, given that, I'm starting to wonder if I actually should skip the whole copyright process, and instead, find Richard Dawkins himself at a public event, walk right up to him in a determined fashion, shove my refutation in his face (along with a note telling him how pathetic he is, given the fact that a 23-year-old layabout had to come out of pretty much nowhere and take care of a problem that he, himself, could only respond to by cowering in fear), and, without saying any words, walk away backwards for the first few steps so that I could continue to look right at him while giving him both middle fingers, and then leave, thus protecting the integrity of my work in accordance with the "Don't **** with me" statute.
     
  11. rpenner Fully Wired Staff Member

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    4,833
    Hastings Rashdall's Moral Argument is a damn stupid assertion of human specialness (i.e. "Morality is a God-like trait of humans") and an argument from ignorance for the basis of morals (i.e. "God did it"). I don't find it persuasive.

    The thing is, morality is of utility only in a particular culture -- you need peers for your behavior to be judged moral or immoral. A true hermit or autocrat has no need for morality for there is no one to judge. Thus an ultimate autocrat, the medieval God on top of the Great Chain of Being, has no personal need of morality. Giving flowers to orphans or killing nations, it's all the same to a hermit (who never encounters such situations) or a true autocrat (who is above the influence of any judgement of society). In many ways, classes are a way to partition nations into a number of societies such that one is permitted to ignore some interactions in the judging of morality. Thus a slave-keeping society has "moral" slave owners which are judged immoral by the standards of classless societies.

    Different cultures effectively demand different morality. Because humans are intelligent, the vast majority of them at least learn what morality is required from them by society, which is often different by what morality is required from them by law. Moral perfection requires satisfying the expectation of all cultures at all times, which is impossible, because cultures demand loyalty. Thus a police officer is morally required to simultaneously uphold the larger societies morals, including "do the job you are paid to do", (i.e. uphold the law or protect society from wrongdoers) and the society of his co-workers requires silence in the face of wrongdoing by co-workers. Likewise, loyalty to a political party, religious leader or nation are incapable of perfection because there are many of these things.

    Public Nudity is taboo because societies mark off sections of the body for private use only. Female ankles, calves, thighs, hair, foreheads, and mouths have all been beyond what was acceptable in some societies at some times. To obey all nudity taboos simultaneously is to mark one as an outsider to any particular culture, and to ignore some cultures embrace public nudity, such as in a communal sauna or bath.

    If there can be said to be core common to moral behavior in society, it is fairness in dealings. It is wrong to enrich oneself disproportionately at the expense of others in the same society, precisely because this causes outrage in one's peers. Cheating on a deal, hoarding supplies in a time of need and bank robbery all violate this core principle. If this was uniquely a trait of human societies it would argue for human specialness, but one has to look for the evidence before declaring humans unique in the respect. The evidence supports the idea that apes, at least, have societies and exhibit empathy and fair dealing. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/20/science/20moral.html
     
  12. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    6,773
    Now you're starting to sound unhinged, which makes me begin to doubt whether you have really done what you think you have, or if you have, whether it is as special as you think it is. But that's by the way. If you are concerned about claiming the priority for you think is a novel argument or idea , you need to forget copyright, as has already been pointed out. Instead, get it published in some journal of record. That way, anyone who plagiarises it can easily be found out.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2015
  13. Jadebrain_Prime Atheist now Registered Senior Member

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    277
    It doesn't matter if you find it persuasive. True or false, reasonable or absurd, it's an objective idea, and until you can examine something and point out the how's and why's by which it is right or wrong, it doesn't matter whether or not you are persuaded; if you argue on what you've said, you'd be using the ad lapidem fallacy. In any case, this "damn stupid assertion" has been undefeated for nearly a century, and our progress in these topics has come to a halt because of this. Frivolity aside, it is an obstacle, and it needs to be removed.

    Everything you have said here is basically that morality can only be subjective. This is because, despite your earlier dismissal, whether you realize it or not, you are operating the assumption that Hastings Rashdall's Moral Argument is true, and since I have made a refutation of Rashdall's argument, you will have to address my refutation if you're going to argue against my position. I am willing to accept the possibility that my refutation has failed, that Rashdall's argument remains in place, and so on, which is why I'm not going to stop you from challenging what I'm saying. Granted, I'd rather have a thread set up for the purposes of this specific debate, which can still happen if it needs to. Either way, go ahead and challenge my refutation; bear in mind, though, that you'll have to be prepared for my own response. Many people I've presented my argument to have had to rely on straw logic in order to counter what I'm saying, effectively meaning that they can't challenge it. Those who can accurately repeat the concepts of my argument in their own words, proving that they understand what I'm saying, seem to agree with it, so far. As for yourself, if you're going to argue on what you've just said, you'd be using the same ad lapidem fallacy as before.

    If my refutation works, we won't have to rely on the stifling methods of the past to determine right from wrong. Both God and subjectivity would be obsolete, and we can finally try to determine morality via objective reasoning.

    I am challenging the previously established limits imposed on our ability to use objective reasoning in determining morality. In effect, I'm challenging all of the established moral systems and concepts that already exist - including the one you are most likely using to dismiss the validity of my argument, and to suggest that I may be "unhinged" - because they don't work. I say "most likely," of course, because you haven't given your rationale, and so I must acknowledge that I don't know what rationale you are using. Either way, the fact that I'm willing to basically take on the world means I need to be gutsy and brutal, because the world will be the same way. See my response to rpenner for more info.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2015
  14. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    6,773
    My comment on your possible state of mind was due to the strangely aggressive language in your previous post, that's all. My experience is that usually people making an intellectual argument do not talk in terms of shoving things in people's faces and giving them middle fingers, or of them cowering in fear. It is not a moral judgement about you at all, merely one about your possible psychological state, based on my own experience of human behaviour. If you are making sophisticated arguments about morality, I'd have expected you to be able to appreciate the distinction.
     
  15. Jadebrain_Prime Atheist now Registered Senior Member

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    I've already made the distinction. The problem is, most of the people in the world have not made that distinction. If I speak in purely rational terms, very few people would notice, and fewer would care. If that were not the case, I would not need such an extreme display to get my ideas out there. In any case, the message contains my rationale, and thus the validity of my position. The means of delivery simply gets it out there.

    I've edited the post you quoted to clarify this further, but apparently, I didn't do so in time for your post.
     
  16. Schmelzer Valued Senior Member

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    3,732
    No, I have not made a judgement of what you have done. I have explained what you have to expact as the reaction of the actual modern society given somebody claimes to have refuted a theological argument made 1920. It will be ignored, independent of its content.

    I think you heavily overestimate this particular theological argument. Most people have never heard of it at all. Most atheists don't care about theological arguments at all, and if they read about them if they find nothing more interesting to do, then they don't take such arguments serious.

    LOL, certainly not. Most atheists, indeed, will not even dare to challenge it, simply because they have never heard that it even exists.

    This strongly suggests that you have a personal moral problem which you would better solve for yourself before discrediting yourself in the public as being an uneducated guy who talks nonsense and behaves completely inadequate. Because this would be all what would be the consequence of such an action. Everybody in the room would only shake his head in astonishment what strange guys are there and how uneducated the youth is today.
     
  17. Jadebrain_Prime Atheist now Registered Senior Member

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    The fact that someone has never heard of any officially recognized form of an argument doesn't necessarily mean that they can't make the same argument, even if it has to be in their own words. Have you read either of the links in my reply to Spidergoat? At first, I figured that the arguments themselves would not need to be explained, since I started this thread for copyright advice. However, now that the discussion is shifting toward the validity of the arguments themselves, they will need to be discussed. To separate the discussions, I will start a new thread, and we can have this new discussion take place there.

    What I'll say, though, is that Rashdall's argument has been used plenty of times by religious folks, especially Christians, regardless of whether or not they know anything about Hastings Rashdall or his works. It's pretty easy for them to come up with, as well, which is why its used by famous Christian debaters and internet trolls alike, and each and every time they have used it, no Atheist could ever refute the argument. In other words, this isn't some obscure argument which lost relevance with age; this is an argument that has been used more and more as the years have gone by, because the Christians have realized that they can use it to guarantee victory, making themselves look great and making us look stupid. As recently as April 16 of this year, during the debate between Dr. Michael Shermer (Atheist) and Dr. Frank Turek (Christian), Turek basically used this one argument, and with it, he could dismantle everything Shermer said, leaving Shermer unable to use anything other than a "tu quoque" fallacy as Turek walked all over Shermer like a doormat. If you search for this debate online, you're going to find a whole bunch of Christian pages, pointing to this and basically acting all high and mighty because their side simply could not be challenged by ours. And they'd be right, because no one before me has dared to challenge this argument in any form!

    Think about that, before you dismiss what I'm doing as unimportant.

    I'll refer to a particular section of that quote: "...I'm starting to wonder if I actually should..."

    In other words, I haven't decided to go with anything yet. Still, the problem with Dawkins and people like him is that, while he has intelligence, he doesn't bother using any of it. As such, he's nothing more than a symbol representing Atheism, and when everyone else sees his arrogance and his lack of integrity, they associate that with Atheism.

    I'll get to starting the new thread, and then I'll post the link.

    EDIT: It may take some time, since I should probably inform the moderators of what's going on and why this new thread needs to be created, being the fact that everyone has quickly decided that, instead of staying on topic, they'd rather dismiss the entire idea of what I was doing, pretty much without even bothering to educate themselves on the matter, let alone address anything that I was trying to explain, and effectively turning the thread into a barrage of ad lapidem arguments against me and my position. Seriously, people, this is why I prefer debating on various Facebook pages, because apparently the users of a website specifically designed to be a forum for science and intellectual pursuits can't be trusted to handle such matters as objectively as the people on social media websites can. I already knew about the tendency for these things to happen on Sciforums, and I'm not just talking about the fiasco that happened when I first became a member almost a decade ago. *sigh*It's too late now, but it's either make a new thread to handle the separate discussion, or close the whole discussion entirely, and the latter option is looking better with every word I type here.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2015
  18. rpenner Fully Wired Staff Member

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    4,833
    Another flaw in Hastings Rashdall reasoning is mathematical.

    Just because a quality exists that people can be judged on, doesn't imply there is a chain with an uppermost level.

    If there are two people, a judgment on which is more moral than the other has four outcomes, A<B, A=B, A>B and no-decision.
    If there are three people, a judgment on which is more moral has 64 outcomes, only some of which establish a total order, ala placement on a one-dimensional scale of "value".
    A "great chain of morality" like A < B = C or B < A < C.
    But even if there is a single chain with all humans on it, it doesn't follow that this is a metrical scale. In the case of B < A < C, is there a numeric ratio to the moral separation between C and A versus the separation between A and B? If D,E and F would save 8-or-more, 16-or-more and 32-or more adults by throwing a switch that causes a street car to run over a baby, respectively, can we use that data?
    But even if there is a moral metrical scale, and even if God is some unapproachable perfect ideal on that scale, those two facts don't constrain perfection to one particular side of the scale.

    Take perfect anxiety. In Japanese, anxiety is letter-by-letter the absence of peace, so the same concept is expresses as a trait and a lack of a trait in different cultures. So might morality be a lack of self-interest. So there is no reason to favor one direction on the scale than the other if one is looking for the perfection of a lineal trait which can be present or absence in various amounts.


    No ontological argument for the existence of God is objective. Usually they are parochial word games particular to one culture. Then after shifting the goalposts from the concept of perfection to the existence of a perfect being, they again parochially equate that being with the concept of God that they want to exist. It doesn't matter of elements of morality have universal applicability or not, it's the fact that one author wants to use the claim that humans are imperfect reflections of God as a basis to argue that God exists. That's circular reasoning. It's parochial in that it asserts God is the perfection of some traits of humanity, but not all, say cannibalism or lewd solicitations. Other cultures embraced anthropophagy and serial seduction in their deities. But by claiming human morality is a uniquely God-granted gift to humanity, the fact of animal morality eliminates the claim to divinely-sourced human specialness. Thus we have no particular reason to assume God is a moral being required to exist.

    Closer to Hastings Rashdall’s synopsis at your link, even if the concept of a perfect moral ideal exists in our heads, and even if we universally agree than only a perfect mind could encompass a perfect moral ideal, that doesn't begin to suggest that any such perfect mind exists. Indeed, the concept that a perfect moral ideal exists may turn out to be a parochial viewpoint held only by hidebound reactionaries.

    Clearly not.
    I dispute his claims. I also dispute his form of argument as invalid. Just because they have postulated a scale of personal moralities, they have no particular reason to put the God mark at any particular end of the scale. Perfect lack of morality is also a form of perfection.

    I don't care what your position is. I have never read it and I refuse to read it because of your carping about priority.
    It does not follow that because I think Hastings Rashdall's argument satisfies only those more interested in self-aggrandizing puffery than rational thought that I need to read or address your claimed refutation.

    You lack the power to stop anyone from challenging your viewpoints. At best you can run away or pretend never to hear the challenges.

    Like the way you ignored all my fact-based argument that morality was neither universal nor limited to humans.

    Systems of ethics are rational, morality may not be. The dictionary pretty much either ties morality to a subjective basis or uses a circular definition in terms of distinguishing "right" from "wrong."
     
  19. Jadebrain_Prime Atheist now Registered Senior Member

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    At this point, I'm giving up on the original purpose of this thread, because I'd be better off taking the original question elsewhere. Might as well finish up what's left...

    First of all, your attempt to refute Rashdall's Argument using mathematics doesn't address his argument at all. He was arguing that any objective moral system could only come from a perfect, absolute, omniscient mind (as a Christian, he would, of course, call it God) because our imperfect and finite human minds can't make an objective moral system, and since we're not good enough to get an objective moral system without God, we shouldn't even bother trying.

    You wouldn't know this, given your invincible ignorance via ad lapidem logic (seriously, as long as you're doing that, you're effectively arguing with the same rationale of a theistic troll), but I have addressed this in my refutation, pointing out how we are more than capable of achieving perfection in a system based on principles of formal science, which morality would be, and as such our limitations in dealing with natural science would not apply (in my first clarification, I also deal with the issue of mental capacity).

    Your refutation, meanwhile, talks about chains of relative (Why not absolute?) moral values with a subjective measurement, which inevitably leads nowhere because, before you even conclude that argument, you just jump on to the next argument, taking Rashdall's argument even further by claiming total subjectivity, even when a deity is involved. You know, the sort of thing that Friedrich Nietzsche would rant about when he started rejecting epistemology. At this point, it's obvious that even Rashdall had a better idea of what he was talking about than you do.

    Anyway, I also have to wonder why you're limiting your measurements to numeric variables. I've found that boolean variables work much better; of course, you wouldn't know that, because I haven't even gotten to that part yet, and I can't right now because I'm still trying to get you to realize that it's possible to design morality according to logical principles, which is the whole point of my refutation of Rashdall's argument in the first place.

    Do you even know what an objective statement is? In order for a statement to be objective, there must be operationally defined criteria by which the statement can be either true or false (it doesn't matter where the operationally defined criteria come from, which will come up later). That, of course, is how it can be true or false at all, and thus how its truth or falsehood can be considered a fact, leading back to the factual basis of objectivity. In that regard, such an argument can still be objective, even if it's flat-out false and flawed beyond any redemption.

    If you had bothered to read my refutation before assuming it was false (you love ad lapidem fallacies, don't you?), or even read what I was saying in my previous posts, you would know that I was giving an option that Rashdall, not to mention yourself, never considered.

    You're being hypocritical, here, since by sticking to your stance in the first paragraph, you're making yourself guilty of the faults you point out in the second paragraph. I'd go further, and say that you are being self-contradictory, but technically, you never said you weren't doing exactly what you describe in the second paragraph.

    Did I ignore it? No, I didn't; in fact, I agree with you on those two things. You're wrong about pretty much everything else, but when you say that morality isn't universal or limited to humans, I actually agree with you. That's why I'm proposing a different basis altogether, which you would know if you could find a cure for your cranial rectosis.

    In my refutation of Rashdall's argument, I establish the validity of logic as a means of achieving objective perfection, and thus open up the possibility of logic-based morality. Once that's established, I would then go on in a different argument to talk about how we can provide the operationally defined criteria for an an axiom with which to define "good," even as a system designed to serve a purpose that isn't intrinsic to the universe, but not intrinsic to our own subjectivity, either (as described above, it doesn't matter where the operationally defined criteria come from). I would also discuss how you can design a whole moral system to run from a single axiom that applies without modification in every situation, thus getting rid of any of the problems that Gödel's Incompleteness Theorems would propose. I already know the concepts, and have described them in various discussions.

    "The dictionary?" Which dictionary? See, I've already looked up "morality" in several dictionaries, and none of them have such a connection. It's irrelevant, anyway. Dictionaries mostly provide definitions so that people can use words in everyday prose. That's why, for example, a dictionary won't tell you about what needs to be in place for a statement to have the factual basis required for a statement to be objective, instead merely telling you that it has to have factual basis.
     
  20. Schmelzer Valued Senior Member

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    3,732
    I have simply collected the statements which I would classify as completely unnecessary personal attacks. In an answer to a post which didn't contain any similar attacks. Of course, this aggressive style is quite typical for facebook and forum conversations, which are open to everybody, thus, also to completely uneducated people who think that such personal attacks are arguments. The error many completely reasonable people are making is to answer in a similar way. In a particular case, this may be adequate - but the danger is that one becomes used to this style of argumentation.

    So, in fact I would recommend everybody (not only you) to refrain from such personal attacks, even as an answer. (And in any case not to violate the upper bound for such reactions which is known as "an eye for an eye", so that one is always less aggressive than the opponent). Instead, it is much more useful to learn discussion techniques which show everybody that those who use personal attacks do this because they have no more reasonable arguments about the content.

    The point is that one can, of course, use such an aggressive style in such a popular forum, but one will never become an accepted member of a scientific community with this style. Even if one takes into account that the scientific education is loosing quality, and quite fast, this degeneration of the scientific community has not yet reached such a catastrophic level that educated and civilized behaviour is no longer important. For a troll this is irrelevant, he never plans to become part of some educated community, but other people harm themself by using such an aggressive style.
     
  21. Jadebrain_Prime Atheist now Registered Senior Member

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    277
    First of all, they're not unnecessary. They're accurate. If I have to be that aggressive in order to accurately describe where someone else went wrong, then I'm not the one with the problem.

    Second of all, in the "public forum" that I'm used to, people are smart enough to recognize the difference between an attack that is contains objective criticism, and an attack that contains nothing but spite. Recently, when a theistic troll's post to an Atheist page (https://www.facebook.com/supportatheism) was shut down because it had gotten out of hand, there was a commentary notification that was sent out by an admin of the page to the Atheists who participated, lambasting all but two of us because most were just attacking, without really giving any argument; the two that actually did give arguments were actually praised instead. I'm one of the two that were praised. In a conversation afterward, the admin clarified why the decisions were made, saying:

    "Look, every theist on that post had a "haha, you got frustrated and swore, that means I won" comment. We do not want theists to go home thinking that they'd won. You guys were rude, but you were clever-rude."

    To which I responded with the following:

    "Ah, I see. I agree with the distinction - when you're challenging someone's flaws, especially when they are such extremely awful flaws, "politeness" ceases to be a priority. At the same time, an insult which lacks any substance has no place in a debate."

    Finally, I know I'm not going to convince you of anything with anything I say. The Sciforums staff I contacted referred me to a thread that you've been active in as evidence that I'd only be wasting time by telling you anything. Seriously, I've been able to defeat (not just repel, but actually defeat) lesser trolls, but you have this uncanny resemblance to John Fontes, a troll who was banned from the Atheist Republic page a while ago (we were willing to put up with his trolling; it was something else entirely when he started to stalk and harass the page admins in-person, after having already made personal threats against them for months). I couldn't defeat this guy; his ignorance was truly invincible. In other words, I'm not telling you this because I think I can convince you of anything. I'm just calling out your BS for everyone else to see.
     
  22. Schmelzer Valued Senior Member

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    3,732
    Sorry, but at none of the points I have quoted any aggression was necessary to describe something "accurately". To describe something accurately, polite and courteous language is always sufficient. To name a claim "wrong", with justification, is almost the hardest thing necessary in a normal discussion. An answer to, say, shameless defamations can be, of course, more harsh. But this is only an reaction against an aggressive act of the opponent. There was none.
    Of course, I'm able to recognize such differences too. But I prefer to look at it from the other side: It is the difference between people which have make not only a lot of useless attacks, but also some points one can argue about, and those who make useless attacks only. Above behave in an uncivilized way, but with the first group it makes at least sense to talk.

    The point made by your facebook-mod I would support too. But my experience suggests that being polite even against very aggressive trolls works even better. They don't even get the satisfaction that I'm somehow angry. I'm a little bit frustrated to have to repeat n times some trivialities, this is all he has reached. Try it, it works much better than crying.

    (A personal attack against me disposed.)
     
  23. Jadebrain_Prime Atheist now Registered Senior Member

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    277
    (Note to mods: I'm not sure about the language here; despite being a compound word built with a profanity, I've never seen any websites censor "badass." My apologies in advance if the policy here is different.)

    I'm just going to throw this out there; this is an answer I gave to someone who asked for "badass" comebacks on an answer site, and who previously got answers that weren't quite addressing the point. The answer itself is built upon my experiences with various discussions I've seen or been in (debates or otherwise), and my reverence for Theodore Roosevelt, America's most badass president. Perhaps it will shed some insight on the situation here; after the self-quote, I will describe how what rpenner was doing is far more disrespectful, not to mention dangerous, than anything I've been doing.

    Looking at rpenner's posts, he wasn't being honest. He couldn't have been honest, because he never even bothered to examine what he was dealing with before dismissing it outright, and so he could not address it at all, let alone with honesty. Of course, this didn't stop him from trying; in doing so, he didn't have to attack or be aggressive in any way, because he was already engaging in ad lapidem arguments with which to express his biased dismissal, an even greater form of spite and disrespect than aggression could ever be. When rpenner's procedure is the norm for communication (as it has become in many ways these days), critical analysis becomes impossible, and all progress in the discussion grinds to a halt. This is one of the reasons for which America is going through all of its problems today, such as discrimination based on arbitrary things like ethnicity, sex, etc., and all of the massacres that keep happening. We don't want to talk about our problems until we're given a shocking reminder of their presence, and when that happens, we still can't get anything done, because no one who has anything meaningful to contribute wants to be "rude" by saying anything.
     
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