Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Cunning linguists.

There's been some good stuff on the blogs in the past couple of days which finally gave me an idea for a rant.

It's about logic and objectivity.

Logically we are all stuck in our own minds, making every thought, experience and feeling that we have, subjective. No matter how many subjective minds, living or dead(through recorded media) agree that certain things are objective facts, there is no absolute certainty that anything is objective at all.

For two examples, it is just as possible that there is a God as it is possible that you are a brain in a bucket, dreaming the entire world.

It is all more or less a consensus on our parts that objective reality exists at all.

I just read a comment, in which, the commenter(duh!) was saying that atheism runs into trouble when it comes to to the question of morality.

" I think that the biggest question concerning the moral argument is not the question of the morality of atheists or believers, but rather the existence of an objective morality, and our recognition of the need for moral norms.", says he.

But if morality is just another consensus, by us (subjective minds) that some deeds are 'good' and some 'evil', how would it ever be possible to even have 'objective morality'?

He goes on, "I think that atheism faces its greatest challenge in this area when it is forced to give an account of the objective grounds for our moral behavior."

I thought that the religious philosophical view was that we have no objective grounds for anything at ALL really and it's THAT that gives their entire philosophy, which denies materialism, it's 'in', in the first place.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but to give God a big 'in' by denying objectivity while giving atheism the boot on the grounds that IT is not objective enough seems to me to be very disingenous word-play.

Something similar came up with a cosmological 'proof of God', starting with the question, "Is there such a thing as absolute truth?", and of course everyone is steered to say, "YES!", because to say, "NO!", is to invite the question, "Well, is 'no' the absolute truth?", and since saying 'yes' to THAT is a paradox, well, we can see how we are 'trapped' there.

Once again, we can see that this is very disingenuous. Simply by showing that a paradox is created by that question, doesn't mean that everything has an absolute truth to it, now does it?

The question of tolerance is similar. If we advocate hundred percent tolerance then we ought to be tolerant of intolerance, right? Or to put in in the previous terms, "Absolute tolerance, must, by definition tolerate intolerance.".

No? Well, you're not 'absolutely' tolerant then, are you?


Pliny-the-in-Between said...

I've never quite gotten this line of argument: unless you believe in 'x' you will simply go off into a murderous rampage like festival from that old Star Trek episode about Landru. Only belief in x provides the necessary incentive to act in accordance with the Golden Rule.

Of course we have volumes of examples where pragmatism and common sense results in good behavior. One obvious one was the Cold War. Ours and their decision to not destroy each other had little to do with God and a lot to do with the fear of being 'done unto others'....

Finally of course, this moralism argument is a bait and switch. The existence of God in one form of the other is a separate argument from the justification of behavior.

mac said...

A lot of times, I agree with you and can't find much to add. Like this one :-)

Spot on. Pliny too.

But, I will add "I really LOVE the title" :-D

Harry C Pharisee said...

I am a cunning linguist too.

That's one secret of a good Pharisee marriage. Pharisee women love cunning linguists.

Dental fricatives are somewhat of a turn on but it's really the labio velars, and alveolar trills that make a Pharisee woman know she's got a keeper.

Harry C Pharisee said...

So yes, Pharisees believe in cunning linguists before marriage.

pboyfloyd said...

Yea, it puzzles me that these deep thinkers use these kinds of language tricks to defend their points of view.

Are they really just trying to tell us that we can't prove a damned thing any more that they can, therefore they are just as 'right' as us?

And 'yea'(he-he), I thought that the title would get a reaction.

Asylum Seeker said...

Oh good, the title wasn't accidental. Yeah, playing around with absolutes seems to be a way to use some interesting sleight of hand tactics. When it comes down to it, very few claims that you can make and have any kind of evidence for could be absolute claims from a human perspective, due to, among other things, the possibility of the "brains in vats" scenario being true. The question "do you think it is absolutely true that there are no absolute truths" is an interesting way of playing with the idea in another way, mostly by forcing you to take an absolutist position in order to prove that a non-absolutist position is self-refuting. If one were to take the more accurate position that "there may be absolute truths out there, but we collectively are not fully aware of what they are, or possibly completely unable to access these truths" it would be harder to pull that kind of trick. In other words, it is only probably true that there are no absolute truths would be a good way to resolve the contradiction that they force you into by framing your arguments for you.

As for "objective morality"...if it exists I have no idea how we could find out what it is. Obviously, you could claim that divine revelation would be a prime way to get this information, something that atheism doesn't allow for. But, it isn't all that important, and, considering how modern morality actually seems to set itself to a slightly higher standard than anything provided for by purported revelation in an era where such concerns simply seemed less significant (e.g. rules specifically against slavery and rape), I really don't think "objective morality" is as important as it is claimed to be.

Anonymous said...

I'm having a personal problem pboy. I agree with you. What fun is that?

pboyfloyd said...

Yea, oneblood, I thought that that was against the rules or something.

Harvey said...

This is a test posting. For the last 48 hours I have been unable to post to this blog.

Harvey said...


Harvey said...

Sorry guys. This now seems to be working for me again. More later

Anonymous said...

"This is a test posting. For the last 48 hours I have been unable to post to this blog."

Yeah that's strange. Anomalies roll through blogspot land like a wave through a body of water.

Stacy said...

I must say that I am intolerant of the intolerant. A flaw in my character I know but oh well.

P.S. - I like the title as well. :-)

Anonymous said...

Well pboy, this was so funny/sad I had to "bless" you with it.

It's just a reminder of God's love from his true followers.

God's Love.

Jeff Sherry said...

I wanted to say I've enjoyed reading your pages Floyd. I hope to see more over time.

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