Wednesday, February 7, 2024

The heresy with a thousand faces

In a new article at Postliberal Order, I discuss the disturbing parallels between the woke phenomenon and the medieval Catharist or Albigensian heresy, a movement so fanatical and virulent that the preaching of the Dominicans could not entirely eliminate it and Church and state judged military action to be necessary.

221 comments:

  1. WCB

    The murderous crusade against the Cathars was truly virulent, and fanatical. Mass murder on a grand scale. Not to mention a fanatical lack of religious freedom in medieval Europe. And following up on this crusade, the Inquisitions which became an unholy horror of their own. Do you really want to throw around terms like fanatical as applied to Cathars, Waldenses, and Albigensians, and other similar movements?

    WCB

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    1. I sometimes wonder if the anonymous commentators ever read the articles upon which they comment. Dr. Feser is not advocating violence, and the fact that violence was utilized to eradicate the Cathar heresy doesn't counter the reality of the fanaticism on the part of the heretics.

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    2. "I sometimes wonder if the anonymous commentators ever read the articles upon which they comment."

      Well, I think you don't really wonder.

      In order to truly be perplexed by that apparent discordance, you would first have to assume an interest on the part of the commenter that went beyond disruption and "waging [social] war by other means".

      If your anthropological assumptions are as theirs are - to employ a framework which the professor has recently explored - "voluntarist" rather than "intellectualist", if for you, conflicting wills reduce to clashing appetites which cannot be arbitrated or resolved by referring to any objective standard, then: What need is there for troubling one's self to do so?

      You just poison the well instead. Or as Canadian Mark Steyn has remarked recently in describing an old tactic, play the man instead of the ball ... you disrupt the play.

      It's what they do. It's what they are. And as far as they are concerned, there is nothing more to it.

      If you are a priest, your view is obviously different. But there is no discounting the effect of their metaphysics on their anthropology, and their anthropology on their behavior and ethics.

      How do you propose to reason with a being which on its own understanding reduces to a flesh vessel for emitting a grunt or a belch, Fr. Mann?

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    3. WCB

      "Amalric and Milo wrote in a letter to the Pope, claimed that the Crusaders "put to the sword almost 20,000 people".


      But it is those naughty Cathars who were Virulent and fanatical? And not the Catholics whose Pope commanded these murderous crusades?

      It is a matter of Dr. Feser's tone deafness here.
      If Cathars cling to their religion, they are fanatics. But not a word of reproach to these massacres and burning of Cathars at the stake.

      And woke? It more reminds me of Trump and MAGA. Trump fanatically claiming he has absolute immunity for all crimes he committed, blah, blah, blah.

      WCB

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    4. It is not murder if it is just, though I can understand that a sympathizer would find it unjust.

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    5. @DNW:

      Great series of comments to this thread.

      Mao said "you westerners have it all wrong. You think words are there to inform and teach. They're not! They're weapons that you bludgeon people with!"

      The voluntarist-wokist gang are the same. The point of words isn't to communicate truth, but to bash people who get between you and your arbitrary desires.

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  2. The Albigensians were persecuted and killed.
    Thankfully, we don't do that to Woke ideologists. At least not yet.

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    1. Persecution is so strange. Why would you persecute a liar? You wouldn't persecute a man who said "2 + 2 = 5" or "Pluto is a gas giant" or "There are 28 letters in the English alphabet", would you?

      At some level, a man only becomes persecuted if what he says has a degree of plausibility, right?

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    2. No. The woke do that to us

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    3. At some level, a man only becomes persecuted if what he says has a degree of plausibility, right?

      No. Anyone can become persecuted by a wacko who is acting alone or with a cult. It only takes getting their notice. To be on the receiving end of persecution does not take having done something special to warrant it. (Same with being on the receiving end of a war of aggression merely because your neighbor wants what you have.)

      You wouldn't persecute a man who said "2 + 2 = 5"

      You might take action against him if he was a civil engineer building a bridge. Or if he repeatedly went to the Swiss bank insisting he is Napoleon Bonaparte and he wants the $62B he has coming to him. But more significantly, you might have to restrain him if he was teaching others to destroy society by active sabotage.

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    4. @HolyKnowing

      Your analysis does not give much attention to the possible consequences of the errors in questions.

      For instance, "blood transfusion is wrong" is in itself just a error, but what happens when someone believed that and so not only refuses to be treated with it but also refuses to allow his sick children to receive this treatment when it is the only way that they can be saved? We have dead kids, and that is not something that governments are to allow, right?

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    5. @Talmid

      Error and lies are not the same. Error is something false introduced in a process. A lie is a falsehood deliberately told. The example you gave was an example of an error held on to by the Jehovah's Witnesses.

      Lying doesn't have consequences (because they're weak and time limited "Lies have short legs" - Benjamin Franklin, and to some extent you can't become lied to without your prior consent: "You can't cheat an honest man" - W. C. Fields.). Except it ends your personal relationship with the mark and you get branded as a liar.

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    6. You truly were talking about lies and not avout errors, my bad there.

      Still, one can easily imagine a lider of a group who does promote certain error that he himself does not believe or care about and end up convincing a lot of people of doing something very dangerous. This liar could probably be exposed as a liar, but his charisma, arguments, conter-propaganda or even the agressive nature of discussions could prevent his followers of seeing it, so a liar can be very dangerous even if his lie is quite away from reality.

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    7. "Lying doesn't have consequences"

      What if someone tells a lie about you that ruins your reputation, social life, and career?

      What if someone's lie causes you to be imprisoned for life or executed for a crime you didn't commit?

      Also how does one have consent for these situations?

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  3. What, exactly, was so horrific about the Cathars and Albigensians, besides having a new-age feeler vibe to them?

    They sounded as evil as Yanni or Oprah Winfrey.

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    1. WCB

      They were heretics. They beloved in two Gods, the evil God who ran the world and good God who ruled heaven. They did not believe in transubstantiation. They believed Jesus was not a man but a spirit, docetism. They critiqued the RCC for it's extravagant living of Popes and Bishops. And more. Herettics.

      So they had to be destroyed. I mean, what else could the church do when the Cathars rejected Catholicism despite peaceful attempts to get them to convert?

      And it was just one such example. We had the Teutonic Knights and Brotherhood Of The Sword. The Hussite Crusades. The anti-reformation and St. Bartholomew's Day massacre that plunged France into 36 years of religious war. Charlemagne's wars with the Saxons, executing those stubborn Saxons who would not convert. Scandinavian kings converting their people by force if necessary.

      WCB

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    2. WCB

      From The Freedom From Religion website.

      "Antisemitic white supremacist Nick Fuentes, a previous guest at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago and infamous proponent of Christian fascism, is in the news once again.

      This time, he has claimed that all non-Christians “need to be given the death penalty.”

      On his recent livestream, “The Great Replacement is about White GENOCIDE,” he added: “They must be absolutely annihilated when we take power."

      With extreme Christian nationalists on the move, I don't worry about "Woke". I worry about the increasingly organized fanatical Christian Nationalists.

      We have organizations like The National Association Of Christian Lawmakers that is pushing extremism into our political system.
      A mutant form of Wokism, far right style as it were.

      WCB

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    3. Private property was rejected... Infanticide was sometimes practiced. And as the murder of the papal legate illustrates, the Cathars would sometimes resort to violence in order to protect the movement itself.

      While the Cathars regarded themselves as the Children of Light, they judged those who approved of living as human beings have always lived – marrying and having children [etc]... as the Children of Darkness. Since these things are just commonsense preconditions of the social order, it is no surprise that ecclesiastical and political authorities judged Catharism to be radically subversive of that order

      They repudiated the rules that make social order work. Anarchy, chaos, and the strong preying on the weak without constraint is pretty horrific.

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    4. They forbade marriage and encouraged free love. They said you didn't have to honor vows (which held medieval society together) or contracts. They taught that matter itself, including your own body, is evil. They literally made suicide a sacrament. It's an appallingly anti-life and anti-social worldview.

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  4. " ... murderous ... truly virulent, ...fanatical. Mass murder on a grand scale. ... fanatical ... unholy horror .... Do you really want to throw around terms like fanatical ...?"

    Well, someone certainly does.

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    1. The number of heretics killed during the Albigensian Crusade for their beliefs has been estimated to be at least 200,000.
      Most people would consider that to be "fanatical " and "mass murder."

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    2. WCB

      @DNW

      Yes, the Albigensian crusades were indeed a horror. Murderous, virulent, fanatical. Let us all call it like it is. No euphemisms, no downplaying the savagery of these crusades. After all, if we cannot call these ancient events what they were, it might be we use the same dismissive habits to dismiss the events happening today we could do something about.

      WCB

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    3. "it might be we use the same dismissive habits to dismiss the events happening today we could do something about."

      What's this "we" crap?

      That framework considered as an objective moral and social context is dead and long gone. "We" are just ideological and moral antagonists inhabiting the same landmass.

      Even the cynical "adjustment of conflicting ( or competing) interests" regime can barely lift off anymore, bogged down as it is by fundamentally irreconcilable and incompatible life way choices.

      There are your people: mentally disordered and neurotic, dressed up in harlot costumes trolling for kids' attention, stealing public money, and waging lawfare against productive Americans on the one hand.

      And on the other hand there are people who want nothing from you other than for you get your goddamned face out of theirs and your hands off of their wallets and their children.

      You want freedom from religion. Fine and dandy. Can you understand why normal people would want freedom from you and your fellow collectivist neurotics?

      Apparently not, since despite your rejection of supernaturalism and any duties or obligation inferred from natural kinds, you nonetheless persist in acting as if there is some invisible and magical umbilical of moral duty that you can nonetheless tug on.

      It does not exist. Not on your own principles.

      So, do you have anything other than your own feelings to go on?

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    4. So WCB.

      There is such a thing as an objective standard of morality? If so, what makes you think so?

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    5. WCB

      Evolution gave animals with brains emotions. And we have emotions. Do you like being murdered, tortured, enslaved, cheated, or mistreated? Here is the source of morals, as objective as it gets. This is a simple observation. Of course Mankind has another cursed attribute. The ability to reason abstractly. Which allows people to override natural morality.

      "It is sad we have to kill all the Jews but it is necessary for the good of Germany." "It is unpleasant having to kill all these stubborn heretics, but it has to be done for the sake of the existence of the church." You get the idea. Then we have our fellow psychopaths. Why does God allow that?

      But basically, the Golden Rule, found in most reasonable civilizations from the beginning of
      written history implicitly accept that there is an objective morality based on our emotions and dislike of being mistreated.

      This world seems to be in an eternal war between objective morality of this sort and the ability of some people to do evil in name of some brainless and evil abstract idea, some bad ideology or racism, politics, religion et al.
      Hamas vs Israel. You can see where this leads.
      Cathars vs the Catholic Church.

      I will leave you to think this over and draw your own conclusions. How do we deal with bad abstract ideas that lead to evils?

      WCB
      WCB

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    6. DNW, Do not use God's name in vain.

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    7. WCB,

      Are you saying "emotions" are objective morality and people who disagree with my emotions are evil and those that agree are good?

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    8. @WCB

      As Hume would say, from "i don't like being tortured or slaved and neither does anyone" no course of action is obligatory at all. To having what Kant would call a category imperative, a objective duty, one needs way more, which is why even secular philosophers like Mill and Nozick bother to argue the objectivity of morality.

      Even looking at the possible hypothetical imperatives that this truth alone could give us, your "emotions x abstract ideas" thing can't get of the ground. The average human feelings extend to himself and to his offsprings, parents, friends and pretty much it, as seeing how 99% of societies on history operate. You only can't see that because you were raised in a society influenced by christians and classical liberals.

      It is only by abstract ideas like belief in a divine command, the notion of a fatherland, of union by believing the same things, humanism etc that a person will normaly tend to care about people very far removed from they in distance or in matter of living.

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    9. Anonymous at 11.05AM

      It is hardly surprising that DNW would take God's name in vein, because as far as one can tell he is an atheist, albeit one that rails against the metaphysical and moral implications he believes to be inherent in that position, and so is highly cognitively dissonant. If this pereception is not correct, perhaps this sad loner could enlighten us as to what his base philosophical and theological commitments are.

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    10. Evolution gave animals with brains emotions. And we have emotions. Do you like being murdered, tortured, enslaved, cheated, or mistreated? Here is the source of morals, as objective as it gets. This is a simple observation.

      There are men who like to rape, murder, steal, and enslave. It satisfies their emotions. I guess for them murder and rape is moral, right?

      We all of us would like - at times, when another person is being particularly enraging - to haul off and thrash such person. There are people who suggest "that's why we have the emotion of anger, after all". If emotion is the basis of morality, then morality is in conflict with morality all the time.

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  5. Since the God of the Old Testament was identified with the devil, biblical heroes like Abraham and Moses were dismissed as diabolical agents, and divine acts of judgment like the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah were condemned as murderous.

    I would just note that if you are going to chose to impose your own story on the Bible, there is no particular reason you would have to leave it so that Abraham and Moses (or any of the others) are really in cahoots with the God of the Old Testament. You can have them be merely deluded pawns, or have them be secretly in the opposition, or you can totally re-write them from the ground up and make up any position you want for them.

    I get why Catharists might object to destroying Sodom merely on account of it being God who does it, but: why wouldn't killing in general be at least a neutral act? The approved of the killing in suicide, and were OK with infanticide, so it didn't have to be self-inflicted per se. Death releases the soul from the body regardless of whether the death was intended or not, doesn't it? I am guessing they cooked up some just-so story to notionally justify NOT simply advocating direct, immediate mass murder, as being too much of a turn-off to attract followers.

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  6. By definition, the admimistration of justice is not murder, and every Cathar was a capital criminal.

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    1. WCB

      That sounds like something Joseph Stalin would say. So it was acceptable to send priests to the gulags for their belief, right?

      WCB

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    2. This, of course, is an obviously nonsensical response that would only make sense if Priests and Cathars believed and acted identically.

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  7. People make a lot out of "Woke" like it's some kind of deep phenomenon, when it's really not. It's just a grand coalition of the Left against the established conventions of America/the West. It's anti-white, anti-male, anti-Christian, anti-hetero, etc. It's also profoundly anti-intellectual, unlike Marxism which proposed a grand vision of the future with positive goals (in their view). The Woke ideology predominantly just wants to tear down what it sees as the traditional order to benefit its highly diverse constituencies. Since the failures of Marxism became apparent the Left abandoned consistent ideology and embraced a stark friend-enemy paradigm without any coherent political endpoint other than rectifying historic injustice and preventing "Fascism" however defined.

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    1. "Woke" is left-wing fusionism. Its mainly two entirely unrelated movements, one around racial stuff and one around gender stuff. The two have very little in common, but like libertarians and social conservatives, antiracists and LGBT activists are political allies who inhabit the same institutions and are funded by common sources. One could accept the claims of the antiracists and reject the claims of the gender people, or vice versa, but due to institutional pressures, this is rarely seen. Gloria Purvis is an example of the former, but the only reason she has a platform is Catholic media. The same pressures exist on the fusionist right. Good luck getting a job at the Heritage Foundation if you are a Catholic who likes labor unions.

      Efforts by conservatives to define some grand theory of "woke" face the same problems libs do in finding some grand theory of the "right" that unites libertarianism and traditionalists. There isn't an intellectual answer, its just institutions and donor money.

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  8. "But these are at best necessary rather than sufficient conditions, and the deeper, psychological root appears to be an unwillingness to accept reality as it is, a morbid obsession with its defects, and a paranoid tendency to exaggerate them."

    And envy.

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  9. Placing aside the alarm one commenter has expressed over the racialist rantings of a 25 year old attention whore "Incel", a person of self-described Mexican descent, the focus of the prog commenters is pretty much par for the course.

    Namely, and in the broadest and most basic terms, that of a moral relativist bleating over what are inconsistent with his relativistic assumptions, presented as presumptively absolute wrongs.

    But how can they be judged absolute wrongs, considering the basic assumptions of the relativist?

    If they are not really wrong, why bleat?

    It's the same thing over and over. A person who is a moral relativist or even moral nihilist appears and begins issuing moral indictments of Christians for not living up to standards which the nihilist demies have any objective claim on one's allegiance in the first place.

    'There's no such thing as Jesus, but you better listen to him!! Because....' Because ... Why?

    Or, how many times has one witnessed someone whose own metaphysical views rule out the existence of objective truth and values, trot out the, say, " genocide" of the Amalekites ( who ambushed and attacked the Hebrews on their journey post Egypt) as a presumptive wrong, while they near simultaneously deny that good and evil are objective categories in the first instance?

    Again, when you stop for just a moment to look at the situation it becomes clear that they are merely seeking out venues such as this one in order do publicly vent a pent up emotional discharge.

    It's just representative of the overall psychology and life strategy of a certain type of personality at work. In the broadest and partially metaphorical terms, there are those who manipulate and wrest the sustenance of their lives from the material world, and those who seek to extract their own advantage from productive persons - through some manner of manipulating them: through institutional, emotional, or other means. In figurative terms: some farm the land, and some farm the farmers. Or try to.

    Compared with normally functioning humans, progs are more neurotic, more depressed, more medicated, more focused on other people and what those others are doing, and on the distribution of imagined " social capital", than normal people with a healthy outlook.

    Is it any wonder that our polity , directed as it is by persons of that character, is being run into a ditch?

    Now, think of the Bogomils ...

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    1. WCB

      Genocide is evil. Full stop. Americans like to
      think our nation would never do cruel things like that. We are after all, a Christian nation. Never mind Nixon and Kissinger. Indiscriminate bombing of Cambodia and Laos. Supporting the dirty war of Argentina. Pinochet. Reagan. Supporting more of the same, Plus the murderous regimes of the ex-Somoza guards in Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala.

      There is an interesting book you should read. Samantha Powers, A Problem From Hell - America In The Age Of Genocide. Yes, there is evil and us bad, bad woke folk have been calling out our government for these evils. How about Bush and friends lying us into a war in Iraq? The evils from that are still ongoing. Isn't it about time to learn from these historical errors? And stop ranting nonsense about wokeness etc?

      WCB

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    2. "Genocide is evil. Full stop. "

      Well, if Tony or Ed Feser said that, I'd understand how they came to that conclusion. But with you it comes off as just so much histrionic emoting. You cannot adopt their arguments.

      What's your reasoning?
      Explain, concerning "genocide" for example, to an Iroquois why it is "evil" for them to exterminate the Erie in order to get hold of their beaver trade and grow more powerful and wealthy; and just what it is that you mean by "evil".

      They of course are not Christians, but then again neither are you, so it ought to make it easier for you to relate ... maybe.

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    3. WCB wrote: "Genocide is evil."

      What is "evil"?

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    4. I see I've already been beaten to the punch, but my $.02, nice exercise in point missing. DNW never claimed that genocide was not evil. That is a cringingly transparent straw man.

      The point is: You say genocide is evil. Fine. What is evil? What makes one action evil and another good? On your own atheist, materialist, moral relativist position, there are precisely zero grounds for any such distinction.

      By the tenets of your own philosophy, genocide is simply another behavior that human beings engage in, one that presumably gave humans or some subset of them a survival advantage at some point.

      You can't have it both ways. If there is no objective morality, nothing is good or evil, including genocide. And on materialism, there can be no objective morality. What, are there moral particles (maybe we can call them morons)? Or maybe some sort of moral radiation (maybe we can call it morays)?

      If you're going to argue with someone, at least address his actual argument.

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    5. What is evil?

      Genocide, murder, rape, slavery, robbery.
      And similar evils. Don't play dumb please.

      WCB

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    7. WCB

      @DNW
      "Genocide is evil. Full stop. "

      Well, if Tony or Ed Feser said that, I'd understand how they came to that conclusion.

      Are you arguing genocide is OK if an atheist apposes that? That atheists have no reason to object to genocide, murder, torture, robbery, slavery and other evils?

      When one starts arguing only a select groups of religious believers have a say in what is moral and what is evil, you are not thinking carefully.

      How about Islamic extremists that decide it is quite morally acceptable to set of bombs in public places designed to kill as many innocent civilians as possible? What right then do you have to criticize them, not being an Islamic extremist?

      Yes, atheists can object to such obvious evils.
      And often do so. Stop playing these intellectually disreputable games with the concept of morals and evil.

      Genocide and mass murder are evils for everybody except extremists who commit these acts.

      WCB

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    8. "Are you arguing genocide is OK if an atheist apposes that?"
      What? "Appose", is a word, but what you mean by employing it there, escapes me. Try rephrasing.

      "That atheists have no reason to object to genocide, murder, torture, robbery, slavery and other evils?"

      The question is not centered on their objection to the act, but on the quality of the act that supposedly marks it as evil, and therefore on that basis, objectionable.

      Atheists - or more precisely using the terms I used, i.e., moral relativists and moral nihilists - might well have plenty of motivation to squeal or object when being tortured, or skewered, or placed in bondage. But the actual question was why the act qualifies as evil; and on what grounds they might claim that say, their discomfort, constitutes an objective evil which others are somehow duty bound to recognize.

      Here, I'll refresh your mind with the proposed challenge:
      'What's your reasoning?
      Explain, concerning "genocide" for example, to an Iroquois why it is "evil" for them to exterminate the Erie in order to get hold of their beaver trade and grow more powerful and wealthy; and just what it is that you mean by "evil".

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    9. WCB says,
      "Genocide, murder, rape, slavery, robbery.
      And similar evils. Don't play dumb please.
      WCB"


      All you have done is label an assortment of activities with a label, "evil" and called it quits. That's pretty "dumb".

      Every first semester logic student who is introduced to the idea of connotative and denotative definitions, and the concept of logical intension and extension, could do better.

      Your questioners are looking for how you supposedly know what you claim to recognize.
      1. They want the rule that covers the cases and which allows you to justify the application of the label: explaining what general characteristics an act must exemplify in order to be called "evil".

      And then 2,
      What foundation you used to determined that those characteristics or qualities which when present in certain acts are exhibitions or demonstrations of evil per se.

      If you don't want to try explaining why genocide is evil to our Iroquois tribesmen example, then tell it to the Muslims of Hamas, or of Sudan or Nigeria, or the Socialists of the 20th Century Soviet Union and China, or the present day Chinese government.

      Take your pick.

      Or perhaps you don't believe in 'evil per se', or objective evil in any case and figure all evaluation is in the eye of the beholder or is situational: "Full stop", as you are fond of saying.

      If so, you could just have admitted it upfront.

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    10. Now look who’s playing dumb (although I have my doubts that it’s actually playing). You answer the question “What is evil” by naming acts you consider evil. Once again, an exercise in point missing. The point is, what makes those actions evil? And yes, atheists can object to anything they want, the problem is, they have no grounds for any such objection except personal preference. When an atheist says something is “evil,” the only thing he can possible mean BY HIS OWN LIGHTS, is “I don’t like it.” Boo genocide. It may be evil to you, but why should I buy your subjective opinion? So stop summoning schools of red herring (your radical Islam point is irrelevant) and answer the damn argument.

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  10. Dr. Mark Pegg is one of the leading historians of the Albigensian Crusade and wrote one of the few current books about it in the English language.
    https://www.amazon.com/Most-Holy-War-Albigensian-Christendom-ebook/dp/B006L2XM7Y/ref=sr_1_1?Adv-Srch-Books-Submit.x=20&Adv-Srch-Books-Submit.y=7&qid=1707411239&refinements=p_28%3Aalbigensian+crusade&s=books&sr=1-1&unfiltered=1

    "In A Most Holy War, historian Mark Pegg has produced a swift-moving, gripping narrative of this horrific crusade, drawing in part on thousands of testimonies collected by inquisitors in the years 1235 to 1245. These accounts of ordinary men and women, remembering what it was like to live through such brutal times, bring the story vividly to life. Pegg argues that generations of historians (and novelists) have misunderstood the crusade; they assumed it was a war against the Cathars, the most famous heretics of the Middle Ages. The Cathars, Pegg reveals, never existed. He further shows how a millennial fervor about "cleansing" the world of heresy, coupled with a fear that Christendom was being eaten away from within by heretics who looked no different than other Christians, made the battles, sieges, and massacres of the crusade almost apocalyptic in their cruel intensity. In responding to this fear with a holy genocidal war, Innocent III fundamentally changed how Western civilization dealt with individuals accused of corrupting society. This fundamental change, Pegg argues, led directly to the creation of the inquisition, the rise of an anti-Semitism dedicated to the violent elimination of Jews, and even the holy violence of the Reconquista in Spain and in the New World in the fifteenth century. All derive their divinely sanctioned slaughter from the Albigensian Crusade.
    Haunting and immersive, A Most Holy War opens an important new perspective on a truly pivotal moment in world history, a first and distant foreshadowing of the genocide and holy violence in the modern world."



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    1. Pegg's revisionist "history" of the Albigensian/Cathar heresy and crusade is simply awful historiography. Anyone who relies on Pegg's novel take on Albigensianism should remember the principle, "Hominem unius libri timeo." There are numerous academic critiques of Pegg's thesis that highlight the numerous defects and errors in his account. Case in point: Alan Friedlander in his review of Pegg's book (in Speculum, Vol. 84, No. 3 (JULY 2009), pp. 763-765) explains that Pegg's claim that the Catharist heresy never existed amounts to nothing more than a claim that the Cathars' religious beliefs that starkly differed from Christianity weren't heretical -- yet such views fit the Christian definition of "heresy."

      Friedlander levels the just criticism that Pegg's take on the Albigensian Crusade is "one-dimensional," all but omitted the Cathars' political framework. Pegg also commits several ahistorical howlers, like uttering the ridiculous claim that "Anti-semiticism only occured after the Abligensian affair." Pegg also does not attempt to disguise his sympathy for the Albigensian side and his opposition to the Catholic side. Pegg even claims that the Albigensian Crusade ushered in the very concept of genocide, even though the bloodletting during this crusade was not unusual for the medieval period.

      "An irrevocable obligation to mass murder existed from the very start of the crusade," Pegg asserts, to which Friedlander responds, "Odd indeed that the crusaders revoked their irrevocable obligation thereafter. They neglected to commit mass murder at Carcassonne, which surrendered on terms, or holocausts at many smaller towns they occupied along the way."

      I recommend reading the other critiques of Pegg's book that are handily available at JSTOR. When you do, you'll see that where Pegg's work is good, it adds nothing to what we already knew, and where it differs from prior scholarship, it's completely wrong. If you want to read Pegg, borrow his book from a library -- don't waste your money.

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    2. Well, Polycarpus, "Latine dictum sit altum videtur?"
      Historian Prof. Steven Muhlberger would disagree with Friedlander.
      https://www.academia.edu/393857/Review_of_Mark_Gregory_Pegg_A_Most_Holy_War_the_Albigensian_Crusade_and_the_Battle_for_Christendom_Oxford_Oxford_Univ_Press_2008?ri_id=67861

      Delete
    3. That's nice, but posting a hyperlink is not a valid argument against the accurate criticisms that many have made of Pegg's untenable thesis.

      Delete
    4. I am a little puzzled here: apparently some of those who have attempted to re-examine (or is it re-write) history on this topic to attack the standard Catholic position say that the men prosecuting the wars were venal, greedy men, and that the wars were continued (after the initial campaign) mainly for conquest, with religion being a thin veneer (if even that much). (There are claims, indeed, that Innocent III tried to call back some of these efforts.)

      This would indeed be an unseemly business, a gravely nasty proceeding. But at the same time, if these men were pursuing personal profit and power, then to that extent it wasn't a religious war, and it isn't a complaint against the Catholic Church to say that these men slaughtered 200,000 people. So, why keep putting that number down as something to beat up on Catholics?

      And by the way, I have yet to hear anyone suggest anything remotely like a plausible hypothesis as to how we have a good count on this. For all I know, some of the numbers are merely from reports by war chiefs who exaggerated their kill totals to bolster their reputation. It is notoriously difficult to pin down reliable basis for this kind of body count. Who was there at the time to count up accurate totals?

      Delete
    5. I thought it was nice too, Poly. The hyperlink itself is not the argument. The article that it takes you to is the argument. So you know what to do now.

      Delete
  11. WCB

    @Anonymous

    "Dr. Mark Pegg is one of the leading historians of the Albigensian Crusade and wrote one of the few current books about it in the English language."

    There is another book worth noting and reading.
    "The Northern Crusades" By Eric Christiansen.
    Just as cruel, savage and violent as the Albigensian crusade. These crusades featured among other things, systematic murder of peasants in lands the Teutonic Knights want to annex. Forcing people these lands to flee for their lives. Some of the peasants were Pagan, many Orthodox Christians.

    WCB.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Pope Innocent III called the Crusade against the Albigensians because it was a war for survival - either the Albigensians would exterminate the Catholics or the Catholics would exterminate the Albigensians.

    "The Church was threatened from without by Saracens in Palestine, by Moslems in Spain.." according to Joseph Clayton in "Pope Innocent III and his times."

    "...Pope Innocent was a Christian statesman, fully conscious that on occasion force and military strength must be used to defeat the hosts of disorder, the iniquities of unscrupulous power."

    Of course, they was before the glorious 1960s when Pope John 23rd declared that all we need is love

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "It's either us or them" is literally the standard justification for genocide.

      Delete
    2. WCB

      Genocides were pretty common in medieval times. A good example was the various Mongol
      attacks on Eastern Europe. Mass murders such as occurred in the Islamic conquests in their invasion of India. Genocide as a crime was defined only post WW2, defined by Raphael Limpke. And of course we had the OT genocides. Leave None that breatheth. Genocide has been committed for centuries,
      the Holocaust made us rethink the entire concept of Genocide and declare that as unacceptable. Mankind grew up a bit at that point. Some of mankind anyway.

      WCB

      WCB

      Delete
    3. Ok, assume for the sake of argument that it IS either us or them. A dire scenario of total war. Is it justified to make it THEM?

      Delete
    4. I did not adequately report the problem faced by Pope Innocent III.

      Prior to his calling of a Crusade, the Church had condemned the Albigensians in several councils an tired to get them to return to the Faith.

      They were teaching all and sundry that matter was evil, that creation was owing to two Gods and that The Pope was the enemy to be destroyed.

      The Church/Pope tried to counter the hydra-headed Hersey by sending preachers and even a Legate but they killed the Legate.

      They did not want peace.

      They wanted war.

      The got the war they wanted but not the result

      Delete
    5. It wasn't total war targeting all of the enemy identified by those prosecuting the war - such as the Jews genocide against The Palestinians, the old, the young, the babies, the males, the females, the combatants, the non-combatants etc ; the Gazacaust.

      But, yes, when an aggressor wants to kill Catholics they have a right to self defense.

      The Crusade was called for 40 days, a Holy War, and after the fall of Carcassone, most of the French knights and nobles went home but guerrilla war remained for quite some time.

      Delete
    6. The Albigensians did not want war. They were pacifists. They were slaughtered by Innocent because they did not "return to the faith." Innocent got the result he wanted, but now, at least, the Church can't kill people anymore for their beliefs.

      Delete
    7. "'It's either us or them' is literally the standard justification for genocide."

      It also happens to be true when a casus belli is justified due to the enemy seeking to impose a demonic, genocidal program on a nation or on the world. So you remark is unhelpful if not banal.

      Anyway, the whole subject of genocide is a wild and irrelevant tangent here, since contra Pegg and his devotee WCB the Albigensian Crusade, deplorable though it was, was not a genocide.

      Delete
  13. WCB

    @Fred

    "By the tenets of your own philosophy, genocide is simply another behavior that human beings engage in,...."

    Not MY philosophy. Don't mistate my philosophy. I have been arguing in this thread evil actions exist and are not acceptable. We have some here that amazingly, argue that atheists cannot object to mass murder, rape, robbery, genocide et al. I find this rather discouraging that an anti-atheist ideology like this can be so very wrong, that some people seem to refuse to accept the fact atheists cannot object to such horrors for some grotesque reason.

    We have the phenomen that most Scandinavian nations are now largely atheistic but are not sinks of depravity, murder and evil. And are at the top of surveys as to the satisfaction of their citizens. Meanwhile Orthodox Christian Russians are committing mass murder and imperialism in Ukraine as we speak.

    WCB

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "We have some here that amazingly, argue that atheists cannot object to mass murder, rape, robbery, genocide et al. I find this rather discouraging ..."

      Since no one is saying that you cannot object to anything that it strikes your subjective fancy to object to. Your plaint that you are discouraged, is unmoored from any cause in reality.

      Atheists may object all they like, til they are blue in the face, and hemorrhage. So what?

      It is your claim to know that the acts constitute a presumably objective, (since that is what is uncertain and would eventually bear the weight) "evil" that have come under scrutiny.

      Delete
    2. DNW

      You frequently froth with moral indignation at aspects of the word - including many catagories of its inhabitants - which you clearly hate, yet you never explain to us the basis for your moral objectivism.

      As you berate WCB above for failing to explain how he would know that acts XYZ are objectively evil, it seems fair to inquire of you how YOU would know that they are or are not. Perhaps you could do something positive and enlighten us here, instead of continuing with your frequently hateful and obnoxious rhetoric.

      Delete
  14. WCB

    @BillMiller

    "Are you saying "emotions" are objective morality......"

    It is a fact people do not like being murdered, enslaved, raped, tortured, robbed, cheated, abused etc. This then in a healthy society is a basis for laws and moral behavior. Why are so many here incapable of understanding this simple concept.

    But as I pointed out, our ability to think abstractly sometimes leads us to create bad and evil ideologies.

    Such as racism. Hitler's Jewish holocaust for example.
    Putin's war in Ukraine and it's mass murders. ISIS, Boko Haram et al.

    Moral behavior then has an added dimension of dealing with these evil ideologies, racism, and other
    evil abstract ideas that give sanction to evils like genocide or mass murder.

    Why is this so hard for some here at this blog to grasp?

    WCB

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "It is a fact people do not like being murdered, enslaved, raped, tortured, robbed, cheated, abused etc. This then in a healthy society is a basis for laws and moral behavior. Why are so many here incapable of understanding this simple concept... "


      So, according to you, "evil" is whatever people don't like?

      Would that include a dislike of allowing transsexuals to live in their polity?

      Delete
    2. WCB

      Uhmmm.... No. If you hate Jews for example, that does not give you the right to engage in a murderous pogrom.

      Let's get real here and stop playing games.
      Do you enjoy being murdered, robbed, enslaved, tortured, cheated, or to have your family so treated? Do you suppose other people feel the same way? Why is this hard for some people here to grasp.

      WCB

      Delete
    3. WBC,

      Why are so many here incapable of understanding this simple concept.

      Everyone understands that simple concept. What no one understands is what basis you are using to decide what is objectively evil and what is not. You said it was "emotions", but whose emotions? I explicitly asked you if it was my emotions. You did not answer the question.

      Delete
    4. WCB

      Is Genocide acceptable to you? No? On what basis. Not the Bible which has genocides commanded by God. Leave None that breatheth. What then when some religious believer starts mass murder in name of religion. Like Isis, Boko Haram, et al. Is genocide then objectively evil if God has commanded it?

      John 14:15
      If you love me, keep my commandments.
      Mark 10, Luke 12, Luke 14, Luke 18, Matthew 19.
      Sell all you have and give to the poor.

      Objectively, if we take the Bible seriously, it is evil to not sell all you have and give to the poor.
      As commanded by Jesus who is God according to the RCC.

      Now, objective morality is not so important to most Christians is it? Christians: "Jesus didn't mean ME!". This objective morality nonsense is just a game some Christians play, obviously, not to be taken seriously.

      Do you love Jesus, As per John 14?

      WCB

      Delete
    5. @WCB

      "Do you enjoy being murdered, robbed, enslaved, tortured, cheated, or to have your family so treated?"

      Nah.

      "Do you suppose other people feel the same way?"

      Yep.

      Now what? From these two observations you seems to want to derive something like:

      "I should not harm others"

      But there needs to be some aditional premise to connect it all. What do you have?

      Delete
    6. "Sell all you have and give to the poor."

      We have been all through all this before and your lying and your indictment by omission techniques, you fraud.

      You are again trying to demoralize Christians by implying that they are hypocrites who don't follow the Gospels anyway, so, they might as well join you down in Emomuck land.

      But, it is just as likely that if they did abandon Jesus they would rather adopt Achilles as their model rather than identify with a coven of sexually distorted and neurotic schoolmarms and you singing hymns to "Emotional Evolution".

      So, quote the entire passage, and refer to it in chapter context:

      ... The Pharisees also came to Him, testing Him, and saying to Him ...

      ...Then little children were brought to Him that He might put His hands on them ...

      Now behold, one came and said to Him, “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?”

      So He said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.”


      [ Well there you go. As a general rule, if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments]

      He said to Him, “Which ones?”
      Jesus said,
      “‘You shall not murder,’
      ‘You shall not commit adultery,’
      ‘You shall not steal,’
      ‘You shall not bear false witness,’
      ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and,
      ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ ”


      [And now you know which commandments.
      But, it seems that the rich young man personally come face to face with Jesus, wanted more out of Jesus still, and challenged Him.

      After which, Jesus, then called his humblebrag bluff with an invitation to put his money where his mouth was by joining the band of apostles..]

      "The young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?”

      Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”
      But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
      "

      Guess he decided to settle for the acceptable lower bar: Entering into life.

      Delete
    7. WCB,

      It seems to me that you are objectively dodging the question because your position is intellectually indefensible. You want your emotions to rule and only your's.

      BTW, your failure to answer honestly is objectively evil.

      Delete
  15. Hi Ed,

    I have to say that I'm disappointed by your latest article. You describe Albigensianism (or Catharism) as a "toxic movement" which was "bizarre and subversive of social order," and you add that "it is no surprise that ecclesiastical and political authorities judged Catharism to be radically subversive of that order and in need of suppression." You deplore the "excess" of the Albigensian Crusade, but not the crusade itself. I can only conclude that you regard the Albigensian Crusade as morally justifiable, objectively speaking.

    I started studying the medieval Inquisition over forty years ago, and I'm familiar with the charges laid against the Albigenses (or Cathars) by Catholic polemicists. What readers need to know is that our accounts of what they believed are based on accusations by their worst enemies (Dominican preachers) as well as fanatical converts from Catharism to Catholicism, who became persecutors of the movement to which they'd belonged. In other words, our sources of information on the Cathars are biased.

    Moreover, the charges against the Albigenses don't really add up. We are told that they rejected private property. Oh yeah? In that case, why did nobles like Count Raymond VI of Toulouse favor them, and why were they so hard to suppress? (By contrast, think of the German Peasants' War of 1524-25, which was brutally suppressed within the space of just one year.) Again, if the Albigenses were fond of suicide and totally against procreation as is sometimes alleged, then why didn't they die out within a generation? We are told that "extreme debauchery was frequently a part of Cathar life," but similar, baseless charges were laid by the Romans against the early Christians. We are told that "meat and dairy products were also eschewed" by the Cathars, and that they even opposed "using animals for food." Once again, I contest the charge: if that were indeed the case, then why didn't the movement's members die from malnutrition? (As someone who has lived as a vegetarian, I can tell you that it takes a lot of work to achieve a balanced diet.) We are also told that the Albigensians practiced infanticide. However, no evidence is provided for this claim. I should also mention that infanticide was practiced by Catholics during the Middle Ages: at the end of the 12th century, Roman women threw their newborn babies into the Tiber River in broad daylight, according to a carefully researched study (available online) titled, "Neonaticide, Infanticide, Filicide" (Israel: B.N. Publication House, 2017), Professor Emeritus Liubov Ben-Nun of the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Faculty of Health Sciences, Beer-Sheva, Israel.

    The spark that triggered the Albigensian Crusade was the murder of a papal legate. However, it is by no means certain that he was killed by the Albigensians. The Wikipedia article on the Albigensian Crusade claims that the legate was allegedly killed by one of the knights of Raymond VI, Count of Toulouse. However, William of Tudela, author of the first part of the Song of the Albigensian Crusade, blamed the murder entirely on "an evil-hearted squire hoping to win the Count's approval." Is this enough to justify a slaughter which led to the deaths of at least 200,000 people?

    But I have to say that even I was astonished when you linked the Cathars with Marxists, Nazis, and modern-day woke calls to “defund the police.” Ridiculous! You might decry their dualism, but please don't forget that the dualistic Zoroastrians have lived peacefully with their neighbors for thousands of years. Finally, the large number of Catholic to Catharism speaks for itself.

    I shall lay down my pen here. Cheers, Ed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Who knows what the Cathars actually believed? It's difficult to say but their Catholic enemies probably had some things right and some things wrong. Whatever the case, I think we should compare their treatment to the treatment of Mormons during the time of Joseph Smith. They were run out of towns everywhere in the Midwest for rumored behavior (polygamy) that the Mormon leadership denied but that the Church's enemies found abhorrent. All kinds of accusations were levelled at them, but due to the secretive nature of the religion it's understandable (cryptic religions tend to provoke wild speculation, like the religions of the Jews and Alawites). In the Mormons' case, the Christian peoples they encountered found their teachings and proselytizing efforts dangerous to public morals and proceeded to drive them out of their communities, which provoked retaliation from the Mormons; then things escalated to the point of a low-scale frontier war with armed bands shooting it out. Eventually the Mormons fled out West where they could settle outside the bounds of US law and beyond the reach of conventional Christian morality.

      Delete
    2. Vincent, you have carped at all sorts of details, but (a) you don't offer any corrections (like what they actually did believe about property), (b) you don't offer any sources to back up the claims of error, you just posit them.

      I can only conclude that you regard the Albigensian Crusade as morally justifiable, objectively speaking.


      It is now standard fare of attack-mode on Catholicism that the Church believed in suppressing heresy by taking active measures. The rhetorical force of this, however, is based on a newly-minted social preference for religious pluralism and tolerance for all other religious persuasions, the same kind of toleration that demands that the state keep out of religious disagreements, AND demands that people be "nice" by backing off if someone gets offended at your mentioning your belief (a back-off obligation that only seems to apply to those who believe in traditional Christian) moral and religious tenets, oddly). But that new-ish social standard is itself born of a series of assumptions that would only have come into existence in a largely Christian society, and is historically speaking the bastard offspring of the union of liberal political theory with the Peace of Westphalia. Nevertheless, note that with most people, their disgust with Catholic medieval willingness to suppress heresy is not a thought out and reasoned rejection of the Catholic model of social order, but is merely a knee-jerk action bred into them by their teachers.

      If it were really the case that the state could "keep out of religion" (which it isn't), I might sympathize with their knee-jerk reaction to hearing of instances where Catholics employed the forces of the state to suppress heresy. But even there, one might ask for some level of historical awareness of the standards of the times. It wasn't just Catholics using the state for this: Muslims, Jews, and many other groups religious and otherwise have used the forces of the state to impose restraints on those who believe otherwise, and indeed most groups at the time didn't see any problem with the general idea.

      Having been on the receiving end of the state trying to impose the religion of secular humanism on me and on my kids in the name of tolerance, I very much doubt that there can truly be a good state that really can keep its nose out of religion altogether. I have a rather limited sympathy for the unwarranted assumptions built into the modern so-called tolerant preference for pluralism that is more a veiled imposition of un-religion on all, including the assumption medieval Catholic states were horrible because they used the power of the state to bolster Catholicism.

      I ask: is it wrong for a state to use force to restrain and incarcerate someone whose religious view is that he should use violence to bring about anarchy via the fall of all government (and who tried to carry out his religion into practice)? Isn't this using the force of the state to suppress a kind of heresy?

      Delete
    3. WCB

      @Tony
      "I ask: is it wrong for a state to use force to restrain and incarcerate someone whose religious view is that he should use violence to bring about anarchy...."

      The problem is, there is no evidence the Cathars were violent heretics whose military might threatened the Catholic Church in any way. You have posted a straw man. The Cathar perfects were a small minority that were no threat to the RCC. The General Cathar population were certainly not mounting violent crusades to destroy the Church.

      WCB

      Delete
    4. Hi Tony,

      You ask:

      "I ask: is it wrong for a state to use force to restrain and incarcerate someone whose religious view is that he should use violence to bring about anarchy via the fall of all government (and who tried to carry out his religion into practice)?"

      My answer is: where's the evidence that the Albigensians espoused violence? Hilaire Belloc describes their belief as follows in his book, "The Great Heresies" (London: Sheed & Ward, 1938, chapter 5, p. 91): "Wine was evil, meat was evil, war was always absolutely wrong, so was capital punishment; but the one unforgivable sin was reconciliation with the Catholic Church." In other words, the Albigensians were pacifists.

      The evidence indicates that it was the Catholic Crusaders who espoused violence. Think of the papal legate who allegedly said, “Kill them all. God will know his own,” at the siege of Béziers, when asked how the Crusaders could distinguish the heretics from the Catholics.

      You also write as if religious tolerance were a modern notion. However, the Roman Empire was far more tolerant of religious diversity than European Christendom, which outlawed paganism from the time of Theodosius the Great onwards. In India, the edicts of Ashoka the Great (c.304-232 B.C.), and in particular, Rock Edicts 6, 7, and 12, enjoin tolerance of all religious sects. In the thirteenth century A.D., the Mongols under Genghis Khan and his successors also practiced religious toleration.

      Crushing the Cathars by force was an inexcusable act.

      Delete
    5. Every system will persecute that which is incompatible with its basic precepts. Change the precepts or basis of legitimacy and you will change the targets of persecution, not eliminate the reality of persecution. Spengler described Christianity as the "Bolshevism of Antiquity," and Christianity was persecuted by Rome. In societies with a theological basis the authorities will persecute heretics, in societies with an ideological basis they will persecute ideological dissent. Societies based on brute force will simply punish rebellion and not pay much attention to ideas one way or the other. But I guarantee you that if a religion emerged under in the Great Khan's empire that preached the evil of Mongolian warlords and the necessity to resist their tax collectors, Genghis would have persecuted that religion fiercely, "religious tolerance" be damned!

      Delete
    6. I was wondering when someone was going to trot out the old "Kill them all. God will know his own" legend. Medieval scholarship rejected that laughably absurd tale long ago. There's no evidence that anyone at the siege of Béziers ever said it. Even you show in the word "allegedly." Since you know it's only an allegation (one that was invented long after the fact), why even bring it up if you can make your point without it?

      Delete
    7. Vincent,

      In other words, the Albigensians were pacifists.

      If the Albigensians were pacifists why did they raise at least one army of 100,000 as noted by the work you quoted.

      Delete
    8. My answer is: where's the evidence that the Albigensians espoused violence?

      Oh for goodness sake! I posed my question in generic form because I was not accusing them of this specific action. I was posing a generic question in to be answered in generic: IF someone holds a religious view that says he should use violence to bring about the fall of the state and cause anarchy, because states are bad and anarchy is good, should the STATE take forceful action against him? (Rather obviously, my answer would be yes. I strongly suspect that many here - including many non-Catholics here - would agree.)

      If the state should use force to suppress his behavior, is this the state suppressing a kind of "heresy". In my view, it can well be described in just those terms. For, (a) he holds his view on the basis of religion, and (b) the state acts against him because his actions on behalf of his religious views are in direct opposition to the views that the state itself must advance in order to persist as a state: it's own self as a good.

      My point is a general one: it is NOT universally and inherently wrong to want to suppress certain views. and to turn to the state's use of force for help. Or, at least, many even in modern liberal camps would agree that it is not universally and inherently wrong.

      So, if it is not universally and inherently wrong, one must get down to particulars to decide if X was a bad instance of doing so, one cannot prove it was evil merely by saying "it's suppression of heresy!" (and relying on the purely rhetorical force of the unfounded but widespread assumption that "suppression is evil".)

      Delete
    9. Tony says "My point is a general one: it is NOT universally and inherently wrong to want to suppress certain views. and to turn to the state's use of force for help. Or, at least, many even in modern liberal camps would agree that it is not universally and inherently wrong."

      No, Tony. You have it all wrong. The Ku Klux Klan hates black people and advocates violence against them. The American Nazi Party is virulently anti-Jewish. In the USA, they have a legal right to do that. However reprehensible their views, the state cannot legally suppress them for what the believe and advocate. They can only suppress if "their speech poses a threat that a substantive evil might follow, and the threat is real and imminent threat" "Brandenburg vs. Ohio, "
      395 U.S. Supreme Court 444 (1969.
      What you yourself may wish the state can do, thankfully it cannot.

      Delete
  16. In other words, there is nothing new under the Sun.

    ReplyDelete
  17. WCB

    @DNC
    All you have done is label an assortment of activities with a label, "evil" and called it quits. That's pretty "dumb".

    Are you implying genocide, mass murder, slavery, rape, murder and torture are somehow not evil?! What else are we to call stuff like this? Are you saying atheists have no right to oppose obvious evils like this?

    When innocent people suffer horrendous evils caused by fellow humans, it is a duty to oppose these sorts of evils. Or do you disagree with that? and it is a duty to teach our children to oppose these sorts of evils, especially when it is our own government or politicians
    that are committing evils. Such as supporting murderous dictators like Reagan, Nixon and Kissinger did. Or politicians lying us into wars like Bush did.

    The way to allow evil to flourish is for good men to do nothing.

    WCB

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. @WCB
      The point isn't that these things aren't evil, it is rather that your philosophy of ethics is not sufficient to label them as such. To give an illustration, suppose two geoscientists are discussing whether a volcano is going to erupt. One says "I've analysed all the relevant data, and concluded that it is probably going to erupt." The other says "I agree: my knee is acting up, so I also believe it will probably erupt." While both might be correct, Scientist A could still object that Scientist B's reason for belief is illogical.

      Similarly, the point being made is that while these acts are evil, your philosophy is inconsistent with them being evil and the reasons you give for thinking of them as evil are poor. From what I can gather, you are grounding the 'evil' of actions in the fact that people dislike them, which is an objectionable view: one can still ask why actions we dislike are evil and why we 'ought' not to do them (apologies if I am misunderstanding you here). One can agree with you that things such as genocide are evil, while maintaining that your reasoning is wrong. Regarding the list that the previous commenter was objecting to, the point (as I interpret it) was that giving examples of evil does not show why they are evil.

      Delete
    2. The analogy I think of is a person's favorite "X" compared to the best "X".

      Person A says that The Beatles wrote the best music of all time, while Snoop Dogg wrote the worst music of all time, and anyone who disagrees is wrong.

      Person B disputes this, saying there is no such thing as an objective standard for good or bad music, that musical taste is subjective, and that while we can measure popularity of music via sales and streams, that doesn't prove that one is "better".

      Then Person A hears Person B telling someone else that his music sucks and his taste is awful.

      Is Person B justified in telling someone their music sucks?

      Delete
    3. WCB

      @Kevin

      It is alright to say that somebody's choice of music sucks. It is not alright to say that if somebody say, listens to rap, that they are heretics and can be burned at the stake.

      WCB

      Delete
    4. I think it was Person A who said Snoop Dogg sucks. But yes, he was justified :-)

      Delete
    5. It is alright to say that somebody's choice of music sucks.

      For someone who believes musical taste is purely subjective to say someone's music sucks, and he simply means he doesn't like it personally, then that is indeed fine, though it could be a confusing choice of words from a standpoint of principle.

      If he means the music actually sucks, then he has violated his own musical worldview.

      Delete
  18. The Albigensians were pacifists?

    I will leave this link to the Albigensian problem as explained by Hilaire Belloc.

    https://www.ewtn.com/catholicism/library/albigensian-attack-10818

    It's sort of strange to see such strong support for a heresy that was on the verge of destroying the Eldest Daughter of the Church.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hillaire Belloc? No one takes him seriously as a historian. He was a polemicist.
      https://www.cathar.info/121293_belloc.htm France stopped being the Eldest Daughter of the Church centuries ago, and Catholic faith died as well.

      Delete
  19. WCB

    @Anonymous

    "The point isn't that these things aren't evil, it is rather that your philosophy of ethics is not sufficient to label them as such. "

    You mean I cannot object to mass murder, genocide, murder, rape, torture and slavery? or other obvious evils small and large?

    REALLY!? Words fail me. At least words Dr Feser would allow in response to your bizarre post.

    WCB

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. @WCB
      My point isn't that you cannot object to these things; I agree with you that they are repugnant evils and think it's normal and good that you object to them. My point is that the reason you have given for believing that they are evil (the fact that human beings universally dislike them) is not a good reason.

      Delete
    2. @WCB

      What your opponents mean is that you cannot *rationally* object to these things, if by "object" you mean anything more substantive than "I experience negative affective responses" etc., that is to say, your worldview (at least as presented) here does not allow such objections to enjoy any normative force.

      If "I don't like this" *is*, in fact, all you mean, but you nevertheless insist on using such terms as "evil", please be aware that, even admitting a fairly colloquial acceptation of the term "evil" - such as e.g. Oxford Learner's "having a harmful effect on people; morally bad", with "morally" meaning "​according to principles of good behaviour and what is considered to be right or wrong" - employing it would amount to (mere) manipulation, because that's not how they are commonly understood, and certainly not on this blog.

      As should be clear, the language of "evil", just like e.g., "rights", involves appealing to something in order to influence the behaviour of others in some way. With strangers (whom one cannot expect to particularly care about one's feelings), AFAIK, the appeal can only be made - if implicitly - to the normative force, in certain cases, backed up by coercion, or even simple coercion in some other circumstances (e.g. a bank robbery), I suppose.

      AFAIK, you're not close friends with any of your opponents here, and you're in no position to coerce anyone here into doing anything. By elimination, one is lead to assume that your appeal is made to the normative force behind some standard, and this is where your interlocutors consider your position to be lacking.

      Precisely how do you derive the imperative "Do not cause others feelings you yourself do not enjoy" (which your proposed categorical imperative seems to be, as far as I can reconstruct it, cf. your comment, February 10, 2024 at 4:23 PM)?

      More specifically, what if one fails to enjoy (even the prospect of) its adoption?
      Wouldn't it be more consequent, faithful to the implied (and yet to be demonstrated) normativity of enjoyment, to dispense with the consideration of others not covered by them, and reduce it to "Do what thou enjoyest", in such a case?

      P.S.
      In a sense, this has very little to do with the truth of Christian revelation or whatever, so please avoid appealing to what you take the Bible to be saying. Arguendo, even if "ze Christians" are hypocrites and/or failed to understand the NT, this does nothing to help your position.

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    3. Aren't they arguing that you seem to deny that there can be any rational reason to object to murder, rape, torture etc.? That you insist objections have to be based only on personal emotion and private experience?

      In large, highly organised human communities the idea that respect for laws against rape and murder and so on only derive from this kind of subjective individual experience doesn't seem that plausible.

      It's always possible that a lot of atheists and secularists de facto place more importance of political philosophy as a source of normative morality, as opposed to moral philosophy and metaphysics in themselves, and this is where some of the argument is coming from.

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    4. Sigh. Still steadfastly refusing to get it, eh? No one is saying you can't oppose anything you like. That is another cringingly obvious straw man. What we are saying is YOU HAVE NO GROUNDS TO DO SO EXCEPT PERSONAL PREFERENCE. If that is not true, please give us the grounds for the objection. Why are those actions evil? Please fish or cut bait. Either tell us what grounds the distinction between good and evil or just bite the bullet and admit that you believe there is no such thing as an objective morality, but somehow your "objection" to an action makes it evil. And while you're at it, please explain why your objections to an action are binding on anyone else. Why should I believe anything is evil just because you do?

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    5. If your philosophical baseline is that to be "bad" means "I and many other people find such actions emotionally unpleasant" then such a view seems to have no bearing on others who don't share your emotional framework or don't philosophically believe in such a view of "bad". All it says to them is "I (or we) don't like it". So? I don't like jalapeno, either, but that means nothing to those who do.

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    6. WCB

      Yes, I do have rational grounds to object to great moral evils that result in horrendous suffering for innocent persons.

      1. These evil are obviously and objectively wrong.

      2. If we take the stance that there is no good reason for atheists to object to great evils, it makes your religion look foolish and untrustworthy.

      3. Objectively, evils like this should strongly be opposed before we suffer from evil by amoral persons, government,ideologies and the like.

      4. The claim that only religious folk have objective morals is false. Demonstrated by the numerous religions Humanity has and has had with different moral standards. Which religion? Which moral standard? The moral standards of the RCC that gave us heresy hunts, crusades, inquisitions, religious wars, feudalism, slavery, and other evils? Luckily the RCC no longer has the power to continue doing such things.

      5. Objective morality as championed here has no real foundation, no real definition, no real meaning. It is a rhetorical game only. The claims we see here that atheists have no grounds to object to horrendous evils, demonstrates this to anybody not under the spell of religious dogmas.

      WCB

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    7. @WCB

      1, 3 and 5 are entirely gratuitous. You've been asked for your reasons, and you respond by merely asserting that which you were asked to provide justification for. This is, frankly, pathetic.
      2 misrepresents the sustained argument on this blog, that of Thomism and, more broadly, Catholic philosophical tradition (and that of some borrowers). The point is not that atheists, qua such, have no good reason (if by that we mean "rational justification") for objecting to evils. It is, rather, that their overall philosophical commitments, ones they tend to appeal in support of their unbelief, identifiable as “naturalism” or materialism etc., as well as their corollaries, such as, say, nominalism broadly understood, preclude them from having such justification, on pain of rank inconsequence. In addition, some of the more “popularly” effective arguments of atheists, which at least nowadays tend to reduce to moralizing and politics more often than not, are immediately rendered void, philosophically: you cannot assert the moral progress of humanity, religion to be “harmful poison” or whatnot without begging the question all the way.

      An argument with a rare atheist that concedes something like Aristotelian essentialism would be different – pressing their inconsequence, and/or directly presenting something like the Five Ways, given their acceptance of core point of natural philosophy/metaphysics, followed by a discussion of the virtue of religion – but such a naturalist would not be challenged the way you are currently by the Thomist. Of course, the same background commitments/metaethics would also preclude even less obviously tendentious (in that they are sometimes attempted as reductions to absurdity, without admitting true good and evil) arguments like the problem of evil (how would one even go about asserting that God (per impossibile) goes against His nature by allowing some defect in creation?).
      With 4 we have a true howler.
      Not only are you conflating having morals with having a rational justification for having morals - we do not deny (most) “non-religious” folk (at least necessarily) the former, only the latter – you also manage to include a truly outrageous non-sequitur, incidentally, again revealing you’re clueless as to what the Thomist position is.

      How, precisely, does historical religious and/or moral plurality falsify that “[t]he claim that only religious folk have objective morals is false”? The only claim it falsifies is one that no-one has made here, namely, that “all religious folk have objective morality”, where “have objective morality” means “profess true moral doctrine”, which is a yet different sense.

      Which religion?

      This one’s easy: the demonstrably true one, if it is around (as I maintain it is), one that is bound to agree with morality as knowable through reason (natural law), anyway.

      The moral standards of the RCC that gave us heresy hunts, crusades, inquisitions, religious wars, feudalism, slavery, and other evils?

      Yes, quite right, as per the above. I deny that any of these were necessarily evil, with the exception of chattel slavery, which cannot be reasonably maintained “to have been given by the moral standards of the RCC” (rather, it was consistently condemned by her, even if this condemnation was not universally observed).

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    8. @WCB

      Yes, I do have rational grounds to object to great moral evils that result in horrendous suffering for innocent persons.

      1. These evil are obviously and objectively wrong.


      This seems like accepting the existence of something like objective morality? I agree that some knowledge of moral truths would be good rational grounds for objecting to what went against them.

      People have been asking you where your knowledge of objective moral wrongs, moral obligations and so on comes from and how you use it identify these moral evils and moral obligations.

      Are you arguing that the influence of religious dogma and tribalism is the main inspiration for them doing this, so you don't need to respond to their questions about it?

      It doesn't seem unreasonable to judge that the moral language you are using is quite emotive and is intended to exercise influence on people who read it. Their interest in what justification you have for attempting to influence your readers therefore also doesn't seem unreasonable.

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    9. You've got no demonstrable evidence that followers of some other religion are not able to put forward either. Everyone can claim to have miracles and prophecies as a back-up. It never ceases to amaze me how Christians are so convinced about alleged superiority of their pool of evidence . Maybe you've got succesfull theistic arguments but these can be accepted by everyone who subscribes to monotheism (islam, judaism, even some theistic strands in hinduism, or just not going beyond reason - i'm not obliged to accept any revelation).

      The argument is simple.

      1. Throughout the history many people (and adherents of diffrent and often contradicting religious beliefs) have claimed to hear the voice of divinity or witness miracle.
      2. There are no criteria that would allow to assess which claim is true and which is falset.
      3. So the Christian has no basis to uphold that his evidence is superior.

      First premise is uncontroversial I think, it is the second that everyone will here probably disagree with. But if you say it's demonstrable then you probably will be able to show what is this criterium that allows us to see the truth of Christianity. I hope it's something better than the devil was behind all other.


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  20. You mean I cannot object to mass murder, genocide, murder, rape, torture and slavery? or other obvious evils small and large?

    Richard Dawkins once said:

    The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.

    Do you disagree with Dawkins?

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    1. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.

      Afaik Dawkins was/is a monist (no mind/body or other form of dualism) and also a reductionist, arguing that behaviour and composition of all the different objects in the universe can be reduced to a a certain basic set of elements and collection of natural laws.

      Why he believed that human behaviour was not determined by these laws expressed through biological evolution never seemed to get explained, instead of just being stated.

      Though towards the end of the 19th century, when Darwin's ideas were becoming better known in Continental Europe, the potential conflict between his discoveries and the revolutionary maxims of the Enlightenment and 1789 (for ex. the inevitability of progress towards universal Liberty, Equality and Fraternity) did begin to be noticed.

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  21. " 'The point isn't that these things aren't evil, it is rather that your philosophy of ethics is not sufficient to label them as such.'

    You mean I cannot object to mass murder, genocide, murder, rape, torture and slavery? or other obvious evils small and large?"


    Not at all. You may go off into a corner and flap your lips and emote till Hell freezes over; and no one would care - until the point at which you began staking what you assert to be objective moral duties and obligations against them, while referencing traditional Christian sounding good and evil moral terminology as part of it.

    This leads to the comical aspect of your hyperventilating and indignant performance; one, which has been largely ignored till now except by Miller and Talmid and perhaps another or two.

    It is your dismal attempt to leverage emotion into some kind of pseudo teleological groundwork.

    But as they pointed out, you have not supplied the missing premisses which will take us from the fact that you experience an emotional reaction, to someone else's duty to respond in a way that pleases you, yet might cost, disadvantage, or inconvenience, them.

    In fact, referencing "evolution" and growth, and "flourishing" and "empathy" and like terminology, seems to be a common tactic among moral relativists and moral nihilists as they attempt to shabbily pantomime natural law arguments. Apparently they figure repetition of an assertion will finish the work argument cannot.

    Now, to give the devil his due, some do admit it outright. Rorty for example. Or that punk philosoper at Duke who joined the academic lynch mob that went after the lacrosse team. [Wonder if he ever apologized.]

    In any event, they make clear that eventually it's all down to enforcing one's will, and first-principles moral reasoning be damned. "It" wants what it wants - insofar as its own residual "anthropology" can be said to represent a coherent "it" with a core and persisting identity.

    Well, there is something to be said for the voice that does admit that much about itself. Kinda clears the ground in practical "friend and enemy" terms, at least.


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  22. WCB

    @G Mancz

    "What your opponents mean is that you cannot *rationally* object to these things, if by "object" you mean anything more substantive than "I experience negative affective responses" etc.,"

    It is more than that. Nobody can point to some objective morality outside of that. after all, a religion that has practiced religious wars, mass murders, cruel crusades, et al has no reliable objective morality they can point to.

    And then there are other issues. If we do not draw the line at evil actions, we might become victims of same evil actions.

    I cannot say I approve of slavery as long as I am the master and you are the slave. I might with a twist of fate be the slave. The RCC long ago decided it would use its power to crush opponents like the Cathars. In the end, it was the RCC that ended up being crushed, losing all secular power and now controlling only the Vatican City. Bitterly complaining as they lost power over the years.

    This entire Objective Morality nonsense is a game. But a dangerous one at that. after all, we have our nativist Christian Nationalists in the U.S. playing the same game. And many of them find that the RCC is not Christian, is a damnable heresy, The "Whore Of Babylon".

    Whose Objective morality then?

    WCB

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    1. It is more than that. Nobody can point to some objective morality outside of that.

      Because the “that” in question has to be “I experience negative affective responses", I’m not sure I understand how these are meant to be taken together. In what sense “it is more than that”? How do you know this to be the case?

      As an aside, I assure you, the most callous Teutonic brother on a reysa plausibly would have no issue justifying his activities this way, and the same goes for his pagan counterpart, whose religion was not at all concerned with the "game" you mention (to the latter, it would be fair play, for all we know: we wouldn't want to accuse the Balt of Christian hypocrisy, would we?).

      after all, a religion that has practiced religious wars, mass murders, cruel crusades, et al has no reliable objective morality they can point to.

      Unless you think Catholicism is some sort of natural substance/an “atom” of sorts, making it the proper agent behind all the actions of its adherents, this is nonsense (the suggested premise is also nonsense, needless to say).
      Catholic morals do not allow murders, let alone mass murders, and the same goes for “cruel crusades” qua cruel (“religious wars” is ambiguous). Humans that were Catholics have done all of the above, as bad Catholics, precisely. Inconsequence of individuals and/or hypocrisy do not an argument make.

      And then there are other issues. If we do not draw the line at evil actions, we might become victims of same evil actions

      Do you mean to say “If we don’t draw the line at actions I experience negative affective responses to, which I also take [for reasons unknown] to be more than this?
      Anyways, we might, or might not. Unless you establish that “gambling” is “evil”, nothing of consequence follows.

      This entire Objective Morality nonsense is a game. But a dangerous one at that. after all, we have our nativist Christian Nationalists in the U.S. playing the same game. And many of them find that the RCC is not Christian, is a damnable heresy, The "Whore Of Babylon".

      Again, gratuitously asserted, seemingly on the basis of the same parochial American political concerns (and presenting little awareness of topics other than historically fringe religious concerns hardly representative of anyone other than American Protestants and their (North European) ancestors).

      Of course, you’ve done nothing to show that “objective morality” is nonsense, let alone a nonsensical game. But more than that, you then write “dangerous”. Consulting the same dictionary, we get:

      1) likely to injure or harm somebody, or to damage or destroy something;
      2) likely to cause problems or have a bad result.

      Are you playing a game here, or do you mean to say “objective harm”, “objective problems” or “objectively bad result”? The notion of “harm” presupposes some standard of structural integrity. Without objective reasons for desiring the preservation of the latter, the notion, and appeals to it, are not at all compelling.
      On the other hand, if we prescind from the aforementioned fluff, this comment of yours plausibly reduces to an invitation to political compromise. As a foreigner, I have no part in your commonwealth, so I cannot accept, but permit me to advise you to avoid dressing your (possibly merely pragmatic) proposals to fellow Americans in such excruciatingly moralising language.
      People generally, and especially those characterised by a certain individualism (as e.g. American conservatives are, according to many, including their declared enemies), dislike being taken for a ride. As the speciousness of your appeals (at least, as is) is fairly transparent, such manipulation is unlikely to contribute to successful ‘convivencia’ in the US.

      But then, perhaps you do not actually find merely pragmatic coexistence all that desirable, like many of your progressive compatriots now seem not to. A specter is haunting them, it seems?

      A specter of Objective Moralism?

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    2. Whose Objective morality then?

      The Thomist says: let’s start with “human”, as in, “of rational animals”, and proceed with the journey of discovery from there!

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  23. WCB

    @DNW

    "Not at all. You may go off into a corner and flap your lips and emote till Hell freezes over; and no one would care"

    Ahhhh, the old word game. "I am resolute, you are obstinate"
    "I have objective morality, you have only emotions".

    Well, no. Islamic radical tell us they have the Quran and the words of Allah, objective morality Islamic style. The problem then is defining exactly what is meant by objective morality and how you know there is such a thing, and what it entails.

    For which it seems you are not doing. Give it a try.

    For example, don here in Texas, our GOP legislature, let by right winged governor Greg Abbott has refused to open a medicare exchange allowing more poor people to get adequate health care insurance. Leading to many people suffering inadequate health care. Now, tell me how this so called "Objective Morality" of your relates to such callous political actions of the Texas GOP.

    As an atheist, I find it abhorrent, brutal and objectionable because it causes suffering to the most vulnerable in our society. Other states have opened Medicare exchanges without problems.

    Now, let us see you put your "Objective Morality" to the acid test. You may wish to read Matthew 25:32- 46 first. Do not forget Abbott and our Texas GOP legislators style themselves as Christians.

    WCB

    WCB

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  24. WCB

    @Fred
    "What we are saying is YOU HAVE NO GROUNDS TO DO SO EXCEPT PERSONAL PREFERENCE. "

    And some here have a personal preference for some vague, term "objective morality" which does not seem to mean much. Not that anybody here can explain why that is so much better than personal revulsion against horrendous evils like mass murder, genocide, rape, torture, slavery or lesser but still evil actions and activities.

    It is then, just a buzzword, rhetoric, polemics at best.
    The point is, the RCC with it's vaunted "Objective morality" people here keep posting about did indeed
    seem to be rather immoral over the centuries. Religious wars, cruel inquisitions, genocides et all.

    It gets hard to take "Objective Morality" seriously when nobody here can expplain why genocide is bad as measured by that "Objective Morality" while my revulsion for genocide and mass murder is brushed of as mere personal preference. Which implies genocide
    might be acceptable to some as THEIR personal preference. That my mere personal preference has no moral force.

    I think you will find that there are a lot of atheists, agnostics, Nones, nothing in particulars, and cultural Christians, and non-Christian religious people will find this idea that personal preferences in regards to horrendous evils is somehow lacking or a mistaken and foolish concept.

    Why is the Mass murder of Cathars evil in the light of
    "Objective Morality" Or not.. Rather than attack me, somebody here want to explain that concept?

    WCB

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    1. Well, at least you're honest enough to admit that your morality is based on nothing but personal preference. Kudos for that. Now please address the other part of my request. Please show how your feeeeelz are binding on anyone else. DNW has given you plenty of examples of cultures for which genocide was perfectly morally acceptable: the Romans, Native American tribes, Nazi Germans, Chinese communists. A bit of research could probably reveal more. Why should they care about your feelings?

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    2. Mass murder (of whoever) is objectively immoral because, by default, there's no natural human end fulfilled, and many thwarted, in directly intending and enacting the separation of the soul from the body of a rational animal that is not 1) guilty of proportionately grave crime; 2) directly assaulting the common good and posing proportional danger to it, such as belligerents in (at least presumably) unjust wars or hostile criminals.

      (The case of an explicit divine command would be different in light of what can be known about God, we contend, through natural reason alone (God, in maintaining the existence of creatures, wills the common good of the universe, and is necessarily wise in everything He does etc.), and it would supply the sufficient reason to inflict such separation. This was not the case in Languedoc, though.)

      Many individual Cathars who died were tried for the crime of heresy (many did not die), which was on the books [you’re yet to demonstrate the medieval French *necessarily* had to not have it there; the heretics themselves had no principled objections, it should be said], many perished in their capacity as unambiguous belligerents resisting, in arms, the relevant authorities recognized as legitimate in Medieval France, namely, the Roman pontiff and the king of France [you’re yet to demonstrate they weren’t]. They were not, in other words, murdered.

      Many more perished as in the sacks of cities or towns as result of remaining in them after they refused to surrender. Although we wouldn’t classify all of them as combatants, many of them happened to be.

      Admittedly, many innocent non-combatants died as result of these. However, this was the reality of almost every war until fairly recently, and is not at all peculiar to the crusades or Christendom, the plausible reason being the physiological background to this, still with us today, namely, the effects of combat frenzy and fatigue hardly avoidable in the context of prolonged close-quarters combat (the only alternative to which in a siege would be starving the defenders), which would plausibly afford many of the besiegers a diminished capacity defence.

      It is regrettable that this was historically so normalised as to probably enter the habitual intentions of the combatants, though this very normalization – a historically universal human reality well predating Christianity – should caution us against assigning blame to individuals.

      Still, even the barons at Béziers, unlike, say, the Mongols at Baghdad or Revolutionary troops in the Vendée, did not, nor even intended to, in fact, commit actual democide.

      In this connection, though, I think it pertinent to point out that polities most responsible for the “humanisation” of the law of war, whether ad bellum or in bello , were all at the very least ancestrally Christian, and many of them outright confessional states.

      There you go!

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    3. GMancz
      You don't think that what happened to people of Beziers during the Albigensian Crusade was murder?

      This is from "The Cambridge World History of Genocide. Vol.1 Genocide in Ancient, Medieval and Premodern Worlds"
      Edited by Ben Kiernan, Yale University, 2023.
      https://www.amazon.com/Cambridge-World-History-Genocide-Premodern/dp/110849353X

      Chp. 18 "The Albigensian Crusade and the Early Inquisitions into Heretical Depravity 1208-1246 by Mark Gregory Pegg
      The chapter is 27 pages long. I am quoting from p. 470-471

      "On July 22, 1209, 5,000 horsemen, 10,000 foot soldiers and around 12,000 ragtag men, women and children surrounded the city of Beziers. All of the them, from great lords to beggar boys, wore a cross of cloth on their clothing as a sign of the "living God." They were crusaders in a great holy war against the 'Provencal heretics' proclaimed earlier by Pope Innocent III.
      Arnau Amalric, abbot of Citeaux, threatened the people of Beziers with wholesale carnage unless they handed over the heretics they were accused of protecting. The townspeople denied the accusation and prepared for a long siege.
      Around the middle of the next day, some Bitterois men killed a foolhardy French crusader on the bridge leading into the city.
      This enraged the thousands of boys (runaways, servants and young monks) in the crusader camp. Suddenly, they climbed the walls and swarmed into the city, chanting, "Let's attack." Terrified by such fury, the people of Beziers fled. Mobs of delirious boys surged through the streets, clubbing to death everyone they met. As they slaughtered, they looked for treasure. After an hour or so, the crusader knights entered the city, whipping the wild boys like dogs. Outraged, the boys cried, "Burn it!" The city was soon an inferno. After less than three hours, Beziers and all the people who lived there were annihilated in an afternoon.

      "To our wonderment, Arnau Amalric wrote to Innnocent III; 'the boys put to the sword almost 20,000 people. The whole city was despoiled and burnt as divine vengeance raged marvellously.' In his joy, Amalric exaggerated the number of men, women and children killed by about 7,000."

      At the end of this section, the author has a footnote citing 8 sources in French, English and Latin.

      So there is your murder.






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    4. Before answering your query, permit me to proffer a question of my own: perhaps you’re having issues with reading (comprehension)? Here’s what I wrote:

      Still, even the barons at Béziers <…> did not, nor even intended to, in fact, commit actual democide.

      Please note the “even” above, as well as “democide”.

      So, in reply to your above question, as stated, no, I did not and do not, though I don’t deny that *some* were murdered.

      Thank you for this extract, though, which I assume is a representative sample of Pegg’s scholarship (and obvious prejudice).

      If one were to read nothing but this, one may be forgiven for thinking that the town of Béziers was indeed wiped out by a delirious mob without any prior fighting, which delirium had been induced by nothing but their religious fanaticism or whatnot; after all, Pegg mentions nothing else, such as the fact that the surprisingly successful assault of the ribaldi had been preceded by skirmishes (hint: the “foolhardy French crusader” wasn’t killed in a bar fight) and periodic sorties from the city, as well as sustained arrow fire (which are more than sufficient to induce frenzied mob behaviour, especially given the mob’s inexperience). As L.W. Marvin notes in his The Occitan War: A Military and Political History of the Albigensian Crusade, 1209–1218 (pp. 42; please see ibid. pp. 40-42 for the immediate context of the assault, as well), “[t]he nobility and knights of the crusading army held back or remained unaware of what was going on until the attack was well underway. According to the legates' letter, at the time of the ribaldi attack, the leaders of the crusade were discussing how to get the loyal Catholics out of the city, presumably before a blockade and proper siege had begun” <…> “[d]uring the frenetic capture of the city the crusade leadership could not control events, as many knights now scrambled to get their share of loot".

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    5. It’s true that some, on the basis of some contemporary writing (thou not reports), (see e.g. C. Tyerman, God's War: A New History of the Crusades , p. 591), suppose it’s possible that Béziers may have been singled out to serve as an example, but I'd say we can’t responsibly conclude this on the basis of what had happened due to the impulsive and uncontrolled nature of the assault (which, again, wouldn’t have been likely to succeed). J. Riley-Smith, citing the counterexample of the fate of the population of Carcassonne, which was spared after the city had surrendered after a two-week orderly siege, concludes that the “army, containing many poor people from Northern France, <…> had apparently got out hand” (The Crusades: A History , 3rd edition, Kindle location: 4534 of 11702). This should suffice as regards the factual side of the matter; I stand behind what I’ve said previously.

      Concerning moral evaluation, I submit that many of the people killed were combatants, and as regards the actual non-belligerents who died as a result after the fall of the town, I do not presume to be able to judge how many of their killers retained sufficient capacity to be deemed murderers (though I suppose some were just that), let alone conceive how one can possibly satisfy the requirements of proof concerning mens rea necessary for conviction as regards the crusader leadership, let alone the then-reigning Pope, to say nothing (mutatis mutandis) of Catholicism or objective morality, as WCB would have us do.

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    6. Death in war, especially that of civilians, is always unfortunate. In a just war, however, the intentional killing of belligerents is not murder, and neither is the unintended but predictable death of civilians (which is justifiable, I submit, under double effect rules). Even speaking of unjust wars – say, the War of 1898 against Spain, or the US-led invasion of Iraq, with its falsified casus belli , – I’d only deem, by default, the intentionally acting leadership to be murderers (seeing that soldiers do not typically make such decisions), in addition to actual (murderous) war criminals, needless to say.

      So people wishing to – and I do not recommend this – indiscriminately denounce deaths in wars as murders, and fighting men – as murderers, should, among other things, not limit themselves to history and, accordingly, impugn contemporary regimes and their fellow citizens (and also much closer ancestors), nor should they shy away from drawing adverse conclusions about the philosophies and cultures ostensibly informing these.

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    7. "Pegg's obvious prejudice." His book and Marvin's book were both published by Cambridge Univ. Press. They do not publish books by authors who have "obvious prejudice." Marvin's book was published 16 years ago and does not reflect current scholarship.

      You are the one having issues with comprehension. You confuse the people of Beziers with the heretics (Cathars) whom they did not want to turn over to the church because they knew that "recalcitrant Cathars faced inevitable punishment, if not execution." "The Occitan War," p. 45. Marvin also notes that the Cathari Prefect's reputation for being "more simple, poor and caring than the existing church made the heresy attractive to the nobles and that did not sit well with the church. "Ibid. p. 2.
      The townspeople were preparing for siege to defend the heretics from certain death. The unleashing of arrows and the death of a knight set the rabid ribauds (ribaldi) (some of whom were young monks) on a frenzied killing spree. No doubt they felt they were doing God's work in killing men, women and children. The crusaders did nothing to stop the massacre, but did try to steal their share of the loot.
      Although the abbot Amalric did exaggerated the number of deaths (out of sheer light, no doubt) he viewed the slaughter as "divine vengeance." Pegg quotes Amalric's own words in "De victoria habita contra hereticos."

      Oh yes, the crusaders graciously decided not to slaughter the people of Carcassonne. They just were thrown into the countryside as refugees with only the clothes on their backs.
      As the crusade continued, Pegg notes that Simon de Montfort mutilated 100 villagers in Bram, he also burnt 400 townspeople accused of heresy at Lavaur, in Toulousain- he burned 60 heretics. In May 1219, Prince Louis marched as crusader to Marmande and butchered 5,000 men, women and children. Even Marvin calls it a "horrible mass killing." Ibid. p.300

      In "The Albigensian Crusades," Joseph Strayer refers to the holy war "as a slash and burn through the history of France and the Church like a gaping wound.
      That's what it was. Don't be an apologist for the zeal of the Catholic Church to exterminate heretics, "Pertinacious Papist."


      Delete
    8. "Pegg's obvious prejudice." His book and Marvin's book were both published by Cambridge Univ. Press. They do not publish books by authors who have "obvious prejudice.

      I don’t assume they do, but I don’t think they’re infallible, and suppose it’s possible that something can slip past the editors, especially if the prejudice is widespread and acceptable. You’re welcome to explain to me why Pegg, in the cited article, misleadingly (in the way already described) omits details relevant to the explanation the behaviour of the irregulars, or for what precise reason he saw fit to include the reference to the living God, in scare quotes.

      Marvin's book was published 16 years ago and does not reflect current scholarship.

      Really, now? In what way is his book (which, incidentally, you go on to rely upon) dated, precisely? More to the point, did someone establish that the records we do have are false, and that Béziers fell without any prior fighting? By all means, cite away!

      This is what one would have to do, after all, because what actually happened is sufficiently explicable in terms of the fairly mundane, if very tragic, realities of crowd behaviour in the context of close-quarters fighting, familiar to anyone with a passing knowledge of pre-modern war, without any need to appeal to religion, unless, of course, you suppose that, say, the Byzantine army sacking Constantinople herself in 1081 or the Pisans at Amalfi or the Rusians (sic) at Kiev in 1169 or the English at Caen or Limoges and all the other sackers in non-religiously motivated wars of the Medieval period were animated by the “zeal to exterminate heretics”.

      I award you extra points for self-consistency in, urm, scrupulously following “current scholarship”, though, exemplified perfectly by your citation of a 1972 book by Strayer, as well as the opening citation of Pegg’s own, ahem, dusty old tome on this crusade, dating, as it does, to 2008 (which apparently actually predates ol’ Marvin’s undoubtedly dated account by a whole year).

      Delete
    9. You are the one having issues with comprehension. You confuse the people of Beziers with the heretics (Cathars) whom they did not want to turn over to the church because they knew that "recalcitrant Cathars faced inevitable punishment, if not execution.”

      And what made you conclude this, pray tell?
      Here’s what I think happened: the mostly Catholic townspeople of Béziers refused to comply with the demands of the legate (that is, a duly empowered representatives of their legitimate authorities) to turn over a certain number of criminals living among them (as heretics were, per the laws of Christendom and France), choosing to resist with lethal force. This resistance led to skirmishes, which in turn led to a surprising capture of the town by irregular troops following the fighting, which the townsmen lost. This was followed by a sack.

      What did I get wrong?

      Marvin also notes that the Cathari Prefect's reputation for being "more simple, poor and caring than the existing church made the heresy attractive to the nobles and that did not sit well with the church. "Ibid. p. 2.

      And you bring this up because?.. I’m fully cognizant of the reality that all sorts of pernicious nonsense can be superficially attractive for some people (especially elitist nonsense, when it comes to the aristocracy), nor do I believe the entire sect comprised solely contemptible individuals of ill-repute (I advise avoiding judging persons).

      The crusade wasn’t proclaimed because the Cathars weren’t nice . It was proclaimed because they were judged to be dangerous heretics abetted by local lords unwilling or unable to fulfil their obligations to the Church and their subjects.

      The townspeople were preparing for siege to defend the heretics from certain death.

      That is, they were preparing to kill crusaders carrying out orders of their legitimate authorities aimed at the apprehension of suspects for criminal proceedings. As to the certainty of their death, we know that is not true, even if they proved recalcitrant (you yourself make the citation).

      Delete
    10. The unleashing of arrows and the death of a knight set the rabid ribauds (ribaldi) (some of whom were young monks) on a frenzied killing spree.

      I’m sure the mortal danger (especially for the ill-prepared) of arrow-fire, to speak nothing of actual casualties (and mutilation of the slain), had nothing to do with this.

      No doubt they felt they were doing God's work in killing men, women and children.”
      Were they? Or were they, precisely, on a frenzied killing spree?


      Anyway, what gave this away, specifically? Was it their preparedness to set fire to the town to prevent loot they wanted for themselves from falling into the hands of the knights? I mean, this is religious motivation right there, no doubt about it.

      Or is it clairvoyance on your part?

      The crusaders did nothing to stop the massacre, but did try to steal their share of the loot.

      As sources present the case, they were hardly arriving at the scene as an organised force, limiting their options. Do you think attacking the ribald would be preferable? What do you think would’ve happened then?

      Although the abbot Amalric did exaggerated the number of deaths (out of sheer [de?]light, no doubt) he viewed the slaughter as "divine vengeance." Pegg quotes Amalric's own words in "De victoria habita contra hereticos.

      If you were to actually bother to read the letter, and refrain from relying on imagination, you’d see that the attribution of what happened to divinity likely has to do with the aspect of providence, specifically, as the abbot – for all we know, not a man accustomed to was – is apparently struck (“mirantibus nostris”, to our astonishment”; incidentally, Pegg chooses to translate the cognate describing the vengeance, mirabiliter, with “marvelously”, which many choose to read as expressing approval, likely aided by such translation, as well as the argument, by which need not be done) by how quickly a fortified town fell to a lowborn unarmed mod unaccompanied by actual warriors.

      Moreover, the accomplishment, by Providence, of the punishment of sinners by other sinners is a biblical staple much explored in the tradition both the legate and the Pope would be familiar with. Maintaining that either of the two Biblical destructions of Jerusalem, for example, were instances of singular divine punishment, to which each Christian is bound, in no way implies a commitment to approving the actions of either the Babylonian or the Roman military.

      Delete
    11. Oh yes, the crusaders graciously decided not to slaughter the people of Carcassonne. They just were thrown into the countryside as refugees with only the clothes on their backs.

      I suppose I can, for the benefit of other potential readers at least (this consideration accounts for much of this response), explain that my citation of the example of the treatment of Carcassonne had nothing to do with any attempt of mine at showing some peculiar graciousness of the crusaders (especially in modern estimation); rather, what it indicates is the lack of a democidal purpose on the part of the same legate-led crusader army, at least qua organised force engaged in orderly warfare.

      As the crusade continued, Pegg notes that Simon de Montfort mutilated 100 villagers in Bram, he also burnt 400 townspeople accused of heresy at Lavaur, in Toulousain- he burned 60 heretics. In May 1219, Prince Louis marched as crusader to Marmande and butchered 5,000 men, women and children. Even Marvin calls it a "horrible mass killing." <…> Don't be an apologist for the zeal of the Catholic Church to exterminate heretics, "Pertinacious Papist."

      As I’m sure you know, the 5th Earl of Leicester is not the “Catholic Church” (just like “the boys” are not identical to it). I’d also point out that I never denied that unambiguous war and canonical crimes have been perpetrated during the crusade, such as torture and execution of captives (Bram; though such instances, too, are not, sadly, unheard of in war) or extrajudicial proceedings against suspected heretics, as well as murders.

      What I denied, and still do, is that the crusade itself was an instance of “mass murder” or democide. It wasn’t. What I believe it to have been is a just war (at least, as proclaimed by the Popes: the internecine struggles of the nobles of Languedoc, or, say, French-Aragonese competition, are only incidentally related to it), some of the belligerents in which perpetrated war crimes.

      On the basis of both faith and truth available to natural reason, I do consider it to be the duty of public authorities (that of the Church and the state) to protect truth, nor do I think heresy and misanthropic ideologies (such as the demonstrably absurd Catharism), especially subversive ones*, to be harmless and somehow intrinsically deserving of toleration. Hence I have no reason to deny and every reason to affirm that, at least in the abstract, wars in defence of religion can be just, and heresy can legitimately be a prosecutable crime.

      I do not expect anyone not convinced of the truth of Catholicism to conclude that the Albigensian Crusade was, ultimately, a just war. After all, can you have a just war, on the natural law understanding, in defence of a religion not established as true?

      Fancifully speaking, I confess I’m not sure I would’ve chosen the respective course of action were I in the shoes of Innocent III. I’m not, though, and I do not believe it is my place to pass judgement on the prudence of authorities acting with a just cause eight hundred years ago.

      Delete
    12. *I should point out the, I’d say, remarkable fact that, in their judgement of such groups as the Manichaens, Cathars and Bogomils (grouped together on the doctrinal basis, irrespective of possible genealogical links) – as dangerous subversive heresy necessitating, at times, drastic countermeasures – a remarkable number of cultures and regimes following a variety of religions, including those not at all averse to religious diversity, happen to agree: from Sassanid Persians and the Romans (starting under Diocletian and onwards) to the Eastern Romans/Byzantines (usually pragmatic, when it came to border areas), China under the Tang and the Song, and, finally, the Roman Church.

      Delete
    13. P.S.

      I'm not the "Pertinacious Papist", even if I am, in fact, a pertinacious Papist, I dare not claim the name.

      It's just that, for whatever reason, this (rather excellent, IIRC) blog that I used to read is the only blog that shows up in my profile as such.

      Delete
    14. "On the basis of both faith and truth available to natural reason, I do consider it to be the duty of public authorities (that of the Church and the state) to protect truth, nor do I think heresy and misanthropic ideologies (such as the demonstrably absurd Catharism), especially subversive ones*, to be harmless and somehow intrinsically deserving of toleration. Hence I have no reason to deny and every reason to affirm that, at least in the abstract, wars in defence of religion can be just, and heresy can legitimately be a prosecutable crimes"

      So then, the truth is finally coming out of you and really can be summed up in the ludicrous paragraph I quoted. Everything else you wrote is pedantic quibbling, disjointed writing and irrelevant.

      As Strayer notes in P.35 of "The Albigensian Crusade," "Catharism was not leading to race suicide or immorality, but it's doctrines appealed to the sort of men who could have been reform leaders in the Church."
      And Innocent III and his corrupt church wanted no reform. Their ignorant and licentious clerics who preyed on the peasants and the Church's rich and worldly prelates who only wanted more wealth and power, naturally had to suppress a movement that stood in its way. It was not just war. The heretics of Provencal were killed for their beliefs.

      But, thankfully, reform did come by way of the Protestant Reformation. Martin Luther would have been killed by the Church (with your approval, no doubt) but Frederick III prevented that from happening and then with coming of the Enlightenment and the Age of Reason, the medieval Catholic Church with all its mighty temporal power crumbled and fell into the dustbin of history and only exists in the fervid dreams of fanatics.

      Much as you would like, (at least, as you say in the abstract) the Church can no longer punish heretics (that's a quaint term nowadays), and public authorities in most civilized countries do not persecute people for their religious beliefs. People are free to believe whatever they wish. Here in the U.S.A., that is in the First Amendment to our Constitution precisely because our Founders did not want the religious wars of Europe to happen here. I know that infuriates you, but you will just have to live with that fact and vent and fume about it in cyberspace.

      I don't think "Pertinacious Papist" is a good name for you. I think "Pusillanimous Papist" fits you better.










      Delete
  25. WCB

    @Kevin

    Dawkins was right about the Universe being mindless and having no concepts of evil. But We do. We are conscious and we have emotions, we can suffer, we can understand the concept of moral evil that causes suffering.

    Do you think Dawkins would not care about Mass murder, Genocide, torture, robbery, slavery and rape? REALLY!

    Ezekiel 36
    26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.
    27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.
    See also Hebrew 8 and 10, Jeremiah 31:33-4

    If God can do what these verses say, and does not, what does this tell you about the nature of this world?

    WCB

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dawkins was right about the Universe being mindless and having no concepts of evil. But We do. We are conscious and we have emotions, we can suffer, we can understand the concept of moral evil that causes suffering.

      Well, except that in the atheist/materialist framework, this is all illusory. 'Good' and 'evil' are illusions fobbed off on us by our evolutionary past. Just like free will. And as with free will, we act and speak as if these were real things. But apparently they're not. So 'good', 'evil', 'free will', 'colors' 'sounds' 'tastes' and 'smells', 'concepts' and maybe even consciousness itself is just one great big evolutionary trick. And doing anything about it? Like we have a real choice in the matter? It's almost like...it's all meaningless.

      Delete
  26. "Ahhhh, the old word game. "I am resolute, you are obstinate"
    "I have objective morality, you have only emotions".


    You're the one who trotted out seated on your bloody emotions.

    As if your emotions counted for something in cases where others who are not you, and not in need of you, and not necessarily well disposed toward you find themselves calculating the cost of tolerating you.

    Well, let's see how that nag runs. Put the spurs to it and see how far it can take you.

    ReplyDelete
  27. "If God can do what these verses say, and does not, what does this tell you about the nature of this world?"

    It tells me nothing about the world but tells me something about you.

    It tells me that you like to spout scriptures quoting a god you don't believe in, because you think that you can manipulate people to your advantage that way.

    It tells me that you are out of touch with reality believing that such a scam could work nowadays.

    It tells me that your emotional gain setting is turned up way too high.

    That, you should probably get yourself a set of barbells and start jogging.

    That maybe by exercising more you will begin whining less.

    It tells me that you should also explain where the benefit lies in someone's suffering a loss so that you may experience a gain.

    And you should further explain why, given your annoyingness and alien nature, anyone should give a damn about your "suffering" if you are of no particular utility to them.

    After all, you could end your own suffering any number if ways without dragging in unwilling others.

    Who is it that directs that they should act in one way rather than another, or just not act at all?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. @DNW:

      "It tells me that you like to spout scriptures quoting a god you don't believe in, because you think that you can manipulate people to your advantage that way."

      This is the most offensive thing about WCB; I do not care he is an idiot who cannot reason his way out of a paper bag -- he is not here to reason and be reasoned with, so it would be pointless anyway. But it does offend my ears reading him quoting scripture just like the Devil did. It gives a real glimpse into his mind. I suppose what this means, for me as a Catholic, is the duty to re-double the prayers for his soul.

      Delete
    2. grodrigues
      February 13, 2024 at 5:26 AM
      @DNW:

      'It tells me that you like to spout scriptures quoting a god you don't believe in, because you think that you can manipulate people to your advantage that way.'

      This is the most offensive thing about WCB; I do not care he is an idiot who cannot reason his way out of a paper bag -- he is not here to reason and be reasoned with, so it would be pointless anyway. But it does offend my ears reading him quoting scripture just like the Devil did. It gives a real glimpse into his mind. "


      "The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose. Is like a villain with a smiling cheek ..." The William

      " I suppose what this means, for me as a Catholic, is the duty to re-double the prayers for his soul."

      I suppose you wi.l just have to use your best judgment in that matter.

      If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it.

      On the other hand, asan RC you have this as well: "You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart.

      Delete
    3. @ grodrigues

      Sorry. My comment placement intended to appear after the VM quote misfired as the tablet went wild and started scrolling ... prob from an intruding update.

      In trying to rectify it and correct a misstrike as well as the misplacement, the comment went off to publication.

      I trust you can figure it all out. Being good with equations and all.

      Now please excuse me as I smash this damn thing against the wall.

      Delete
    4. Grodrigues 5.26AM

      You are so hilarious and still get my goat. I take it that you have indeed re-doubled your prayers for WCB's soul and are not just bleating about it, otherwise your voice might become gruff. Billy might have something to say about that. Just kidding!

      Delete
  28. WCB

    So, one is not allowed to have an emotional reaction to great evils. according to the Great Ethicist DNW. What?

    Or are we supposed to calculate our reaction with out emotion according to so great emotionless calculation according to some principle DNW calls objective morality? And what are those principles DNW? Tells us so we might be able to handle and great moral evil in a DNW approved manner. What cold, calculating unemotional objective morality are you wanting us atheists to use? Without messy emotions, it seem that this objective morality could be programed into an emotionless AI system to unerringly tell us what is evil and what is not evil.

    I notice that people here refuse to state what this marvelous objective morality is and how it is to be used to decide such issues.

    Objective morality seems to be just a vague buzzword.
    With no real meaning, no real world useful application, used only to attack those who dare to state we emotionally are evolved to have emotions that hate being abused, enslaved, murdered, cheated, et al.
    "You can't do THAT!".

    Put up or shut up. What is objective morality divorced from mere emotion? How does one know what it is? Where does one go to find out what its principles are? How to apply it to any situation? Or are you just ranting about all of this? Explain yourself so any religious skeptic can understand what you think applied objective morality not dependent on emotion is.

    Back to you DNW. Any anybody else who wants to demonstrate a viable, non-emotional way of objectively reacting to great moral evils. Or even not so great moral evils.

    WCB

    WCB

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Obstinate little cuss, aren't you? Christians believe that there is a moral order woven into the fabric of creation by its creator. It is objective in the same sense that material reality is objective. It exists independently of whether anyone knows about it, believes in it, objects to it, or accepts it. It is not dependent on any individual or any particular culture. An individual or culture that does not accept or believe in it is simply wrong, as wrong as a culture that believes disease is caused by evil fairies entering the nostrils or that the earth is flat or any other mistaken belief about reality.

      Now, you claim that you don't believe in any such order. Fine. Let's stipulate that no such order exists. The question then becomes, what makes something good or evil in the absence of that order? Cultural belief? DNW and I have already given you a number of cultures that are just fine with genocide morally. Moral sentiment? Whose sentiments? What particular moral sentiments? What about sociopaths who lack any moral sentiments, can they behave immorally?

      What every commenter who has responded to you has been trying to convey through your thick, ideologically blind, self-contradictory skull is that YOU CAN'T HAVE IT BOTH WAYS. If there is no moral order that exists objectively, then nothing is good or evil. Those very words are mere expressions of a) subjective emotional preference or b) conformity to a particular culture's moral code. They mean nothing in themselves.

      Personally, I think you are perfectly well aware of all that. You just can't give up your materialist ideology or admit that according to that very ideology nothing can possibly be good or evil, so you pretend to hold contradictory ideas at the same time and simply assert things over and over as though mere repetition will resolve the contradiction.

      Delete
    2. @WCB
      I think your characterisation of 'objective morals' is flawed here: most advocates of objective morality do not believe emotions are useless and should be discarded to make way for a cold rational moral analysis. As far as I am aware, Thomistic philosophy emphasises that our emotions are good things which stir us to action and guide us towards the correct course of action, and to not be sufficiently angry and sorrowed at great acts of evil such as those you have listed is itself a sign of moral degeneration. In that sense it is good that you have a disdain for such evils, and I (and I assume most others here) would wholeheartedly share that disdain.

      However, the issue I have with your view is that emotions, as the source of morality rather than as a guide, are insufficient for deriving moral imperatives. You still have yet to explain how you proceed from "this action is universally disliked" to "I have a moral responsibility not to perform this action".

      The reason objective morality "is so much better than personal revulsion against horrendous evils" is that your own personal revulsion is meaningless if there is not a universal standard against which actions can be measured. The moral views of a bloodthirsty tyrant who believes murder of the weak is good and compassion is evil would be on par with your own; there is nothing other than personal preference which separates them.

      Delete
  29. WCB

    Similar verses tp Ezekiel 36
    Ezekiel 11:18-20
    Ezekiel 36:25-7
    Jeremiah 24:7
    Jeremiah 31:33-34
    Jeremiah 32L38-41
    Hebrews 8:10-12
    Hebrews 10:15-17

    With the great commission of mark 16, it would seem God would give all mankind an infallible objective morality as per these verses. There would be no false religions, no morally evil ideologies, no moral ignorance.

    Since it is dogmatic for the RCC that God authored the Bible, Old Testament and New Testament, these verses must have true and trustworthy meaning.

    WCB

    ReplyDelete
  30. Do you think Dawkins would not care about Mass murder, Genocide, torture, robbery, slavery and rape? REALLY!

    I'm sure he would. But that's not the issue.

    You said there were things that were objectively evil. Under a materialistic atheist worldview, no there aren't.

    I watch a lot of nature documentaries, and routinely witnes large-scale massacres such as a chimpanzee troop attacking and brutalizing another, or rival ant colonies going to war, or hornets attacking bees. One group of humans committing genocide against another is objectively no worse under any materialistic atheist worldview. It takes subjective qualifiers to achieve that, and what is subjectivity other than personal preference?

    If you come back with some variation of "so atheists can't oppose genocide? REALLY" then you've again missed the point. Your caring is evidence your worldview is wrong, because your worldview doesn't provide the justification for your moral conviction that evil objectively exists.

    Otherwise, in what way does materialistic atheism support the notion that some acts are intrinsically, objectively evil, but only when a human is the perpetrator?

    ReplyDelete
  31. It is obvious that we have once again and for the umpteenth time, run up against the monomaniacal nominalistic subjectivity of the alternate-anthropology anti-essentialism kind.

    The existence of natural kinds and categories is denied. Objectivity in the realm of duties and obligations is held not to exist. And even the human being itself is taken to have no core or persisting identity. Its [ formerly, 'his'] consciousness is considered largely as an epiphenomenal by-product of non-human processes which only provoke the illusion of there being a man or integrated person somewhere beneath this superficial self-awareness. However, so the view goes, in the blind pulsing of the essential nothingness of the cosmic bubble, he insofar as he exists is a largely helpless rider carried along on the mindless genetic worm and those chemical processes beneath it: they doing all the driving or real living that there is to be done. Your emotional life satisfactions then, are just registrations which are part of a feedback loop in the service of something not you, but of which you, inconstant flickering illusion that you are, have incidentally become aware of and can vicariously experience in the form of chemical stimuli.

    Huh.

    'Well ..." , you say, "...ok fine then. That is a game I judge I can play, and potentially play well. Let it be so, and the devil take the hindmost of you defective, incapable, and annoyingly whining f×

    But, oddly enough, that does not seem to please them.

    "No! No!" screech the voices now reconceived as emitting from flesh carapaces which manifest in a way they label as 'progressive'. "That is not what we want! It is not to our illusion of self and taste that you should act in such an indifferent way and neglect to affirm our value! On the contrary, we progressives have collected ourselves together and made a rule that says you should regard us with esteem and consideration despite our dysfunctional manner of engaging our surroundings. We call our way progress, and we wrote the rule down on a sheet of paper, so that makes it objective, and that means you have to obey!"

    In reply they are told, "That is ridiculous. You don't even believe what you are saying holds any real force. It directly contadicts your own reductive "science" and you are failing to live according to the supposed reality which you have yourself proclaimed as conditioning."

    And they reply,

    "We know. But what else do you expect us to do!?!"

    To which the standard rejoinder is, "As we have seen it all before, and know your character by now, we expected you to do just as you have done."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. DNW

      How would the existance of natural kinds and catagories imply objectivity in the realm of obligations and responsibilities?

      Delete
    2. Permit to share a thought inspired by your untiring (at least in some sense) polemical struggle against the inconsistent clamouring of moral anti-realists.

      I do wish someone would write a fantastical story (?) featuring some supra-human intelligence/aloen agency enacting the Lockean acceptation of ad hominem/ex concessis on the unsuspecting sophists of today.

      There exists, of course, a comparable motiff of darkly ironic wish fulfilment involving Faustian bargains with demons or something like djinnies in literature and folklore, as well as other media, but I'm yet to find one developed story where people are pressed with the consequences of their own commitments, though perhaps this is simply my limited reading showing.

      Delete
    3. "FreeThinker
      February 13, 2024 at 9:55 AM
      DNW

      How would the existance of natural kinds and catagories imply objectivity in the realm of obligations and responsibilities?


      Imply? I did not say that.

      Rather, they are the perceptual prerequisites for the formation of critical-attribute sharing classes; regarding which then, general predications concerning valorized intraspecific social behaviors - in cases where living being social behavior is relevant and can be interpreted and understood in the framework of mores - can eventually be formulated.

      Delete
  32. WCB's attempt to claim the moral high ground in a conversation where he denies the moral high ground actually exists will never stop being amusing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. WCB

      OK. You tell us what this objective morality is. How we know what it is and entails. How we apply it to real world evils, great and small. A sneer is not an explanation. which is all I get from some of you.

      WCB

      Delete
    2. WCB

      Where did I state that a moral high ground does not exist? There is no higher moral ground than opposing horrendous suffering inflicted on innocent people.

      I see a lot of overwrought and emotionally statements about some vague objective morality but nobody here can tell me what that is, how to know what it is and how it entails anything when faced with great and not so great moral evils.

      Apparently we are to ignore all emotions when faved with evils like mass murder, genocide, slavery, robbery and other horrendous evils. Nor am I allowed to reason that if allowed, I might be a victim of horrendous moral evils. or others might be. Maybe you can ask Dr. Ed Feser to help you out with these issues.

      WCB

      Delete
    3. Aye, but will people stop bothering to contend with the bag of emoting molecules as it types more oxymoronic drivel?

      Delete
  33. WCB

    Nobody here can tell us what this Objective Morality is, how we use it, what its core principles are and why it is so much better than revulsion at horrendous evils committed by immoral people.

    It is just a fuzzy, vague deepity without any meaning.

    WCB

    ReplyDelete
  34. And so we come around to the point wherein the cycle closes. And, appropriately, it is at the point of the conflicting voluntarist and intellectualist analytical frameworks which Feser just recently covered..

    For a Divine Commandment theorist of morality, such as the Protestants whom the apostate WCB appears to have a shared conceptual background - insofar as mental predispositions go at least - it is all about will, emotion, urges, and impulses right out of the box; this, be there a God or no god. And with mental operations being reduced to the instrumental role of responding to what are per definition ultimately meaningless welling urges or emotions, there is literally no other psychological space for them to inhabit in order to reconsider the matter from the ground up.

    In one anthropology man is a rational or reasoning animal. In the other the human thing is part of a series of concatenations of urges floaing in a skin bag.

    There is for them no framework available for analyzing the nature of a thing, or drawing prescriptive normative inferences therefrom, since things have no intrinsic specific natures which command intellectual acknowledgement in the first place, as an initial step in the chain of moral analysis and reasoning.

    They may introduce a personified "evolution" as a kind of pseudo creator for rhetorical purposes, but of course, evolution is not a "thing", and "it" designs with the same purposiveness as a brushfire does.

    As someone else originally mentioned in other comments above, the A-T and traditionalist starting point is with man as the rational animal.

    Contrarily, the voluntarist starts with the unconscious universe generating temporary and momentarily self-aware vortices of urges, behind which there is nothing to see or be grasped.

    They say - some of them - they want to end suffering. Lots of ways to put a halt to the suffering experienced by an organism, if suffering is your primary and conditioning benchmark of evil. One method of which is to painlessly put an end to the organism itself.

    If in order to put a stop to its suffering, one ends the organism, has one done evil or good in Emo-land? How does the Emo-priest know? Is there some field of value more fundamental than feelings?

    Let's suppose the scourage of pederasty could be ended and ended now by painlessly switcing off the hearts of pederasts as they slept: "Good", or "evil", in Emo-land?

    Richard Rorty admitted that he could not demonstrate that his system of values was objectively any better than Nazi values. And that did not even address the matter of suffering as an evil. His proposed solution to this perplexing situation was to stop asking and disallow such questions, and to do away with metaphysical reasoning altogether.

    John Rawls' calculus of social improvement proposed to reduce overall suffering through eugenics.

    Now Rawls would presumably not go so far as to advocate putting sufferers down, but on the Proudly Emotivist's system of value assignment, what would make euthanasia, an "evil" if it were practiced instead of co-existence? Or, would it be, in fact?

    WCB imagines he is skirting the question. But he has through his behavior been providing an answer of a sort all along.

    ReplyDelete

  35. Reading through WCB's recent deposit of 2/12, 11:18 PM, left me wondering just how I had permitted myself to - if indeed I had - drift so far off focus so as to allow WCB to begin seemingly quoting me using the term "objective morality", as if I were challenging him with the term, to provide one.

    What I recalled doing instead, is trying to get to the bottom of how WCB assessed an act or event, as an "evil" act or event.

    WCB had been moralizing about the duties of his readers to act against what he called 'evil' ; and therefore others naturally wished to know both how he came to deliver his assessment, and on what basis or authority it was that he placed his demands against these others.

    Was it on the basis of his personal feelings? Did he imagine that when he said we should do this, or think that, that his words carried an indisputable force of duty which others were bound to recognize and treat as visible to all, or objective obligations, and not merely as expressions of his desires?

    After all, the ostensible fact-value dichotomy is a longstanding dogma that has attained almost canonical status among the secular religion of humanity crowd, and among anti-metaphysicians, and anti theists in general.

    WCB had seemed to indicate that personal or plural liking and disliking constitutes the standard by which the labels "good" and "evil" are to be applied. Unless apparently, one dislikes opposite gender mimics instrucing his kids and participating in his community life, in which case one's dislike of them somehow fails to make them and their presence in one's life, "evil"; regardless of the revulsion which their presence engenders (pun intended) .

    Now, WCB likes to quote the Bible a lot too. WCB does not of course believe that the Bible is the word of God. And sometimes he even says that what the Bible instructs is evil. But other times WCB insists that Christians follow the scriptural injunctions - or WCB's usually truncated and polemically deployed version of them - as if they represented the authority of God: who WCB says does not exist anyway and mostly promotes evil. Except when WCB says He does not. But since he thinks God does not exist, it's hard to figure out what WCB imagines he is accomplishing with all of this God, or god, citation work.

    At any rate, I went back and looked using word search, and although I had earlier asked WCB if he thought the people he was harranguing had an objective duty or obligations with regard to his insistence that others agree with his evaluations, I did not bring up the topic of "an objective morality" in contradistinction to WCB's ... whatever it is that he calls his system of evaluations and duties.

    Because just exactly what it is that he is spouting, and what it is based on, and why anyone else should pay him any mind after he has done it, is precisely what we are trying to figure out in the first place.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I used the term "objective morality," and others have used the terms "objective" and "objectively." I explained what I meant by it on Feb. 13 @ 10:01. Others have said similar things about morality using somewhat different words. I think WCB just ran all those comments together in his response to you.

      BTW, you're comment, especially the part about God or god citation, is priceless. It is hilarious in its accuracy. I'm surprised WCB hasn't responded to it with more hilarious contradictory nonsense.

      Delete
  36. Is WCB arguing that the moral epistemological problem makes the issue of moral ontological " grounding' basically meaningless . The " grounding " is the rational justification itself which amounts to the ontology collapsing into the epistemology . Is that the angle of the naturalist who also holds to moral realism?

    ReplyDelete
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    1. "Anonymous
      February 13, 2024 at 9:01 PM
      Is WCB arguing that the moral epistemological problem makes the issue of moral ontological " grounding' basically meaningless . The " grounding " is the rational justification itself which amounts to the ontology collapsing into the epistemology . Is that the angle of the naturalist who also holds to moral realism?"

      You bring up a generally important distinction in this field which would be pretty useful if we had managed to move the conversation along that far. LOL

      WCB had vociferously named a number of acts as evil, and he expressed the expectation that others would, and in fact should, agree with him.

      And of course as exchanges and observations accumulate some will touch on various aspects of the question you moot. Though I personally doubt that WCB even grasps the distinctions you point.

      But in my direct exchanges with WCB I have been trying to keep focused first on the epistemologically oriented question of how he knows what is "evil" in the first place.

      And secondarily, how it is that he expects the kind of judgment he has arrived at to impose obligations on others which they are expected [by him] to recognize and concede.

      Now, there seems to be a movement by WCB and some others to segue from the previous issue of the intellectual adequacy of the standard which WCB has used in order to identify evil and assert obligations, to the question of "Objective Morality". This apparently being a means by which, they imagine, they will change the terms of the question and turn the tables on those presumed realists who are skeptical of WCB's assertions.

      Why they are bothering with this gambit is odd, since WCB has already clearly stated that he thinks that his claims lead to objective [ in some undefined sense] duties and that he knows this because humans have emotions.

      What most commenters are trying to get him to reveal is why expects others to be persuaded by his claim to know how to apply the conditioning term "evil", and how he himself recognizes it in a way which they too should find intellectually compelling and logically convincing.

      No luck so far.

      Delete
  37. WCB said:

    Yes, I do have rational grounds to object to great moral evils that result in horrendous suffering for innocent persons.

    1. These evil are obviously and objectively wrong.


    WCB also says:

    Nobody here can tell us what this Objective Morality is, how we use it, what its core principles are and why it is so much better than revulsion at horrendous evils committed by immoral people.

    Whatever the objective morality is or isn't, WCB says some things are objectively evil, meaning he ought to be able to tell us.

    Sloppy wording?

    One final attempt to get the point across. Throughout history there have been cultures in which things like slavery, genocide, rape, murder of children, etc have been morally acceptable. Without resorting to bias at modern Western sensibilities, why were they wrong and you are right?

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    1. " Sloppy wording? "

      You're too generous. "Blithe incoherence."

      Delete
  38. WCB

    @DNW

    "What I recalled doing instead, is trying to get to the bottom of how WCB assessed an act or event, as an "evil" act or event. "

    It is simple. Does an act cause great suffering to innocent parties. Mass murder, Genocide, murder, robbery, et al.

    Political policies that deny adequate health care to millions due to perverse political ideology for example.

    And the problem of abstract reasoning that leads to callous behavior and great suffering. Hitler's insane anti-semitism for example.

    I am in no way obligated to agree with those fools who claim that we cannot distinguish between moral systems and all moral systems are equal. Including that of Nazis. That is obviously false. A moral system that abhors mass murder is better than a moral system that commits mass murders.

    And still, the issue of just what is this theological objective morality is remains unresolved here.

    This morality and ethics thing is not that hard if one goes back to basic principles.

    1. We have emotions evolution has given us that allow us to suffer.
    2. Inflicting great and horrendous suffering on people is wrong.
    3. We have the ability to reason abstractly.
    4. Abstract reasoning can cause bad ideologies, racism, et al and leads to atrocities.
    5. We must rationally think and avoid bad abstract reasons to inflict suffering on innocent persons.

    All the rest is details. And this is my personal basic foundation for morality and ethics. What is yours?

    WCB

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    1. 1. Evolution has given us? Blessed be the name of Evolution. But I thought "evolution" was an impersonal material process that can't "give" anything. It's just the process of random mutation and natural selection. Some things live and others die. There is certainly no moral reason for it. Isn't that what you atheists keep telling us?

      2. Says who? Many cultures have not only had no problem with inflicting unnecessary suffering but have glorified it, or at least used it as entertainment.
      3. So?
      4. What makes an ideology bad? What is an "atrocity" and why is it a bad thing? You still can't tell us.
      5. Why must we? Not everyone has. Why were they wrong and you right?

      And I ask you again (a question you will probably deflect from or dodge again), why is your personal foundation for morality and ethics binding on anyone else?

      Delete
    2. 3. So?

      Fred, I think the more pertinent response would be "Apparently, not quite so." At least, not in all cases: one who argues that morality is based on emotion, for example. He appears to have abstract concepts (of a sort), but reasoning with them? Not so's you could tell.

      Delete
  39. WCB

    @DNW

    "But other times WCB insists that Christians follow the scriptural injunctions - or WCB's usually truncated and polemically deployed version of them - as if they represented the authority of God"

    For Trinitarians, Jesus is God. And commands his followers sell all they have and give to the poor. But except for a few nuns and monks, no Christians do that.

    This makes us atheists wonder at why so many Christians want to cram religion down our throats, (Prayer in schools, ten commandments in classrooms et al) but refuse to actually follow their own savior's commands?

    All I ask is that if today's Christian Nationalists want to
    ram their religion down everybody's throats, is that they set a good example and follow the commands of Jesus to the letter. or shut up and leave everybody else alone.

    Prayer is to be private, Matthew 6:5-6. Sell all you have an give to the poor. Mark 10, Luke 12, 14, 18, Matthew 19.

    No religious oaths. and so on.

    WCB

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    Replies
    1. You read the Bible like any low-church pentecostal i see. Do you know that the catholics and eastern orthodoxs have a whole pletora of church fathers, saints and church documents helping to interpret the Bible(you know, the collection of books from thousands of years ago), incluiding these verses, right? Have you ever looked up what some fathers said about one of these, for example?

      I ask because people seems to just not know that, imagine in a protestant country like there, so perhaps you need a tip in how to read these.

      Delete
  40. There has been much discussion of objective morality.

    Is it accurate to say that objective morality is objective because it grounds ethical standards in a ground that is independent of, and superior to, human minds? By "grounds" I mean, supplies the right-making force of a precept. And is it accurate to say that there are two basic kinds of theories about objective moral grounds, sc. divine command theories and natural law theories?

    I don't know whether so-called Virtue Ethics is a species of natural law ethics. If not folded into natural law ethics, then is Virtue Ethics a third kind of theory about objective moral grounds?

    Tx.

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    1. @ficino4ml

      I tend to see objective morality as meaning that morality is grounded in the intellect or reason as much as in the will and emotion, whereas moral subjectivism gives strong precedence to the will, usually of individual humans (for ex. it may be treated as the ultimate moral authority).

      So afaik, Kantianism and derivatives, Marxism etc. are also forms of objective morality.

      Opposition to the existence of objective morality often seems to be connected to belief in the fact/value distinction, ultimately Hume's Fork, I think DNW mentioned this already in one of his replies earlier in the thread. Could also be linked to divine voluntarism somehow, where the locus of the supreme will is shifted to the individual human person?

      Delete
    2. @ficino4ml

      "And is it accurate to say that there are two basic kinds of theories about objective moral grounds, sc. divine command theories and natural law theories?"

      There are deontological options as well. Thinkers like Kant, Nozick, Hoppe did try to argue for objective morality by means of appealing to rationality. Do they work out? I don't think so, but they are there.

      "I don't know whether so-called Virtue Ethics is a species of natural law ethics. If not folded into natural law ethics, then is Virtue Ethics a third kind of theory about objective moral grounds?"

      Interesting question. I suppose that virtue ethics does need natural law to work out, for what makes a virtuous person has to be objective, and natural law does suply this criteria. Philipia Foot, Anscombe and others did try to bring back the two together, i believe.

      And yea, objective morality needs to ground ethics in something beyond ourselves wishes and ideas. Like 2 + 2 = 4, if you disagree you are wrong. This is what a objective morality looks like.

      Delete
    3. that objective morality is objective because it grounds ethical standards in a ground that is independent of, and superior to, human minds?

      Independent of human preference, I would suggest. And not necessarily "superior" to the human mind. As I understand it, Aristotle's grounding of right action in natural law is ultimately a grounding in the nature of man, which is certainly independent of human preference, but is not exactly to say it is superior to human mind. It is a given for human existence, and thus is independent of what we might wish were true of our make-up.

      Christian Aristotelians - as well as many neo Platonists - would probably ground the nature of man in God's goodness and will for man (and the universe as a whole). But that's a step that Aristotle himself didn't take explicitly (so far as I recall).

      And no, it does not thus imply resting on mere Divine command just because it rests on Divine will: notice I put God's goodness in there? He cannot create a universe whose orderliness is out of tune with his own goodness. It's not mere divine command alone, it is divine command according to an order of goodness.

      Delete
  41. 2. Inflicting great and horrendous suffering on people is wrong.

    That's what atheists are unable to provide any basis for believing, other than not liking it. That's hardly troubling to, say, a society that values protecting its own people and so wipes out others for its own prosperity.

    But then, you say it is foolish to even present the comparison and ask you to distinguish morally between the society you want and their society. It looks to me you know what would happen if you made the attempt, so you just scoff as a means of avoiding the obvious hole in your atheistic assertion - it utterly fails to demonstrate superiority to even the most heinous civilization.

    This makes us atheists wonder at why so many Christians want to cram religion down our throats, (Prayer in schools, ten commandments in classrooms et al) but refuse to actually follow their own savior's commands?

    If only Jesus had ever commanded Gentiles to do that, atheists might finally be able to make a point. Looks like another failure though.

    ReplyDelete
  42. "And still, the issue of just what is this theological objective morality is remains unresolved here.

    This morality and ethics thing is not that hard if one goes back to basic principles.

    1. We have emotions evolution has given us that allow us to suffer.
    2. Inflicting great and horrendous suffering on people is wrong.
    3. We have the ability to reason abstractly.
    4. Abstract reasoning can cause bad ideologies, racism, et al and leads to atrocities.
    5. We must rationally think and avoid bad abstract reasons to inflict suffering on innocent persons.

    All the rest is details."

    Here's a detail for you.

    That's a litany of self referential assumptions and question begging assertions, and neither an argument for nor an explanation of why anyone should intellectually accept your emotion based "evil" labeling applications; much less, your assignment of duties to others based on them, when that emotional experience of yours is neither shared nor blindly trusted as a right guide.

    Now, one of your formerly appearing and like-minded confrers, eventually admitted that as far as he was concerned all such talk was fundamentally circular and based on arbitrary and subjective impressions anyway.

    Which is why with that kind, no matter how much noise is emitted by them in the form of sounds that seemingly refer to altruism, and sensitivity, and acceptance, it eventually boils down to who has the guns.

    I do believe you and I have nothing further to discuss; since you are in effect a broken record unable to play more than the one note. If I want to hear more from you all I have to do is look again at your initial assertions, since no real reasoning or explanation has taken place since then.

    Which does not mean that I might not have further observations with regard to what you have said. But probably just not in exchanges with you.

    ReplyDelete
  43. It's as if this person simply does not understand the question.

    Aside from being a deliberately dishonest.

    ReplyDelete
  44. WCB says:
    It is simple. Does an act cause great suffering to innocent parties. Mass murder, Genocide, murder, robbery, et al.

    Political policies that deny adequate health care to millions due to perverse political ideology for example.


    Person 1: "Stop denying us adequate health care. You are 'harming' us."

    Person 2: "How am I denying you health care?"

    Person 1: "You aren't paying for our care from your funds."

    Person 2: "But I don't have funds for that."

    Person 1: "That's irrelevant, you still aren't paying for it, and that's denying us our health care."

    Person 2: "But I don't have adequate health care either. How is it my job to pay for yours?"

    Person 1 (Bob, an upper middle class union official representing lower middle class steam fitters in Gary, Indiana): "Still irrelevant - if you aren't paying for our care, you are denying it, and that's harming us."

    Person 2, (Ramesh Pandit, from Kolkata, India): "You're using a crazy notion of "denying" you something and calling that "evil", and I am tired of talking to a crazy person."

    WCB:
    Prayer is to be private, Matthew 6:5-6.

    Jesus himself prayed in the sight of others. He was teaching people not to pray as the hypocrites. Praying in public for the goal of honor and esteem from others is the hypocrisy, not simply praying in public.

    Like Ramesh above, I am tired of being lectured at by a crazy person who pretends to be able to represent Jesus's teaching to us, when he doesn't believe in Jesus or his teaching. This is trolling behavior, people. Treat it as it deserves.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. TONY 1.01PM

      If you think that WCB is a troll, then why are you feeding him? Show some self-control man.

      Others, who may not agree with your diagnosis and injunction, should just ignore you.

      Delete
    2. Oh, goody, somebody responded to me.

      Oops, correction: a nobody responded to me. Oh, lah. Me oh my.

      As you might have noticed from my phrasing, I grew tired of being lectured at, implying a progressive realization of the fact that his behavior is trolling. It has taken many of us many exchanges to flush out just how serious he is about pushing his hypocrisy. And maybe you might have noticed that my comment was not addressed to him.

      Others, who may not agree with your diagnosis and injunction, should just ignore you.

      Naturally those who disagree with my diagnosis won't feel any need to go along with my suggestion. You might have noticed that I urged treating his behavior as it deserves. You are free to do that, too, even without agreeing with my diagnosis. It's a win-win.

      Delete
    3. @ Tony,

      Label and refer to the activities of one troll in critical terms, and another appears in order to admonish and indict you for noticing and mentioning it.

      It's that tar-baby effect, which the social-monitor equity-obsessed personality that tends to identify as and become classed as woke or progressive, produces in interacting with others.

      The kind has in general, a long and mythic history. Shuffling around at the limits of the campfire light. Whining for a tossed scrap. Then a share. Moving in close if allowed. Ungrateful. Then entitled. Then presumptuous, insisting on a place and attention and deference. Unchecked it is soon making noises that sound like "we", shi++ing in your bedding, gnawing at your children and issuing directives. A deoxyribonucleic acid worm in a skin sheath; constantly monitoring, sampling the air with its tongue, always seeking the chance, and then ... hiss. LOL

      A junior version you might say, of those seniors of its kind described as crawling about the caverns of Hell in NDE tales. Where the gnawing worm dieth not, and the fire of resentment against being itself, is never quenched.

      Delete
  45. WCB

    "2. Inflicting great and horrendous suffering on people is wrong.

    That's what atheists are unable to provide any basis for believing,"

    Let somebody inflict great and horrendous suffering on you and your loved ones. That will change your mind quickly enough. Or would you sit there wondering, "How should I feel about this?".

    ReplyDelete
  46. WCB

    @Tony
    "Political policies that deny adequate health care to millions due to perverse political ideology for example.

    Person 1: "Stop denying us adequate health care. You are 'harming' us." "

    GOP "Oh look. huge deficits! I guess we will have to balance the budget by slashing funding for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and Obamacare. To balance the budget".

    A small fact. Trump's large tax cuts to the wealthy and big corporations over 4 years gave us $7.8 trillion in deficits. These tax cuts expire at the end of 2024. And the GOP leaders and rank and file want to make these big tax cuts to the already wealthy and big corporations permanent.

    I guess the big deficits that will come can only be dealt with with slashing Social Security, Obamacare, medicare, medicaid and other social services. I mean, there is no other way, right?

    What is this called? "Starve The Beast". Google that. The GOP cares only for enriching the wealthy. And does not care about the health of millions of Americans. Down here in Red, Red Texas, our GOP dominated state refused to open a medicaid exchange. Texas has one of America's largest populations of poor uninsured citizens and resulting poor health health outcomes. Oh, and these GOP legislatures are all Christians. Prayer in school is important to them.

    There is plenty of resources for social programs. If the GOP stops giving it all away to the already rich and big corporations. Now, go read Matthew 25:32-46.

    WCB

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  47. WCB
    Matthew 6:6
    "6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly."

    It does not get more plain than that.

    WCB

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  48. I am thinking that it's a false dichotomy to suppose that our choices are only "objective" morality or "subjective" morality, where "subjective" cashes out as grounded in one individual's likes or dislikes. What about "intersubjective"? Humans form a community, and together they agree on what actions are acceptable and what not. Like what we see among other communal species, such as lions or wolves, where behavior that harms the group is met with ostracism from the group or the like.

    One may say, intersubjective agreement is not enough, that we need objective moral facts or there is no morality at all, only preference. Why can't morality be grounded in communal preference? When you start reasoning about communal preference, perhaps you wind up at a categorical imperative grounded not in God's commands -- it's speculative whether we have access to such -- and not in Nature -- no one here has nullified the "no ought from an is" problem.

    If we go with intersubjective morality, obviously there are many fields to dispute details. There seems at least to be a commonality across cultures about some precepts, such as, for the most part, involving murder, stealing, lying, incest ... because all over the world, humans live in groups, and groups need norms.

    None of the above is reducible to one individual's emotional needs. Nor does it depend on speculations about divinities -- whose preferences, one might argue, are themselves subjective at a higher level than ours.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Humans form a community, and together they agree on what actions are acceptable and what not. Like what we see among other communal species, such as lions or wolves, where behavior that harms the group is met with ostracism from the group or the like.

      There is the argument that humans don't form communities on the basis of their individual preferences or by conscious acts of will (this is somehow linked to the idea that there was a pre-social 'state of nature' where each individual lived separately, then they formed communities on the basis of a social contract they freely entered into?) but like other animals, live in communities because it flows from their nature to do so, or similarly this communal life is a consequence of the structure of their minds.

      I think this would be contrary to the idea of morality based on intersubjectivity, because the existence of the moral community is not really a subjective fact or the result of personal acts of will on behalf of the members.

      When you start reasoning about communal preference, perhaps you wind up at a categorical imperative grounded not in God's commands...

      Iirc Kant's version of the categorical imperative is rooted in the structure of the rational mind qua rational mind, not in communal preference? I notice this thing that a range of philosophers seem to de-emphasise or question the decisiveness of the fact/value distinction, it is the case with the Platonic and Aristotelian ones, but also the later German ones following Kant (so Hegelians and Marxists).

      There seems at least to be a commonality across cultures... because all over the world, humans live in groups, and groups need norms.

      I think this would be one of the reasons I find the objective morality side of the argument more persuasive. Also, ideas about the existence of the pre-social 'state of nature' that used to be part of these debates have been made more abstract or doubtful by understanding of human evolution.

      None of the above is reducible to one individual's emotional needs. Nor does it depend on speculations about divinities...

      It seems like the speculation about God could be speculation about the nature of the Good, linked to the belief that there is knowledge of the Good that doesn't only derive from personal preferences or the autonomous human will.

      Delete
    2. @ficino4ml

      The is-ough problem is very troubling if one is a nominalist, but if essences and teleology are a feature of reality them how dangerous is it?

      And about morality being communal, i have some issues:

      1. While there are points of agreement between all cultures, the problem is in the details. Some see incest between cousins as wrong, others not. Some seems things like over-working as okay, others not. Some see ignoring certain regulations and laws as acceptable if they are on the way, others not etc. And this if we pick modern ones, if get historical, things become way more confusing.

      On modern societies is even worse, for them we have several groups with diferent moralities!

      2. This seems to stuck us to a kind of conservatism. Why change the values if the community values are all there is? If the community want to screw a certain weak group, how to stop they?

      3. We speak of morality as if it where a fact of the world, as true as the weather. Who exactly sees the news of a rapist being arrested and thinks "good that he is in jail, he is ignoring what the community decided is okay to do".

      4. Existentially, why would i make a effort to be better if the community is the one to decide what "being better" is? Can i not just be guided by having what i want while not causing trouble to myself? Perhaps, i can be lazy, selfish etc if i'am smart enough.

      These are a few dificulties i have, hope they help see why this option is not that popular.

      Delete
    3. "divinities -- whose preferences, one might argue, are themselves subjective at a higher level than ours."

      The assumption people make is that if something is subjective, it must not and can not have any connection to what is objective, which isn't necessary. Yes, God's preferences are subjective, but God's subjective preferences actually effect objective reality. In our case, what is subjective has no power over the objective. But that isn't the case for God. If you think unicorns exist objectively, it doesn't make it the case that unicorns exist objectively. But, if God thinks unicorns exist objectively, that does make it the case that unicorns exist objectively.

      So, it wouldn't matter whether God's preferences are objective or subject. That kinda just misses the point.

      Delete
    4. GRLeS
      What is above called "intersubjectivity" sounds like what we used to call "perspectivism". (Of course it's likely enough I'm missing something.)

      And I will say that I am sympathetic, having absorbed it as a child, given my grandmother's love of Kipling. (There are nine and sixty ways of constructing tribal lays, and every single one of them is right.)

      But it falls, IMO, at the point were two cultures exist which wholly conflict. Sure, there are some things common to most.

      But remember that, in Jane Austen's world, marriage of first cousins was just fine. In Pride and Prejudice and in Persuasion the heroine is encouraged by some in her family to marry a first cousin. And in Mansfield Park, she actually does just that. And of course we have the Pharoahs.

      Worse, many have been blithe about slaughtering (often with torture) enemy peoples. Are you going to convince the Aztecs or Carthaginians to stop their sacrifices. From the OT, God had a hard time getting the ancient Jews to stop. Long after Abraham and Isaac, Jeptha seemed to think it required of him; that his vow covered sacrificing his daughter. (And isn't that what was going on in the "groves and high places" the slack kings of Israel didn't destroy?)

      It would seem to be essential to morals, as morals, to be able to say "It doesn't matter what you feel, you shouldn't do that."

      Of course, we'd have to come up with arguments to convince a skeptic, as the trolls cannot see.

      Delete
    5. GRLeS

      @Billy: I don't see how God, as classical theists see Him, can be said to be "subjective." Since He IS truth, it seems to be the opposite. I will grant the quote you were responding to would lead that way, ("divinities -- whose preferences, one might argue, are themselves subjective at a higher level than ours.") That does sound like polytheism, for which the objection would be valid, as the Greeks and Romans sometimes understood.

      Delete
    6. Why can't morality be grounded in communal preference?

      There are so many reasons that this doesn't work.
      (1) Which community? I belong to a church, to a school, to a business, to a town, a county, a state, a nation, and a world. Those several communities have strongly competing, contradictory preferences about some things. My church, school, state don't like abortion, but the UN thinks abortion is "a right".

      (2) As mentioned elsewhere: what if I disagree with my community? What makes their preference override mine, and if that works, why do minorities have rights that should stand up against majority preferences?

      The essential reason is that "preference" just isn't a ground for "ought". It can't achieve that. Adding in a community is irrelevant to the problem. Preference (whether "he prefers" or "many prefer") cannot create obligation itself, it can only push me toward an obligation if SOMETHING ELSE first establishes that I ought to care about someone else's preferences. Preference is, frankly, even more starkly unable to create "ought" than was ever a problem for "is" creating "ought in Hume's wishful thinking. Importing a community just helps disguise that something else is causing the ought, i.e. that we already have obligations to communities because we are social beings, that's our nature. So it's just a disguised use of natural law.

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    7. Anon,

      It really depends on what is meant by subjective and objective. In some ways that distinction doesn't really exist for God. I'm taking the modern understanding of objective to mean something that is mind independent, while subjective is dependent on a mind. Thus, in a sense, if God exists, nothing is objective as everything is dependent on the mind of God.

      All this shows that this subjective/objective division is kind of just useless in the case of God really.

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  49. WCB

    Consequentialism. What decides what is good or evil is the results from an action.

    If a dictator decides to commit mass murder, people suffer. Many here seem to think suffering in itself of innocent people does not matter. As an atheist, I cannot prove to their satisfaction horrendous suffering is somehow evil. Of course if great evil happens to them, they might change their tune.

    WCB

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  50. Let somebody inflict great and horrendous suffering on you and your loved ones. That will change your mind quickly enough. Or would you sit there wondering, "How should I feel about this?".

    Well this just confirms you are actively avoiding the point, rather than missing it. Not liking something doesn't prove it's wrong. Something being universally despised, if such existed, wouldn't prove it was wrong.

    You borrow from sources other than an atheistic worldview when you assert otherwise.

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    1. WCB

      @Kevin

      OK. You're on. Prove to me mass murder is evil.

      WCB

      Delete
  51. Why can't morality be grounded in communal preference?

    I watched some college kid who was unable to explain why Nazi Germany was evil, because he said "to me they were, but to them it was right". He was unwilling to assert they were simply wrong.

    I would say that's why. Entire nations can be wrong on a societal level, which has been demonstrated countless times throughout history.

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  52. @ ficino4ml
    re: February 14, 2024 at 6:43 PM

    I confess your objection surprise me, given that this is a Thomist blog, so please allow me a somewhat lengthy exposition.

    I agree that “intersubjective” does not cash out as grounded in one individual’s likes or dislikes. Rather, it cashes out as grounded in the likes and dislikes of some aggregate of individuals, and I’m afraid I don’t see what’s the intelligibly salient difference for the person dissatisfied with the subjective morality. As long as one cannot give what one does not have, this possibility seems to be precluded. Inasmuch as lions or wolves do not inhabit the space of reasons, so to speak, they don’t concern themselves with this, but presumably the situation is different with humans.

    One may say, intersubjective agreement is not enough, that we need objective moral facts or there is no morality at all, only preference. Why can't morality be grounded in communal preference?

    Nay, I submit one must say this (provided one is not too rigidly modern when it comes to “facts”) to avoid equivocation, if nothing else, unless you wish to adopt an exotic form of legal positivism, as the morality thus procured is hardly distinct from (customary) law.

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  53. Many groups did this, of course, just like many peoples throughout history, not without consequence, limited the applicability of the protections afforded by such law to their compatriots, making outsiders free game, essentially. Were they “wrong” to do this? The archaic belief in the exclusive universal validity of their body of law held by the more ancient Romans, say, seems to have, in some ways, “benefited” their republic greatly, at the expense of the “lawless” – that is, everybody else.

    This highlights something, I submit, this proposal does nothing to solve, namely, the properly metaethical problem of the “why” of morality, chiefly at issue with WCB.

    Why, precisely, should one abide by such communal rules? The rule that one should abide by them can surely not itself be a communal convention. The response, possibly inspired by wolves, “To avoid adverse consequences”, can be met with the more philosophical “Why avoid them?”/“What makes them “adverse?”, as well as the pragmatic “Thank you, but I can think of other ways of doing this” or a more conciliatory “I’m prepared to abide by them in moderation, what say you?”. It seems like we’re discussing tort law, at this point, not morality.

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  54. Groups can be colloquially termed to “need” norms, just like they can be said to exist, but the meaning is not at all clear if you’re not prepared to reduce them to their members and their accidents (say, in their capacity as moral agents possessing a common good, as on Thomistic natural law). Just what is the nature of this need? If the answer is “the continued existence of the group”, I’ll meet it with “And why should that obtain?”

    Perhaps you are yourself content with (mere, I'd say) social contract backed by nothing but collective preference and possibly would not object to this being the common understanding of morality.

    However, the unceasing moralising abuse of inherited language perpetrated by WCB prima facie indicates their unpreparedness to limit themselves to such modest “morality”. This, as well as the misleading potential of the above, prompted my response, and seemingly that of the others.

    FWIW, permit me to also voice my qualified agreement as regards divine command theories: I believe that, in the abstract, a given divine command theory, in isolation, would fail to address the same metaethical issue, because the question “Why obey God?” cannot be satisfactorily addressed by it, even if the access to the divine was relatively direct. That said, I think divine command – as historically and popularly held to by believers, at least in my experience and given my reading – tends to be accompanied by allied and decidedly “cognitivist”, and “realist” as opposed to “subjectivist”, convictions, resolving into “God knows what is truly good for us and command it, even if we cannot reason to these commands”, with support for the − speculatively not obvious − premise “I should do what is truly good for me” being merely assumed, perhaps, but certainly not positively maintained as true in virtue of an arbitrary divine command.

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  55. To my knowledge, outside of A-T natural law (and arguably, but admittedly less explicitly, (Neo-)Confucianism, and, I suspect, later Stoicism, though my knowledge of that is lacking), no philosophy supplies the (immediate) grounding of the categorical imperative just mentioned.
    The way this is done is, apropos the "no ought from an is", is by appealing to the intrinsic teleology of the will, which is, formally, the intelligible good (indicated by the fact of the psychological impossibility of freely doing something not judged worth doing because of some end to be achieved).

    The intrinsic teleology of the human generally supplies the hypothetical imperative of acting according with one’s natural ends (goods) if one wants what’s good for them, whereas the intrinsic teleology of the will, specifically, gives the previously lacking premise: “I do, in fact, want what is good for me” (for a undoubtedly much more felicitous exposition of this, please see the last chapter, last section of Dr. Feser’s Aquinas ).

    That is to say, if one admits the reality of final causes, as Thomists contend is not rationally avoidable, there are, in fact, certain “is”s out there that yield “oughts” in the “presence” of agents possessed of the requisite appetitive faculty. As Dr. Feser puts it (ibid. section “The good”),

    From the traditional Thomistic point of view, however, there simply is no “fact/value” distinction in the first place. More precisely, there is no such thing as a purely “factual” description of reality utterly divorced from “value”, for “value” is built into the structure of the “facts” from the get-go. A gap between “fact” and “value” could exist only given a mechanistic-cum-nominalistic understanding of nature of the sort commonly taken for granted by modern philosophers, on which the world is devoid of any objective essences or natural ends. )

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  56. These “is”s are, in turn, grounded in the Being of God, the objective, non-arbitrary measure of all being, so the Euthyphro is a false binary, on the Thomistic understanding.

    P.S.
    I initially attempted to respond to your “taxonomic” question above, but my phone failed me for whatever reason.

    Re: Virtue Ethics, as you may suspect, I’d say that Virtue Ethics has to “be folded”, that is, it ultimately presupposes “natural law metaethics” like the above for intelligibility, and is devoted to moral prescriptions (and even that indirectly?), as opposed to their general grounding.

    For what its worth, one of the leading proponents of VE, Alasdair McIntyre, in his seminal After Virtue rejected something he termed “Aristotle’s metaphysical biology” in favour of, to put it somewhat unfortunately and interpretatively (I don’t have the book presently available to me, so I’m going by memory) socially embodied traditions.
    McIntyre later reconsidered this rejection in Dependable Rational Animals . Because of this move, I expect him to be sympathetic to the traditional Thomist account (suboptimally explicated by me here).

    As regards other traditions, my impression is, contemporary VEists working with Confucian sources, for example, do tend to favour something like what you’ve sketched above, though I should say that the tradition thus utilised (ahistorically, I believe) can be said to have (had) affinity, with different plausibility, depending on the thinker, with both divine command (archaic Chinese mores systematised by the Confucian school understood as flowing from Heaven as an “anthropomorphic” deity) and natural law, immediately grounded in something like metaphysical biology (plausibly, Mencius), or, later, in “metaphysical cosmology” (Neo-Confucians;), at the very least notionally (and, I’d contend, not merely notionally in many) ultimately grounded in the divinity of Heaven.

    What little I know of Indian thought (presently explored by some "Hindu VEists") also suggests interesting convergences in these aspects, though I hesitate to say anything too confidently at this point.

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    1. Good points, George. Confucianism, however, did not seek universal absolutes from outside its social context, suffering from the same disabilities as Conservatism in this regard. A radically secularist regime, if ever there was one.

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  57. "Humans form a community, and together they agree on what actions are acceptable and what not."

    That is still subjective. And, it's just the likes and dislikes of the community, instead of one individual.

    "Why can't morality be grounded in communal preference?"

    And what if you are in a community, but disagree with them. If, say, your community thinks chattel slavery is okay. But you don't think so. If you try to free a slave, would that be morally wrong?

    "no one here has nullified the "no ought from an is" problem."

    Sure they have. This problem only arises if you separate ought and is from each other. Just don't make that mistake. Just realize that speaking of what something is already entails what something ought to be. You can't get is without ought.

    "There seems at least to be a commonality across cultures about some precepts, such as, for the most part, involving murder, stealing, lying, incest"

    Not exactly. There are still members of those communities who don't think these are wrong. By that conclusion, if they get in to a position of influence and power and change the broad norms of the community, what was wrong suddenly becomes right? Or does the community disappear and a new community has arisen?

    The primary problem is that this subjective, or intersubjective option makes morality just fiction essentially. A fairytale story we tell ourselves. If a community decides to believe that humans have invisible wings that don't work and no one can experience, it doesn't make it true. It's just a fiction they've made up and agreed to. The same would apply to moral rights and duties.

    Why bother believing it? Why even call it morality? Because you'll get ostracized from the community? What if you have enough power and influence that you won't be ostracized? Say that you are a very rich man who is providing economic opportunity, wealth, etc to the community and you are violating every norm, but you aren't ostracized because they know they will lose what you bring for them. Or say that you are a person of great reputation, thus you aren't ostracized as this would cause scandal or bring shame to the community. These kinds of things happen all the time. Does that mean those norms weren't norms, even though others would be ostracized for violating them?

    I just don't think any of this makes sense, or makes sense to call morality.

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  58. I'm going to drop a comment here involving a matter which should be taken for granted as understood, but which we are probably prone to overlook.

    It regards what going back to the Platonic dialogs we might consider the fundamental first step in all (philosophical) analysis or dialog: the clarification and definition of terms and their use. It is also part of the the subject matter of the first chapters of intoductory logic texts which cover informal fallacies.

    So, when it comes to phrases such as "objective morality" or "objective morals" we have to determine if we all are reading from the same script and on the same page.

    What do we mean by morals, mores, and objective?

    A simple etymological dictionary may help us sort quite a bit of that out by revealing what users originally had in mind as they applied word to object or process.

    Now, a commenter here has usefully pointed the distinction between moral ontology and moral epistemology. If needed, we remind ourselves thereby of the difference between ethical and metaethical questions.

    And as many here will recall, William Lane Craig famously hammered these distinctions home during his debate with Sam Harris over the question of providing a sound foundation for objective moral values and duties.

    In that debate both parties contended that morals existed in some objective sense which allowed for the employment of the term "objective morality". The question was how this social phenomenon was grounded and its adequacy in establishing duties and obligations which a rational being could not fail to acknowledge and respect, esteem or also value: "Yes, of course we grant that mores exist and are shared by all termite members or by some in the case of anthropoids. So what?", says the skeptic.

    We thus notice that there needs to be a distinction made when referring to the existence of an "objective morality, between the anthropologist's rather straightforward diagnostic criteria for the recognition of a morality system or mores as objectively existing; and "objective" taken to mean observed as binding beyond dispute or rational denial. PLUS - and in calling on the being's own nature - conceived of as native, integral, categorical and universally binding on all members of the general class.

    It was upon the rather mundane anthropological basis that I made my initial comment some months ago to someone who had taken the extreme subjectivist stance.

    This led to an extended, desultory, and fruitless exchange as there was never any agreed upon definition for any terms at any level of analysis. You cannot exchange views profitably with someone about something which they know nothing about.

    But for those interested in the basic groundwork, I would suggest viewing or reviewing the Lane Craig v Harris debate as well as taking a glance at the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy article on the definition of morality.

    Although as regards the latter I am not completely satisfied with the implication initially presented by the distinction between descriptive and normative definitions of morality - namely that descriptive morality leads to the conclusion that moral relativism is obviously true - it does also imply that moral standards do objectively exist in non trivial or purely subjective senses.

    Now, whether your grasp of the meaning and application of the term objective will take you so far as even that, is one thing. Where it takes you after that, is another.

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  59. Thank you to all who responded to my last two. Too much to write in reply right now!
    I just will throw out there that I'm reminded of Elizabeth Anscombe's argument that "morality" is a -- I think she said -- post-Enlightenment notion that is degenerate or decadent because it trades on what is left over after the earlier notion of (divinely grounded) law was abandoned. Anscombe, IIRC, held that "morality" as it's talked about today by those who don't hold to God as lawgiver is incoherent because those people's "ought" utterances imply that there is some authority, which really should be a lawgiver, telling us what to do.

    Anscombe's approach seems different from approaches that seek to justify precepts by appealing to the way things are by nature and the notion that actualizing their natures is good for the things. This presumes that rational creatures, agents, have a duty to seek their proper good.

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  60. Lot's of very good, focused, intellectually disciplined and well informed commenters here responding to WCB's bald-faced assertions; and to the attempted derailing tactics once he found himself challenged relentlessly.

    Of course, anyone who wished to defend his stance should he also have begun with WCB's first position, could, if brave enough, have gone on to say why suffering or death was bad. But if one were to do that, it would crack the door open to a form of moral archeology which would unearth hidden teleological foundations.

    So instead, we get a Utilitarian style of analysis in which pain and pleasure are the stuff and substance of good and evil, rather than signals of more foundational ends being ordinately or improperly met or frustrated.

    The problem for this theory of course, is that after the first generation and a half of advocates had had their say, this pure hedonic theory or analysis of the good as identical with physical or emotional pleasure was admitted to be just plain stupid.

    Yet we witness a form of it being rerun here.

    As a result we note that in its modern reiteration as presented by the commenter here, the application of general anesthetics and opiates to a "suffering" population would be all the response that could legitimately be asked for by someone holding to the position: i.e., that it is the suffering itself that is evil, and the feeling of pleasure per se that constituted the whole of the meaning of good.

    The logically sufficient answer then to any of WCB's demands for alleviation? Euthanasia: As good or better than any other approach as judged by the effective and permanent removal of what he defines as "evil".

    If no suffering, then, no evil. If no living poor, or one that is happily stupefied, then no suffering.

    The person itself is then on the implication of that concepualization, irrelevant in and of itself. At least insofar as no argument has yet been rooted in its continued existence and its end purposes bearing any relation to good and evil. Good and evil having been reduced to near morally free floating independently valorized feelings.

    Chemically enhance the feelings in the desired direction, or put an end to them entirely, and you have solved the problem of evil.

    It is not the rotten tooth, or the gangrenous foot, or the necrotic liver or the malnourished and abandoned infant that is the problem, but the existence of pain signals or the anxiety associated with those conditions. Eliminate the pain and anxiety through the means of modern chemistry and the the evil has been dealt with; though the flesh may rot and fall away from the yet living body.

    After all, what justification could anyone with the WCB theory of emotion-defined evil, have to demand more?

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  61. WCB

    It is not a case of emotion defined evil. It is a case of experiencing suffering from unnecessary evils.

    WCB

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  62. This rumination is not directed at anyone in particular but is prompted by a commenter's use of the term "intersubjective".

    I have used that term myself in what I hoped was the barest bones sense of the term. Perhaps stripped down even from its Husserlian use. Namely to the notion of communicable perceptions of some intentional object perceptible by more or less any given ego. Whether we need to factor in shared social conditions in order to make the perception itself possible is something I ignore.

    A critic provides a nice capsule description.

    Quote: Husserl avers that an ego constitutes a world as an objective world through constituting it as an intersubjective world; a world which is meaningful not only for the ego itself, but also for others egos who objectively exist. I show, however, that there can be no valid objectivity for Husserl since his view that a subject's own transcendental ego is the only being whose existence can be indubitably affirmed ...

    And so in that sense, and loosely, intersubjective straddles the line between subjective and objective: while assuming that egos perceive phenomena in a like manner as subjects, and one which is communicable and can be publicly referred to and understood. However its use remains consciously and deliberately nescient or at least modest in realist terms, as to the ultimate metaphysico-ontological*** status of the phenomenological object.

    But boy, the term sure seems to have accumulated a lot of baggage since my time in class. The cooption and deployment of existentialist and phenomenological terms is nothing new of course, and existentialism itself represents an impulse along the same trend line.

    It seems emphatic to me now though, that with the empathy bleaters and solidarity pimping types having gotten firm hold of it and injected their pollutions, that its use may require more care than I had imagined.

    https://iep.utm.edu/empathy-sympathy-in-ethics/#:~:text=An%20entire%20generation%20of%20thinkers,%E2%80%9D%20%5B%E2%80%9CEinf%C3%BChlung%E2%80%9D%5D.

    Quote: An entire generation of thinkers, including Freud, Husserl, and Heidegger, was inhibited from using the precise term “empathy” [“Einfühlung”]. Further more, when they did use it in the context of overcoming otherness, they marginalized it. This was because they were reluctant to invoke echoes of Lipps’ psychology of beauty and art." And ... good for them ...


    *** I spent time considering whether ontic or ontical or or ontological or just metaphysical, would do, and concluded that they all made sense to some degree with regard to bracketing, . So I went for the utimate ...

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  63. Man alive! Many of the comments here completely miss Ed's point. Posts are filled with arguments over what the Cathars actually believed and did when the actual point is society's response to threats against its survival.

    While we may quibble about Catharist "theology," we know what wokism affirms. Ed is not calling for violent suppression, for the errors of the current movement may be freely exposed via the spoken and written word. However, when survival becomes a factor, it is morally obligatory to use whatever means necessary to defend oneself. Some people just can't see the forest for the trees.

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    1. True enough. I think one should not lose sight of the double-sided threat to the West. Conservatism reinvents Christianity and supports social absolutism, making it a secularist ideology of endless, radical social change, boiling down to another Enlightenment outcome like the woke fanatics. The relevant difference for us is that we might be fooled by Conservatism.

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  64. WCB

    "Wokism" today seems more like a fake boogy man of the far right. Just another right wing moral panic. A straw man created to manipulate America.

    WCB

    WCB

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