Is Consuming My Own Barf And Re-Barfing It Bad?

The other day I posted my thoughts on SOPA, Shampoo, and the greater good.  A commenter responded to it by posting the video above.  However, this video is the exact denial of reality that some atheists hold which I was originally alluding to.  To be perfectly clear, let me take what I believe is the only logical position that can be taken by a naturalist, that is, somebody who believes that there is nothing that can exist outside of nature.

1) No action nature takes can be either good or bad.
2) People are nature.
3) Therfore, actions people take cannot be good or bad.

You see, the fundamental problem is that if we are simply nature, nothing we can do is either good or bad.  The video above, like Sam Harris, tries to short circuit this fundamental problem by jumping to the conclusion that “good” is whatever allows human life to flourish and be happier, more peaceful, and more productive.  However, in nature alone, we’re taught that things are neither good nor bad.  We’re merely random molecules that happened to end up as people.  We wouldn’t fault a lion for attacking and eating a gazelle, nor would we fault a lion for attacking and killing another lion to assert its dominance in a pride.  Likewise, by this naturalistic perspective, how can we fault Hitler for doing what he thinks is good?

If we don’t like what nature like Hitler is doing we can try to stop him because we don’t prefer his way of thinking, but that is just one group’s sense of good vs another’s. It isn’t objective morals, it is relative morals. Such a way of thinking just leads to the most popular view becoming the “good” view. The video above states that power and majority can’t determine morals, but without some foundation of morals outside of nature, that is exactly all that is left on which to base “morality”, and so the entire idea that objective morality can exist in nature is unreasonable and self-defeating.

All people have a built-in aversion to admitting that humans are only as equally important as other natural animals, at the same time some people have a volitional aversion to admitting that “good” and “evil” are concepts that must necessarily come from outside nature (ie supernatural). This leaves them no choice but to define good and evil relatively, as it relates to themselves, based on nothing more than their own opinions.  Coincidentally, this is also what necessarily follows when you try to base your morality on the wrong thing outside nature that doesn’t exist.

Some people might say that a good and loving God could not be the God of the Bible.  This God called Yahweh is only a God of suffering.  To that I say, you haven’t really tried to understand the narrative or context of the Biblical record.  To help you to that end, I refer you to Paul Copan’s book “Is God A Moral Monster“.  In exchange you may refer me to any source of your own.

I for one, am glad that the universe I believe I live in, necessarily and objectively dictates that my children, and your children, are more special than your average mollusc…whether you’ll admit it or not.


15 thoughts on “Is Consuming My Own Barf And Re-Barfing It Bad?

  1. If you’re getting all of your information for parody based YouTube videos, you will most certainly not have a complete and serious picture of the facts. I’ve consumed your video, now please read a serious discussion of this important and difficult topic in Paul Copan’s book.

    As far as the supposed paradox usually attempted to be quantified by questions like, “Can God make a rock so big he can’t lift it?” …it’s patently absurd. It’s like saying can God make 2+2=3. It’s logically irrelevant. Although, if one is willing to accept that the possibility that space and time are infinite to avoid having to deal with what is outside space and time (also illogicial), I seen no reason why you shouldn’t be able to accept the idea that, if there was a God, it could make 2+2=3.

  2. ad hominem – I was using YouTube for your benefit has you’ve said before that you didn’t like to read books and preferred the AV format. I for one have consumed many books on these subjects so your assertion that I “get all my info from youtube” is silly – and condescending. I have a complete picture of the facts thank you very much. While I could spend the time to parse and pick apart every sentence of your flawed arguments, I don’t have the time or rather don’t want to spend the time. Neither do you I recon. So I prefer to argue at a high-level with this format. But I shall dive in a little bit:

    I find these parodies, based on the brutal truth, to be highly effective as well as entertaining. Thank you for allowing them to be seen on your blog. The quicker we can eradicate all theistic myths the better for society.

    You continue to miss-characterize my position on morality. Read up on consequentialism to get a better idea of where I’m coming from. Or not, whatever. Are you only good because Yahweh demands it ? What kind of decent morality is that? (answer: it’s not). Do you not rape, pillage, murder, or eat your children because your holy book says not to (actually wait a sec, it explicitly does endorse these and many other horrors under certain circumstances). Of course you don’t, and neither do I, nor any other rational, empathetic, human being. I prefer morality that is thought-out, reasoned, argued, and discussed rationally. You prefer the subjective interpretation of what is by any objective measure the schizo/psycho moral monster of the bible. Yes, I hope that my view is the prevailing view when my children get older. Fortunately I believe it to be inevitable – and we’ll all be better off.

    As far as Paul’s book, more preaching to the choir by an apologist using tortured logic and ridiculous mental gymnastics. Much like an abused, beaten wife irrationally defending her sick husband. I could write my own review but I feel these chaps have done a better job than I:

  3. Sorry, perhaps the way I’ve been treated by atheists in the past influences my view of your treatment of me. The barrage of condescending videos with stereotyping and name calling becomes tiresome. Perhaps I go too far in assuming that the attitude of the video is your own attitude. I try to avoid things on my side of the fence that take those tones. I’d rather distance myself from them, because they don’t speak for me. I prefer real respectful academic discussions, even by multimedia. I apologize for letting the tone of some of those videos speak for you even though it wasn’t you.

    That being said, I’m not sure how I’m mischaracterizing your postion as you said, “I would assert right now that objective moral systems are not possible.” As I’ve asserted, nature can only be neutral. No good, no bad. Just nature. Which part of my three point premise do you disagree with?

    Since you’re asking me personally, I am good because “good” exists. Yahweh gave us “good”. I believe there IS objective good. I believe that’s the same reason you’re good. I believe if there wasn’t objective good, “good” doesn’t exist, nor does “bad”. How can it be any different than just stuff happening if we’re merely a collision of cosmic particles?

    As for God’s sense of justice, would you endorse the erradication of an “evil” regime like the Nazi regime? If so, does that imply that you are not a, “rational, empathetic, human being”? Just curious. If you’re a complete pacifist, then I guess I at least see the consistency of your view about God’s morality, but still can’t figure out what it is based on.

    I would like to see all theistic myths eradicated as well. That is a goal we share, so I wish you nothing but the best in that endeavor. 🙂

    I will let it go at that. Again, you may take the final repsonse if you like. Thanks again for your thoughts!

  4. You said “you don’t believe morals exist.” Not true at all. What I actually said is that I don’t think that OBJECTIVE morals exist. I have clearly defined what I believe to be “good” morals, or the thought processes behind the pursuit of “good” morals outcomes. Morals based on thoughtful reasoned debate, empathy, societal cohesion, philosophy, history, and a careful examination of the possible consequences. Certainly a more reasonable approach than WWYD. Particularly since Yahweh, now let’s be honest, made a lot of bad choices.

    You are not “good” because “good” exists. That doesn’t make any sense. Life is a continual series of relentless choices. You as a rational, sane, empathetic individual probably make the best choices possible based on the best available data, not because “Yahweh gives us good”. You are implying that if one discovered that Yahweh didn’t exist, one would have no reason to be “good”. Empirical data shows this just is not the case at all. I have illustrated a perfectly reasoned approach to being “good”. No intergalactic supernatural dictators required.

    So you are arguing the “they probably deserved it” angle of defending biblical atrocities by using the Hitler example. I don’t find that to be a very tolerable position to defend based on the biblical record but have at it.

    You really should watch Morality Part 2:

  5. I will watch but only if I get one last clarification, where you’re right and I left out an important statement in a hasty lunchtime post 🙂

    Indeed, I’m not good *only* because good exists. Objective good exists, so I have the *option* to choose it (as you pointed out choices must be made). That’s the critical part that never barfed out my fingers. Without objective good, I’m just following the herd or being my own animal. No good nor bad can be done. Since (IMHO) objective good *does* exist, I have the option of choosing it. I would like to be good, so I (try to) choose good. If you’re really interested, which maybe you’re not, I’ll barf it all the way out next time.

    I’ll watch your video now.

  6. I was interested in your own final comments, but since you’ve brought in a 3rd party… 🙂

    Anybody can claim anything about themselves. I can learn a lot of things about flying and claim I’m a pilot who’s just unwilling to fly, but any real pilot will recognize I’m not an actual pilot. It may look like a duck, but if it doesn’t quack like a duck, it’s probably just a decoy.

    Also, I can only take a review seriously if I’ve actually consumed the material the reviewer is reviewing, regardless of my position. What I look for in reviews is thoughtful reviews on both sides of the debated topic (ie clear articulation) in order to decide if it is something worth consuming myself. I cannot let it replace the source. Hopefully you do the same. I will challenge you this: if you read Paul Copan’s book, I will read the Steve Wells book (if you think that’s the best treatment of the same subject) you linked above. Then we’ll both have a properly informed view of the author’s position based on source material, rather than somebody else’s opinion of the source material. Agreed?

  7. I see so he’s not a “True Christian” (TM). An utterly arrogant position to take particularly given the 38,000 (and counting) different sects of Christianity.

    I thought I had been clear that I read Copan’s book and found it completely uncompelling. I have not read the entire review I posted above but skimmed it enough to find him on target for the most part.

  8. No, my apologies. I didn’t realize you had already read it. I don’t think you said that, or maybe I missed that part. I would have liked to see your own review. If you want, I would let you post it as a proper barf on my blog.

    In any case, so, we shouldn’t require any standards for people’s claims? Alright, I’m a pilot then. Where can I take you today? 😉

    Let’s be straight here for a second too. Since your second comment I feel a certain kinship to you. So, on this point, let me be clear. I believe certain standards are required to claim association to historic Christianity, but at the same time, I’m not your father. There are many non-essentials to be freely disagreed on without upsetting the foundation. If those last few sentences don’t make any sense to you, please disregard.

    “In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity.” ~Augustine of Hippo

    Nuthin but love,

  9. “I’ve never understood how God could expect his creatures to pick the one true religion by faith -— it strikes me as a sloppy way to run a universe.” – Jubal Harshaw in Stranger in a Strange Land

    Your Pilot analogy would make sense if there were 38,000+ different agencies that certified pilots (or even 2). Fortunately, there is one: the FAA. Otherwise we’d have complete chaos, confusion, and dead passengers, much like you have in the Christian religion. Be honest, there is no standard for a “True Christian” (TM). There is no agreement on essentials vs. non-essentials. Don’t try to sell me otherwise because I’ve lived it.

  10. Point taken on the FFA.

    How about a pickup basektball game? You can wear different shoes, or shorts, or pants if you want, but if you show up in a football helmet with a hockey stick I’ll probably ask you to go find another game. That doesn’t mean you won’t find some other people willing to play with you, but you’re just not playing the same game I’m playing. You’ve invented a new one.

    The standard is Jesus Christ himself, hence the name Christian. Abandon Christ’s worldview, and you’ve lost rights to the name IMHO. There are many cultural “Christans” these days, like it is just a race you’re born into, but it is not. Frankly, I don’t really care for the term for the very reason you point out. It is a label that has been hijacked by a lot of unsavory characters with other agendas. There are also a lot of people forging their own way with whom I disagree, but whom I believe are also entitled to the label. Anyway, I can only speak for myself, and that’s okay, because in the end, I have only myself to do the explaining. No denomination will stand with me, and no label will defend me.

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