divine command theory

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divine command theory

Postby EnlightenmentLiberal » Tue Jan 21, 2014 8:00 am

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S0li7nlZEiE
It makes sense! I finally understand it!

This is the first Christian I have ever heard to even make a lick of sense when talking divine command theory. Is this what most people mean when they invoke command theory and purpose arguments? Why the hell could none of them ever make the argument as clear as this fine (but wrong) Christian fellow did in the first Christian speech of the debate?

That's what they mean. They understand morality to be "what are humans supposed to do?". I can agree to that phrasing. Then they jump to - they claim - an equivalent formation: "what is the purpose of humans?'. I never saw that particular linguistic leap before so clearly. It really is that simple. They understand "ought" statements only in terms of purpose. It makes so much sense now.

I totally understand how one can go from "What is the purpose of X?" to "What is X supposed to do?". Makes perfect sense.

Of course, the problem is equivocation. The equivocation is laid bare with the question "Why should we behave according to our purpose?". More lengthy, you can bring out the usual dilemmas, such as "If our purpose was to rape women for fun, should we do it? Should we fulfill our purpose?". The moral answer is no.

But, I feel like I'm so much closer now to understanding divine command theory. They confuse "what should we do?" with "what are we supposed to do?" and then to "when you ask what is something supposed to do, you're asking what is its purpose". The flaws are so obvious when you say it like that, but the fallacious reasoning of the Christian is so much clearer.

I feel wonderful.
EnlightenmentLiberal
 
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Re: divine command theory

Postby EnlightenmentLiberal » Tue Jan 21, 2014 8:15 am

Sad. Matt didn't really address the core problem except in passing a little. I would have loved to see Matt put that question to them - "What if I can show by science that there is a creator of humans who intended us to rape each other and cause each other misery? Would you?" I love jumping straight to showing that the other side actually agrees with me, or are amoral psychopaths.

PS: At the moment, I'm a big fan of this particular phrasing (of my own design): "All you have to grant me is that anyone who really believes that sometimes 'we should act to increase human suffering for everyone (without some commensurate or greater decrease in the future)' is insane." IMHO, it better captures what Sam Harris talks about when he says the worst possible suffering for everyone. It removes it from obscure hypotheticals and puts it in very real world terms. We can talk about real policies which do increase suffering for everyone. They happen.

Of course, you will need to eventually clarify that the opposite of suffering - well-being - includes a bunch of stuff, like happiness, freedom, safety, material wealth, etc.
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Re: divine command theory

Postby EnlightenmentLiberal » Tue Jan 21, 2014 8:23 am

Why am I not surprised? Very first question to Matt - defend humanism without appealing to values.

Again, best counter-reply IMHO: "Can't do it. For my position, you need to grant me is that anyone who wants to increase the suffering of everyone is insane. Do you not grant me that? Or do you seriously contemplate the possibility that maybe we should increase the suffering of everyone?" Instead, Matt dances around the topic, which is unfortunate. If they're going to ask you to justify humanism, you might as well try to show that they're amoral psychopaths if they are serious in asking you to do that.

PS: Matt did ok. He could have done better.
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Re: divine command theory

Postby EnlightenmentLiberal » Tue Jan 21, 2014 8:44 am

"Where does morality come from?"

That very question permits only answers which violate Hume's is-ought distinction. It does not come from anywhere. Any attempt to show it comes from some material place, some material facts, is necessarily a violation of Hume's is-ought distinction, and thus necessarily fallacious.

You just have to grant me that the person who wants to increase suffering for everyone is insane, and the rest follows.

You're right that there are edge cases which are unclear, but edge cases exist and are unclear in any system. That's a flaw of every moral system, and so should not be held against mine.
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Re: divine command theory

Postby EnlightenmentLiberal » Tue Jan 21, 2014 8:53 am

How the hell could JT and Matt get through all of that without mentioning evolution as a process which creates order in chaos through mindless natural forces? Srsly, wtf. (At least they got as far as 1:05:00.)
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Re: divine command theory

Postby EnlightenmentLiberal » Tue Jan 21, 2014 9:03 am

I am impressed with how many completely bad arguments the father of the Christian duo was able to throw out. I tip my hat to him.

PS: Oh now I'm pissed. He just invoked the Christian nation myth. He said the US wasn't "atheistic" and was a Christian nation. The US is arguably the first large secular (considered codespeak for atheist by many) government in the modern western world. It was unique among governments of its time - and very much so today - for having founding documents making no reference to religion except to say that religion has no place in government. Such a tool.
Last edited by EnlightenmentLiberal on Tue Jan 21, 2014 9:17 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: divine command theory

Postby EnlightenmentLiberal » Tue Jan 21, 2014 9:10 am

Westborough Baptist Church comment by Matt? Brilliant.
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Re: divine command theory

Postby EnlightenmentLiberal » Tue Jan 21, 2014 9:17 am

I still feel bad about the whole thing. Our guys never once really addressed the Christian's position "morality=purpose" head on. Did they not see it? I thought - for once - the Christian was amazingly clear in his speech. Meh.

Fun debate.
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