Thursday, May 8, 2008

UD Shows its True Colors

Only on a site as loony as Uncommon Descent would one get an article entitled "Is Murdering Babies Ever Good?", or something very close to that. It ended up being retitled "Is There at Least One Self-Evident Moral Truth", a comical position made even more so by the complete lack of any argument aside from fist pounding:

"There are certain things that, as Dr. J. Budziszewski says, ”you can’t not know.” You can’t not know that ripping babies from their mother’s arms, throwing them in the air and catching them on a bayonet is evil. Everyone reading this post knows this to be true without the slightest doubt or reservation. Jack is simply and obviously wrong when he says a soldier is free to choose moral standards in which such an act is good. There is no such freedom. Anyone who says that it is not self-evident that the soldier’s act was evil is lying. It is quite literally unthinkable to imagine a moral system in which such an act is good."

Funny, I have no trouble whatever imagining such a moral system. I have no desire to live in such a society, but there have been societies that killed babies in various contexts throughout history. Here we see the IDer mindset laid bare: if I can't imagine it, it can't be true. To Hell with facts or logic, if something seems true to me, than it is true. Whether it is irreducible complexity or the absolute immorality of baby killing, facts don't matter. Those who claim to disagree are part of some evil conspiracy. Never mind that in fact the soldier in question did choose moral standards that made the act good to him, however much the rest of us condemn it. The facts be damned when they collide with ideology. Simply assert The Truth (tm) and it is so:

"Just as the statement “two plus two equals eight” is wrong in an absolute sense, the soldier’s act was evil in an absolute sense."

Can it be any surprise that we can't get these people to understand the difference between science and pseudoscience when they don't even understand the difference between an arbitrary moral judgement and a provable mathematical fact?


Deacon Duncan said...

"How blessed will be the one who seizes and dashes your little ones
Against the rock." -- Psalm 137:9

Anyone who can't imagine a moral system in which murdering innocent infants is "good" has never read the Psalms.

Personally, I think there's a grain of truth in the idea of moral absolutes, though. Normal human empathy and parental instincts cause us to almost universally experience extremely negative feelings in connection with the preventable suffering and death of the young. We do not arbitrarily decide that infanticide is wrong; we perceive it as wrong because we can envision the consequences (extremely bad feelings). All that morality requires is empathy, instinct, and the ability to foresee consequences. A selfish desire to avoid suffering and maximize pleasure will do the rest.

ScienceAvenger said...

"All that morality requires is empathy, instinct, and the ability to foresee consequences."

Amen Deacan. Those are exactly the aspects of reality that the you-can't-have-morality-without-a-god crowd ignores. This is why they are completely unable to ratonally explain why so many of the godless are moral by any common measure.

When they say "so if its sometimes OK to kill babies, then I might decide to kill yours", when you respond "yes, but I might kill you in defense", they act like this is entirely beside the point.