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  #251  
Old 06-05-2019, 12:03 PM
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...My personal religious views do not override the Constitution, but a constitutional amendment does. So yes, I would argue that the anti-LGBTQ law unconstitutionally discriminates, therefore I would argue against the proposed law, yet I would still agree with my fellow anti-LGBTQ people on the principle of discrimination. From my point of view their heart is in the right place but the method is doomed to failure.
So you would not judge their bigotry as immoral, despite their heartfelt convictions that it is moral? In service of what, Max?


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You are giving me a false dilemma.
In what is it a false dilemma? Seems to be this is as cut and dried as it gets.


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I don't see that as a violation of the separation of church and state. If I ran as a Christian candidate in favor of a constitutional amendment banning homosexual acts, proposing that constitutional amendment does not appear to contradict the separation of church and state. I suspect you and I have different views on that doctrine.
It certainly does when the basis for argument for discrimination is because, "god said so!"

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But obviously, if you don't believe LGBTQ people should be discriminated against, don't vote for the candidate that runs on an anti-LGBTQ constitutional amendment.
And neither should you, if you are in favor of government that is not promoting an inherently bigoted ideology.

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You and I might agree because we are not religious people. Religious people might not agree. Even so I am not convinced that religious public policy leads to a theocracy or is less just than secular public policy.
a) I'm not looking to reach agreement with people arguing for discriminatory religious public policies.

b)I'll give you 10 seconds. I bet you can think of at least three example where religious belief systems led to discriminatory public policy, IRL. Ready? Go.

c)If not theocratic, what would you like to call religion based public policies that lead to real world discrimination?

d) By implication, are you saying secular public policy can also be discriminatory? We're not really talking about that are we? And nobody has made the claim. But if that's all you've got left... roll with it.
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  #252  
Old 06-05-2019, 01:57 PM
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Do you agree that this has a place in infoprming public policy?
I might personally disagree with the authority First Corinthians, but in my opinion that book should have a place in informing public policy so long as people use it to inform their moral system.

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I think the problem is, is that you asked a specific but ambiguous question, and will only accept your definition as to what constitutes debate, religion, and "acceptance".

This is why you keep making strawman to argue against, rather than against the actual arguments presented to you, as people disagree that they must use the words the way that you have defined them.
My definitions of 'religious' and 'public debate' were provided upon request. I've given up my definition of 'religious' in favor of the dictionary definition, but I did not realize my definitions of debate or 'acceptance' were in dispute.

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You keep saying "public debate", and we keep saying pubic policy.
I do include public policy debate under the aegis of 'public debate', and in effect I ask whether religion ought to have a place in public policy debate, but I do not intend to ask whether religion ought to have a place in public policy itself. That question is related though distinct from the topic of this discussion, though I won't shy away from addressing it.

Being undecided on the question of religion, I see at least a couple different positions:
  • A religious belief ought to have a place in public policy if and only if I personally endorse that belief.
    • Religious beliefs should have a place in public policy because my religion says so.
    • Religious beliefs should not have a place in public policy because my religion says so.
    • Religious beliefs should not have a place in public policy because I do not hold religious beliefs.
  • A religious belief ought to have a place in public policy if and only if some authority figure or group endorses that belief.
    • Religious beliefs should have a place in public policy because some authority figure or group says so.
    • Religious beliefs should not have a place in public policy because some authority figure or group says so.
  • Religious belief ought to have a place in public policy if and only if a plurality of the public, according to rules agreed upon by a supermajority, endorse those beliefs.
    • Religious beliefs should have a place in public policy because a plurality of the public, according to agreed rules, endorses those beliefs.
    • Religious beliefs should not have a place in public policy because there is not a plurality of the public, according to agreed rules, which endorses those beliefs.

I'm not sure what to call the first position (perhaps an autocratic narcissism), but I identify the second position with theocracy and the third position with democracy, the latter seems most agreeable.

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You keep saying that religious arguments should not be invalid and should be debated on their merits, but the whole problem is is that religion asserts that its argument is infallible and cannot be debated.
Can't you debate an infallible argument? I guess we are in disagreement as to the definition and purpose of public debate. I think 'debate' is to lay out your argument and, if possible, to invalidate contradictory arguments. The purpose of debate is multi-faceted: if you are undecided, you might convince yourself of a position. If you are already decided, you stand to convince undecided people in the audience (by informing them of your and your opponent's full argument, or lack of one). If you find contradictions in your opponent's argument, you might even convince your opponent to switch sides!

The purpose of a public debate (whether about public policy or any other topic) is similar, but with an emphasis on informing the public. It may often be the case that both positions are infallible, and I don't see anything wrong with that. Remember that every truly logical argument comes down to fundamental premises (religious or not). Public debate then serves the important role of informing the public as to each position, and ideally each individual will consider the premises and vote accordingly.

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You are asserting that not allowing bronze age mythology to dictate our society is against free speech.
No, I do not make that assertion. However, not allowing bronze age mythology to be brought up in the realm of public debate just because it is bronze age mythology is against free speech. You have repeatedly told me you do not make this argument although I had thought QuickSilver implied it in post #95, and Crane was pretty explicit about it in post #107. Maybe the free speech thing is a straw man, but unless you assume that everybody abandons religion, I'm not sure how else you can keep religion out of public policy debate.

If you say everybody should abandon religion, that's an argument but my follow up question will be "what if they don't? Should religion still have a place in public policy debate?"

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You can justify *anything* with religion, which is why it cannot be used to justify public policy.
I think public policy (in this country) should be primarily justified by public opinion via their choice in representatives. It makes no difference to me whether religion is behind the public vote, or the representative's vote, or public policy debates. I might personally disagree with the rationale, but I would not say it is unjustified to allow and consider religious arguments in public debate, as a matter of public policy.

~Max
  #253  
Old 06-05-2019, 02:51 PM
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Are the ethics universal - does the same set of ethical rules apply to you as to me? What is the basis of these ethics? Hedonistic deontology? I've always thought that leads to a situation where every person's brain is effectively isolated in a chemical bath to induce maximum pleasure. That leads to an embrace of solipsism and then it becomes meaningless to talk about ethics at all.

More importantly, what makes 'secular' reasoning into a solid ethical foundation while 'religious' reasoning is not? What if the majority of society is religious?

~Max
Ethics are not universal. They depend on logic, but they also depend on axioms. If your axiomatic system includes the proposition that those outside your tribe are not human, then the ethical prohibition of murder (defined as killing a human) does not apply. We all agree that all born people are human, but some of us think that certain animals fall under the prohibition against killing and some do not.
Maximizing one's own pleasure as the justification for actions is an axiom. The benefit of ethics is that we get to debate the axioms, and at least understand our cause for disagreement. That we have never arrived at a universal moral system just shows that we don't all agree.

Religious morals assume a universal morality, and the axiom is that God gives morals to us. And that we can't argue this, only if we understand God's message properly. Of course for this to be true you need to demonstrate that the particular god giving morals exists. Which seems to be kind of difficult.

And there is the well know problem of do morals get created by God willy nilly, and we must accept them because he is powerful, or does god just transmit an existing perfect moral system to us, which leads to the problem of where it comes from.
Whether of not god exists, we have the problem of the morals being transmitted to us by people, people with sometimes less than moral tendencies. If the prophet is into having multiple wives, all of a sudden God supports it. If the current prophet wants to get his state admitted to the Union, god changes his mind.

I'd buy religious morality if we could log in to the God website and the answer straight from the Man. In our universe, not so much.
  #254  
Old 06-05-2019, 03:26 PM
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It seems to me that you're concerned that religiously motivated individuals would be relegated to second class status when it comes to public policy discussions. I want to stipulate that that is not my personal view or objective.

My personal view and objective is that in matters of public policy discussions, especially those that lead towards formalizing laws (local, state, fed, constitutional), theological arguments based on the word of god are problematic because it's difficult, if not impossible, to avoid alienating other competing religious beliefs or lack thereof, thus disqualifying them on that basis alone.

In other words, everyone is free to believe whatever they want when they worship in whatever manner they worship. But they must check their dogma at the door if they are in a position to inform and influence public policy.

I'm not sure how many more times I have to state this position but I feel like I'm not getting it across in a way that is making a marked impact at all. All I get back is that you disagree and that people's heartfelt beliefs, no matter how wrong or immoral, should be given voice and consideration when making public policy. Believe that if you want. You're hardly alone. Just don't pretend it doesn't carry real life discriminatory consequences to large segments of the population. If you're cool with that, then I guess there's nothing left for us to discuss.
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  #255  
Old 06-05-2019, 05:30 PM
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I'm not sure how many more times I have to state this position but I feel like I'm not getting it across in a way that is making a marked impact at all. All I get back is that you disagree and that people's heartfelt beliefs, no matter how wrong or immoral, should be given voice and consideration when making public policy. Believe that if you want. You're hardly alone. Just don't pretend it doesn't carry real life discriminatory consequences to large segments of the population. If you're cool with that, then I guess there's nothing left for us to discuss.
Well said - the entire post. It seems that someone too concerned about religious people being excluded must doubt that they are capable of cogent secular arguments for their positions. I don't think that, in general. It seems kind of insulting to the religious.
  #256  
Old 06-05-2019, 05:46 PM
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So you would not judge their bigotry as immoral, despite their heartfelt convictions that it is moral? In service of what, Max?
I'm not sure why you are surprised. In that hypothetical you said LGBTQs are an affront to my god, church and country and I am an adherent faithful member. So my personal morals are built on my religion and therefore I share the heartfelt conviction that discriminating against LGBTQ park-goers on Sunday is moral.

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In what is it a false dilemma? Seems to be this is as cut and dried as it gets.
You said: "What if you held the same belief about red-haired people because you attended the same church? Would you argue against the law based on the fact that it unfairly discriminates, or would you agree with your fellow anti-gingers?"

This is a false dilemma because it is possible to argue against a proposed law but still agree with anti-gingers about the morality of discriminating against red-haired park-goers on Sundays. Specifically, an unfair public policy can be moral. That does not make it constitutional, so I would support a constitutional amendment, not a mere law. Does that make sense?

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It certainly does when the basis for argument for discrimination is because, "god said so!"
I see violations of the separation of church and state in things like discriminatory funding for one religious group over another, or requiring a religious test to qualify for public office, or requiring an oath of allegiance to a religious figure, or government authority derives its legitimacy directly from the church rather than the people. Regarding this last point: so long as people have the freedom to vote their conscience, and the government is still a republic, the legitimacy of a law remains the fact that society itself favors that law, and so too with any government action sanctioned by law.

A law passed democratically despite having no secular rationale comes very close, but I don't think it necessarily crosses the line. Certainly if an amendment was proposed replacing the rest of the Constitution with the Quran and Sunnah; the laws with shariah and fiqh; the legislature and judiciary with ulama; the executive with shurṭa, muḥtasibūn, mujahideen, and caliph; I would call that a theocracy, where government authority is derived from Quran and Sunnah rather than the people. That is not to say it is immoral, quite to the contrary if I were Muslim, but it does violate the doctrine of separation of church and state. (I hope I didn't botch any of that up)

Now imagine a system where fiqh has no jurisdiction except where one willingly uses it as the foundation of one's personal morals. The majority of people in the locality do base their morals and therefore politics on fiqh, and so agree on the morality of a proposed law. The law is passed democratically despite having no secular rationale. So long as the people still freely elect representatives, who pass laws and are free to do so without regard to religion, it is still a republic, not a theocracy. The law may still derive its legitimacy through the public, therefore there is not necessarily a violation of the doctrine of separation of church and state.

Now imagine a situation where there are a variety of religious denominations, and while no group within any one faith has the clout to pass a law, an interfaith coalition does. So they pass a law with shaky or nonexistant secular rationale, and a variety of sometimes conflicting religious rationales. The legitimacy of the passed law is due to its overwhelming public support, although were it not for religion the law would never have been passed. So long as this law does not undermine the republican nature of government, I fail to see a violation of the doctrine of separation of church and state.

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And neither should you, if you are in favor of government that is not promoting an inherently bigoted ideology.
I wouldn't support discrimination against LGBTQ people if your hypothetical had not made me a faithful adherent to a religion that discriminates against LGBTQ people.

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a) I'm not looking to reach agreement with people arguing for discriminatory religious public policies.
You should be looking to convince enough people so as to prevent the policy from being implemented, right? It can be the audience of a debate, not necessarily your counterpart on the other side.

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c)If not theocratic, what would you like to call religion based public policies that lead to real world discrimination?
It can be theocratic, but it can also be democratic. It depends on how the law is passed, specifically whether the people who make the laws and the people who elect them are free to defy any given religion belief. If there is no freedom to defy religion in the lawmaking process, it is a theocracy. If there is freedom to defy religion, and the process is otherwise republican, it is a republic.

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d) By implication, are you saying secular public policy can also be discriminatory? We're not really talking about that are we? And nobody has made the claim. But if that's all you've got left... roll with it.
Well yeah, secular policy can also be discriminatory. For example a law that bans red-haired park-goers on Sundays because the public thinks red-heads are statistically likely to trash parks on Sundays. Think of the problems with bail in the criminal justice system, which arguably discriminates against the poor. How about racial profiling?

But that wasn't my point. Your definition of what is "just" is different from someone who derives justice from religion.

~Max
  #257  
Old 06-05-2019, 06:31 PM
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I wouldn't support discrimination against LGBTQ people if your hypothetical had not made me a faithful adherent to a religion that discriminates against LGBTQ people.
Think about that. Now convince me why that position deserves consideration in matters of public policy in a non-theocratic diverse culture/society.

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But that wasn't my point. Your definition of what is "just" is different from someone who derives justice from religion.
~Max
Objectively speaking true. But in practice, one definition of "just" leads to discrimination and suffering.
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  #258  
Old 06-05-2019, 06:51 PM
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Admittedly, my first reaction was to think
"Yeah, why couldn't that pesky preacher MLK jr have just shut up" /s
  #259  
Old 06-05-2019, 07:10 PM
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Admittedly, my first reaction was to think
"Yeah, why couldn't that pesky preacher MLK jr have just shut up" /s
Do you understand the difference between religious people advocating for policy of social justice & equality vs religious people advocating for policy of discrimination based on religious convictions?
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  #260  
Old 06-05-2019, 07:30 PM
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Yes I do.
I also understand people who invoke their religion when advocating for policy of social justice
  #261  
Old 06-05-2019, 07:42 PM
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Do you understand the difference between religious people advocating for policy of social justice & equality vs religious people advocating for policy of discrimination based on religious convictions?
In this specific context? No. Unless the rule is, "Only appeals to theology with which I agree are allowed in public debate."
  #262  
Old 06-05-2019, 07:58 PM
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Yes I do.
I also understand people who invoke their religion when advocating for policy of social justice
Excellent point. So, a religious person advocating for LGBTQ rights because they believe Jesus said to love everyone? Not unheard of. However, far from the more commonly heard argument from the religious right.

If challenged to restate his position without drawing on his religious convictions, could/would he say it's also a humanitarian and moral position to hold, or would he abandon it?
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Last edited by QuickSilver; 06-05-2019 at 07:59 PM.
  #263  
Old 06-05-2019, 08:02 PM
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In this specific context? No. Unless the rule is, "Only appeals to theology with which I agree are allowed in public debate."
Sure. But we're discussing a more narrow definition of "public debate", ie. public policy in the context of establishing legislation/laws.
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  #264  
Old 06-05-2019, 08:09 PM
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N.B. I've stipulated back on page one of this thread that appeals to theology in open public debate should not be restricted.
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  #265  
Old 06-05-2019, 09:26 PM
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In this specific context? No. Unless the rule is, "Only appeals to theology with which I agree are allowed in public debate."
You might have noticed that he gave plenty of secular reasons to be against segregation. You might also have noticed that he had plenty of supporters who were not Christian. If you removed all the religion-based arguments from his speeches, you'd still have powerful speeches and powerful reasons to be against Jim Crow laws.
And his arguments would have been a lot weaker if restricted to "Jesus said so."
  #266  
Old 06-06-2019, 03:32 AM
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This is an a-historical portrayal. It ignores the centuries of brutal oppression, torture and war at the hands of the Christian Church and its policies towards subjected populations. There was nothing "inevitable" about the outcome, no matter how eagerly Christianity wants to take credit. What is demonstrably inevitable is that increased secularization lead to the improved outcomes, not Christian values.
If it was truly a-historical, would it not be likely that a just society arose from some other area in the world. The oppression and torture cannot be considered aligned with Christian values since it is diametrically opposed to these values. This brutality is considered worse than the oppression and brutality of others since Christians knew better and should not have allowed it to happen.
I have difficulty in understanding your contention that increased secularisation inevitably lead to improved outcomes. Wasn't Pol Pot Mao's China and the USSR secular?
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Old 06-06-2019, 07:45 AM
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If it was truly a-historical, would it not be likely that a just society arose from some other area in the world. The oppression and torture cannot be considered aligned with Christian values since it is diametrically opposed to these values. This brutality is considered worse than the oppression and brutality of others since Christians knew better and should not have allowed it to happen.
Please let's not have a, "No real Christian would _______..." conversation. The fact is that under the auspices and direction of Christian faith and its many leaders, terrible injustices were committed over centuries. You don't get to claim now that it was not so. Christianity has a lot to answer for. As do the other major religions. So they are all share that ignominy in that respect.

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I have difficulty in understanding your contention that increased secularisation inevitably lead to improved outcomes. Wasn't Pol Pot Mao's China and the USSR secular?
Pol Pot, Mao, Stalin, Hitler... All said to be secular or said to lead secular societies. Not true of all of them as both Stalin and Hitler enjoyed the support of the Eastern Orthodox and Catholic Church, respectively. Stalin, was a seminary school graduate and knew very well how to control the largely peasant population through the local churches. The Communist Party government leveraged Stalin's model of rule and turned it into a kind of Communist Orthodoxy for years after his death. Mao and Pol Pot actually banned all religions, however, it may be argued that they did so to set themselves up as the ultimate godlike authority, and they were treated as such. Much like the three generations of Kims in NK.

All that to say, being secularist doesn't mean you can't be a sociopathic monster. But at least you can't say you have divine authority to commit atrocities. To do that successfully, you need to set yourself up as the divine authority.
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Last edited by QuickSilver; 06-06-2019 at 07:48 AM.
  #268  
Old 06-06-2019, 11:08 AM
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Please let's not have a, "No real Christian would _______..." conversation. The fact is that under the auspices and direction of Christian faith and its many leaders, terrible injustices were committed over centuries. You don't get to claim now that it was not so. Christianity has a lot to answer for. As do the other major religions. So they are all share that ignominy in that respect.
This is probably a fair point. But.

Suppose someone knocks on your door, and when you open it, they say, "Hi, I'm a good friend of (name of one of your best friends), and he told me that I should look you up and (hang out together, or help you with something you need help with, or something like that that makes you think this is a good person to let into your home).

You let them in and offer them hospitality, which they take advantage of by tying you up, raping you with a plunger, and stealing all your stuff. Needless to say, this person is actually not a friend of (name of one of your best friends); they were just saying that.

Under these circumstances, is (name of one of your best friends) culpable for what happened to you? I don't think so. And neither do I think that Christianity/religion should be held responsible for everything that is done in its name.
  #269  
Old 06-06-2019, 11:15 AM
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Under these circumstances, is (name of one of your best friends) culpable for what happened to you? I don't think so. And neither do I think that Christianity/religion should be held responsible for everything that is done in its name.
All deeds, evil and good?
  #270  
Old 06-06-2019, 11:57 AM
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This is probably a fair point. But.

Suppose someone knocks on your door, and when you open it, they say, "Hi, I'm a good friend of (name of one of your best friends), and he told me that I should look you up and (hang out together, or help you with something you need help with, or something like that that makes you think this is a good person to let into your home).

You let them in and offer them hospitality, which they take advantage of by tying you up, raping you with a plunger, and stealing all your stuff. Needless to say, this person is actually not a friend of (name of one of your best friends); they were just saying that.

Under these circumstances, is (name of one of your best friends) culpable for what happened to you? I don't think so. And neither do I think that Christianity/religion should be held responsible for everything that is done in its name.
That's a common refrain, however, I'm not sure it's a plausible deniability.

As Christopher Hitchens noted:

"The Vatican agrees that HIV/AIDS is bad. But not as bad as condoms."

Additionally, the crime of child abuse (rape) and subsequent obfuscation is an institutional problem.

No arguments on both those counts, I assume.
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Last edited by QuickSilver; 06-06-2019 at 11:58 AM.
  #271  
Old 06-06-2019, 04:30 PM
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This is probably a fair point. But.

Suppose someone knocks on your door, and when you open it, they say, "Hi, I'm a good friend of (name of one of your best friends), and he told me that I should look you up and (hang out together, or help you with something you need help with, or something like that that makes you think this is a good person to let into your home).

You let them in and offer them hospitality, which they take advantage of by tying you up, raping you with a plunger, and stealing all your stuff. Needless to say, this person is actually not a friend of (name of one of your best friends); they were just saying that.

Under these circumstances, is (name of one of your best friends) culpable for what happened to you? I don't think so. And neither do I think that Christianity/religion should be held responsible for everything that is done in its name.
I'm not sure who the best friend is here. If it is God, then you've never actually spoken to your best friend, but just heard he is cool from others. Exactly the others who are hurting you. If it is the Pope or the church, they harm you directly also.
Not to mention that many of those hurt don't even claim the "best friend" as their own. Which infuriates the person coming to their houses.

The harm done by Christianity was in large part instituted by official Christianity, not some wacko cult.
  #272  
Old 06-06-2019, 05:12 PM
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I thought I had made my point explicit: "neither do I think that Christianity/religion should be held responsible for everything that is done in its name." Some things, yeah. But not everything.

I was mostly agreeing with what QuickSilver said (particularly his first paragraph from Post #267), but I was qualifying that agreement: Just because someone (some person or entity or regime) claims to be Christian (or some other particular religion) does not necessarily mean that Christianity/religion can legitimately be held responsible for their misdeeds.
  #273  
Old 06-06-2019, 05:58 PM
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I thought I had made my point explicit: "neither do I think that Christianity/religion should be held responsible for everything that is done in its name." Some things, yeah. But not everything.

I was mostly agreeing with what QuickSilver said (particularly his first paragraph from Post #267), but I was qualifying that agreement: Just because someone (some person or entity or regime) claims to be Christian (or some other particular religion) does not necessarily mean that Christianity/religion can legitimately be held responsible for their misdeeds.
Or their deeds.
  #274  
Old 06-06-2019, 07:13 PM
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Ethics are not universal. They depend on logic, but they also depend on axioms.
That ethics are not universal is itself either an axiom or derived from axioms. You have made your opinion on that clear, but there are certainly people who disagree with you.

What do you say to a man who claims that ethics are in fact universal? No religion or supernatural power involved, it just so happens to be that there exists a universal code of ethics, regarding certain actions. He might say, I don't know... the purpose of life is to ensure the continuation of the species, and that any action that does not serve this purpose directly or indirectly is unethical, and that children should be instilled with these ethics. What if he uses that as an axiom (with others) to build an argument about public policy? And what if you disagree with conclusion of that argument? Do you debate, or dismiss him, or what?

Ignore the rhetorician at your own peril, for without opposition he may gather a following and effect his policies. Neither can you forcibly quiet the man who demands freedom of speech; that is his right to speak freely (with certain restrictions). What do you do?

It seems that you would debate him, if not directly then indirectly by convincing others of your own position. You might say to a group of undecided friends, "don't listen to this man because...", and if they hesitate to agree I assume you will argue your position. It is not difficult to see how such a conversation becomes a full fledged debate. Do you walk away?

What if everybody who disagrees with the rhetorician walks away and refuses to debate him, or anybody who entertains his position? What would that mean for the uninformed public? In the worst case, public policy becomes a race: who will make their argument first? Say a citizen appears, tabula rasa, and the rhetorician reaches this citizen before you do. The citizen takes on a default position that ethics are universal, therefore... they support that horrible conclusion you so strongly disagree with. You approach the citizen and refuse to speak to them unless they accept the "fact" that ethics are not universal; you might say to yourself: if they cannot accept this basic axiom, you are wasting your time. The citizen in turn thinks that you are pretentious and illogical, and they are justified in doing so because all they have it on authority (even if misplaced) that ethics are universal. There may be some who come to the alternative conclusion on their own, sure, but it is implied that these enlightened people never return to the cave.

Let's carry this worst-case to the limit. Let's say the rhetorician's conclusion is that people should have lots of monogamous, unprotected sex and lots of babies and raise their children to do the same; that the law should outlaw birth control and fornication because they are universally unethical. If an individual's political opinion is merely a race to make the first political impression, and the rhetorician's policies are not self-destructive, over time "they" will simply outnumber "you", and by the principle of majority rule they will out-vote you, if not by statute then by constitutional amendment.

The point is that there is no difference, in terms of effect, between a disagreement over the universality of ethics (or underlying premises) and a disagreement over religious premises. If you are willing to debate the former you should be willing to debate the latter.

~Max
  #275  
Old 06-06-2019, 07:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Voyager View Post
Religious morals assume a universal morality, and the axiom is that God gives morals to us. And that we can't argue this, only if we understand God's message properly.
Au contraire, the idea is that there are multiple axioms beneath any given religion. For example,
  • God exists
  • The will of God is...
  • To be moral is to adhere to the will of God

If these are religious axioms due to their inclusion of a superhuman controlling power (God), we could say any argument which relies on one of these (at any point in the logical tree) is a religious argument, unless the same argument could be made with entirely secular premises.

It is impossible to prove an axiom without using circular logic, otherwise it would not be an axiom. Similarly it is impossible to prove a religious argument if you flat out deny the truth of any religious axioms. So when you say:

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Originally Posted by Voyager View Post
Of course for this to be true you need to demonstrate that the particular god giving morals exists. Which seems to be kind of difficult.
That is not difficult, but logically impossible without religious arguments. You didn't say to prove the existence of God without religious arguments, but this is implied. To ask for proof that a "particular god giving morals exists" is to beg the question. Begging the question is fallacious, therefore to ask for proof of God without using religious arguments is itself fallacious.

~Max

Last edited by Max S.; 06-06-2019 at 07:59 PM.
  #276  
Old 06-07-2019, 02:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Max S. View Post
Au contraire, the idea is that there are multiple axioms beneath any given religion. For example,
  • God exists
  • The will of God is...
  • To be moral is to adhere to the will of God

If these are religious axioms due to their inclusion of a superhuman controlling power (God), we could say any argument which relies on one of these (at any point in the logical tree) is a religious argument, unless the same argument could be made with entirely secular premises.

It is impossible to prove an axiom without using circular logic, otherwise it would not be an axiom. Similarly it is impossible to prove a religious argument if you flat out deny the truth of any religious axioms. So when you say:


That is not difficult, but logically impossible without religious arguments. You didn't say to prove the existence of God without religious arguments, but this is implied. To ask for proof that a "particular god giving morals exists" is to beg the question. Begging the question is fallacious, therefore to ask for proof of God without using religious arguments is itself fallacious.

~Max
Never meant to imply that what I gave was the only axiom. However "God exists" is not a good axiom, and is not treated as such even in the Bible. Abraham had direct evidence of God. He certainly did not consider God as axiomatic. And more recently, if God were axiomatic we would not have religious types offering proofs for his existence.
Further, God exists is not adequate by itself. The axiom would have to specify something about the type of God exists. If it were valid to follow from the axiom that the Judeo Christian god exists, then systems postulating another type of god would be equally valid, and we'd have many mutually contradictory but equally valid religious systems. That's another reason the axiom isn't valid.
Axiomatic morality combines your second and third points. The will of God covers more than just what actions he wants us to do. But we could rephrase it as God wants you to be moral by doing the following moral things.
I agree that they are axioms because an existent god does not necessarily imply that we must follow his rules.
  #277  
Old 06-07-2019, 02:31 AM
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I thought I had made my point explicit: "neither do I think that Christianity/religion should be held responsible for everything that is done in its name." Some things, yeah. But not everything.

I was mostly agreeing with what QuickSilver said (particularly his first paragraph from Post #267), but I was qualifying that agreement: Just because someone (some person or entity or regime) claims to be Christian (or some other particular religion) does not necessarily mean that Christianity/religion can legitimately be held responsible for their misdeeds.
Okay, I think I didn't consider that interpretation because it is trivially true. We should be more concerned with things done under the command of the official structure of a church. If the choice of a Pope is divinely inspired, then evil done under the direction of that Pope is the direct responsibility of Catholicism. And God, I suppose.
I definitely agree that some whackjob saying he killed because Jesus told him to is not the responsibility of the Church or Christianity.
  #278  
Old 06-07-2019, 02:49 AM
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That ethics are not universal is itself either an axiom or derived from axioms. You have made your opinion on that clear, but there are certainly people who disagree with you.
We have evidence that ethical systems are not universal since there are so many of them and they evolve. The only way one could claim that an ethical system is universal is if you dismiss all the others.
Quote:
What do you say to a man who claims that ethics are in fact universal? No religion or supernatural power involved, it just so happens to be that there exists a universal code of ethics, regarding certain actions. He might say, I don't know... the purpose of life is to ensure the continuation of the species, and that any action that does not serve this purpose directly or indirectly is unethical, and that children should be instilled with these ethics. What if he uses that as an axiom (with others) to build an argument about public policy? And what if you disagree with conclusion of that argument? Do you debate, or dismiss him, or what?
People can say anything, but someone who makes his assumptions clear makes it possible to have those assumptions debated. I don't know why you would think that someone would not debate them - the whole reason for secular ethics is that all points can be debated.
Which is not to say that someone couldn't support their ethical postulates with an army. But we're assuming a slightly higher level of discourse here.
I won't go into the validity of this ethical system, since that would be a hijack.
Quote:
The point is that there is no difference, in terms of effect, between a disagreement over the universality of ethics (or underlying premises) and a disagreement over religious premises. If you are willing to debate the former you should be willing to debate the latter.

~Max
If someone has a premise that an ethical system is universal, they have the obligation to answer counterexamples to this premise. And we can reject ethical systems based on premises contrary to fact.

I'm certainly willing to debate religious premises, and have been doing so for a very long time. Religious people often aren't. When one uses faith as justification, it means that the existence of god is not subject to debate.
An honest secular debater would, I hope, accept that a premise is incorrect when presented with a counterexample. Faith being so prevalent, I wouldn't call those who use faith as the basis of a moral system dishonest. Because faith by its nature is not subject to contradiction, so believing despite lack of evidence is not dishonest. Incorrect, but not dishonest.
  #279  
Old 06-07-2019, 08:49 AM
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"....faith by its nature is not subject to contradiction"

A faith based premise may or may not be factual. It is, at least, insincere to present it as a factual premise in a debate.

The real problem is that religion and politics are symbiotic social parasites. An excellent example is Russia pre-revolution - a corrupt theocracy, ruled by a God appointed Tsar. The secular Soviet Federation, raised the literacy rate from 16% to above 90%, industrialized the country, defeated Nazi Germany and launched the first earth satellite.
  #280  
Old 06-07-2019, 10:34 AM
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Originally Posted by QuickSilver View Post
It seems to me that you're concerned that religiously motivated individuals would be relegated to second class status when it comes to public policy discussions. I want to stipulate that that is not my personal view or objective.
That is good to hear, although you previously made it clear that you don't take that exact position. Another of my concerns is that religiously motivated individuals will be relegated to second class status when it comes to public policy discussions unless and until they present secular arguments.

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Originally Posted by QuickSilver View Post
My personal view and objective is that in matters of public policy discussions, especially those that lead towards formalizing laws (local, state, fed, constitutional), theological arguments based on the word of god are problematic because it's difficult, if not impossible, to avoid alienating other competing religious beliefs or lack thereof, thus disqualifying them on that basis alone.
I don't understand why a theological axiomatic disagreement is any more problematic than a secular axiomatic disagreement. There is no room for agreement on certain issues between a consequentialist and a deontologist, between a dualist and a physicalist, between a utilitarian and a hedonist or personalist, or between a nihilist and almost anybody else. That groups with one set of beliefs (religious or not) are "alienated" from groups with another set of beliefs is innevitable unless all people share a homogenous set of beliefs, and I assert that all people do not share the same beliefs.

So I do not understand why irreconcilable disagreement is a disqualifier for public debate. If it is, what makes secular beliefs better than religious beliefs? This is a rhetorical question in the general sense, because a religious person might define "better" differently than a secular person, such that their religious beliefs are "better", or vice versa, thus there is no argument that can answer the general question. Pure democracy would imply the answer is a head count, but it ceases to be a healthy democracy if the minority is disqualified from debating the majority until they accept the premises in dispute.

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Originally Posted by QuickSilver View Post
In other words, everyone is free to believe whatever they want when they worship in whatever manner they worship. But they must check their dogma at the door if they are in a position to inform and influence public policy.
This is exactly what I'm concerned about.

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All I get back is that you disagree and that people's heartfelt beliefs, no matter how wrong or immoral, should be given voice and consideration when making public policy. Believe that if you want. You're hardly alone.
That is what I believe, although as with most things I'm not 100% certain.

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Originally Posted by QuickSilver View Post
Just don't pretend it doesn't carry real life discriminatory consequences to large segments of the population. If you're cool with that, then I guess there's nothing left for us to discuss.
Allowing the public to consider religious arguments does not imply discriminatory public policy will be effected, although it is definitely a possibility. I may or may not be cool with a given public policy, but I am generally not okay with preventing the consideration of religious arguments or stifling the voices who express them. I would make exceptions, just as with other forms of free speech, but I do not extend the exception to every religious argument. I do hope you stick around because we seem to disagree here, for reasons I honestly don't understand.

~Max

Last edited by Max S.; 06-07-2019 at 10:37 AM.
  #281  
Old 06-07-2019, 11:17 AM
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Originally Posted by QuickSilver View Post
Think about that. Now convince me why that position deserves consideration in matters of public policy in a non-theocratic diverse culture/society.
From a secular perspective, society (the people in aggregate) determines what is or is not a right. In American society we defer to the Constitution, treaties, courts, laws, state constitutions, etc. which are all expressions of the will of American society.

You and I and American society as a whole considers the freedom of speech to be a right, with exceptions. But I don't think those exceptions extend to political speech just because said political speech contains religious rationale. The current standard for exceptions to free speech is whether said speech reasonably leads to "imminent lawless action" (Brandenburg v. Ohio). If the political speech in question is intended to legally amend the laws or constitution so as to lawfully discriminate against LGBTQ people, I do not see how such discrimination constitutes an "imminent lawless action".

I do not believe political speech inherently deserves consideration just because it is protected by the right to freedom of speech. It is always up to the individual whether to consider or give value to any expression of political speech. But I do not believe we should in any way prevent individuals from presenting or considering political speech by disqualifying specific political opinions from public debate.

The reason you or I personally object to LGBTQ discrimination is because we personally believe LGBTQ people have the right to equal protection of the laws - that discrimination against LGBTQ people is wrong. You can say, "everyone should agree with me therefore religious arguments in favor of LGBTQ discrimination should not have a place in public debate", and I might agree with you. But if we take as a premise that not everyone agrees with us, I say religious arguments in favor of LGBTQ discrimination should have a place in public debate so long as someone is willing to present them. I don't mean to advocate for a false balance, ideally the public debate regarding LGBTQ discrimination should be proportional to the number of people espousing that view.

If the vote comes to pass and LGBTQ discrimination makes its way into the constitution, you and I and LGBTQ people haven't much recourse. We can push for a repeal if possible (as I am not LGBTQ), leave the country if possible, or attempt by use of force to protect what we see as inalienable rights. Or we could give up. That's about it.

~Max
  #282  
Old 06-07-2019, 12:38 PM
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If it were valid to follow from the axiom that the Judeo Christian god exists, then systems postulating another type of god would be equally valid, and we'd have many mutually contradictory but equally valid religious systems.
I do not see what is wrong with that. These are two mutually contradictory yet, in isolation, valid arguments:
P → Q, P ⊢ Q
P → Q, P ⊢ Q
The basic premise of democracy is that a plurality decides whether to implement Q or Q. We live in a constitutional republic, so instead of a head count it is a vote to elect representatives who then vote on the issue, and the resulting law is subject to limits in the constitution. But the way our government is set up, a supermajority can amend the constitution to overcome those limits.

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I agree that they are axioms because an existent god does not necessarily imply that we must follow his rules.
Neither has anyone argued that anybody must be moral, for this goes against free will. Therefore citing immoral acts is not a refutation of universal morality, nor citing moral acts as proof of universal morality. Despite the misleading usage of the word "universal", it is not implied that all things are universally or even mostly moral, only that the standard is universal. So when you point to immoral acts of a church, the response is that the church was immoral, or as Thrasymachus might say the church ceased to be a church; indeed many Catholics leave their churches for that exact reason.

~Max
  #283  
Old 06-07-2019, 12:42 PM
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From a secular perspective, society (the people in aggregate) determines what is or is not a right. In American society we defer to the Constitution, treaties, courts, laws, state constitutions, etc. which are all expressions of the will of American society.
And all subject to change.

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You and I and American society as a whole considers the freedom of speech to be a right, with exceptions. But I don't think those exceptions extend to political speech just because said political speech contains religious rationale.
Wherein lies our fundamental disagreement. I believe religious argument should be restricted from public policy for reasons I won't bother to re-iterate, and you do not.

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The current standard for exceptions to free speech is whether said speech reasonably leads to "imminent lawless action" (Brandenburg v. Ohio). If the political speech in question is intended to legally amend the laws or constitution so as to lawfully discriminate against LGBTQ people, I do not see how such discrimination constitutes an "imminent lawless action".
You're talking about rescinding equal protection under the law based on religious argument. You don't see that as being immoral as well as crossing the line of separation of church and state, thus trending towards theocracy?

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I do not believe political speech inherently deserves consideration just because it is protected by the right to freedom of speech. It is always up to the individual whether to consider or give value to any expression of political speech. But I do not believe we should in any way prevent individuals from presenting or considering political speech by disqualifying specific political opinions from public debate.
Did you mean to say "specific religious opinions"? If so, I strongly disagree because of the demonstrable negative consequences this has on society. We can list them. Why do you argue as if those real world harmful consequences are simply theoretical?

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The reason you or I personally object to LGBTQ discrimination is because we personally believe LGBTQ people have the right to equal protection of the laws - that discrimination against LGBTQ people is wrong. You can say, "everyone should agree with me therefore religious arguments in favor of LGBTQ discrimination should not have a place in public debate", and I might agree with you. But if we take as a premise that not everyone agrees with us, I say religious arguments in favor of LGBTQ discrimination should have a place in public debate so long as someone is willing to present them. I don't mean to advocate for a false balance, ideally the public debate regarding LGBTQ discrimination should be proportional to the number of people espousing that view.
Some things are wrong. We don't need everyone to agree that they are wrong. We need only ensure that they remain wrong. If we as a society have already agreed that everyone deserves equal protection under the law, why should we allow people to present public policy arguments in favor of codifying discriminatory laws?

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If the vote comes to pass and LGBTQ discrimination makes its way into the constitution, you and I and LGBTQ people haven't much recourse. We can push for a repeal if possible (as I am not LGBTQ), leave the country if possible, or attempt by use of force to protect what we see as inalienable rights. Or we could give up. That's about it.
~Max
Which is why we ought not let it come to that by preventing discriminatory laws from being presented in public policy debates in the first place.

I realize your argument is to impress the importance of not discriminating against those with religious beliefs. But often, those religious beliefs cause discrimination against those who either don't share the same belief system. I don't know of any organized and concerted effort by the LGBTQ community of trying to impose their lifestyle on anyone. It's been my experience that they pretty much live their own lives not bothering anybody. The same can't be said for religious blue-nosed busy bodies that insist on telling everyone how to live. And this is an institutional problem, not down to a handful of individuals who can't mind their own business.

Defend religious rights & freedoms all you want. I'm right there with you. Right up to the point where their rights & freedoms begin to impinge on rights & freedoms of those who don't believe as they do.
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  #284  
Old 06-07-2019, 01:03 PM
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Excellent point. So, a religious person advocating for LGBTQ rights because they believe Jesus said to love everyone? Not unheard of. However, far from the more commonly heard argument from the religious right.

If challenged to restate his position without drawing on his religious convictions, could/would he say it's also a humanitarian and moral position to hold, or would he abandon it?
I would argue that you may be asking that individual to lie about the sources of their position (because the humanitarian and moral position that the individual believes is derived from their faith). Is that any better?

Most of the denominations that affirm LGBTQ rights do so based on the religious idea that God loves everyone. And some of the individuals in those churches have had their minds changed based on those arguments (I've met some of them). Perhaps they would have a difficult time explaining their beliefs in a non-religious way - many, if not most, religious people view society through the prism of their faith.

Besides, it isn't as if those alt-right folks who consider themselves atheist (a growing number) are beacons of tolerance for LGBTQ rights.
  #285  
Old 06-07-2019, 01:15 PM
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I don't understand why a theological axiomatic disagreement is any more problematic than a secular axiomatic disagreement.
One does not depend on an unfalsifiable authority. But you know that. Why continue to challenge it? What's to gain?

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Originally Posted by Max S. View Post
So I do not understand why irreconcilable disagreement is a disqualifier for public debate. If it is, what makes secular beliefs better than religious beliefs? This is a rhetorical question in the general sense, because a religious person might define "better" differently than a secular person, such that their religious beliefs are "better", or vice versa, thus there is no argument that can answer the general question. Pure democracy would imply the answer is a head count, but it ceases to be a healthy democracy if the minority is disqualified from debating the majority until they accept the premises in dispute.
Why continue to insist that all arguments are of equal validity? Are you arguing just for sport or do you have a point to make?


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Originally Posted by Max S. View Post
Allowing the public to consider religious arguments does not imply discriminatory public policy will be effected, although it is definitely a possibility. I may or may not be cool with a given public policy, but I am generally not okay with preventing the consideration of religious arguments or stifling the voices who express them. I would make exceptions, just as with other forms of free speech, but I do not extend the exception to every religious argument. I do hope you stick around because we seem to disagree here, for reasons I honestly don't understand.
~Max
My sense is that we disagree because you put a higher value on heartfelt religious beliefs than I.
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Last edited by QuickSilver; 06-07-2019 at 01:16 PM.
  #286  
Old 06-07-2019, 01:22 PM
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Why continue to insist that all arguments are of equal validity? Are you arguing just for sport or do you have a point to make?
I may be wrong, but what I understand Max S. to be saying is: If there is a fundamental disagreement at the axiomatic level, why does it matter whether those axioms are religious or secular?
  #287  
Old 06-07-2019, 01:25 PM
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We have evidence that ethical systems are not universal since there are so many of them and they evolve. The only way one could claim that an ethical system is universal is if you dismiss all the others.
Correct. A proponent of universal ethics will necessarily disagree with other ethical systems, much like you would tell me that discriminating against LGBTQ people is wrong.

That doesn't imply they would subvert the democratic principles of government to impose their ethics against the will of society. It is a possibility but by no means implied.

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People can say anything, but someone who makes his assumptions clear makes it possible to have those assumptions debated. I don't know why you would think that someone would not debate them - the whole reason for secular ethics is that all points can be debated.
If by "possible to have those assumptions debated" you mean "possible to have those assumptions refuted", I disagree. The assumptions we are discussing are religious axioms. You cannot refute an axiom except by contradiction with other axioms used in an argument, which may or may not be possible. That is why I defined "debate", in post #252, as "to lay out your argument and, if possible, to invalidate contradictory arguments." I'm open to other definitions, but reading your post gave me the impression that you used "debated" as a synonym for "refuted", and I disagree with your statement given that construction.

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If someone has a premise that an ethical system is universal, they have the obligation to answer counterexamples to this premise.
You have misinterpreted the premise of universal ethics. It is not that all people think they share the same ethical system, it is that there is a system of ethics which can apply to all people, usually accompanied by the argument that this system should apply to all people.

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I'm certainly willing to debate religious premises, and have been doing so for a very long time.
Would you say religious beliefs should have a place in public policy debate so long as people espouse those beliefs? And that people should not espouse religious beliefs due to a lack of evidence? That ideally, people shouldn't espouse religious beliefs and therefore religion should not have a place in public debate?

That is an argument I can understand, although I may not agree.

~Max
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Old 06-07-2019, 01:30 PM
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I would argue that you may be asking that individual to lie about the sources of their position (because the humanitarian and moral position that the individual believes is derived from their faith). Is that any better?

Most of the denominations that affirm LGBTQ rights do so based on the religious idea that God loves everyone. And some of the individuals in those churches have had their minds changed based on those arguments (I've met some of them). Perhaps they would have a difficult time explaining their beliefs in a non-religious way - many, if not most, religious people view society through the prism of their faith.

Besides, it isn't as if those alt-right folks who consider themselves atheist (a growing number) are beacons of tolerance for LGBTQ rights.
Which illustrates an excellent point. In society, good people will do the best they can, while bad people will do the worst they can. And each will use whatever means they have to justify their actions. Thus, religion does not offer a moral framework, only an excuse for the one they chose.
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  #289  
Old 06-07-2019, 01:34 PM
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Would you say religious beliefs should have a place in public policy debate so long as people espouse those beliefs? And that people should not espouse religious beliefs due to a lack of evidence? That ideally, people shouldn't espouse religious beliefs and therefore religion should not have a place in public debate?

That is an argument I can understand, although I may not agree.

~Max
Finally. Now we're getting somewhere.
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  #290  
Old 06-07-2019, 01:40 PM
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Which illustrates an excellent point. In society, good people will do the best they can, while bad people will do the worst they can. And each will use whatever means they have to justify their actions. Thus, religion does not offer a moral framework, only an excuse for the one they chose.
One can say that for just about any philosophical moral framework. Not sure why religion should be singled out for not having a place in public debate.
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Old 06-07-2019, 02:11 PM
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Wherein lies our fundamental disagreement. I believe religious argument should be restricted from public policy for reasons I won't bother to re-iterate, and you do not.
Not fundamental, but a disagreement nonetheless.

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You're talking about rescinding equal protection under the law based on religious argument. You don't see that as being immoral as well as crossing the line of separation of church and state, thus trending towards theocracy?
Make no mistake, I think an amendment discriminating against LGBTQ people would be immoral. I don't see it as violating the separation of church and state, though it does come close, because from my (secular) perspective the amendment is passed via democracy, not theological fiat. At some point all of those people had to vote for the amendment, and so long as the people have a choice, it is not in my opinion a theocracy. Trending perhaps, but in my eyes it does not cross the line.

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Did you mean to say "specific religious opinions"? If so, I strongly disagree because of the demonstrable negative consequences this has on society. We can list them. Why do you argue as if those real world harmful consequences are simply theoretical?
I meant specific political opinions, which as a class encompasses specific political opinions based on religious arguments. I will make exceptions, but as I explained in the next sentence, those exceptions are the same as for any other free speech.

I personally agree that a law and constitutional amendment discriminating against LGBTQ people (the law would have to have an amendment to pass constitutional muster) is immoral and leads to demonstrably negative consequences on society. But when I put myself in the shoes of a religious person whose religion defines morality and considers LGBTQ discrimination to be moral, what you (and I) call "negative consequences" become "positive consequences". What you (and I) call "immoral" becomes "moral". It's not because religious people are illogical or sadistic or "want to control women's bodies" or what have you, although there are certainly some people who fit that bill. There is a fundamental disagreement on what is or is not moral.

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Some things are wrong. We don't need everyone to agree that they are wrong. We need only ensure that they remain wrong. If we as a society have already agreed that everyone deserves equal protection under the law, why should we allow people to present public policy arguments in favor of codifying discriminatory laws?
I have my doubts about universal morality which carry over to the premise that "some things are wrong". Leaving morality aside, a constitutional amendment cannot be unconstitutional by definition. You say that the notion of equal protection is permanently settled, but I disagree and say nothing is permanently settled. Just because society decided there should be equal protection for all a hundred fifty years ago does not mean society is bound by that decision for all of eternity. There exists mechanisms to reverse course. Specifically there is precedent for repealing a constitutional amendment in Amendment XXI, Section I:

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The eighteenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed.
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I realize your argument is to impress the importance of not discriminating against those with religious beliefs. But often, those religious beliefs cause discrimination against those who either don't share the same belief system.
Your only protection against legal discrimination is that the majority of society is willing to punish people who discriminate. In my opinion we are also willing to punish people who discriminate against political speech, including religiously motivated political speech. These and other rights are the truce between innumerable factions who would otherwise be fighting wars against each other. If one group or coalition wants to change that understanding, through open debate as allowed by the rules of society, who are you to deny their rights and shut them down?

~Max
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Old 06-07-2019, 02:18 PM
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One does not depend on an unfalsifiable authority. But you know that. Why continue to challenge it? What's to gain?
Actually I disagree. Both secular and religious axioms depend on the unfalsifiable authority of the axioms, which are by definition unfalsifiable. As I mentioned in a list before, modus ponens is itself an axiom and thus unfalsifiable.

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Why continue to insist that all arguments are of equal validity? Are you arguing just for sport or do you have a point to make?
I am arguing because I do not understand why you answer the original question in the negative, although I think we are getting close to understanding each other.

~Max
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Old 06-07-2019, 02:22 PM
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Finally. Now we're getting somewhere.
Voyager was willing to debate religious premises, but I thought you would disqualify religious arguments and ask your opponent to come back with a secular argument?

I thoroughly apologize if I have misconstrued your position.

~Max
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Old 06-07-2019, 02:35 PM
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Voyager was willing to debate religious premises, but I thought you would disqualify religious arguments and ask your opponent to come back with a secular argument?

I thoroughly apologize if I have misconstrued your position.

~Max
I've agreed from page one to debate religious premises in public forums. However, I've also argued from page one to exclude them from political policy debates. i.e.: We ought not permit religious doctrine inform laws that end up discriminating against women, minorities, etc...
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Old 06-07-2019, 02:38 PM
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Actually I disagree. Both secular and religious axioms depend on the unfalsifiable authority of the axioms, which are by definition unfalsifiable. As I mentioned in a list before, modus ponens is itself an axiom and thus unfalsifiable.
It matters, to me at least, if the axioms come from religious authority. Lack of proof of god's existence aside, religious authorities don't even agree on many things.
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Old 06-07-2019, 02:41 PM
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One can say that for just about any philosophical moral framework. Not sure why religion should be singled out for not having a place in public debate.
Because religion appeals to an infallible authority. Hard to argue with, "Because God said so!".
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Old 06-07-2019, 02:45 PM
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I've agreed from page one to debate religious premises in public forums. However, I've also argued from page one to exclude them from political policy debates. i.e.: We ought not permit religious doctrine inform laws that end up discriminating against women, minorities, etc...
That's what I'm talking about: religious arguments in public debate concerning public policy. Voyager and I went off into a foray about ethics and public policy debate, and I said it should make no difference if the argument is ethical or religious.

~Max
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Old 06-07-2019, 02:51 PM
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It matters, to me at least, if the axioms come from religious authority. Lack of proof of god's existence aside, religious authorities don't even agree on many things.
I'm trying to put myself in your shoes but it just doesn't make sense to me. You can't prove an axiom so to require proof of God's existence is nonsensical. If a religious authority is self-contradictory it would make sense to point this out in the debate. If a separate religious authority disagrees, not recognized by your opponent, that sounds like a non-sequiter.

~Max
  #299  
Old 06-07-2019, 04:01 PM
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Because religion appeals to an infallible authority. Hard to argue with, "Because God said so!".
And? It's generally hard to argue with anyone's philosophical moral underpinning. You aren't going to get very far with that.

In addition, theological debates and discussions have been going on from when the first religion was formed. The theology part of the library would be very small indeed if "Because God said so" was the only word (sentence?) in the discussion.

I don't see the case for restricting something out of the public sphere of debate simply because you believe it to be more intractable to argue someone out of it.
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Old 06-07-2019, 05:23 PM
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Correct. A proponent of universal ethics will necessarily disagree with other ethical systems, much like you would tell me that discriminating against LGBTQ people is wrong.

That doesn't imply they would subvert the democratic principles of government to impose their ethics against the will of society. It is a possibility but by no means implied.
I can imagine ethical systems that do discriminate. I'd find them wrong, probably because of some premise they have - like maximizing human reproduction, for instance. Notice that some religious systems mandate discrimination because God said so. (Not all religious systems, to be sure.) That's a premise they are unwilling to examine.

Quote:
If by "possible to have those assumptions debated" you mean "possible to have those assumptions refuted", I disagree. The assumptions we are discussing are religious axioms. You cannot refute an axiom except by contradiction with other axioms used in an argument, which may or may not be possible. That is why I defined "debate", in post #252, as "to lay out your argument and, if possible, to invalidate contradictory arguments." I'm open to other definitions, but reading your post gave me the impression that you used "debated" as a synonym for "refuted", and I disagree with your statement given that construction.
I definitely don't intend to equate debate with refutation. Good debate lays out the axioms and the chain of reasoning. As a high school debater, I in fact changed my mind about some issues as a result of preparing a debate about them.
One part of a debate could be about refuting certain arguments, but that's not the purpose or the result. I'm assuming honest debating, scarce these days.
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You have misinterpreted the premise of universal ethics. It is not that all people think they share the same ethical system, it is that there is a system of ethics which can apply to all people, usually accompanied by the argument that this system should apply to all people.
I was using universal as the opposite of relativistic. I'd think that universal in the sense of applying to everyone is trivial, since you can special case various classes of people. For instance "all people should be vaccinated - except those for whom it is medically inadvisable."
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Would you say religious beliefs should have a place in public policy debate so long as people espouse those beliefs? And that people should not espouse religious beliefs due to a lack of evidence? That ideally, people shouldn't espouse religious beliefs and therefore religion should not have a place in public debate?

That is an argument I can understand, although I may not agree.

~Max
I'm fine with people espousing religious beliefs and acting on them when it affects them and others with sincerely held similar beliefs. If someone things Meryl Streep is the best actress ever and holds Meryl Streep viewing parties with those who agree, fine with me. However if they get a law passed requiring the rest of us to attend Meryl Streep film festivals, they have a stronger burden of proof that she is such a great actress that our lives would be improved by being forced to watch her movies.
Espousing Meryl Streep in the free marketplace of ideas, no problem. Espousing Meryl Streep with the intention of forcing a certain behavior on everyone, big problem.
I hope that helps take this issue out of the sensitive topic of god. No one wants to force Meryl Streep viewing parties of course - yet.

Bottom line - We get to examine axioms except in the case of God, who is the subject of all sorts of special pleading. Many Christians think God is universal. Being Jewish, I didn't think that even when I was a believer. It would have been absurd of us to even propose universal Kosher laws for non-Jews.

Last edited by Voyager; 06-07-2019 at 05:26 PM.
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