Family Values

Austin Cline has posted on "What can the godless do in a religious society?".


  1. Hey Tom,
    Not to beat a dead horse, but this is a perfect illustration of what I've been arguing for. Everyone knows the basics of morality, and everyone can do "good" things whether they believe in God or not. Anyone who argues otherwise is simply mistaken. The real question, however, is the ontological grounds for things like love, respect, sacrifice, human rights, etc. How do you account for such things given a naturalistic/materialistic worldview? Thanks Tom!

    - Adam

  2. Adam,

    We agree that these concepts are real. I account for them as being part of humanity from evolution as we formed groups. You postulate they are from, and part of, a deity. We have been there and done that. Nuff said, as they say.

  3. But Tom, here's the problem. Yes, you've asserted that they come from evolution, etc. But you've yet to defend that notion or answer my counter examples. Moreover, as I've pointed out, at best, such an account answers the epistemological question of how we know such concepts. But that's not the question. The question is an ontological one. How do such concepts exist in any real and objective sense in a strictly naturalistic/materialistic world? So I would have to respectfully say that we've yet to "get there or do that."

  4. Adam,

    Evolution is a fact. Morality is a fact. We agree there is objective morality. Support for my position is found in science. I have clearly stated all of this before and I have directed you to my blog "Index" for details. I will go no further on this matter.

    You are making the positive claim there is a deity. You are obligated to support that claim with evidence. All attempts, from you and others, to show the reality of a diety in general, and the Christian god in particular, have failed. Again, I direct you to my blog "Index" for details. You may want to focus on the following: "HistoricityOfJesus", "Religion" and "Apologetics."

    I don't wish to insult you, but why are you perseverating over this issue? You do not seem to want to understand that we profoundly disagree on this matter and neither of us will change. If you continue to do this, my respect for you as a thoughtful individual will be compromised.


  5. If I continue to do what Tom? I'm not sure why the hostility has come out? You have a public blog in which you critiqued a debate I was a part of. I appreciate that, and you have every right to do so. I chose to comment on said post and challenge your critique. You've sense posted on similar topics relating to our conversation and I'm still trying to help you understand what I'm saying.

    Why am I persisting? For several reasons, not the least of which is simply because I care about you as a person and I think you're mistaken. Secondly, again, the posts involved me personally to an extent which obviously makes me have even more interest. And thirdly, I don't think you've adequately discussed the actual topic at hand, nor do I think your posts about Sam Harris' "Moral Landscape" do either. From what I can gather he too begs the question by assuming that people have value and that their well being is the good. Why? That's the very thing in question, and who's good are we talking about? He also confuses the epistemological question and the ontological question. So on a blog entitled "Reason Foremost," I would expect you'd want to discuss these issues without begging the question, essentially committing category mistakes, and committing the ever popular "is/ought" fallacy. I realize that these mistakes are not intentional on your part or Mr. Harris' part, but it is the case nonetheless.

    So you're free to ignore this post, insult me if you wish, or engage in a reasonable dialog about these matters. If my response has caused you to lose respect for me, then I'm very sorry, and that's not my intention. I feel I have been respectful, yet firm, in our conversation. If I've been otherwise, then I ask you to forgive me and to please point out those failings so I can seek to not commit them again in the future. Thanks.