55 thoughts on “How Can Truth Prevail?

  1. What would “opposition to truth” mean?

    If it means “rejecting what others regard as true beliefs” then “opposition to truth” is just a colorful but misleading way of talking about disagreement.

    If it means something other than disagreement, I’d like to know what.

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  2. ROTFL! Mung is STILL in love with the Discovery Institute, still feeling either deluded or pressured by “academic freedom” that sadly avoids “academic integrity”, to embrace Intelligent Design ideology = IDism.

    Brian Miller is one of the most ridiculous and reprehensible of the pseudo-intellectual IDists. I met the guy a few months ago & he’s as slippery rhetorically as they get, when someone puts their finger directly on “problem areas” for the Discovery Institute’s ideology. Couldn’t give a straight answer even to the moderator of the discussion, who later tried to pin him and Behe down on exactly what they are proposing. (Poof!)

    I spoke with Miller after he gave his “testimony” to an audience that only wanted to hear one thing: evangelical Protestant triumphalistic sciency apologetics. It seems obvious now, a recidivist IDist in his protesting “heart of hearts,” that Mung is indeed one of those “don’t tell me anything I don’t want to hear” kinda people. Fingers in your ears promoting IDism, still Mung?!

    “most who reject intelligent design arguments have little or no understanding of the arguments or the underlying science.”

    Seriously, David Klinghoffer, we should believe you when you hype it out from Seattle to the world? LOL, no thanks.

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  3. Gregory:
    … Mung is indeed one of those “don’t tell me anything I don’t want to hear” kinda people. Fingers in your ears promoting IDism, still Mung?!

    Nah. Mung might believe in some god(s), but (s)he’s just having fun around here.

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  4. There is no opposition to truth at TSZ anymore then anywhere . There are great secret oppositions from Satan or innate opposition to God, the bible says, but that has nothing to do with normal contentions of mankind really.
    In fighting for truth one must persuade/open to persuasion and thus make a damn good case against entrenched cases. or a damn good case against those knocking down a entrenched case that is right.
    Someone is right and wrong on origin matters and surely truth has a probability curve of evidence on the right side. So the right guys should prebail and no excuses for complaining. The attrition of truth is weighing down the wrong side and origin matters is case in point.
    This forum exists not because of the numbers and cleverness of creationists but despite us our side makes the better points. We only help along like in curling.
    TSZ is already worthy to be researched and quoted by kids doing research on the origin contentions of these times. When creationism porevails somewhat more I predicr folks here will find themselves quoted everywhere welcome or unwelcome.
    The good huys wiin in the end. Thes,arter guys. The times they are achanging.

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  5. Robert Byers,

    Are you still under the delusion that most Abrahamic monotheists are “creationists”, Robert, and label themselves as such?

    Hint: we don’t. We reject “your side” = creationists. Both atheists and theists are smart to avoid creationism and IDism.

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  6. If Gregory truly believed that truth ought to prevail, he would take far more care than he does to speak the truth.

    Why should I answer his scurrilous accusations when they lack any shred of truth?

    Why give any credence at all to such misbegotten nonsense?

    I won’t.

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  7. Entropy: Mung might believe in some god(s), but (s)he’s just having fun around here.

    I am a male. And I believe there is but one God. 🙂

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  8. Gregory:
    Robert Byers,

    I don’t understand the p[oint here. I don’t agree or like orr consent to the term Abramonic monthesists. There is no such thing. Creationist can include any religion but but its either Christian or EVERYONE. Not this segregated group as if they earned status with christianity or status more then others.

    Are you still under the delusion that most Abrahamic monotheists are “creationists”, Robert, and label themselves as such?

    Hint: we don’t. We reject “your side” = creationists. Both atheists and theists are smart to avoid creationism and IDism.

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  9. Mung,
    Rule 8: Tell the truth, or at least don’t lie. – Peterson

    Yes, truth ought to prevail, of course. Unfortunately, armchair philosopher Mung has been duped by IDism. Truth is easily discounted by IDists like Mung and Brian Miller, and they both know this in their “heart of hearts”.

    Sadly, Brian Miller is one of the most ridiculous and reprehensible of the pseudo-intellectual IDists. I still wonder if he was acting “dumb” on purpose, yet the exact same is the case with Michael Behe, who simply refused to believe his fellow IDists might be ideologues, like he is.

    “Why give any credence at all to such misbegotten nonsense? I won’t.”

    Yet, apparently you’re still an IDist. So, “nonsense, thy name is Mung the IDist”.

    We’ve spoken Mung, you seemed to “get it” then. You seemed to see through the DI’s propaganda. What happened? Why have you fallen back?

    Miller’s a straight-up hired propagandist for the DI. This is a man who takes money from the DI to lie about ID theory. It’s unfortunately a paid double-talker that Mung is defending here now. Not a good look, Mung.

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  10. Robert Byers,

    “Creationist can include any religion but but its either Christian or EVERYONE.”

    Well, it’s surely not EVERYONE, Robert, unless you are Legion. And almost every single Christian I know rejects ideological creationism. It doesn’t seem the available evidence interests you, Robert. Why not?

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  11. Mung: I am a male. And I believe there is but one God.

    I believe there is only one god per believer in a monotheistic religion. I do NOT believe there are any two gods alike. Each god is tailored to a personality, and there are no two of them alike either.

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  12. Gregory:
    Robert Byers,

    Well, it’s surely not EVERYONE, Robert, unless you are Legion. And almost every single Christian I know rejects ideological creationism. It doesn’t seem the available evidence interests you, Robert. Why not?

    I don’t understand you. Creationism is very popular amongst evangelical Christians and other christians and others. It is creationism that does better investigation with what evidence is at hand. Invisible subjects like origin issues is a problem with evidence but what is there is handle very well by creatuionists. thats why we are prevailing.

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  13. Mung: I am a male. And I believe there is but one God.

    Out of interest, is the god you believe in the same your parents did?

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  14. Robert Byers,

    “I don’t understand you.”

    It’s because you conflate 2 terms, which most people don’t do. And you seem to intentionally WANT to conflate those 2 terms, so there’s little possibility that you even COULD understand my meaning. You define terms in such a way so as not to understand, because you’re stuck on a definition that very few people actually hold.

    In short, you conflate “Christian” (from your evangelical Baptist perspective) with “creationist”. You believe all Christians must be “creationists” by definition, don’t you, Robert? Yet this move reveals 1) your willing personal embrace of falsehood, and 2) your unwillingness to adapt your personal understanding of the term “creationist” to what others mean.

    “Creationism is very popular amongst evangelical Christians and other christians and others.”

    The first part is true, the second part is false. It does not sound like you engage in conversations with Catholics or Eastern Orthodox Christians about “creationism”. Instead, it sounds like you live in an evangelical echo chamber, not knowing almost anything about what “other Christians” think or don’t think about “creationism”. Is that untrue, Robert?

    “creationism [that] does better investigation with what evidence is at hand.”

    “Creationism” is an ideology, not “science”. It distorts the “evidence at hand”. That’s widely understood and accepted even by most Christians. Were you unaware of this, Robert, unable to see beyond creationist demagogy?

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  15. Gregory: Rule 8: Tell the truth, or at least don’t lie. – Peterson

    Take your own advice.

    If you wanted to know where I stand, you would ask me. Instead you make ill- informed judgements and post them as if they were true. This in spite of my prior warnings to you.

    You have no excuse Gregory. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t forgive you.

    “I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible that you may be mistaken.”

    LoL.

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  16. OMagain: Out of interest, is the god you believe in the same your parents did?

    Out of interest, is the god you disbelieve in the same god your parents disbelieved in?

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  17. Gregory: You believe all Christians must be “creationists” by definition, don’t you, Robert?

    Yup. If you’re a Christian, you are a “creationist.” You are a Christian, therefore, you are a “creationist.”

    I know what I am, do you know what you are, Gregory?

    Gregory: In short, you conflate “Christian” (from your evangelical Baptist perspective) with “creationist”. You believe all Christians must be “creationists” by definition, don’t you, Robert?

    Oh please. One can be a creationist without being a Christian. What’s wrong with you Gregory?

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  18. Mung: Out of interest, is the god you disbelieve in the same god your parents disbelieved in?

    I suppose anyone can be said to share a lack of interest in whatever neither they nor their parents are interested in. But shared disinterest is pretty thin stew. Semantically, I suppose one could say that the leprechauns that never cross our minds are identical, being equally nonexistent.

    For that matter, I’m sure there are countless gods people have believed in that neither I nor my parents have ever heard of. But by what metric could we measure our common ignorance?

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  19. phoodoo: Out of interest, did your parents believe in God?

    My mother did but not my father. Yes, I was brought up RC and went to church, confirmation etc. I can’t ever remember actually believing however.

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  20. Mung: Out of interest, is the god you disbelieve in the same god your parents disbelieved in?

    No. As above.

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  21. Flint,
    “I suppose one could say that the leprechauns that never cross our minds are identical”

    A person who said that would reveal their ignorance of “religious studies” and likely aversion to symbolism of any kind that makes them think of morality as anything but “whatever I personally choose”. Dawkins is the model for this type of superficial pretension to thinking in depth about meaningful topics involving “that which connects”.

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  22. OMagain: My mother did but not my father. Yes, I was brought up RC and went to church, confirmation etc. I can’t ever remember actually believing however.

    You may be surprised how many ex-Catholics say the same thing. The ex-ex-Catholics, who have returned to the Church, are those who have overcome their “I don’t ever remember actually believing” period (of their personal “theology” doubt). Of course, some stop inquiring about the “big questions” and never do.

    I’m curious then if you can remember actually violating your own conscience at a young age, before or sometime soon after you were confirmed into the Roman Catholic Church? Usually, if people turn away from God in their hearts (even if they had only barely ever turned towards God), the only “measure” for conscience is then either family, society, or just plain ole’ “self” (usually thought by the atheist not as “soul”). Could you speak about when and how you knew you violated your conscience, and in relation to what, even while you say you don’t ever remember actually believing in God or in Jesus Christ?

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  23. Mung,

    “If you wanted to know where I stand, you would ask me.”

    Ok, so, do you now accept/promote IDism (or ID theory), after previously speaking against it? You expressed being tired of the Discovery Institute’s rhetoric and PR, and seemed to realize that ID “theorists” don’t have a natural science leg to stand on, instead trying to redefine it to suit their apologetics purposes. Has your lack of appreciation for the DI changed since then? If so, what caused it to revert back?

    “One can be a creationist without being a Christian.”

    Yes, I agree with that, and it wasn’t at issue.

    “my prior warnings to you”

    Which were, to be clear and precise?

    Quid pro quo: so what’s wrong with you, “Mung”, that you took that internet handle as a “name” with which to mock yourself?

    You’re not trained in a single field of relevance to the broader conversation, have only done a typical reading list that the DI told you, thus gaining a rather myopic horizon for your “interpretation” in the conversation, and have a tendency to speak over-confidently and irrelevantly (without realizing it), thus gaining a label of “sealion” in conversation.

    Sorry, that I don’t take your contribution to science, philosophy, theology discourse very seriously, as you’ve made little to no actual commitment, and speak as an amateur, drive-by passenger window commenter. It’s happening here again, Mung, as you’ve tried to defend Brian Miller, who I repeat is one of the most ridiculous and reprehensible of the pseudo-intellectual IDists.

    Bark at me out of spite and your “cynical evangelicalism” here all you want. That still doesn’t give IDism any more bite than it currently has. So please stop posing otherwise (as if the even downfall of Trump were caused by “intelligent design”, not “Intelligent Design”)!

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  24. Gregory: Could you speak about when and how you knew you violated your conscience, and in relation to what, even while you say you don’t ever remember actually believing in God or in Jesus Christ?

    Why don’t you try to avoid loaded question like that one? I personally do remember believing at a young age. Then shortly after my first communion I simply outgrew all that christian nonsense. It actually felt like regaining conscience, to be honest.

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  25. dazz,

    Omagain was trying to imply that the reason people believe in a God, and particularly a specific God is because that’s what your parents believed and so that is what they taught you-in other words you were brainwashed or something.

    But of course his silly theory means that if you don’t believe in a God, its either because your parents didn’t so you were brainwashed by them, or else your parents did and you don’t, in which case his theory is nonsense. Take your pick.

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  26. phoodoo,

    And I agree with OMagain on what seems to be a trivial truth: most people’s religious beliefs come from their parents, and their indoctrination at a young age.

    Just because some people eventually abandon the faith doesn’t make it any less true.

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  27. phoodoo:

    But of course his silly theory means that if you don’t believe in a God, its either because your parents didn’t so you were brainwashed by them, or else your parents did and you don’t, in which case his theory is nonsense. Take your pick.

    How does anyone learn about religion and belief in god’s without someone telling them about it? Being immersed in a community with a particular religious tradition is a virtual guarantee you will be exposed to those ideas and not others. As dazz says, it’s a trivial point.

    There’s no guarantee those ideas will stick or survive real-world experience, however. Dogma is tested (often to destruction) by reality.

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  28. you’d think an omnipotent creator would make these things self-evident or at least do a better job at getting the word out…

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  29. Gregory: Of course, some stop inquiring about the “big questions” and never do.

    You frame it as if the only way to think about the ‘big questions’ is to be a RC or similar. That’s simply not true. I’m not and I do.

    Gregory: I’m curious then if you can remember actually violating your own conscience at a young age, before or sometime soon after you were confirmed into the Roman Catholic Church?

    I went to a primary school also that was RC. One of the earliest memories I have is deciding that our montage of the Virgin Mary was boring with blue and while and I wanted, insisted, on adding some red. I remember the walk home after being sent home.

    Nothing changed prior to or after confirmation. To. me how to behave had nothing to do with church.

    Gregory: Usually, if people turn away from God in their hearts (even if they had only barely ever turned towards God), the only “measure” for conscience is then either family, society, or just plain ole’ “self” (usually thought by the atheist not as “soul”).

    It’s hard for me to see the concordance between sitting in a room on a bench and turning to or from god.

    And, of course, I think that the only ‘measure’ is indeed the golden rule or similar. I think we have a ‘soul’ but likely not in the way you mean. More like a strange loop based in physics, but a ‘soul’ nonetheless. And so do all teh animals etc.

    Gregory: Could you speak about when and how you knew you violated your conscience, and in relation to what, even while you say you don’t ever remember actually believing in God or in Jesus Christ?

    The same way I suspect everybody else knows. We internalise the rules of society and know when we break them. Also, having sibling teaches you the golden rule at an early age. I can remember doing ‘bad’ things and then realizing afterwards they were in fact ‘bad’. I was a quite a naughty boy….

    However I do remember the idea of Jesus watching everything you do really creeping me out and so at that point I must have believed what I was being told.

    I never spoke about atheism with my father, who seemed happy to let my mother take me to church, or for me not to go at all. My choice.

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  30. phoodoo: Omagain was trying to imply that the reason people believe in a God, and particularly a specific God is because that’s what your parents believed and so that is what they taught you-in other words you were brainwashed or something.

    No reason for you not to answer the question then is there? I mean, if it’s the case that you are a Mormon and your parents are Jewish, that’s interesting right there.

    phoodoo: But of course his silly theory means that if you don’t believe in a God, its either because your parents didn’t so you were brainwashed by them, or else your parents did and you don’t, in which case his theory is nonsense. Take your pick.

    So, which is it? Do you believe the same as your parents then? Or not? Is my theory nonsense or not? All you have to do to demonstrate that I’m wrong more often them I’m right is to say what religion you are and what religion your parents are.

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  31. Gregory: A person who said that would reveal their ignorance of “religious studies” and likely aversion to symbolism of any kind that makes them think of morality as anything but “whatever I personally choose”. Dawkins is the model for this type of superficial pretension to thinking in depth about meaningful topics involving “that which connects”.
    I happen to believe that if the last living human was a Nazi then what the Nazi’s did would by definition, be moral. As that’s what that last living human believes.

    Morality is more than what I personally chose. It has to work within what everyone else has already ‘chosen’. When there is nobody else to work with there is only one definition left of what is ‘right’.

    The spartans leaving some babies to die in the wilderness would be considered abborhant today. And yet to them it was the way things are.

    Humans define morality. When there are no more humans morality will not exist. Whenever a group of humans manages to get their viewpoint shared by many other humans, that viewpoint is moral.

    For example, the stealing of organs from prisoners and the condemned in China has been normalised and, for example, phoodoo has not and will never say a word against that practice. In China organ theft is now moral, presumably because it keeps those more deserving of life alive.

    Just ask him.

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  32. I badly mangled the post above here is how it should be. I can’t edit it either.

    Gregory: Usually, if people turn away from God in their hearts (even if they had only barely ever turned towards God), the only “measure” for conscience is then either family, society, or just plain ole’ “self” (usually thought by the atheist not as “soul”).

    It’s hard for me to see the concordance between sitting in a room on a bench and turning to or from god.

    And, of course, I think that the only ‘measure’ is indeed the golden rule or similar. I think we have a ‘soul’ but likely not in the way you mean. More like a strange loop based in physics, but a ‘soul’ nonetheless. And so do all teh animals etc.

    Gregory: Could you speak about when and how you knew you violated your conscience, and in relation to what, even while you say you don’t ever remember actually believing in God or in Jesus Christ?

    The same way I suspect everybody else knows. We internalise the rules of society and know when we break them. Also, having sibling teaches you the golden rule at an early age. I can remember doing ‘bad’ things and then realizing afterwards they were in fact ‘bad’. I was a quite a naughty boy….

    However I do remember the idea of Jesus watching everything you do really creeping me out and so at that point I must have believed what I was being told.

    I never spoke about atheism with my father, who seemed happy to let my mother take me to church, or for me not to go at all. My choice.

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  33. OMagain,

    The point is you believe its true, so by your own admission you believe what you believe because you are brainwashed.

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  34. OMagain: Humans define morality. When there are no more humans morality will not exist. Whenever a group of humans manages to get their viewpoint shared by many other humans, that viewpoint is moral.

    I’d like to register two points of disagreement with this thought.

    Firstly, I don’t think it’s true that “When there are no more humans morality will not exist.” There are some quite interesting examples of moral behavior in intelligent, social animals such as macaques, elephants, dolphins, and chimps. Can Animals Be Moral?, Wild At Heart, and others are pretty good at exposing how an anthropocentric conception of morality blinds us to recognizing nonhuman morality.

    If the claim were “when there are no more intelligent social animals, morality would not exist” I would have fewer (if any) objections.

    Second, I disagree with “Whenever a group of humans manages to get their viewpoint shared by many other humans, that viewpoint is moral.” This suggests that morality is whatever the prevailing consensus says it is. Are we to say that John Brown was a vicious, evil person because he rejected the dominant view of his day, which held that chattel slavery was morally acceptable? No doubt the people in Brown’s own time thought he was — but are we to say that they were right? Can’t we say that they were wrong to condemn him?

    To say that every culture is locked up within its own mores and values is to say that we could never find anything in another culture or in our past which deserves moral condemnation or moral praise (since you can’t have one without the other). Then what would the value of studying the Holocaust, or Jim Crow, or feudal Japan? We would end repeating history because we have decided that there is no point in learning from it.

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  35. Kantian Naturalist: If the claim were “when there are no more intelligent social animals, morality would not exist” I would have fewer (if any) objections.

    I’d agree with that. The universe with only cats left in it. Or dogs. Something to think about 😉 but empty water dish – immoral!

    Kantian Naturalist: This suggests that morality is whatever the prevailing consensus says it is. Are we to say that John Brown was a vicious, evil person because he rejected the dominant view of his day, which held that chattel slavery was morally acceptable? No doubt the people in Brown’s own time thought he was — but are we to say that they were right? Can’t we say that they were wrong to condemn him?

    We can say they were right from their perspective otherwise he’d not have been wrong from theirs. But their perspective is not ours. So we can say that they were wrong from ours, yes. And of course we do.

    So yes, we can as we have our perspective. I.E. whatever moral climate we find ourselves in that happens to have that view.

    It’s natural to think we are “better” or more developed now (our views on such issues), and intuitively I feel it is so but I know it is not so in reality as there is no scale to be tested against other then ourselves. Nothing is applauding our move from such times to today. And modern slavery remains a problem, just not as visible.

    Kantian Naturalist: To say that every culture is locked up within its own mores and values is to say that we could never find anything in another culture or in our past which deserves moral condemnation or moral praise (since you can’t have one without the other). Then what would the value of studying the Holocaust, or Jim Crow, or feudal Japan?

    I’m not sure I’m saying that. We can study the Holocaust and find horror and heroics. We, I, condemn things I find immoral currently (see my ongoing “conversation” with phoodoo) even though I know the cultures where these events take place is very different.

    Kantian Naturalist: We would end repeating history because we have decided that there is no point in learning from it.

    Sadly, we seem to be doing so right now with people in essentially concentration camps on many sides of the world. An artificial island has just been created to house/prison another set of unwanted souls.

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  36. I’m often struck by the widespread assumption that if there’s no transcendent, absolute perspective for moral adjudication, then ethnocentrism is the only option left on the table.

    This assumption seems to rely on the following thought: that there’s nothing really substantive enough in the idea of ‘human nature’ to give any content to the idea that we have actually learned some things about how to make cooperation more successful — or less.

    Sometimes I worry that in the stampede away from essentialism (in biology) and away from Western cultural imperialism (in politics), we’ve lost sight of the idea that we can learn things from biology about what ethics is, and how to improve ethical life.

    The foremost theorist of how to understand ethics in biological terms is (one may laugh but I completely serious) Pyotr Kropotkin. In his Mutual Aid (1902) and Ethics: Origin and Development (1922).

    Kropotkin argued that what we call ethics is an outgrowth a widespread tendency in animal societies towards reciprocity and cooperation. Kropotkin saw himself as trying to defend what was right in Darwin from its misappropriation by Spencer. In trying to ground ethics in (what he saw as) a correct understanding of evolution, Kropotkin did much the same as Dewey did in Human Nature and Conduct.

    Kropotkin’s insights have, somewhat surprisingly (perhaps), withstood the test of time. Two relatively recent articles worth mentioning:

    Evolution and Moral Realism (“moral facts are facts about cooperation”)

    nevertheless one important strand in the evolutionary history of moral thinking does support reductive naturalism—moral facts are facts about cooperation, and the conditions and practices that support or undermine it. . . . true moral beliefs are a ‘fuel for success’, a map by which we steer, flexibly, in a variety of social interactions. The vindication, we stress, is at most partial: moral cognition is a complex mosaic, with a complex genealogy, and selection for truth-tracking is only one thread in that genealogy.

    Is it good to cooperate?

    we investigate the moral valence of these seven cooperative behaviors in the ethnographic records of 60 societies. We find that the moral valence of these behaviors is uniformly positive, and the majority of these cooperative morals are observed in the majority of cultures, with equal frequency across all regions of the world. We conclude that these seven cooperative behaviors are plausible candidates for universal moral rules, and that morality-as-cooperation could provide the unified theory of morality that anthropology has hitherto lacked.

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  37. Kantian Naturalist: I’m often struck by the widespread assumption that if there’s no transcendent, absolute perspective for moral adjudication, then ethnocentrism is the only option left on the table.

    I’m more interested in how morality and truth are related. So many people here at TSZ think the two are related, but seem incapable of explaining why.

    There is nothing immoral about making false statements.

    Do you agree or disagree and why?

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  38. Richardthughes: you’d think an omnipotent creator would make these things self-evident or at least do a better job at getting the word out…

    You might think that. You might discount the obvious.

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  39. Gregory: ROTFL! Mung is STILL in love with the Discovery Institute, still feeling either deluded or pressured by “academic freedom” that sadly avoids “academic integrity”, to embrace Intelligent Design ideology = IDism.

    This may be true. It may be false. Gregory thinks it is true. It must be true.

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