Do objective moral values exist for non-believers?

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Re: Do objective moral values exist for non-believers?

Post  Objectivitees on Fri Feb 05, 2010 2:45 pm

snafu wrote:Hi Objectivitees,
Just wondering whether everything is ok? Are you on holidays, or pondering, or have you given up on us?
All the best in any case.
snafu

All's fine here. thanks for your concern, hope all's well with you as well. I was just dealing with personal matters that life brings up. Somehow, this forum as fun as it is, takes a back seat to other concerns at times. See my answer above.

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Re: Do objective moral values exist for non-believers?

Post  Objectivitees on Fri Feb 05, 2010 2:46 pm

Orion wrote:Snafu, he's given up. To be honest, I'm surprised he lasted as long as he did.

Posting my obituary next Orion?

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Re: Do objective moral values exist for non-believers?

Post  Orion on Fri Feb 05, 2010 5:24 pm

Here lies buried Objectivitees, joining at last his beloved arguments, which died long before he did.

Just kidding, nice to see you back. Have you found those 'God' parts in the US constitution yet? Have you managed to find a constitution for MY country yet?

"Everyone behaves as though morality is transcendent, no one behaves as though humor is."

Can you give examples of this please?

"Almost everyone agrees that X is a kind man"
"Almost everyone agrees that Y is a hilarious comedian"

"Although some people disagree, most people agree that A was an evil man"
"Ask almost anyone and they'll tell you that B had no sense of humour"

Regardless - imagine that you are trying to convince an atheist that he has no rational way of calling things 'evil' or 'moral' or 'good' or 'kindly' or whatever. Instead of giving you the arguments to explain these concepts like the atheists here have done, he follows your argument, accepts it, and ultimately says 'You are right, Objectivities, there is no 'right', 'wrong', 'good', or 'evil'.

Then you start telling him about God being good, and (if you want) Satan being evil. What would you do if his reply is just "I'm afraid there is no such thing as good or evil, we just established that". You try to tell him "Well good is defined by God's nature", and he just replies "But what does it actually MEAN to describe his nature by this word 'Good'? What does good actually MEAN?"

In other words, now you've convinced him that without God he has no rational standard for these concepts, what's your argument for calling God 'good', and Satan 'evil', given that he now doesn't really believe these labels have any meaning?

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Re: Do objective moral values exist for non-believers?

Post  Pegasus on Fri Feb 05, 2010 5:52 pm

Objectivitees wrote:
Right, humor is not universal, but moral concepts are.
Is that just a statement of faith or is it evidence based? If the latter, then what's your evidence?

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Re: Do objective moral values exist for non-believers?

Post  Neon Genesis on Fri Feb 05, 2010 9:11 pm

Specifically, you don't seem to realize that without an objective standard, Morality cannot exist.
What is the objective moral standard of Deuteronomy 13?
If anyone secretly entices you—even if it is your brother, your father’s son or* your mother’s son, or your own son or daughter, or the wife you embrace, or your most intimate friend—saying, ‘Let us go and worship other gods’, whom neither you nor your ancestors have known, 7any of the gods of the peoples that are around you, whether near you or far away from you, from one end of the earth to the other, 8you must not yield to or heed any such persons. Show them no pity or compassion and do not shield them. 9But you shall surely kill them; your own hand shall be first against them to execute them, and afterwards the hand of all the people. 10Stone them to death for trying to turn you away from the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 11Then all Israel shall hear and be afraid, and never again do any such wickedness.

My argument is that a standard must exist(objective) because the presumption that one doesn't exist (subjective) results in the absurdity that we have no right to object to murder or rape.
How? Even if we presume morals just become opinions if there's no objective standard, why should that mean we should stop being moral? You never explain why morality being a personal opinion means we should stop being moral. You simply assert that it is. Do you believe soulless animals have an objective moral standard? Why do even souless animals continue to protect their offspring from being killed by other animals even if morality is just opinion?

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Re: Do objective moral values exist for non-believers?

Post  Orion on Sat Feb 06, 2010 6:57 am

Also, is 'has no right to object to rapists' supposed to translate to 'has no right to stop rapists'?

This doesn't follow. Do you think diseases are 'evil'? Most people don't. Does that mean they 'have no right' to innoculate their kids against diseases?

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Re: Do objective moral values exist for non-believers?

Post  Pegasus on Sat Feb 06, 2010 8:59 am

Objectivitees wrote:I am only pointing out that a standard must logically exist. The evidence one exists is that we all behave as though one exists. It is universal. Therefore your paragraph above as an analogy and argument fails to address the point. To say it clearly...My argument is that a standard must exist(objective) because the presumption that one doesn't exist (subjective) results in the absurdity that we have no right to object to murder or rape.
Cherry picking. Morals differ considerably from culture to culture and througout history. But even if we take the subset of all moral statements that are shared throughout the world and in history, it does not follow from that subset that an absolute standard necessarily exists, only that a shared subset exsists. You're not even at the beginning of a logical argument, you're just stating conclusions.

The right to object to murder can simply be based on tis for tat. The manmade UN declaration on human rights does so without referencing to any absolute standard. It embodies shared moral convictions that are beneficial to both the individual and society as a whole.

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Re: Do objective moral values exist for non-believers?

Post  Neon Genesis on Sat Feb 06, 2010 1:41 pm

Orion wrote:Also, is 'has no right to object to rapists' supposed to translate to 'has no right to stop rapists'?

This doesn't follow. Do you think diseases are 'evil'? Most people don't. Does that mean they 'have no right' to innoculate their kids against diseases?
Objectivees seems more concerned with making sure he can label people he wants as evil than he does in protecting himself from harm. He should go listen to the determinism episodes of the Reasonable Doubts podcast.

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Re: Do objective moral values exist for non-believers?

Post  Orion on Sat Feb 06, 2010 5:02 pm

If the concept of evil developed simply from a rough meaning of 'person who can cause (deliberate) danger to other humans', then why would God be required for people to use that term in a way that is useful in communicating this idea to other people?

Other animals have numerous methods of warning their herd of oncoming danger, it would be surprising if we didn't develop quite a nuanced way of doing the same.

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Re: Do objective moral values exist for non-believers?

Post  Neon Genesis on Sat Feb 06, 2010 9:22 pm

If Objectivees is saying there's no reason to not rape and murder people if there is no God, is Objectivees saying they would rape and murder people if they stopped believing in God and their belief in God is the only thing keeping them from doing that? I feel pity for them if that's their only reason for being a good person.

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Re: Do objective moral values exist for non-believers?

Post  Objectivitees on Mon Feb 08, 2010 2:55 pm

Pegasus wrote:
Objectivitees wrote:
Right, humor is not universal, but moral concepts are.
Is that just a statement of faith or is it evidence based? If the latter, then what's your evidence?

It's a commonly accepted precept of philosophy. It's the idea that we all hold the belief that there are morally "right" things and there are morally "wrong" things. In that respect, one could call humor 'universal', but that's not the way snafu used it. It is the way I'm using it for 'moral' , and I put this in my post to point out the difference, I don't want to speak for snafu, but, I don't think he made the distinction. The major point I am making here is, that if morality is subjective, no one, (even me) behaves as though it is. We all behave as though there are values everyone else should respect. This is what is meant when 'philosophy' claims morality is 'universal'. Philosophy does not claim humor as universal, because no one behaves as though they "expect" everyone to believe something is funny.

Cherry picking. Morals differ considerably from culture to culture and througout history.

Yes they do. But each and every group and the individuals who comprised them, believed (as you and I do) that there are values that others should respect. This belief is universal. The universal belief that others "should" implies a belief that there is a "standard". When you claim such a standard does not exist, you give up the right to rationally object to those who would offend your view.


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Re: Do objective moral values exist for non-believers?

Post  Objectivitees on Mon Feb 08, 2010 3:23 pm

Orion,

Then you start telling him about God being good, and (if you want) Satan being evil. What would you do if his reply is just "I'm afraid there is no such thing as good or evil, we just established that". You try to tell him "Well good is defined by God's nature", and he just replies "But what does it actually MEAN to describe his nature by this word 'Good'? What does good actually MEAN?"

In other words, now you've convinced him that without God he has no rational standard for these concepts, what's your argument for calling God 'good', and Satan 'evil', given that he now doesn't really believe these labels have any meaning?

If I convince the Naturalist/Atheist he has no basis for defining "good" as opposed to "evil" and he replies as you imagined above, I have convinced him on the basis of his worldview, not mine. I have no need to then try to define terms according to his view. My next task would be to point out the inconsistency between his behavior and his belief.

So, if I've convinced him he has no rational standard 'without God' and he is content to continue behaving irrationally, then so be it. I have no argument for calling God 'good' and Satan 'evil', according to his presuppositions, my whole point is that only with a presumption of God, can one define the terms. If he were to press me to define them, I would switch from the presuppositions of his worldview, to one with a creator, in order to provide the basis for a rational definition. You see, my whole line has been to drive him to this realization to begin with. I want him to be convinced there is no meaning to his beliefs. I want him to ask "What does good actually MEAN?"

By the way... very nice recovery!! I had almost given up on you understanding my point, but you nicely demonstrated here that you do. So, will you continue to cling to your irrational beliefs?

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Re: Do objective moral values exist for non-believers?

Post  Orion on Mon Feb 08, 2010 6:01 pm

"I have no argument for calling God 'good' and Satan 'evil', according to his presuppositions, my whole point is that only with a presumption of God, can one define the terms."

You're almost there then Objectivities, you've almost actually answered my question. This is quite exciting. I've got a nasty suspicion thought that this is as close as we'll get, but I'm going to hang in there.

So you've got this hypothetical atheist in a position where he has his presuppositions, and he thinks that according to those presuppositions there is no such thing as good and bad. Now you are going to try to convince him that, if your God exists, he is 'good', given that the atheist now doesn't accept that 'good' has any meaning. Still, the atheist is willing to accept that your God may exist, so he is willing to look at your concept of good and evil hypothetically.

So is the plan then to offer the atheist a definition of your God, and contained within that definition is the idea that the God is 'good'? Again, what meaning are you assigning to that term 'good' that isn't a circular one? How do you explain what this 'good' actually MEANS? Because so far you haven't explained this at all.

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Re: Do objective moral values exist for non-believers?

Post  Orion on Mon Feb 08, 2010 6:08 pm

"But each and every group and the individuals who comprised them, believed (as you and I do) that there are values that others should respect"

So it's a collective unspoken agreement that benefits everyone. Why is this irrational, and why does it require a God? Why would it be rational for us to drop these values, given that it would cause harm to all, with or without a God?

"Philosophy does not claim humor as universal, because no one behaves as though they "expect" everyone to believe something is funny"

People are certainly surprised if one guy in a group doesn't laugh when everyone else does. And how come some comedians are so much more successful than others? Wouldn't most people think that one guy is 'funnier' than the other?

Conversely, it is not unusual at all to get people strongly disagreeing on what is the 'right' thing to do in any given situation. You are not making a case at all for 'humour' to be a completely different case from morals in the subjective/objective stakes.

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Re: Do objective moral values exist for non-believers?

Post  Objectivitees on Mon Feb 08, 2010 6:25 pm

Orion wrote:
You're almost there then Objectivities, you've almost actually answered my question. This is quite exciting. I've got a nasty suspicion thought that this is as close as we'll get, but I'm going to hang in there.
Suspect away!


So you've got this hypothetical atheist in a position where he has his presuppositions, and he thinks that according to those presuppositions there is no such thing as good and bad.

No, that's not it at all. He thinks no such thing. He's not hypothetical. he doesn't exist at all. I am dealing with the philosophy of Atheism and it's presuppositions, not some hypothetical Atheist's beliefs. Atheism presupposes subjective morality. (The idea that there is no absolute standard for judging moral behavior.) If there is no absolute standard for judging behavior, then (and only then) there is literally no ability to define good or bad with respect to values.


Now you are going to try to convince him that, if your God exists, he is 'good', given that the atheist now doesn't accept that 'good' has any meaning. Still, the atheist is willing to accept that your God may exist, so he is willing to look at your concept of good and evil hypothetically.

It has nothing to do whatsoever with whether "my" God exists. The entire argument I make is that the Atheist has no grounds to define "evil". Yet he behaves as though he does.

So is the plan then to offer the atheist a definition of your God, and contained within that definition is the idea that the God is 'good'?

No, it's only to show that without a presumption of the existence of an absolute standard, all attempts to define good and bad and right and wrong are irrational.


Again, what meaning are you assigning to that term 'good' that isn't a circular one? How do you explain what this 'good' actually MEANS? Because so far you haven't explained this at all.

I'm not "assigning " meaning, I'm showing that the Atheist can't do it rationally. It's YOU who cannot give a definition that is not circular. The second you posit a definition, I can say compared to "what" because you claim there is no standard. With no standard, there can be no meaning. A "theist" claims there is one, (a standard) and can therefore rationally have a basis for a definition. Even if ultimately his beliefs about what the standard is , are wrong, the assumption alone that a standard exists makes the attempt to define right and wrong rational. It's akin to claiming a real reality exists as opposed to not. If you posit reality does not exist, then how do you know your claim it is not extant is real?? I did not come here to show you my concept of right and wrong is the correct one, or prove my concept of God is real. I came here to show you yours can't be rational. The claim morality is subjective is self-contradictory. If it were subjective, then there is no basis to define right and wrong, therefore there is no such thing as "moral". If "moral" is not absolutely definable, it does not exist. Yet, Atheists, who claim morality is subjective, still go around acting as though it were absolute in nature, as though right and wrong do exist, every time they object to someone else's violation of their own arbitrarily chosen "standard".


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Re: Do objective moral values exist for non-believers?

Post  Orion on Mon Feb 08, 2010 6:34 pm

OK, I think it's clear that you can't answer. You have no explanation for what you term to be your 'objective morality'. All you've got is your criticisms of other people's beliefs, when you have nothing superior to offer. I'm afraid my suspicions were justified.

"When you claim such a standard does not exist, you give up the right to rationally object to those who would offend your view."

I already answered this before. You obviously had no answer to that either.

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Re: Do objective moral values exist for non-believers?

Post  Objectivitees on Mon Feb 08, 2010 6:40 pm

Orion wrote:OK, I think it's clear that you can't answer. You have no explanation for what you term to be your 'objective morality'. All you've got is your criticisms of other people's beliefs, when you have nothing superior to offer. I'm afraid my suspicions were justified.

Ummm, where it it written I have to have something "superior" in order to argue something else is wrong? Is that your rule? Or is it an absolute rule you believe I should recognize? I answered you clearly. The "superior" position is the assumption morality is absolute, as opposed to the assumption it is arbitrary. "Arbitrariness" reduces to meaningless because you can't define terms, "Absolute" provides foundation for definitions. I then concluded that a "rational" position is 'superior' to an "irrational" one. You just didn't see that.

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Re: Do objective moral values exist for non-believers?

Post  Neon Genesis on Mon Feb 08, 2010 6:45 pm

Perhaps Objectivees should familiarize himself with Bertrand Russell since he already addressed his claims years ago: http://xahlee.org/Periodic_dosage_dir/_p2/why_not_christian.html
Kant, as I say, invented a new moral argument for the existence of God, and that in varying forms was extremely popular during the nineteenth century. It has all sorts of forms. One form is to say there would be no right or wrong unless God existed. I am not for the moment concerned with whether there is a difference between right and wrong, or whether there is not: that is another question. The point I am concerned with is that, if you are quite sure there is a difference between right and wrong, then you are in this situation: Is that difference due to God's fiat or is it not? If it is due to God's fiat, then for God himself there is no difference between right and wrong, and it is no longer a significant statement to say that God is good. If you are going to say, as theologians do, that God is good, you must then say that right and wrong have some meaning which is independent of God's fiat, because God's fiats are good and not bad independently of the mere fact that he made them. If you are going to say that, you will then have to say that it is not only through God that right and wrong came into being, but that they are in their essence logically anterior to God. You could, of course, if you liked, say that there was a superior deity who gave orders to the God that made this world, or could take up the line that some of the gnostics took up — a line which I often thought was a very plausible one — that as a matter of fact this world that we know was made by the devil at a moment when God was not looking. There is a good deal to be said for that, and I am not concerned to refute it.

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Re: Do objective moral values exist for non-believers?

Post  Objectivitees on Mon Feb 08, 2010 8:57 pm

Perhaps neon genesis should aquaint himself with my argument so he won't confuse it with Russell's.

Still consistently off topic. At least Russell had the honesty to admit he was making claims about God, so unlike modern "Atheists".

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Re: Do objective moral values exist for non-believers?

Post  Orion on Tue Feb 09, 2010 6:38 am

"Ummm, where it it written I have to have something "superior" in order to argue something else is wrong?"

Because you clearly said: "If there is no absolute standard for judging behavior", and all the way along you've been prefacing your points with variations of 'If the person doesn't believe in a God-given morality...' Are you not saying that allowing a God into the equation makes a difference to the existence or otherwise of a subjective morality?

So yes, your own explanation does need defending here, as you are making clear comparisons between the two world-views. I'm asking you to justify that comparison.

Why do you say 'the atheist has no...' or 'the atheist believes this...' when you can't show that believing in a God would make a difference? If you can't show why it doesn't apply equally to theists, why identify this as an atheist 'problem'?

Every time I've invited you to explain what that difference is, you welsh out on it. In other words, you have nothing.


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Re: Do objective moral values exist for non-believers?

Post  Orion on Tue Feb 09, 2010 6:49 am

I'm going to give you another chance to answer the questions that you keep ignoring:

1. If the concept of evil developed simply from a rough meaning of 'person who can cause (deliberate) danger to other humans', then why would God be required for people to use that term in a way that is useful in communicating this idea to other people?

2. When you say a person would have 'no right to object to rapists' does that also mean they would have 'no right to stop rapists'?" If so, that doesn't really make sense. Do you think diseases are 'evil'? Most people don't. Does that mean they 'have no right' to innoculate their kids against diseases? When you say it would be 'irrational to object to behaviour x' do you mean it would be 'irrational to stop behaviour x'?

Can you explain what you mean by irrational? Because to me there is nothing irrational about stopping harm happening to someone else whose safety you value.

So far, every hypothetical scenario you set up that is supposed to illustrate an atheist acting irrationally, instead shows them acting very rationally. Can you try again? Give me a scenario involving at least one atheist, and tell me what irrational behaviour you think the atheist would exhibit, then tell me what behaviour he would exhibit if he was behaving rationally.

Be warned though, I am unlikely to be convinced if the 'rational' behaviour involves him letting people rape his kids, or anything like that. That would suggest to me that you don't really understand what 'raional' means.

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Re: Do objective moral values exist for non-believers?

Post  Neon Genesis on Tue Feb 09, 2010 12:47 pm

Orion wrote:I'm going to give you another chance to answer the questions that you keep ignoring:

.
I frankly find this whole discussion with Objectivees to be outrageous. Take any of Objectivee's posts and replace the word atheist with the word Jew and he'd be accused of being anti-Semitic, but it's ok to make the same blanket statements about atheists having no moral values and how atheism is a slippery slope down the road to rape becoming acceptable. Is this what Jesus would do?

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Re: Do objective moral values exist for non-believers?

Post  Objectivitees on Tue Feb 09, 2010 2:51 pm

Neon Genesis wrote:
Orion wrote:I'm going to give you another chance to answer the questions that you keep ignoring:

.
I frankly find this whole discussion with Objectivees to be outrageous. Take any of Objectivee's posts and replace the word atheist with the word Jew and he'd be accused of being anti-Semitic, but it's ok to make the same blanket statements about atheists having no moral values and how atheism is a slippery slope down the road to rape becoming acceptable. Is this what Jesus would do?


there ya go...pretense of outrage to avoid dealing with the issue...I never said Atheists have no moral values...(but you may continue to pretend i did if it allows you to not have to answer my challenge) can you read at all? i said they can't rationally justify them. So far, you have proved me right...you haven't justified them yet, (or even tried) you just keep avoiding by hurling invective and pretending to be 'outraged'.

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Re: Do objective moral values exist for non-believers?

Post  Objectivitees on Tue Feb 09, 2010 3:00 pm

So far, every hypothetical scenario you set up that is supposed to illustrate an atheist acting irrationally,...

If you really believe I am arguing that Atheists don't have values, or are monsters... then you haven't even come close to understanding my argument. Sigh...just when I thought you were beginning to grasp it, you dive back into the straw.


I'll respond to your last post hopefully in a couple days when I have fewer diapers to change...since you didn't dive as deeply as neon. There still may be hope...but just as an aside...your incessant demands I answer your "questions" fails to note the time I already did, but you don't seem to get it. You have misunderstood the nature and intent of my critique if you are asking these in seriousness. I'll give you the benefit of the doubt for now, that you really are engaging me with the intent to learn, until you pretend to be outraged like neon, and demonstrate that appearing to "win" is more important to you than understanding.


I'm going to give you another chance to answer the questions that you keep ignoring:

And I will answer them (again)...Also... you keep ignoring my question...(so why should I answer yours?) How do you justify being outraged at rape or murder? when you can't define good and bad, you can't be outraged. But you are.

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Re: Do objective moral values exist for non-believers?

Post  Orion on Tue Feb 09, 2010 5:38 pm

Object, I understand your argument, because I've heard it from countless other theists. And every time I explain to them, just like every time I explain to you, they don't understand the response, or they pretend not to. Then they confuse not getting the answer they want with not getting an answer, and they claim their question hasn't been answered.

Meanwhile, when I ask what their alternative answer is, they have nothing.

"You have misunderstood the nature and intent of my critique if you are asking these in seriousness."

It's not good enough to say 'I've no obligation to explain my own morality', as you are defining the atheist position by the fact that it lacks YOUR explanation. Telling me that I am the one not understanding doesn't get you off the hook.

Imagine a guy says to you 'Right-handed people can't justify where they get their morality from'.
You reply 'Well go on then lefty, tell me where left-handed people get it from'.
And he replies 'I'm not here to justify MY beliefs, I'm just pointed out the paucity of YOURS'.

How much respect would you give that argument?

"you keep ignoring my question...(so why should I answer yours?) How do you justify being outraged at rape or murder? when you can't define good and bad, you can't be outraged. But you are."

I have answered this. And again, are you saying that if I can't 'object' to a rapist, that means I can't stop him trying to rape my sister? If you've attempted to reply to this then I must have missed it. It's a pretty simple clarification I'm looking for here. If the answer is 'yet', then how is this any different from saying that unless I can 'object' to swine flu, I've got no right to give my sister Tamiflu?

I stop things harming my sister because I don't want my sister to be harmed, this goes regardless of whether the harming agent can be labeled 'evil', or whether it's caused by an accident or a wild animal or whatever. I've explained this several times, you just don't get it, or you pretend not to.

Why am I outraged after the fact that someone's done something bad? Lots of reasons. I'm upset just because the bad thing has happened. There's an extra level of anger, because unlike a death caused, say, by a collapsing bridge, the bad thing didn't NEED to happen. Then there's anger that the perpertrator didn't 'go by the rules' or our society - a bigger but similar anger to someone cheating at a game of poker. And then there's disbelief that the perpetrator wasn't held back by the same feelings of empathy that would hold me back from doing the same thing. And of course I've just EVOLVED to get angry too. Explaining this doesn't stop it being so - I've evolved to find dung disgusting, but knowing that doesn't stop me finding it disgusting. And then there are other factors too. A big mix of lots of different, complicated factors.

So there's an answer for you. Your turn...

BTW, you still haven't come up with those God reference in your consitution. Still looking?

Ponder on all that while you're changing nappies. I've got a funeral on Thursday and will spend most of Wednesday and Friday travelling the 500 miles there and back, so you've got time to come up with actual answers to these questions. If you can't muster up anything other than snarkiness or obfuscations, I probably won't bother responding.

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