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Sick child argument?

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JCFolsom:

 

 

Again, you can say it up and down all day and all night, but your actions prove you don't think it's wrong. And, as comforting as you might find it if they were, morals are not simple. People have been struggling with the question, "How ought I live?", for millenia. That struggle will not be resolved by simplistic deontology.

No, you're very much wrong on this.  My actions don't prove anything.  Stealing is stealing and that is wrong, and I'm afraid to tell you, that's pure and simple.  My actions of violating the moral principle of "Do not steal" doesn't mean I think that stealing the medicine is right.  I never said it was right.  In fact I said:

If it were me in that situation I would first ask for the medicine begging for charity.  Failing that I'd steal it and live with the consequences.  I'd rather sit in jail while my child lived then try and live with the idea that my child died and I could have done something about it.

Therefore I recognize that my act of aggression (stealing the medicine) is wrong but I also acknowledge that I am willing to live with the consequence of performing that act of aggression which could be time in jail, a beating, being shot or whatever.  I still believe it is wrong -- my act of taking that medicine hasn't changed my view that stealing is wrong -- but I have made the conscious decision to act this way.  And my act of theft does not change the moral principle that stealing, for any reason, is wrong.  Taking something for whatever the reason or whatever the cause is wrong and always will be wrong -- pure and simple -- but as a free human I have the free will to decide if I'm going to abide by that moral principle or not.  Every criminal knows what they are doing is wrong but have chosen to commit the crime anyway.  All it proves is that I've decided to violate my moral principle concerning theft (which I maintain is wrong) because I believe I have a higher moral principle of saving the life of the child and if I should be punished for it I'm willing to accept that punishment.

 

 

"It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds. " -- Samuel Adams.

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JCFolsom replied on Thu, May 29 2008 2:18 PM

kingmonkey:

Therefore I recognize that my act of aggression (stealing the medicine) is wrong but I also acknowledge that I am willing to live with the consequence of performing that act of aggression which could be time in jail, a beating, being shot or whatever.  I still believe it is wrong -- my act of taking that medicine hasn't changed my view that stealing is wrong -- but I have made the conscious decision to act this way.  And my act of theft does not change the moral principle that stealing, for any reason, is wrong.  Taking something for whatever the reason or whatever the cause is wrong and always will be wrong -- pure and simple -- but as a free human I have the free will to decide if I'm going to abide by that moral principle or not.  Every criminal knows what they are doing is wrong but have chosen to commit the crime anyway.  All it proves is that I've decided to violate my moral principle concerning theft (which I maintain is wrong) because I believe I have a higher moral principle of saving the life of the child and if I should be punished for it I'm willing to accept that punishment.

 

I think, at this point, we are arguing semantics. I say your actions automatically match your true morals, even if you deceive yourself or just say that your morals are different. You say you can violate the rules you set for your own behavior. OK, well, there's a semantic or other assumption where we don't match, here, and I don't know what to do to resolve it. It would not be a problem, except what I regard as the hypocritical injustice of imposing a punishment on someone for doing what you yourself, and anyone you know who isn't insane, whould do in the same circumstance.

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Morality doesnt belong to a person, its objective. Your actions are moral or immoral, but have no say in what is moral. Also accidentally hitting someone with your car and incapacitating them puts no moral obligation on you whatsoever. If the road you are currently on is basically a lawless jungle, then driver beware. I would never drive on a road like that though, I would only drive on roads that had some sort of agreement up front about what would happen if i was incapacitated while using that road.

 

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Bostwick replied on Thu, May 29 2008 4:20 PM

JCFolsom:

JonBostwick:
If I am allowed to steal medicine because I'm sick, in order to preserve my life, I am allowed to never work and just steal food, in order to preserve my life.

Well, the way I've always put it is that you only get the morality boost when stealing is your only option. A person who has to steal because they refuse to work is not restricted in their options. Stealing is only moral because the only other option, allowing your child to die, is even more immoral. If other, more moral actions exist to avoid the same evil, then you must take those options, whatever they might be.

 

No one has the right to not die.

You are preaching a very sinsiter form of moral relativism: Stealing is a crime, except when you do it in place of a bigger crime. Of course, not being able to prevent your child from dying is not a crime at all.

People are never limited to two options, and the options they have today are dictated by their past choices. The father of the sick child should have saved or bought insurance. But why would anyone bother to do that if they can simply say "I have no choice but to steal" should the need ever arise?

Lets say you steal the medicine and have returned home when the owner of the medicine enters your house to reclaim his property. Can you harm him to prevent him from claiming his justily owned property?

Peace

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Bostwick replied on Thu, May 29 2008 4:31 PM

kingmonkey:
Therefore I recognize that my act of aggression (stealing the medicine) is wrong but I also acknowledge that I am willing to live with the consequence of performing that act of aggression which could be time in jail, a beating, being shot or whatever. 

More preciously, you are willing to commit the crime and submit yourself to the mercy of your victim.

Law and Justice can only exist after a crime has been committed. So this question can not be framed as, "Should I steal it?" The correct question would be, "I've stolen it, now what?" And that answer is much more simple: you are criminally liable unless your victim has mercy on you.

 

 

Peace

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There's actually a discussion on this topic on the AnCap group at myspace.

I don't really understand the "moral" dilemma here. There are no morals - ethics is a creation of mankind. Thus, unless the person stealing was acting against some kind of social or individual contract which that person agreed with and "signed," I don't see how that person's action could have been moral or immoral.

 

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krazy kaju:
Thus, unless the person stealing was acting against some kind of social or individual contract which that person agreed with and "signed," I don't see how that person's action could have been moral or immoral.

How do you envision an AnCap society functioning, bearing in mind that none of us have contracted not to kill and eat you?

--Len

 

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The same way most anarcho-capitalists think it will work: Private security, defense, juries, etc.

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krazy kaju:
The same way most anarcho-capitalists think it will work: Private security, defense, juries, etc.

And given that the nonaggression principle isn't binding on anyone who hasn't contractually agreed to it, on what basis are "private security, defense, juries, etc.," justified?

It sounds like you advocate anarchy without nonaggression, which would seem impossible.

--Len

 

 

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krazy kaju:
There are no morals - ethics is a creation of mankind. Thus, unless the person stealing was acting against some kind of social or individual contract which that person agreed with and "signed," I don't see how that person's action could have been moral or immoral.

On the other hand, then, even an agreed to and signed contract can be broken without any moral violation.

 

The state won't go away once enough people want the state to go away, the state will effectively disappear once enough people no longer care that much whether it stays or goes. We don't need a revolution, we need millions of them.

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Len Budney:

krazy kaju:
The same way most anarcho-capitalists think it will work: Private security, defense, juries, etc.

And given that the nonaggression principle isn't binding on anyone who hasn't contractually agreed to it, on what basis are "private security, defense, juries, etc.," justified?

 

It sounds like you advocate anarchy without nonaggression, which would seem impossible.

How are they not justified? There are no natural, universally binding morals which should dictate what you do, which is why I believe that the only rational ethical system can be one where two or more people agree to a set of morals or ethical rules (i.e. a social contract).

And a system that advocates complete nonaggression is ridiculous. Aggression and violence are a part of human nature. Anarcho-capitalism isn't built on the assumption that everyone will be non-violent but on the assumption that your own self interest will lead you to defend your home and your property by buying your own weapons, making agreements with your local community, and contracting private security, defense, and legal forces.

I think the ancap claim can be best represented by this famous quote from Adam Smith:

"It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest."

Self interest will guide people to provide each other the goods and services they need. Imposing any fake ethical system on top of that is anti-anarchist, as far as I'm concerned.

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histhasthai:

krazy kaju:
There are no morals - ethics is a creation of mankind. Thus, unless the person stealing was acting against some kind of social or individual contract which that person agreed with and "signed," I don't see how that person's action could have been moral or immoral.

On the other hand, then, even an agreed to and signed contract can be broken without any moral violation.

In one sense - yes. But in another, if you agree to follow a set of rules and then break them, we can safely say that action was immoral purely based on the fact that you broke an agreement (unless you decided to annul it first). Of course, this isn't to say that what I'm proposing is practical - it is highly impractical as an ethical system. Social contracts don't apply to more than two generations at most while individual contracts aren't so widespread.

 

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I don't really understand the "moral" dilemma here. There are no morals - ethics is a creation of mankind. Thus, unless the person stealing was acting against some kind of social or individual contract which that person agreed with and "signed," I don't see how that person's action could have been moral or immoral.

Your proof of this being what? This does nothing but render you toothless against the State.

-Jon

Freedom of markets is positively correlated with the degree of evolution in any society...

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Jon Irenicus:

Your proof of this being what? This does nothing but render you toothless against the State.

-Jon

Proof of no natural, universally applicable morals existing? Where is your proof of them existing?

It's like trying to prove the nonexistence of God, the Flying Spaghetti Monster, or the invisible elephant in my backyard. You can't prove that something doesn't exist. Instead, the person making the claim has to prove that it does exist. And so far all proofs of the existence of natural and universal morals have been quite weak, by my standards.

Utilitarians are utilitarian because they believe it will better serve humanity. Ethical egoists and virtue ethicists are what they are because they believe that that will better serve themselves. Followers of the divine command theory believe that all ethical laws are handed down by God or some other supreme, supernatural being. Kant's followers believe in the categorical imperative because they believe it is more universally applicable than all the other ethical systems. Natural rightists believe in natural rights because of their previous ideological beliefs. There really is no moral system that tries to explain the existence of objective, universal, and natural morals. Most people who follow some kind of ethical system follow it just because that's what they believe in. It's kind of a disgusting blind faith similar to faith in the state.


AFAIK, morals arose because of our evolutionary tendencies to label some actions as taboo and others as "good." There is no universality, rationality, or even "naturalness" in them. Amoralism, nihilism, existentialism, and contractarianism are all rational to me in that they all agree, to an extent, that ethics is a creation of our imagination.

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Proof of no natural, universally applicable morals existing? Where is your proof of them existing?

That's nice, but I asked for proof of your claim, not a diatribe trying to render morality analogous to theism, much like I'd ask an atheist for proof of any claim to the effect that a deity or higher force does not exist, which would require an ontological proof.

I'm not sure why people give evolutionary accounts of morality in a way that seems to be be exclusive of their having a rational basis. I can give evolutionary accounts of how economies arose- so what? Does that render economics null and void? Are you an epistemological nihilist as well?

-Jon

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krazy kaju:

Jon Irenicus:

Your proof of this being what? This does nothing but render you toothless against the State.

-Jon

Proof of no natural, universally applicable morals existing? Where is your proof of them existing?

It's like trying to prove the nonexistence of God, the Flying Spaghetti Monster, or the invisible elephant in my backyard. You can't prove that something doesn't exist. Instead, the person making the claim has to prove that it does exist. And so far all proofs of the existence of natural and universal morals have been quite weak, by my standards.

Utilitarians are utilitarian because they believe it will better serve humanity. Ethical egoists and virtue ethicists are what they are because they believe that that will better serve themselves. Followers of the divine command theory believe that all ethical laws are handed down by God or some other supreme, supernatural being. Kant's followers believe in the categorical imperative because they believe it is more universally applicable than all the other ethical systems. Natural rightists believe in natural rights because of their previous ideological beliefs. There really is no moral system that tries to explain the existence of objective, universal, and natural morals. Most people who follow some kind of ethical system follow it just because that's what they believe in. It's kind of a disgusting blind faith similar to faith in the state.


AFAIK, morals arose because of our evolutionary tendencies to label some actions as taboo and others as "good." There is no universality, rationality, or even "naturalness" in them. Amoralism, nihilism, existentialism, and contractarianism are all rational to me in that they all agree, to an extent, that ethics is a creation of our imagination.

I don't see what objective basis you have for defending libertarianism and attacking the state. Nihilists and relativists always seem to think that nihilism or relativism entail toleration and those that are social contract theorists always seem to think that people will somehow be led by some invisible hand to contractually create a society that just so happens to look like the one they prefer. It doesn't work that way. Nihilism and relativism provide you with no foundation for criticizing those who would aggress against you, either haphazardly or systematically.

 

Yours in liberty,
Geoffrey Allan Plauché, Ph.D.
Adjunct Instructor, Buena Vista University
Webmaster, LibertarianStandard.com
Founder / Executive Editor, Prometheusreview.com

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My reason for attacking the state: it is a large fumbling, inefficient giant.

How is the above statement contradictory with nihilism? Only because I don't believe any universal morals exist doesn't mean that I don't have a basis for criticizing the state. I believe the state is not beneficial to my own self interest or the self interests of billions of common people. That is a rational argument that appeals to people who want more choice and freedom.

I don't believe in there being a universally applicable and natural ethical system. Where have ethical systems originated from? Partially from evolution, partially from our imagination. In other words, all ethical systems are invariably creations of mankind and nothing more.

Which leads me to the conclusion that a rational ethical system has to recognize the above. So this leaves the following: amoralism, nihilism, existentialism, moral subjectivism, and contractarianism. Now, let me point out that my views on the social contract are somewhat different than "traditional" views. I believe that a social contract ONLY applies to the people who agreed to it, not to following generations. I also believe that it is in the interest of people to sign such contracts just as they choose to use contracts for jobs over normal hourly wages. My definition also rejects the idea that you have the right to annul a social contract because of your natural rights. Since no natural, universal ethical system exists, you don't derive your right to annul from "natural" rights, but from your own free will and choice.

So my definition greatly restricts the use of a social contract to that of any other contract. If a group of people can agree to a set of rules they can follow when dealing with each other, that's great. They did so voluntarily, expecting to benefit themselves. That's completely consistent with anarchism and individualist thought.

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JCFolsom replied on Thu, May 29 2008 7:01 PM

krazy kaju:
My reason for attacking the state: it is a large fumbling, inefficient giant.
 

Why is that bad? Why prefer a more efficient organization?

krazy kaju:
How is the above statement contradictory with nihilism? Only because I don't believe any universal morals exist doesn't mean that I don't have a basis for criticizing the state. I believe the state is not beneficial to my own self interest or the self interests of billions of common people. That is a rational argument that appeals to people who want more choice and freedom.
 

What self interest? Why do you value what you value? What makes one thing preferable to another, especially for other people?

krazy kaju:
I don't believe in there being a universally applicable and natural ethical system. Where have ethical systems originated from? Partially from evolution, partially from our imagination. In other words, all ethical systems are invariably creations of mankind and nothing more.
 

If you say so. Our imagination is nothing. All is evolution. You have no more freedom of thought than any other soulless chemical process. Heck, what's the point of even talking about it?

krazy kaju:
Which leads me to the conclusion that a rational ethical system has to recognize the above. So this leaves the following: amoralism, nihilism, existentialism, moral subjectivism, and contractarianism. Now, let me point out that my views on the social contract are somewhat different than "traditional" views. I believe that a social contract ONLY applies to the people who agreed to it, not to following generations. I also believe that it is in the interest of people to sign such contracts just as they choose to use contracts for jobs over normal hourly wages. My definition also rejects the idea that you have the right to annul a social contract because of your natural rights. Since no natural, universal ethical system exists, you don't derive your right to annul from "natural" rights, but from your own free will and choice.
 

Why do you have the right to sign a contract or hold anyone else to it. Because there are no universal ethics, there is nothing actually wrong with a person changing their minds unilaterally. Why sign the contract in the first place? There is no reason to prefer the society with such a contract over one without.

krazy kaju:
So my definition greatly restricts the use of a social contract to that of any other contract. If a group of people can agree to a set of rules they can follow when dealing with each other, that's great. They did so voluntarily, expecting to benefit themselves. That's completely consistent with anarchism and individualist thought.
 

Nihilism is as empty as it states itself to be. There is no basis in it for anything, and no reason to even want there to be. Maybe you're right. If so, who gives a bleep. Anyone who claims their philosophy is nihilism is a liar. Otherwise, they wouldn't bother claiming it.

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Two problems in connection to all this. In the first place, why should anyone besides the person themselves care whether the State acts contrary to the self-interest of its subjects, or whether it is inefficient? Granted, most people value their self-interest, but they figure the State to be acting in favour of it and would certainly not abandon it for anarchism. As long as, when screwed over, they have the expectation of being able to screw someone else over, the system works just fine.

In the second place, the contract is dissimilar to a normal contract in that these concern already-existing titles to property. This contract is unique in that it is trying to intersubjectively establish ownership over given resources. However, this does nothing to bind third parties, as JCFolsom mentioned. You've acknowledged this, but it does give rise to all sorts of interesting problems - for instance, why should one abstain from seizing your property? Because you might harm them? How do you justify harming them?

Regarding evolutionary biology, all it does is provide explanations and descriptions - something unique in science these days. No more, no less. It cannot in and of itself rule out ethical reasoning, as all it can show is how various things are interrelated. Analogously, free will debates cannot be settled by mere recourse to observations (for reasons Misesians should be familiar with.) The latter can be only settled by way of ontological arguments, the former requires praxeological analysis.

-Jon

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krazy kaju:
I believe the state is not beneficial to my own self interest or the self interests of billions of common people. That is a rational argument that appeals to people who want more choice and freedom.
Your belief is wrong. 

Pretend that I am a lazy bum on welfare or an international arms dealer.  For me, the state is highly beneficial.

 

 

Before calling yourself a libertarian or an anarchist, read this.  
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krazy kaju:
if you agree to follow a set of rules and then break them, we can safely say that action was immoral purely based on the fact that you broke an agreement

So you do have a standard of morality outside of what is determined by the contents of a contract? 

You're half right on all this.  Morals are not some kind of entities that exist independently of human consciousness, they're not some entries in a cosmic book written somewhere, they're concepts created by people.

Where you get it wrong is that those concepts are arbitrary, and arise only from agreement, or tradition, or societal conditioning.  They're observations of the standards of behavior that lead to the things human beings value. They are determined by the real universe, and by the nature of human beings and of consciousness

 

 

The state won't go away once enough people want the state to go away, the state will effectively disappear once enough people no longer care that much whether it stays or goes. We don't need a revolution, we need millions of them.

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To put it another way, they fall under praxeology.

-Jon

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Hey jon, not to derail the argument at all, but I had a comment on asking the atheist to prove the non existence of god. Its essentially impossible to prove a negative except by trying every state that can exist and showing its not in any of those almost infinite states. The default position is disbelief. Such as not believing in unicorns unless someone proves they do exist. Its not my job to show that there are no unicorns, by looking at every horse on earth. I just take the default position with gods as well, disbelief.

 

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Len Budney replied on Fri, May 30 2008 10:30 AM

twistedbydsign99:
Its not my job to show that there are no unicorns, by looking at every horse on earth. I just take the default position with gods as well, disbelief.

Yep, speaking as a theist, I didn't take the earlier comment on atheism as an ad hominem equating X with atheism at all.

--Len

 

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JCFolsom replied on Fri, May 30 2008 10:40 AM

twistedbydsign99:

Hey jon, not to derail the argument at all, but I had a comment on asking the atheist to prove the non existence of god. Its essentially impossible to prove a negative except by trying every state that can exist and showing its not in any of those almost infinite states. The default position is disbelief. Such as not believing in unicorns unless someone proves they do exist. Its not my job to show that there are no unicorns, by looking at every horse on earth. I just take the default position with gods as well, disbelief.

 

Arrrgghhh! Trying... not... to... derail... arrggghhh! 

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I wouldn't be so sure:

You Can Prove a Negative
by Steven D. Hales

A principle of folk logic is that you can't prove a negative. Skeptics
and scientists routinely concede the point in debates about the
possible existence of everything from Big Foot and Loch Ness to aliens
and even God. In a recent television interview on Comedy Central's The
Colbert Report, for example, Skeptic publisher Michael Shermer
admitted as much when Stephen Colbert pressed him on the point when
discussing Weapons of Mass Destruction, the comedian adding that once
it is admitted that scientists cannot prove the nonexistence of a
thing, then belief in anything is possible. Even Richard Dawkins
writes in The God Delusion that "you cannot prove God's non-existence
is accepted and trivial, if only in the sense that we can never
absolutely prove the non-existence of anything."

There is one big problem with this. Among professional logicians,
guess how many think that you can't prove a negative? That's right,
zero. Yes, Virginia, you can prove a negative, and it's easy, too. For
one thing, a real, actual law of logic is a negative, namely the law
of non-contradiction. This law states that that a proposition cannot
be both true and not true. Nothing is both true and false.
Furthermore, you can prove this law. It can be formally derived from
the empty set using provably valid rules of inference. (I'll spare you
the boring details). One of the laws of logic is a provable negative.
Wait ... this means we've just proven that it is not the case that one
of the laws of logic is that you can't prove a negative. So we've
proven yet another negative! In fact, "you can't prove a negative" is
a negative -- so if you could prove it true, it wouldn't be true! Uh-
oh.

Not only that, but any claim can be expressed as a negative, thanks to
the rule of double negation. This rule states that any proposition P
is logically equivalent to not-not-P. So pick anything you think you
can prove. Think you can prove your own existence? At least to your
own satisfaction? Then, using the exact same reasoning, plus the
little step of double negation, you can prove that you are not
nonexistent. Congratulations, you've just proven a negative. The
beautiful part is that you can do this trick with absolutely any
proposition whatsoever. Prove P is true and you can prove that P is
not false.

You can easily construct a valid deductive argument with all true
premises that yields the conclusion that there are no unicorns. Here's
one, using the valid inference procedure of modus tollens (Latin for
"mode that affirms by denying"):

If unicorns had existed, then there is evidence in the fossil record.
There is no evidence of unicorns in the fossil record.
Therefore, unicorns never existed.
Someone might object that that was a bit too fast -- after all, I
didn't prove that the two premises were true. I just asserted that
they were true. Well, that's right. However, it would be a grievous
mistake to insist that someone prove all the premises of any argument
they might give. Here's why. The only way to prove, say, that there is
no evidence of unicorns in the fossil record, is by giving an argument
to that conclusion. Of course one would then have to prove the
premises of that argument by giving further arguments, and then prove
the premises of those further arguments, ad infinitum. Which premises
we should take on credit and which need payment up front is a matter
of long and involved debate among epistemologists. But one thing is
certain: if proving things requires that an infinite number of
premises get proved first, we're not going to prove much of anything
at all, positive or negative.

Maybe people mean that no inductive argument will conclusively,
indubitably prove a negative proposition beyond all shadow of a doubt.
For example, suppose someone argues that we've scoured the world for
Bigfoot, found no credible evidence of Bigfoot's existence, and
therefore there is no Bigfoot. This is a classic inductive argument. A
Sasquatch defender can always rejoin that Bigfoot is reclusive, and
might just be hiding in that next stand of trees. You can't prove he's
not! (until the search of that tree stand comes up empty too). The
problem here isn't that inductive arguments won't give us certainty
about negative claims (like the nonexistence of Bigfoot), but that
inductive arguments won't give us certainty about anything at all,
positive or negative. All observed swans are white, therefore all
swans are white looked like a pretty good inductive argument until
black swans were discovered in Australia.

The very nature of an inductive argument is to make a conclusion
probable, but not certain, given the truth of the premises. That is
just what an inductive argument is. We'd better not dismiss induction
because we're not getting certainty out of it, though. Why do you
think that the sun will rise tomorrow? Not because of observation (you
can't observe the future!), but because that's what it has always done
in the past. Why do you think that if you turn on the kitchen tap that
water will come out instead of chocolate? Why do you think you'll find
your house where you last left it? Again, because that's the way
things have always been in the past. In other words, we use inferences
-- induction -- from past experiences in every aspect of our lives. As
Bertrand Russell once pointed out, the chicken who expects to be fed
when he sees the farmer approaching, since that is what had always
happened in the past, is in for a big surprise when instead of
receiving dinner, he becomes dinner. But if the chicken had rejected
inductive reasoning altogether, then every appearance of the farmer
would be a surprise.

So why is it that people insist that you can't prove a negative? I
think it is the result of two things: (1) Disappointment that
induction is not bulletproof, airtight, and infallible, and (2) A
desperate desire to keep believing whatever one believes, even if all
the evidence is against it. That's why people keep believing in alien
abductions, even when flying saucers always turn out to be weather
balloons, stealth jets, comets, or too much alcohol. You can't prove a
negative! You can't prove that there are no alien abductions! Meaning:
your argument against aliens is inductive, therefore not
incontrovertible. Since I want to believe in aliens, I'm going to
dismiss the argument no matter how overwhelming the evidence against
aliens, and no matter how vanishingly small the chance of
extraterrestrial abduction.

If we're going to dismiss inductive arguments because they produce
conclusions that are probable but not definite, then we are in deep
manure. Despite its fallibility, induction is vital in every aspect of
our lives, from the mundane to the most sophisticated science. Without
induction we know basically nothing about the world apart from our own
immediate perceptions. So we'd better keep induction, warts and all,
and use it to form negative beliefs as well as positive ones.

You can prove a negative -- at least as much as you can prove anything
at all.

Source.

Arguments for a deity or free will are ontological. They do not rest on observables. One must dispose of these if one is to disprove either. It is not as simple as "there's no evidence!" given that one is not dealing with observables. Moral reasoning cannot even be taken as analogous, though, as it must be given a praxeological analysis and thus all that it requires is some ontological commitment or other that allows for realism.

-Jon

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JCFolsom:
Arrrgghhh! Trying... not... to... derail... arrggghhh! 

Yeah, tell me about it.

I was about to make the argument Jon just presented, in my own words, but I deleted it.  I guess the horse is out of the barn now...

 

 

 

 

The state won't go away once enough people want the state to go away, the state will effectively disappear once enough people no longer care that much whether it stays or goes. We don't need a revolution, we need millions of them.

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Hm interesting article. I think the crux was that statement "You can't prove a negative" is actually a negative, making it self detonating. So let me rephrase my comment based on what that article illuminated. So an atheist could be asked to prove that god doesn't exist its just not fair, the theist claim is more extraordinary, therefore the onus is on him. I don't feel there is a middle ground between belief and disbelief, if you want to see which you are then perform an action that is dependant on one or the other, if forced to pick, you will pick.

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Granted, but my point is that the type of proof will not be observational, but it will have to be ontological arguments (Kant himself noted something to this effect where he advanced that only transcendental arguments can be given for freedom of the will, a deity &c.) and that these will have to be dealt with by anyone wanting to disprove a deity conclusively. I'm not a theist (I'm considering deism though), but I think a lot of atheists underestimate what they're up against.

-Jon

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JCFolsom replied on Fri, May 30 2008 12:32 PM

twistedbydsign99:
Hm interesting article. I think the crux was that statement "You can't prove a negative" is actually a negative, making it self detonating. So let me rephrase my comment based on what that article illuminated. So an atheist could be asked to prove that god doesn't exist its just not fair, the theist claim is more extraordinary, therefore the onus is on him. I don't feel there is a middle ground between belief and disbelief, if you want to see which you are then perform an action that is dependant on one or the other, if forced to pick, you will pick.

If you are a defensive athiest, that is, an athiest who is actually a sort of depreciating agnostic (we can't prove unicorns don't exist either, and we can't know how the universe was created), then the burden of proof is on you to show that these things cannot be known. Many people from both the atheist and theist sides claim they can be and are known, so why are they wrong? However, if you do take a position on how the universe came about without God, or claim that you know that God does not exist, these are positive claims that require proof. I, for one, do not consider it any less extraordinary to claim that the universe came about by chance or... something, than that a mind was required to create an ordered universe.

So, which is it? And, while this post does not help, why don't you, if you want to have this discussion, make your own thread for it, instead of derailing this one?

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Well I will end this derail by just answering your question. which is it? Its disbelief by default. *cough* stealing is always wrong, there we are back on track.

 

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In the interests of derailing this thread even further, here's an amusing (some would say offensive) quote from a recent science fiction novel, The Philosopher's Apprentice by James Morrow:

"Why . . . would this same divine serial killer have begun his career spending thirteen billion years fashioning quadrillions of needless galaxies before finally starting on his pet project: singling out a minor planet in an obscure precinct of the Milky Way and seeding it with vain bipedal vertebrates condemned to wait indefinitely for the deity in question to disclose himself?"

 

 

 

Yours in liberty,
Geoffrey Allan Plauché, Ph.D.
Adjunct Instructor, Buena Vista University
Webmaster, LibertarianStandard.com
Founder / Executive Editor, Prometheusreview.com

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JCFolsom replied on Fri, May 30 2008 12:49 PM

Geoffrey Allan Plauche:
"Why . . . would this same divine serial killer have begun his career spending thirteen billion years fashioning quadrillions of needless galaxies before finally starting on his pet project: singling out a minor planet in an obscure precinct of the Milky Way and seeding it with vain bipedal vertebrates condemned to wait indefinitely for the deity in question to disclose himself?"

He was going to, but then some jerk named Geoffrey decided he couldn't resist taking a jab and he decided we weren't worth it. Thanks.

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Hmm I should've just pointed out that it was a poor analogy and left it at that. Stick out tongue

-Jon

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JCFolsom replied on Fri, May 30 2008 12:51 PM

twistedbydsign99:

Well I will end this derail by just answering your question. which is it? Its disbelief by default. *cough* stealing is always wrong, there we are back on track.

 

If a government thug is using his own, personal, justly bought with just money gun to oppress people, it it wrong to steal or vandalize that gun while he's sleeping? 

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Hey Jon I think geoffery's quote might be an argument related to ontology.

 

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JCFolsom:

Geoffrey Allan Plauche:
"Why . . . would this same divine serial killer have begun his career spending thirteen billion years fashioning quadrillions of needless galaxies before finally starting on his pet project: singling out a minor planet in an obscure precinct of the Milky Way and seeding it with vain bipedal vertebrates condemned to wait indefinitely for the deity in question to disclose himself?"

He was going to, but then some jerk named Geoffrey decided he couldn't resist taking a jab and he decided we weren't worth it. Thanks.

Hey.... Come on. Is he really that hypersensitive? ;o)

 

Yours in liberty,
Geoffrey Allan Plauché, Ph.D.
Adjunct Instructor, Buena Vista University
Webmaster, LibertarianStandard.com
Founder / Executive Editor, Prometheusreview.com

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I would say you don't have a claim to the thugs gun, but only to your own defense. So rendering his gun inoperable when its clear he is oppressing you would be moral. Not taking it and making it your own. Just my gut reaction here.

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Related to ontology, how? At best it is a presumption against highly anthropocentric notions of a deity.

-Jon

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JCFolsom replied on Fri, May 30 2008 1:02 PM

What if he was oppressing someone else, but you had the opportunity to take the gun so he couldn't use it? How you use or don't use it afterwards is irrelevant.

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