Friday, July 5, 2013

When I Pointed Out the Problem of Moralizing Evolutionists Gave Me Pushback

More Moralizing

What is intriguing about evolution is not so much the idea itself but what comes along with the idea. Evolution’s idea—that the world arose spontaneously—is certainly enough to raise eyebrows since it goes against so much of what we know from science. But anti realism is not necessarily a bad thing in science, for science needs speculative ideas. What comes along with this particular speculative idea, however, is much more interesting and important. For evolutionists insist their idea is a fact. That claim—so at odds with the empirical evidence—indicates that there is something more to evolution than scientific theorizing. There is an underlying nonscientific foundation of evolution that mandates its certainty. This “fact” of evolution is, for evolutionists, so obvious and necessary that anyone who does not acknowledge it is, in their eyes, suspect. Evolutionists cannot understand how skeptics can have a legitimate argument—there must be ulterior motives at work. Skeptics must be up to no good. They are abusing science and they must be stopped. Evolutionists do not hesitate to cast aspersions on, judge and blackball skeptics. So along with the idea that the world arose strictly naturalistically, evolution brings epistemological and ethical claims which are as strongly held as they are unsupported. Unfortunately this combination of anti realism reinforced by moralizing seems to spreading.

Last week, in their ruling against the Defense of Marriage Act, the Supreme Court engaged in just this sort of moralizing. The court said that those who disagree with them are out to “disparage,” “injure,” “degrade,” “demean,” and “humiliate” our fellow human beings and citizens who are homosexual.

Of course the court holds no such monopoly on ethics. How could it when it did not even provide an alternative which the supposed bigots are to accept? Is one automatically a bigot for not agreeing to toss out the existing definition of marriage when no alternative is offered and to solve a tax problem?

One may agree or disagree with the existing definition of marriage, and that definition may change in the future as society sees fit. But erroneous blanket accusations of bigotry do not advance the discussion and are reminiscent of how evolutionists argue for their theory.

When we pointed this out evolutionists doubled down on their moralizing. Rather than realize the fallacy, they insisted that even our mere pointing this out, itself, constitutes bigotry. In other words, regardless of one’s position on the issue of marriage, acknowledging any legitimacy to the existing definition constitutes bigotry. Amazing.

This sort of hyper critical judgment is typical of evolutionists. The evolutionist’s combination of certainty and self-righteous moralizing is toxic to reasoned debate. Unfortunately it seems to be spreading.

29 comments:

  1. Didn't you post something like this once before? It sounds familiar.

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  2. Oh, well, I'll get the ball rolling...

    What is intriguing about evolution is not so much the idea itself but what comes along with the idea. Evolution’s idea—that the world arose spontaneously—is certainly enough to raise eyebrows since it goes against so much of what we know from science.

    That should raise a few eyebrows since the theory of evolution says nothing about how the world began.

    For evolutionists insist their idea is a fact.

    No, for the umpteenth time, they don't

    They insist that animals changing - or being changed - over time has been observed so often that it would be perverse to deny it happens. In other words, by Gould's definition, the process is a fact. The theory which attempts to explain it is just that - a theory, not a fact.

    That claim—so at odds with the empirical evidence—indicates that there is something more to evolution than scientific theorizing.

    No claim, no foul.

    There is an underlying nonscientific foundation of evolution that mandates its certainty.

    No, there's a good scientific foundation of evidence which mandates a reasonable confidence that it's better than any available alternative - such as they are.

    This “fact” of evolution is, for evolutionists, so obvious and necessary that anyone who does not acknowledge it is, in their eyes, suspect. Evolutionists cannot understand how skeptics can have a legitimate argument—there must be ulterior motives at work.

    Wedge Document. Jonathan Wells. There are.

    So along with the idea that the world arose strictly naturalistically, evolution brings epistemological and ethical claims which are as strongly held as they are unsupported.

    That's a natty little strawman you've put together there.

    Last week, in their ruling against the Defense of Marriage Act, the Supreme Court engaged in just this sort of moralizing. The court said that those who disagree with them are out to “disparage,” “injure,” “degrade,” “demean,” and “humiliate” our fellow human beings and citizens who are homosexual.

    I'm sorry, what does this have to do with evolution?

    Of course the court holds no such monopoly on ethics. How could it when it did not even provide an alternative which the supposed bigots are to accept?

    Why should it have to provide anything that is acceptable to bigots

    Is one automatically a bigot for not agreeing to toss out the existing definition of marriage when no alternative is offered and to solve a tax problem?

    Not automatically, maybe, but still possibie.

    One may agree or disagree with the existing definition of marriage, and that definition may change in the future as society sees fit. But erroneous blanket accusations of bigotry do not advance the discussion and are reminiscent of how evolutionists argue for their theory.

    Seems to have touched a bit of a nerve there.

    When we pointed this out evolutionists doubled down on their moralizing. Rather than realize the fallacy, they insisted that even our mere pointing this out, itself, constitutes bigotry. In other words, regardless of one’s position on the issue of marriage, acknowledging any legitimacy to the existing definition constitutes bigotry. Amazing.

    It is when you realize evolutionists as a group have done no such thing.

    This sort of hyper critical judgment is typical of evolutionists. The evolutionist’s combination of certainty and self-righteous moralizing is toxic to reasoned debate.

    I think if you look back over human history, you'll find believers were doing the "certainty and self-righteous moralizing" thing long before the theory of evolution was a glimmer in Darwin's mind. That's just PKBism.

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    1. "No, for the umpteenth time, they don't

      They insist that animals changing - or being changed - over time has been observed so often that it would be perverse to deny it happens. In other words, by Gould's definition, the process is a fact. The theory which attempts to explain it is just that - a theory, not a fact"

      Thats just stupid and dishonest. Everyone here already knows how the term "evolution" is being used and its a fact that evolutionists like Dawkins states very clearly that Evolution as it applies to the theory is a fact. To lie about something so obvious is why these comments are just a mess

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  3. Very familiar.

    Hey cornelius, 'the designer-creator-god-did-it' is not a "legitimate argument", and neither are 'gay people are icky and sinful', 'I'm specially created in God's image and ain't no ape', 'the bible says...', 'evolutionists are icky and sinful, and 'Darwin = hitler, stalin, pol pot, etc.'.

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  4. cornelius preached:

    "Of course the court holds no such monopoly on ethics."

    But of course if the court had ruled in your bigoted favor you would be loudly trumpeting their right to a "monopoly on ethics".

    "How could it when it did not even provide an alternative which the supposed bigots are to accept?"

    The supreme court isn't in the business of providing alternatives which bigots will accept. Public votes, or congress and governors or the president enact laws. The supreme court determines the constitutionality of laws and the legality of lower court proceedings/decisions, or at least that's what they're supposed to do.

    Of course different judges have different opinions on what constitutionality is or on what legal proceedings/decisions are but as I pointed out above, if the majority were to rule in your favor on marriage or anything else, you'd be praising the court, or at least the majority.

    I don't like everything that voters, congress, governors, presidents, or courts do either. Welcome to the club.

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  5. Nothing quite so pathetic as a homophobic religious zealot still trying to justify his bigotry.

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  6. Sometimes I truly believe even some evolutionists know their fable is absurd and lacks scientific merit, but feel if they concede this point, they would lose their credibility with the public and their chance to be the ultimate authority on who has the right to live, reproduce, where money should be spent in research, etc etc etc. Their egos trump the truth and science.

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  7. Cornelius,

    This kind of propoganda from the NDE crowd can be described as "grasping at staws" to add to the bankrupt philosphical promugations they are so famous for espousing for so many years.

    They (the nde promulgationists) are so desperate to prop up their beloved conjecture, that they will employ any and all social controversy of the day, implicate it with the alleged religious agenda of anyone that disagrees with the NDE speculations. And then play the "bigotry" card in an attempt to place a supposed emphatic proclamation that "anti-gay" (for example) equals "anti_evolution". Then, to further the cause of (I really dont know what the cause is, but clearly, there is some sort of philosophical cause, and not "scientific") the preferred philosophy, after gaining the "approval" of the "crowd" of individuals that want a certain political outcome, they triumphantly declare that, "see, we have a corner on the "truth" of every controversy regarding nde and non-nde that has been discussed on this forum.

    In other words, they dont know crap, yet continue to intellectualize their positions and try to convince, apparently themselves, as well as others, for some reason that sheer speculation is significant verification of their positions. By the way, what might those reasons be?

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  8. "And then play the "bigotry" card in an attempt to place a supposed emphatic proclamation that "anti-gay" (for example) equals "anti_evolution"."

    bproblematic, apparently you didn't notice that cornelius is the one conflating gay marriage and a supreme court decision with evolution and evolutionists. He's the one emphatically proclaiming that he's anti-gay and anti-evolution. He, and some others, are displaying their bigotry.

    By the way, what is scientific and intellectual about the position 'god-did-it' and 'the bible says...'?

    And cornelius STILL hasn't figured out the difference between evolution and evolutionary theory. Evolution doesn't have ideas, evolutionary theorists do. Evolution doesn't theorize, evolutionary theorists do. Evolution doesn't "bring" epistemological and ethical claims, philosophers and others do. Evolution is a process/event/result. The word evolution does not mean the same thing as evolutionary theory or the theory of evolution, and cornelius should know that.

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    1. Twt said:
      "bproblematic, apparently you didn't notice that cornelius is the one conflating gay marriage and a supreme court decision with evolution and evolutionists. He's the one emphatically proclaiming that he's anti-gay and anti-evolution. He, and some others, are displaying their bigotry."


      Twt, I was responding, maybe not too clearly, to what my take was based on my perception of the mentallity and behaviour of the NDE supporters on the other thread. Regarding them. Just taking those comments at face.

      Seems to me, Cornelius is simply drawing parallels between a type of mentality that he believes to be manifesting itself these days in acedemia, and jurisprudence. Perhaps other areas in this society.

      I think one of his points is that certain individuals who have authority of some kind in this society, tend to allow an illigitmate degree of speculation and emotion into their drawing of conclusions and decision making processes and are not shy about publically expressing such. When pehaps it is better to come to conclusions without high degrees of speculation as a basis for them.
      The ad-hoc assignment of "evil motivation" of objectors to certain public policy decisions is not a very good thing usually, I don't think. However, conclusions supported by carefull research and a body of well supported facts would be a healthy step in the right direction. And if insuffient amounts of that are not available, maybe it is best to make no statement or draw the conclusion.

      I think it is a point well taken. Particularly at Supreme Court level, when rationally illegitimate "moralizing" (scolding)against those who disagree with a particular position becomes tolerated, isn't that inching it's way closer to some sort of totalitarian regime of intolerance and bigotry?




      An impression is our society has certain "checks and balances" that will correct these kinds of potentially dangerous developments. Freedom of speach, that Cornelius is exercising, as well as everybody else here commenting, is certainly part of the the system enjoyed in the U.S.

      Clearly, not everybody agrees with what they think Cornelius is saying. But can't we celebrate his freedom to do so?




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  9. NV, if you have evidence to show that your so-called 'god-did-it or that any so-called 'god-did-it', let's see the "truth and science" of it. Seriously, I want to see it and some others likely do too.

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    1. So many places to begin. One of the most obvious is the OOL endeavor. Evolutionary "science" has no viable explanations or demostrations that physics and chemistry and undirected processes with a bunch of time can account for the phenomena.

      Theorized early earth conditions are absolutely hostile to the highly constrained, specified and unnaturally occuring needed chemical relationships to acheive the various required unlikely molecules. And, in ways, it has been shown that "time" is not on the side of required accumulations of viable stages.

      All the kinds of scientific experiments in the field require planning, sohpisticated laboratories, staging, identifying and refining materials, anticipating, coordinating, timing and directing reactions in order to get desired products. All of which of course require a lot of highly intelligent and educated human minds.

      Logically, why is it not reasonable to infer intelligent design?

      Whether you technically consider OOL a separate matter from NDE or not, it is obvious that OOL is a fundamental to what would need to be a very real interrelated progression at stages.

      Twt, you might want to check out the following debate between bio-chemist Fuzale Rana of Reasons to Believe, and Darwinian philosophy of science expert, Michael Ruse from earlier this year. I found it informative and entertaining. Michael is fun to listen to, and both provided interesting and informative material. Fuzale gets fairly specific about some of the chemistry involved in OOL.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2CnZ3n8I5b8

      If you are short on time and want to get an overview of the problematic side of the issue referred to by me in this post, you can start at about the 31:32 mark where Fuzale begins his presentation.

      Maybe can't say for sure 'god-did-it'. It just seems that a high degree intelligence and "intelligent agency" with an apparent purpose is required.

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  10. CH: The court said that those who disagree with them are out to “disparage,” “injure,” “degrade,” “demean,” and “humiliate” our fellow human beings and citizens who are homosexual.

    J: We need to remember the role of the religious right in this insanity. The only reason why the court can even pull off such idiocy is because of the assumption, embraced by many of the religious right, that people should be rewarded by the state for being in certain kinds of sexual relationships. But that is sheer non-sense per judaeo-christian scriptures and the constitution. Don't know what the Koran, etc, say on the matter.

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  11. CH: Evolution’s idea—that the world arose spontaneously—is certainly enough to raise eyebrows since it goes against so much of what we know from science

    Except the underlying explanation behind Darwinism doesn't suggest the world arose spontaneously. So, we're not off to a good start.

    CH: But anti realism is not necessarily a bad thing in science, for science needs speculative ideas.

    How is conjecturing explanatory theories about how the world works, in reality, anti-realism?

    CH: For evolutionists insist their idea is a fact. That claim—so at odds with the empirical evidence—indicates that there is something more to evolution than scientific theorizing.

    How is criticizing those explanatory theories using empirical observations anti-realism?

    CH: There is an underlying nonscientific foundation of evolution that mandates its certainty.

    A theory of the origin of biological adaptations that is not certain is not evolution? I'm not an evolutionist? Who are these evolutionists you keep referring to?

    CH: This “fact” of evolution is, for evolutionists, so obvious and necessary that anyone who does not acknowledge it is, in their eyes, suspect.

    The fact of evolution is not the theory, but the observations that theory explains. Don't you get tired of equivocating?

    CH: Evolutionists cannot understand how skeptics can have a legitimate argument—there must be ulterior motives at work. Skeptics must be up to no good. They are abusing science and they must be stopped.

    Skeptics do have legitimate arguments. Specifically, legitimate skeptical arguments present genuine criticism specifically designed to enable progress by discarding errors. They enable science. However, that's not the kind of skepticism being presented here. What we see instead is kind of "skepticism" that employs general purpose means to deny anything, including that we can or even have made progress by discarding errors.

    CH: Evolutionists do not hesitate to cast aspersions on, judge and blackball skeptics. So along with the idea that the world arose strictly naturalistically, evolution brings epistemological and ethical claims which are as strongly held as they are unsupported.

    Darwinism is the theory that the knowledge of how to build biological adaptations, as found in the genome, was genuinely created via variation that was random to any specific problem to solve and selection. So, yes, evolutionary theory is epistemological in nature. Furthermore, some religions explicitly stigmatize reason in the form of criticism, error correction, etc. This kind of skepticism is immoral.

    CH: Unfortunately this combination of anti realism reinforced by moralizing seems to spreading.

    Nothing can infallibly tell you what is infallible, nor what is probable. So, rational criticism of conjectured moral ideas isn't new. We all do it - some significantly better than others. Moral knowledge grows via conjecture and criticism.

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    1. Scott: Darwinism is the theory that the knowledge of how to build biological adaptations, as found in the genome, was genuinely created via variation that was random to any specific problem to solve and selection. So, yes, evolutionary theory is epistemological in nature.

      J: Your definition of knowledge is not distinguishable from belief that is not knowledge. You're utterly confused.

      Scott: Furthermore, some religions explicitly stigmatize reason in the form of criticism, error correction, etc. This kind of skepticism is immoral.

      J: There is no such thing as knowledge of what is immoral if you can't even distinguish "knowledge" from belief that is NOT "knowledge." You're UTTERLY confused. You contradict yourself almost every time you write a sentence.

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    2. Scott:

      Except the underlying explanation behind Darwinism doesn't suggest the world arose spontaneously. So, we're not off to a good start.

      I didn't know that. So evolution posits a designer or external force?

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    3. Knowledge isn't just conjecture or just criticism, it's conjecture and criticism. In the case of science, criticism includes empirical tests. So, it's an error correcting process.

      From <a href="http://nautil.us/issue/2/uncertainty/why-its-good-to-be-wrong?>this article</a>...

      <i>Fallibilism, correctly understood, implies the possibility, not the impossibility, of knowledge, because the very concept of error, if taken seriously, implies that truth exists and can be found. The inherent limitation on human reason, that it can never find solid foundations for ideas, does not constitute any sort of limit on the creation of objective knowledge nor, therefore, on progress. The absence of foundation, whether infallible or probable, is no loss to anyone except tyrants and charlatans, because what the rest of us want from ideas is their content, not their provenance: If your disease has been cured by medical science, and you then become aware that science never proves anything but only disproves theories (and then only tentatively), you do not respond “oh dear, I’ll just have to die, then.”</i>

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    4. Scott: Except the underlying explanation behind Darwinism doesn't suggest the world arose spontaneously. So, we're not off to a good start.

      CH: I didn't know that. So evolution posits a designer or external force?

      Your options leave much to be desired. For example, is designer not an external force?

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  12. CH: Last week, in their ruling against the Defense of Marriage Act, the Supreme Court engaged in just this sort of moralizing. The court said that those who disagree with them are out to “disparage,” “injure,” “degrade,” “demean,” and “humiliate” our fellow human beings and citizens who are homosexual.

    Judge Kennedy, from the ruling…

    DOMA’s unusual deviation from the usual tradition of recognizing and accepting state definitions of marriage here operates to deprive same-sex couples of the benefits and responsibilities that come with the federal recognition of their marriages. This is strong evidence of a law having the purpose and effect of disapproval of that class. The avowed purpose and practical effect of the law here in question are to impose a disadvantage, a separate status, and so a stigma upon all who enter into same-sex marriages made lawful by the unquestioned authority of the States.

    The class to which DOMA directs its restrictions and restraints are those persons who are joined in same-sex marriages made lawful by the State. DOMA singles out a class of persons deemed by a State entitled to recognition and protection to enhance their own liberty. It imposes a disability on the class by refusing to acknowledge a status the State finds to be dignified and proper. DOMA instructs all federal officials, and indeed all persons with whom same-sex couples interact, including their own children, that their marriage is less worthy than the marriages of others.

    One of the decanting judges makes the same sort of appeal that could be used to deny anything.

    At present, no one—including social scientists, philosophers, and historians—can predict with any certainty what the long-term ramifications of widespread acceptance of same-sex marriage will be. And judges are certainly not equipped to make such an assessment.

    CH: Of course the court holds no such monopoly on ethics. How could it when it did not even provide an alternative which the supposed bigots are to accept? Is one automatically a bigot for not agreeing to toss out the existing definition of marriage when no alternative is offered and to solve a tax problem?

    The question was whether the federal government should recognize the definition of marriage set by the states.

    CH: One may agree or disagree with the existing definition of marriage, and that definition may change in the future as society sees fit. But erroneous blanket accusations of bigotry do not advance the discussion and are reminiscent of how evolutionists argue for their theory.

    Society saw fit to make same-sex marriage legal in specific cases at the state level. DOMA would have prevented the federal government from recognizing the states definition of marriage across multiple contexts and scenarios. Furthermore, the judicial branch exists as a form of checks and balances designed to rule on whether laws are constitutional and infringe on the rights of US citizens.

    -"DOMA's principal effect is to identify a subset of state-sanctioned marriages and make them unequal. The principal purpose is to impose inequality, not for other reasons like governmental efficiency. Responsibilities, as well as rights, enhance the dignity and integrity of the person. And DOMA contrives to deprive some couples married under the laws of their State, but not other couples, of both rights and responsibilities."

    CH: When we pointed this out evolutionists doubled down on their moralizing. Rather than realize the fallacy, they insisted that even our mere pointing this out, itself, constitutes bigotry. In other words, regardless of one’s position on the issue of marriage, acknowledging any legitimacy to the existing definition constitutes bigotry. Amazing.

    See Justice Scalia’s Despairing Effort to Disguise DOMA’s “Badge of Inferiority” of Gays.

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    1. quoted by Scott:

      "DOMA’s unusual deviation from the usual tradition of recognizing and accepting state definitions of marriage here operates to deprive same-sex couples of the benefits and responsibilities that come with the federal recognition of their marriages. This is strong evidence of a law having the purpose and effect of disapproval of that class. The avowed purpose and practical effect of the law here in question are to impose a disadvantage, a separate status, and so a stigma upon all who enter into same-sex marriages made lawful by the unquestioned authority of the States.

      The class to which DOMA directs its restrictions and restraints are those persons who are joined in same-sex marriages made lawful by the State. DOMA singles out a class of persons deemed by a State entitled to recognition and protection to enhance their own liberty. It imposes a disability on the class by refusing to acknowledge a status the State finds to be dignified and proper. DOMA instructs all federal officials, and indeed all persons with whom same-sex couples interact, including their own children, that their marriage is less worthy than the marriages of others."

      J: No end to your idiocy, huh, Scott? Can you please find in the federal or state constitutions where it says anything about a duty of the state to create "responsibilities" so they can create "rights" to go with them? The very notion of the founders was to PROTECT NATURAL rights, NOT create NON-natural rights by creating NON-natural duties/responsibilities. Your stupidity knows no limits.

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    2. By Scott's reasoning, the State is discriminating against non-committed sexual partners by NOT IMPOSING non-natural responsibilities/duties on them. Mind-boggling.

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    3. Scott: One of the decanting judges makes the same sort of appeal that could be used to deny anything.

      "At present, no one—including social scientists, philosophers, and historians—can predict with any certainty what the long-term ramifications of widespread acceptance of same-sex marriage will be. And judges are certainly not equipped to make such an assessment."

      J: No, Scott. It can't be used to deny the Bill of Rights. How could it? You're utterly irrational, dude. All the minority is saying there is that even ASSUMING the validity of the "rational basis" criteria (which is totally invented), there IS none for this decision. This means that positive law is all that is left to go buy even IF the rational basis criteria is valid (and it's not, and certainly not by your epistemology).

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    4. Kennedy is basically admitting what most theists realize -- rights and responsibilities are correlative. But if there is no intelligent design, there can be no natural rights. And therefore there can be no natural responsibilities if atheism is true. This means that atheistic political philosophy is summed up in the phrase "might makes right." There is no rational basis for laws in this scheme. By that scheme, laws are RIGHT because they're LAWS (assuming they're effectively enforced, i.e.).

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    5. The reason why the American constitutions were recognized to be non-atheistic in their meaning is because of all the allusions in them and the other writings of their framers to God, natural rights, natural duties, etc. And one of the natural duties presupposed to be motivating to rational human beings was the duty to keep a solemn oath. All officials swear an oath to recognize the supreme law of the land -- the Federal constitution. And that constitution explicitly RESERVED all powers NOT delegated to the federal government to the State governments and/or their sovereigns -- their citizens -- contrary to federal judges who pontificate otherwise implicitly or explicitly. Perjured usurpers know nothing about what it even MEANS for something to have a "rational basis." If even a solemn oath means nothing to judges, I assure you rational argument doesn't, either. If intentional perjury during solemn oaths is "right," then how can irrationality be known to be "wrong?" Help me with that one, Scott.

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  13. Kennedy: DOMA’s unusual deviation from the usual tradition of recognizing and accepting state definitions of marriage here operates to deprive same-sex couples of the benefits and responsibilities that come with the federal recognition of their marriages.

    Jeff: Can you please find in the federal or state constitutions where it says anything about a duty of the state to create "responsibilities" so they can create "rights" to go with them?

    The federal responsibilities and rights come with the federal recognition of same-sex marriage at the state level. These are the same federal responsibilities and rights afforded to heterosexual couples. Your confusion comes from the assumption that we're creating something completely new called Gay Marriage, rather than discarding an error in our knowledge that limits marriage to heterosexual couples. Knowledge grows by discarding errors. This includes moral knowledge.

    Scott: One of the decanting judges makes the same sort of appeal that could be used to deny anything.

    [objections due to the inability of scientists philosophers and historians to predict with certainty and the supposed inability of judges to rationaly criticize moral knowledge.]

    Jeff: No, Scott. It can't be used to deny the Bill of Rights. How could it? All the minority is saying there is that even ASSUMING the validity of the "rational basis" criteria (which is totally invented), there IS none for this decision. This means that positive law is all that is left to go buy even IF the rational basis criteria is valid (and it's not, and certainly not by your epistemology).

    We cannot predict anything with certainty, so this objection cannot be applied in a critical way. Such an argument could be leveled to deny discarding errors in the Bill of Rights via amendments.

    Popper’s answer is: We can hope to detect and eliminate error if we set up traditions of criticism—substantive criticism, directed at the content of ideas, not their sources, and directed at whether they solve the problems that they purport to solve. Here is another apparent paradox, for a tradition is a set of ideas that stay the same, while criticism is an attempt to change ideas. But there is no contradiction. Our systems of checks and balances are steeped in traditions—such as freedom of speech and of the press, elections, and parliamentary procedures, the values behind concepts of contract and of tort—that survive not because they are deferred to but precisely because they are not: They themselves are continually criticized, and either survive criticism (which allows them to be adopted without deference) or are improved (for example, when the franchise is extended, or slavery abolished). Democracy, in this conception, is not a system for enforcing obedience to the authority of the majority. In the bigger picture, it is a mechanism for promoting the creation of consent, by creating objectively better ideas, by eliminating errors from existing ones.

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  14. Jeff: Kennedy is basically admitting what most theists realize -- rights and responsibilities are correlative. But if there is no intelligent design, there can be no natural rights.

    You forgot to spell out exactly why there can be no natural rights in the absence of intelligent design. Oh, that's right, you hold a theological commitment that human knowledge in specific spheres comes from authoritative supernatural sources. This is an implicit assumption that you have yet to argue for. Nor have you actually addressed criticism directed at this idea. Let me guess - you know it's true because a supernatural source told you it was true?

    Jeff: The reason why the American constitutions were recognized to be non-atheistic in their meaning is because of all the allusions in them and the other writings of their framers to God, natural rights, natural duties, etc.

    Again, nothing can infallibly tell you what is infallible, nor what is probable. The American constitution is no exception. As such, the ideas that it represent are not based not on infallible interoperation of an infallible source, but progress of moral and social problems via rational criticism.

    What we want is to solve moral and social problems, not certainty.

    The absence of foundation, whether infallible or probable, is no loss to anyone except tyrants and charlatans, because what the rest of us want from ideas is their content, not their provenance: If your disease has been cured by medical science, and you then become aware that science never proves anything but only disproves theories (and then only tentatively), you do not respond 'oh dear, I’ll just have to die, then.'"

    The same can be said regarding to allusion to God in our constitution. Adding, "that's just what God must have wanted" does't change the fact that our constitution solves moral and social problems. Nor would doing so actually result in additional steps or changes to the solution it provides. IOW, it doesn't actually add to the solutions presented there.

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  15. Scott: The federal responsibilities and rights come with the federal recognition of same-sex marriage at the state level.

    J: Kennedy's point was that DOMA is UNconstitutional. But how is DOMA prohibited by the Constitution given the existence of the federal income tax amendment which is used to authorize all kinds of differential taxation?

    Scott: You forgot to spell out exactly why there can be no natural rights in the absence of intelligent design.

    J: You forgot to spell out how natural rights can exist without intelligent design. Oh, that's right, you can only re-spew your same old non-sense over and over -- "all beliefs are equally a-plausible, but somehow knowledge, which I arbitrarily declare is a disintguishable class of a-plausible beliefs, is magically growing in a way that magically amounts to what I arbitrarily claim is "progress." You're a real piece of work, Scott.

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  16. Jeff: Kennedy's point was that DOMA is UNconstitutional. But how is DOMA prohibited by the Constitution given the existence of the federal income tax amendment which is used to authorize all kinds of differential taxation?

    First, the amendment isn't a blank check to make "all kinds" of changes. Second, it's not just about taxes. From the ruliing.

    The particular case at hand concerns the estate tax, but DOMA is more than a simple determination of what should or should not be allowed as an estate tax refund. Among the over 1,000 statutes and numerous federal regulations that DOMA controls are laws pertaining to Social Security, housing, taxes, criminal sanctions, copyright, and veterans' benefits.

    Scott: You forgot to spell out exactly why there can be no natural rights in the absence of intelligent design.

    Jeff: You forgot to spell out how natural rights can exist without intelligent design. Oh, that's right, you can only re-spew your same old non-sense over and over...

    Which is the same strawman you keep presenting over and over again.

    Again, you keep using the term "plausible" in a vague way. When I make a distinction you ignore it, continue to use the term "plausible" in a vague way, then claim I'm contradicting myself.

    And I'm a piece of work?

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  17. Scott: quoting ...

    "The particular case at hand concerns the estate tax, but DOMA is more than a simple determination of what should or should not be allowed as an estate tax refund. Among the over 1,000 statutes and numerous federal regulations that DOMA controls are laws pertaining to Social Security, housing, taxes, criminal sanctions, copyright, and veterans' benefits."

    J: This doesn't explain why federally-legislated criteria is constitutional for married vs. non-married. Once you allow that criteria, you have legislated that kind of discrimination. Thus, you can't then consistently turn around and claim that the constitution prohibits discrimination per se. What's the CONSTITUTIONAL argument for claiming this particular legislated distinction is constitutionally prohibited? There IS NONE! They legislated from the bench. It's called perjured usurpation if we're using proper dictionary terms.

    Scott: Again, you keep using the term "plausible" in a vague way. When I make a distinction you ignore it, continue to use the term "plausible" in a vague way, then claim I'm contradicting myself.

    J: You can clarify any time you want, big boy. So how, per your epistemology, is one idea/hypothesis/conjecture/etc demonstrated to be more plausible than another? And what does "plausible" mean in your epistemology. In mine, it means more "naturally" believable. Because per my epistemology, voluntarily-, discursively-derived beliefs are only beliefs because they inherit the 1) believability entailed in the natural beliefs that ground the inferential mode of thought (like the LNC, principle of analogy, etc) and the 2) natural believability of the premises themselves.

    You seem to be claiming that no beliefs are naturally-caused. If so, are you saying that ALL beliefs are volitional and/or uncaused? If not, what else could you be saying? Do you honestly deny that some memories just occur naturally? Or that the LNC is a naturally-occuring condition of intelligibility? As if we could actually CHOOSE to intelligibly conceive of the meaning of "2+2=green?" Or that we can choose only because we CHOOSE to believe we can choose, with that choice being between CHOSEN options? Doesn't that imply an infinite regress?

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