Friday, February 25, 2011

Dissenting opinions

I love dissenting opinions.  What I don't love is people that get combative and adversarial, although we all do it.  I do it.  I know I've hurt people before by arguing too forcefully.  I am truly sorry for doing that to people.

But back to the main point: dissenting opinions.  I love dissenting opinions, especially when they're backed-up by good, sound reasoning, and most especially when the people who hold dissenting opinions can argue for them honestly and with as little bias as possible (or, at the very least, are able to admit their biases, cause we all have biases!).

The reason why I'm saying this is, I post blogs infrequently, and I usually sound off on one opinion or another of mine.  It's really easy for me to convince myself that I'm smart and I've got it all down when no one challenges me (thank you, Piper!).  So I am taking this opportunity to admit that I don't know for 100% sure that I am right.  I of course think I'm right.  (After all, if I didn't think I was right, if I thought I was wrong instead, then it wouldn't be an opinion I held and I certainly wouldn't be arguing for it.)  But I am trying not to be an arrogant know-it-all.  Sometimes, though, you have to get knocked off your horse.  Sometimes, you have to be challenged.  Otherwise, you may slip away from your well-intentioned blogging into irrational ranting and raving.  Otherwise, you may just puff yourself up.

No, I'm not doing this because someone actually did knock me off any horse.  This post was just a reality check for me, that's all.  It was on my heart.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


Before I move on and discuss moral relativism at the cultural level, I briefly wanted to point out something that Michael Shermer (atheist, relativist, and editor of Skeptic's Magazine) said in a debate about moral relativism.  His take is that, even though there is no God, our morals are absolute, handed down to us by evolution.  I definitely disagree; if no God exists, evolution certainly can't hand down to us moral absolutes.

Anyway, in this debate, he and his opponent were discussing the rape example.  He said that the rape would be wrong no matter whether there is a God or not.  I thought that was interesting, because he was presuming there is no God.

He is claiming that there is something deep down inside of us such that we "know" that the rape is wrong. 

THEN he says it would be wrong whether or not there is a God.  Do you see the fallacy here?  His argument is entirely based on the fact that each of us knows it's wrong, so it must be wrong regardless of whether God exists.  What?  That is what's called circular reasoning folks.  Let me step you through the circle.

Presumption: there is no God.  Observation: we all feel that rape is immoral.  Therefore, some sort of moral absolutes exist inside us, even though there is no God.  Conclusion: you don't need God to explain moral absolutes.

Actually, what he's just proved is that you can convince yourself that moral absolutes can exist whether or not you believe in God, which of course has no bearing on the existence of God.