Saturday, October 30, 2010

References and Notes

References and Notes

Send any corrections to Thankyou. Feel free to share this paper (in whole) with anyone you think would find reading it worthwhile.

All Bible quotes are from Zondervan’s NASB Study Bible, 1999.

Much of the content of this paper originated in various invaluable discussions I engaged in at, and (to you I am deeply indebted). A heart-felt thank-you as well to Dad, who planted the seed of this paper in me by saying, “There are two options: 1) either there is a purpose and you are going towards it or away from it, or 2) there is no purpose except the purpose you create,” to Mom, Lolly and Cobra, MSebring, Seph and MoL, Nick Carter, Dave Haaz-Baroque and FBC Recovery (Facebook), and to the folks at Philosophy Chat Forum, Richard Dawkins’ (old) forum, and Project Reason’s forum—all have been fresh eyes and a much-needed crucible in the forging of this paper.

Not that it is a forgery…

(1) Norman L. Geisler, Paul D. Feinberg Introduction to Philosophy; A Christian Perspective (Baker Books) 1980. Much of what I know about philosophy from a Christian perspective comes from this book.
(2) Tim Keller The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism (Dutton, Penguin Group) 2008. Check out!
(3) Ravi Zacharias Jesus among Other Gods (Thomas Nelson) 2000.
(4) Nina Rosenstand The Moral of the Story: An Introduction to Ethics (McGraw-Hill, Inc) 2003. It is interesting to note that the Golden Rule is not presented as an ethical theory in its own right (as it is on Wikipedia, as an ethic of reciprocity), but is referred to sporadically in each chapter as a sort of yardstick or litmus (see Objection 21 in Appendix E). Much of what I know about the field of ethics from a secular perspective comes from this book.
(5) “The Philosophical Quest: A Cross-Cultural Reader” Second Edition, ed. Presbey, Gail M., et. al. (McGraw-Hill, Inc) 2000. The following selections influenced this paper:
a. Plato, The Symposium
b. Plato, The Parable of the Cave
c. Arthur Schopenhauer, The World As Will and Idea
d. Jean-Paul Sartre, There Is No Human Nature
e. Immanuel Kant, Moral Duty
f. John Stuart Mill, Utilitarianism
g. Ayn Rand, The Virtue of Selfishness
h. Martin Luther King, Jr., Non-Violence and Social Change
i. Malcolm X, By Any Means Necessary
j. Chuang Tzu, Knowledge and Relativity
(6) See Mark 12:28-31; Deuteronomy 6:5; Leviticus 19:18; Romans 13:8; Galatians 5:14
(7) Excerpt from study note on Matthew 5:3, Zondervan’s NASB Study Bible, 1999.
(8) Excerpt from study note on Philippians 4:7, Zondervan’s NASB Study Bible, 1999.
(9) C.S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man (New York: Macmillan, 1947), pp. 95-121. In this appendix are “assembled many of these creeds” (1; 362). It’s in my list of to-reads [finished reading on January 16, 2009; very good]. The quote is from (1). The section on theodicy in this link is interesting: (thanks Xunzian). Some verses on generally revealed morality: Luke 6:32-35; Romans 1:19; 2:14. Also, check out and (See Objection 12 in Appendix E.)
(10) Golden Rule:
(11) Sin:
(12) See also L2, 69 and 70. David Hume, A Treatise of Human Nature; The is-ought fallacy occurs when someone attempts to justify an “ought” with an “is”. It is a form of reification (70). See points 7 and 8 at the beginning of the section, “The Sword and the Sacrifice Philosophy” in this paper. (See Objection 2 in Appendix E.)
(13) Beth Moore, “When Godly People Do Ungodly Things” (B & H Publishing Group, 2002).
(14) My use of the words ‘essence’ and ‘essentialism’ may or may not conform to the way they are used here: You can also look up ‘voluntarism’ to compare how it is used on Wikipedia with how I use it here. See notes 37 and 70. A helpful link:
(15) Excerpt from study note on Matthew 7:12, Zondervan’s NASB Study Bible, 1999.
(16) C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory (New York: Harper Collins, 1980). The quote is from (2).
(17) Emmanuel Kant, The Metaphysics of Morals [qtd. in (20)] (5e is excerpted from this).
(18) C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (Macmillan, 1965 as qtd. in (2), or from my copy, Harper Collins, 1980).
(19) Martin Luther King, Jr. “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” —
(20) Wolfgang Carstens’ “The Knife and the Wound Philosophy” (2003)—which inspired this paper, and to which this paper is a reply. A friend.
(21) Lack of rational empathy (51) with future self contributes to poor planning:
(22) Compare Heidegger’s Dasein with these concepts: (no atman) God didn't create the "ego" or self for us to go de-creating it. If there were no egos/selves, Golden Rule love would be impossible. God is himself an ego/self, and essential Golden Rule love. How can there be compassion where there is detachment so as to avoid suffering? The idea is to love despite suffering...a strong love, rather than a weak love which would rather detach than endure. God calls us to go beyond fight-or-flight—He calls us to stand and love (see Objection 1 in Appendix E). The closest Christianity gets to the “no self” concept is “dying to self” (62, 63), which is quite different. One cannot be selfless, one cannot love, without a self. See also notes 41 and 65 and Objection 19 in Appendix E.
(23) See also notes 25, 41, 65 and Objection 19 in Appendix E.
(24) Richard Dawkins, River Out of Eden (New York: Basic Books, 1992). [qtd. in (2)] See also Appendix B: The Four Horsemen and the Hunger.
(25) Eleonore Stump lecture on non-Cartesian dualism at a Veritas forum at University of Michigan:
(26) Dr. Francis Collins lecture on ‘faith and reason’ and theistic evolution at a Veritas Forum at U.C. Berkeley: See also
(28) Logos as Word, Zondervan NASB note John 1:1: Word. Greeks use this term not only of the spoken word but also of the unspoken word, the word still in the mind—the reason. When they applied it to the universe, they meant the rational principle that governs all things. Jews, on the other hand, used it as a way of referring to God. Thus John used a term that was meaningful to both Jews and Gentiles.
(29) David Keirsey, Please Understand Me II (Prometheus Nemesis, 1998).
(30) Karl Popper and John C. Eccles, The Self and Its Brain (Routledge, 2000).
(31) Bertrand Russell, “A History of Western Philosophy” (Simon & Schuster, Inc., 1972).
(32) Walter Isaacson, "Einstein and Faith" —,9171,1607298,00.html
(33) My Testimony:
(34) God:
(35) Love defined:
(37) Note that my first exposure to the distinction between essentialism and voluntarism (70) is in Appendix 12: Extreme Calvinism and Voluntarism, of (73). A good read. See note 14. Take the quiz “Are you an essentialist or a voluntarist?” in Appendix D.
(39) C.S. Lewis, “A Grief Observed” in The Complete C.S. Lewis Signature Classics, (Harper Collins, 2002).
(40) Something I’ve been chewing on a lot:
(41) There are some who try to argue that there really is no self (22), or that self is all there is (23). Such issues seem trivial in light of the whole field of ethics. If ‘self’ or ‘the Other’ is illusion, then the whole field of ethics is asking silly questions. Remember the ethical theories studied in the field of ethics in philosophy pertain to normative social behavior, to how and why we should be or behave with the Other and self. Recall that we live against nihilism, skepticism and subjectivism whenever we find ourselves criticizing or praising the Other’s social behavior, and we live against relativism whenever we find ourselves criticizing or praising the social behavior of someone from an Other culture. It doesn’t really matter how we behave with the Other or ourselves if a) we don’t exist, and/or b) no Other exists. One might argue that, since ethics matters to us, both self and the Other exist. If that argument didn’t work, one might ask why no one else can tell you what you are thinking unless God (or future technology) gives them access to your private thoughts. Have you ever tried to keep a secret from yourself? It’s impossible. That it is possible to keep a secret from the Other testifies to the existence of both self and the Other. Enough silliness. Something cool: (25).
(42) As for Kierkegaard’s flavor of fideism (not to be confused with cognitive relativism), Kierkegaard thought that—because “Subjectivity is Truth”—to require objective evidence would annihilate Truth—make it meaningless. Golden Rule love is about subjective faith, not objective certainty (89), as John Nash discovered in the movie “A Beautiful Mind” (marriage proposal scene). Kierkegaard would still agree that subjective love without objective demonstration is not love (see Objection 1 in Appendix E)—faith “that” God is love, believing strong evidence of God’s loving us, though it cannot be proved with certainty (89) (certainty being reserved for the omniscient) (see Objection 5 in Appendix E if the lack of certainty sounds heretical to you), is a prerequisite to putting faith “in” him. Blind faith is what leads to drinking the Kool-Aid (36). A genuine leap of faith is a rational one. Kierkegaard did have arguments for God’s existence, however, he thought it offensive to require proof (89) from God of the certainty of his existence. But, would you really marry someone, put faith in someone, who never showed you love…someone for whom there is no evidence of their existence? You cannot be certain of the future when you say “I do”—but you have a pretty good idea the person you are marrying exists and (if you’re marrying for love) loves you—faith trusts the promise which is objectively evident. It is a leap, as Kierkegaard said, beyond mere belief “that” into belief “in”—but belief “that” (strong evidence) is still a prerequisite to belief “in” (trusting his promise). Kierkegaard’s main point, though, is a good one—our happiness is not found in certainty or proof (89) of God’s existence, but in trusting God (see Objection 6 in Appendix E). No one ever has certainty about anything, but that does not stop everyone from trusting certain beliefs, certain people. If it did, love would be impossible to realize.
(43) Litmus Work:
(44) Someone who is definitely not superfluous, and probably got the idea from somewhere else, as all ideas are pretty much from somewhere else. ;^D
(45) You may ask, “If we are made in God’s essence, why can’t we go with human essentialism and trim God out of it?” The answer is that, though our essence reflects the eternal, it is created and will pass away unless God keeps it in existence (fails L2, 70). To be satisfied with a Golden Rule which does not correspond to any real ought (but merely practice it), is like arriving at e=mc^2, blowing something up, but dropping all reference to the universe. It commits the ought-is fallacy (82) of reification (70) (see Objection 3 in Appendix E)—and if you genuinely embrace love as our essence, you will not turn away the source of that love. Don’t you want to know the One you are modeled after?
(46) See Objection 17 in Appendix E.
(48) From the song “In Your Eyes” by Peter Gabriel.
(50) (see 52, 53, 54, 66)
(51) Note that none of our impulses, drives, instincts, etcetera, are either moral or immoral, but are morally neutral—it is what we do with them that is moral or immoral. Acting on impulse does not release one from responsibility, and acting on seemingly moral impulses does not make the act moral, because, again, impulses (drives, instincts, etcetera) are neither moral nor immoral (no matter what it seems). Sometimes empathy can lead to immoral behavior when, for example, someone harbors a murderer out of empathy. Empathy guided by an individual following the Golden Rule will be referred to as rational empathy. Note two things: 1) if a culture or individual lacks an impulse, it does not necessarily rule that impulse out as being a natural one (rather than a learned one, like the craving of the addict), as we, having free will, can counteract or neglect our impulses so that they occur less and less—and 2) even if an impulse is natural, nature cannot prescribe.
(52) “The name 'Objectivism' derives from the principle that human knowledge and values are objective: They are not intrinsic to external reality, nor created by the thoughts one has, but are determined by the nature of reality, to be discovered by man's mind.” This is an example of a theory claiming to be discovered (71) that is actually voluntaristic (70), as it rejects intrinsic value. A mind can discover nothing about the nature of reality that is not intrinsic to reality’s nature (there is nothing upon which to base a claim about reality’s nature that rejects its truth is intrinsic to the nature of reality): (this view is referred to as Platonic ethical objectivism, but without the critique given above. It should more properly just be termed essentialism, since Plato was not wholly correct. Any theory that would go extinct with humans is not based on the essential nature of reality—it is voluntaristic (a construct, not of indifferent nature, but of human will, 70). (see 50, 53, 54, 66)
(53) “Many secular philosophies also take a morally absolutist stance, arguing that absolute laws of morality are inherent in the nature of human beings, the nature of life in general, or the universe itself. For example, someone who believes absolutely in nonviolence considers it wrong to use violence even in self-defense.” (see 50, 52, 54, 66)
(54) Naturalist view of purpose: “Human purpose is intuited through the innate direction of human nature, for human nature consists of a set of inherent drives which 'necessarily' evolved as a guide toward fulfilling the 'needs' requisite for our success as a species. Our 'acquired understanding' of evolutionary principles allows us to 'augment' our comprehension of 'intuited' innate drives, by applying 'evidential reason' to verify and adapt their 'general' direction into 'specific' behaviors that fulfill our needs in the novel and/or artificial habitats of our modern circumstance. By correctly 'identifying innate drives', and the 'essential function they evolved to serve'; one can logically interpret how this functional relation applies to our modern circumstance, thereby practicing correct behavior by appropriately channeling and balancing our inherent motivational influences.” (see 50, 52, 53, 66)
(55) ‘The hunger’ (57) isn’t shame or guilt, though such things can ignite it. It isn’t about justice so much as it’s about meaning, and our inability to “create” genuine, authentic meaning (71). “A guilty conscience that precedes sincere repentance is the conviction of the Holy Spirit. A guilty conscience following sincere repentance is condemnation that is not coming from God,” Beth Moore (13). 2 Corinthians 7:10 (Godly sorrow versus worldly sorrow); Luke 7:40-43 (s/he whom He forgives more, loves more); 1 John 3:19-20 (for the over-sensitive conscience).
(56) A criticism of the Golden Rule from my friend Seph: "‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,’ …of course means that if you are a masochist you would like others to treat you poorly, and will thus treat them poorly as well...probably not the best social program.” A masochist is not following the Golden Rule when s/he treats him/herself poorly, and s/he knows it, or else s/he would have no idea of what "treat poorly" means in order to put it into action. It is like a twisted game of “opposite day”. See also: (and see Objection 22 in Appendix E). In applying the Platinum version of the Golden Rule, we would not adopt an Other’s value if it does not apply the Golden Rule to self or Other.
(57) From C.S. Lewis’ sermon “The Weight of Glory”— (Lewis is talking about heaven, but heaven is simply a relationship with God described by the Golden Rule. The kingdom of heaven is within you, on earth, when you do his will, which is in accordance with his Golden Rule nature.) See note 55. There is not a culture in existence or in history which has not demonstrated this hunger in an attempt to answer “How and why should we be or behave with the Other and self?” It is no coincidence that some version of the Golden Rule is found in the creeds of every major culture in history (9 and 10) (see Objection 12 in Appendix E). See also Appendix B: The Four Horsemen and the Hunger.
(58) A dialectic process resolves what appeared to be a contradiction [ends in "synthesis" between thesis and antithesis by keeping the parts of both thesis and antithesis which correspond to reality (and so are consistent), and discarding the parts that do not correspond to reality]. If the synthesis does not stand—let there be another antithesis to tear it down, and another synthesis be put in its place...because all doubt implies alternative belief. Is this not also the scientific method (see 66)? Look:

Scientific method: hypothesis—counter-evidence/evidence—(revised) theory
Dialectic method: thesis—antithesis/prothesis—synthesis

The antithesis is like evidence which makes you modify or abandon your hypothesis/theory—but that is no argument against forming hypotheses or working theories. If you observe any dialectic(s) in this paper that I failed to catch and make note of—please bring it to my attention.
(59) Nina Rosenstand, the author of my old ethics text, worded it this way: “the limit of your own liberty is the liberty of the other person,” (4; 277). This could be restated thusly: “The rights of the self/Other end where the rights of the Other/self begin”—that’s just the Golden Rule, restated: “Respect the rights of the Other, as you would have them respect your rights.” Although Rand did not mesh with Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., they agree when he reportedly says, "The right to swing my fist ends where the other man's nose begins.”
(62) Thanks to can zen (Bob) on The Reason Project forum, for drawing this out.
(63) Thanks to burt on The Reason Project forum, for drawing this out.
(64) Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene, qtd here: Thanks to Gad from The Reason Project forum for helping me understand how (24) and (64) fit together. See also Appendix B: The Four Horsemen and the Hunger, and note 77.
(65) See also note 22 and Objection 19. To answer the question of who to include in “Other” (thanks Only_Humean at for reminding me of it—any being with characteristics with which we can identify, even if we can't identify with all of their characteristics, is a being we should treat as self. The more characteristics they have with which we can identify, the more like "self" they will feel, whereas the more characteristics they have with which we cannot identify, the more like "Other" they will feel—but, if they have "any" characteristics with which we identify—they are to be treated with the Golden Rule. That isn't to say that our feeling determines self/Other—it is only to say that we are not obligated to the impossible [ought implies can (see note 84 and Objection 24 in Appendix E)]—we can only do the best with what we are able to do, as far as figuring out self/Other. If we recognize self-characteristics, but do not acknowledge them in Golden Rule behavior—that is bad faith. // Communication can only occur when there is a similarity in ‘being’ between sender and receiver, while communicating ‘love’ (the Golden Rule) can only occur when such recognition is followed up by consciously, actively acknowledging that sameness in being between self and the Other. To actively deny that sameness will result in communication break-down. Thanks to can zen (Bob) again, on The Reason Project forum, for bringing up that ‘intersubjectivity’.
(66) Dawkins has recently changed his mind to support his fellow Horseman, Sam Harris, who argues that nature is the source of objective moral truth: Note that the dialectic (thesis, antithesis/prothesis, synthesis) is synonymous with the scientific method [hypothesis, counter-evidence/evidence, (revised) theory] (see 58) and so science ‘can’ help us reason to moral absolutes—that is the purpose of the Moral Truth Litmus, by ruling out theories which do not pass it. However, see all discussion of the “real ought”. If there is no God (real ought), then to say the Golden Rule is ‘real’ and not just ‘concept’ commits the ought-is (82) fallacy of reification (70) (see Objection 3 in Appendix E) (see 50, 52, 53, 54) (see Objection 5 in Appendix E if “if” sounds heretical to you). See also Appendix B: The Four Horsemen and the Hunger.
(67) Thankyou to PavlovianModel146 for his critique of the Moral Truth Litmus in the introduction:
(68) Thankyou to Ein Sophistry for drawing this (and 69) out:
(69) A belief is only “always” true, if that to which it corresponds “always” exists (is real). Moral statements are only always true, if there is always a being to which they correspond (see Objection 5 in Appendix E if “if” sounds heretical to you). We know that humans are not always good, so they do not qualify as such a being. If there is justified moral truth, it is justified if it answers “How and why should we be or behave with the Other and self?” and it is always true only if it corresponds to an Other/self who always is and does what we should be and do (an eternally perfect being—God). If God (perfection) does not exist, to call the Golden Rule “moral truth” commits the ought-is fallacy (82) of reification (70) (see Objection 3 in Appendix E), just as to say the Golden Rule is justified by God’s existence commits the is-ought fallacy (12) of reification (70). The Golden Rule, if moral truth, describes a being (82) who always is and does what we should be and do (God), but it is not justified by his existence (12). This is one way to think of it: The Golden Rule is the map, and God is the territory. If there is no territory, the map describes nothing [to suggest that it does, commits the ought-is fallacy (82) of reification (70) (see Objection 3 in Appendix E)]. But this is a map which describes how territories ‘ought’ to be (perfection)—and so we cannot rely on the mere existence of the territory to tell us whether or not the map is true [to do so would commit the is-ought fallacy (12) of reification (70)]. See 68. See this article: For how this relates to “ought implies can”—see note 84 and Objection 24, Appendix E.
(70) See also L2, L3 and 69. Fallacy of reification, or voluntaristic fallacy: Any claim to objective moral truth, which fails the litmus, or commits the is-ought fallacy (12), or the ought-is fallacy (82), commits the fallacy of reification. For voluntarism, see also notes 14, 37. (See Objection 2 and Objection 3 in Appendix E.)
(71) That moral truth is discovered, not created, means that we know it intuitively (see notes 9 and 57), rather than it being constructed. Sometimes we don’t “know” that we already know something—like spiders don’t “know” that they know how to spin webs, but they also don’t need to learn (discover) it, because—they intuitively know it. We intuitively know moral truth, but in order to “know” we know it—we must discover that we already (intuitively) know it. Moral truth is known intuitively, and we are able to articulate it and discover more about it using reason. See note 68. Note that we are not each “discovering” what is right for us personally—unless it is right for us personally, because it is right for all persons. See note 42.
(72) Inspired by Jimi Hendrix’ “Castles Made of Sand,” Wolfgang Carstens’ “The Thin Edge of Staring,” and, of course, Jesus, Matthew 7.
(73) Norman L. Geisler, “Chosen But Free” Second Edition, Bethany House, 2001.
(74) Adapted from a discussion with W. Collins:
(75) Thanks to Grey Wolf and others in the room June 17, 2010, for drawing this out:
(76) My understanding of critical realism comes from the book “Epistemology” (Continuum, 2005) by Christopher Norris.
(77) Although I am a huge fan of the meme, I must quote a straw man definition found in this groundbreaking chapter: “Another member of the religious meme complex is called faith. It means blind trust, in the absence of evidence, even in the teeth of evidence,” Richard Dawkins, “The Selfish Gene”. See also note 64.
(78) Game theory: Note its connection with egoism.
(79) “Knowing That P without Believing That P” Myers-Schulz, Schwitzgebel:
(82) See also L3. The ought-is fallacy is the reverse is-ought fallacy (12), and both are forms of reification (70). The ought-is fallacy occurs when someone tries to say that something is true, merely because they have justification. See points 3 and 9 at the beginning of the section “The Sword and the Sacrifice Philosophy” in this paper. (See Objection 3 in Appendix E.)
(83) “How and why should we be or behave with the Other and self?” (L1)
(84) “Ought implies can” is an old principle of common sense acknowledging we are not obligated to do the impossible. It is present in the civil code of the Roman Empire (4). Egoists try to say selflessness is impossible (when they aren’t saying it is actually selfishness—see Objection 14 in Appendix E) and that to consider it an obligation is to violate “ought implies can”. One might also argue that constant perfection is impossible for finite beings, however, instances of following the Golden Rule (corresponding to perfection) are not impossible—and see Objection 24 in Appendix E.
(85) Bertrand Russell, “What Is Truth?”
(86) See “The Language of God” by Dr. Francis Collins. See also 26.
(87) &
(89) Science cannot provide proof:
A little start on evidence:
(90) “Moral Landscape” edition of Philosophers’ Carnival:
(91) Author’s version of Dawkins’ belief scale:

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