Why You Can’t Agree With R. Gary

April 22, 2012    By: Jeff G @ 1:02 am   Category: Bloggernacle,Ethics,Truth

(Love ya, Gary!)

It’s not terribly difficult to guess ahead of time which bloggernacle threads Gary (of NDBF fame) will comment in and roughly what his position will be therein.  This is due to a number of factors:  his overall consistency, the forthright, no-nonsense articulation of his views and (most of all) his staunch adherence to positions which tend to drive intellectuals crazy.  Gary is by no means alone in proudly flaunting these traits as a badge of honor but to me he serves as the perfect poster-boy for all Iron-Rodders if only because he is one of the most patient and likeable of the bunch.

First, I’ll give a little history regarding our interactions in the ‘nacle.  Those who have known me for a while are well aware that I take science fairly seriously and have always had a particular interest in Darwinian evolution.  I’m sure you are also well aware that Gary has always been quite unimpressed by both, to put it mildly.  After many frustrating exchanges between us in which I frequently allowed sarcasm and mockery to take the place of patience and charity I finally thought that I had figured out what Gary’s core argument really was.  (more…)

The Way, the Truth and the Life

April 10, 2012    By: Jeff G @ 1:22 am   Category: Life,Truth

This is the post that I did not want to write.  Like the man who tells us not to think of elephants, I didn’t think there was any way that I could clearly articulate my position without producing the exact opposite of the intended response.  However, my recent post about the two competing moral theories which logically entail one another has unexpectedly given me a tool by which I might avoid the Scylla of silence without be caught in the Charybdis of contradiction.  We’ll see how this goes…


This post contradicts itself… wait, no it doesn’t.

April 1, 2012    By: Jeff G @ 10:12 pm   Category: Ethics

The following thought experiment can be taken in a number of ways.  For some, it will be a fun little logic game.  For others, it will be yet further proof that philosophers are annoying people who ought to be avoided at parties.  And for others still, it illustrates a broad class of scenarios in which we might actually find ourselves.  So, without further delay…

Suppose we live in a world in which the following things are clearly true:

  1.  There are exactly two viable moral theories: duty-based ethics and consequence-based ethics. (It’s not at all important what these theories say, only that they are clearly incompatible with each other.)
  2. Whichever moral theory we believe in also dictates what we ought to believe.
  3. Duty-based ethics clearly dictates that we ought to believe in consequence-based ethics.
  4. Consequence-based ethics clearly dictates that we ought to believe in duty-based ethics.

In such a world, what ought we to believe and how do we go about justifying our beliefs to others?