how weird am I?

seriously, how weird am I?

I have been watching the dialogue between Mark Krikorian, Wesley Smith and Jonah Goldberg in The Corner with great interest. They are talking about vegans and vegetarians, morality and whether or not it is morally permissible to eat meat etc. Really good stuff and very interesting.

Anyway, today Jonah posts this email correcting a philosophical point that Jonah made about the persuasiveness of one of Wesley’s points.

Paragraphs like these two just tickle my brain and make me happy. The last sentence especially just makes me want to jump up and click my heels together:

Here’s an example of a valid moral conclusion drawn from a factual premise: “Putting arsenic in a dog’s food will poison him [scientific fact]. It is wrong to poison dogs [moral premise]. Therefore, it is wrong to put arsenic in a dog’s food [moral conclusion].” Whether or not you agree that it’s wrong to poison dogs, there’s nothing invalid or fallacious about the argument.

So I don’t think Wesley Smith committed a mistake in moral reasoning. He just left implicit a key assumption: that the normal operations of our bodies reveal what it is morally permissible for us to do. Although that’s a controversial statement, it captures a bedrock principle of the influential school of moral philosophy known as natural law (members include Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, and Pope Benedict). It isn’t at all fallacious. Smith’s argument would defeat the arguments of the vegetarians if the burden of proof is on them, but it would require quite a bit more dialectical work if the burden of proof is on him.

emphasis added

so, how weird does that make me?

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4 Responses

  1. Well, I don’t know how weird that makes you since I didn’t understand a lot of what was said but the idea of you jumping up and clicking your heels together is kind of scary. Yikes!

  2. don’t you feel your brain getting massaged when you read that stuff?

  3. Hey dude, on I peter 4:8… How do we keep loving one another? What does that really mean? Flesh it out for me a little bit. I need further instructing on this- desperately.

  4. that is a great question. the bottom line is that I have no idea. Us selfish human beings are so bent that it is impossible for us to love in any way close to the manner in which we have been loved.

    But this I do know; that God can. I Peter 1:5 says that Christ followers are guarded by God’s power through faith. I think what this means is that God in His power gives us the faith we need to guard our salvation. This fits with Ephesians 2:8-9 which says that the grace and faith that we use to come to Christ are gifts from God.

    I also know that in II Peter 1:3:11 we are told two seemingly contradictory things. We are told that God’s divine power has given to us everything that pertains to life and Godliness. We are then told in verse 5 to “make every effort” and in verse 10 to “be all the more diligent.”

    It seems to me like there would have to be at least a three step process:

    1. have faith in faith: Believe that God will give us the faith to believe we can do what He commanded.
    2. have faith: believe that God is giving us the ability to do what he has commanded right now.
    3. Do it: make every effort (in faith) to keep our love for one another at full strength. Be diligent (in faith) to love our neighbor as we love ourselves.

    if you figure it out, let me know. you would probably be a much in demand speaker and author on the topic.

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