What’s Wrong with the World

The men signed of the cross of Christ go gaily in the dark.

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What’s Wrong with the World is dedicated to the defense of what remains of Christendom, the civilization made by the men of the Cross of Christ. Athwart two hostile Powers we stand: the Jihad and Liberalism...read more

Recent Comments

Death for the New Natural Lawyers

Comment posted by Tony on Nov 17, 22:11:

You're right, I think that generally one assumes that it applies to the victim. But the underlying meaning of murder being a moral act is that the UNIVERSE is a place that holds moral beings who are responsible for their acts. To have a universe that admits of "victims" is to have a universe that admits of offenders who are "guilty" and who therefore "have a price to pay" for their acts. It is impossible to speak of "merit" without there being the category "demerit". Any universe in which the murder vic ... [More]

Death for the New Natural Lawyers

Comment posted by Lydia on Nov 17, 21:13:

Generally one assumes "for man is made in God's image" refers chiefly to the victim--the victim should be avenged in this way by the community because he has such high value. But it's interesting to think that it also refers to the offender--he deserves, as it were, to be given the dignity of being capable of committing a crime worthy of execution. He doesn't just deserve the equivalent of being killed off like a dangerous virus. ... [More]

Death for the New Natural Lawyers

Comment posted by Tony on Nov 17, 20:46:

That would certainly fit with Genesis 9:6 saying that the reason for DP is "for man is made in God's image". According to Feser in his book, even NNL-supporter Brugger admits that this passage is not easy to discount as support for DP being licit even in light of man's high dignity. ... [More]

Death for the New Natural Lawyers

Comment posted by Lydia on Nov 17, 14:11:

Ironically, if we hold that it's okay to kill a human in self defense but *not* okay to execute a human to restore justice, we're actually thinking of the human as being more like an animal such as a charging lion. This *lowers* human value. ... [More]

Death for the New Natural Lawyers

Comment posted by Jeffrey S. on Nov 17, 13:13:

Tony, Just wanted to thank you quickly for this post and the discussion with Lydia. I'm looking forward to Ed's reply next week to Tollefsen (he said in the comments "Public Discourse" was going to run a reply) but I thought this comment of yours was a key insight into the whole discussion: "But punishment is not treating them as means to an end, punishment is reserved strictly for rational, moral actors, and it reflects "making whole" the moral universe. Summa, Prima Pars, Q 49, A1: But when we read th ... [More]

Death for the New Natural Lawyers

Comment posted by Lydia on Nov 17, 13:01:

I'm extremely eclectic. I'll take a tweezers and grab the line about not treating people merely as means but as ends in themselves, apply it where I find it useful (which is pretty often) and still bristle if anybody calls me a "Kantian," because for the most part I think he was utterly confused. You'd be surprised how *any* deontologist is labeled a "Kantian" in today's ethical world. One literally cannot speak of intrinsic evils without someone saying, "Oh, you're a Kantian." ... [More]

Death for the New Natural Lawyers

Comment posted by Tony on Nov 17, 11:49:

Lydia, that "not merely" is exactly the kind of thing I meant. I am confident that there are better ways of rooting that in ethical principle than Kant's nonsense. ... [More]

Death for the New Natural Lawyers

Comment posted by Tony on Nov 17, 11:44:

I also tent to be of the opinion that everything that Kant said that is useful is better used coming from elsewhere: Kant was one mixed up puppy. His "antinomies" are a good indicator of that. Even apart from his horrible attempts to "prove" the theses and the anti-theses (almost every one of which contains really significant logical errors), the notion that you could employ as a proof format the method of reduction to the absurd (assuming the conclusion to show something absurd follows) - for BOTH the th ... [More]

Death for the New Natural Lawyers

Comment posted by Lydia on Nov 17, 11:22:

Yes, I think we should tell them that justice, which is served by a retributive death penalty, is a basic good! Hah! I have always understood the Kantian model as meaning that one should not treat others *merely* as a means to an end, not that it's wrong to treat them as a means to an end inter alia. But that means/end treatment must always be modified in light of the knowledge that a person is never merely a thing to be used for one's own purposes. So, if I hire the plumber, there would be unethical ways ... [More]

Death for the New Natural Lawyers

Comment posted by Tony on Nov 17, 10:18:

I haven't thought through the issue from end to end, but my partial analysis is much like you suggest as an option: it does have good uses, but it is not - quite - on the spot right. And it leads to errors. And yes, the NNNLs get into the errors. We can get whatever is useful in their approach though a proper understanding of the good. I agree that there is something off about using a murderer as an object lesson of horror to deter other murderers, if you think that executing the murderer as retributio ... [More]

Death for the New Natural Lawyers

Comment posted by Lydia on Nov 17, 08:48:

Tony, are you of the opinion (as Feser is) that the NNL use of Kant's dictum that we should never treat persons simply as means but always as ends in themselves is unnecessary and that we can get whatever is good in it in some other way, without invoking it? I've continued to find it very useful as an ethical maxim and not easy to replace. I also think it's completely compatible with the DP, though probably the NNLs don't. It seems to me that treating a person as the kind of being who can be executed becaus ... [More]

Fake points don't make points

Comment posted by David Madison on Nov 17, 04:29:

Step2, was it OK in the first century to mingle fact and fiction? Let’s suppose that it was and that that is what Mark did when he “invented” the story of the empty tomb. The empty tomb story would then be a nice way of “symbolising” Christ’s resurrection and no one would have lost any sleep over whether the story was literally true. But that appears not to be what happened. There was an acrimonious debate between Christians and their opponents about the reason for the empty tomb. That is not at all what ... [More]

Fake points don't make points

Comment posted by Lydia on Nov 16, 22:15:

that itself would have undermined the notion that the gospel writers couldn't misremember. I've never said that they couldn't, merely that they didn't. But in any event, Licona & co. aren't saying that they misremembered but that they knew the truth and knowingly fictionalized. The book's sequel is written by Senior Fellows William A. Dembski and Jonathan Wells. I know for a definite fact that Wells is OEC and have a pretty strong memory that Dembski is as well. Actually, Discovery has been majority OEC ... [More]

Fake points don't make points

Comment posted by Step2 on Nov 16, 18:14:

Lydia, Back to our regularly scheduled program: By the way, you are mis-using "Intelligent Design." Virtually everybody at the Discovery Institute is an old earther. If you didn't know this, you learned something new today.) That may be the case now, I wouldn't know, but back when they were involved in more lawsuits I remember seeing a few posts that were very accommodating of YEC. Furthermore, both authors of "Of Pandas and People" are young earth creationists and one of them is also a fellow at the Disc ... [More]

Fake points don't make points

Comment posted by Callum on Nov 16, 10:49:

"I'm very pleased to have done so" made me laugh more than it should have. On the effectiveness of taking him up on his challenge, I note that he mentioned anti supernatural presuppositions. Couple that with the impression he gave me that he needs to respond to absolutely ever sentence for 'debate points' and it's a safe bet debates on the historicity of the resurrection or general reliability of the Gospels will quickly run into Hume and the whole field of natural theology! ... [More]

Fake points don't make points

Comment posted by Nice Marmot on Nov 16, 10:29:

"However, I am prepared to cross swords with N.T. Wright..." I haven't paid too much attention to this exchange, but that one made me laugh. ... [More]

Fake points don't make points

Comment posted by Lydia on Nov 16, 09:18:

Barry won't be joining us anymore. He had been attempting to fill my comments threads at my personal blog with comments that ranged from relevant to pointlessly unpleasant. (A sarcastic suggestion on an old post where I recommended a modest clothing site that Christian women on my view ought to wear burkas.) Sometimes bizarre (asking whether I believed that Christian scholars with whom I disagree are not saved, for if I think they are really saved, I should think that perhaps they are right and I am wrong!) ... [More]

Fake points don't make points

Comment posted by Callum on Nov 16, 05:32:

I didn't expect to see this avalanche. I'm surprised he didn't electronically slap you with a leather glove when announcing his 'hereby' challenging you to a dual in New Testament history! It's not hard to see you are in the middle of a series addressing a specific topic. Barry sounds like he has had a fair few debates on the internet and must know how many rabbit holes this topic can produce. You'd think his experience would give him some tact. ... [More]

Death for the New Natural Lawyers

Comment posted by Tony on Nov 15, 14:15:

Are all the new natural law guys anti-DP? Lydia, I don't know about "all" of them, but all the main ones seem to be. It seems to be a main feature of their locus of arguments about "basic goods" and the "absolute" dignity of the human person. ... [More]

Death for the New Natural Lawyers

Comment posted by Tony on Nov 15, 14:12:

Titus, thank you for pointing out that Tollefsen's position regarding the "basic goods" is worthwhile in response to the consequentialist POV. I agree with that. I believe, however, that the reason it is valuable is that it draws on the same underlying truths that a correct analysis of human good draws on, and is - to a limited extent - is compatible with a correct analysis. But it is precisely the fact that it is NOT actually a correct analysis of human good and evil that gets the NNLawyers in trouble ... [More]

Death for the New Natural Lawyers

Comment posted by Lydia on Nov 15, 13:38:

One could even bring about something that is "evil" in the subordinate sense for the better good of the very being to whom the subordinate "evil" is done. For example, rescuers might have to amputate a man's arm to get him out of an entrapped location before he dies from some other cause. Yet the function of the arm was "a good" and in one sense "valuable in itself." So these goods have to be put in a hierarchy or we can't make moral decisions at all. ... [More]

Death for the New Natural Lawyers

Comment posted by Lydia on Nov 15, 13:34:

Are all the new natural law guys anti-DP? ... [More]

Death for the New Natural Lawyers

Comment posted by Titus on Nov 15, 13:00:

Tollefsen's statement (A) is probably accurate, in the limited sense of the new-natural-law term of art "basic good." But I've never seen statement (B) before. The thesis that one cannot intentionally destroy anything that has basic goodness. If you read Natural Law and Natural Rights, Finnis' list of basic goods is extensive enough to make thesis unworkable. The concept of basic goods is valuable, if only as a response to consequentialism (which Tollefsen mentions in his essay). But after first mentioning ... [More]

American Affairs

Comment posted by Nice Marmot on Nov 15, 08:24:

"I count it as encouraging that at least some on the Left are starting to wake up to the malignancy and cynicism of the diversity project." Yes, and some who were never with that program to begin with are speaking up -- both old-school liberals and the "traditional" Lefties who didn't buy into the whole New Left thing. Some of their concern is no doubt tactical, in that it reflects a fear of a further loss of white working class support. But there also seems to be a genuine concern among many that PC/dive ... [More]

Fake points don't make points

Comment posted by David Madison on Nov 15, 05:30:

I don’t think I have any more to say to Barry, but it might be worthwhile to offer a few thoughts for anyone else who might be interested. We can easily imagine a scenario in which the Resurrection was invented long after Jesus was crucified. We can also imagine that no one actually believed in the Resurrection until long after the idea first appeared in a legendary account. But that isn’t what happened. We have very good reason to think that people believed in the Resurrection at a very stage. Because of ... [More]

Fake points don't make points

Comment posted by David Madison on Nov 15, 01:22:

Let me set out some criteria for any potential analogies. The literature must have been written 30 to 60 years after the events it describes. The events must have been considered very important at the time. Whatever happened must have a great power to inspire people. We must also have letters written 20 years or so later which provide a summary of what happened. It would also help if the literature contains some of the greatest if not the greatest moral teachings in history. So which intertestamental liter ... [More]

Fake points don't make points

Comment posted by Lydia on Nov 15, 00:01:

I hereby challenge you to present whatever apologetics argument you think is the most clear and compelling. Excuse me, what? Who the heck do you think you are? No, that isn't what we're doing here. You do not come across at all as someone truly trying to find the truth, and I will not waste any further time with you. Nobody who speaks in defense of the gospel, not even an apologist, is setting himself up to spend indefinite amounts of time answering anybody with a keyboard who comes along, thumps his ches ... [More]

Fake points don't make points

Comment posted by barry on Nov 14, 20:25:

I have not the remotest interest in debating you about resurrection-related matters. That's too bad, since the resurrection of Jesus is central to the claims of Christianity, while some would argue that Licona's errors on gospel differences are of slightly less moment. And (I know you'll find this difficult to believe) not because I'm afraid of you. In general, I find it far more constructive to spend my time on the Internet doing positive things rather than debating skeptics such as yourself. That's n ... [More]

Fake points don't make points

Comment posted by barry on Nov 14, 19:43:

Barry, if you had given examples of first-century Jewish literature which were very similar to the Gospels and were produced in very similar circumstances, I would be looking at what you had said very seriously. Then your error is in pretending that the religious literary heritage of Jews as it existed between 300 b.c. - 33 a.d. had no significant relevance to the question of what must have been going on in the mind of Jewish gospel authors who were born into that culture around 4 b.c. Except of course fo ... [More]

Fake points don't make points

Comment posted by David Madison on Nov 14, 17:20:

Barry, if you had given examples of first-century Jewish literature which were very similar to the Gospels and were produced in very similar circumstances, I would be looking at what you had said very seriously. And I would be doing that not because I wanted to beat you in a debate but because I would want to resolve the issue to my own satisfaction. I’m sorry if this sounds rude, but it seems clear to me that a lengthy discussion with you would be a waste of time. You appear to be unable to grasp obvious ... [More]

On some examples in Plutarch

Comment posted by Lydia on Nov 14, 17:15:

Being spiritually alive has zilch to do with it. I'm an epistemologist and a professional philosopher. I'm all about the arguments. I don't think the Holy Spirit is zapping either me or Mike Licona, especially not in our understanding of Plutarch, for heaven's sake. It would be absurd to suppose that I'm calling any other Christian's relationship with Jesus or eternal destiny into account by disagreeing on these matters. We have to do the hard work of following the arguments and making up our own minds, whi ... [More]

Fake points don't make points

Comment posted by Lydia on Nov 14, 17:11:

I would like to debate you or anybody at your blog on several resurrection-related matters you haven't' already initiated. How might I go about giving you my list of proposed debate subjects? I have not the remotest interest in debating you about resurrection-related matters. And (I know you'll find this difficult to believe) not because I'm afraid of you. In general, I find it far more constructive to spend my time on the Internet doing positive things rather than debating skeptics such as yourself. That' ... [More]

On some examples in Plutarch

Comment posted by barry on Nov 14, 16:31:

Mrs. McGrew, What is your advice to atheists who argue that the ceaseless disagreements between even conservative Christian scholars on what the NT says and means, rationally warrant an unbeliever to conclude that those issues really aren't capable of reasonably certain resolution, and to therefore refrain from investigating them? Seems to me that W.L.Craig's disagreement with Copan/Flannagan on whether the bible portrays God as commanding infanticide, including your own claim that you hope to find out, ... [More]

Fake points don't make points

Comment posted by barry on Nov 14, 15:41:

Mrs. McGrew, I would like to debate you or anybody at your blog on several resurrection-related matters you haven't' already initiated. How might I go about giving you my list of proposed debate subjects? For example, "How many of the resurrection testimonies in the NT come down to us today in first-hand form?" (Under standard rules of historiography, more eyewitnesses is better, less eyewitnesses is worse, and I say there are (generously granting the assumption of apostolic authorship of the gospels) ... [More]

Fake points don't make points

Comment posted by David Madison on Nov 14, 06:14:

Actually, the issue of the pseudepigrapha is an interesting one. It is true that around the time of Jesus people were writing stories about figures from the Old Testament. And “edifying fiction” would be a good description of such stories. However, it is undeniable that in about AD 30 people were reacting to something that they considered completely out of the ordinary. Furthermore, we have accounts of what that something was which were written pretty soon after it happened. The problem for Christianophob ... [More]

Fake points don't make points

Comment posted by David Madison on Nov 14, 02:43:

I notice that Barry has touched on something I said without specifically addressing his comment to me. He said that the pseudepigrapha might be considered spiritually edifying even though they wouldn't be granted canonical status. But that is precisely the point. No doubt, they were considered to have some sort of merit, but in that kind of literature there really was the freedom to write fiction. And there is a good reason why we don't find something like the Ascension of Isaiah in the Bible. It is precise ... [More]

Fake points don't make points

Comment posted by Lydia on Nov 14, 00:23:

Yeah, no: I actually run a pretty tight ship when it comes to OT, and this thread is not going to become a tabula rasa for discussing every skeptical theory concerning the gospels, the history of earliest Christianity, etc., that you happen to harbor. If you would have said "fake points don't make points with people who know that the fake points are fake", we probably wouldn't be having this conversation. Well, now that you understand the actual context of my post and my words (y'know, one does write cat ... [More]

Fake points don't make points

Comment posted by barry on Nov 13, 21:52:

Barry, you don't even *get* what I meant by "fake points don't make points." I doubt that there's any point in saying it again, but one more time: I meant that fake points don't actually make things metaphysically true that were not otherwise metaphysically true. Sure, but orthodox Jews of the intertestamental period who didn't find the pseudopigrapha canonical or entirely truthful, nevertheless found it spiritually edifying, apparently. Luther allowed study of the Apocrypha for spiritual edification des ... [More]

Fake points don't make points

Comment posted by David Madison on Nov 13, 21:50:

Barry, the difference between the Gospels and the pseudepigrapha seems so obvious to me that I am surprised anyone would doubt it. But if you don't think that we should make any distinction or that the early Christians would have made any distinction between them, then perhaps you can explain why the Ascension of Isaiah never attained canonical status. You suggest that the Gospel writers may have been embellishing the facts rather than inventing them wholesale, so at least we are moving in the right direct ... [More]

Fake points don't make points

Comment posted by barry on Nov 13, 20:58:

Barry “So you cannot fight off the idea of gospel authors inventing fictions to make Jesus appear in fulfillment of the OT, on the ground that authors would never invent details that don't look like the descriptions found in the allegedly prophetic OT texts. Yes, they would.” My point is that we would have no good reason to think that they had done that. Well they said Jesus did miracles. Sounds to me like they were willing to lie as a matter of course. Shall we debate my ant-supernaturalist presuppositio ... [More]