Re: [asa] Moral law - Francis Collins

From: <>
Date: Sun Dec 31 2006 - 22:29:19 EST

David O wrote:

> It makes a big difference to the legitimacy of the rules. A rule is
> ultimately legitimate only if it is connected with something beyond merely the
> power of the person who promulgates it. Otherwise, Nietzsche was right, and law
> is nothing more than a particular arbitrary expression of the will to power.

Perhaps you are hitting closer to one of my main objections
with the way we try to model these things. Even ignoring the
underlying assumptions of the system itself, the whole thing
centers on a "target". Now that you point out the Divine
command model for morality, the "target" in these computer
experiments has a form largely as you say; a "will to power".

Now, I can see that we can construct some sort of survival
quotient, and then we could set different models to compete
with each other. But again, assumptions underlie how these
models compete and the assumptions are largely a product
of our expectations.

The trouble is that justice now become largely an illusion
and we have arrived at our expectations largely because we
have willed them. Yet there is no way to really know
if any of this is actually right. Put North Korea's Kim in
charge of the "research", and we also know what to expect.
Actually we don't even have to look that far, bees and ants
survive perfectly fine and for insects, they are very successful.

At best, if we gave it our best objectivity, a tough call
already, we might be able to show that moral laws could have
evolved that way, but the question about what is good, remains
elusive. What we desire as Christians is not the "moral laws",
but to do what is right because it _is_ right; not because more
of the population survives, not because the unfit don't replicate,
and not because rules and edicts are issued from on high and we
want to please those on high. Indeed, doing what is truly right does
not even necessarily guarantee our survival (except given there is an
"afterlife"). Getting sawed in half or being exiled to Egypt without ever
having a family does not sound like the priorities of an evolutionary
model of natural selection; yet we know that both these prophets did
what is right.

In a way, Dick has a real point, but with the Divine command, it can only
be so if God is right. How can we be sure of that? :-)

By Grace we proceed,

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Received on Sun Dec 31 22:30:00 2006

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