When Lovecraft invented the blind idiot god Azathoth (as the human narrator calls it), he was likely just taking the Old Catholic/Aristotelian view of God and imagining what that might look like given the universe we live in. Azathoth maintains existence by sitting at its center surrounded by vast demonic dancers. There's a mediator, here called Nyarlathotep rather than Jesus or the Pope, who claims to somehow be doing Azathoth's will when he told humans to murder each other.

I mention this because we would not consider N's commands morally binding, even in... (Read more)(Click to expand thread. ⌘F to Expand All)Cmd/Ctrl F to expand all comments on this post

We consider hypothetical deities moral or immoral based on whether or not they agree with "arbitrary" rules like not hurting people unnecessarily, not the other way around.

Some religious traditions disagree. There are, in fact, people who believe God is by definition good and therefore any known commandment of God is good if we trust its divine status, because our own moral sense is fallible but God is not.

Discussion of Slate Star Codex: "Extremism in Thought Experiments is No Vice"

by Artaxerxes 5y28th Mar 20151 min read112 comments


Link to Blog Post: "Extremism in Thought Experiments is No Vice"


Phil Robertson is being criticized for a thought experiment in which an atheist’s family is raped and murdered. On a talk show, he accused atheists of believing that there was no such thing as objective right or wrong, then continued:

I’ll make a bet with you. Two guys break into an atheist’s home. He has a little atheist wife and two little atheist daughters. Two guys break into his home and tie him up in a chair and gag him.

Then they take his two daughters in front of him and rape both of them and then shoot them, and they take his wife and then decapitate her head off in front of him, and then they can look at him and say, ‘Isn’t it great that I don’t have to worry about being judged? Isn’t it great that there’s nothing wrong with this? There’s no right or wrong, now, is it dude?’

Then you take a sharp knife and take his manhood and hold it in front of him and say, ‘Wouldn’t it be something if [there] was something wrong with this? But you’re the one who says there is no God, there’s no right, there’s no wrong, so we’re just having fun. We’re sick in the head, have a nice day.’

If it happened to them, they probably would say, ‘Something about this just ain’t right’.

The media has completely proportionally described this as Robinson “fantasizing about” raping atheists, and there are the usual calls for him to apologize/get fired/be beheaded.

So let me use whatever credibility I have as a guy with a philosophy degree to confirm that Phil Robertson is doing moral philosophy exactly right.


This is a LW discussion post for Yvain's blog posts at Slate Star Codex, as per tog's suggestion:

Like many Less Wrong readers, I greatly enjoy Slate Star Codex; there's a large overlap in readership. However, the comments there are far worse, not worth reading for me. I think this is in part due to the lack of LW-style up and downvotes. Have there ever been discussion threads about SSC posts here on LW? What do people think of the idea occasionally having them? Does Scott himself have any views on this, and would he be OK with it?

Scott/Yvain's permission to repost on LW was granted (from facebook):

I'm fine with anyone who wants reposting things for comments on LW, except for posts where I specifically say otherwise or tag them with "things i will regret writing"