Why does Robertson, or anyone else, insist on moral realism? And what exactly does he mean by it?

There seem to be different usages of "moral realism", which is confusing. The main two are:

  1. Morals are an objective property of the universe, or possibly of mathematics (e.g. game theoretic cooperation), which can be deduced and agreed on, even separately from purely human concerns and attributes. So we can speak of objective morals. And if one believes that humans are typical of (evolved) intelligences, and that evolution removes behavior that is se

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Well, Robertson insists on moral realism because he is a believing Christian and Christianity is rather insistent about it -- specifically in the sense of your first usage case.

I haven't seen anyone call the second case "moral realism" outside of the LW context.

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

by Artaxerxes 5y28th Mar 20151 min read112 comments

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

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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.

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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"


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