Tag Archives: Massachusetts

Can atheist Louise Antony rationally ground objective morality?

A conflict of worldviews
A conflict of worldviews

The debate on video:

I read Dr. Craig’s report of his debate with Louise Antony on the topic of God and morality. My impression from his review was that she hadn’t prepared for the debate and didn’t understand the moral argument at all.

My impressions of her were confirmed by J.W. Wartick’s blog post.

Summary:

Recently, I listened [again] to the debate between William Lane Craig and Louise Anthony. Some have lauded this debate as a stirring victory for secular ethics. (See, for example, the comments here–one comment even goes so far as to say “I swoon when someone evokes the Euthyphro Dilemma and frown at the impotent, goal-post-moving, ‘Divine nature’ appeal.”) In reality, I think Louise Anthony did indeed present the case for secular metaethics. The problem is that this case is utterly vacuous. 

I’ll break down why this is the case by focusing upon three areas of development in secular and theistic ethics: objective moral truths, suffering, and moral facts.

Here’s the snarkiest part:

Louise Anthony seems to be just confused about the nature of objective morality. She says in response to a question from the audience, “The universe has no purpose, but I do… I have lots of purposes…. It makes a lot of difference to a lot of people and to me what I do. That gives my life significance… The only thing that would make it [sacrificing her own life] insignificant would be if my children’s lives were insignificant. And, boy you better not say that!”

Craig responded, “But Louise, on atheism, their lives are insignificant.” Anthony interjected, “Not to me!”

But then she goes on to make this confused statement, “It’s an objective fact that they [her children] are significant to me.”

Note how Anthony has confused the terms here. Yes, it is an objective fact that according to Louise Anthony, her children matter to her. We can’t question Anthony’s own beliefs–we must trust what she tells us unless we have reason to think otherwise. But that’s not enough. What Craig and other theists are trying to press is that that simple fact has nothing to do with whether her children are actually valuable. Sure, people may go around complaining that “Well, it matters to me, so it does matter!” But that doesn’t make it true. All kinds of things can matter to people, that doesn’t mean that they are ontologically objective facts.

It matters to me whether the Cubs [an American baseball team] win the World Series. That hasn’t happened in 104 years, so it looks like it doesn’t matter in the overall scheme of the universe after all. But suppose I were to, like Anthony, retort, “But the Cubs matter to me! It’s an objective fact that them winning the World Series is significant to me!” Fine! But all the Cardinals [a rival team] fans would just laugh at me and say “SO WHAT!?

Similarly, one can look at Anthony with incredulity and retort, “Who cares!?” Sure, if you can get enough people around Anthony who care about her children’s moral significance, you can develop a socially derived morality. But that’s not enough to ground objective morality. Why should we think that her values matter to the universe at large? On atheism, what reason is there for saying that her desires and purposes for her children are any better than my desires and purposes for the Cubs?

She doesn’t even understand the difference between objective and subjective morality! Sigh. For her, it’s enough that people have feelings about what they like and don’t like, and that they have the feeling that they ought to act in line with their feelings. And if you challenge her about obviously evil people, e.g. – radical Islamists blowing up innocent children for their ideology, well she has no reason to say that their feelings-based morality is any more rationally grounded than her own. The problem with atheists is that they approach morality with the goal of explaining it away. They want to avoid having to comply with objective, prescriptive morality, but they also want to justify themselves to theists  by saying “look at me, I have standards too, I’m not a sociopath!” So, they invent a subjective morality based on their need to feel good and get the praise of their peers and congratulate themselves about acting according to a subjective standard. Problem solved! The fact is that there is no way to get to an objective moral standard that applies in all times and places on atheism. Accidental universe = anything goes. Period. End of issue.

Supreme Court rules that pro-lifers have free speech right at abortion clinics

From USA Today.

Excerpt:

Abortion remains an issue that divides the Supreme Court, but the justices had less disagreement Thursday in defending the free speech rights of abortion opponents.

The court ruled unanimously that Massachusetts went too far — literally — when it created 35-foot buffer zones around abortion clinics to keep demonstrators away from patients.

The decision united Chief Justice John Roberts and the court’s four liberals, who said the distance improperly removed demonstrators from public sidewalks and spaces. The other conservative justices would have issued a more sweeping verdict, striking down the ban on grounds that it targets abortion opponents’ specific point of view.

“Petitioners wish to converse with their fellow citizens about an important subject on the public streets and sidewalks — sites that have hosted discussions about the issues of the day throughout history,” Roberts wrote. Though the state has an interest in public safety, it “pursued those interests by the extreme step of closing a substantial portion of a traditional public forum to all speakers.”

[…]The court’s other four conservative justices agreed with the verdict in the Massachusetts case but would have gone further by striking down the law as one that illegally targets abortion opponents.

“It is clear on the face of the Massachusetts law that it discriminates based on viewpoint,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote. “Speech in favor of the clinic and its work by employees and agents is permitted; speech criticizing the clinic and its work is a crime. This is blatant viewpoint discrimination.”

The article has a reactions from a Planned Parenthood spokeswoman. She was against the ruling.

Justina Pelletier’s family promises to sue Massachusetts for kidnapping their daughter

From Life News.

Excerpt:

The family of Justina Pelletier, the teenage girl at the center of a national parental rights dispute, vows to pursue legal action against the state of Massachusetts for what they say was essentially an abduction of their daughter.

Earlier this week, Massachusetts Juvenile Court Judge Joseph Johnston signed the order for Justina to go home following a 16-month dispute between her family and state officials. Lou Pelletier said in a text message, “This battle has been finally won. The WAR will not be won until we stop this from happening to ALL CHILDREN!!”

Pelletier, said, “It’s an unbelievably emotional day… I’m still shellshocked. It has been 16 months of torture, but finally justice is being done.”

The first order of business for the family is to get Justina well and evaluate her after her treatment, or lack therof, by state officials.  In her sixteen months under the “care” of the state, Justina Pelletier’s health deteriorated from being a vibrant figure skater to being confined to a wheelchair, unable to walk on her own.Pelletier says his daughter has “no feeling at all below her hips” and is now confined to a wheelchair.

In a picture, right, her father is shown having to carry her into their home.

Next, they are considering legal action. The Pelletiers are pursuing legal action against the Massachusetts officials who took custody of Justina.

According to the Hartford Courant:

Pelletier said he plans to pursue legal and legislative action against the Massachusetts officials who took custody of Justina.

“This is just the beginning,” Pelletier said. “There’s going to be a Justina law,” because hospitals are “taking kids, using DCF to be their little wingman. I’m going to be the guy that’s going to change that.”

If you haven’t been following the kidnapping story, the Courant article is a GREAT summary of everything.

I would like to see them sue Massachusetts and maybe score one for parents who are tired of having their parental autonomy and authority undermined by fascists. Taxpayer-funded fascists, no less. The Pelletier family paid for the DCF and the judge to do this to them.

Can you imagine that parents are paying fascists to torture their own child so that she has permanent disabilities? It’s incredible, but that’s what it means to pay taxes to a secular government – you’re paying for things that you would never spend your own earned money on if you had the choice. And they think they are doing you a favor – providing you with a service. Because you are too stupid to know how to parent your own child. Throw them all in jail, throw away the key.

DCF social workers reverse their support for kidnapping of Justina Pelletier

The UK Daily Mail reports.

Excerpt:

A Connecticut teenager is closer to being returned to her parents after the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families decided she was better off in the care of her family than the state.

The final decision now rests with Judge Joseph Johnston who gave the state permanent custody of Justina Pelletier in March.

The move came after a highly publicized battle involving differing diagnoses from doctors at Boston Children’s Hospital and Tufts Medical Center and allegations of medical child abuse against her parents.

The 16-year-old made an impassioned plea to go home earlier this week, and DCF has removed its longstanding opposition to the idea. DCF now claims that Lou and Linda Pelletier have met the conditions asked of them in order to get their child back.

They will all now be looking to see if the judge agrees.

[…]The Pelletiers’ trying ordeal began 16 months ago when they submitted their daughter for evaluation at Tufts University hospital.

Justina’s case has gained attention after a diagnostic dispute between her doctors at Tufts Medical Center and at Boston Children’s Hospital over whether her deteriorating condition was primarily a physical or a psychiatric problem.

She was being treated at Tufts for more than a year for mitochondrial disease, a group of genetic disorders that affect how cells produce energy, often causing problems with the gut, brain, muscles, and heart.

However, doctors at Children’s hospital took a different view and concluded that her physical symptoms were primarily caused by psychological disorders.

After the conflicting diagnosis, doctors allegedly gave Justina’s parents the bewildering and heart-breaking news that they wouldn’t be able to take their daughter home.

Justina’s parents refused to accept that her condition was psychological in nature and tried to discharge her and bringing her back to Tufts.

Speaking of the moment their daughter was taken away from her, the teenager’s mother said: ”They came in, and they said we cannot take Justina out of the hospital.

‘They called DCF (Department for Children and Families).

‘They said Justina had ‘somatoform disorder,’ a form of mental illness that is characterized by physical symptoms.’

Linda and Lou Pelletier were escorted out of the hospital by security, and within the short space of four days they had lost custody of their beloved daughter.

In my previous post on this story, I noted that parental visits were conducted under armed guard. That’s what the state did to these parents.

I hope we will see a close to this story soon. I would like to see DCF social workers and the medical personnel at the Boston Children’s Hospital charged and tried in a criminal court for what they did. Maybe the charges could be something like child abuse or kidnapping. I hope that the people who made the decisions that took the girl away from her parents will see significant jail time. Then parents might start to have faith in their hospitals and social workers – which they are paying for. But then again, this is Massachusetts. It’s probably too much to hope for common sense there.

 

Court awards permanent custody of girl to Mass. Department of Children and Families

Wow. I’m not sure if you all have been following this story, but just when you think that it has to end, the insanity just keeps on going.

The Daily Caller reports.

Excerpt:

A juvenile court judge issued a ruling Tuesday giving the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families “permanent” custody of Justina Pelletier. Any future decision to return the 15-year-old to her parents is now solely up to the agency.

Judge Joseph Johnston ruled in response to a motion from Pelletier’s court-appointed lawyer and her parents’ lawyers, Linda and Lou Pelletier of West Hartford Conn., which called for “conditional custody” of their daughter, reports The Boston Globe.

She has been in the custody of the state since February, 2013, when DCF removed her from her parents care. They have been aggressively demanding custody of Justina since then, and the case has gained national attention.

Justina Pelletier was being treated for mitochondrial disease, a genetic disorder that affects muscle tissue, by doctors at Tufts Medical Center early last year. She was admitted to Boston Children’s Hospital when she came down with the flu. Doctors at BCH disagreed with the Tufts doctors and diagnosed her with somatoform disorder, a mental illness.

Her parents rejected the new diagnosis and attempted to move her back to Tufts, when BCH notified the state it suspected the parents of medical abuse. The Massachussetts Department of Children and Families took emergency custody of Pelletier in February.

She has remained in their custody since then, spending most of her time in a psychiatric ward, and allowed one supervised hour a week to see her parents, reported The Boston Globe. She was moved to a residential facility a few months ago, but continues to be treated as an outpatient.

[…]Yesterday, AllVoices reported Justina’s visits with her parents are now supervised by armed guards.

So, basically, if you have a child in Massachusetts, that child can be kidnapped by the state government indefinitely. Note to self: never have children in Democrat-dominated state.