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Tom Wright on hypocrisy

#31the_hedonist(Topic Creator)Posted 6/12/2013 8:16:50 AM
AynRandySavage posted...
the_hedonist posted...

Saying that you are consistent in regards to your sexual behavior standards of morality does not prove that you are not a hypocrite. Morality encompasses way more than mere sexual behavior. Congrats - you don't engage in pedophilia. Whoop-dee-doo. If you only set your standards just below what you attain to in every area, then you will not be a hypocrite. This is what Tom Wright called "setting standards so low that they aren't standards at all." I don't really have the time to go through every area of morality with you to determine whether you're hypocritical or amoral. But it's really quite pointless because you could just as easily lie to me about what your standards actually are or whether you really hold to them at all. Point is that everyone messes up at some point in time and goes against what they think is right. If you claim never to have done that, then I am going to claim that you are a liar.


It's irrelevant. He has no basis to say everyone's a hypocrite because the very basis of his argument is incorrect. You can have standards that are high enough to be standards and still adhere to them. Even if most people, in practice, don't, the whole dichotomy is exposed. His argument is rotten to the core.

Is it such a bad thing to set high standards?


It's fine to set whatever standards you want for yourself. When you set standards for other people that you yourself can't adhere to, you have lost all your credibility. We take a dim view of hypocrisy for that reason. If the media were criticizing the church for its journalistic ethics, then there'd be a problem. But they're not.


I quite simply disagree that "you can have standards that are high enough to be standards and still adhere to them." Let's get down to brass tacks here and apply it to you as a person. Let's be a little more broad here (not focusing on just sexual morality): what is your view of morality, in general? Golden rule? Categorical imperative? Rational self-interest? How do you view what is right and wrong?

And I feel like a broken record here, but I'll say it again. The problem is not journalistic ethics. Did you read the article? The BBC was wagging its finger at the church for a sex scandal, yet as was revealed last fall, the BBC has done its fair share of covering up sex scandals (e.g. Jimmy Savile). We're not talking about the media criticizing the church for journalistic ethics per se (although that inevitably becomes a part of the discussion when you're talking about the media), but the ethics of covering up scandals for any moralizing entity.

So the question is: is it okay to pronounce a moral judgment without being able to live up to it? If not, why not? If you make an argument that something is moral or not, the truth of that argument does not depend on your ability to live up to that argument, but the argument itself. Interestingly enough, if you claim that you cannot moralize unless you can live up to your standards yourself, you are, in one sense, making an appeal to hypocrisy yourself.
---
"Why should I gain from His reward? I cannot give an answer.
But this I know with all my heart - His wounds have paid my ransom."
#32AynRandySavagePosted 6/12/2013 12:37:11 PM
the_hedonist posted...


I quite simply disagree that "you can have standards that are high enough to be standards and still adhere to them.


Murder is wrong
Assault is wrong
pedophilia is wrong
robbery is wrong
sadism is wrong


Which of the above are not standards?

Let's get down to brass tacks here and apply it to you as a person. Let's be a little more broad here (not focusing on just sexual morality): what is your view of morality, in general? Golden rule? Categorical imperative? Rational self-interest? How do you view what is right and wrong?


That's way too broad, let's stick to the topic.


So the question is: is it okay to pronounce a moral judgment without being able to live up to it?


Sure. You just have to preface it with "IMO" beforehand. I think eating meat is wrong, but since I occasionally do eat meat, I can't expect anyone to take me seriously if I tell them they shouldn't either. That doesn't mean that eating meat isn't wrong, it just means that I have no legitimacy in my injunction against it. The question isn't whether the church is right or wrong, it's whether anyone should care whether it's right or wrong.

The BBC, on the other hand, isn't meant to be a moral authority. It's supposed to be a news source that reports the news and tries to provide context for it. In this case, it has succeeded. The fact that the Church has lost it's moral authority isn't an opinion, it's a fact.
#33the_hedonist(Topic Creator)Posted 6/12/2013 1:56:09 PM(edited)
AynRandySavage posted...
Murder is wrong
Assault is wrong
pedophilia is wrong
robbery is wrong
sadism is wrong


Which of the above are not standards?


They are standards. But the point is not that you cannot achieve one or some of your standards. The point is that you are going to be hypocritical somewhere down the line (and you provided a perfect example for me with the meat-eating example). No person is going to be perfectly consistent in regards to morality as a whole. I never said that you cannot live up to one measly standard. Again...you've never murdered someone. Whoop-dee-doo. Join the majority of humanity. You are a hypocrite - we all are. Deal with it.

That's way too broad, let's stick to the topic.


No. It's not too broad. You're being too narrow.


Sure. You just have to preface it with "IMO" beforehand. I think eating meat is wrong, but since I occasionally do eat meat, I can't expect anyone to take me seriously if I tell them they shouldn't either. That doesn't mean that eating meat isn't wrong, it just means that I have no legitimacy in my injunction against it. The question isn't whether the church is right or wrong, it's whether anyone should care whether it's right or wrong.


Oh. My. Goodness. You are making the fallacious appeal you accused Tom Wright of making. You are actually saying that, even if you are right that eating meat is wrong, you can't say that it's wrong because you don't do it yourself. While not a perfect fit for the appeal to hypocrisy, it is definitely a form of it. According to Wikipedia, the appeal to hypocrisy "dismisses someone's point of view based on criticism of the person's inconsistency, and not the position presented." In this instance, you are dismissing your own view because of your own inconsistency, not because of the truthfulness of your position. What the position of the Church has been in regards to morality is: this is what is moral, but we do not live up to it perfectly because we are sinners, but our inconsistency does nothing to diminish that it is still immoral. If you say that one's inconsistency invalidates one's position, you are appealing to hypocrisy.

The BBC, on the other hand, isn't meant to be a moral authority. It's supposed to be a news source that reports the news and tries to provide context for it. In this case, it has succeeded. The fact that the Church has lost it's moral authority isn't an opinion, it's a fact.


It doesn't matter whether they're meant to be a moral authority or not. They are attempting to moralize by shaming the church. It's fine if they want to claim moral neutrality if they actually do it. But they are not doing it.
---
"Why should I gain from His reward? I cannot give an answer.
But this I know with all my heart - His wounds have paid my ransom."
#34AynRandySavagePosted 6/12/2013 9:54:53 PM
the_hedonist posted...
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They are standards. But the point is not that you cannot achieve one or some of your standards. The point is that you are going to be hypocritical somewhere down the line (and you provided a perfect example for me with the meat-eating example). No person is going to be perfectly consistent in regards to morality as a whole. I never said that you cannot live up to one measly standard. Again...you've never murdered someone. Whoop-dee-doo. Join the majority of humanity. You are a hypocrite - we all are. Deal with it.


I'm not going to deal with it because the entire premise is built on a fallacy. I may be a hypocrite with regards to my meat eating, but that doesn't mean everyone else is. Wright's argument(as I've said before) fails out of the starting gate because we can have standards that are sufficient to be called standards and live up to them at the same time. Thus, hypocrisy is not guaranteed. And even if it were, that would not do anything to justify hypocrisy in one specific context.




No. It's not too broad. You're being too narrow.


How is it relevant?

it is definitely a form of it. According to Wikipedia, the appeal to hypocrisy "dismisses someone's point of view based on criticism of the person's inconsistency, and not the position presented." In this instance, you are dismissing your own view because of your own inconsistency


I'm not dismissing my own position, in fact I think it's correct, being my own position. I just have no moral authority to make the argument. Completely different issues, and completely unrelated to an appeal to hypocrisy.


If you say that one's inconsistency invalidates one's position, you are appealing to hypocrisy.


Well that's easy. I'm not saying that. I'm saying that their inconsistency invalidates their legitimacy to argue their position.


It doesn't matter whether they're meant to be a moral authority or not. They are attempting to moralize by shaming the church. It's fine if they want to claim moral neutrality if they actually do it. But they are not doing it.


They're pointing out the fact that the church doesn't have the moral authority to argue for its tenants. Seeing as that's a fact, it seems pretty neutral to me.